Corona Virus affect on the Aviation Industry | World Defense

Corona Virus affect on the Aviation Industry

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Emirates Group expects at least 18-month crisis recovery
By David Kaminski-Morrow
10 May 2020



Middle Eastern operator Emirates Group is expecting that recovery from the coronavirus crisis will take at least 18 months, as it braces for a “huge impact” on its 2020-21 performance.

The Dubai-based company’s passenger operations were suspended a few days before the close of its financial year on 31 March, while its Dnata ground-handling division has also been affected by the depletion of traffic.

Chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum says the group had been “performing strongly” for the first 11 months of its 2019-20 financial year, before the situation “changed rapidly” around mid-February.

“We expect it will take 18 months at least, before travel demand returns to a semblance of normality,” he says.

“We are actively engaging with regulators and relevant stakeholders, as they work to define standards to ensure the health and safety of travellers and operators in a post-pandemic world.”

Emirates Group’s full-year finances were also affected by last year’s April-May closure of one of Dubai’s runways for maintenance work.



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Source: Emirates
Emirates’ revenues were affected by Dubai’s runway closure as well as the pandemic

This closure and the effects of the pandemic towards the tail-end of its fiscal year contributed to a 4.8% decline in revenues to Dhs104 billion ($28 billion), as Emirates’ airline revenues slipped by 6% – although Dnata revenues increased by 2.4%.

While Emirates’ profit increased by 21% to Dhs1.06 billion, however, Dnata’s more than halved to Dhs618 million, and Emirates Group’s overall profit was down by 28% to Dhs1.67 billion.

Profit would have been higher, it claims, but for a Dhs1.1 billion loss arising from year-end fuel-hedge ineffectiveness.

Although total operating costs fell by 10% - partly driven by a fall in fuel price – the company adds that the strength of the US dollar had a Dhs963 million negative effect on its bottom line, more than the previous year’s impact of Dhs572 million.

Emirates Group says it has taken steps to protect cash flow, and had partially drawn credit lines before 31 March.

It adds that it is working to secure additional lines to improve its “liquidity buffer”, raising Dhs4.4 billion in loans, credit and trade facilities in the fourth quarter of 2019-20. The company says it will “continue to tap the bank market” for further liquidity in the first quarter of 2020-21 to “cushion” the impact of the coronavirus crisis on short-term cash flow.
 

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Airbus delivered nearly 100 fewer aircraft over first four months
By David Kaminski-Morrow
07 May 2020

Airbus delivered just 14 aircraft during April as the full effects of the coronavirus crisis on its production operation became evident, a total down by 80% on the 70 deliveries achieved in the same month last year.

The airframer registered only a single order – for nine A320neo-family jets from lessor Avolon – bringing overall net orders for the first four months of 2020 to 299.

No cancellations were recorded for April.

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Source: Airbus
Airbus delivered a single A350-900 during April 2020

Just two long-haul aircraft were delivered in April, comprising an A350-900 for Japan Airlines and an A330-200 for conversion into a tanker by Airbus’s military division.

These were complemented by the handover of six A321neos and six A320neos. Chinese-affiliated deliveries featured, with Loong Air receiving an A320neo, while CMB Financial Leasing and CDB Leasing took aircraft respectively for Flynas and Azul.

Airbus also delivered five single-aisle aircraft to Turkish Airlines and fellow Turkish operator Pegasus Airlines, another three to IndiGo, and one to Spirit Airlines.

The airframer has not indicated how many aircraft have been manufactured but currently remain undelivered.

But Airbus had delivered 136 aircraft by the end of April, nearly 100 fewer than the 232 deliveries it had achieved by the same point last year. Compared with 2019 single-aisle deliveries are down 40% while long-haul deliveries have nearly halved.
 

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Lufthansa supervisory board rubber stamps $10 billion state bailout
June 1, 2020
Christoph Steitz
1591040248100.png

FILE PHOTO: Airplanes of German carrier Lufthansa are parked at the Berlin Schoenefeld airport, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease
(COVID-19) in Schoenefeld, Germany, May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo


FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lufthansa’s (LHAG.DE) supervisory board has approved a 9 billion euro ($10 billion) government bailout that will force the German airline to give some of its prized landing slots to rivals.

The approval marks the latest step in the complex state rescue of Lufthansa, which has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the travel sector.

Under the plans, the German government will take a 20% stake in the airline, which could rise to 25% plus one share in the event of a takeover attempt, as well as two seats on its supervisory board.

Lufthansa will also be obliged to transfer to rivals up to 24 take-off and landing slots at Frankfurt and Munich airports.
“We recommend that our shareholders follow this path, even if it requires them to make substantial contributions to stabilising their company,” supervisory board Chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley said in a statement.

“It must be clearly stated, however, that Lufthansa is facing a very difficult road ahead.”

