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Biman Bangladesh Airlines Adopts Comprehensive Suite of Sabre Solutions

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Biman Bangladesh Airlines Adopts Comprehensive Suite of Sabre Solutions - AIRLINEHUB.com - TRAVELINDEXDhaka, Bangladesh, September 10, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Bangladesh’s national carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines will leverage Sabre’s Passenger Service System (PSS) and Global Distribution System (GDS) as well as a broad range of additional Sabre technology solutions to support recovery and future growth in a competitive market. Sabre Corporation, a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, today announced a new strategic partnership with Bangladesh’s national flag carrier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Biman).

Under the new agreement, Biman will adopt the SabreSonic Passenger Service System (PSS) to power digital transformation, drive revenue growth and improve the passenger experience. Biman has also selected a further set of Sabre solutions as well as renewing its global distribution agreement with Sabre to help meet the demands of modern-day travellers, ensure availability across all points of sale, maximize customer acquisition, leverage its loyalty program and stimulate demand as industry recovery gains momentum.

“We’re thrilled to embark on a new relationship with Sabre during this critical time for the travel industry,” said Dr Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal, Managing Director and CEO, Biman. “It is more important now than ever that we have agile and advanced solutions to empower us to improve operational efficiencies, boost revenue as we move into recovery, and to create a differentiated brand experience in the competitive Bangladeshi market and beyond. We look forward to flying our nation’s bi-coloured flag domestically, regionally and internationally as borders re-open, with support from Sabre’s robust technology.”

The Sabre Commercial Platform, the platform within which SabreSonic PSS is housed, is positioned to help empower airlines to drive revenue maximization and a differentiated brand experience. It meets airlines where they are and takes them where they want to go through flexible, open, and intelligent technology, delivering end-to-end personalized retailing from commercial optimization through order fulfilment; enabling enhanced travel experiences for the airline’s customers and helping the airline to increase revenue opportunities.

SabreSonic PSS is designed to automate and streamline sales and reservations processes, helping airlines maximize revenue opportunities, save costs, enhance inventory revenue optimization, extend their reach through partnerships and maximize efficiency and effectiveness of airline offerings. This latest deal further expands Sabre’s global PSS footprint, with the company having announced SabreSonic PSS wins, during its most recent earnings call, expected to bring more than 40 million incremental passengers boarded to the platform.

As well as Sabre’s comprehensive, passenger-centric PSS, Dhaka-headquartered Biman will also be utilizing Sabre’s:

Global Distribution System (GDS) in a long-term renewal agreement to distribute its fares and offers to hundreds of thousands of travel agents worldwide;

Departure Control Suite to help Biman deliver a seamless and efficient airport experience with a robust solution for passenger reaccommodation. The suite will help in enabling a true walk-through experience at the airport through automation and self-service capabilities.

SabreSonic Digital Experience a highly-extensible user interface framework that provides access to robust, end-to-end retail capabilities, enabling shop and book, ancillaries, payments and fulfilment all through self-service capabilities, helping the airline to develop a fully-responsive and configurable eCommerce website and mobile app in-line with Biman’s digital transformation.

SabreSonic CSS Digital Workspace with flexible mobile-ready workflows designed to improve agent productivity and enable them to deliver personalized customer service at the airport and call centre.

SabreSonic Direct Connect Platform to deliver a suite of shopping, booking, and fulfilment web services as well as a GUI to their travel agency or third-party partners, helping the airline deliver omni-channel travel experiences through capabilities that are built once, deployed many times

Sabre Application Programming Interface (API) Hub which provides a portfolio of comprehensive APIs that support a broad range of the Sabre Commercial Platform functionality, enabling speed-to-market and control over distribution across all channels.

Data and Analytics/ Business Intelligence which delivers a layer of connected enterprise data by providing Biman with meaningful data and actionable intelligence for the entire airline enterprise; and

Loyalty Management System to enable Biman to recognize, track and reward their most loyal customers across all touchpoints during their journeys, providing an improved customer experience and increased customer loyalty that results in repeat revenue and increased share of wallet.

“We know how difficult the current climate continues to be for the airline, and wider travel industry said Rakesh Narayanan, Vice President, Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific, Travel Solutions, Airline Sales. “However, we also know that our travel partners are seizing this opportunity to take a fresh look at their technology strategy to ensure they are in a position of competitive strength going forward. We’re delighted to be partnering Biman on their digital transformation journey with a comprehensive suite of Sabre retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions.”

