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Long-Ailing Norwegian Air Will Scrap Long-Haul Flights

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For a year expected to mark a turning point for pandemic-stricken European airlines, 2021 is off to a rough start.

A resurgence of COVID-19 lockdowns has killed off a fragile bookings upturn, executives and analysts said, as insolvent Norwegian Air finally axed its long-haul operations on Thursday. The Norwegian Industry Ministry said it is in talks with the airline about possible state participation in a new business plan.

The setbacks deal a blow to airline hopes that the promise of vaccines would put the worst of the crisis behind them, and set the stage for a summer rebound.

New outbreaks and travel restrictions – some designed to curb the spread of a highly infectious virus variant detected in Britain – have hit forward bookings that are usually relied upon to bring in vital cash during the thin winter months.

Global airline industry body IATA believes a return to positive cash flow “might not arrive before the end of the year,” Chief Economist Brian Pearce said.

“Meanwhile the cash burn is going to continue” and may even in increase in Europe, Pearce told an online conference on Wednesday.

Some carriers may yet run out of cash, he added. For bailed-out airlines like Air France-KLM and Lufthansa , a longer slump increases both debt and the likelihood more support will be needed.

Europe faces the worst relapse – although hitherto buoyant Chinese and Russian domestic bookings have also been weakened by new restrictions.

Intra-European bookings for the first half of the year stand at 22% of their level 12 months ago, Olivier Ponti of aviation data specialist ForwardKeys said. That compares with 36% for U.S. domestic bookings and 48% for flights within China.

‘Carnage in Europe’

Airlines have responded by canceling yet more services. Ultra-low-cost carrier Wizz Air, which has been expanding its fleet and network during the crisis, is suspending most UK routes and sees January capacity down 75%.

“The lockdown puts strains on demand, and we’re adjusting capacity according to demand,” Chief Executive Jozsef Varadi told Reuters. “It’s going to be a difficult quarter.”

Data provider OAG, which tracks airline schedules, predicted “carnage in Europe” after airlines slashed western Europe capacity by a quarter.

“A loss of some 1.5 million seats in a week is staggering,” analyst John Grant said. With another 580,000 dropped in eastern Europe, “expectations for the next few months are grim.”

Recovery hopes have driven a share rebound for European airlines since the first vaccine breakthrough in November, before lockdown setbacks pared average gains to 30%, based on the Stoxx Europe airlines index.

More bullish investors may be getting ahead of themselves, some analysts caution.

European aviation is “primed for disappointment,” Citi analyst Mark Manduca said.

“We see recovery risks into summer because (pre-flight) testing will in our view likely stifle demand,” he added in a note. “Slower-than-expected rollouts of vaccines to corporate populations will likely continue to strangle a business-demand recovery.”

‘Destroys Confidence’

The volatile outlook hugely complicates all-important summer schedule planning, as airlines must decide several months ahead whether to commit cash to bringing back and overhauling parked jets and rehire staff.

Wheel out too much capacity and the unfilled seats will deepen losses. An airline that underestimates demand, on the other hand, risks handing badly needed business to rivals.

Nearly three-quarters of European routes are now under restrictions, according to UBS research – a higher proportion than at the height of the pandemic’s first wave last March-May.

Airlines are growing exasperated with governments’ refusal to drop quarantines for pre-flight COVID-19 testing. When Britain added testing requirements on top of a quarantine, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary decried “another shambolic measure.”

“What this does is it destroys all confidence in bookings,” he told the BBC on Friday.

Similar moves by Canada, Germany and Japan have drawn fire from the industry.

“These governments are not interested in managing a balanced approach to the risks,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said on Tuesday.

“The industry’s situation is still perilous – in fact it got worse over the year-end holiday period.”

(Reporting by Laurence Frost and Sarah Young; Editing by Pravin Char)

This article was written by Sarah Young and Laurence Frost from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

Photo Credit: A Norwegian 737-800 aircraft. The company will cease long-haul flights. Skift

Source: https://skift.com/2021/01/14/long-ailing-norwegian-air-will-scrap-long-haul-flights/

Aviation

Air Côte d’Ivoire Takes Delivery Of Its First Airbus A320neo

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Air Côte d’Ivoire has become the first A320neo operator in the West-African region. On Thursday, the carrier took delivery of its first New Engine Option of the A320 family, as the plane carried humanitarian supplies from Toulouse to Abidjan. The airline will begin deploying the jet on regional routes but eyes an expansion to destinations in South Africa in the future.

