Moves by Spain, France and other European states to carefully open borders are a step in the right direction, but restoring global connectivity requires far more than regional or individual state initiatives, according to the International Air Transport Association.
The G20 has endorsed a data-driven approach to managing the risks of Covid-19 while re-opening borders.
‘Connectivity needs countries at both ends of the journey to be open. Many of the world’s largest air travel markets, such Australia, China, the UK, Japan, and Canada remain essentially closed with no clear plans to guide a reopening,’ says Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.
‘Data should help these and other countries to introduce targeted policies that keep populations safe while moving towards a normality in a world with Covid-19 for some time to come,’
France, Spain's steps welcomed
IATA has welcomed the relaxation of Covid-19 border measures for vaccinated passengers, and the broader use of affordable antigen testing adopted by Spain and France last week.
However, the association says this is tempered by ongoing disappointment at the failure to implement harmonised measures across Europe and deep frustration at the lack of coordination among governments worldwide for a data-driven risk-managed approach to re-establishing the freedom to travel.
Spain has opened its borders to most vaccinated travelers from around the world and allowed EU travelers to enter the country with a negative antigen test. Passengers from low-risk countries (including the UK) can enter without any restrictions.
From 9 June France opened to vaccinated travellers from all but those countries assessed as high risk. Vaccinated travelers from medium-risk countries will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 antigen or PCR test, and unvaccinated people must still self-isolate for seven days.
‘It’s encouraging to see more European countries taking steps to reopen borders,’ says Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general. ‘They recognise the opportunity created by vaccination and are making travel more affordable with the use of antigen testing. But this approach is not universal across the continent. Many European states have yet to significantly relax borders at all. This fragmentation should be replaced with a unified approach that is consistent with the recommendations of the EU to which they belong. People, businesses and economies would all benefit from greater alignment across Europe in relaxing measures and restoring the freedom to travel.’
Global air passenger numbers are expected to recover to 88% of pre-Covid-19 levels in 2022, according to a long term forecast released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Tourism Economics. This follows what is likely to be a 52% recovery in 2021.
The organisations predict the damage of the Covid-19 crisis will be felt for years to come but say people have retained their desire and need to travel.
The report notes that consumers have accumulated savings in the lockdowns, in some cases exceeding 10% of GDP. Vaccination rates in developed countries (with the notable exception of Japan) should exceed 50% of the population by the third quarter of 2021.
Air Chathams has seen an immediate increase in demand with the opening of quarantine free borders with Australia and the Cook Islands, says Duane Emeny, the airline’s chief operating officer.
‘Kiwis connecting domestically onto international flights was always a huge market for us. We lost half our market when borders closed.’
Emeny says this traffic is definitely returning, with the biggest pick-up from Whakatane to Auckland, followed closely by travellers from Wanganui.
Air Chathams remains committed to its Norfolk Island service despite a hiccup last week when complications around the legislative process delayed the planned first post-Covid flight from Auckland.
Duane Emeny, chief operating officer at 3C, says the service will now resume 10 June.
‘The positive side is that because of the pent up demand we’ll now be utilising the larger ATR 72 for the service. We will then revert back to the SAAB 340 once a week with the plan to build to two flights a week.’
Three quarters (75%) of the surveyed business travellers say they would be willing to pay more to keep the middle seat open when they fly, according to a survey from global property and casualty insurance company Chubb. At the same time, more than two-thirds (69%) say they expect company travel budgets will be trimmed in a post-Covid world to reduce expenses.
At a global level, 84% of business travellers say they cannot wait to travel again without fear of getting Covid-19. Four out of five have personally missed business travel – an even larger share (87%) said they miss leisure travel.
Viva Expeditions is promoting Antarctica day flights from Australia on a Qantas Dreamliner (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane).
Managing director, Rachel Williams says this is a great way to experience and appreciate the sheer size of Antarctica in a day. ‘Weather permitting we’ll hope to reduce the flying altitude to approximately 20,000 feet to give improved viewing of some areas. The South Pole flight will spend significantly longer over Antarctica, mostly at cruising altitude as we aim to reach the South Pole.
Qantas and Jetstar are set to operate up to 122 return flights per week across the Tasman
The carriers will restart flying to all pre-Covid destinations in New Zealand when the two-way trans-Tasman bubble opens later this month.
