The Chair of the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio, and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation, Rick Larsen, have called on the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to deny permits for Norse Atlantic Airways to fly to the United States, citing concerns about the airline.
Members of Congress on Norse Atlantic Airways
Rep. DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, and Rep. Larsen, a Democrat from Washington State, have called on the DOT to deny Norse Atlantic Airways Operating permits on account that it is flouting labor protections.
Drawing on earlier language indicating opposition to the airline, Reps. DeFazio and Larsen have argued that, by organizing itself in a country outside of Norway, where there are strong labor laws, the airline is seeking to flout those laws.
Drawing strong comparisons with Norwegian
The two Congressmen believe the airline is doing this because one of its executives was a former executive at Norwegian, which used Irish and UK subsidiaries to operate long-haul low-cost flights between the US and Europe.
In the letter, the Congressman stated the following:
“Their long-haul low-cost business model was predicated on the use of pilots and flight attendants employed under short-term contracts and assigned to the Norwegian subsidiaries via third-party crew sourcing firms. In short, Norwegian exploited labor while enjoying the liberalized benefits of the U.S.-E.U.-Iceland-Norway open skies agreement and competing unfairly with airlines that do not subvert fair labor standards.”
Using Norwegian as a warning
The letter also urged the DOT to consider that Norwegian failed in its transatlantic operations. Between 2016 and 2019, the letter states that Norwegian incurred debt of nearly $7 billion.
Norwegian is currently under bankruptcy proceedings in Europe and has decided to shut down its long-haul routes and focus on its flights within Europe.
Norwegian made a huge splash when it started transatlantic operations in 2016 between the US and Europe. Using a fleet of mostly Boeing 787 aircraft, the airline brought large numbers of customers across the pond.
Norse Atlantic Airways has already indicated it will operate a similar model, using Boeing 787 aircraft it has signed leases for.
US airlines breathed a sigh of relief
When Norwegian came into the transatlantic market, it followed its initial routes with plenty of growth. That growth put pressure on US airlines.
Now, without Norwegian in the market, airlines are breathing a sigh of relief. Without that low-cost competition in the market, airlines like United are bullish on their international exposure. Without Norwegian in the market, there is also room for plenty of existing airlines to move toward higher-yield transatlantic operations.
The return of transatlantic demand will depend greatly on the removal of travel restrictions between the US and Europe. Most airlines are focused on cargo with low passenger loads on flights to Europe currently. Only essential travel is permitted between the two areas.
Norse Atlantic is a startup to watch. It has the opportunity to massively grow to the size of Norwegian’s long-haul operations before it shut down, but doing so may come at a high cost and low profitability. It will have to make the long-haul low-cost model work to be successful.
For now, it is a waiting game to see how the DOT will respond to Norse Atlantic. US Congressmen are coming down on the side of the US airline industry, but the DOT may end up granting Norse Atlantic operating permission.
Do you think Norse Atlantic Airways should be allowed to operate between the US and Europe? Let us know in the comments!
Air Europa Will Return To Miami & New York Next Month
Spanish airline Air Europa is all set to resume operations to both Miami and New York next month. Flights to Miami are scheduled to restart from June 12th, while flights to New York will resume two weeks later, on June 25th. A Boeing 787 Dreamliner will operate both routes.
As travel restrictions around the world loosen, we are seeing more and more routes reopen to regular commercial services. The latest to confirm the resumption of routes is Air Europa. The low-cost Spanish carrier is resuming routes from its Madrid base to two US destinations.
The first to resume will be flights to Miami operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from June 12th onwards. Shortly after, on June 25th, the airline will also resume operations to New York on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Both routes will be operated by the airlines’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which reduces fuel consumption, carbon emissions and even cuts around 45 minutes off the flight time.
Other US destinations
Although the airline has only just announced the resumption of flights to Miami and New York, you can book flights to the more US on its website. The airline, based in Mallorca, advertises destinations in the US including, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington.
However, other airlines operate most of these flights thanks to codesharing agreements. Air Europa is a member of the SkyTeam alliance and has additional codesharing agreements with Etihad, Ethiopian, Air Serbia, and Turkish Airlines.
