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COVID-19: Air Canada extends flight ban from India to June 22

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From Global News – link to source story and videos

By Eric Stober, Global News | May 13, 2021

Click to play video: 'Travel restrictions leave Toronto couple stranded in India'
Travel restrictions leave Toronto couple stranded in India

Air Canada has extended the flight ban from India to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but the federal government has not announced the same.

“We have further extended the suspension of our flights from India until June 22,” Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said in a statement.

“We did this in anticipation of the existing suspension on flights between the two countries being extended.”

The flight ban from India and Pakistan was originally announced by the federal government April 22 and was set for 30 days. Air Canada does not operate flights to or from Pakistan.

Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Allison St. Jean said in a statement that the ministry is monitoring the COVID-19 situation in India and Pakistan closely and will determine next steps based on “evidence and advice of public health experts.” She did not confirm whether the federal government will extend its ban.

“Any recent decisions announced by Air Canada are operational and made on their own accord,” St. Jean said.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: India struggles to vaccinate citizens amid supply shortage'COVID-19: India struggles to vaccinate citizens amid supply shortage

The ban was initially set to protect Canada from the B.1.617 COVID-19 variant spreading rapidly in India.

Canada has not identified the variant as a “variant of concern” (VOC) yet but instead as a “variant of interest” — although the U.K. and the World Health Organization recently labelled it a VOC.

Canada’s ban does not affect cargo flights and only applies to direct flights. Travellers from India can still enter the country indirectly, but they must present a negative COVID-19 test before departing for Canada.

The India variant has already been detected in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

India is still grappling with the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Deaths in the country from the virus recently passed a quarter million, while nearly 400,000 new cases are reported daily.

At the time the federal government first announced the ban, half of air travellers arriving in Canada that had tested positive for COVID-19 had come from India, even though only one-fifth of flights were from the country, according to Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

However, since the ban, it has been revealed that 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases from all Canadian air travel came from domestic flights, according to federal data.

There are currently no federal bans on domestic flight travel.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for additional travel measures, such as a mandatory quarantine from entering the country via land.

— With files from Reuters, David Lao, Saba Aziz, Rachel Gilmore and Amanda Connelly

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Source: https://canadianaviationnews.wordpress.com/2021/05/13/covid-19-air-canada-extends-flight-ban-from-india-to-june-22/

Aviation

Regional Express Says Qantas Desperate To Kill It Off

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Australia’s Regional Express (Rex) has alleged that larger local rival airline Qantas is “desperate to kill it off.” It was one of a series of claims Rex’s Deputy Chairman made in a media statement on Wednesday. The claims are the latest in a war of words between the two airlines.

rex-says-qantas-trying-to-kill-off
Regional Express (Rex) claims larger rival Qantas is trying to kill it off. Photo: Rex

Wednesday’s comments, attributed to Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp, continues a pattern of outlandish claims from Rex regarding Qantas. Rex’s antagonism towards Qantas stems from its belief the bigger airline is dumping capacity onto regional routes within Australia and trying to force Rex out of certain markets.

Rex repeats claims regarding Qantas’ finances

In addition to running an anti-Qantas media campaign, Rex has raised its capacity dumping concerns with Australia’s competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Amid these claims, the ACCC is keeping an eye on the local industry. Last week, the ACCC said it would take enforcement action if necessary.

Welcoming the ACCC position, Rex took the opportunity to again round on Qantas, repeating allegations of “technical insolvency,” unconscionable use of taxpayer’s money, holding onto customer’s ticket money, and trying to kill off Rex.

“On face value, Qantas is technically insolvent with net tangible assets over a hundred times smaller than Rex’s. Its unencumbered cash is insufficient to refund the tickets that are eligible for a refund,” said Mr Sharp today.

Rex claims Qantas has been selling international travel tickets for flights it has no chances of flying, merely to generate cash. Simple Flying does not say any of these claims are true, only that Rex has made them.

