Aviation News Daily (26./27.03.2020)

Aviation News Daily (26/27.03.2020)

Hello, guys! This post has news from both the 26th and 27th, as I wasn’t feeling well and had to stay away from computer. Today I am also uploading it late as I had other duties beforehand. I’m sorry that yesterday’s news didn’t come in time, I am gonna make up for it this way.

Which Passenger Airlines Are Operating Cargo Only Flights?

In a world of decreasing passenger connectivity, it’s becoming necessary for airlines to repurpose aircraft specifically for cargo route. Which airlines have made to jump to cargo carriers and how far can we expect the trend to continue? We’re talking usual passenger airlines with no cargo fleets (Qatar Cargo). American has used a 777 to transport medical supplies overseas for the first time in 36 years. They were followed by Air Canada, Delta and other airlines. While Lufthansa does have their cargo fleet, they do use their passenger jets for cargo purposes.

ANA To Open Three New Lounges At Haneda Airport

On March 29th, ANA will introduce some upgraded experiences out of Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. These will be located in Terminal 2 where ANA will fly international operations from. The enhancements include new self-service baggage drops, enhanced security options, and three brand new lounges.

American Airlines To Operate Repatriation Flights

Between March 26 and March 28, American Airlines will be operating some repatriation flights. These flights will leave Latin America en route to the airline’s largest hub at Dallas-Forth Worth in an effort to bring people back from those destinations.

You Won’t Believe How Many Aircraft Have Been Stored

The data on the number of the grounded aircraft is staggering. As of March 25th, aviation data analysis Cirium are reporting that over 6,600 aircraft are stored and not flying, with the numbers growing faster than ever. The most grounded aircraft manufactured by Boeing are from the 737 family, all variants (MAX too, although, they have all been grounded for over a year), 1410 to be exact, followed by 376 777s and 233 787s.
Meanwhile with Airbus, the biggest family to be grounded is the A320 family, with just over 1800 aircraft. The biggest variant to be grounded is the A320ceo with 948 planes. That family is followed by the A330 family with 485 and the A340s with 117.

Virgin Australia Flight Attendant’s Tear Jerking Final Goodbye

As Virgin Australia moves towards cancelling 90% of its domestic flights and stand down 80% of its workforce, a VA flight attendant has made news after her aircraft landed in Dunedin. After going through the standard touchdown welcome, she then made a heartfelt speech thanking passengers and fellow crew for their support throughout these tough times. The video can be seen here.

St Helena Cut Off From The World As Flights Continue Being Grounded

St Helena joins a list of other islands effectively isolated as its sole air service is suspended. The small British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic had a weekly Airlink service from Johannesburg. But Airlink suspended all its flights on the 25th, leaving St Helena reliant on shipping and charter flights,

How IndiGo Captured The Indian Market

If you look at the Indian market today there’s a clear leader; IndiGo. The carrier has captured nearly half of the Indian market and shows no signs of slowing down. But how did that happen? Let’s find out!

IndiGo’s success began when it became one of the first airlines to introduce the low-cost model of travel in India, which for them meant operating A320s only and cutting out any luxuries. This allowed the airline to undercut its rivals by bringing some really low prices.

Another way they can bring these low prices for tickets is the short turnaround times, as crew enters from the back as the passengers disembark from the front. This allows for some really high efficiency.

Yet another reason for the cheap prices for the tickets is the relatively new fleet. They’re operating 234 aircraft from the Airbus A320 family, with an average age or 5.6 years. That makes the planes very efficient, as the newer the plane, the more efficient it is. Budget airlines don’t tend to lease aircraft, as they are less efficient, and while it does cost them less upfront, it will cost them more in fuel in a long-term point of view. Instead, they buy brand-new aircraft. The fuel efficiency, especially with the “neo” versions of the A320 family, offsets the higher purchase price. Also, when placing massive orders, the manufacturers give the airline a bulk discount.

IndiGo is not only trying to offer really low ticket prices, but also tries to create an image. Their IATA code is 6E and their callsign is IFLY, proving that the airline wants to have a personality and not just stay with its company name.

Sorry for the long info on this one.

London City Airport Closes Its Doors Until The End Of April

London City Airport has closed its doors until the end of April under instruction from the UK government. The airport in the heart of London composed a 36-day closure on the 25th. As a gesture goodwill, the airport will open the facility to support Coronavirus recovery efforts.

Aer Lingus To Fly To Asia For The First Time: 5 Daily Medical Flights To Beijing

Ireland’s flag carrier is going to fly five Airbus A330 aircraft to China to collect medical goods. The supply runs will be realized by dozens of volunteer pilots on Aer Lingus’ largest aircraft all together 60 times. There will be no passengers onboard, but the seats on the return trip will be filled with medical, goods such as masks, testing kits, goggles and others.

