Airlines & Aviation 2020-

Written by  //  December 28, 2022  //  Aviation & Aerospace  //  Comments Off on Airlines & Aviation 2020-

Southwest Airlines flight cancellations continue to snowball
(AP) — Families hoping to catch a Southwest Airlines flight after days of cancellations, missing luggage and missed family connections suffered through another wave of scrubbed flights, with another 2,500 pulled from arrival and departure boards Wednesday.
Exhausted travelers sought passage by other means using different airlines, rental cars, or trains — or they’ve simply given up.
According to the FlightAware tracking service, more than 91% of all canceled flights in the U.S. early Wednesday were from Southwest, which has been unable to recover from ferocious winter storms that raked large swaths of the country over the weekend.
The operational systems of Southwest have been uniquely [a]ffected, so much so that the federal government is now investigating what happened at the Dallas carrier, which has frustrated its own flight and ground crews as well.

20 August
How an aging fleet of Canadairs is keeping Europe’s wildfires at bay
Demand grows for Canadian-designed water-bombers amid worsening fire seasons
The amphibious, Canadian-made water-bombing plane has set the gold standard for aerial firefighting for decades. But despite its reputation as a “proven tool” among fire experts, low demand kept the plane out of production for nearly a decade.
Now, amid expanding wildfire seasons made worse by climate change, countries like France are lining up to replace their aging fleets after Canadair manufacturer De Havilland announced it would restart production with an updated design called the DHC-515.
De Havilland to manufacture line of firefighting planes in Calgary (31 March)

Toronto’s Pearson airport now 2nd worst in world for delays. Ottawa says travel woes on the mend
Transport minister blamed travel chaos on COVID-19 and labour shortage
On Friday, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told the House of Commons transport committee that COVID-19 and a labour shortage within the aviation industry are to blame and that, with the government’s help, the travel chaos is dissipating.
“We are seeing significant improvements over the last two months,” he said.
But the chaos is far from over. Toronto’s Pearson airport, which had the most flight delays in the world for most of the summer, has only moved into second place, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. And, since May, more than 7,000 disgruntled travellers have flooded the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) with complaints related to flight disruptions.
The ongoing problems have raised questions about whether the government is doing enough to fix the problem, and if it should have done more before the chaos started.

‘It’s a mess and I’ve never seen anything like it’: global lost luggage crisis mounts
Some are calling it the summer of lost luggage as suitcases get caught in a conveyor belt-shaped vortex that only seems to grow
(The Guardian) The rate of baggage mishandled across the world is also on the rise: up 24% last year, with 8.7 suitcases per 1,000 international passengers not arriving on time.
Claims for stranded luggage have jumped 30% on 2019, according to insurer Mapfre SA, and amid high rates of delayed arrivals certain airports are reportedly seeing a tenfold increase in the amount of luggage arriving on the wrong flights. Elsewhere, some global luggage shipping services are claiming to have seen demand almost triple month-on-month as travelers opt not to check their bags. (20 July)

28-29 July
Toronto’s Pearson airport has a PR problem: It’s known as the worst airport in the world
Disgruntled travellers passing through Pearson are posting about their bad experiences on social media, complaining about long line-ups, flight disruptions and missing baggage.
“Toronto’s Pearson Airport is a special circle of hell. The worst airport experience ever,” tweeted a traveller from Florida last week, along with a photo showing a departures board with more than two dozen delayed flights.
The airport’s troubles have also been featured in major international publications this month, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC.
The Airports To Avoid This Summer
Although international air travel has bounced back faster than expected from the pandemic, the industry is still yet to fully recover following all of the staffing shortages and surge of demands this vacation season. Airports have had exceptionally long queues this summer, with London’s Heathrow seeing luggage pile ups and even telling its airlines to stop selling summer flights. If you’re thinking of planning a trip away, it may be worth picking your departure and arrivals locations wisely, as some airports have been worse than others, as our infographic based on FlightAware data shows.
Canada’s Toronto Pearson International Airport topped the list as the worst airport to fly out of between May 26 – July 19 this year, with more than half of its flights being delayed. Frankfurt Airport in Germany fared little better, with 45.4 percent of its flights seeing setbacks. The UK is the only country to have two airports make it onto the list in this time period, both of which – Gatwick and Heathrow – are based in London. Meanwhile, Australia’s Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport placed ninth (34.2 percent) and the U.S. Orlando International Airport tenth (33.4 percent).
The travel chaos is partially because passengers travel with black suitcases, head of Frankfurt Airport says
The boss of Frankfurt Airport in Germany has blamed the chaos at airports on black suitcases, the Guardian reported on Friday, citing German media.
Stefan Schulte, the head of Frankfurt Airport, advised passengers to hand carry their belongings when possible and to use suitcases that are easy to spot. Black suitcases are so common, it’s “hard to distinguish them from each other,” he said, per the Guardian.
“Many people travel with black suitcases on wheels which makes identifying them very time-intensive,” added Thomas Kirner, a Frankfurt Airport spokesperson, per the Guardian.
Frankfurt Airport slashed 4,000 jobs during the pandemic and is struggling to cope with a surge in air passenger demand as restrictions ease. It has only managed to rehire 1,000 new ground service staff so far, Reuters reported on July 6.

