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Airbus Delivered 50 Aircraft In May While Taking 7 New Orders



Airbus today released its order and delivery figures for the month of May. The number of deliveries was up from April for a total of 50, with the majority represented by A320 and A321neos. Meanwhile, the planemaker giant only received seven new orders. The majority of those, perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, were instead represented by the A350.

JetBlue Airbus A220
JetBlue took delivery of its third A220 in May. Photo: Airbus

Total of 220 deliveries for 2021

From May 1st to 3st, Airbus delivered 50 planes 32 to customers worldwide, a slight increase from 45 in April. This takes the planemaker’s total deliveries for the year to 220, quite the auspicious number given the success of Airbus’ A220. Four of the manufacturer’s much-lauded smaller jet found new homes in the month that passed, taking the total delivered in 2021 this far to 13.

All 220-300s, one went to American Airlines and one to SWISS on May 20th. JetBlue took its third A220 on May 21, having received its second less than a month prior on April 27th. Its first out of an order for 60 of the planes arrived at New York’s JFK on New Year’s Eve but did not operate its first passenger revenue service until late April. Rounding out May’s A220 deliveries was Air Canada, with the plane making the short one-hour journey from Airbus’ Mirabel factory in Montreal to Toronto.


The majority of Airbus’ deliveries in May were A320neos. CMB Financial Leasing took two on behalf of Saudi low-cost carrier Flynas, delivered on May the 5th and 10th, respectively, while the airline took a wholly-owned jet on the last day of the month. China Eastern Airlines took five – two on May 7th, then one on May 11th, 17th, and 24th. Sky Express received one on May 10th, followed by one for Avolon on behalf of Spirit Airlines a couple of days later.

China Eastern A320neo
China Eastern took a full five A32neos in May. Photo: N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons

From May 17th to 19th, IndiGo, Juneyao, Shenzen, and Frontier Airlines all took one A320neo each, followed by one for Qingdao Airlines on the 20th. A day later, one went to Colorful Guizhou Airlines via Aviation Capital Group. The same lessor owns the one delivered to Viva Air Colombia on the 25th. One went to Vistara on May 26th, followed by one each to Air China and Chile’s Sky Airline before the end of the month.


Airbus delivered three A321ceo jets. They all went to Delta Air Lines on May 4th, 6th, and 27th. However, 18 A321neos also made their way to their owners. Lufthansa took the first two of the month on May 3rd and 5th. Wizz Air Hungary took its first of the month on May 10th and its second on May 19th, while its UK subsidiary received one on May 20th. BOC Aviation took two for Scoot on the 14th and 20th, respectively.

India, England, Red List
Lufthansa took two A321neos in May. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

On May 14th, leasing giant GECAS took one for private Pakistani carrier Airblue. VietJet Air took one on the same day, while another A321neo was delivered to Cebu Pacific one day later. American Airlines took one on May 20th. From May 25th onwards, Airbus delivered one A321neo each to JetBlue, Air Busan via AerCap, Aeroflot via SMBC, Turkish Airlines, China Southern, and Air Macau, also via AerCap. Rounding out the narrowbody month was Asiana Airlines.

Five widebody deliveries

Widebody deliveries, naturally sparse on any given month but particularly so given recovery projections and subsequent deferrals, were few and far between. Delta Air Lines took one A330-900 on May 27th. Turkish Airlines took one A350-900 on May 5th and Aeroflot two of the same model on May 27th. One A380 went, unsurprisingly as it is the only remaining customer, to Emirates on May 12th.

The countdown to the final A380 delivery continues. Photo: Getty Images.

However, the largest order for the month of May was for dual-aisle jets. Lufthansa placed an order with Airbus for five A350-900s. Meanwhile, Mexican ultra-low-cost airline Volaris signed up for two A320neos. While total delivery numbers were up for the month, May’s orders were a mere fraction of April’s 48, significantly bolstered by Delta’s 25 A321neo jets.