“Qantas’ situation is so dire that it needed one of the largest bail-outs in Australian corporate history from the Commonwealth amounting to (AU)$1.5 billion to date and possibly reaching (AU)$2 billion by year-end. In these circumstances, it is unconscionable to be using taxpayer’s money to fund heavily loss-making and anti-competitive actions that harm consumers by damaging and weakening competition.”

rex-says-qantas-trying-to-kill-off
Rex is accusing Qantas of “technical insolvency,” unconscionable use of taxpayer’s money, holding onto customer’s ticket money, and trying to kill off Rex. Photo: Qantas

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Qantas refutes Rex’s allegations

For its part, Qantas has a dedicated page on its website rebuffing Rex’s claims. The airline denies claims it is technically insolvent, saying it is one of the few airlines anywhere to retain an investment-grade credit rating. As of April 30, Qantas was sitting on US$1.81 billion in available cash and US$1.21 billion of undrawn debt facilities. Qantas expects to be cash-flow positive in the second half of 2021.

Australia’s national carrier also denies it got excess funding from the Commonwealth. Qantas acknowledges it received significant Commonwealth funding, but Qantas also notes it has a 70% market share within Australia. The airline says if you go by business size, Rex received seven times as much Commonwealth funding in 2020 as Qantas did. Qantas also says the bulk of any Commonwealth financial support it did get was in the form of payroll assistance, and that went straight to employees rather than the airline.

Qantas also disputes they’ve been selling tickets on international services the airline never intended to operate.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve regularly adjusted our assumptions for the restart of our international operations,” the airline says.

“As we’ve seen with the New Zealand bubble, which opened earlier than anticipated, things can change quickly. We maintain the flexibility to bring forward, push back or stagger the resumption of our international flights.

“If a customer’s Qantas flight is canceled due to COVID, they can choose between rebooking, a voucher, or a refund. Most customers have opted for a travel voucher.”

rex-says-qantas-trying-to-kill-off
Rex’s Deputy Chairman, John Sharp. Photo: Rex

Rex says it is one of the most efficient and best-performing airlines in the world

No airline has a perfect track record when it comes to refunds in the last year. Rex recently posted full-page ads in major Australian newspapers that highlighted social media complaints about Qantas and its refund process. However, Qantas seems happy to roll with the social media punches. Rex, in contrast, deletes negative social media comments made on its pages. The airline says it chooses to restrict public access to biased or unreasonable posts.

Rex prefers to create a sunnier outlook regarding its fortunes. While plenty of people are dubious about Rex’s chances to succeed with its new Boeing 737 services (competing against Qantas), John Sharp insists all is going well at the airline. Remarkably well, in fact.

“Rex is one of the most efficient and best-performing airlines in the world over the last 12 years, on par with Southwest Airlines and twice as profitable as Singapore Airlines,” Rex’s Deputy Chairman says.

“Understandably, Qantas is desperate to kill off Rex as it knows that it will have no chance against Rex once the latter is fully established in the domestic market.”

rex-says-qantas-trying-to-kill-off
Some question the long-term viability of Rex’s new Boeing 737 services. Photo: Rex

Qantas CEO says credibility is everything

Simple Flying doesn’t know what Qantas really thinks about Rex. Probably not much, other than wishing they’d shut up. Qantas has long said it welcomes competition, saying competition makes Qantas a better airline. But occasionally, exasperated Qantas executives will lob a volley back.

“The frequency with which Rex makes baseless criticisms of Qantas points to it being a key part of their strategy. That strategy is driven by John Sharp, who left politics under a cloud and has shown an approach to corporate communications that seems to confuse it for parliamentary privilege,” wrote Qantas CEO Alan Joyce wrote in April.

“In business, credibility is everything. Your customers, investors, and the market need to know they can believe what you’re saying.”

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/rex-qantas-dispute/

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Aviation

Two planes mid-air caught up in SA ban on NSW arrivals

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A Virgin 737-8FE, VH-VUP, as shot by Victor Pody
A Virgin 737-8FE, VH-VUP, as shot by Victor Pody

Passengers on two aircraft flying from Sydney to Adelaide face being turned back or forced into hotel quarantine after SA made its decision to ban NSW entrants effective immediately.

SA authorities said the decision to return passengers wouldn’t affect local residents returning home, and all people would be dealt with on a “case-by-case basis for those who are in the air”.

Australian Aviation can reveal the aircraft affected are:

  • A Qantas 737-838, VH-VZK msn 34204, which departed Sydney at 12:35pm as flight QF739 and was due to land in Adleaide at 2:10pm local time;
  • And a Virgin 737-8FE, VH-YFX msn 41013, which departed Sydney 2:38pm as flight VA424 and will land in Adelaide at 3:45pm.