The bailout still needs to be approved by regulators and Lufthansa investors, who are due to meet virtually at an extraordinary general meeting on June 25, Lufthansa said, adding that the rescue funds would have to be repaid as soon as possible.

Lufthansa, which said it would publish first-quarter results on June 3, said it is obvious that international air traffic will not bounce back to pre-crisis levels in the foreseeable future.

“The expected slow market recovery in global air traffic makes an adjustment of our capacities unavoidable,” said Chief Executive Carsten Spohr.
“Among other things, we want to discuss with our collective bargaining and social partners how the impact of this development can be softened in the most socially acceptable way possible.”

Lufthansa’s executive board will discuss the necessary measures with the Verdi, Vereinigung Cockpit and UFO unions, it said without elaborating.
Spohr told employees in late April that the carrier expects to operate 100 fewer aircraft with 10,000 fewer staff after the coronavirus crisis ends. The group has roughly 140,000 employees and 760 planes.
 

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Coronavirus: Dubai's Emirates airline lays off a few employees
Waheed Abbas/Dubai
May 31, 2020 at 06.53 pm

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The Dubai-based carrier didn't disclose how many employees were affected by this latest decision.

Dubai-based airline Emirates on Sunday confirmed that it laid off some workers following a thorough review of costs and resources.

"We reviewed all possible scenarios in order to sustain our business operations, but have come to the conclusion that we unfortunately have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us," the airline's spokesperson said in a statement.

This decision has been taken in order to save cashflow as the flights mostly remain grounded due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Citing sources, Reuters reported that Emirates laid off trainee pilots and cabin crew as part of its restructuring.

However, the Dubai-based carrier didn't disclose how many employees were affected by this latest decision.

"We are continuously reassessing the situation and will have to adapt to this transitional period. We do not view this lightly, and the company is doing everything possible to protect the workforce wherever we can. Where we are forced to take tough decisions we will treat people with fairness and respect. We will work with impacted employees to ensure they are looked after and taken care of with necessary means," the spokesperson said.

The airline had earlier said that all departments were instructed to conduct a thorough review of costs and resourcing against business projections, even as it prepares for gradual service resumption.

"As our chairman has said, conserving cash, safeguarding our business, and preserving as much of as our skilled workforce as possible, remain our top priorities through this period," the airline said earlier.

Dubai government had earlier announced that it would inject equity to support the state-owned carrier.
 

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COVID-19: Do airline cabin air filters eliminate viruses? Things to know before you fly again

COVID-19: Do airline cabin air filters eliminate viruses? Things to know before you fly again
CDC’S advice on air travel; what enhanced bio-safety procedures mean

Published: June 01, 2020 15:42
Jay Hilotin, Assistant Editor

Aviation biosecurity checks

Image Credit: Gulf News / Supplied

HIGHLIGHTS
  • The coronavirus pandemic has grounded flights, but global aviation industry has started to show stirrings of a comeback.
  • Airlines and airport operators have actively introduced enhanced health and bio-safety measures on the ground and on board.
  • Airlines' major selling point will now include enhanced cabin cleaning and passenger kits that include a facemask, gloves, anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitiser.
  • The US CDC has issued an exhaustive social guideline measures in various sections.

Dubai: Do airline filters work? The short answer: Yes.
It's one question that lingers in the mind of international passengers as commercial flights start to return to the skies.
It's a valid one, but know that an affirmative answer holds many caveats. Air travel in COVID-19 times has changed remarkably.
In the foreseeable future, passengers are set to experience a "layered" approach to bio-security measures that go with flying.
Some airlines, meanwhile, say the worst is yet to come as aviation executives don't see a return to normal in three years.

As it stands, the travel trade remains generally weak. And there are no guarantees, owing to the nature of SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the uncertainty of when a vaccine.
But there are faint stirrings of a reawakening of the global aviation industry.
And there's an expection that, when traveller confidence is back and borders fully re-open, demand for air travel will soar.

When the unthinkable happened
The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China around December 2019, if not earlier. The information was swept under the rug. The whistleblower doctors were asked to recant their warnings and punished (then later hailed as heroes), while international passengers continued to fan out of Wuhan.

By January 29, 2020, Dubai authorities reported the UAE's first case of coronavirus in a family of four from Wuhan city. The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed that the infected individuals are Chinese citizens. That day, the virus has already claimed 132 lives and infected near 6,000 people across the globe.
Then the unthinkable happened: The aviation and the global economy in general ground to a halt, with 500,000 flights cancelled in February and March alone. As a result of coronavirus pandemic, air traffic around the world has come to a near halt.
In Dubai, where 1,000 or so aircraft movements are seen daily, the civil aviation industry came to a virtual standstill. By April, there were almost no commercial flights anywhere in the world. Air traffic reported went down to about 90 per cent.