Not all of the routes to the US are currently operating due to low demand and travel restrictions. However, Air Europa clearly believes there is enough demand to restart transatlantic flights. Although some restrictions are still in place, global travel demand does appear to be increasing as the summer season approaches.
Steps to encourage passengers
Just as the airline is looking to increase connections to the US, it is also hoping to encourage people to feel comfortable traveling. Air Europa is working with Amadeus to launch a new digital feature called Traveler ID.
The in-app and online technology will allow travelers to check, track and record health documents. As entry requirements change, many people are unsure what documents they need to enter a country safely. This is even more prevalent as countries introduce loopholes to avoid quarantining.
Passengers traveling on Air Europa will be able to scan, upload, and present health documents during their trip. This ensures they are up to date with government requirements at all times. In a statement, Air Europa commented,
“Offering our passengers a connected and digital solution to facilitate their trip and instill the necessary peace of mind and confidence when getting on the plane is a priority for us. Thanks to Amadeus, Air Europa customers can now digitally comply with health regulations and can demonstrate this at any time during the trip”
Although the new tech isn’t available yet, it might be ready by the time direct flights to the US resume.
Would you be comfortable heading across the Atlantic just yet? Or would you prefer to stay closer to home? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Environmental factors most important among ESG: Poll
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need to address climate change as part of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues of companies and businesses.
In a poll Verdict has conducted to assess which among the three ESG factors is most important as ranked by companies, a majority 45% voted environmental factors to be the most important, while 37% voted corporate governance and 18% voted social factors to be the most important.
Social factors was the second most important, according to 56% of the respondents, followed by corporate governance (23%) and environmental factors (21%).
Corporate governance was accorded the third rank by 40% of the respondents, followed by environmental factors (34%) and social factors (26%).
The analysis is based on 241 responses received from the readers of Verdict between 01 February and 12 April 2021.
Significance of ESG factors
The three ESG factors are usually interlinked, and equally drive sustainable performance of a company or business although at varying degrees. Investors are employing these non-monetary factors in their search for potential growth opportunities and material risks.
Each of the ESG factors have different material effect on a business or sector. Environmental factors, for example, are more important for the renewables sector, but not as important for the services sector.
Environmental issues have currently garnered much attention amid the coronavirus pandemic from a political and economic viewpoint. Climate change, global warming, and carbon emissions are quantifiable and can be easily reported by a company although social and governance factors are equally important to attract investors.
Thai Adds Phuket Flights Ahead Of Planned July Reopening
Thai Airways has added four non-stops routes from Europe to Phuket – including from Heathrow – along with two from within Asia. The reason: the opening up of Phuket from July, which is set to be a testbed for the wider country. They’ll also be non-stop because they must be, at least for now.
Thai Airways has put on sale the following six routes, with the summer period coinciding with the low season in Thailand.
- Copenhagen-Phuket: once-weekly from July 2nd-September 24th using the A350-900
- Delhi-Phuket: twice-weekly July 2nd-September 26th; A350-900
- Frankfurt-Phuket: once-weekly July 2nd-October 1st; B777-300ER
- Hong Kong-Phuket: once-weekly July 2nd-September 24th; A350-900
- London Heathrow-Phuket: once-weekly July 3rd-September 25th; B777-300ER
- Paris CDG-Phuket: once-weekly July 2nd-September 24th; B777-300ER
In the recent past, Thai Airways has served Phuket non-stop from Copenhagen, Delhi, Frankfurt, and Hong Hong. Frankfurt, for example, began in November 2016 but became winter-seasonal in 2019, so its summer flights are a return to this flying. Copenhagen, meanwhile, has always been winter-only, until now.
Aircraft will route to and from Bangkok, with Phuket available non-stop only in one direction: to the island. This is because it is a requirement is to fly non-stop into Phuket, at least until connections over Bangkok are permitted once again. For example, Heathrow is scheduled as:
- Bangkok-Heathrow: 00:55-07:15
- Heathrow-Phuket: 12:30-06:10+1 (the next day)
- Phuket-Bangkok: 07:45-09:15
Why is it happening?
Thailand’s borders have remained closed for a long time, with a tentative reopening date of July 1st. This is likely to change further depending on the progress of Thailand’s third wave of coronavirus.