Air Côte d'Ivoire A320neo
On Thursday, Air Côte d’Ivoire took delivery of its very first A320neo, and the jet did not come empty-handed. Photo: Airbus

Ferried a ton of supplies for health and education

On Thursday, February 18th, Air Côte d’Ivoire took delivery of its first Airbus A320neo. This makes the Abidjan-based carrier the first operator of the type in the West-African region. Ownership was transferred on Wednesday, and one day later, the aircraft took off from the manufacturer’s facilities in Toulouse.

Not only on delivery, the jet also had a second mission. It carried over a ton of humanitarian goods such as medical supplies and children’s toys. The initiative is a partnership between Aviation sans Frontiéres and the Airbus Foundation and part of Air Côte d’Ivoire’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) drive.

The aircraft, registered as TU-TSX, took off from Toulouse, France, at 11:12 local time. Following five hours and 38 minutes in the air, it landed at Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport in Côte d’Ivoire’s financial capital of Abidjan. Viewers could follow the live event and ceremony of the delivery streamed via the airline’s social media.

The A320neo joins The West African flag-carrier’s fleet of four De Havilland DHC-8 Dash 8 turboprops, three Airbus A319, and two Airbus A320ceos. It is the third Airbus the airline has taken delivery of straight from the manufacturer.

Air Côte d'Ivoire
The airline intends to deploy its new jet (not pictured) on regional routes to Cameroon, Senegal, and Gabon. Photo: Getty Images

Regional with potential for expansion

Initially, it will deploy the jet on its regional network for Senegal, Gabon, and Cameroon. Meanwhile, the carrier intends to add South African destinations to the newcomer’s roster at a later stage, taking advantage of the jet’s operational flexibility.

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Air Côte d’Ivoire is the flag carrier of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. The airline was founded in May 2012 and commenced operations six months later. It succeeded the country’s former national airline, Air Ivoire, which went bankrupt in 2011.

It is owned 58% by Côte d’Ivoire’s government, 11% by Air France-KLM, 23% by a consortium of private Ivorian investors called Golden Road, and 8% by other investors.

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Air Côte d'Ivoire welcome ceremony
The airline’s first A320s arrived in 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Air Côte d’Ivoire’s Airbus family

The airline took delivery of its first aircraft, an Airbus A319, on lease from Macquarie AirFinance and previously operated by Air France, in October 2012. The second jet of the type with the same arrangement and history arrived a few weeks later.

The third A319 did not arrive until 2017, when an aircraft leased from AirCap previously operated by Mexicana, AeroGal, and Avianca Ecuador arrived in Abidjan. The carrier’s two own A320s also arrived in 2017, the first in July and the second in September.

Have you flown with Air Côte D’Ivoire, or on the A320neo? Tell us about your experience in the comments. 

Source: https://simpleflying.com/aair-cote-divoire-a320neo/

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Aviation

Embraer Supports Brazil’s WTO Subsidy Complaint Withdrawal

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Embraer has signaled its support for Brazil’s decision to withdraw a complaint before the WTO over Canada’s support for the Bombardier C-Series program. While the support may come as a surprise (especially since Brazil filed the complaint to support Embraer), the manufacturer has laid out its reasons. Here is Embraer’s strategy to create a level playing field in aviation subsidies.

Embraer
Embraer is searching for new ways to combat unfair state subsidies to aerospace manufacturers. Photo: Embraer

Withdrawn

In a press release yesterday, Embraer supported Brazil’s decision to withdraw an ongoing complaint before the WTO. Brazil first filed a challenge with the WTO against Canada in February 2017, citing the $3 billion given to the Bombardier C-Series program as being illegal subsidies that distorted the market.

However, the market has shifted rapidly since the complaint was first filed against Canada. Airbus’ acquisition of the C-Series program (now known as the A220) and opening of new production lines meant a ruling would no longer have the same effect Embraer once hoped.