22 July
Emirates to operate additional flight to London Gatwick with third daily service
This third daily flight will help serve high demand from customers travelling to and from London this summer. It will also provide additional seats to accommodate Emirates passengers affected by capacity adjustments on flights from London Heathrow, which will be made to help ease operational pressures at the airport.
14 July
Emirates statement on operations at London Heathrow

16 July
Turbulence on the Ground at Toronto’s Pearson Airport
(NYT Canada newsletter) These extreme backlogs have resulted in several interventions from the federal government and thousands of flight cancellations in Canada, while airports around the world are grappling with the same sort of problems as travel volumes rebound.
[Read: Understanding the Summer Air-Travel Mess]
On Tuesday, the chief executive of London’s Heathrow Airport said staff shortages had constrained the airport’s capacity, leading it to limit passengers for the summer. Dublin Airport floundered under the pressure of surging travel demand across Europe in the spring, and thousands of flights at airports in the United States were canceled before the Fourth of July.
… Some relief may be coming, with a cost of fewer flight options. Air Canada, the country’s largest carrier, said it was canceling more than 9,500 flights in July and August to cope with the travel strain.
… While in the United States, airlines can set their own mask rules, the Canadian government still requires masks for flights traveling from or within Canada. The government’s random coronavirus testing program was temporarily paused last month to relocate it off airport grounds, a move meant to reduce wait times on arrival.

13 July
The Government of Canada and air industry continue collaboration to reduce wait times at airports across Canada
(Transport Canada) The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, and the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, issued this update today on progress being made by the Government of Canada and industry partners to reduce wait times and congestion at Canadian airports.
Minister Alghabra continues to meet with senior leadership of airports and air carriers of all sizes across the country

1 July
Understanding the Summer Air Travel Mess
Going into the Fourth of July weekend, with nearly 13 million people expected to fly on U.S. carriers, we look at the numbers behind the delays and cancellations and see what lessons can be learned.
On June 17, the Friday before the Monday Juneteenth holiday, nearly a third of flights arrived late, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking company. Between last Saturday and Monday ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, U.S. carriers already canceled nearly 2,500 flights. In a June 16 meeting, Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, told airlines that he’d be closely monitoring their performance. The very next day, his own flight from Washington to New York was canceled.
… Social media is filled with declarations that air travel is the worst it’s ever been. Indeed on some holiday weekends and stormy weeks it’s been astoundingly bad. As Mr. Sanders noted in his letter, airlines have canceled flights four times as often on high-travel weekends as they did in 2019. But the reality is that airline reliability was pretty terrible even before the pandemic.

29 June
Airlines must cut flights to ease travel issues: Trudeau airport boss
Amid delays, cancelations, lineups and lost luggage, “it’s clear that we need to restore balance in the logistical chain.”
(The Gazette) Montreal’s airport operator is urging airlines to cut flights and destinations this summer to cure the “unsustainable” travel headaches faced by passengers amid a bigger-than-expected surge in travel demand.

26 June
Interview with with Scott Keyes, the founder of the Scott’s Cheap Flights newsletter, about why air travel has been such a mess this summer.
Air Travel Is a Disaster Right Now. Here’s Why.
The U.S. seems to suffer from chronic Nothing Works Syndrome
(The Atlantic) The latest victim of acute NWS is air travel. Around the world, security lines are getting brutally long and cancellations and delays are spiking. The major carriers JetBlue, American Airlines, and Delta canceled nearly 10 percent of their flights last weekend, creating mayhem at major airports.

Ottawa announces new task force to improve passport wait times and backlogs
Many Canadians have camped out, waited for hours for passport services
The federal government has created a special task force to help tackle the major delays with immigration applications and passport processing that have left Canadians frustrated.
In a statement announcing the new task force, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government knows the delays are unacceptable and will continue to do everything it can to improve the delivery of the services in an efficient and timely manner.
Passport seekers face heartbreak, hop provinces as government promises help is on the way
The federal government has attributed the lines snaking around passport offices across the country, including in Vancouver and London, Ont., to an “unprecedented surge” in applications as travel opens up again after two years of pandemic restrictions.
The sheer level of demand isn’t the only issue. Families Minister Karina Gould, the minister responsible for passport services, told reporters in Ottawa on Thursday that 85 per cent of requests are for new passports, and of those, 43 per cent are for children, both of which entail a more complex application process.

