Air France brings its A380 operations to 'definitive end'
May 21, 2020
Air France has decided to not return its Airbus A380s to service, accelerating a previous retirement plan for the type because of the coronavirus crisis. The move disclosed today represents a "definitive end" of Air France's A380 operations, the airline says that it took the decision based on "anticipated activity levels" in the wake of the pandemic. Air France has nine remaining A380s – all are currently parked – having earlier this year retired one jet of the type. Under a previous timetable disclosed last year, the airline was set to phase out the A380 by the end of 2022. The retirement of the A380 fleet is part of a plan to operate "more modern, high-performance aircraft" which will make Air France's fleet "more competitive", it says. Air France has introduced A350's and Boeing 787's to its fleet, and has further aircraft of these types on order. The carrier's long-haul operation additionally includes 777's, A330 and A340's, though the A340's are likewise set to be phased out. The airline estimates it will incur €500 million ($540 million) in write-down costs because of the accelerated A380 retirement, and says it will book the loss during the second quarter as non-current expenses. Air France says it owns five of its A380's while the remaining four are leased. Cirium fleets data lists DS Aviation and ALM among the managers of Air France A380's.

Source: Cirium

​EasyJet hit by 'highly sophisticated' cyber-attack
May 20, 2020
EasyJet has disclosed that it was the target of a "highly sophisticated" cyber-attack in which the email addresses and travel details of 9 million customers were accessed. The airline admits in a 19 May notice to the London Stock Exchange that the credit-card details of 2,208 customers were also accessed in the attack, which it says came from a "highly sophisticated source". "As soon as we became aware of the attack, we took immediate steps to respond to and manage the incident and engaged leading forensic experts to investigate the issue," says EasyJet. "We also notified the National Cyber Security Centre and the ICO [Information Commissioner's Office]. We have closed off this unauthorised access." The airline adds that all affected customers will be notified by 29 May. Those customers whose credit-card details were hacked have already been contacted, it says. EasyJet has seen "no evidence" that any personal information has been misused, but is advising affected customers about "protective steps to minimise any risk of potential phishing". The airline's chief executive, Johan Lundgren, says it faces "an evolving threat as cyber attackers get ever more sophisticated", and that this threat has become more acute during the coronavirus pandemic. "Since we became aware of the incident, it has become clear that owing to Covid-19 there is heightened concern about personal data being used for online scams," states Lundgren. "As a result, and on the recommendation of the ICO, we are contacting those customers whose travel information was accessed and we are advising them to be extra vigilant, particularly if they receive unsolicited communications."

Source: Cirium

Rescuers believe Comair has ‘reasonable’ chance of survival
May 20, 2020
South African carrier Comair’s business rescue practitioners believe there is a reasonable chance of the Johannesburg-based airline’s being saved. The airline’s board opted to enter business rescue on 4 May. Practitioners Shaun Collyer and Richard Ferguson met with creditors and employees on 19 May to outline the carrier’s position. They state that there are “reasonable prospects” for Comair to be rescued, pointing out that the airline is a “critical infrastructure asset” for the country, holding a 39% market share of domestic travel before the coronavirus crisis. Its assets exceed its liabilities but the grounding of the airline, as a result of the South African lockdown on 26 March, means it is unable to generate revenues and has insufficient cash to meet obligations. South Africa’s government is to lift the lockdown in phases but Comair will not be able to restore domestic flights until several of these phases have been implemented. The rescue will involve restructuring the airline’s business, debts and equity to maximise its chances of remaining solvent and continuing operations. Comair will depend on post-commencement finance in order to continue with the business rescue plan which is due to be published on 9 June, with a vote on 24 June. “Support of key stakeholders – namely the banks and lessors – for the business rescue process is therefore required,” the practitioners state. “Without it, we will have no choice but to place the company in liquidation.” Comair has suffered financially from the predicament of flag-carrier South African Airways, against which it had been awarded a R1.1 billion ($60 million) settlement in a competition case. The practitioners state that R790 million of this sum will be “unrecoverable” as a result of SAA’s own filing for business rescue last December. Comair operates as a franchise partner for British Airways and also serves routes with the budget airline brand Kulula. South African air transport is experiencing a critical period as a result of SAA’s and Comair’s rescue, as well as the liquidation proceedings against regional operator SA Express.

Source: Cirium


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