Mohammed Salahuddin-General Manager-Marketing, Biman Bangladesh Airlines added: “We are delighted to work together with leading global airline solution provider, Sabre, that allow Biman to access all the services we require through one single platform, supporting us on our digital transformation journey and enabling Biman to be more competitive in the local, regional and international airline markets.”

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA July Passenger Traffic Boost – Well Below Pre-COVID Levels

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IATA July Passenger Traffic Boost – Well Below Pre-COVID Levels - AIRLINEHUB.com - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, September 6, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that both international and domestic travel demand showed significant momentum in July 2021 compared to June, but demand remained far below pre-pandemic levels. Extensive government-imposed travel restrictions continue to delay recovery in international markets.

Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons are to July 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern.

  • Total demand for air travel in July 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 53.1% compared to July 2019. This is a significant improvement from June when demand was 60% below June 2019 levels.
  • International passenger demand in July was 73.6% below July 2019, bettering the 80.9% decline recorded in June 2021 versus two years ago. All regions showed improvement and North American airlines posted the smallest decline in international RPKs (July traffic data from Africa was not available).
  • Total domestic demand was down 15.6% versus pre-crisis levels (July 2019), compared to the 22.1% decline recorded in June over June 2019. Russia posted the best result for another month, with RPKs up 28.9% vs. July 2019.

“July results reflect people’s eagerness to travel during the Northern Hemisphere summer. Domestic traffic was back to 85% of pre-crisis levels, but international demand has only recovered just over a quarter of 2019 volumes. The problem is border control measures. Government decisions are not being driven by data, particularly with respect to the efficacy of vaccines. People traveled where they could, and that was primarily in domestic markets. A recovery of international travel needs governments to restore the freedom to travel. At a minimum, vaccinated travelers should not face restrictions. That would go a long way to reconnecting the world and reviving the travel and tourism sectors,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

International Passenger Markets

  • European carriers saw their July international traffic decline 64.2% versus July 2019, significantly bettering the 77.0% decrease in June compared to the same month in 2019. Capacity dropped 53.8% and load factor fell 19.9 percentage points to 69.0%.
  • Asia-Pacific airlines’ July international traffic fell 94.2% compared to July 2019, barely improved over the 94.7% drop registered in June 2021 versus June 2019 as the region continues to have the strictest border control measures. Capacity dropped 86.0% and the load factor was down 48.2 percentage points to 34.3%, by far the lowest among regions.
  • Middle Eastern airlines posted a 74.5% demand drop in July compared to July 2019, surpassing the 79.2% decrease in June, versus the same month in 2019. Capacity declined 59.5%, and load factor deteriorated 30.1 percentage points to 51.3%.
  • North American carriers’ July demand fell 62.1% compared to the 2019 period, much improved on the 69.4% decline in June versus two years ago. Capacity sank 52.0%, and load factor dipped 18.6 percentage points to 69.3%.
  • Latin American airlines saw a 66.3% drop in July traffic, compared to the same month in 2019, improved over the 69.8% decline in June compared to June 2019. July capacity fell 60.5% and load factor dropped 12.6 percentage points to 72.9%, which was the highest load factor among the regions for the ninth consecutive month.
  • Australia’s domestic traffic sank further from a 51.4% decline in June versus the same month in 2019, to a 75.4% decline in July versus two years ago, amid stricter domestic lockdowns in response to a spike in the Delta variant.
  • US domestic traffic continued to recover in July, and was down just 7.7% compared to July 2019, improved from a 14.0% decline in June versus June 2019.

The Bottom Line
“As the Northern Hemisphere summer travel season draws to a close it is clear that too many governments missed the opportunity to apply a risk-based approach to managing their borders. The growing number of fully vaccinated travelers and the prevalence of testing provided the chance to restore international connectivity and bring much needed relief to economies that are heavily reliant on travel and tourism. Instead, governments continued to behave as if it was the summer of 2020. Economies and the labor force will pay the price for decisions that were made not based on science, but on political expediency. Governments have rightly urged their populations to be vaccinated; now governments need to have confidence in the benefits of vaccinations—including the freedom to travel,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA Backs European Digital Covid Certificate as Global Standard

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IATA Backs European Digital Covid Certificate as Global Standard

Geneva, Switzerland, August 27, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) commended the European Commission for its leadership and speed in delivering the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) and urged states to make it their global standard for digital vaccine certificates.