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Aer Lingus CEO Critical Of Irish Government Travel Easing



Next month, the Irish government is planning to relax its restrictions on international travel. This could be seen as a sign of a more promising summer ahead for the country’s flag carrier, Aer Lingus. However, the airline’s CEO, Lynne Embleton, has criticized the plan, questioning whether it will be enough to restore its former network and staff numbers.

Are the planned relaxations too little too late? Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Too little, too late?

You might have thought that the Irish government’s planned relaxation of travel restrictions would galvanize the country’s airline industry. After all, to use an example from across the Irish Sea, the UK has seen strong booking increases on routes to destinations its ‘green list,’ which came into place in May. However, Aer Lingus does not share such optimism.

Specifically, its CEO, Lynne Embleton, has criticized the Irish government’s plans as being too little, too late. Her primary concern is that the planned relaxations will not come soon enough to have a meaningful effect on the airline’s recovery prospects, in terms of both its network and its staff numbers. According to the Irish Times, she told politicians that:

It’s looking too little too late to really have a significant bounce that will get us onto the right path to restoring connectivity and jobs.”

The government is set to ease its travel restrictions on July 19th. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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Shannon takes the hit

Embleton’s concerns about restoring jobs at the airline are understandable, given the cuts that it has already had to make amid the pandemic. In March, it had to temporarily lay off 129 staff members in Shannon, with 130 in Cork set to suffer a similar fate after the summer.

Shannon, in particular, has taken a significant operational hit, with job cuts resulting in Aer Lingus closing its base there. This decision is set to be permanent, in the hope that it improves the airline’s cash flow. That being said, Embleton stated that “we want to fly to the regions,” so the airline won’t withdraw its services altogether. She explained further that:

We will not be reversing that decision. It’s the right decision to get Aer Lingus flying, generating cash and generating jobs.”

Aer Lingus closed its Shannon base to aid its recovery elsewhere. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Manchester summer season also lost

This summer was also supposed to herald the start of transatlantic operations from Aer Lingus’s new base at Manchester Airport in the northwest of England. Its planned services from there to New York, Orlando (both this year), Barbados, and Boston (both next year) will see it face off against Virgin Atlantic on these potentially lucrative point-to-point routes.

The Irish flag carrier had planned to launch these flights, operated by a subsidiary known as Aer Lingus UK, in July. However, ongoing uncertainty regarding the short-term future of international travel continues to prevail. As such, it has rescheduled the launch for September, further dampening the prospects of a summer recovery.

What do you make of Ms Embleton’s criticism of the Irish government’s planned easing of travel curbs? Have you flown with Aer Lingus since the pandemic began? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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Startup Sky Alps Starts Flights Following Short Delay



Following a few initial hiccups, the Italian regional leisure startup airline Sky Alps began commercial operations on June 17, 2021. The airline’s initial launch date was delayed by five days due to the late delivery of the first of two leased De Havilland Dash 8-400s from Canadian lessor Chorus Aviation. Because Sky Alps is not certificated, the aircraft will be operated on the Italian’s behalf by Maltese private air charter company Luxwing.

Sky Alps Dash 8-400
Luxwing will be operating the flights on behalf of Sky Alps. Photo: Sky Alps

Aviation data and statistics website ch-aviation says that the delay was due to a bureaucratic hold-up involving the aircraft’s registration in Malta and the issuance of documents needed for the aircraft to commence commercial service. The second aircraft is expected to arrive from Malta in the coming days. The two aircraft registered as G-ECOK and G-ECOO are both just over 12 years old and were previously operated by now-defunct British short-haul specialist Flybe.

Other airlines tried flying from Bolzano

Sky Alps is a subsidiary of Italian renewable energy firm Fri-El Green Power, which also has the management contract for Bolzano – Dolomiti Airport (BZO), where the two aircraft will be based.

