Category Archives: Aviation

Wizz Air to launch first European low cost flights to Abu Dhabi

Wizz Air announced five new routes from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH). The routes will connect the capital of United Arab Emirates with Budapest and Bucharest from June 2020 and with Cluj-Napoca, Katowice and Sofia from September 2020, subject to aviation activities being resumed in the respective countries. The airlines becomes the first European low cost carrier to launch flights to Abu Dhabi. It is intended that Wizz Air will focus on establishing routes to markets in which the airline has existing, high growth operations, namely Central and Eastern and Western Europe, as well as the Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa, over the long run.  Shareef Al Hashmi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports, commented,“These new routes positively reflect the industry’s resilience and its capability to continue pushing forward with bold plans that will stimulate consumer demand and the sustained recovery of the aviation market. As our newest landing partner, we welcome Wizz Air and its first routes with open arms as we get set to facilitate the carrier’s exciting Abu Dhabi expansion plans. Visitors from Hungary, Romania, Poland and Bulgaria can look forward to enjoying our modern terminal facilities with a unique brand of Arabian hospitality before seamlessly heading out to experience the UAE’s thriving capital city, Abu Dhabi.” József Váradi, CEO of Wizz Air Holdings said, “We are convinced that our passengers will appreciate the convenient flight schedules, the easy online booking system and the wide range of tailor-made travel options Wizz Air offers. Our mission feeds into Abu Dhabi’s diversified economic strategy as we continue to stimulate traffic by creating demand to the benefit of growing Abu Dhabi’s touristic and economic diversity. We look forward to welcoming …

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ACI & IATA call for relief to protect jobs and operations

Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) jointly urge governments to quickly grant financial relief to assist airport operators and airlines during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis and support the essential connectivity the industry will provide for economic recovery. The industry is united with governments around the world in efforts to stop the spread of the virus, and, in the face of massive government imposed travel restrictions, the industry is doing all it can to maintain air cargo operations vital to supporting global supply chains, including medical shipments critical to fighting COVID-19. ACI and IATA are calling for urgent balanced support to the industry via: Taxation relief, including alleviation of payroll taxes, corporate taxes, concession fees or other government incomes from the industry; and loans, loan guarantees or direct support to maintain financial liquidity across the aviation ecosystem. Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World, said, “Urgent tax relief and direct financial assistance that is to the benefit of the entire aviation ecosystem is needed to help preserve millions of jobs, protect essential operations, and foster a balanced recovery. Preserving the continuity of operations for airports and airlines and protecting aviation jobs today will result in a faster economic recovery tomorrow.” Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA, said, “Governments will depend on aviation to be ready to lead an economic recovery when this pandemic is behind us. Governments must act now with financial lifelines that only they can provide for airlines and airports to see them through these extraordinary times. Airlines and airports are in this together. The more financially stable our airport partners are, the more they can help the industry to drive a …

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Passenger demand plunges in March as travel restrictions take hold: IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for March 2020 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) dived 52.9% compared to the year-ago period. This was the largest decline in recent history, reflecting the impact of government actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. In seasonally adjusted terms, global passenger volumes returned to levels last seen in 2006. March capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) fell by 36.2% and load factor plummeted 21.4 percentage points to 60.6%. “March was a disastrous month for aviation. Airlines progressively felt the growing impact of the COVID-19 related border closings and restrictions on mobility, including in domestic markets. Demand was at the same level it was in 2006 but we have the fleets and employees for double that. Worse, we know that the situation deteriorated even more in April and most signs point to a slow recovery,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “The industry is in free fall and we have not hit bottom. But there will come a time—soon, I hope—when authorities will be ready to begin easing restrictions on mobility and opening borders. It is imperative that governments work with industry now to prepare for that day. It is the only way to ensure that we have measures in place to keep passengers safe during travel and reassure governments that aviation will not be a vector in the spread of the disease. We must also avoid the confusion and complexity that followed 9/11. Global standards that are mutually accepted and operationally practicable will be mission-critical to achieving this. The only way to get there is by working together,” said de …

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Turkish Airlines draws national flag to honour Grand National Assembly