A220-300 Airbus Demonstration Tour in Asia - Yangon
Embraer argued that the deep subsidies to the C-Series distorted the market unfairly against them. Photo: Airbus

In a statement, Embraer said,

“After Bombardier exited the Commercial Aviation segment and transferred the C-Series program (now called A220) to Airbus, which has a second assembly line in the United States, the trade dispute against Canada at the WTO is no longer the most effective means to achieve Brazil’s and Embraer’s goal of re-establishing a level playing field in this sector.”

Competition

Embraer is now looking to other avenues to correct the effect of subsidies. Organizations like the OECD’s Aircraft Sector Understanding could provide other means to solving these disputes. However, the dispute signals an underlying competiton between the A220 and Embraer’s E-jet family.

The A220 has had a strong few years, with orders for the jet ramping up globally since Airbus’ acquisition of the program. As of today, Airbus has racked 630 orders for the jet, including major commitments from Delta, jetBlue, and Air France. This growing dominance threatens Embraer’s position as a market leader in the regional jet market.

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Embraer E175
The A220 is a direct challenger to the new E2 lineup of the E195 and E175. Photo: Embraer

Embraer has been heavily marketing its E195-E2 and E190-E2s, the latest iteration of the E-jet family. Aside from having a strong track record and fleet integration, the lower price of the E2 family could be a strong incentive for airlines.

Playing out

The A220 has had its fair share of disputes and opposition, including Boeing famous anti-dumping petition to the US government. However, as the regional jet soars in popularity (especially during the pandemic), Embraer and others are quickly trying to grow their footprints.

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Envoy Air American Airlines Embraer ERJ-145
Embraer remains a popular manufacturer and is integrated in fleets globally. Photo: Getty Images

2020 was particularly hard on Embraer after its planned deal with Boeing fell through. The Brazilian manufaturer was forced to institute workforce cuts and saw deliveries fall as it reeled from the failed deal. With 2021 signaling higher demand, Embraer is working hard to return to its growth track.

What do you think about Embraer’s move? Can the A220 subsidies be addressed now? Let us know in the comments.

Source: https://simpleflying.com/embraer-brazil-wto-subsidy-complaint/

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In Pictures: A Look Inside Thailand’s Airbus A330 Coffee Shop

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About 160 kilometers or 100 miles south-southeast of central Bangkok (Thailand), you’ll find an old Airbus A330 that’s been converted into a coffee shop. Home of “331 Station Coffee War,” the old Airbus widebody, located in Sattahip, was so popular last year that it was even ordered to close after going viral on social media. Let’s look at the aircraft-turned-coffee shop in a series of photos.

The coffee shop-aircraft is located in Sattahip, which is a district in the south of Chon Buri province. Photo: Getty Images

Pattaya News notes that a Mr. Damri Sangtang, a former Royal Thai Navy officer, is the owner of the business. Sangtang’s history as a member of the military may offer a clue as to part of the business’ “Coffee War” name. The 331 portion of the name appears to come from the fact that it’s located on Road No 331.

The coffee shop A330 is about a two-hours-drive from central Bangkok. Photo: Google Maps

The $333,000 Airbus A330

According to The Thaiger, the decommissioned Airbus A330 cost 10 million Thai baht – which roughly converts to just over $333,000. Stripped of its engines, most of its passenger seating (and likely much more), the aircraft sounds like a deal considering the $240 million list price for a new jet (even if that figure is typically overinflated). Of course, the fact that the plane doesn’t do what it’s mean to do (fly) is probably the reason behind the steal of a deal. We’re guessing that the previous owner simply wanted to be rid of it, not wanting to pay for the scrapping fees.

Whatever the circumstances might have been that led to the aircraft purchase- it looks like it turned out to be a worthwhile purchase, given how popular the shop has become.

With many unable to travel due to travel restrictions caused by the global health crisis, setting foot on an airplane – functioning or not – might be appealing. Photo: Getty Images

In fact, at the end of June last year, the coffee shop was ordered temporarily shut down after it became too popular. Apparently, the aircraft cafe went viral on social media and thus was drawing thousands of customers a day.

While it’s not a crime for a business to be ‘too popular,’ it is a concern during a worldwide health crisis, where close human interaction in confined spaces can lead to the spread of disease. Thus, public health officials had to ask the coffee shop to close for a week, hoping that the pause would help to cool down enthusiasm and hype around the old jet.

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Inside 331 Station-Coffee War

With coffee at the cafe costing as little as 60 baht ($2.00), the next-to-nothing cost of entry seems like a great deal. It’s no wonder why it’s become so popular.