Recovery period
Fast forward three months. Most people are already thinking about travel, but are not ready to fly, due to standing quarantine procedures in different countries. [I've rebooked my ticket twice already].

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meanwhile, has issued an exhaustive social guideline measures in various sections. The agency, however, stated that most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights.
"Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes," the CDC has said in its set of COVID-19 guidelines for air travellers.
virus airline

Image Credit: Gulf News / CDC

In its COVID-19 guidelines, the CDC does not recommend following social distancing between two passengers inside a plane or keeping the middle seat unoccupied.

Experts across the health-care and tourism industries, however, say it could be 18 to 24 months before travel picks back up. In particular, air travel is seen recovering, but only slowly — unless a vaccine is out soon. Until then, travellers will be taking it all in, trying to understand the risks.

QUARANTINE
For all travellers coming from overseas, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended a 14-day quarantine.
In the UAE, it was announced that all travellers who enter the country must also undergo a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.

Flying again, but not totally risk-free
There are currently emerging green shoots of recovery of the aviation industry from COVID-19. Emirates has opened commercial flight schedules on May 21, starting with nine destinations (London, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne) and Sharjah-based Air Arabia opened regular flight bookings from June 1. So did Saudi Arabian Airlines.
The domestic aviation industry in other countries is getting back to normal, as passengers are returning to the skies.
However, the CDC noted that the air travellers were not risk-free specially in the time of the coronavirus pandemic and recommended Americans to avoid travel as far as possible.
"Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces," it said.

CDC air travel

Image Credit: Gulf News / CDC

Here’s a Q&A based on CDC recommendations:
Can flying on an airplane increase my risk of getting COVID-19?
Yes. Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes.
However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and you may have to sit near others (within 6 feet), sometimes for hours. This may increase your risk for exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
virus size

Image Credit: Gulf News / Boeing / Airbus

If I travel, what steps should I take to help reduce my chances of getting stick
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after touching surfaces frequently touched by others, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before touching your face or eating.
  • If soap and water are not available, bring and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Keep 6 feet of physical distance from others.
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Make sure you are up to date with your routine vaccinations, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine.

Can traveling to visit my family or friends increase my chances of getting and spreading COVID-19?
Yes. CDC recommends that you avoid all non-essential international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some healthcare systems are overwhelmed and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.
Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and in-country travel may be unpredictable. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted…
CDC also recommends all travelers defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.
Can travel increasee my chances of getting COVID-19?
Yes. Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Before you travel, learn if COVID-19 is spreading in your local area or in any of the places you are going.
Traveling to visit family may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are more likely to get very ill from COVID-19. People at higher risk for severe illness need to take extra precautions.

What happens if there is a sick passenger on a flight?
Under current federal regulations, pilots must report all illnesses and deaths to CDC before arriving to a US destination.
According to CDC disease protocols, if a sick traveler is considered a risk to the public’s health, CDC works with local and state health departments and international public health agencies to contact exposed passengers and crew.
Be sure to give the airline your current contact information when booking your ticket so you can be notified if you are exposed to a sick traveler on a flight.
Emirates deep cleaning

Image Credit: Gulf News / Emirates

Takeaways:
  • Air travel won’t be the same again: In long-haul flights you fly several hours, breathing recirculated air, while putting on a mask.
  • Under the new global civil aviation procedures, travel will be marked by enhanced health and safety measures on the ground and on board.
  • It’s the “new normal” in flying: including home-based check-in procedures, new inflight safety rules, more stringent health procedures at border posts.
  • There are faint stirrings of an awakening of aviation: in many countries domestic load factors are up 50%, as of April, according to IATA.
  • More flights are added daily, though overall recovery for the industry is slow, fragile and not guaranteed.
  • Recovery in aviation supports economic recovery.
Temporary biosafety measures for passengers:
[IATA recommendations]
At home:
  • Provide detailed contact information before traveling for contact tracing
  • Check in online
  • Print baggage tags
  • Get boarding pass
  • Enter personal data, including health information
At departure airport:
  • Terminal access minimised
  • Temporary screening
  • Physical distancing
  • Face coverings and masks for all
  • Sanitisation for touchpoint
  • Self-service, touchless and biometric processes as much as possible
  • Self bag drop to minimize passenger and staff interaction
At boarding gate:
  • More orderly to ensure social distancing
  • More self-scanning and biometrics to minimise interaction
  • Limited carry-on baggage to enable smooth boarding
Inflight:
Mandatory face coverings and masks
Limiting cabin movement during flight
More frequent and deeper cabin cleaning
Simplified catering procedures
On arrival:
  • Temperature screening and trained staff on arrival
  • Faster baggage claim process
  • Minimising contact and maintaining social distancing
Border and Customs
  • Electronic declarations with mobile devices
  • Control formalities using contactless options
  • Social distancing in immigration halls
[Source: IATA, International Air Transport Association]
 
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