Aviation News in Brief 22 June 2020

Flightradar24, CALC, Etihad, Medicus AI, China Airlines, Bluebox, Retail inMotion

Aviation News
(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Flightradar24 sees uptick in flights: Flightradar24 tracked 50,051 commercial flights on 18 June, the first time since 24 March that more than 50,000 commercial flights took to the sky. The low point in commercial traffic occurred on 12 April when the site tracked just 23,923 commercial flights. Thus far however, non-commercial traffic growth has led the way. Commercial flight activity has grown steadily since mid-April lows, but remains far below 2019 levels. While 18 June’s 50,051 flights is a positive step, on the third Thursday of June 2019 (21 June) we tracked 126,753 commercial flights. On 18 June 2020, commercial flights accounted for 38.8 percent of total flight activity. In 2019, on the third Thursday in June, commercial flights made up 57.6 percent of total flights.

CALC receives approval for US$706 million ABS programme: China Aircraft Leasing Group announced that it has received an approval from the Shanghai Stock Exchange for its asset-backed securities issuance programme with a ceiling of RMB5 billion (US$706 million). CALC says this is a first for China’s aircraft leasing industry. An ABS programme allows multiple issuances with a single approval. It simplifies the approval process, enhances flexibility for the timing for issuance, helping the issuer to capture new business opportunities at the right time while lowering its related costs. ABS programmes prevailing in the market are mostly backed by high-quality, low-risk underlying assets that are highly standardised and with significant scales. CALC’s fleet is mainly narrowbody aircraft that are highly liquid. The majority of its airline customers are carriers with strong fundamentals. CALC launched China’s first foreign currency denominated asset securitisation product and the first aircraft leasing ABS issued in the public market.

Etihad partners with Medicus AI for virus risk assessment: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is partnering with Austrian-based healthcare technology company Medicus AI to launch a COVID-19 risk-assessment tool that will empower guests to make informed decisions about travelling. Powered by Medicus AI’s technology, the risk-assessment tool will guide Etihad’s guests in evaluating the probability of having contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus by responding to a set of 22 questions. The self-administered assessment, which takes less than five minutes to complete, is based on World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines that are updated daily. With this risk-assessment tool, guests will understand their individual probability of having contracted the virus alongside advisories and recommendations, allowing them to make informed decisions about travelling. The tool is now available to guests on Etihad.com and soon on the Etihad Airways mobile application on the Apple iOS, Android and Huawei platforms, and will be accessible in English, with additional language editions such as Arabic, French, German and Portuguese being added in phases.

China Airlines requires online check-ins: China Airlines, Taiwan’s largest airline, has now started requiring all passengers to complete their check-in process through the airline’s official website or official mobile app before arriving at the airport. Airport kiosks will be temporarily suspended in Taiwan to avoid repeated contact with travellers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Passengers can check-in with their smart phone or tablet from 48 hours before their scheduled departure to 80 minutes before the flight takes off. They can also select their preferred seats at the same time. Once when passengers have the reservation code/ticket number and the necessary travel documents such as passport and visa in hand, just fill out the details and the boarding pass can be printed out in 5 minutes. Passengers can also use the electronic boarding pass function on mobile for extra convenience and to reduce carbon emissions.

Retail inMotion joins forces with Bluebox: Retail inMotion, a provider of retail, logistics, and crew management solutions, said it has signed a partnership deal for in-flight entertainment systems (IFE) integration with Retail inMotion to offer an enhanced touch-free retail proposition for airlines. “Airlines wish to get back to delivering in-flight experiences that delight passengers without compromising the safety protocols that are being implemented to protect both passengers and cabin crew,” states David Brown, director of Business Development at Bluebox. “In partnership with Retail inMotion we’re offering a touch-less shopping experience for food, beverages and other goods on our battery or aircraft-powered wireless IFE platform, Bluebox Wow. Virtualising the trolley and facilitating touch-less payments, we’re enabling passengers and crew to maintain as much social distance as possible, while keeping open an important revenue stream for the airline.”

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