“The DCC was delivered in record time to help facilitate the reopening of EU states to travel. In the absence of a single global standard for digital vaccine certificates, it should serve as a blueprint for other nations looking to implement digital vaccination certificates to help facilitate travel and its associated economic benefits,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Deputy Director General.

The EU DCC meets several key criteria which have been identified as important if a digital vaccination certificate is to be effective:

  • Format: the DCC has the flexibility to be used in both paper and digital format
  • QR code: The DCC QR code can be included in both digital and paper format. It contains essential information as well as a digital signature to make sure the certificate is authentic.
  • Verification and authentication:  The European Commission has built a gateway through which the encrypted data used to sign DCCs and required to authenticate certificate signatures can be distributed across the EU. The gateway can be also used to distribute encrypted data of non-EU certificate issuers other issuers. The EU has also developed a specification for machine readable Validation Rules for cross-country travel.

The EU DCC is implemented in the 27 EU Member states and a number of reciprocal agreements have been agreed with other states’ own vaccination certificates, including Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. In the absence of a single global standard for digital vaccination certificates, up to 60 other countries are looking to use the DCC specification for their own certification. The DCC is an excellent model as it is consistent with the latest World Health Organization Guidance and is fully supported by IATA Travel Pass. Another benefit of the DCC is that it enables holders to access non-aviation sites in Europe that require proof of vaccination, such as museums, sporting events and concerts.

IATA wishes to offer its collaboration to EU Commission and any other interested state to further integrate the DCC into airline processes for a secure and seamless passenger experience, such as support for selective disclosure of personal data.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

RwandAir and Qatar Airways Join Forces

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RwandAir and Qatar Airways Join Forces

Kigali, Rwanda, August 19, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / RwandAir customers will be able to explore even more of the world following its new partnership with Qatar Airways via their hubs at Kigali and Doha.

As part of the strategic partnership, the extensive interline agreement will give customers access to the networks of both airlines, providing a seamless travel experience and enhanced customer service the frequent flyers programmes.

Customers can pick and choose from over 160 destinations in the combined networks of both airlines, which are perfectly connected via their home main hubs.

This latest cooperation comes hot on the heels of the airlines’ recent loyalty partnerships announcement, giving RwandAir Dream Miles and Qatar Airways Privilege Club loyalty members access to each other’s destinations with the opportunity to ‘earn and burn’ points across their reciprocal route networks.

Yvonne Makolo, RwandAir CEO, said: “We’re really excited to be opening up more of the world to our customers through the new interline agreement with Qatar Airways.

“Delivering excellent customer experience is key for us and we know that any traveler flying with Qatar Airways or RwandAir, as part of the agreement, will continue to receive the same unrivalled level of service they’re used to from both airlines.”

His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al-Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, said: “This partnership cements our commitment to giving travellers the widest choice of destinations, while providing a seamless, high quality travel experience, which is the goal of both Qatar Airways and RwandAir.

“Africa is a hugely important market for us and this latest partnership will help support the recovery of international air travel and offer unrivalled connectivity to and from a number of new African destinations.”

RwandAir operates services throughout Africa and to long-haul destinations including London Heathrow, from its Kigali based hub.

The airline’s customers will also be able to connect through Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha, to access Qatar Airways’ destinations on every continent, from Paris to Washington, Delhi to Hong Kong and many more.

With more frequencies being added to key hubs, Qatar Airways offers unrivalled connectivity to passengers, making it easy for them to change their travel dates or destination if required.

Qatar Airways serves Kigali from Doha five times per week via Entebbe, utilizing its sustainable and fuel efficient Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. The airline’s customers can transit via Kigali to a diverse range of African destinations including Bujumbura, Brazzaville and Libreville.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Synlab and IATA Partner to Facilitate Safe Travelling

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Synlab and IATA Partner to Facilitate Safe Travelling

Munich, Germany, August 12, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Synlab, Europe’s leading medical diagnostic services provider, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced a partnership to facilitate safe and easy travel. Today, the two partners signed an agreement to incorporate SYNLAB’s extensive lab network into IATA Travel Pass. This will enable airline passengers to access SYNLAB’s broad and secure COVID-19 testing services, benefiting from its international capabilities. SYNLAB and IATA build upon valuable experience gained during a successful pilot project for passenger testing in Columbia over the course of the past months.