Air New Zealand will trial the digital Travel Pass app developed by International Air Transport Association (IATA) on its Auckland-Sydney route in April. The carrier's chief digital officer Jennifer Sepull says the goal is to enable customers to seamlessly manage their digital travel documentation throughout their travel experience.
Hawaiian Airlines remains keen to return to New Zealand and Australia, but accepts that they may be two of the last international markets to open up, this week’s CAPA Live webinar event heard.
HA’s chief executive Peter Ingram points out that the airline has been flying to Japan and Korea from Hawaii ‘to a certain degree’ for several months.
‘That started with all-cargo flights, with enough demand to justify the costs of operating and allowed us, as the pre-travel testing regime has come into place in Hawaii, to open up to passenger demand with a low hurdle for what incremental costs we need to cover that.’
Seven features of the ‘unrecognisable’ airline industry structure that will appear in the post-Covid world have been identified by CAPA – Centre for Aviation founder and chairman emeritus Peter Harbison.
1. Airline revenue streams, already rapidly evolving, will change greatly;
It is surprising how few airlines went out of business in an ‘unimaginably dreadful year, where international capacity fell to around one tenth of its previous level and many domestic operations fared only slightly better,’ according to CAPA – Centre for Aviation founder and chairman emeritus, Peter Harbison.
However Harbison warns that despite the story of survival we could be fast approaching the ‘tipping point.’
Auckland Airport has joined with industry partners and medical experts in supporting the development of a risk-based border model.
Published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, the peer-reviewed research evaluates the risk posed by passengers from countries with different prevalence of Covid-19 travelling to New Zealand.
It proposes a multi-layer, risk-mitigation approach in support of New Zealand’s elimination strategy by exploring the impact of a more tailored approach that matches different levels of traveller risk.
Airlines are calling for an extension of support packages from government following the Prime Minister’s forecast of keeping the border closed until the latter part of 2021.
New Zealand is at severe risk of losing what few international air links it has left, says Justin Tighe-Umbers, executive director of the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ).
The Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand (BARNZ) is supporting the implementation of pre-departure tests.
Airlines have quickly actioned predeparture testing for Covid-19 in the United States and the United Kingdom. Now airlines flying to New Zealand will work with the New Zealand Government to ensure the same testing protocols are in place for other destinations by 25 January.
The Walshe Group has been appointed general sales agent to represent Lufthansa Group airlines in New Zealand effective 1 March 2021. The Walshe Group managing director, Jacqui Walshe, will be responsible for the growth of Lufthansa Group airlines in New Zealand.
Travel agency support 0800 944 220 or firstname.lastname@example.org will continue to be available for sales services enquiries.
Malaysia Airlines will continue to promote its enhanced economy fares to the trade into 2021 and is expecting the flexible options to resonate with consumers as borders safely open for post pandemic travel.
Giles Gilbert, regional manager for Malaysia Airlines Australia and New Zealand says travellers have been increasingly seeking choice and flexibility when they plan their journeys and this can only accelerate as people return to the skies.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data revealing that the Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on international connectivity, shaking up the rankings of the world’s most connected cities.
London, the world’s number one most connected city in September 2019, has seen a 67% decline in connectivity. By September 2020, it had fallen to number eight. New York (-66% fall in
Malaysia Airlines has introduced MH Group Portal in New Zealand and Australia in line with the company’s digitalisation strategy.
‘Malaysia Airlines is continually looking for ways to simplify the booking process for agents in this region.’ says Giles Gilbert, regional manager for Malaysia Airlines Australia and New Zealand.
‘The end to end automation process from quoting fares to ticketing will provide agents a seamless experience when organising a trip for 10 passengers and more. This direct booking process
The impact of Covid-19 on airports ‘has hastened trends of change that were already in motion before the pandemic’, according to Foster + Partners architect and senior partner Antoinette Nassopoulos-Erickson.
This includes advancing the implementation of biometrics and contactless technologies at airports, she told the audience at a recent CAPA - Centre for Aviation Masterclass event
Most consumers are open to air travel and overall fear levels about catching Covid-19 while flying are ‘tepid’, according to research by a global analytics and data company.
OAG surveyed 4000 global users of its flightview app and found that 69% intend to fly internationally within the next six months, while 79% have plans for domestic travel.
