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Transat close to reaching aid deal with Ottawa, sources say

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From The Globe and Mail – link to source story

MONTREAL, REUTERS | APRIL 28, 2021

Struggling tour operator Transat AT is very close to reaching a financial aid deal with the federal government involving a loan, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The deal would involve a loan under Canada’s Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), the sources said on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

Transat, which is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting on Thursday, declined to comment. The federal finance ministry, which is leading the talks with Transat, was not immediately available for comment.

It was not clear whether a deal would be reached by Thursday.

Air Canada dropped its merger plans with Transat earlier this month, creating uncertainty for the Montreal-based operator of leisure carrier Air Transat, which was already struggling due to the pandemic.

Transat has previously said it was holding discussions with the government regarding the LEEFF program and sectoral aid.

Transat, which has suspended flights until June due to pandemic restrictions that have battered travel, has said it needs at least $500-million (US$406-million) in financing this year.

It has obligations due on April 29 for a $50-million revolving facility and a $250-million short-term loan that matures on June 30. If it does not meet the April 29 requirements, or obtain another extension, creditors could accelerate the repayment obligation.

Air Canada, itself struggling with a collapse in traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reached a deal earlier this month on a long-awaited aid package with the federal government that would allow it to access up to $5.9-billion (US$4.69-billion) in funds.

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Source: https://canadianaviationnews.wordpress.com/2021/04/28/transat-close-to-reaching-aid-deal-with-ottawa-sources-say/

Aviation

Ryanair Goes Full Steam Ahead On Portugal Capacity Expansion

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Irish low-cost airline Ryanair announced yesterday that it was increasing its capacity on flights to Portugal from the United Kingdom after the popular European destination made it on to the UK’s “Green List” of countries deemed safe to visit. The Dublin-based carrier said that it was adding 175,000 seats on flights to Portugal over the summer. The move follows UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announcement that UK citizens and residents could visit Portugal without quarantine on their return home.

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Ryanair adds 175,000 seats on flights from the UK to Portugal. Photo: Ryanair

After managing COVID-19 in the United Kingdom following an impressive rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the UK is hesitant to let people travel to what it considers high-risk areas. The fear is that anyone visiting countries with high incidence rates risks them bringing new strains of the virus back to the UK. To combat this, the UK government has come up with a three-tier system based on a traffic light color.

The traffic light system

Depending on vaccination rates and how well counties are doing in controlling the rate of COVID-19 infections determines whether or not they will be green, amber, or red. People visiting countries that are green will not need to quarantine on their return to the UK. People visiting amber counties will need to quarantine at home for ten days when returning to the UK. Anyone returning from a country listed as being red (high risk) must quarantine for ten days in a government-approved hotel at their own expense. All vacationers will be required to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before leaving and returning to the UK, sparking concerned that international travel may only be available to those who can afford the tests.

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More destinations are expected to be added to the green list in three weeks. Photo: Ryanair

Several countries that were expected to be on the green list that are popular destinations with British holidaymakers, France, Italy, and Spain, did not make it but might be added when reviewed in three weeks. Countries on the UK green list include the following:

  • Portugal
  • Israel
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Brunei
  • Iceland
  • Gibraltar
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, and Ascension Island

As you can see from the above list Portugal and perhaps Gibraltar are the most accessible destinations for British tourists looking for summer sun. For this reason, Ryanair is increasing its capacity by 175,000 extra seats on flights to Portugal from the UK. Below is a list of Ryanair Portuguese destination and departure airports.