IATA Travel Pass allows passengers to locate authorised laboratories at departure locations to get tested for SARS-CoV-2 as required by border and health authorities. After testing, SYNLAB will provide passengers with their certified test results directly through the IATA Travel Pass. The app checks the result against the IATA Travel Pass registry of national entry requirements to produce an “OK to Travel” status. Through the app passengers can share their status and the digital test certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate travel.

IATA Travel Pass applies the highest data security standards. Authorised laboratories directly send COVID-19 test results to the passenger’s phone as a verifiable credential. This way, the IATA Travel Pass is a digital solution that also prevents potential forgery of test results.

Mathieu Floreani, CEO of SYNLAB, says: “We are pleased to partner with IATA to make travelling as safe as possible. At a time when people around the world are resuming air travel and different variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are spreading, testing remains crucial. Testing is a central pillar in monitoring and controlling the pandemic to prevent the spread of the virus. As the market leader in Europe for PCR testing, we have conducted 18 million PCR tests since the outbreak of the pandemic, underlining our strong expertise in this incredibly relevant field.”

Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, says: “Verified COVID-19 testing is critical to restore the freedom to travel for people who are not vaccinated. IATA Travel Pass aims to make it as simple as possible for travellers to locate certified labs and securely receive the test results that governments require for entry. Adding SYNLAB’s extensive lab network will help travellers more easily ensure that they meet their COVID-19 travel requirements.”

SYNLAB has a proven track record of implementing large-scale SARS-CoV-2 testing concepts: as trusted and long-standing medical partner and advisor to national healthcare systems, governmental entities, international companies, and associations. With its network of more than 450 medical laboratories and over 1,600 sample collection points across 36 countries, SYNLAB is dedicated to offer medical excellence with reliable testing services and shortest possible turnaround times.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Air France Prepares for Arrival of New Airbus A220

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Air France Prepares for Arrival of New Airbus A220

Paris, France, August 2, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Air France is continuing to renew its fleet. At the end of September, the airline will take delivery of the first of the 60 Airbus A220-300s it has ordered to replace its Airbus A318s and A319s on the short and medium-haul network.

  • The company’s first Airbus A220 has left the paint shop sporting the Air France livery,
  • This aircraft embodies the airline’s sustainability commitments with 20% less fuel used compared with the aircraft it is replacing and a 34% reduced noise footprint,
  • All the Air France crews are preparing to welcome this aircraft in September at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

The first Airbus A220 designed for Air France recently left the Airbus paint shop in Mirabel, near Montreal. It sports the new Air France colours and notably features the winged seahorse, the airline’s historical symbol embodying its rich history, at the front of the fuselage.

As it is made with lighter composite materials, the Airbus A220 uses 20% less fuel than previous generation aircraft, and has a 34% reduced noise footprint. It will play a decisive role in achieving Air France’s sustainable development objectives, including a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions in absolute terms on the domestic network from Paris-Orly and on inter-regional routes by 2024 (1), and a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 2030(2).

Tests and crew training – flight safety of key importance in the preparation for the A220’s arrival

Before joining Paris to carry Air France customers, the aircraft will undergo a series of ground and in-flight tests. On its arrival, it will be used for more than a month to train the airline’s flight crews, some of whom began the so-called “type rating” process last summer.

As with every new type of aircraft entering the fleet, the company has set up two core groups, one made up of pilots and the other of flight attendants. These already qualified crew members will then be responsible for training their colleagues within the framework of in-house programmes validated by the authorities.

Last September, eight instructor pilots attended an 8-week theoretical and practical training course at the Airbus training centre in Montreal. They are currently training their colleagues – including another 28 instructors who complete the pilot launch team – notably using a Full Flight Simulator (FFS) mounted on jacks, and assembled at Air France’s flight simulation centre at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Once Air France takes delivery of the first aircraft, this simulator training will be supplemented by approximately 20 flights in real conditions, with a view to obtaining the A220-300 type rating. Close to 700 Air France pilots will eventually be qualified on this aircraft.