21 June
It’s The Busiest Season For Travel & The Feds Say Work Still Needs To Be Done On Airport Delays
(Narcity) Transport Minister Omar Alghabra will be meeting this week with the CEOs of Canada’s six largest airports, airlines and various government agencies “to ensure ongoing collaboration,” according to a statement issued by Transport Canada on Monday, June 20.
They also note that this is “a global phenomenon” and that meetings are being held between government groups to find solutions to the bottlenecks affecting travel at various stages between checking in and actually getting onboard a plane.

Airlines tear at governments for ‘shambolic’ handling of COVID-19 pandemic
“The cost of government mismanagement was substantial. It devastated economies, disrupted supply chains and destroyed jobs,” Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association, told an industry summit.
Recent delays have been widely blamed on labour shortages as an increasing number of people desert low-paid airport work for flexible working practices that prospered during the pandemic.
The head of host airline Qatar Airways cast doubt on the shift in labour trends.
“People got into a bad habit of working from home,” Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker told a news conference.
“They feel they don’t need go to an industry that really needs hands-on people,” he said, adding shortages in airport staff could restrict the post-crisis growth of airlines.

22 January
Airlines in Europe say they are flying near-empty planes as omicron derails travel. They say E.U. rules mean they can’t stop.
(WaPo) As the omicron variant derails travel plans around the world, airlines say strict European Union regulations are forcing them to fly near-empty flights — unnecessary and environmentally harmful flights that they argue they need to fly to save their long-term takeoff and landing slots at European airports.
Airlines must use a certain percentage of their designated slots at airports to hold on to them. But low demand during the pandemic has led airlines to fly near empty flights, often known as ghost flights, to meet the requirements. Lufthansa, a large German airline, has said it canceled 33,000 trips, or 10 percent of its winter flights, because of low demand but still anticipates needing to fly 18,000 “poorly booked” flights to secure its slots.

Rolls-Royce’s all-electric aircraft officially becomes the world’s fastest
Rolls Royce has announced that its all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft officially became the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft. Two new world records set by the aircraft on 16 November 2021 have been officially verified by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI), which controls and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical records.
During the successful world-record runs, the company gathered important data for its future electric power and propulsion systems for all-electric urban air mobility (UAM) and hybrid-electric commuter aircraft. The company says the characteristics that air taxis require – such as the batteries – are very similar to what was developed for the ‘Spirit of Innovation.’

5G Will Not Make Your Plane Fall Out of the Sky
(New York) by Thursday, the story had already fizzled. As commerce trundled along unfazed, several airlines un-canceled their flights and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that at least 78 percent of the U.S. commercial fleet would be unaffected in any way by the 5G rollout. Some observers went so far as to label the issue “incredibly dumb.” The main remaining question was why it had even turned into a thing in the first place.

18 January
AT&T, Verizon delay 5G rollout after U.S. airlines warn of massive travel disruptions
CEOs of the largest U.S. airlines say service could interfere with aircraft landing instruments
(AP via CBC) AT&T and Verizon will delay launching their new 5G wireless service near key airports planned for this week after the largest U.S. airlines said the service would interfere with aircraft technology and cause massive flight disruptions.
The decision came Tuesday as the Biden administration tried to broker a settlement between the telecom companies and the airlines over the rollout of the new 5G service, scheduled for Wednesday.
7 a.m
Explainer: Do 5G telecoms pose a threat to airline safety?
(Reuters) – The chief executives of major U.S. passenger and cargo airlines have warned of a “catastrophic” aviation crisis this week as AT&T (T.N) and Verizon (VZ.N) deploy new 5G services.
They said the new C band 5G service set to begin on Wednesday could render a significant number of aircraft unusable, causing chaos for U.S. flights and potentially stranding tens of thousands of Americans overseas.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned that the new 5G technology could interfere with instruments such as altimeters, which measure how far above the ground an airplane is travelling. Altimeters operate in the 4.2-4.4 GHz range and the concern is that the auctioned frequencies sit too close to this range.  More


3 August

Eviation’s all-electric Alice eCargo jet.