Vaccinations will be all-important to visiting Phuket, among various other requirements, with Phuket expected to lead the country’s recovery effort ahead of other areas. As is often the case with COVID, uncertainty surrounds the situation. In an article published on May 11th, The Points Guy pointed out that the quarantine-free agreement has been reversed.
Europe to Phuket
It’s no surprise that Thai Airways has chosen these six routes to Phuket. After all, most routes were served by the airline before the pandemic hit, showing how important they were to both the island and the carrier.
Indeed, across all airlines, passenger traffic to/from the four European destinations is strong, based on 2019 booking data obtained from OAG Traffic Analyzer.
- London: approximately 160,000 point-to-point round-trip passengers
- Frankfurt: 145,000
- Paris: 130,000
- Copenhagen: 66,000
TUI Airways will resume Gatwick-Phuket on a once-weekly basis from this October, while TUI Nordic is set to restart Copenhagen-Phuket from November.
London to Phuket
Thai Airways carried the most London to Phuket passengers in 2019, with about 53,000 estimated to have connected over Suvarnabhumi. It was the carrier’s largest transit market, with the rest of its top-10 being London to Ko Samui, Krabi, Auckland, Hanoi, Perth, Ho Chi Minh City, Bali, Melbourne, and Siem Reap.
The Gulf carriers have really grown in Phuket in recent years, with up to 45 weekly departures in 2019. It is therefore no surprise that they were also important in reaching Phuket, although Qatar and the UAE are now on the UK’s red list of countries.
Qatar Airways via Doha saw the second-highest number of London passengers, followed by Emirates via Dubai. Then it was:
- Singapore Airlines and SilkAir via Singapore
- Etihad Airways over Abu Dhabi
- Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur
- Air China over Beijing Capital
- Aeroflot via Moscow Sheremetyevo
Will you be traveling Thai Airways this year? Comment below!
British Airways increases frequencies for summer season
British Airways has announced that will be increasing frequencies across a number of European routes and plans to add more than 90,000 seats from Tuesday, May 11th. According to the UK flag carrier, the reason why there are more flights to the Canary Islands, Greece and Turkey, is mainly due to “the overwhelming interest” in summer sunshine holidays.
British Airways stated that it will be increasing flight on two routes to the Canary Islands, with prices starting from £49 each way for flights from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Lanzarote. The UK carrier will also be adding 26 additional weekly frequencies to a range of destinations including Corfu, Kos, Paphos, Rhodes, Lanzarote, Tenerife and Bodrum.
British Airways added that passengers can now book flights to the Canary Islands and Greece for travel between 21st June and 5th September, while passengers looking to fly to Bodrum in Turkey can still book, but will have to wait until July 18th.
In a company statement the Director of Networks and Alliances at British Airways, Neil Chernoff said “It’s clear Britons are hoping that their favourite destinations will be open by the time summer comes. We want to provide them with access to book seats to the places they love to help them getaway.”
In addition to adding extra frequencies throughout its European network, British Airways has also announced two new routes to its BA CityFlyer network. The regional airline will operate twice-weekly flights from both Edinburgh Airport (EDI) and London City Airport (LCY) to Guernsey Airport (GCI).
According to the UK carrier, it will operate these flights on Mondays and Friday, which will commence from June 25th. Commenting on the new routes, the Managing Director of BA CityFlyer, Tom Stoddart said that these new routes “will be popular this summer with customers looking for a UK getaway.”
British Airways also added that flights from Edinburgh will be operated by the airline’s Embraer E190 aircraft. and will cost around £78 return. However, the carrier only plans to operate these flights up until September 27th. According to a preliminary schedule seen by AeroNewsX, flight BA2343 will depart Edinburgh Airport at 15:40 on Monday and 12:40 on Fridays arriving in Guernsey at 17:15 and 14:15 respectively.
In terms of flights from London City Airport, British Airways flight BA3281 will depart on Mondays at 11:30 and on Friday at 08:30 with both flights landing at 12:35 on Mondays and 09:35 on Fridays. The UK airline concluded by stating that it also plans to offer return flights from London City Airport for around £90.
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