The same core group system is being used for cabin crews, with 14 flight attendants trained in Zurich between September and December 2020. They are currently finalizing the training manuals and content that they themselves will be responsible for providing as from September 2021. The core group has selected and trained a group of 37 flight attendants to complete the practical flight training of cabin crews as soon as the A220 enters service. Two A220 door models have been installed at the Air France Crew Academy at Paray Vieille-Poste, near Paris-Orly, to train some 2,500 flight attendants.

In addition to the pilots and flight attendants, the entire company is preparing to welcome the Airbus A220. From maintenance to station staff, all operational sectors are getting ready for the arrival of this latest-generation aircraft.

The Air France Airbus A220 will be able to welcome 148 passengers in a 3-2 cabin configuration. Each seat will be equipped with type A and type C USB ports and all passengers will enjoy Wi-Fi access from their personal devices.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA Warns Governments on High Cost of Testing

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IATA Warns Governments on High Cost of Testing

Geneva, Switzerland, July 31, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to take action to address the high cost of COVID-19 tests in many jurisdictions and urged flexibility in permitting the use of cost-effective antigen tests as an alternative to more expensive PCR tests. IATA also recommended governments adopt recent World Health Organization (WHO) guidance to consider exempting vaccinated travelers from testing requirements.

According to IATA’s most recent traveler survey, 86% of respondents are willing to get tested. But 70% also believe that the cost of testing is a significant barrier to travel, while 78% believe governments should bear the cost of mandatory testing.

“IATA supports COVID-19 testing as a pathway to reopen borders to international travel. But our support is not unconditional. In addition to being reliable, testing needs to be easily accessible, affordable, and appropriate to the risk level. Too many governments, however, are falling short on some or all of these. The cost of testing varies widely between jurisdictions, with little relation to the actual cost of conducting the test. The UK is the poster child for governments failing to adequately manage testing. At best it is expensive, at worst extortionate. And in either case, it is a scandal that the government is charging VAT,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

The new generation of rapid tests cost less than $10 per test. Provided a confirmatory rRT-PCR test is administered for positive test results, WHO guidance sees Ag-RDT antigen testing as an acceptable alternative to PCR. And, where testing is a mandatory requirement, the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHRs) state that neither passengers nor carriers should bear the cost of testing.

Testing also needs to be appropriate to the threat level. For example, in the UK, the latest National Health Service data on testing arriving travelers show that more than 1.37 million tests were conducted on arrivals from so-called Amber countries. Just 1% tested positive over four months. Meanwhile, nearly three times that number of positive cases are being detected in the general population daily.

“Data from the UK government confirms that international travelers pose little to no risk of importing COVID-19 compared to existing levels of infection in the country. At the very least therefore, the UK government should follow WHO guidance and accept antigen tests which are fast, affordable and effective, with a confirmatory PCR test for those who test positive. This could be a pathway for enabling even unvaccinated people access to travel,” Walsh said.

Restarting international travel is vital to supporting the 46 million travel and tourism jobs around the world that rely on aviation. “Our latest survey confirms that the high cost of testing will bear heavily on the shape of the travel recovery. It makes little sense for governments to take steps to reopen borders, if those steps make the cost of travel prohibitive to most people. We need a restart that is affordable for all,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA: Air Travel Recovery Continues to Disappoint

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IATA: Air Travel Recovery Continues to Disappoint - AIRLINEHUB.comGeneva, Switzerland, July 29, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced passenger demand performance for June 2021 showing a very slight improvement in both international and domestic air travel markets. Demand remains significantly below pre-COVID-19 levels owing to international travel restrictions.

As comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted, all comparisons are to June 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern.

  • Total demand for air travel in June 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 60.1% compared to June 2019. That was a small improvement over the 62.9% decline recorded in May 2021 versus May 2019.
  • International passenger demand in June was 80.9% below June 2019, an improvement from the 85.4% decline recorded in May 2021 versus two years ago. All regions with the exception of Asia-Pacific contributed to the slightly higher demand.
  • Total domestic demand was down 22.4% versus pre-crisis levels (June 2019), a slight gain over the 23.7% decline recorded in May 2021 versus the 2019 period. The performance across key domestic markets was mixed with Russia reporting robust expansion while China returned to negative territory.