DHL Express shapes future for sustainable aviation with the order of first-ever all-electric cargo planes from Eviation
– Companies take off together to electrify airspace
– Twelve zero-emission eCargo aircraft will form world’s first electric Express network
– First-ever fully electric plane “Alice” creates sea change in commercial aviation
– Alice’s first flight will happen later this year
Alice can be flown by a single pilot and will carry 2,600 lbs (1,250 kilograms). It will require 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour and have a maximum range of up to 440 nautical miles (815 kilometers). Alice will operate in all environments currently serviced by piston and turbine aircraft. Alice’s advanced electric motors have fewer moving parts to increase reliability and reduce maintenance costs. Its operating software constantly monitors flight performance to ensure optimal efficiency.
The aircraft is ideal for feeder routes and requires less investment in station infrastructure. The Alice can be charged while loading and unloading operations occur, ensuring quick turnaround times that maintain DHL Express’ tight schedules. The logistics company plans to build several zero emission Alice feeder networks in the U.S., most likely starting in California.
DHL to deploy 12 redesigned Alice ePlanes from Eviation; testing begins this year
The Alice planes look almost identical, save for some missing windows and seats and an additional 100lbs capacity, to the passenger version of the Eviation Alice plane we’ve talked about in the past, amusingly calling it the “Tesla of Aviation.”

1 August
Can the ICAO Recover After Chinese Stewardship?
Brett D. Schaefer, Senior Research Fellow, International Regulatory Affairs and Danielle Pletka, Senior Fellow in Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
(The Heritage Foundation) Colombia’s Juan Carlos Salazar will have his work cut out for him when he takes over as Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization, or ICAO.

13 July
Association du transport aérien international
Montréal délaissé au profit de Genève
(La Presse) Trois ans après avoir annoncé qu’elle renforcerait ses activités à Montréal, l’Association du transport aérien international (IATA) revient sur sa position. Elle donnera moins d’importance à son bureau montréalais, siège social depuis sa fondation en 1945, au profit de son autre bureau principal, celui de Genève, en Suisse.
La perte de ses capacités se fera graduellement, mais de façon significative. Sans toutefois mettre en jeu le siège social de Montréal. « On ne va jamais fermer les portes de Montréal, comme on travaille notamment souvent avec des organisations telle l’OACI [Organisation de l’aviation civile internationale], affirme Markus Ruediger, porte-parole de l’IATA, en entrevue téléphonique. Mais on va réduire significativement le nombre d’employés. »

9 July
IATA to open Saudi office but denies it will be regional HQ
(Reuters) – Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday that global airlines industry body IATA had agreed to open a regional headquarters in Riyadh but the industry’s main trade association denied it would be a regional base in the latest evidence of sensitivities over the status of foreign business representation in the kingdom.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) late on Wednesday announced it had signed a “headquarters agreement” with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to open its “regional office in the kingdom”.
IATA, which represents some 290 airlines around the world, currently has its regional office in Jordan’s capital Amman.
Saudi Arabia is putting pressure on companies to move their regional offices to the kingdom, warning that from 2024 it would not award state contracts to those with regional headquarters elsewhere. read more


22 September
IATA calls for COVID-19 testing at airports, says quarantine ‘killing’ industry
About 83% of air travellers from 11 countries said in an IATA poll they wouldn’t fly if there was a chance of being quarantined at destination.

17 September
John Cassidy: How Boeing and the F.A.A. Created the 737 MAX Catastrophe
The basic outlines of the Boeing 737 MAX tragedy are already well known—or should be well known. Even so, a detailed new report that the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure released on Wednesday morning is a remarkable document. In two hundred and thirty-eight pages of clearly written prose, it goes a long way toward explaining not only what went so wrong at Boeing but what has gone badly askew with the American corporation in general, and with American governance.
… As is now standard in corporate America, Boeing’s top executives received vast compensation packages that were tied to the company’s profitability and stock price. In 2018 alone, Dennis Muilenburg, who was then Boeing’s chairman and chief executive, took home $23.4 million in compensation, including $13.1 million in profit-related incentive payments and $7.3 million in stock. The mind-set of prioritizing the bottom line and the firm’s stock price permeated the top management. As a reward for “keeping to the MAX’s production schedule, Boeing gave Michael Teal, the former Chief Project Engineer on the 737 MAX program, restricted stock options after the airplane’s first flight in 2016,” the new congressional report notes.

27 August
(The Independent) History’s most famous aircraft is disappearing from the skies. The Boeing 747, which democratised and romanticised air travel for those who could not previously afford it, is now destined for life as a cargo workhorse or museum exhibit. Hugh Morris looks back on the original jumbo jet’s colourful history.

20 August
American Airlines halts flights to 15 U.S. cities due to weak demand because of COVID-19
Airlines were getting subsidized to maintain service to certain markets but that cash is about to expire so AA is pulling out.
American Airlines will drop flights to 15 smaller U.S. cities in October when a federal requirement to serve those communities ends.
The airline blamed low demand during the coronavirus pandemic, which has triggered a massive slump in air travel. Airlines and their labour unions are seeking billions in taxpayer relief.

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