Qantas pilots vote in favour of Project Sunrise pay deal
March 30, 2020
Qantas long-haul pilots have voted in favour of a deal on pay and conditions for Project Sunrise flights. The deal means existing Qantas long-haul pilots will fly Airbus A350s if an order is made for the ultra-long-haul project, Australia’s biggest airline says in a statement. Project Sunrise is the airline's initiative to open nonstop services to the Australian east coast from New York and London from around 2022-23. The carrier had threatened to bypass unions in February, saying that it would negotiate directly with individual pilots or create a "new employment entity", if it could not come to an agreement with the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA). Qantas said today that over 1,400 pilots voted on the deal, with 85% in favour. “The vote came at a difficult time but it’s also important to keep looking ahead,” Qantas chief pilot Dick Tobiano states. Qantas has placed tentative orders for up to a dozen A350-1000s for Project Sunrise. Airbus has also agreed to extend the deadline for a decision on the order so both parties can cope with the coronavirus crisis, Tobiano says. “But when this period has passed, and it will, we will refocus our attention on Project Sunrise and the A350 order,” he promises.

Source: Cirium

Rex to maintain routes and jobs with new government lifeline
March 30, 2020
Australia's Regional Express says it will be able to maintain routes and jobs, thanks to a financial assistance package unveiled by the government over the weekend. Rex is the country's largest independent regional carrier and operates a fleet of 60 Saab 340 aircraft. It said today that it had been preparing to shut down its entire network and lay off 90% of staff but will now be able to continue operations in "almost its entire current network of 59 destinations". It will establish a revised schedule in the next two days. Deputy prime minister Michael McCormack announced on 28 March a A$198 million ($120 million) regional airline assistance package, underwriting airlines’ operating costs on selected routes. An additional A$100 million is also available as direct financial support for smaller regional airlines. “This package guarantees core routes for domestic air freight will remain open and essential workers remain employed, while providing vital financial support for airlines servicing regional and remote locations,” McCormack said in a statement. That comes on top of an A$715 million aviation relief scheme announced on March 18, which comprises the waiver of certain fees and charges. Rex welcomes the new regional package, saying it comes during “the worst operating conditions the industry has ever seen.”

Source: Cirium

China cuts overseas flights to stem imported coronavirus cases
March 27, 2020
The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) is further cutting the number of international flights allowed by both local and foreign carriers, in a bid to contain the "increasing risks" of imported coronavirus cases. Effective 29 March, each Chinese airline is allowed to operate just one route to any specific country, with no more than one flight per week. Similarly, each foreign airline is allowed one route to China, with no more than one weekly flight. Load factors on these flights must not exceed 75%. As a result, the CAAC expects weekly flight volumes to drop to 130, and the number of passengers arriving by air on each day to drop from the current 25,000 to about 5,000. "We will pay close attention to the changing situation of epidemics abroad and take further measures to tighten the total number of international passenger flights in accordance with the needs of prevention and control," the CAAC says. The CAAC is allowing airlines to keep the operating permits, as well as the take-off and landing slots relating to flights that the airlines will cut. They can also operate all-cargo flights with passenger aircraft, which will not be counted against the total number of passenger flights operated. Today, according to Reuters, mainland China reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus infection in three days, although cases imported from overseas continued to dominate the total number of new cases.

Source: Cirium


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