Located in the Province of South Tyrol in Northern Italy, Bolzano is a city in the Italian Alps with around 107,000 people. Other than its tiny airport, the two closest airports of any size are Verona Villafranca Airport (VRN) which is 155 kilometers (96 miles), and Innsbruck Airport (INN) in Austria, which is 122 kilometers ( 75 miles) away.

Since BZO was modernized in 1999, several airlines have tried to establish air connections from Bolzano. Austria’s Tyrolean Airways was the first to try offering flights between Bolzano, Rome, and Frankfurt. But, unfortunately, both routes were unprofitable, and the Innsbruck-based carrier pulled out.
In 2020 another Austrian airline Air Alps tried and failed, as did Switzerland’s Darwin Airlines, with its attempt to connect the Alpine city with Rome.
Over the past couple of years, charter flights operated by Austrian Airlines to resort destinations in Southern Italy have seen promise, which is perhaps why Sky Alps thinks they can make a go of it.

Sky Alps has six destinations from BZO

Just like Austrian Airways, Sky Alps will be using Dash 8-400s on its routes to the following destinations:

  • Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport (OLB)
  • Rome–Fiumicino International Airport (FCO)
  • Parma Airport (PMF)
  • Düsseldorf International Airport (DUS)
  • Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt (BER)
  • Ibiza Airport (IBZ)
Several flights will make a stopover in Palma. Image: GCmaps

Calling themselves “The Ambassador of the Alps,” Sky Alps hope to succeed with a leisure-based airline with its summer flights to Sardina and the Spanish Balearic Island of Ibiza. The flights to Rome make sense as it is the Italian capital. However, the ones to Germany make you want to scratch your head until you realize that most people regard German as being their first language in this part of Italy.

The flights will have a stopover at PMF

Besides being a foodie heaven with its famous prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano–Reggiano cheese, Palma seems like a strange city for a flight originating in Bolzano. However, looking at the Sky Alps route map, we see that the airlines’ flights to Sardina, Ibiza, and Rome all make a stopover in Palma. Sky Alps first flight to Ibiza also stopped in Sardinia, which we will look into to see if it was a one-off or if they plan to stop at OLB before going on to IBZ.

Sky Alps Dash-8
Bolzano is the gateway to the Dolomites. Photo: Sky Alps

During the winter, the flights to Sardina and Italy will be dropped while Sky Alps looks to bring winter sports enthusiasts to the Italian Alps. Regarded as being the gateway to the Dolomites, Bolzano has 42 ski areas within an hour’s drive that include the popular resorts of Val Gardena, Selva -Sella Ronda, and Alta Badia.

Do you think that Sky Alps will be able to succeed where others have failed? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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New Zealand pauses trans-Tasman bubble to NSW again



Air New Zealand and Qantas aircraft pictured together by Victor Pody

New Zealand will pause the trans-Tasman bubble to NSW for the second time on Tuesday night for three days.

The decision follows the Australian state recording 10 new local cases of COVID, though significantly eight of those were already isolating and nine were close contacts to previously identified cases.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that while the risk to health remains low, there were still “several unknowns” that led to the country taking a “precautionary approach”.

Quarantine-free travel between the two countries only started in April, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had warned the agreement would be temporarily halted in the event of a lockdown.

The deal has been twice paused to WA when cases were identified there, and once previously to NSW and Victoria.

When New Zealand announced it was starting quarantine-free travel, it said it was doing so under the guidance of what PM Ardern called “flyer beware”. In the event of a COVID cluster, the country will reserve the right to continue, pause or suspend the arrangement.

If a case was found that was clearly linked to a quarantine facility staff member and was well contained, travel will likely continue.


If a case was found that was not clearly linked, and a state responded by a short lockdown to identify more information, New Zealand would likely pause flights from that state in the same way as flights have been paused previously.

But if multiple cases occurred from an unknown origin, flights would likely be suspended for a set period of time.

The last pause to NSW was lifted after only a few days back in May.

