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Lufthansa Still Has 10,000 Too Many Full Time Employees

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Lufthansa still has the equivalent of 10,000 too many full-time employees on its books, according to its CFO, Remco Steenbergen. This is despite the airline’s workforce already shrinking by 24,000 full-time roles since the pandemic began over a year ago.

Lufthansa, Employees, Too Many
Lufthansa still has the equivalent of 10,000 too many full-time employees. Photo: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa

Almost every airline is continuing to suffer from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some have been able to recall staff, others haven’t been so fortunate. For example, next week, British Airways is set to operate just 7% of its pre-pandemic schedule. Many airlines, British Airways, and Lufthansa included, have seen that downsizing is the only long-term solution to cope with the effects of the pandemic on the aviation industry.

10,000 roles too many

Earlier today, while presenting the Lufthansa Group’s first-quarter results, CFO Remco Steenbergen revealed that Lufthansa currently still has a relatively large surplus of employees. According to the airline, it has an excess of 10,000 “full-time equivalent roles”.

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But what does this mean? If everybody worked full time, there would be 10,000 too many employees. However, if two individuals worked part-time with 50% of the hours of a full-time employee, they would also add up to a single full-time equivalent role. According to its latest results, as of March 31st, the Lufthansa Group employed 111,262 people. This was down 19% from 136,966 the previous year.

Lufthansa, Employees, Too Many
Some union agreements will expire at the end of Q1 2022. Photo: Lufthansa

Forced dismissals?

Currently, no more employees will be dismissed due to agreements with unions. Cabin Crew are covered by a UFO union agreement that stops forced dismissals until the end of 2023. Both the VC union representing pilots and ver.di representing ground staff have only signed such agreements until the end of Q1 2022.

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However, the executives did suggest that once the agreements expire, action will need to be taken. CEO Carsten Spohr commented that in the cabin crew and ground staff departments, voluntary programs, natural attrition, and a hiring freeze would bring employee numbers down.

However, it appears that things are different in the cockpit. Spohr explained that “nobody leaves a pilot job at Lufthansa because there’s no better pilot job in the world.”

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Lufthansa, Employees, Too Many
Spohr said that there was no better pilot job than at Lufthansa. Photo: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa

He added that there were two solutions for the company with the possibility of no job losses depending on the agreements that can be reached with employees,

“In the end, cost-wise it will be the same. Either people have to leave voluntarily or we will keep them on board and they all work less for less money.”

The airline is already making the necessary preparations to remove employees if it becomes necessary. According to Steenbergen, the airline is already completing the required legal processes to be able to force dismissals. This will be concluded by the end of the year, in time for the expiration of current union agreements. However, Spohr feels confident that new agreements will be possible, commenting,

“Of course, they know that [job cuts will be possible]. That’s why I believe there will be constructive dialogue once they have elected a new leadership.”

What do you make of the employee situation at Lufthansa? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/lufthansa-10000-too-many-employees/

Aviation

Copa Aims To End 2021 With 15 Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft

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The Panamanian carrier Copa Airlines is renewing its fleet and plans to increase its Boeing 737 MAX 9 fleet to 15 units before the year ends. At the same time, Copa has been actively retiring and selling its older airplanes, as described by the airline’s management today during the 2021’s first-quarter results investors call.

Copa Airlines Boeing 737 MAX
Copa Airlines expects to end the year with 15 Boeing 737 MAX. Photo: Felipe Escalona/Aviacion PTY.

Copa’s MAX plans

Copa Airlines is one of Boeing’s largest customers in Latin America. The Panamanian airline still has to receive 41 new MAX units, according to Boeing’s website. Unlike many other carriers worldwide, Copa has not reduced the size of its order due to either the MAX crisis or the COVID pandemic.

In the last few months, Copa has been actively receiving new MAX units. It currently has 13 Boeing 737 MAX 9, according to Copa’s management today. In 2021’s first quarter alone, the airline received six new planes.