South African Airways Ground All Flights As CEO Resigns

South African Airways has grounded all domestic flights from the 27th as South Africa steps up its anti-coronavirus measures. The airline also announced that its Acting CEO, Ms Zuks Ramasia, who has held the position since June 2019, will be leaving the airline next month.

Lufthansa Has No Intentions To Implement Social Distancing On Flights To Germany

Lufthansa is introducing social distancing onboard its flights, but with a catch. The new policy will only be enforced on flights departing Germany, as well as domestic hops. The policy will apply to Economy and Premium Economy passengers, as the density is the biggest in these classes. The airline stated that at least one seat will be left between passengers, however, it’s unknown whether or not that is just along a row, or also the case from the front of the aircraft all the way to the back.

This also applies to ground services. Lufthansa and Eurowings are trying not to use buses if it is possible. If it is not, like in Sofia for Eurowings, they will ask for additional buses to be sent out to give passengers more space.

Emotional Delta Pilot Flies Airbus A321 Into Hibernation

A Delta Airlines co-pilot has shared his emotional story of the journey to take an Airbus A321 for storage in Victorville, California. The employee shared haunting images of a sea of Delta planes parked up, and described the situation as ‘apocalyptic’, far worse than 9/11. At least back then, there was somewhat some knowledge that the situation was temporary and the FAA would soon give an ‘All-clear’. This time though, we can know absolutely nothing for sure and can only hope the situation gets better sooner.

Alaska Airlines Cuts Over 900 Flights Per Day

Alaska Airlines, although late to the party, has now announced a significant cut in the number of flights it will operate. The US airline will be cutting over 900 flights per day, accounting for around a 70% drop in scheduled services.

AirAsia To Ground Most Of Its Fleet

On Thursday, AirAsia announced that it will be temporarily hibernating most of its 97 all-Airbus aircraft fleet until the end of April. The statement detailed flight suspensions across AirAsia’s network, with only a handful of international and domestic routes in Indonesia and Thailand remaining in operation.

Everyone Upgraded On Air New Zealand Flight With 4 Passengers

Passengers onboard Air New Zealand flight NZ283 on March 25th were in for a real treat. The flight’s four passengers were all upgraded to the aircraft’s business class cabin as they flew from Singapore to Auckland. Passenger numbers have horrendously dropped due to increased restrictions and travel bans imposed on countries around the world attempting to contain the current outbreak.

Why Airplanes Still Have Ashtrays Despite Smoking Ban

Not a whole lot to explain. Although smoking is banned on all aircraft, the FAA has imposed a requirement that all planes should have ashtrays, so that in the offchance that someone does smoke onboard, there should be a place for the passenger to throw his cigarette at. Of course, he’ll get arrested when on ground and will be banned from the airline.

Europe Could Lose $378 Billion Unless It Supports Its Airlines

A new report released by IATA today has a forecast for a grim future for European airlines, and for Europe as a region. The association says that as much as $378 Billion of GDP could be lost if Europe’s governments don’t move to support their airlines now, a situation that could cost the region as many as 5.6 million jobs will be unavoidable.

American Airlines Applies Social Distancing On Flights

In a public video message released on the 25th, the Senior Vice President of Customer Experience for American Airlines provided an update of new policies and procedures for travelers. The update implements social distancing guidelines as per CDC’s recommendations in light of the current outbreak situation.

El Al To Suspend All Scheduled Flights

Israeli airlines El Al has confirmed that they will be temporarily suspending all scheduled flights from the night of the 27th. The airline had previously announced it would be cutting some operations from the 15th of March. Tight entry restrictions in Israel have previously forced to other airlines to cease operations.

Dispute On Terms Leads To Interjet Returning Leased Aircraft

Some lessors repossessed four of Interjet’s Airbus A320 aircraft, the airlines said, claiming a dispute on the terms of the leasing. These four planes flew over the last few days from Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona, where they have been parked at Phoenix Goodyear Airport.

Where Is British Airways Storing Grounded Long Haul Aircraft?

Earlier this week, I covered where British Airways was storing its short-to-medium haul fleet. However, where is the airlines storing their long haul jets was a topic I haven’t covered, so here it is! Just over 50 percent of the company’s long haul jets are grounded, 69 aircraft to be exact. The most aircraft grounded from a single family are the 777s of the airline with 23 of 57 being grounded, followed by the 787 and 747 with 19/31 grounded for each family. Most of the aircraft are parked at London Heathrow.