Australia’s moves to allow flights from New Zealand from 16 October, to New South Wales and Northern Territory where Covid is considered sufficiently under control, has delighted the New Zealand Aviation Coalition (NZAC).
The airline industry has plenty of disruption still to come and desperately needs restructuring, a high level virtual conference heard this week.
In his introduction to the 2020 Aviation Summit, CAPA Centre of Aviation chairman emeritus, Peter Harbison, said that the industry has seen about a 60% drop in passenger numbers globally during the crisis.
Despite QF’s ultra-long haul flights, dubbed Project Sunrise, currently being shelved, Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce predicts that when borders open it will be the type of service to resonate even more with passengers.
‘There is likely to be a stronger business case for flights like Sydney / Melbourne to London or New York, without the necessity to stop anywhere on the way.’
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is appealing to all travellers to wear face covering during the travel journey for the safety of all passengers and crew during COVID-19.
Wearing face coverings is a key recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) guidance for safe operations during the pandemic, as developed jointly with the World Health Organization and governments.
Singapore Airlines is increasing scheduled passenger services to Christchurch and Auckland.
From 10 September 2020, Singapore to Christchurch will increase to two times weekly, with an additional flight operated on Thursday; then from 6 October 2020, Singapore to Christchurch will operate three times weekly with the third flight operating on Tuesday. The re-instatement of these
The risk of catching Covid-19 while travelling by air should not be compared with travelling on a public bus, according Justin Tighe-Umbers, co-chair of the New Zealand Aviation Coalition (NZAC).
'Every time we go into Alert Level 2 or higher, two thirds of the domestic network gets taken out,' Tighe-Umbers says. 'That's the knock on effect of having to keep 30% to 50% of seats empty depending on the aircraft type. The problem lies with the Ministry of Health's requirement for physical distancing on aircraft under Level 2.
'That requirement reduces the number of flights as airlines respond. In simple terms, it means not as many ticket paying passengers are covering the cost of each flight. Airlines can not be expected to fly where they can't cover costs.'
He says measures like hygiene protocols, aircrew wearing protective equipment, restrictive food and beverage services, limiting the use of toilets to certain areas of the aircraft and the mandatory use of face masks by passengers all help prevent transmission.
'Modern aircraft are also one of the most controlled environments that people could experience. Air is exchanged with fresh air from outside every two or three minutes on most aircraft. That is 20 to 30 times more frequently than most office buildings.'
Tighe-Umbers says while the government obviously recognises people want to travel regionally and there are economic benefits from that, it also needs to recognise physical distancing on aircraft imposes heavy costs.
Social distancing broad brush 'won't work'
Air Chathams is warning that the government announcement on the requirement to social distance passengers will ultimately make air travel more expensive, particularly on smaller regional aircraft, whilst piling 'more commercial pain' on airlines already hurting after emerging from the first lockdown.
'It is impossible for government to administer a broad brush requirement to socially distance and believe it will be effective on a multitude of different aircraft types, especially when separation of passengers during boarding and deplaning at many regional ports can not be achieved,' says Air Chathams chief operating officer, Duane Emeny.
Malaysia Airlines retains its confidence in the New Zealand market’s medium to long term future, despite the challenging times the travel industry finds itself in, says Giles Gilbert, the airline’s regional manager for Australia and New Zealand.
Gilbert points out that Malaysia Airlines actually increased its sales force by two in the Auckland office in February and those staff remain with the airline, although it has obviously been difficult for them to get
Despite a significant percentage of the population fearing that they have a high chance of catching Covid-19 if they fly, and media coverage that often seems to promote this fear, actual evidence and recorded instances appear to indicate the opposite.
The Covid crisis could have a ‘very long shadow’ when it comes to flying and travel in general, according to global research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). ‘Passengers are telling us that it will take time before they return to their old travel habits,’ says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
Qantas has released a three-year strategy to guide recovery and return to growth in the changed market.
The airline says around 100 aircraft will be grounded for up to 12 months, some for longer. There will also be job losses and extended stand downs to manage a long period of reduced flying, especially internationally.
Singapore Airlines will resume scheduled passenger services to Auckland and Christchurch as part of its minimum connectivity network.
The re-instatement of twice-weekly services to Auckland and once-weekly services to Christchurch from Tuesday 9 June, will mark the first scheduled passenger flights to the cities since SQ ceased operations in March following the closure of New Zealand and Singapore’s borders due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
While many airlines in the world are facing tough times ahead and may not survive, the next few months could be a good time for start ups, according to a UK based aviation expert.
