Aviation News in Brief 5 May 2020

IATA, UPU, Emirates SkyCargo, Cebu Pacific, ANA, Air Partner

Chapman Freeborn

covid-19-iata-calls-for-relief-for-african-middle-eastern-airlines-iata upuIATA, UPU warn of air capacity shortage: The International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) warned that air capacity for postal services is insufficient and urged governments to do more to support the movement of mail by air during the COVID-19 crisis. Owing to the drastic 95 percent reduction in passenger flights, which are typically used to transport mail, and a 25-30 percent increase in demand for e-commerce as customers and businesses resort to online purchasing in response to social distancing restrictions, postal administrations are facing a challenge in sending and delivering international mail, in particular, cross-continental mail. IATA and UPU are calling on governments to facilitate the flexibility that airlines need to meet this critical demand by removing border blockages to ensure trade flows continue, avoiding unnecessary regulations and fast tracking the issuance of permits for chartered operations. Additionally, ensuring adequately trained staff are available to process and clear the mail upon arrival is essential.

iata upuEmirates SkyCargo reconnects with scheduled cargo flights: Emirates SkyCargo has announced that with effect from the first week May 2020, it has commenced dedicated cargo flights on a scheduled basis every week to 67 global destinations across six continents. This includes 11 destinations in the Middle East, seven in Africa, 22 in Asia, six in Australasia, 15 in Europe and six cities in the Americas. Out of the 67 destinations, 58 are served by Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft with a cargo capacity of around 40 tonnes and 24 cities are served by the Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F aircraft with the ability to uplift 100 tonnes of cargo per flight.

cebu-pacific-joins-iataCebu Pacific posts loss in Q1: Philippine low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific said it suffered about P1.2 billion (US$23.7 million) in losses in the first three months of the year as flights were cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis. Cebu Air, which operates Cebu Pacific and Cebgo, said its net loss in the first quarter reached P1.183 billion, representing a 135 percent decrease from the P3.356 billion net income it earned in the same period last year. Passenger revenues fell 27.4 percent to P11.4 billion in the first quarter from P15.7 billion earned in the same period last year. Cargo revenues dropped 29.7 percent to P1 billion during the period from P1.4 billion last year, the airline said. “The overall decline in revenues was brought about by the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak which started with the cancellation of flights to China, Hong Kong, Macau, and South Korea in varying periods during the quarter due to the imposition of travel restrictions,” the airline said.

ANA makes moves to delay aircraft, cut costs: Japan’s All Nippon Airways said it will delay the delivery of aircraft as Japan’s largest airline makes moves to soften the financial blow from COVID-19 pandemic, President and CEO Shinya Katanozaka said in an interview with Nikkei. He said the airline will postpone receipt of aircraft and cut executive pay, among other measures and is shifting the induction of the A380 and the 787 from the first half to the second half and said the airline has not “formally” signed on for any 737 MAX deliveries. ANA will embark on 100 billion yen (US$935 million) worth of cost cutting in April and May.

iata upuAir Partner issues Q1 shareholder update: Global aviation services group Air Partner said in a shareholder update it had a strong start to the financial year, with the unaudited accounts for February, March and April showing expected underlying profit before tax of £6 million (US$7.4 million). April was a record month, predominantly driven by unusually high levels of activity in Freight and Group Charter. However, as expected, activity in Private Jets and Safety & Security remains notably lower than in previous years, although Redline has recently secured two new security contract wins. While the forward order book is encouraging as we head into May and June with demand for Freight and Group Charter services remaining high, visibility beyond this is currently limited. Group Charter has continued to carry out significant repatriation and evacuation work related to the COVID-19 pandemic, flying people back to their home countries from around the world. In addition, the team is involved in flying agricultural workers into the UK from elsewhere in Europe, and has seen increased demand for corporate shuttles from UK and US customers that value their employees travelling in a more controlled environment at this time. Activity in Private Jets remains very weak, reflecting wider aviation trends as people follow government advice globally against non-essential travel. We continue to see high demand for our Freight services. Our team was extremely busy in April, notably flying emergency shipments of protective personal equipment (PPE) on behalf of a number of customers, and this is set to continue into May.  At the end of April, the group had normalised cash in the bank of £13 million, excluding significant customer deposits and JetCard cash. The Group has access to a total debt facility of £14.5 million, comprising of a £1.5 million overdraft and a £13 million revolving credit facility (RCF), which is drawn down by £11.5 million as at 1 May 2020. The RCF is due to expire in February 2023.

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.


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