Turkish Airlines performed one of the most significant flights on April 23, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Grand National Assembly, and National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. The TC-JJF registered Boeing 777-300 (ER) type aircraft, which arrived in Ankara in the morning for this special flight, took off from Esenboğa Airport on April 23 at 09:40, local time. Representing the date April 23, 1920, flight TK1920 lasted approximately two hours and followed a route in which the crescent and star symbols in the Turkish flag were drawn. After the flight, which was followed by many through the live air traffic site Flightradar24 that provides flight tracking data, a crescent-star route emerged and passed into Turkish aviation history. Cpt. ÖnerSamyel and Cpt. Murat Gülkanat, who made this meaningful flight that left its mark in the heavens, made a special announcement in the sky above the Assembly building itself, which was opened 100 years ago. In the announcement referring to the statement of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, ‘Sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the nation’, it was emphasised that Turkish Airlines ensured that his legacy lived on in the skies. Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, M. İlkerAycı said, “The inauguration day of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, founded a hundred years ago to represent the will of a nation which went great lengths to ensure its freedom and independence, was gifted to our children by its founder Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as ‘April 23, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day’, reflecting the confidence in the next generation in the safekeeping of these sacred values. As our country’s national flag carrier, we dedicate today’s exclusive flight to our …

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Relief is critical for Middle East airlines as COVID-19 impact deepens says IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) renewed its call for government relief measures as the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in MENA deepen. The region’s airlines could lose $24 billion of passenger revenue compared to 2019. That is $5 billion more than was expected at the beginning of the month; job losses in aviation and related industries could grow to 1.2 million. That is half of the region’s 2.4 million aviation-related employment. Previous estimate was 0.9 million. Full-year 2020 traffic is expected to plummet by 51 per cent compared to 2019. Previous estimate was a fall of 39 per cent. GDP supported by aviation in the region could fall by $66 billion from $130 billion. Previous estimate was $51 billion. These estimates are based on a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, with a gradual lifting of restrictions in domestic markets, followed by regional and intercontinental. “Airlines in the Middle East continue to be battered by the impact of COVID-19. Passenger traffic has all but ground to a halt and revenue streams have evaporated. No amount of cost cutting will save airlines from a liquidity crisis. The collapse of air transport will have devastating effects on countries’ economies and jobs. And in a region where aviation is a key pillar of many nations’ economies the effect will be much worse. Direct financial support is essential to maintain jobs and ensure airlines can remain viable businesses,” said Muhammad Al Bakri, Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, IATA. Some of the impacts at national level include: Saudi Arabia- 35 million fewer passengers resulting in a US $7.2 billion revenue loss, risking 287,500 jobs and US $17.9 …

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Air Arabia Abu Dhabi receives ‘Air Operating Certificate’

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi announced that it has received its Air Operating Certificate (AOC), which allows it to start operating from Abu Dhabi as the fifth UAE national airline. Securing the AOC highlights that Air Arabia Abu Dhabi has all the professional capabilities, adheres to all safety regulations needed for aircraft operations and has proven fit-to-fly ability following the completion of rigorous inspections by the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will continue to work closely with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to finalise the launch date as market conditions improve and skies are open again. It was formed following the agreement by Etihad Airways and Air Arabia to establish an independent joint venture company that will operate as a low-cost passenger airline with the Abu Dhabi International Airport as its hub. The new carrier will complement the services of Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi and cater to the growing low-cost travel market segment in the region. HE Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of GCAA, said, “The UAE is a global air travel hub, supported by state-of-the-art aviation infrastructure and we continue to provide our residents and visitors with multiple options to stay connected and explore the world. Today’s announcement serves as another testament to the investments made by the UAE in strengthening its aviation sector and we look forward to the launch of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi in due course and the future growth opportunities for the UAE Aviation Sector.” Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said, “We are pushing ahead with our plans to resume normal flying and once we have, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will ideally serve those who …

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Dubai Airports starts planning for phased remobilisation

Dubai Airports is working closely with its aviation and commercial partners and is planning for a gradual remobilisation once travel restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted. Under a business stabilisation framework, aviation partners, tenants and concessionaires have been provided with details of an assistance programme agreed by Dubai Airports. Dubai Airports has responded decisively to the COVID-19 crisis and is among the first airport operators to propose meaningful assistance to airline and commercial partners. The programme, which is applicable for the impacted period March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020, includes waiving 100 per cent of minimum guarantees or equivalent fees for partners who have been required to cease trading due to the suspension of airport operations caused by the global pandemic. For partners that have maintained partial operations, other measures are in place to address the reduction in aviation activity, including rescheduling and other financial adjustments. “Flexibility is more important now than ever,” said Eugene Barry, Executive Vice President of Commercial at Dubai Airports. “Of paramount importance is that we protect and retain our aviation and business partnerships, which have been carefully built over a number of years, and ensure that our revenue and service drivers will be in a position to remobilise, in line with approvals from federal authorities. We have taken a number of unprecedented measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 to our own business, as well as those of our partners. By providing clarity and meaningful assistance to our business partners at this moment, we are confident that we will re-emerge to continue delivering the highest levels of assurance and service in a new commercial landscape, in which DXB and DWC will play …

