Aviation News in Brief 31 August 2020

Air New Zealand, Emirates, Sabre, Lufthansa Systems, BOC Aviation, Magnetic MRO, Amadeus, Boeing Asia-Pacific Services, SIA Engineering, Airbus, dnata, Thai airlines

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Use this oneBoeing JV cutting employees: Singapore-based Boeing Asia-Pacific Aviation Services (BAPAS), a joint venture between Boeing and SIA Engineering (SIAEC), has laid off 13 percent of its workforce as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the global aviation industry. The company is firing 27 of its 204 employees in Singapore and said the move was a “last resort”. The company said in a statement that the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees’ Union (SISEU) was notified in advance of BAPAS’s plans. “Measures were undertaken by BAPAS at the start of the pandemic to manage costs and save jobs. However, BAPAS is facing significant financial challenges due to the economic downturn and the pandemic’s impact on the aviation industry continues unabated”, the company said. BAPAS was formed in 2018 and is 51 percent owned by Boeing and 49 percent held by SIAEC. It provides fleet management services, including engineering, maintenance planning and scheduling, as well as operational control centre services, and materials demand planning and spares support for airline operators of the 737, 747, 777 and 787 in the region.

Air New ZealandAir New Zealand updates domestic plans: Air New Zealand will resume flying all of its Auckland domestic routes when the region moves to Alert Level 2 on Monday (31 August). The airline has been operating a reduced domestic schedule in and out of Auckland while it has been at Alert Level 3. The majority of the rest of Air New Zealand’s domestic network has remained unchanged but with physical distancing in place. From Monday it will also be mandatory for customers travelling during Alert Level 2 to wear a face covering while on board. Customers are encouraged to bring their own, or a mask will be provided by the airline prior to boarding. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says while there will be more flights to and from Auckland, physical distancing will be in place across the airline’s domestic network so there will be fewer seats available for customers. “Physical distancing means we can only sell just under 50 percent of seats on a turboprop aircraft and just 65 percent on an A320 which also means we won’t be able to offer our lowest lead in fares until physical distancing measures are removed. This has put huge pressure on our business as it means we need to move some of our customers to other flights. We’d like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding while we work through these changes.”

Emirates to resume flights to Bangkok from 1 September: Emirates announced the resumption of passenger services to Bangkok with daily flights starting from 1 September. The resumption of flights to Bangkok will expand Emirates’ current network to 78 cities in September, offering travellers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific connections via Dubai. Flights between Dubai and Bangkok will be operated with an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft offering seats in First, Business and Economy class. Starting from 1 September, flight EK384 will depart Dubai daily at 01:50 and arrive in Bangkok at 11:30, while the return flight, EK385, will depart Bangkok at 03:25, and arrive in Dubai at 06:35, from 2 September. Customers can book flights on emirates.com or via travel agents. Travellers arriving into Bangkok are subject to requirements set by the Thai authorities and certain restrictions are in place.

Sabre and SAS sign new deal: SAS and Sabre announced a new multi-year distribution agreement. Under the new agreement, Sabre-connected agencies can access competitive SAS content through Sabre’s marketplace, while SAS will benefit from extensive global reach. SAS is the main aviation service provider to, from and within Scandinavia, and is a vital part of Scandinavia’s infrastructure. The distribution agreement with Sabre allows SAS more control of distribution costs while effectively selling products and services, including ancillaries, to hundreds of thousands of travel agents worldwide. Sabre recently announced a strategic realignment of its airline and agency-focused businesses, which will further enable the company to deliver on its promise to retail, distribute and fulfil travel by serving its customers through a collective lens. The technology provider also reaffirmed its commitment to building a marketplace for personalised travel that delivers a better experience to consumers, enables travel intermediaries to provide just the right offers to their customers, and increases value for travel suppliers.

