Boeing’s 787 ecoDemonstrator Enters Service With Etihad

Boeing’s 787 ecoDemonstrator aircraft has entered service with Etihad, following its delivery in October. Boeing used the aircraft to test environmental and noise reducing initiatives before its delivery.

Many expected the 2020s to be the decade where the main focus in aviation was on the industry’s sustainability and driving down emissions. While airlines are still extremely focused on such goals, health and safety have become the central theme of aviation this year. One airline demonstrating its commitment to reducing its environmental footprint is Etihad. This year, the airline operated special flights with another of its 787-10s, known as the Greenliner.

The ecoDemonstrator is flying for Etihad

Etihad took delivery of the former Boeing 787-10 ecoDemonstrator in October. However, the aircraft has so far not been taking to the skies for the Abu Dhabi-based carrier. The aircraft took its first flight post-testing on November 25th as EY77 from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam.

It was only today the airline officially inaugurated the aircraft. The aircraft features a plaque commemorating its role, while some of its testing logos remain on the fuselage. Additionally, the airline had written ‘From Abu Dhabi for the World’ on the side. At the time of writing, the aircraft was operating a return leg from Milan.

“As the first 787- 10 to take part in the ecoDemonstrator programme, this very special aircraft stands testament to the innovation and drive for sustainable aviation that forms a core element of Etihad’s values and long-term vision”

What was the ecoDemonstrator?

The Boeing ecoDemonstrator is the American manufacturer’s program of testing new technologies to improve its aircraft’s efficiency. Many aircraft have been used for the program, from a Boeing 737 to the mighty 777. However, Boeing typically uses a customer’s aircraft rather than one of its own.

In the case of the Etihad 787-10 ecoDemonstrator, one of the main focuses was on the noise produced by the aircraft. As such, 214 microphones were attached to the aircraft’s fuselage, with an array of over 1,000 more microphones laid out over a Montana runway.

One of the tests placed a particular focus on the noise generated by an aircraft’s landing gear. Bright orange fairings were placed on the landing gear, giving them an aerofoil shape. The aircraft was then flown low over the array of microphones.

While the flight data is yet to be revealed, onlookers said that they noticed a reduction in noise with the farings. This is a crucial finding if confirmed, as landing gear accounts for 30% of the noise generated by an aircraft coming into land.


United Airlines Expects Massive Cash Burn Increase Over Slowing Demand

United Airlines has updated its fourth-quarter average daily cash burn. Coupled with a slowdown in travel demand, United has revised its estimated fourth-quarter cash burn estimate upwards to be north of $24 million. This comes as public health experts warn the winter could get much darker, which would spell bad news for United heading into January and December. It is, however, excited for summer 2021.

United’s revises cash burn estimates upwards

In a mid-November update, United Airlines expected average daily cash burn during the fourth quarter to be approximately $15 million to $20 million, plus $10 million of average debt principal payments and severance payments per day.

Now, United has revised it upwards to be between $24 million to $26 million, plus $10 million in average debt principal payments and severance payments.

United attributed a few different reasons for the increasing cash burn. This includes a continued deceleration in bookings and a change in working capital due to a shift in certain payments and receipts between quarters.

Overall, United expects fourth-quarter total revenue to be down close to 70% in the fourth quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

The revised cash burn estimate for 2020 puts United in line with other airlines, like American Airlines, in a higher cash burn amid a slowdown in demand. The slowdown comes as case counts across the country continue to increase, and local jurisdictions increase travel restrictions. Heading into 2021, United has already decreased its schedule for international flights through the start of the year.

A recovery is on the horizon

United Airlines sees a recovery on the horizon. While the carrier does not expect it to follow a linear path, which is very much clear thus far. One of the most interesting things, however, is where United sees some bookings.

The airline is currently seeing bookings for the third quarter of 2021 to be down approximately 40%. Meanwhile, bookings for December 2020 and January 2021 are down a whopping 70%. This means that there is some resiliency and expectation that people will be able to do some travel in the third quarter of 2021.

United’s team has consistently pinned their hopes of a recovery on a vaccine. With more encouraging news coming out in the last few weeks about a vaccine, United Airlines states it has confidence in a strong recovery and trajectory of the rebound in 2021 and beyond.

The third quarter of 2021

The third quarter of 2021 will run from July through September, and it is typically one of the stronger quarters for airlines. It is also one of the busiest transatlantic travel quarters of the year.