“We are seeing movement in the right direction, particularly in some key domestic markets. But the situation for international travel is nowhere near where we need to be. June should be the start of peak season, but airlines were carrying just 20% of 2019 levels. That’s not a recovery, it’s a continuing crisis caused by government inaction,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

International Passenger Markets

  • Asia-Pacific airlines’ June international traffic fell 94.6% compared to June 2019, unchanged from the 94.5% decline in May 2021 versus May 2019. The region had the steepest traffic declines for an eleventh consecutive month. Capacity dropped 86.7% and the load factor was down 48.3 percentage points to 33.1%, the lowest among regions.
  • European carriers saw their June international traffic decline 77.4% versus June 2019, a gain from the 85.5% decrease in May compared to the same month in 2019. Capacity declined 67.3% and load factor fell 27.1 percentage points to 60.7%.
  • Middle Eastern airlines posted a 79.4% demand drop in June compared to June 2019, improving from the 81.3% decrease in May, versus the same month in 2019. Capacity declined 65.3% and load factor deteriorated 31.1 percentage points to 45.3%.
  • North American carriers’ June demand fell 69.6% compared to the 2019 period, improving from the 74.2% decline in May versus two years ago. Capacity sank 57.3%, and load factor dipped 25.3 percentage points to 62.6%.
  • Latin American airlines saw a 69.4% drop in June traffic compared to the same month in 2019, improved over the 75.3% decline in May compared to May 2019. June capacity fell 64.6% and load factor dropped 11.3 percentage points to 72.7%, which was the highest load factor among the regions for the ninth consecutive month.
  • African airlines’ traffic fell 68.2% in June versus the same month two years ago, an improvement from the 71.5% decline in May compared to May 2019. June capacity contracted 60.0% versus June 2019, and load factor declined 14.5 percentage points to 56.5%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

  • China’s domestic traffic returned to negative territory in June, declining 10.8% compared to June 2019, following a 6.3% growth in May versus the same period in 2019. New restrictions had been introduced following a COVID-19 outbreak in several Chinese cities.
  • US domestic traffic improved from a 25.4% decline in May versus the same month in 2019, to a 14.9% decline in June. Life in the US was starting to see some normalcy following the easing of measures and the rapid rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination.

The Bottom Line

“With each passing day the hope of seeing a significant revival in international traffic during the Northern Hemisphere summer grows fainter. Many governments are not following the data or the science to restore the basic freedom of movement. Despite growing numbers of vaccinated people and improved testing capacity we are very close to losing another peak summer season on the important trans-Atlantic market. And the UK’s flip-flop to reinstate quarantine for vaccinated arrivals from France is the kind of policy development that destroys consumer confidence when it is most needed,” said Walsh.

“A risk-managed re-connecting of the world is what we need. Vaccinated travelers should have their freedom of movement returned. An efficient testing regime can sufficiently manage risks for those unable to be vaccinated. This is the underlying message in the latest WHO travel guidance. Some governments are moving in this direction. The UK, Singapore and Canada have indicated timelines to open their borders without quarantine for vaccinated travelers. The European Commission has recommended that its member states adopt travel protocols that are closely aligned with the WHO—including testing for unvaccinated travelers. Similar moves to re-open borders in line with the WHO guidance by US—leaders in vaccinating their populations—would give critical impetus to demonstrating that we can live and travel while managing the risks of COVID-19,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA: Passengers Confident in Onboard Safety

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IATA: Passengers Confident in Onboard Safety - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, July 26, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that based on its latest passenger survey conducted in June, most air travelers are confident about the safety of air travel and support mask-wearing in the near-term. However, a majority are also frustrated with the “hassle factor” around COVID-19 protocols, including confusion and uncertainty about travel rules, testing requirements, and excessive test costs.

The survey of 4,700 travelers in 11 markets around the world shows that:

  • 85% believe aircraft are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected
  • 65% agree the air on an aircraft is as clean as an operating room

Among those who have traveled since June 2020, 86% felt safe onboard owing to COVID-19 measures:

  • 89% believe protective measures are well implemented
  • 90% believe airline personnel do a good job of enforcing the measures

Passengers strongly support mask wearing onboard (83%) and strict enforcement of mask rules (86%), but a majority also believe the mask requirement should be ended as soon as possible.