Lufthansa Systems launches new intelligence solution: Lufthansa Systems announced the launch of the New Demand Indicators (NDI) Dashboard, a web-based solution that displays schedule insights, weekly market size updates and current travel restrictions through an intuitive and user-friendly interface. The newly developed NDI Dashboard enables businesses operating in the aviation industry to analyse and evaluate ever changing supply and demand trends. Based on comprehensive information on scheduled vs. flown flights, supply-driven market size estimates and COVID-19 travel restrictions, decision-makers are able to make smart data-driven choices when rebuilding airline networks in the recovery phase. Based on industry-leading data sources and Lufthansa Systems’ proprietary models and algorithms, the NDI Dashboard includes the following key intelligence: scheduled vs. flown flights; passenger demand; travel restrictions and COVID-19 case trends.

BOC Aviation signs with Magnetic MRO: Magnetic MRO has signed a Continuing Airworthiness Management contract with BOC Aviation. Since the agreement has been signed, the lessor has already delivered B737NG aircraft to Magnetic MRO’s hangars in Tallinn, Estonia. “We are very pleased with the start of the cooperation with BOC Aviation – and appreciate that the communication has been very efficient and productive. Both parties understand the scope of work that is required to keep given asset airworthy and ready for the next potential customer. We will continue this path with our client and will be looking forward to the future projects together with BOC Aviation” said Janno Väinola, a senior airworthiness engineer at Magnetic MRO.

Use this oneAmadeus renews agreement with Air New Zealand: Amadeus has announced it has renewed its multi-year distribution agreement with Air New Zealand. Under the agreement the airline will continue to make its fares and air content available to Amadeus-connected travel agencies via the Amadeus Travel Platform. Travel sellers that are connected to the Amadeus Travel Platform will enjoy access to Air New Zealand’s flight schedules, load changes, seat maps and ancillaries, including real-time updates. Through this platform, Air New Zealand will continue to be able to reach travel sellers of all types, such as travel management companies, tour operators, retail travel agencies, online travel agencies, metasearch, media players, as well as corporations. This enables more choice and the best possible service for travellers as well as helping agents drive upsell opportunities and increased revenue for Air New Zealand.

SIA Engineering buys out Airbus in JV: SIA Engineering announced it has bought out its joint venture partner Airbus from their Heavy Maintenance Singapore Services (HMSS) company, acquiring the 35 percent of the company Airbus owned. HMSS was incorporated in Singapore in October 2016 to provide airframe maintenance, cabin upgrade and modification services for the Airbus A380 and A350 aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The acquisition was arrived at following a joint review of the business in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Completion of the transaction took place on 27 August and HMSS is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of SIAEC. The cash consideration of S$1 “was arrived at following arm’s length negotiations, taking into consideration HMSS’ financial position”, said SIAEC. SIAEC has also received S$7.39 million in cash, pursuant to the termination of the joint-venture agreement.

Dnata reportedly laying off workers: Media reports in Singapore say Dubai-based ground-handling firm dnata is laying off at least 100 workers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global aviation industry. Reports said workers confirmed the firings but the company declined to comment. Dnata employs about 1,800 people in Singapore and has been operating in Singapore for at least 50 years. A dnata spokesman said in published reports “the situation remains very fluid with unpredictable demand, schedule and capacity changes becoming the norm. Considering this operating environment, and like so many other organisations in Singapore that have been impacted, we’ve had to take steps to right-size our business and ensure it is fit for purpose.” He said the firm has worked closely with the union and government agencies and is complying with the government’s tripartite advisory on retrenchments. The firm will have a larger proportion of Singaporeans after the retrenchment exercise, he said, going up from 63 percent of dnata’s workforce in Singapore to 73 percent after the layoffs.

Seven Thai airlines seek state support: Seven Thai airlines are seeking a combined 24 billion baht (US$770 million) in low interest loans and other support measures, the government said on Friday (29 August), joining carriers across the world in requesting state help to weather the coronavirus crisis. Airline executives made the request to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, aiming to maintain liquidity and avoid layoffs, the government said in a statement. “The government will consider the requests from the airlines and find ways to support operations, including unlocking air travel, and boost domestic tourism,” Prayuth said. The airlines, mostly low-cost carriers, are Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Thai Smile, Thai Lion Air, Thai Viet, Nok Airlines and boutique carrier Bangkok Airways. NokScoot entered liquidation in June, months after the carriers previously sought similar terms in April.

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