Pedro Heilbron, Copa’s CEO, said,

“We expect to receive two more 737 MAX 9 in the fourth quarter, which would have us ending the year with a fleet of 83 aircraft.” 

The plan is to have 14 more MAX aircraft by 2023, said Copa in February.

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Copa Airlines is increasing its Boeing 737 fleet It already has 68 737-800 like the one in this photo, and 13 737 MAX 9. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Adiós to the Embraers

Alongside this MAX update, Copa Airlines informed about the exit of its former Embraer fleet. Last year, we reported the Australian carrier Alliance Airlines was acquiring the whole Copa Embraer E190 fleet, composed of 14 units.

Copa Airlines has been gradually delivering the E190 planes to its new owner. During the first quarter, four Embraer 190 aircraft exited the fleet, said the airline. As of March 31, 2021, there were four remaining E190 aircraft sold that are expected to leave during the second quarter.

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Copa’s current fleet is composed of 81 aircraft, 68 Boeing 737-800, and 13 MAX 9. One year ago, it had a total fleet of 102 airplanes.

Copa Airlines Getty
Copa uses Tocumen International Airport as a connection hub between North and South America. Photo: Getty Images

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Tocumen remains critical to connectivity

During 2021’s first quarter, Copa Airlines had a capacity of approximately 39% of its pre-pandemic levels. The airline carried 924,000 passengers between January and March, a 64.7% decrease compared to 2019.

Copa Airlines faced a complicated scenario due to heavy travel restrictions in Latin America. Pedro Heilbron said,

“The pace of recovery for international travel within Latin America is still significantly hindered by travel restrictions and health requirements. During the first quarter, several countries in the region imposed or were subject to new travel restrictions and health requirements that affected air travel demand.”

Nevertheless, Copa still believes Tocumen International Airport in Panama City is the gateway to success.

The Hub of the Americas will be an even more valuable source of strategic advantage, said Copa Airlines. This is particularly true as fewer intra Latin American markets are able to sustain direct point-to-point services.

Wingo Getty
Wingo currently serves 24 routes from Colombia. Photo: Getty Images.

Wingo’s update

Finally, Copa Airlines gave a brief update on the current state of its Colombian branch Wingo.

This carrier had a fleet of four Boeing 737-800 before the pandemic started, said Pedro Heilbron. Since, it has received two more units, increasing its capacity by 50%.

Additionally, Wingo has opened and announced several new routes, like Bogota-Lima, Medellin-Caracas, and Medellin-Cancun.

As of May 2021, Wingo operates 24 routes, mainly domestic. It has an average of 200 flights per week, offering nearly 25,000 seats, according to Cirium’s database.

What do you think about Copa and Wingo’s fleet plan? Let us know in the comments.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/copa-boeing-737-max-2021/

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MagniX’s Plans To Revamp Airline Networks With Electric Aircraft

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Electric aircraft technology is rapidly progressing across the industry, with several successful engine tests already completed. Airlines and authorities are keen to cut down emissions and increase efficiency on their operations, and electric planes are a key way to reach these targets.

MagniX eCaravan Aircraft
A Cessna 208B Grand Caravan fitted with a magniX Magni500 electric propulsion system completed its first flight a year ago. Photo: magniX

Amid these future transformations, electric propulsion system manufacturer magniX feels that the aviation industry needs to overhaul its way of thinking when it comes to routes. Simple Flying spoke with the company’s CEO, Roei Ganzarski, to learn more about the prospects.

Walking before running

magniX is working on aircraft that range from six to 40 passengers, all with a range of between 100 to 500 miles. So the sort of routes that can be expected to be operated with these planes wouldn’t be the likes of London to New York or LA to New York. They would be deployed on much shorter services.

The business is keen on firstly addressing small, regional services, which it shares represent approximately 50% of all global flights. After the network is in place, and battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology has advanced, then the electric scene will level up to bigger planes.