This year’s third quarter was blunted in part due to heavy travel restrictions at home and abroad coupled with uncertainty over travel itself. Come 2021. United is hoping that many of these restrictions will be lessened amid the release and distribution of a vaccine. However, that will take time. Until it comes to market and becomes more widespread, United will have to go through a tough winter.


Two Passengers Skip Quarantine Affecting 176 Virgin Australia Passengers

A quarantine bungle at Sydney Airport on the weekend saw two passengers board a domestic flight after coming in from Germany. The pair should have gone straight into a 14-day quarantine. Instead, miscommunication saw them allowed to board a Virgin Australia service to Melbourne. However, an alert guard at Melbourne Airport realized something was amiss and notified authorities.

New South Wales Police “own” their mistake

Two dual German-Australian nationals, a 53-year woman and her 15-year-old son arrived in Sydney on Saturday. They had come in from Germany via Tokyo on an All Nippon Airways flight. The two travelers had through boarding passes to Melbourne in their possession.

Normally, international arrivals are herded straight onto a bus and taken to downtown hotels to sit out their 14-day quarantine.

New South Wales Police told Simple Flying that the two travelers had been directed to board the bus when they said they were continuing onto Melbourne.

A New South Wales Police Officer checked the story out and allowed the pair to continue traveling. They were even given a lift across to the domestic terminals for their Virgin Australia flight.

But it turns out the Police Officer involved erred in thinking the travelers had an exemption. On Sunday, New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy blamed language barriers and miscommunication for the error.

“The police officer has admitted his mistake,” said Deputy Commissioner Loy.

“He should have clarified. He accepts that. We’ll own the mistake, and we’ll move forward.”

An alert security guard in Melbourne raises the alarm

Meanwhile, the woman and her son boarded Virgin Australia flight VA838 (operated by VH-YFX) at midday on Saturday for the flight to Melbourne. There were 176 passengers and six crew on the flight. After an extended internal border closure, there is finally freedom of movement between Sydney and Melbourne. Melbourne has just come out of several months of lockdown. The city has recorded 38 days without a COVID-19 case and is keen to keep that winning streak going.

The two travelers are not accused of misleading authorities. Rather, there appears to be a genuine language barrier and a miscommunication issue.

“Police practices and systems at the airport have also been reviewed and strengthened as a result of this incident,” says New South Wales Police.

Having flown to Melbourne, an alert private security guard at that airport noticed the pair looking “lost” near a public transport stand. When the guard, Claudio Cominotto, realized what had happened, he called it in.

“Just don’t send them anywhere. Hold them for a minute. I need to confirm what’s going on.’ I thought if they haven’t quarantined, then this is a big problem,” was the response from his boss quoted in The Age newspaper last night.

It turns out the two travelers were expecting to go into quarantine in Melbourne and wondering why they were allowed to roam free.

They were very compliant, very friendly, wearing masks with the correct PPE,” said Peter Mikha, a security duty officer at Melbourne Airport on Saturday.

“They let us know everything we wanted. There was no question. They did not want to avoid it. They were looking for quarantine.”

Passengers in self-quarantine, Virgin Australia aircraft pulled from service

Claudio Cominotto is getting a lot of praise for his quick thinking. New South Wales Police – not so much. While the mother and son duo have since tested negative for COVID-19 and are holed up in quarantine in a Melbourne hotel, the incident potentially exposed the passengers and crew on the Virgin Australia flight to COVID-19.

Victoria’s Department of Health asked the passengers and crew on the flight to immediately go into self-quarantine. In a media statement, a blameless Virgin Australia said;

“We have passed on the passenger manifest to the relevant health authorities to assist them in contacting the passengers on the flight, and we have been in contact with the crew operating the flight.

“Upon being informed these guests had traveled on our aircraft without entering hotel quarantine, we removed the aircraft from service to perform a deep clean, as a precautionary measure.”

Meanwhile, with Melbourne now accepting some limited inbound international passengers, there’s the potential for more security bungles and miscommunication issues. That will keep people like Claudio Cominotto on the hop.


Air France Won’t Scrap The First Class Cabin

Although many carriers are choosing to move away from a first class product, CEO of the Air France-KLM Group, Ben Smith, believes that it has a place long term at Air France. He describes La Premier as ‘best in class’, saying that the airline is committed to keeping it, and will be reinvesting in the product.