Air Chathams is slowly relaunching scheduled flights from its Auckland Airport base to Whakatane, Whanganui and the Kapiti Coast commencing 24 May.
Airline management have been working with the district councils to agree on a way forward that allows the airline, which has suffered a 90% drop off in revenue during Covid-19, a lower risk way to reinstate flights while demand and confidence to travel by air returns to the domestic network.
Air New Zealand will be ‘easier and simpler’ for trade to deal with as it works towards stimulating the market, first domestically and then beyond these shores, the airline’s chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said in a webinar this week.
‘Contracts will be user friendly and easier to understand,’ he says.
Sounds Air will be flying WLG-WSZ, WLG-BHE and WLG-NSN from tomorrow. WLG to TUO will start Monday 18 May, as will a BHE-CHC service. The company says a new reduced schedule has been loaded, with longer turn-around times to aid increased cleaning measures between flights. The airline will be actively monitoring seat capacity and adding flights as required.
Qatar Airways intends to operate to 80 destinations by the end of June, including 33 in Asia Pacific – but conspicuous by its absence on a just released list is Auckland.
Destinations that do make the list include Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Though enquiries to the airline last night did not receive a definite answer, trade sources indicate it may be late October before QR returns to AKL.
Domestic airline capacity in China is beginning to recover, with over 30% of its domestic capacity returning in the last two months, according to new analysis from Cirium.
Data from the travel and analytics company shows that domestic capacity has recovered from a peak year-on-year drop of 71% on 24 February 2020 to down just 33% on 22 April 2020.
Airlines are sitting in ‘pause’ mode and at this time virtually all of the carriers previously servicing this market have indicated they are keen to be back when practically possible, participants in the Tourism Temperature webinar this week heard.
Justin Tighe-Umbers, executive director, Board of Airline Representatives NZ (BARNZ) says flights are ‘sitting in the international slot coordination schedule’ but carriers are waiting to see how border restrictions and other plans develop.
The first of several flights Air New Zealand is operating for the German Government to repatriate stranded German nationals left Auckland International Airport on Friday afternoon. Flight NZ1960's Boeing 777-300 departed Auckland at 4.30pm for Frankfurt via Vancouver, arriving at Frankfurt am Main Airport early morning on Saturday 4 April.
A team of Air New Zealand employees put themselves forward to fly this mission. Four pilots and 12 cabin crew operated Auckland-Vancouver, where a full replacement crew to continued to Frankfurt.
A LATAM aircraft chartered by Chimu Adventures has landed in Sydney carrying 136 Australians and eight New Zealanders. The flight, that originated in Montevideo in Uruguay, landed at 6.30am local time. The Kiwis are transiting directly onto a flight from Sydney to Auckland departing at midday today and they are expected to arrive in Auckland at 5pm this afternoon.
Greg Foran, chief executive officer of Air New Zealand, has reiterated that the airline expects to be at least 30% smaller in a year’s time than it is today and will need to reduce the size of the workforce by up to 3500 roles.
Auckland Airport’s Operations Centre team is keeping the airport running smoothly in the face of COVID-19 by bringing in staff from other departments who have the right experience, and by splitting into three groups separated by drop-down dividers.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reacted to the Court of Appeal’s decision to block Heathrow expansion on the grounds of incompatibility with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Air New Zealand has unveiled a new lie-flat prototype sleep product for economy class travellers. The Economy Skynest is the result of three years of Air New Zealand research and development, with the input of more than 200 customers at its Hangar 22 innovation centre in Auckland. The airline has filed patent and trademark applications for the Economy Skynest which provides six full length lie-flat sleep pods.
The ‘terrible circumstances’ leading to the suspension of flights in and out of China has meant more marketing dollars for the new American Airlines flight between Christchurch and Los Angeles, a Canterbury audience heard late last week.
American Airlines last night treated Christchurch trade partners and colleagues to an all-American classic car convoy as it gears up to fly non-stop between the South Island and the USA.
Agents who sell a Singapore Airlines ticket and book a Singapore Stopover Holiday in the same itinerary will be into win return Premium Economy Class flights for two to Singapore, with accommodation and Singapore Explorer Plus passes.