“It’s like saying when Tesla started, “oh why would you do an electric car, there’s no way you can do a semi-trailer that can cross the country.” I’m not trying to do a semi-trailer that can cross the country. I’m trying to do a small electric car, then we’ll grow into it. Lo and behold, today, 10 years after introducing Tesla, they’re talking about semi-trailers,” Ganzarski expresses.

“So, for some reason in aviation everyone’s jumping, “oh, electric isn’t good because you can’t do a 737, or an A330-size aircraft across the Atlantic.” Yeah, no one’s trying to do that. That’s not possible in the next 30 to 50 years, so why are we even talking about it? Let’s focus on what we are talking about, which are smaller planes.”

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magni500
The magni500 can give a base speed of 1900 RPM and a maximum Speed of 2600 RPM. Photo: magniX

Rethinking the approach

A notable challenge for electric aircraft firms is that everyone is thinking about aviation from the lens of a narrowbody, which is what would take someone on a route such as from London to Paris, because of what the airlines and the OEMs have trained the industry to get used to.

However, to fly between major airports, passengers may have to stand in line for an hour ahead of time due to security checks to get on a 45-minute flight to another airport that may be 45 minutes away from the actual city. This is a process that the industry has become accustomed to.

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Therefore, when there are prospects of new propulsion, speculators generally compare the future to today’s market, which Ganzarski believes is the wrong thing to do. Overall, the new technology is going to open up new opportunities to change the way airlines operate today, so the concerns become less significant.

MagniX eCaravan Plane
magniX was founded in Queensland, Australia in 2009, but it’s headquartered in Redmond, Washington. Photo: magniX

Changing the game

Notably, according to Ganzarski, only 1.6% of trips less than 500 miles are conducted by air. magniX strives to increase this figure, as many passengers are driving for hours between their home and their nearest suitable airport when traveling. This process is not only inefficient for fliers, but with the numbers adding up, this factor contributes to emissions.

“Let’s take a London City to Manchester flight. If it’s a 100-seater plane, is it fulll? Usually it’s 70-80% if it’s really good. A lot of times it’s less than that, but let’s say 75% just for average. How many of those 75 people on the flight actually live in and around London city versus those who drove up to an hour to get to London City? And then, how many people are actually living around Manchester Airport versus those who will drive now up to an hour or more to their destination? And are there closer airports on both those ends?” Ganzarski shares.

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“So imagine now, an airline, it doesn’t have to be an existing one, it could be a new operator, says wait a minute, if instead of having to fill 75 seats on a plane, I only had to fill seven out of nine or 12 out of 16, or 30 out of 40, maybe I could change the way I think and not fly from London City to Manchester.

“Maybe I could fly from Blackbushe to Cardiff, or another airport, that’s much smaller anywhere in between. Because it’s a much smaller plane, it will cost me 40 to 80% less per flight hour to operate. Then, I can start doing these small routes, and be even more profitable than the ones striking up the big routes.”

Additional benefits

Ganzarski adds that since airlines would be deploying smaller aircraft on numerous smaller routes, they can then use 50-seater aircraft on city-to-city short and medium-haul routes rather than 100-seaters, which will help to cut costs further. Therefore, they can deploy their 100-seaters more effectively on the hub-to-hub long-haul journeys due to their high ranges. The executive summarizes that it’s all about introducing the right equipment for the right mission.

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MagniX eCaravan
The provisions of the different builds are incomparable. Photo: magniX

Opening up air travel

Altogether, magniX strives to make flying even more accessible with its innovations. The company highlights that due to the smaller sizes, these planes don’t need big gates and the passengers would naturally be traveling lightly so they can avoid baggage reclaims.

Moreover, in several regions, the aircraft don’t require the exact same security checks with hand luggage as commercial jet services, speeding up boarding processes. So, the firm envisions that flying will be more casual than it is now and be an everyday experience for those traveling from town to town.

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In the not-so-distant future, the aviation industry could look a whole lot different, especially as airlines replan their strategies following the pandemic. magniX’s leadership believes that batteries will eventually be used for smaller planes on short distances and hydrogen fuel cells will be fitted on midsize aircraft on medium distances.