From Stansted to:

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  • Faro 17 (+16)
  • Lisbon 14 (+11)
  • Porto 14 (+11)

From Manchester to:

  • Faro 14 (+12)
  • Lisbon 4 (+4)
  • Porto 3 (+3)

From Birmingham to:

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  • Faro 3 (+3)

From Leeds/Bradford to:

  • Faro 3 (+3)

From Bournemouth to:

  • Faro 3 (+3)

From Bristol to:

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  • Faro 3 (+3)

From East Midlands to:

  • Faro 3 (+3)

From Liverpool to:

  • Faro 3 (+3)

Ryanair expects a surge in demand

When speaking about the increased capacity to Portugal in a company statement Ryanair’s Director of Marketing, Dara Brady, said:

“We are very pleased to announce 175,000 extra seats to Portugal on the back of the UK’s green list. With quarantine-free travel now permitted to the likes of Faro, Lisbon, and Porto, even more, flights have been added to our UK schedule in order to meet the demand from our customers.

The UK Summer 2021 schedule comprises 480 destinations, having recently launched 26 new routes and with more to be added as restrictions relax throughout Europe over the summer months. UK families can book a well-earned summer holiday safe in the knowledge that if their plans change, they can move their travel dates up to two times with a zero-change fee up until the end of October 2021.

 To celebrate, we are releasing seats from just £19.99 for travel until the end of October 2021, which are available to book until midnight Sunday 9th May. Since these amazing low prices will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto www.ryanair.com to avoid missing out.”

Ryanair Boeing 737
Ryanair has an all-Boeing fleet. Photo: Ryanair

When looking at the green list of counties, you cannot help wonder why the Canary Island’s and the Balearic Island’s did not make a list as they both have meager incidence rates. When the list is reviewed in three weeks, I can see many more popular destinations added to the list.

What countries would you like to see added to the UK’s green list? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments. 

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/ryanair-portugal-capacity-expansion/

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Aviation

What Happened To Lufthansa’s Boeing 707 Aircraft?

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At the start of the jet age, German flag carrier Lufthansa had filled its fleet with about 23 Boeing 707s and eight of the shorter variant, the Boeing 720. While the carrier obviously went on to modernize its fleet as the years went by, what happened to these iconic quad jets?

The Boeing 707 is largely credited as the first truly successful commercial jet aircraft. Photo: wiltshirespotter via Wikimedia Commons 

The information comes from a site known as Lufthansa Group Fleet. Without any clear official ties to the Lufthansa Group, the level of detail and statistical analysis regarding the fleets of Lufthansa Group airlines (including SWISS, Brussels, Austrian, etc.) is quite impressive! With an extensive historical fleet, this resource covers information not available on other fleet tracking sites. Let’s look in-depth at Lufthansa’s 707 fleet.

Starting in the 1960s

Lufthansa started to take delivery of the Boeing 707 in February of 1960, beginning with a 707-430. It would take three more jets of the same variant later in the year.

As an entire decade, the 1960s would be huge for Lufthansa and the 707. By May 1969, Lufthansa had taken delivery of 30 707s – including eight Boeing 720s. At the turn of the decade, Lufthansa would add just one more 707 in October of 1970. The 707-330B and 707-330C were the majority of deliveries to the airline.

Pictured here is a 707-330B registered as D-ABUL. The jet, named ‘Duisburg,’ would go on to fly with Somali Airlines. Photo: Uli Elch via Wikimedia Commons

The first jets to leave

The first jets to leave were the carrier’s smaller 707 variant, the 720. The first 720 to leave was unfortunately not by choice, as the jet registered as D-ABOK crashed during a training flight in December 1961. All three onboard the aircraft were killed.

Most other 720s (six) would leave Lufthansa in the mid-1960s, hopping across the Atlantic to join Pan American World Airways.

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A total of four Lufthansa 707s (including two 720s) crashed. Photo: kitmasterbloke via Flickr 

Over 15 years of service

The majority of 707s served with Lufthansa for over 15 years. The very first jets delivered to the airline in 1960 departed between 1975 and 1977. These jets went to a number of airlines, including Condor, Air Trine, and Pearl Air. One 707, D-ABOD has been stored in Hamburg and is due to be scrapped. However, a fundraising effort is underway to save the jet from being torn apart.