Dr Emily Kirkpatrick, the deputy chief public health officer of SA Health, said, “It’s a very, very long list of exposure sites [in New South Wales] so we will need to go back and ask those individuals where they have been.”

The new SA rules mean all non-residents who have been in NSW within the last 14 days will not be permitted to enter South Australia without an exemption, including people currently in transit.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said the decision was made due to increasing concern over the Bondi cluster in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The hard border excludes a 100-kilometre buffer zone for cross border communities along the SA-New South Wales border.

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Earlier on Wednesday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced her state’s border will shut to seven additional NSW local government areas, as the Bondi cluster grew by 16 cases overnight.

The new rules, which come into effect as of 1:00am on Thursday, include travellers from Sydney City, Bayside, Woollahra, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick, along with the previously-declared hotspot of Waverley Council.

It comes as NSW braces itself for more states to strengthen their entry requirements or close their borders after Premier Gladys Berejiklian introduced some of the strictest COVID restrictions since the initial lockdown last year.

Late on Tuesday, Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton Sutton declared seven Sydney local government areas red zones, effectively banning them from entering, joining similar action from the NT.

Sydney’s Bondi cluster now stands at a total of 31 cases.

Those who have visited a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days will be refused entry to Queensland, or otherwise require an exemption to enter the state.

Meanwhile, returning Queenslanders who have been in a hotspot will be required to under go mandatory hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Premier Palaszczuk said the decision to shut the border to thousands of Sydneysiders was made over “serious concerns” surrounding the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, which is currently spreading in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

‘We can’t afford to have this variant out,” she said.

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young again warned Queenslanders against travelling to greater Sydney or Wollongong during the upcoming school holiday period.

“At the start of this pandemic, I spoke about 15 minutes of close contact being a concern – now it looks like it’s five or 10 seconds,” Dr Young said.

“​​​​​We’re seeing very fleeting contact leading to transmission … the risk is so much higher now than it was only a year ago.”

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Source: https://australianaviation.com.au/2021/06/two-planes-mid-air-caught-up-in-sa-ban-on-nsw-arrivals/

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Aviation

The Last Stretch – Will Jet Airways Finally Resume Flights?

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Jet Airways cleared a crucial hurdle on its path to resurrection this week. The carrier’s Resolution Plan was accepted by the bankruptcy court after over eight months, clearing the way for operations to restart. So will Jet Airways fly again? When will it operate its first flight? Let’s find out.

Jet Airways Boeing 737s
Jet Airways will now have to begin the process of hiring staff, crews, management, and aircraft to resume flights. Photo: Getty Images

Cleared

Last October, the Kalrock-Jalan consortium won the bid to become Jet Airways’ new owners and turn around the debt-ridden carrier. However, there remained several hurdles, including questions over Jet’s former slots and the plan’s approval from India’s bankruptcy tribunal (the NCLT).

The last month has cleared up both of these issues. The DGCA and Ministry of Civil Aviation confirmed that Jet is not entitled to its old slots after resuming flights since those slots have gone to other airlines now. This was a huge blow considering the airline’s slots were one of its few assets. However, it doesn’t seem to be a deal-breaker, and the consortium is pushing ahead with its plans.

jet airways
Jet Airways will have to apply for slots at airports once again but the plan means that it will receive some. Photo: Getty Images

Yesterday, the NCLT officially cleared the resolution plan for Jet Airways, formally allowing Kalrock Capital and Murari Lal Jalan to take over the airline. According to the Times Of India, the approval is valid for 90 days and will require reapproval every three months.

Notably, this is the first time any Indian airline has even been given a chance to resume operations after filing for bankruptcy.

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Big plans

Jet Airways plans to hit the ground running. Speaking to NDTV, Resolution Professional Ashish Chhawchharia (who led the sale process) has said the airline will announce its first routes within 90 days. This is dependent on slot clarity from the DGCA, but the NCLT has ordered that Jet receive some slots by the end of three months.

In addition to slots, Jet Airways 2.0 plans to operate a fleet of 25 aircraft, with 20 narrowbodies and five widebodies. These planes will serve 20 initial routes, possibly some international ones too. In total, the new consortium will invest ₹600 crores ($80.7 million) into the revived airline to kick off operations and pay creditors.

