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Executive Industry News You Need To Know Today
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In today's update we are covering the following topics:
The opening up of West African airports to international flights
Tata Group most likely to acquire Air India
Nigeria's NAHCO posts huge losses in H1
Qatar Airways continues rebuild of UK network
BA shelves Slovenia flights for 2020
Entebbe Airport set to reopen
Boeing offers a second voluntary redundancy package to it's employees
Fears of more industry job losses in the U.S.
JetBlue CEO Says 'Day of Reckoning' Is Near for Airlines - Video News
Airlines expect pullback in demand as they lock in September schedules - Video news
Airlines Seek 14 days’ Prior Notice To Airport’s Re-Opening, But On Alert For Sept 1 Projections
Airline operators in the country have asked the Ministry of Aviation to give them at least 14 days’ prior notice after government stakeholders in the aviation sector come to a firm conclusion as to the date for re-opening the air borders.
The move, they explained, is to afford them enough time for configuring their systems to allow for ticket sales and setting up routing schedules with neighbouring countries to optimise the operations which have gone down for the past five months.
Chairperson of the Board of Airline Representatives in Ghana, Gloria Yirenkyi, told the B&FT in an interview that: “Generally, most airlines have said that they need at least a two-week notice to be able to put inventory back into the local booking distribution system for sale. That is a very general thing I can say for most carriers
“There was a meeting in July held by the Aviation Ministry to brief stakeholders on the safety protocol measures being put in place in preparedness for the resumption of operations. The airlines made the case that 14 days’ prior notice would help them to start operation on the exact date that government announces, and also ensure that all players in the sector are aligned.”
Her comments come on the back of President Akufo-Addo’s announcement that government is working to re-open the borders – depending on the readiness and ability to ensure that every passenger who arrives in Ghana is tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In his 15th national address on measures being taken against spread of COVID-19 on Sunday night, August 16, 2020, the president said government is hoping that by September 1, 2020, the assessment of readiness to test all passengers would have been completed to enable the borders to re-open.
According to the airlines, even though the assessment is ongoing and they have put their operations on alert, they will be grateful if they are given enough notice to prepare immediately the decision is firmed-up.
However, Ms. Yirenkyi said many of her members are ready for a take-off. “In terms of operational readiness and capacity, I believe all the airlines are doing some form of operations. You can see that even from here there have been repatriation flights by about three or four international carriers. There are lots of overflights as well; flights are going on, some of them landing in Accra for technical problems – specifically in the case of South African Airlines”.
Calls placed to some airlines revealed that in terms of flight schedule and frequency, the specific carriers will analyse the continental and global dynamics to make a decision. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Aviation, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) are working with the Ministry of Health and its agencies to ascertain the country’s readiness to re-open the airport. That process, the B&FT gathers, will end soon.
Tata Group Likely To Acquire Air India Next Year - Gulf Today
NAHCO Posts N143.18m Loss In Six Months
Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc has recorded a loss of N143.18m for the half year ended June 30, 2020 as against a profit of N467.259m reported in the same period of 2019.
The company, in a report obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, reported a loss before tax of N179.99m in H1 2020, compared to a profit before tax of N579.595m in H1 2019.
The firm’s revenue fell to N3.58bn from the N4.80bn posted in H1 2019, representing a drop of 25.42 per cent.
NAHCO recently took over the ground handling operations of Ethiopian Airlines Cargo and Mail Services.
This was effected based on the provisions of the Standard Ground Agreement Service signed on October 1, 2018 between NAHCO Plc and Ethiopian Airlines.
According to the Head, Legal Services, NAHCO, Tayo Ogunbanjo, the current agreement between NAHCO and Ethiopian Airlines is for three years effective from October 1, 2018, covering, among others, ground handling services, handling of cargo and mail generally.
By: Johnson Okafor
British Airways Shelves Ljubljana Flights For 2020
British Airways has cancelled plans to resume seasonal flights between London Heathrow Airport and Ljubljana this summer. Initially, the airline planned to resume operations between the two cities in July, then delayed it until August and then again until September but has now completely cancelled flights for the remainder of the summer. The carrier launched the route last year with plans to double operations from two to four weekly in 2020.
Qatar Airways Resumes Flights to London Gatwick in Continued Rebuild of UK Network
Qatar Airways continues to maintain its position as the leading international carrier providing global connectivity to the UK with the resumption of daily flights to London Gatwick starting 20 August 2020.
The flights will be operated by the airline’s modern fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner offering 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class. The resumption of London Gatwick services will see the airline’s UK operations expand to 45 weekly flights to four gateways in the UK with the following weekly operations:
Edinburgh (three weekly flights)
London Gatwick (daily flights)
London Heathrow (three daily flights)
Manchester (two daily flights)
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are very pleased to resume flights to London Gatwick, further cementing our position as the leading international carrier providing connectivity to the UK. UK passengers can connect seamlessly and safely via the Best Airport in the Middle East to more than 40 destinations across Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and South Asia.
“The UK is a very important strategic market for Qatar Airways, and we are proud of our repatriation efforts to-date including never stopping services between the UK and Doha that have helped bring over 200,000 passengers home. The resumption of London Gatwick services is a significant indicator of the resilience of the UK travel market, and we look forward to resuming more of our UK destinations to support the recovery of tourism and trade in the region.”
Gatwick Airport CEO, Mr. Stewart Wingate, said: “We are delighted to welcome Qatar Airways back to Gatwick after what has been a challenging time for the whole industry. To be able to offer Gatwick passengers the opportunity to fly to Doha– a fantastic city in its own right and a gateway to destinations across Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand – is another positive step in the recovery process.