In order to ensure the health and safety of customers, the cafe reportedly conducts temperature checks, requires the wearing of masks, and regularly disinfects surfaces. Only 60 customers are permitted “on board” at any one time, for a maximum of 40 minutes.

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Much of the A330’s regular passenger seating has been removed- mostly replaced by small coffee tables and wooden chairs. Photo: Getty Images
Of course, a few old aircraft seats were retained. Photo: Getty Images
Some economy class seats were even kept onboard. At least they were rearranged to provide more legroom. Photo: Getty Images
The aircraft once flew with Thai Airways. Photo: Getty Images

Before it was a coffee shop

The Airbus A330-300 once flew with Thai flag carrier, Thai Airways, registered as HS-TEA. The jet was delivered new to the airline in 1995 and was configured to seat 42 in business and 263 in economy class.

HS-TEA A330
A look at HS-TEA when it was still flying. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commons

The jet was withdrawn from use in March of 2015 and then stored at U-Tapao–Rayong–Pattaya International Airport (UTP) airport in May of that year. UTP is a common storage airport for Thai’s unused jets. Interested in other aircraft re-purposing stories like this? Check out the 727-turned-event-space, and the 737 converted into a cabin.

If you were in Thailand, would you go out of your way to see this coffee shop? Let us know in the comments.

Source: https://simpleflying.com/thailand-a330-coffee-shop/

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Aviation

What Is The Shuttlecock That Hangs Off The Tail Of Test Planes?

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If you look at photos and videos of aircraft conducting their initial test flights, you may see a little object tethered to the top of the vertical stabilizer. This object, known as a trailing cone (or static cone), almost looks like an oversized badminton birdie or shuttlecock. Indeed, it does have a key role to play in the test process. Let’s look at it in this article.

737 max
Known as a trailing cone, it’s shown here on a 737 MAX test flight. Photo: Getty Images

Measuring static pressure

When developing new aircraft, the trailing cone is fixed on to test jets in the early weeks of test flights and is there to measure static pressure or ambient atmospheric pressure. Thus, beyond trailing cone and static cone, some have also referred to it as a static pressure line.

When the line is reeled out in flight, AeronewsTV notes that the nylon cable is generally one to one and a half times the wingspan length or about 50 metres. This gets reeled in and is much shorter when the aircraft is on the ground, however.

Aviation International News gets a behind-the-scenes look at a test aircraft, including inside the cabin. Fitted with computer workstations for the development team, the aircraft shown in the video below also provides a brief glance at the line and reel from the inside of the aircraft. Appearing for just a few seconds at 1:48, the reel in the video is clearly about the same height as the passenger door it is situated beside and thus stands taller than most people.

In terms of an outside look, the trailing cone and its line can be seen quite well in Boeing’s 777X “first flight video” embedded below:

Calibrating sensors

A former flight test director at Airbus explains to AeronewsTV that getting an accurate read on the static pressure is necessary to measure the plane’s exact airspeed and altitude. “The static pressure is therefore fundamental to measure the performance of a test aircraft.”

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a350 test
The trailing cone and its line can be removed once accurate data is collected and integrated into aircraft sensors. Photo: Getty Images

When it is let out to its proper length, the object’s location is far enough behind the aircraft so that it can give a proper indication of the pressure away from the air flowing around an aircraft. Its presence gives the aircraft test team an idea of the difference in pressure between it and the pitot pressure at the front of the aircraft. This difference between the static pressure and pitot pressure helps to calibrate the airspeed measurements. 

Advanced digital electronic air data computers make it possible for aircraft to correct for pitot-static “errors,” as veteran pilot Mac McLellan explains,

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“Those errors can be caused by configuration change, such as extending the flaps, or flying at higher or lower altitudes, and faster or slower airspeeds. But the errors must first be documented in flight test and that’s why the static cone is so essential. The air data computers are terrific at correcting errors, but only after the errors themselves have been documented.” -Mac McLellan via Air Facts

Once the data is collected and analyzed, sensors can then be properly calibrated and adjusted. This, then, allows for the trailing cone to disappear.

Did you know notice this trailing cone before reading this article? Did you already know why it was there? Let us know in the comments.

Source: https://simpleflying.com/test-plane-shuttlecock/

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