“Air travelers recognize and value the safety measures put in place to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission during air travel. And they support the continuation of these measures as long as necessary, but they also don’t want the measures to become permanent. In the meantime, we all need to respect the rules and the safety of fellow passengers. It is unacceptable that unruly passenger incidents have doubled compared to 2019, and the increase in physically abusive behavior is a particular cause for great concern,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

At the same time, participants admit that they struggle with the COVID-related rules and requirements and that this impacts their willingness to travel:

  • 70% thought the rules and the accompanying paperwork were a challenge to understand
  • 67% saw arranging testing as a hassle
  • 89% agreed governments must standardize vaccinations/testing certifications

“These responses should be a wake-up call to governments that they need to do a better job of preparing for a restart. Almost two thirds of respondents plan to resume travel within a few months of the pandemic being contained (and borders opened). And by the six-month mark almost 85% expect to be back to travel. To avoid overwhelming airports and border control authorities, governments need to agree to replace paper-based processes with digital solutions like the IATA Travel Pass for vaccine and testing documentation,” said Walsh.

Almost nine out of ten respondents like the idea of using a mobile app to store their travel health credentials and 87% support a secure digital system to manage health credentials. However, 75% say they will only use an app if they have full control of their vaccine/test data. “IATA Travel Pass enables travelers to receive, store and share their health information with governments and airlines but they always keep control of the information on their own mobile device. Now is the time for governments to facilitate digital solutions like IATA Travel Pass to avoid chaos at airports as travel begins to return,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

European Commission Decisions Out of Touch with Reality, Damages Sustainability

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European Commission Decisions Out of Touch with Reality, Damages Sustainability

Geneva, Switzerland, July 24, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) branded the European Commission’s (EC) decision to set the winter slot use threshold at 50% as “out of touch with reality,” and argued that the EC had ignored the advice and evidence presented by EU member states and the airline industry, which had made the case for a much lower threshold.

The EC’s announcement means that, from November to April, airlines operating at slot-regulated airports must use at least half of every single series of slots they hold. There is no alleviation to hand back slots at the start of the season allowing airlines to match their schedule to realistic demand or enable other carriers to operate. Additionally, the rule on ‘force majeure’, by which the slot rule is suspended if exceptional circumstances related to the COVID pandemic are in effect, has been switched off for intra-EU operations.

The result of these changes will be to restrict the ability of airlines to operate with the agility needed to respond to unpredictable and rapidly changing demand, leading to environmentally wasteful and unnecessary flights. It will also further weaken the financial stability of the industry and hinder the recovery of the global air transport network.

“Once again the Commission has shown they are out of touch with reality. The airline industry is still facing the worst crisis in its history. The Commission had an open goal to use the slots regulation to promote a sustainable recovery for airlines, but they missed. Instead, they have shown contempt for the industry, and for the many member states that repeatedly urged a more flexible solution, by stubbornly pursuing a policy that is contrary to all the evidence presented to them,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

The Commission’s argument is that the intra-EU traffic recovery this summer justified a 50% use threshold with no alleviation. This flies in the face of significant evidence of the uncertain outlook for traffic demand this winter, provided by key EU member states as well as IATA and its members. For example:

  • The extent of intra-EU recovery is at best only a partial indicator of the extent of recovery at slot-constrained airports, where the key slots are needed for global traffic connections which have not yet recovered. IATA estimates that international travel will only reach 34% of 2019 levels by end of 2021 (see chart 1 below).
  • Winter demand always tracks below Summer demand, even in good years. And the evidence of forward bookings is that they are trending well below levels seen last Winter (see chart 2). Long haul bookings for the EU are currently averaging 20% of 2019 levels.
  • Despite the roll-out of vaccines, governments continue to be extremely cautious about opening borders. Their response to variants of concern is still to close borders or instigate quarantine measures which instantly kills travel demand. It is clear that European air travel demand is still extremely weak and unpredictable (Chart 3).

Other regulators around the world have understood the arguments. Regulators in the UK, China, Latin America and Asia-Pacific have put much more flexible measures in place. Only the EU has dogmatically insisted that traffic will return at a rate far beyond any reasonable forecast.

“There is a rich irony that only a week after the Commission released its ‘Fit for 55’ carbon emissions plan, it publishes a slots regulation that may force airlines to fly regardless of whether sufficient demand for that route exists. Transport Commissioner Valean said ‘We need to act with ambition for our planet, but without punishing our citizens or businesses.’ Clearly, this decision on slots fails to meet these conditions,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News