Air Serbia Deploys A330-200 For Los Angeles Rescue Flight

Alright, @AlphaSeven, that one’s for you :D. An Air Serbia A330-200 is in the air en route to Los Angeles, operating a rescue flight chartered by the US State Department and the US Embassy in Serbia. It is one of many rescue flights Air Serbia is operating these days, while Serbian airports remain closed.

Why Did Airbus Build the Beluga XL?

On the 25th, I covered a topic on why did Boeing build the Dreamlifter, so here’s one for the Beluga too! There’s no aircraft named more appropriately named than the Beluga. The specialized cargo plane by Airbus might be based on a conventional commercial plane, but having undergone conversion to a cargo aircraft, has an uncanny resemblance to a Beluga whale.

The story behind the Beluga XL is that Airbus needed a cargo plane to transport parts from all over Europe for final assembly in Toulouse. So they built the Beluga, but with aircraft sizes increasing, the Beluga was suddenly not efficient enough, so Airbus needed an upgrade, hence why they built the Beluga XL. That airplane is bigger than its predecessor and was recently approved by the FAA to be used regularly. It is mostly used to transport A350 parts.

Singapore Airlines Searching For $10 Billion

Singapore Airlines has issued 10-year bonds to it shareholders in an attempt to raise $10 billion USD in financing to get through the current aviation crisis, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic reducing the demand for travel drastically. The airline has a line of credit for up to $4 billion USD from DBS Bank to keep the companies’ cash flowing.

Qatar Airways Launches First Brisbane Flights

Qatar Airways is about to plus a hole in its Australian network – temporarily at least. Brisbane will get a daily 777-300ER service from the end of March until mid-April. It will be the first time Qatar Airways has flown to Brisbane. The new flights come when Qatar Airways is carving out an interesting niche for itself – maintaining flights while other airlines abandon them.

Canadian Airlines No Longer Need To Offer Refunds On Cancelled flights

The Canadian Transportation Agency issued a statement on the 25th stating that airlines are not necessarily expected to provide passengers cash refunds for cancelled bookings due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The CTA justifies it position by saying it aims to strike a balance between protecting passenger rights but also not creating unnecessary financial hardship for carriers in a situation that’s completely outside their control.

Southwest Slashes Capacity To Hawaii One Year After Launch

Southwest Airlines has slashed its capacity to Hawaii as a result of travel restrictions, and a huge downturn in demand. The move comes a little over a year after the route was launched with much fanfare.

Virgin Atlantic Is Now Only Operating From London Heathrow

The unprecedented restriction on travel at the current time have led Virgin Atlantic to ground around 85% of its fleet. Now, the carrier is consolidating its operations to just one airport, London Heathrow, from the 26th of March.

Boeing 747 Operates Non-Stop Hawaii To Frankfurt Rescue Flight

On Wednesday, a Boeing 747 touched down in Frankfurt , having made the journey all the way from Honolulu, It carried European passengers from the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel, that had finally been allowed to dock in Hawaii after weeks of sailing around the Pacific. The aircraft enlisted for the rescue mission came from Spanish charted operator Wamos Air.

China Restricts Flights To Stop Passengers Importing Coronavirus

Yesterday, China announced the implementation of a temporary ban on all foreign visitors, including those with visas or residence permits. Now that China considers itself through the worst phase of it viral-outbreak curve, the country is making sure it maintains control of the situation.

Reports Suggest KLM Is Retiring The Boeing 747 After The Weekend

Dutch aviation website luchtvaartnieuws.nl is reporting that the final commercial flight of KLM’s Boeing 747-400 will touch down in Amsterdam on Sunday, March 29th at around 15:20. The flight will be KL686 from Mexico City which departs Mexico at 21:05 the night before. Until now, KLM has been one of the last few prominent carriers to still use the aging 747-400. May we all have a moment of silence for losing the beautiful blue Queen of the Skies.

El Al Operates First Ever Direct Australia Flight

El Al has landed in Australia for the first time, flying a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from Perth to Tel Aviv. The aircraft was carrying 230 citizens who wished to return home before the borders were completely closed. The flight took 14 hours and 12 minutes and was almost 6000 NM).

London Gatwick Airport To Close North Terminal

Today an announcement was made by Gatwick Airport, confirming that they will indeed be temporarily closing their north terminal. The drop in demand has caused the closure, as almost no airlines are operating currently.

Turkish Airlines Cuts New York Flights Due To Virus Worries

Turkish Airlines has cancelled all flights to New York effective from midnight local time. Bilal Eksi, the CEO of the airline has confirmed the suspension in a Twitter post. This cancellation leaves the airline flying to just destinations across 4 countries.