La Premier is here to stay

With airlines all over the world cutting first class in favor of larger business class cabins, it would be understandable if Air France was on the road to phasing it out. However, speaking at yesterday’s Routes Reconnected, CEO Ben Smith said he remains committed to the airline’s premium cabin. He said,

“Air France… is still one of the only carriers that has first class, La Premier, which is usually viewed as best in class. So, we’ve decided to reinvest in that. We’re going to keep it.”

Some of the first class capacity at Air France has already vanished with the exit of the A380. Each of the 10 aircraft had nine first class seats, meaning a loss of 90 across the fleet. The only other aircraft with first were select 777-300ERs, which totaled 76 seats in all. Half of Air France’s first has gone.

Nevertheless, the product on the 777s was far better than that on the A380, so overall, the quality has increased, even if the quantity has declined. While Smith didn’t say specifically where he was ‘reinvesting’ in first, the only place really left to invest is in the incoming A350s.

A couple of months ago, rumors were flying that some of the A350 fleet may get a first cabin. It would be a break from the norm, with many other operators choosing not to have first in their new Airbus widebodies. Air France has 38 A350s on order, with six already in operation (none of which have first).

Not many operators have first on the A350. Malaysia Airlines has just four first class seats on the A350, now rebranded as ‘business suites’, while Japan Airlines is looking at 12 (although they’re not truly first class standard). China Eastern has just four in a 1-2-1 arrangement. If Air France is looking to replace some of the capacity lost from the retirement of the A380, we could see 10, 15 or maybe even 20 A350s rocking up with first onboard.

Business travel will return

Investing in first is all well and good, but with business travel predicted to be stunted for some time, is Air France worried? It seems Smith is positive that business travel would return, albeit more slowly than other sectors. He stated that, “Business travel will come back, but it will be number three,” behind visiting friends and relatives and leisure travel demand.

Some have speculated that the rise in virtual communications and remote working could kill off business travel long term. A report in today’s Wall Street Journal suggests that business travel could be cut by as much as 36%, permanently. However, Smith believes that there’s only so much you can do from the comfort of your own home.

It’s a sentiment shared by some other airline CEOs, including Air France’s joint venture partner Delta Air Lines. Notably, Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, has presented a bullish front on the return of business flying, saying that, “The first time someone loses a sale to a competitor who showed up in person is the last time they try to make a sales call on Zoom.”

Whether that’s wishful thinking remains to be seen, but Smith isn’t counting only on business travel to fill up his first class cabins.

Air France isn’t counting on business

Even if business travel will be last to return, Smith stated that this is not the only reason to keep first class in the skies. He noted that a large proportion of Air France’s premium fliers are actually not traveling on business at all. He said,

Smith believes that the attractions of France as a destination, coupled with the exceptional premium product offered by Air France, will give him the opportunity to claim back market share. He said,

“As you know here in France you have fashion, you have culture, you have exceptional gastronomy. So, you have a reason for people all over the world to come here, other than business, and it’s huge.

“Air France only had 45% of air traffic prior to COVID. So, there’s an enormous amount of opportunity for us to regain some of that share.”


Air New Zealand’s Brand New Boeing 787-10 Fleet: What You Need To Know

In May 2019, Air New Zealand announced its commitment to purchase eight Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft powered by GEnx engines. A year and a half have passed, and a health crisis has gripped much of the world. How has this time affected the airline’s aircraft order, and what’s the latest? Let’s find out.

The initial order

The initial order, announced by the airline on May 27th, 2019, was to have the first 787-10 join the Air New Zealand fleet in 2022, alongside its existing fleet of 787-9 Dreamliners. The carrier initially said that the first new aircraft was expected to join the Air New Zealand fleet in “late 2022,” with the remainder delivered at intervals through 2027.

“The 787-10 is longer and even more fuel efficient. However, the game changer for us has been that by working closely with Boeing, we’ve ensured the 787-10 will meet our network needs, including the ability to fly missions similar to our current 777-200 fleet.” -Christopher Luxon, Chief Executive, Air New Zealand via an airline press release

As stated above by Mr Luxon, the new long-haul planes were purchased with the intention of replacing Air New Zealand’s fleet of eight 777-200 aircraft, which will be phased out by 2025. Combined with GE’s GEnx-1B engines, the airline says the jets are expected to be 25% more fuel-efficient than the aircraft they’re replacing.

In addition to the eight firm orders announced, the agreement included options to increase the number of aircraft from eight to up to 20 as well as substitution rights that allow a switch from the larger 787-10 to smaller 787-9s or a combination of the two models for future fleet and network flexibility. The delivery schedule can also be delayed or accelerated according to market demand. The last point would be key in adapting to the events of 2020.