For now, the larger planes on long-haul routes will continue to use traditional jet engines while airlines turn to sustainable fuels. However, as electric aircraft technology evolves, it won’t be a surprise to see a breakthrough in this field sooner than later.

After all, we can look back at how quickly aircraft tech evolved at the turn of the 1900s. We went from the Wright Flyer, which covered less than 1,000 feet, to a de Havilland Comet, which covered 1,300 nautical miles, in less than half a century. Similarly, electric aircraft industry is still in its infancy, so it will go through several developments over the next few decades.

What are your thoughts about magnix’s plans with its electric aircraft? Do you see a shift in network patterns in the future? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/magnix-electric-aircraft-network-revamp/

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US airline industry sees surge in disruptive passenger cases

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Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that there had been over 1,300 reported incidents of disruptive passengers on domestic US flights since February of this year. The numbers are staggering high considering the FAA usually sees only around 130-150 cases per year.

Back in January 2021, the FAA had announced a new “zero-tolerance policy” on disruptive passengers before, during or after a flight. According to the FAA, there were two separate incidents that were the main driving factors behind this new policy.

The first was mainly due to the relative belligerence and unruliness of passengers not wanting to wear masks onboard an aircraft. The second factor was the large gathering of anti-mask opposition which was visible leading up to the US capitol riot back in early January 2021. Before the introduction of this zero-tolerance policy, the FAA previously disciplined violators with measures such as warnings, counselling and smaller civil penalties.

However, in the wake of the new zero-tolerance mask and disruption policy, passengers can now be fined up to $35,000 and face imprisonment for interfering with crew members. Even though US domestic passenger figures are still well below that of the pre-pandemic levels, there has been a noticeable increase in disruptive incidents onboard planes in recent weeks.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900
Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900 registered N285AK. Photo by Brandon Ravelo | AeroNewsX.

There have also been numerous reports this year about passengers failing to wear a mask while travelling onboard an aircraft. Some of the more recent events include Alaska state Senator Lora Reinbold, who was banned by Alaska Airlines for refusing to comply with face mask requirements. Meanwhile in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; a passenger was escorted off of a flight in Washington D.C., for arguing with attendants about masks.

Last week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), revealed that some 2,000 passengers had been reported for refusing to wear a face-covering since February 2nd when the requirements came into effect.

More recently, a 28-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly attacking an American Airlines flight attendant on the flight from Miami to New York City. While a Los Angeles-bound aircraft had to make an emergency landing in Denver after a passenger allegedly tried to open an emergency exit while in flight, according to local media reports.

The president of the Association of Flight Attendants Union, Sara Nelson, spoke about the abuse flight attendants had reported experiencing this year. She said that it is “way off the charts” compared to what has happened in the past two decades. She added there has been a wide range of incidents, including flight attendants being physically or verbally assaulted, pushed and choked.

In a response to the ongoing outcry, the FAA administrator, Steve Dickson tweeted stating “We will not tolerate interfering with a flight crew and the performance of their safety duties. Period.” A reassuring message for both passengers and flight crews and also highlights that the FAA will have no sympathy for those who willingly try to disrupt the necessary duties of flight crew members both on the ground and in the air. 

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Source: https://aeronewsx.com/us-airline-industry-sees-surge-in-disruptive-passenger-cases/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=us-airline-industry-sees-surge-in-disruptive-passenger-cases

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Libyan Coast Guard Shoots At Two Italian Fishing Boats: Italian Frigate And P-72A Surveillance Plane On The Scene

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P-72A Libya
A P-72A of the Italian Air Force (Image credit: Italian Air Force). In the right box the Libeccio frigate (Image credit: Italian Navy). In the left box: AIS situation off Libya (Image credit: MarineTraffic.com)

The Italian Navy and Air Force intervened in international waters off Libya after a Libyan Coast Guard patrol boat shot at Italian fishing boats.

