Aviation News in Brief 7 January 2021

Cathay Pacific Cargo, AAPA, Air New Zealand, China Aircraft Services, JSC Royal Flight Airlines, Korean Air, Revima (Thailand)


Use this oneCathay Pacific Cargo launches new service: Cathay Pacific Cargo is launching a new scheduled freighter service between Hong Kong and Riyadh. The service started on 5 January. The airline has seen a growing demand for air cargo flights between Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong, a leading cargo and logistics hub in Asia. These new flights will meet the strong demand for shipments of e-commerce and other general cargo such as garments, providing our customers with reliable, efficient and direct air cargo services offering the high level of quality for which Cathay Pacific Cargo is known. Flights will operate once per week every Tuesday with a stopover in Dubai (DWC) on the return flight to Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific Cargo has launched a number of scheduled and charter services recently to meet the air cargo needs of its customers. On 16 December 2020, the airline launched a seasonal cargo service between Hong Kong and Hobart in Australia, providing an important airfreight lane for the export of fresh produce from Hobart to various parts of Asia via Hong Kong. Meanwhile in September last year, the airline launched a temporary service to Pittsburgh in the US to serve the seasonal upsurge in demand. In addition to operating a full freighter flight schedule, Cathay Pacific has also been operating thousands of pairs of cargo-only passenger flights, some with cargo loaded in the passenger cabins, and chartered hundreds of pairs of flights from its all-cargo subsidiary Air Hong Kong to provide additional air freight capacity.

AAPA says November traffic still down: Preliminary November 2020 traffic figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) highlighted the lack of progress in the revival of international travel with demand still held back by ongoing border restrictions amid a resurgence in COVID-19 infections in various countries. Meanwhile, air cargo markets were a silver lining for the region’s carriers, supported by recovery in global manufacturing activity. Only 1.4 million international passengers were carried by Asia-Pacific airlines in November, a mere 4.6 percent of the 30.8 million recorded in the same month of 2019. Offered seat capacity was comparatively higher at 12.5 percent of levels in the previous corresponding period. Reflecting the challenging operating conditions, the region’s carriers recorded an average international passenger load factor of just 30 percent for the month, far below the 80 percent achieved in November 2019. Cargo volumes carried by the region’s airlines increased for the third consecutive month, although demand as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) was still down 11.3 percent year-on-year. Airlines increased capacity by deploying converted passenger aircraft and maximising dedicated freighter utilisation, helping to ease capacity shortages as reflected in the 6.7 percentage point increase in the international freight load factor to average 69.5 percent for the month.

air-new-zealand-finalises-order-for-dreamlinersAir New Zealand aircrew to overnight in Honolulu, quarantine-free flights on tap: As part of ongoing efforts to reduce the COVID-19 risk to aircrew, Air New Zealand will re-route its North America flights to allow aircrew to overnight in Honolulu rather than Los Angeles or San Francisco. From Monday 11 January, aircrew on all cargo flights between New Zealand and the United States will overnight in Honolulu. North America passenger services will be routed via Honolulu from 2 February. The changes mean flights from New Zealand will make a brief stop in Honolulu to change crew before continuing onto Los Angeles or San Francisco. Aircrew operating into those ports will then remain airside and operate the return flight to Honolulu where there will be a further crew change to operate back to New Zealand. Re-routing North American flights through Honolulu means aircrew can overnight in a lower risk destination while still maintaining vital connections into North America. Air New Zealand also announced that it will start operating quarantine-free flights from Auckland to Brisbane. Before customers travel to Australia they are required to complete the Australia Travel Declaration form stating they have been in New Zealand the preceding 14 days. The airline currently operates five return flights per week between Auckland and Brisbane. Three of these services will be quarantine-free flights, while the remaining two will be quarantine flights. Quarantine flights are not able to be booked by people beginning their journey in New Zealand.

MRO China Aircraft Services welcomes new client JSC Royal Flight Airlines: China Aircraft Services Limited (CASL) has signed JSC Royal Flight Airlines as a new client with flights from Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport (VKO) and Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) to Hong Kong International Airport. CASL will provide ground handling and mechanic support to the airline’s Boeing 767 and 777 flights to and from Hong Kong. Founded in 1995, CASL is a joint venture between China National Aviation Corporation, United Airlines, China Airlines and Gama Group, providing aircraft line and base maintenance, cabin services, ground services equipment and business jet maintenance, as well as supply and storage services at Hong Kong International Airport. Apart from operating in Hong Kong, CASL and China Eastern Airlines established a joint venture company, Shanghai Eastern Aircraft Maintenance Limited (SEAM) in 2002, providing aircraft line maintenance and ground services equipment at Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.

Korean Air delays SKYPASS program renewal for 2 years: Korean Air has decided to delay the renewal of its SKYPASS frequent flyer program for two years, as passenger travel has been greatly affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Korean Air will lower the entry barrier for elite membership and extend the expiration date of mileage by one more year. In December 2019, Korean Air announced plans to renew its SKYPASS program to include the “cash and miles” payment option; implement a more rational and segmented mileage accrual and redemption system; and lower elite membership entry barriers. The airline had planned to apply the new mileage accrual and redemption rates from April 2021. However, with the delay of the SKYPASS program’s renewal, new mileage accrual and redemption rates will come into effect on April 1, 2023. The new elite membership system, which was scheduled to launch from February 2022, will begin in February 2024, and the deadline to qualify for permanent elite membership status will be postponed from February 2022 to the end of 2024. In addition, mileage accrued on SkyTeam member flights can also be used toward annual mileage required to attain elite membership status. Korean Air will also extend the expiration date of mileage expiring at the end of 2021 by one year. Mileage that has already been extended at the end of 2020 can also be used until the end of 2022.

Revima obtains Part-145 certification for Thailand facility: Revima, an independent APU and landing gear MRO company, has completed the certification process for its new landing gear facility in Chonburi, south of Bangkok, Thailand. Construction on the 120,000 square foot facility began in February 2019 and was completed in March 2020. In parallel, a significant staffing and training program was initiated and completed, with numerous months of professional and hands-on training at Revima’s headquarters in Normandy, France. The US$40 million facility is equipped with the latest machinery and tooling, fully connected for smart monitoring and maintenance processes. It is environmentally friendly, with wide use of green chemicals and no waste rejection for its plating facilities. It is also equipped with brand new machining and test equipment, from 5 axis milling and grinding machines, hydraulic test benches, to high performance non-destructive equipment. The Thai facility also offers large training and customer amenities to host audits, meetings, product inspections & trainings. Its aim is to deliver to the Asian market high value solutions and top-quality services with the “Revima label” of quality, benefitting now from more than 50 years of proven expertise. It will be able to overhaul up to 600 landing legs yearly.

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