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Lufthansa Begins Vaccinating Its Employees In-House



Alongside many large employers in Germany, Lufthansa has today started to vaccinate its employees. The move comes as the country removes its vaccination priority list, meaning that anybody aged 12 or above is now eligible for a vaccination. Previously, vaccines were generally issued in strict order of priority.

Lufthansa, Vaccinations, Germany
Lufthansa has begun to vaccinate its front-line employees in-house. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The COVID-19 vaccination has largely been seen as the way out of the aviation industry’s largest crisis to date, brought on by the pandemic. Many countries have prioritized their most vulnerable citizens for vaccines, meaning that some keen to have the vaccine have faced a lengthy wait. Increasingly, it has now become their turn.

Lufthansa begins employee vaccinations

Lufthansa has begun to vaccinate its employees across three sites in Germany. The airline group’s medical services can now vaccinate employees as the German government removed the priority list on Monday, meaning that every German resident over 12 is now eligible to be vaccinated.

According to the German government, 702,000 doses of the BioNTech vaccine will be delivered to company doctors across the country this week, followed by around 602,550 next week. According to Lufthansa, the airline expects to be able to vaccinate 2,000 individuals in the first week.

Lufthansa, Vaccinations, Germany
Front line employees will be offered the vaccine before other workers. Photo: Oliver Rösler via Lufthansa

Understandably, the airline is focusing the initial vaccines on those working in customer-facing roles such as cabin crew and check-in staff. Theoretically, the airline doesn’t need to focus on older employees or those with health conditions, as they should already have been vaccinated as part of the country’s general immunization campaign.

Commenting on the rollout, Dr. Michael Niggemann, Chief HR Officer at the airline, commented,

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our employees have also been making an important contribution to society. With our flight and cargo services, we give travelers the security of being able to perform socially or economically important tasks, for example. We are pleased to now be able to offer our employees a vaccination.”

A quicker route to vaccination?

The move will surely be welcomed by those who can be vaccinated. For those lucky enough to be offered the vaccine by the German flag carrier, they will likely get it faster than through other measures. As mentioned, on Monday the government removed the prioritization of vaccines. This doesn’t mean that everybody will be vaccinated at once.

Frankfurt Airport, Passenger Traffic, Cargo Volume
Germany removed its vaccine prioritization rules on Monday. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

In Hessen, the federal state containing Lufthansa’s Frankfurt base, around 470,000 from the previous priority groups are still waiting for vaccines. This means that individuals without priority likely won’t get a vaccine until July at the earliest at a state vaccination center.

Are the vaccines mandatory?

The COVID-19 vaccine isn’t mandatory in Germany, nor is it at Lufthansa. The German flag carrier recommends that employees get vaccinated but won’t be making them as things currently stand. This is in contrast to some other airlines.

United Airlines will only hire vaccinated individuals from next week (except those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons). Meanwhile, Lufthansa’s codeshare partner, airBaltic, has recently begun rehiring crew laid off due to the pandemic. These individuals also need to be vaccinated to be offered positions at the airline.

What do you make of Lufthansa vaccinating its employees in-house? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!

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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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