Two Italian fishing boats were involved in an incident about 30 miles off Libya on May 6, 2021. Warning shots were fired at the Aliseo and Artemide fishing boats, in international waters, off Misrata by a Libyan Coast Guard patrol vessel: the commander of one of the two fishing boats was injured, the Italian media reported.

The Libeccio frigate of the Italian Navy (Marina Militare), supporting “Operazione Mare Sicuro” (Italian for “Safe Sea”) in the Mediterranean Sea was dispatched to assist the fishing boats. Operation “Mare Sicuro” was established in 2015, is a mission of the Italian Navy aimed at ensuring maritime security in the Central Mediterranean Sea – an area of major national interest – launched following the worsening of the Libyan crisis in order to provide presence, surveillance and maritime security, and to ensure freedom of navigation, according to national legislation and international agreements in force.

According to the Italian Navy, the Libeccio frigate was instructed to assist a group of three fishing boats (Artemide, Aliseo and Nuovo Cosimo) which were conducting fishing activities in the waters of Tripolitania,  within the “high risk” zone defined by the Interministerial Coordination Committee for Safety of Transport and Infrastructure  located 35 nautical miles from the Libyan coast, north of the city of Al Khums.

The intervention of the Italian Navy warship was requested due to the presence of a Libyan Coast Guard patrol boat rapidly approaching the Italian fishing boats.

Nave Libeccio, which at the time of the report was about 60 miles from the scene, headed towards the fishing boats at maximum speed and sent the helicopter, which reached the area and made radio contact with the patrol boat personnel.

The Libeccio frigate, which arrived in the vicinity of the fishing boats, received news of the presence of a seaman aboard Aliseo who was wounded in the arm.

Currently the fishing boats Artemide and Nuovo Cosimo are safely sailing northbound towards Mazara del Vallo harbour. The Libeccio frigate remained in support of the Aliseo fishing boat as the commander had been transhipped by Libyan personnel on board the patrol boat for medical checks and later released. The Aliseo fishing boat is currently free.

The P-72A

To verify the situation, a P-72A MPA (Maritime Patrol Aircraft) was also dispatched to the area: the aircraft observed some warning shots from the Libyan patrol boat.

The aircraft, that operates a mixed Air Force/Navy crew, belongs to the 41° Stormo (Wing) an Italian Air Force unit based at Sigonella Air Base, in Sicily. The P-72A is a military variant of the ATR 72-600. The Italian Air Force has received four P-72s that the service has used to replace the Breguet BR1150 Atlantic.

The P-72A can undertake a variety of roles ranging from maritime patrol for the search and identification of surface vessels, SAR (search and rescue) missions, the prevention of narcotics trafficking, piracy, smuggling, territorial water security and monitoring and intervention in the event of environmental catastrophes. The P-72A is equipped with a communication suite that enables the aircraft to transmit or receive information in real-time to/from command and control centres either on the ground, in the air or at-sea, to ensure coordinated and effective operations. The aircraft is also equipped with a self-protection system. The aircraft is said to be able to fly missions lasting six and a half hours at ranges up to 200 nautical miles from its starting location.

P-72A Libya
The Atlantic and the P-72 flew alongside during the very last flight of the Atlantic, from Sigonella to Pratica di Mare on Nov. 22, 2017. (Image credit: Italian Air Force)

Previous incidents

The firing of warning shots at the Italian fishing boats is just the latest in a series of incidents in the troubled waters located within the ZPP (Zona Protezione Pesca – Fishing Protection Zone) unilaterally declared by Libya in 2005 with the intention of exercising sovereign rights over fishing resources.

Last year, the Antartide and Medinea fishing boats, were seized with eighteen seafarers on board and remained in Libya for 108 days before being able to return home on Dec. 20, 2020.

A few days ago, in the same area, the Italian Navy FREEM frigate Alpino was dispatched to protect a group of 7 fishing boats threatened by a rubber dinghy, coming from Cirenaica. The attempted seizure was averted by the timely intervention of the Alpino warship.

David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

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Source: https://theaviationist.com/2021/05/06/libyan-coast-guard-incident/

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