“Alongside our airlines, Gatwick has implemented a number of extra measures to keep both passengers and staff as safe as possible travelling through Gatwick, which is helping to rebuild public confidence in air travel.”
Qatar Airways Cargo currently operates eight freighter per week to London Heathrow and London Stansted in the UK. During the pandemic, the cargo carrier operated a large number of charters and freight-only passenger aircraft to the UK to support British exporters and transport essential medical supplies and PPE to the region. With the resumption of passenger flights to London Gatwick, Qatar Airways Cargo will operate 74 weekly flights to the United Kingdom, providing more than 1,400 tonnes of weekly cargo capacity each way.
The airline’s mix of modern fuel-efficient aircraft has meant its network has never fallen below 30 destinations throughout this crisis. With one of the youngest long-haul fleets, the airline has been able to adapt its plans and quickly resume routes to rebuild its global network. By optimizing its mix of aircraft and grounding its A380 fleet, the airline continues to fly only the right sized aircraft on all routes to the UK, reducing its environmental impact by offering sensible and responsible capacity to meet both passenger and cargo demand.
According to the latest IATA data, since April Qatar Airways has become the largest international carrier, helping take home over two million people on over 20,000 flights. This has enabled the airline to accumulate unrivalled experience in carrying passengers safely and reliably and uniquely positioned the airline to effectively rebuild its network. The carrier has stringently implemented the most advanced safety and hygiene measures on board its aircraft and in Hamad International Airport – from introducing enhanced PPE suits for cabin crew, to becoming the first airline to require passengers to wear face shields in addition to face coverings.
Additionally, passengers flying Business Class on Qsuite equipped aircraft can enjoy full privacy, including sliding privacy partitions and fully closing doors. Passengers can also opt to use the ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator in their private suite, if they wish to limit their interactions with the cabin crew. Qsuite continues to be available on flights to more than 30 destinations including London, Sydney, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Qatar Airways operations are not dependent on any specific aircraft type. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s, as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market. The airline’s fleet of 49 Airbus A350 and 30 Boeing 787 are the ideal choice for the most strategically important long-haul routes to the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. The airline’s internal benchmarks identified that the A380 emitted over 80% more CO2 per block hour on certain routes to the UK with the A350 saving around 16 tonnes of CO2 per block hour. Until passenger demand recovers to appropriate levels, Qatar Airways will continue to keep its A380 aircraft grounded, ensuring it only operates commercially and environmentally responsible aircraft.
Source: Qatar Airways
Entebbe Airport Gears Up For Re-Opening
Going through Entebbe International Airport has always been a rough experience for the average traveller but COVID-19 prevention protocols could make your check-in and check-out even more cumbersome.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc around the world and grounded thousands of airlines, travellers going through Entebbe were expected to arrive three hours early to undergo stringent security checks.
In March, President Yoweri Museveni directed the closure of Entebbe Airport and other entry/exits into and out of the country to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The directive was initially for 32 days but has since been extended indefinitely after several extensions of the lockdown.
But, as re-opening gets closer, passengers who had got used to airport security officials rummaging their packages and bags, removing belts and shoes before being subjected to thorough body checks, look set for even tougher times. For a start, passengers will have to arrive at least four hours before their flight.
Besides going through a long health check, wearing face masks at all times, maintaining social distance, washing hands and using sanitisers will be mandatory. Passengers with any of the symptoms of the novel coronavirus will be blocked from accessing the airport.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health said Aug.3 that the setting up of the strict measures were designed to allow airlines return to the skies, keep travelers safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“You will be expected to have a valid COVID-19 certificate issued within 48 hours from where you are coming, and on arrival, we shall still take your COVID-19 samples,” Vianney Luggya, the publicist for the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) told The Independent recently, “You may have done the testing where you are coming from but it is mandatory that we still test you on arrival.”
Luggya told The Independent that the airport authorities have borrowed and domesticated several standard operating procedures from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Airports Council International, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Africa Civil Aviation Commission and the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency.
“We have domesticated these guidelines into protocols that will apply when passenger operations resume,” Luggya told The Independent, “There is emphasis on wearing masks by passengers and staff.”
The airport authorities have already erected tents for health screening of incoming passengers while designated tents have also been erected for people with symptoms. Ugandans returning from abroad have already been screened in these areas.
Other SoPs developed by UCAA include; installation of automated sanitisers at strategic points at the airport to ensure social distancing, deployment of temperature guns, and three ultra-modern scans which detect temperature at a 30-metre distance.
These will be installed in the waiting lounges and rooms of Very Important Persons (VIPs). Glass shields to minimize contact between the passengers are also being installed while taps in the washrooms have been changed to non-touch faucets.
Luggya told The Independent that there are also plans to put in place automated non-touch doors in the passenger access areas. The pre-boarding lounges which for a long time have been small partitioned zones will be torn down to create more space for passengers. “Some of the changes are immediate while other interventions are medium term,” Luggya said.
Located 47km south of Uganda’s capital, Entebbe Airport is the main gateway into Uganda and boasts more than 70% of passenger arrivals into the country and supports many businesses in the importation of raw materials and export of Uganda’s goods and agricultural produce.
The new protocols found Entebbe Airport already undergoing several upgrades. Work on expanding the cargo centre is still ongoing but the old runway (1230) is ready to handle airlines.
The government closed Entebbe Airport on March 22 effectively prohibiting passenger flights coming from outside the country from landing. This was one of the measures put in place to prevent the introduction of the coronavirus in the country. Only cargo and UN aircraft were allowed to fly in and out of Uganda.
By: Ronald Musoke
United States of America
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