Pan American World Airways and Air Zimbabwe were the two largest recipients of Lufthansa’s 707s. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr 

Here are other notable destinations for some of Lufthansa’s phased out 707s:

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  • Five went to Air Zimbabwe
  • Two went to the Dubai Royal Air Wing as VIP jets
  • Two went to Somali Airlines

A handful of crashes

Sadly, the crash of D-ABOK less than eight months into service would be the first of a few accidents. Here are the other 707 crashes reported:

  • D-ABOP (Boeing 720): Similar to D-ABOK, three crew were killed while on a training flight.  The aircraft reportedly lost control and broke up.
  • D-ABOT: The Aviation Safety Network notes that the jet undershot the Delhi runway and collided with the Middle Marker building. There were no fatalities in this incident.
  • D-ABUY: Three crew members were killed on a cargo mission. Classified as “Wrong or misinterpreted ATC instructions” and a “Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) – Mountain.”

Other than the crashes, it looks like most of Lufthansa’s 707s went on to serve with other airlines around the world in a variety of interesting places.

Have you seen a 707 yourself? Or have you even flown on one? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/lufthansa-boeing-707-what-happened/

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Kenya Airways Partners With South Africa’s Airlink

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Kenya Airways is teaming up with South Africa’s Airlink in the form of an interline agreement. This agreement will allow for a combination of Kenya Airways/Airlink itineraries, allowing passengers from one airline to connect to additional destinations on the other carrier’s network.

SA Airlink customers can reach additional destinations across Africa with this agreement. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

“These new routes will positively impact the flow of trade and tourism across the region by offering our customers convenient travel around the continent,” -Julius Thairu, Acting Chief Commercial Officer, Kenya Airways via The Star

Broadening networks

Through this agreement, Kenya Airways customers will be able to access a number of new destinations in the Southern Africa region via Airlink hubs at Johannesburg and Cape Town.

At the same time, Airlink customers from across the Southern Africa region (includes South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and more) will be able to access Kenya Airways’ destinations across Africa. Let’s look at some example destinations:

  • Airlink destinations now available to Kenya Airways travelers: Windhoek, Durban, Gaborone, Maseru, Pemba, Maputo, Port Elizabeth, and more.
  • Kenya Airways destinations now available to SA Airlink travelers: Accra, Addis Ababa, Entebbe, Kigali, Lagos, Lusaka, Dar es Salaam, Bujumbura, Kinshasa, and more.
38% of Kenya Airways’ fleet is comprised of Embraer E190 regional jets. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr 

Staying on the continent

One interesting thing to note about this agreement is that it does not include Kenya Airways’ broader intercontinental network and overseas destinations. In Europe, Kenya Airways flies to Amsterdam, London, and Paris, while also going as far as Guangzhou, Bangkok, and Mumbai in the East. The carrier has also been operating service to New York in recent years.

Unfortunately for Airlink customers across the Southern Africa region, this new agreement is limited to Kenya Airways destinations within Africa.

This limitation makes sense, however, when you consider SA Airlink’s existing interline agreements with Air France, British Airways, KLM, Emirates, Lufthansa, United, and more. To include Kenya Airways’ European and Asian destinations would certainly conflict with the destinations of these other airlines.

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Embraer regional jets make up the majority of the Airlink fleet. Photo: Bob Adams via Wikimedia Commons 

Not quite a codeshare

While this new partnership will see the airlines working together, it’s not quite the same as a codeshare. In fact, this “interline agreement” is a more basic form of partnership than a codeshare, which will allow each airline to have the other carrier’s flights booked on the same itinerary. This will allow for smoother check-in, seamless connections, and included baggage transfer.

Kenya Airways has 12 Boeing 737s, making up just over 30% of its fleet. Photo: Alan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons 

Codeshare agreements would take this to the next level, with one airline operating a flight on behalf of the other using their flight code. This typically allows for frequent flyers on one airline to collect points/miles and redeem flights on the other carrier while at the same time benefitting from other loyalty status perks.

