Aviation News in Brief 9 September 2020

Emirates, Western Sydney International, CSMIA Airport, Etihad, Vietjet

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Use this oneEmirates announces refund progress: Emirates announced it has made about US$1.89 billion in COVID-19-related travel refunds to date, making strong and steady progress on its commitment to customers to complete pending refunds. More than 1.4 million refunds requests have been completed since March, representing 90 percent of the airline’s backlog. This includes all requests received from customers around the world up until the end of June, save for a few cases which require further manual review. Since the pandemic hit, Emirates has invested additional resources to ramp up its processing capability. The airline also continues to work with industry partners to facilitate refunds for those who have booked their Emirates flights through travel agents, this includes enabling direct refunds processing via global booking systems (GDS). Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said: “We understand that from our customers’ standpoint, each pending refund request is one too many. We are committed to honouring refunds and are trying our utmost to clear the massive and unprecedented backlog that was caused by the pandemic. Most cases are straightforward, and these we will process quickly. But there are cases which will take a bit more time for our customer teams to manually review and complete. We are grateful to our customers for their patience and understanding.”

Shortlist announced to build Sydney’s new airport: The vision for Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport is a step closer to reality with three parties shortlisted to build the airport’s passenger terminal. Western Sydney Airport CEO Simon Hickey said the integrated international and domestic passenger terminal will offer passengers and their families a stress-free travel experience. “The advantage of designing a new airport from the ground up is taking a fresh, new approach, learning from the global experiences of airports, passengers and airlines,” he said. The terminal precinct will include a public plaza, retail and dining options and will be connected to the new M12 Motorway and Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport train service. The shortlist of three parties vying to win the terminal design and construction contract includes: Lendlease CPB Joint Venture (a joint venture between Lendlease Building and CPB Contractors); Multiplex Constructions; Watpac Construction. Design of Western Sydney International’s passenger terminal is ongoing and will be finalised when the winning contractor is appointed in mid-2021. Terminal construction is due to begin by the end of 2021. The first stage of Western Sydney International is on track to open in 2026 and will cater for up to 10 million passengers a year. The airport is being designed to grow with demand and is predicted to reach 82 million annual passenger capacity in the 2060s, when it will become one of the largest gateways to Australia.

CSMIA becomes India’s first airport to achieve ACI Health Accreditation: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai has become the first Indian airport to be accredited under the Airport Council International (ACI) Health Accreditation programme. This accreditation is a tip of the hat to the numerous health and safety initiatives adopted by CSMIA to safeguard passengers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the evolving threat of COVID-19, CSMIA upped the ante on the safety measures typically followed at the airport. In adherence to the norms of the government and regulatory bodies, CSMIA ensures stringent screening, social distancing, mandatory compliance with wearing PPEs and required gears, sanitization and disinfection processes. Simultaneously CSMIA has innovated the use of technology to promote contactless experience throughout the airport as well as adopted other initiatives like the installation of glass partitions on all counters, strategic placement of hand sanitizers, sanitization of cabs across the airport to name a few. Since the resumption of domestic flight operations, CSMIA has witnessed an increasing trend in travel amongst the passengers. A recent survey conducted at the airport revealed an overwhelming satisfaction among passengers on the safety measures implemented at CSMIA. The accreditation by ACI further re-affirms CSMIA’s commitment to safeguarding the health and safety of its passengers and personnel.

Etihad offers COVID-19 insurance: Etihad Airways is introducing COVID-19 global wellness insurance cover as part of Etihad Wellness, the airlines new health and hygiene programme. Guests who are diagnosed with COVID-19 during their trip won’t have to worry about medical expenses or quarantine costs when they fly with Etihad. Duncan Bureau, senior vice president Sales and Distribution, Etihad Airways, said: “The safety, health, and wellbeing of our guests and employees is our top priority, during and beyond the flight. The introduction of global COVID-19 insurance, in partnership with AXA, builds on stringent measures already in place as part of our Etihad Wellness programme, championed by our Wellness Ambassadors.” All Etihad tickets regardless of date of booking, traveling between now and 31 December 2020 will include COVID-19 insurance. Guests with existing bookings don’t need to do anything – they are automatically enrolled into the programme. The insurance is valid worldwide for 31 days from the first day of travel.

Vietjet resumes flights to Da Nang: Vietjet has resumed flights to Da Nang, the major business and travel hub in the central region of Vietnam. The move results from the city’s effective control on COVID-19 since its outbreak in late of July. The airline will operate one daily return flight each for Da Nang – Hanoi and Da Nang – Ho Chi Minh City routes. All passengers on the flights have to practice social distancing and take sufficient measures to prevent COVID-19 contagion such as wearing masks at airports and on-board, mandatory health declaration and installing contact tracking app, Bluezone, on their smartphone.

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