Airports call for further support as UK suspends travel corridor scheme
January 18, 2021
UK airports are calling for further government support to cover operating costs after the suspension of the country’s safe travel corridors programme as part of efforts to counter further strains of the coronavirus. The UK government today announced all travel corridors with the UK will be suspended from 18 January, meaning all arrivals into the UK must take both a pre-departure test and self-isolate immediately for ten days on arrival. Visitors from Covid-19 low-risk countries and territories had previously been able to enter the UK without self isolating. In announcing the further restrictions, UK transport secretary Grant Shapps says: ”We are operating in a completely new environment in our fight against Covid-19, with several worrying new strains of the virus emerging across the globe.” The UK’s test to release initiative, under which the mandatory self-isolation can be cut to five days if a private negative Covid test is taken, remains in place. Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, says that while the move is understandable from a public health perspective, it adds to the current near-complete shutdown of the UK’s airports "The UK and devolved governments now need to set out as a matter of extreme urgency how they will support airports through this deepening crisis,” Dee says. ”Airports are doing so while running on empty – there is only so long they can run on fumes before having to close temporarily to preserve their business for the future. Government needs to help cover airports’ operational costs by, for example, urgently providing relief from regulatory, policing, air traffic and business rates costs in the current and the coming tax year.” Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade says, ”Travel corridors were a lifeline for the industry last summer and the government were right to bring them in when they did. But things change and there’s no doubting this is a serious health emergency and ministers need to act to keep borders safe and the public protected.” ”We therefore support this latest measure, on the assumption that we will work with Government – when the time is right – to remove these restrictions when it is safe to do so and start to open up our sector again, to support the UK’s economic recovery,” he adds.

Korean Air files Asiana acquisition with competition watchdog
January 15, 2021
Korean Air filed a business combination report with the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) on 14 January for its acquisition of Asiana Airlines. The application will be reviewed over 30 days and can be extended to 90 days if necessary, the commission said in a same-day statement. This does not include the time required for data reconciliation, it adds, and the entire process may exceed 120 days. KFTC further states that Korean Air has submitted applications for the acquisition to eight foreign competition authorities, including the USA, Japan, China, and the European Union.

Comac added to US government’s Chinese military blacklist
January 15, 2021
Chinese airframer Comac has landed on the US government’s blacklist of “communist Chinese military companies”, where it could face sanctions and an investment ban from US companies. The move by the Trump administration — in its last days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office — comes weeks after the airframer narrowly escaped being listed on the US government’s Military End User (MEU) list, where it would have been subjected to special export licensing requirements. In the latest update, Comac joins eight other Chinese firms across industries to be blacklisted by the US government, including Hainan Airlines sister carrier Grand China Air. Grand China Air, which is part of the HNA Group, has an 18.6% shareholding from US billionaire investor George Soros. While Comac does not have any shareholding from US companies, it is a major user of western aerospace technologies. At the heart of the list is the US government’s contention that Beijing is employing a “military-civil fusion development strategy” by using corporations as a means to harness civilian technologies for military purposes. The US Department of Defense states that it is “determined to highlight and counter” China’s strategy, which it adds “supports the modernisation goals of the People’s Liberation Army by ensuring its access to advanced technologies and expertise acquired and developed by even those PRC companies, universities, and research programmes that appear to be civilian entities”. The list seeks to ban future US investments, while existing investors will need to divest their shareholding by November. Comac, which manufactures the ARJ21 regional jet, as well as the in-development C919 narrowbody, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Comac and Grand China Air join several other aerospace-linked companies blacklisted in earlier tranches, including Avic and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), which manufactures military unmanned aerial vehicles. The list originates from a 1999 law requiring the US Department of Defense to identify companies owned or controlled by the PLA. In late December, the US released its MEU list, omitting Comac, but listing several Avic units that produce military aircraft, such as Chengdu Aircraft, Guizhou Aviation, Harbin General Aircraft, Shaanxi Aircraft Industry, Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, and Xian Aircraft Corporation.


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