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What do you think of this new partnership? Have you flown on either carrier before? Let us know in the comments.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/kenya-airways-sa-airlink-interline/

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407 Squadron defends Canada for 80 years

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From Comox Valley Record – link to source story – thanks to CW

The Comox-based squadron celebrating special anniversary

ERIN HALUSCHAK | 7 May 2021

A 407 Squadron crew returns from an anti-submarine patrol during the Second World War. It was here their aggressive reputation earned them the moniker “The Demons.” Canadian Forces photo/submitted

A 407 Squadron crew returns from an anti-submarine patrol during the Second World War. It was here their aggressive reputation earned them the moniker “The Demons.” Canadian Forces photo/submitted

Eighty years ago, 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron was created with many responsibilities and different aircraft, but one principle has stayed the same: no matter the mission, the crews of 407 Squadron always get the job done.

Stood up on May 8, 1941 at RAF Thorney Island in England as a Coastal Strike squadron, it was tasked with attacking Axis shipping while flying the Lockheed Hudson bomber. It was in this role that the squadron earned its nickname “Demons” for its aggressive and unrelenting low-level bombing runs, destroying or damaging an estimated 500,000 tons of enemy supplies.

In 1943, it was changed to a general reconnaissance squadron and tasked to protect allied shipping from the menacing wolf packs of German U-boats, flying the behemoth Vickers Wellington bomber. Until the end of the Second World War, the “Demons” wreaked havoc on the U-boats, sinking four and damaging seven, thus helping to keep the vital supply lines from North America safe. It was here during the Battle of the Atlantic that the “Demons” lived up to their name.

The squadron was disbanded on June 4, 1945 following the end of the war but reactivated on July 1, 1952 in its current home of Comox as 407 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron.

Flying the Avro Lancaster Mark 10 MR, its primary mission was anti-submarine warfare along with search-and-rescue and national sovereignty patrols. In 1958 the “Demons” traded in the Lancaster for the CP-122 Neptune, an aircraft specifically designed for anti-submarine warfare.

In 1968, they traded the Neptune for the CP-107 Argus, a Canadian-made aircraft with improved sensors and endurance. This allowed the squadron to begin patrolling the vast expanses of the Canadian Arctic. In 1974, a 407 crew flew a maritime patrol from Comox to the Aleutian Islands and back at a time of 31 hours and six minutes, setting a world record for the longest un-refueled flight and putting 407 Squadron in the history books once again.

On June 11, 1981 the “Demons,” now designated as maritime patrol squadron, entered the era of computerized warfare and took possession of its current workhorse, the CP-140 Aurora. A combination of Lockheed’s P-3 Orion and S-3 Viking aircrafts, the Aurora brought with it state-of-the-art reconnaissance, surveillance and anti-submarine capabilities. This made 407 Squadron one of the most versatile squadrons in the Canadian Armed Forces, able to conduct a multitude of missions like anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search-and-rescue, sovereignty patrols, maritime interdiction, assistance to law enforcement and overland reconnaissance.

The squadron routinely works with allied and partner nations as well as other Canadian departments like DFO, the RCMP, the Coast Guard, Transport Canada and NORAD.

Some of its current operations include counter-narcotics enforcement off Central and South America, sanctions enforcement around North Korea, searching for illegal and unregulated fishing in the Pacific Ocean, counter-smuggling patrols in the western Indian Ocean, search and rescue missions at home, enforcing sovereignty along Canada’s west and north coasts, and tracking submarines all around the world.

From the North Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Afghanistan and Iraq to the Indian Ocean and East China Sea, the “Demons” are the eyes and ears of Canada’s military and after 80 years, they still get the job done.

– Capt. Ian Paone/Canadian Forces

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Source: https://canadianaviationnews.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/407-squadron-defends-canada-for-80-years/

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