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Slow recovery needs confidence boosting measures says IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for governments to work with the industry on confidence-boosting measures in the face of an anticipated slow recovery in demand for air travel. “Passenger confidence will suffer a double whammy even after the pandemic is contained—hit by personal economic concerns in the face of a looming recession on top of lingering concerns about the safety of travel. Governments and industry must be quick and coordinated with confidence-boosting measures,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. An IATA-commissioned survey of recent travelers found that 6 per cent anticipate a return to travel within one to two months of containment of the COVID-19 pandemic but 40 per cent indicate that they could wait six months or more; and 69 per cent indicated that they could delay a return to travel until their personal financial situation stabilises. Early indications of this cautious return-to-travel behaviour are seen in the domestic markets of China and Australia, where new coronavirus infection rates have fallen to very low levels: China- Domestic demand began to recover when the rate of new COVID-19 infections in China fell into single digits and rapidly headed towards zero (measured by new infections as a percentage of the seven-day moving average of total COVID-19 cases). While there was an early upswing from mid-February into the first week of March, the number of domestic flights plateaued at just over 40 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels. Actual demand is expected to be significantly weaker as load factors on these flights are reported to be low. China accounts for some 24 per cent of all domestic passengers. Australia- Domestic demand continued to deteriorate even after the rate …

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Etihad Airways shares status and re-start plans

Etihad plans to operate a reduced network of scheduled passenger services from May 1 to June 30, with the aim of gradually returning to a fuller schedule as and when the global situation improves; subject to UAE government imposed travel restrictions being lifted on passenger travel. Etihad is also continuing to operate a growing schedule of special passenger flights allowing foreign nationals in the UAE the opportunity to travel out of the country, and to carry essential belly-hold cargo such as perishables, pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies. To date, the airline has also repatriated almost 600 UAE nationals on return services. Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said, “We remain cautiously optimistic and will push ahead with our plans to resume normal flying, while striving to better serve and support our customers and our employees. While the intention is to assume a ‘business as usual’ approach to the restart of our operations, the aviation landscape has changed, and how it will look month by month is difficult to predict. This has necessitated a fundamental shift in focus for us. However, the cumulative gains achieved by our ongoing transformation, and the unwavering support of our shareholder, has left us in a relatively strong position to withstand any instability. We will pivot on this and act with agility to seize opportunities we may not have previously considered. “We are implementing a series of network-wide route and fleet efficiencies, while conducting an extensive brand study and trialing new service concepts in our guest experience proposition. We are also using this time to drive further internal improvements in the efficient use of automation and technology across all areas of the business, while …

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Hahn Air appoints leaders for its new commercial and operation divisions

Hahn Air is regrouping its departments supporting partner airlines, travel agencies and the global distribution systems (GDS) into the new commercial and operation divisions. The new divisions also include communications and marketing as well as IT support. The set-up allows the company to further increase business results for its more than 350 partner airlines and over 100,000 travel agency partners while taking advantage of synergies for internal and external support. Kirsten Rehmann, General Director of Hahn Air, commented on the new set-up, “The restructuring process already started in 2019 and will enable us to maximise results for all customer groups and further increase efficiency and optimise team work internally. This will especially be of advantage after the coronavirus crisis, when our partner airlines and travel agencies will have a strong need to kick-start their business.” The newly formed commercial division will be headed by Alexander Proschka who has been promoted to Executive Vice President Commercial. His division comprises of the following departments: airline business, communications and marketing, sales analytics and travel agency distribution. Proschka has been with Hahn Air since 2008 and was previously in charge of the sister companies Hahn Air Systems and Hahn Air Technologies with their products H1-Air and X1-Air. He holds a diploma in international business and industrial engineering from the University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden. Another long-standing Hahn Air executive, Frederick Nowotny, has been promoted to Head of Operation to lead the new operation division. He joined Hahn Air in 2008 and previously headed up the sales engineering department. His division now includes the teams in charge of all airline and product implementation processes, GDS interfaces and inventory displays. In addition, he oversees the …

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