​Norwegian concludes agreement with Boeing for 50 Max jets
June 23, 2022
Norwegian said on 22 June that the "various closing conditions" associated with its in-principle order for 50 Boeing 737 Max 8s have been met and that the order has been finalised. In May, the Norway-based carrier announced an agreement in principle for the purchase of 50 Max 8s with options for another 30 aircraft. Following the conclusion of the agreement, Norwegian estimates it will record a net gain of approximately NOK 2 billion ($202 million) in the second quarter of 2022, it says in a 22 June press release. It adds that Boeing and Norwegian have "filed to settle all outstanding legal disputes". “The agreement to purchase 50 brand-new and fuel-efficient aircraft constitutes a big leap forward in the strategy to solidify our market position in the Nordics,” says Geir Karlsen, chief executive of Norwegian. The 50 aircraft in the order are due to be delivered between 2025 and 2028, at a schedule "closely corresponding" to current aircraft lease expirations, Norwegian stated in a 30 May press release. The deal will lead to a "limited net increase" in the carrier's fleet. Norwegian said at that time that it intends to finance the outstanding balance of pre-delivery payments through positive cash flow from operating activities and that a "significant share" of the aircraft will be owned by the company, thus "ensuring an optimised and balanced aircraft financing structure".

Cathay to hire over 8,000 staff by end 2023 ahead of recovery
June 22, 2022
Cathay Pacific Group plans to recruit over 8,000 staff by the end of 2023 to meet manpower needs ahead of an “anticipated recovery in Hong Kong and global aviation in this period”. The Hong Kong-based group advised that the recruitment is part of a “continual review of people requirements” for the next 18-24 months, given the lead time required for recruitment and training. Mainline carrier Cathay Pacific is looking to hire “more than 4,000 frontline staff” by end-2023 to meet operational needs. This comprises over 700 pilots, more than 2,000 cabin crew and over 1,000 customer service officers and contact agents. The remaining positions are with subsidiaries HK Express, Air Hong Kong, as well as in airport services, cargo terminal and catering services. The group resumed recruitment for pilots last summer, bringing onboard about 300 pilots for the group’s airlines, as well as cabin crew, including former staff it let go during a restructuring in 2020. This comes as the group is targeting to “more than double” its network by the end of 2022 from the 30 destinations at the start of the year, representing about half of the 119 destinations it flew at the end of 2019. As of June, the group has resumed flights to 45 destinations. The group states: “We are encouraged by the Hong Kong SAR government’s recent adjustments to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which will help facilitate the gradual resumption of travel activities and the strengthening of network connectivity to and from the Hong Kong hub. “We are working to help Hong Kong retain its status as a leading international aviation hub, ensuring the flow of people and goods between the city and the world,” it adds. Cathay confirms that about one-third of passenger aircraft are parked in locations outside of Hong Kong, similar to the level in its 2021 annual report, where about 37% remained parked as of the end of 2021. Data shows that the group has parked 96 aircraft out of its fleet of 226 passenger and freighter aircraft, or about 42%. All aircraft in storage are passenger aircraft, and they consist of 34 Airbus A320ceo/neo-family jets, 23 A330-300s, three A350-900s and 36 Boeing 777-300s. Cathay’s plans to ramp up operations come amid comments that Hong Kong risks losing its competitive edge as an aviation hub. Speaking at the IATA AGM in Doha, IATA director general Willie Walsh warned that Hong Kong faces rising competitive pressure from regional rivals as it remains largely closed due to its strict Covid policies. He notes that Hong Kong’s closure is damaging structural demand at its airport and threatening its position as a hub. Traffic figures for May indicate that Hong Kong International airport handled 170,000 passengers, a figure up 186% year on year but significantly below pre-pandemic levels.

​EasyJet's Spain-based crew to strike for nine days in July
June 22, 2022
UK low-cost carrier EasyJet is facing nine days of strikes by cabin crew based in Spain this summer, amid ongoing disruption to its schedules caused by air traffic control delays and staff shortages at airports across Europe. The USO union, which represents EasyJet's Spain-based cabin crew members, says in a 21 June statement that 450 members based at Barcelona, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca plan to walk out on 1-3 July, 15-17 July and 29-31 July to protest pay and working conditions. The union is calling for EasyJet's Spanish staff to be paid the same as employees based in France and Germany. It says it has been negotiating with the airline since February but no agreement has been reached. In recent days, EasyJet has slashed its capacity forecast for the third quarter ending 30 June and the fourth quarter ending 30 September, as part of a series of "pre-emptive actions" to increase resilience throughout the summer. The airline recently announced flight caps at London Gatwick and Amsterdam airports to avoid further flight cancellations.
EasyJet says it is "extremely disappointed" with the planned strike action, "as we have made considerable progress towards a new CLA [collective labour agreement] and so would like to continue the constructive dialogue with them".
It adds: "Should the industrial action go ahead there could be some disruption to our flying programme to and from Malaga, Palma and Barcelona during the strike period. But at this stage, EasyJet plans to operate its full schedule and we would like to reassure customers that we will do everything possible to minimise any disruption."


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