Ethiopian to resume 737 Max flights in February
December 30, 2021
Ethiopian Airlines is preparing to return the Boeing 737 Max to its active fleet, with its first flight of the type in nearly three years scheduled for 1 February. The carrier says it is in the "final stage" of returning the aircraft, which was grounded worldwide following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March 2019. “Safety is our top-most priority at Ethiopian Airlines and it guides every decision we make and all actions we take", Ethiopian Airlines Group chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam states. "It is in line with this guiding principle that we are now returning the 737 Max to service not only after the recertification by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), EASA of Europe, Transport Canada, CAAC, ECAA and other regulatory bodies but also after the return to service by more than 34 airlines around the world." Following the crash in March 2019, Ethiopian committed to being among the last airlines to return the type to service, with the decision to resume operations having been taken after an assessment of the design modification work and 20-month-long recertification process. "The airplane model has accumulated more than 275,000 commercial flights since the resumption of 737 Max operation a year ago," adds GebreMariam. Ethiopian will release further details on its plans for the 737 Max in January. Data shows that Ethiopian currently has four 737 Max aircraft in storage and 25 on order, with five purchase options.

USA should consider domestic flight vaccine mandate: top advisor
December 29, 2021
Mandating that domestic air passengers in the USA are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 is something that should be "seriously considered", Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has said. In a 27 December interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show, Fauci, who is also US president Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, said a domestic travel mandate would serve a different purpose to one already imposed on international arrivals. "You've got to ask yourself: 'Why it is you are making that requirement?'" he said. "If you're making a requirement for vaccination for people to get on planes who are coming into the country, that's understandable; you don't want to bring more cases into the country. But if you're talking about requiring vaccination to get on a plane domestically, that is just another one of the requirements that I think is reasonable to consider." Fauci described a domestic travel vaccination mandate as something that would be "another incentive to get more people vaccinated". He declined to say whether he would be recommending such a mandate to the president "for the simple reason… that I don't want to be publicly telling what I'm recommending to the president, because then if the president doesn't do it, I don't want to make it look like he's going against it". He added: "The president takes all recommendations, all discussions and as a group we make a decision about what's best to do." Currently, with certain exceptions, passengers arriving from outside the USA need to be fully vaccinated with an accepted Covid-19 vaccine, provide a negative result of a Covid-19 viral test taken no more than one day before boarding a flight to the USA, and complete and sign an attestation that they are fully vaccinated and have fulfilled the testing requirement, according to the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Following his MSNBC interview, Fauci was interviewed on CNN, according to a 27 December Politico report, where he clarified that "right now" he did not think "people should expect that we're going to have a requirement in domestic flights for people to be vaccinated". "When I was asked that question, I gave an honest answer," he said, referring to the same-day MSNBC interview. "It’s on the table, and we consider it. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I doubt if we’re going to see something like that in the reasonably foreseeable future.” In October, US senator Dianne Feinstein introduced to the Senate a bill that would require all passengers on domestic airline flights to be fully vaccinated, have recently tested negative for Covid-19, or have fully recovered from Covid-19. At least one domestic airline, JetBlue, expressed concern about the operational complexity of implementing such a mandate. On 20 December, Feinstein and three other members of Congress authored a letter to CDC director Rochelle Walensky and Federal Aviation Administration administrator Steve Dickson urging them to implement a domestic travel vaccine mandate. "Travel at our nation’s airports has essentially returned to pre-pandemic levels but the risk from Covid-19, including from its new variant Omicron, continues to present a major public health threat," they wrote. "Requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for domestic flights would improve public health and address concerns that passengers have about flying."

Ural Airlines takes delivery of one A321neo
December 29, 2021
Ural Airlines has added a new Airbus А321neo aircraft to its fleet. The Russian carrier says the aircraft, with registration VP-BFO, arrived from the airframer’s facility in Hamburg, Germany, on 23 December. The aircraft, equipped with CFM International Leap-1A32 engines, is the sixth A321neo-NX and the ninth neo in Ural's fleet, the airline notes. The latest addition takes Ural's overall fleet to 52, comprising 14 А321, 24 А320, five А319, three А320neo and six А321neo aircraft.


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