American Airlines Will Cut Capacity By 80% In May

In a statement released on Friday, American Airlines announced they’re planning to cut their year-to-year capacity by 70-80% for domestic and 80-90% for international flights in May. The airline adds that the capacity cut will be due to dropping demand.

India Extends International Travel Ban Until Mid-April

Yesterday the Indian government announced that it would be extending its ban on international flights in and out of the county. The ban was originally set to be lifted on March 31st, but has now been extended until April 14th due to the number of Coronavirus cases in India continuing to rise.

SWISS Operates Its Longest Flight Ever – A Boeing 777 To Chile

SWISS is currently operating its longest flight to date. The airline is flying a Boeing 77 from its Zurich hub to Santiago. The purpose of the mammoth journey is to repatriate stranded Swiss travelers on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affair in Switzerland.

United Won’t Furlough Staff Until At Least September

Today, United CEO Oscar Munoz and president Scott Kirby sent a message of positivity to its employees. The airline is hopeful following confirmation that the United States government will give significant financial banking for the airline industry amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this update, the company will not conduct any involuntary furloughs or pay cuts in the US before September 30th.

Where Is Lufthansa Storing Its Grounded Long Haul Aircraft?

The Lufthansa Group has made no secret that across the board it is grounding about 90% of its fleet. However, which long haul aircraft are grounded and where we will find out now.

Just over ¾ of the airline’s long haul fleet has been grounded, that’s 85 aircraft. The most grounded family is the A340 family, with 13/17 A340-300s and 16/17 A340-600s grounded, followed by 15/16 A350s and 12/14 A380s. The Boeings have also seen some groundings, with 7/13 747-400s and 11/19 747-8s grounded. The most aircraft are parked in Frankfurt, followed by Munich.

British Airways Kenya Flight Diverts To Origin And Departs Again

It’s not too common for aircraft to make U-turns in the middle of their journey. However, it does happen sometimes, but what is unusual is that the plane made a double U-turn. The plane took off from Heathrow bound for Nairobi, but it 3 hours late. The crew have apparently received a message that the Kenyan authorities don’t allow the aircraft to land there, so the 777-200ER was forced to return. Afterwards, they took off again, this time with no return.

Embraer Says Boeing Deal Should Go Through After June

Embraer is now expecting that the final approval of the deal with Boeing to be delayed beyond the 23rd of June. This is because the European Commission has recently stopped the clock again, according to Antonio Garcia, the executive vice president of Finance and Investor Relations for Embraer.

Virgin Atlantic To Approach UK Government For Funding

Long-haul specialist Virgin Atlantic is reported to be on the brink of approaching the UK government for financial assistance. The government has previously said they wouldn’t reserve a bailout of its airlines, it left the door open for case by case requests to be made as a very “last resort”.

Lufthansa Operates Rare Boeing 747 Flight To Auckland

On March 25th and 26th, a Lufthansa 747-400 spent more than 20 hours flying from Frankfurt to Auckland. These flights were part of the German government’s efforts to repatriate its citizens in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The flight, however, was not without a stop. In fact, the Jumbo spent about two hours on the ground in Tokyo on it way towards the Southern Hemisphere.

Garuda Leases 6 Heathrow Slots To Air India For 2 Years

It appears that Garuda Indonesia is leasing six slot pairs at the congested London Heathrow airport to flag carrying Indian airline Air India. A slot swap request form has been shared on social media, suffering the lease will be in place for a period of two years.

TSA Numbers Show Just How Few American Are Travelling

In recent years, air travel numbers have been nothing if not record-breaking. It includes airlines flying to more places, increasing fleet sizes and record-breaking passenger numbers. However, since March 17th, the US has seen an incredible reduction in the number of passengers. So much so that TSA screened only around 204,000 passengers.

That’s all for today!

All news stories are from SimpleFlying’s website. Any critiques, tips, opinions, comment and advice is awaited, respected and appreciated!

Once again, sorry that yesterday’s news didn’t come out on time. Please understand. I better go to sleep, it’s 3:30AM already where I am :D


I saw a lot of aircraft grounded at McCarran, 2 were United’s new livery. It’s so sad to know they won’t be flying for a while :(


Aegean configured 2 of their planes to cargo only 🇬🇷

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Wow, nice!

Wow, I will never forget this time.

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Fun fact, London City Airport has closed so the military can take it over for a while. Going to become RAF Nightingale whilst in their command, to be used to fly patients to the temporary hospital at the Excel Centre nearby called Nightingale Hospital.

They will be using various helicopters as well as C130j, C17 and A400m.

There was a C130J doing trial flights into the airport a day before it closed.

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Well, IndiGo will soon face competition from Vistara, I’m positive Vistara is going to grow quickly and start taking up more stake in the market.

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