Jet Airways Boeing 777
The makeup of Jet’s new fleet is currently unknown, but the Boeing 737 and 777 are likely bets. Photo: Getty Images

For now, it seems that Jet Airways is indeed back in action. While it will take some time to set up operations again, the plan’s approval is a huge boost. Indeed, stocks hit an upper circuit breaker upon the news of the NCLT ruling. So when will Jet Airways resume flights?

This year

Jet Airways could begin flying again by the end of the calendar year, according to the Resolution Professional who led the sale process. This means operations could resume any time from this September to December, as the airline looks to hire back former staffers and assemble a new management team.

After two years of limbo, Jet Airways has pulled off a miraculous revival it seems. However, we will still have to hold off the celebrations until the carrier operates its first flight.

What do you think about Jet Airways’ plans? Will they fly again? Let us know in the comments!

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/will-jet-airways-resume-flights/

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Aviation

Kalitta Boeing 747 Engine Shut Down Over The Atlantic

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A Kalitta Air Boeing 747-400 made an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport in the United Kingdom earlier this month after pilots shut down one of the plane’s four engines midway over the Atlantic. The jumbo jet was around 630 miles (1019 kilometers) southwest of Iceland when the incident occurred.

Kalitta-Boeing-747-Engine-Shutdown
Kalitta’s Boeing 747-400 N401KZ experienced engine problems over the Atlantic earlier this month. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

Mid Atlantic 747-400 engine shutdown and diversion

A report by Simon Hradecky in The Aviation Herald details the June 11 incident. According to the report, one of Kalitta’s Boeing 747-400 was flying between Los Angeles (LAX) to Brussels (BRU) that day. The aircraft operating the service was N401KZ and the flight number was K4335.

The flight left Los Angeles at 17:20 local time on Thursday, June 10. After flying a conventional flight path over continental North America, the Boeing 747-400 was over the North Atlantic when the crew received EICAS messages “ENG OIL FILT 2” and “ENG OIL TEMP” messages for engine number two.

N401KZ was almost six hours into the flight and off the southern tip of Greenland when flight-tracking sites show a concurrent gradual drop in altitude from 37,000 feet to 33,000 feet and a pickup in flying speed from 500 knots to 550 knots.

According to The Aviation Herald, having received the EICAS messages, the pilots worked through the related checklists, elected to shut down engine number two, declare an emergency and divert to East Midlands Airport (EMA).

Kalitta-Boeing-747-Engine-Shutdown
Source: RadarBox.com

The second recorded incident for Kalitta’s N401KZ

EMA was still two and a half hours flying time away. The Boeing 747 landed safely at 10:48 local time on Friday, June 11. The choice of East Midlands Airport is an interesting one, given there were closer airports capable of handling a 747-400 when the decision to divert was made. However, the airport in northwestern Leicestershire is regularly served by Kalitta’s flights and the decision may have been based on the ready availability of maintenance services.

Ypsilanti-based Kalitta Air operates a fleet of 40 cargo aircraft, including 24 Boeing 747-400s. The airline says its fleet can fly virtually any type of freight. Kalitta Air operates scheduled or on-demand charter services for customers in the United States and around the world.

N401KZ is 16 years old, having arrived at Kalitta in 2016 after flying for Nippon Cargo Airlines. The engine shut down incident earlier this month is the plane’s second recorded incident. In October 2019, N401KZ experienced a gear problem on departure from Cincinnati (CVG), requiring the jumbo jet to return to the airport.

Kalitta-Boeing-747-Engine-Shutdown
A Kalitta Air Boeing 747-400 powering out of New York’s JFK Airport. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

A post-flight inspection of the shutdown engine revealed undisclosed internal damage. The Boeing 747-400 spent over a day on the ground at EMA. The plane then flew back to Kalitta’s key maintenance base in Oscoda, Michigan. That flight departed June 12 and operated via Columbus, Ohio (CMH) before arriving at Oscoda (OSC) later on the same day.

After the engine was replaced in Oscoda, N401KZ resumed flying on June 20. The jumbo headed across to Ramstein (RMS) earlier this week but is now back at New York’s JFK Airport, having touched mid-evening on Tuesday.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/kalitta-boeing-747-engine-shutdown/

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