The two-way arrangement officially opened on 18 April at 11:59pm and initially, Air New Zealand operated 30 flights on launch day, and Qantas and Jetstar 29.

Qantas and Jetstar will operate 83 per cent of their pre-COVID capacity to New Zealand now the bubble has launched, and also start two new routes from Auckland to Cairns and the Gold Coast.

In total, the Qantas Group revealed will operate up to 122 return flights per week across the Tasman on 15 routes, or 52,000 seats each week. It had been operating at just 3 per cent pre-COVID capacity during the current one-way arrangement.

Air New Zealand’s 30 daily flights are set to grow to more than 300 per week operating from Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth and Sydney into Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

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Etihad’s Interesting Boeing 787 Dreamliner Triangle Route To Vienna



Etihad Airways is set to launch a twice-weekly service to Vienna this summer. The route will start in just under a month, with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner serving the route. The route comes as travel restrictions remain in place in both directions.

Etihad, Boeing 787-10, Vienna
Etihad Airways is launching a twice-weekly service to Vienna International Airport. Photo: Boeing

Around the world, airlines are looking to rebuild their flight schedules after the worst 15 months imaginable. While some airlines, such as Qatar Airways, continued flying through the height of the pandemic, others such as Etihad weren’t so lucky. The UAE grounded all airlines towards the end of March 2020, with a long recovery still ahead.

Flying to Vienna

Etihad Airways will launch twice-weekly flights to Vienna next month. The flights are due to start on July 18th and will depart from Abu Dhabi on Thursdays and Sundays. As Etihad has been trimming its fleet lately, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has become the main tool in its arsenal.

Interestingly, according to flight schedule data, the flight will not head directly back to Abu Dhabi. Instead, it will proceed onwards to Milan’s Malpensa Airport, before returning home. Three different sets of tickets are on sale for the route right now,

  • Abu Dhabi to Vienna
  • Vienna to Abu Dhabi
  • Milan to Abu Dhabi

It is not possible to fly from Abu Dhabi or Vienna to Milan on this service. For those seeking to fly to Milan, another direct service is in operation. According to flight schedule data, the flights will be operated to the following schedule,

  • EY 147 – Abu Dhabi (AUH) 07:30 – Vienna (VIE) 11:20 – 05h50m
  • EY 147 – Vienna (VIE) 12:45 – Milan Malpensa (MXP) 14:15 – 01h30m
  • EY147 – Milan Malpensa (MXP) 15:40 – Abu Dhabi (AUH) 23:25 – 05h55m
Etihad, Boeing 787-10, Vienna
The flight returns to Abu Dhabi via Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Photo: Cirium

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Using the Boeing 787-10

According to data from, the Abu-Dhabi-based carrier currently has 39 787 Dreamliners, of which just nine are the larger -10 model. Etihad hasn’t revealed which variant it will use for the service, although flight schedules indicate that the -10 will fly to Vienna, meaning that the city could get a visit from the Greenliner, or a former Boeing ecoDemonstrator. Etihad is offsetting all the CO2 generated by its Greenliner liveried 787-10 this year.

The Etihad Boeing 787-10 comes in a two cabin configuration, seating a total of 336 guests. According to data, the front of the aircraft has 32 business class seats in a 1-2-1 layout. These seats have a pitch of 73 inches (185 cm). Behind this is the economy cabin comprising 304 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. These seats have a pitch of 31 inches (79 cm).

Etihad, Boeing 787-10, ecoDemonstrator
The airline’s Boeing 787-10 will be deployed on the route. Photo: Etihad

Etihad’s nine Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft are registered consecutively from A6-BMA to A6-BMI. The oldest is 2.79 years old, while the youngest (A6-BMI) is just 0.86 years old. According to’s data, A6-BMI has a current market value of $126.12 million, despite having been used as part of Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program.

Are you excited to see Etihad’s new triangle route take to the skies? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.

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