787-10 delivery delayed

“We’ve already pushed those orders back a little bit,” Air New Zealand’s Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace said to Executive Traveller when asked about the Boeing 787-10s. However, Wallace failed to specify what “a little bit” meant. However, we think that this means the first could be delivered in early 2023 at the earliest.

Wallace adds that the airline has fleet flexibility and that his team and financing fleet are “working through the options in terms of what are the different scenarios.”

New cabin details

In the middle of November, reports suggested that the airline could be planning a ‘business class plus’ feature for the premium travel section of the plane. This new subdivision of business class would give passengers the ability to upgrade their experience for something a little more special.

This concept, which could also be considered ‘first class lite,’ would see additional space allocated to the first row of business class. The survey, sent out by Air New Zealand, suggests that, compared to the other seats in the cabin, row one would have more legroom, a ‘shared dining experience,’ and greater privacy.

As yet, there have been no leaks of what the new product would look like or which manufacturers are in the running. Still, we can get some insight by looking at other airlines that are already flying this type of offer.

With the new aircraft set to be the airline’s flagship jets, it’s likely that they’ll also receive these new seats. After all, a new aircraft means that there’s no need to deal with a retrofit and removal of existing seats, making it the perfect opportunity to install a new product.

Ultimately, “late 2022” and early 2023 are quite a while away, and much could change over the course of 2021. We’ll have to keep an eye on Air New Zealand and what it decides to do with its multi-billion-dollar order of long-range jets!


Thousands Still Struggling To Return To Australia

Hindered by tight weekly international passenger arrival caps, no-one really knows how many Aussies are trying to get home by Christmas. But according to The Board of Airline Representatives of Australia (BARA), an industry body representing international airlines flying into Australia, well over 10,000 Australians will remain stranded overseas over the Christmas New Year period.

“The number of Australians overseas seeking to return home before the end of 2020 but now without an option to do so far exceeds the immediate waiting list of at least 10,000,” Barry Abrams, Executive Director of BARA said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This is because to meet the tight international passenger arrival caps, which were implemented with very short notice, many international airlines were forced to stop selling tickets some months ago.

“This means that the estimated immediate waiting list of 10,000 Australians overseas after airlines have booked flights to the permitted caps, does not include those who have been unable to book a ticket or join a waiting list.”

Tight limits on the number of arriving passengers keeps citizens out of their own country

Since mid-year, Australia has only been accepting around 6,000 inbound international passengers per week. This sees flights coming in with as few as 30 passengers allowed onboard and cries of price gouging as those airlines elect to sell pricy premium seats over cheaper economy class seats.

The Australian Government recently lifted the weekly arrivals cap by around 2,000 passengers. There is a compulsory 14-day quarantine in a government-mandated facility in place. The arrivals cap is an attempt to keep COVID-19 at bay. Further, no-one wants to overwhelm government agencies tasked with running the quarantine and health operations.

It’s a stance that’s won broad support. But the casualties have been substantial numbers of Australian citizens caught overseas. They’ve been effectively prevented from returning to their own country because they can’t snag one of the available entry spots.

It’s also bad news for the airlines who are continuing services in Australia. Allowed to sell so few seats, most of the carriers focus on selling premium-priced tickets. This allows them to recoup as much money as possible on the long flight to Australia.

Qantas plans to lay on more repatriation flights

National carrier Qantas has largely vacated the market, flying very few international flights since late March. But it has operated some government underwritten repatriation flights over the last two months on a cost-recovery basis.

 “As the national carrier, this is something we are proud to do,” said CEO Alan Joyce in October.

These flights were due to wrap up shortly. But in an interview earlier this week, Mr Joyce indicated the repatriation flights would continue into the New Year.

We’re working with the government on a lot more of those flights occurring,” Mr Joyce told ABC’s Radio National Breakfast on Monday.

“We’ve got more before Christmas, more passing into the New Year as well.”

Airline industry calls more a more nuanced approach to quarantine

That’s undoubtedly welcome news for stranded Australians. Mr Joyce, BARA, and a host of aviation insiders want a more nuanced risk-based approach to international arrivals rather than the flat 14-day quarantine period.

Through a combination of testing and looking at where you’ve flown in from, quarantine periods could be shortened. Alan Joyce won’t say by how long exactly but less than a week isn’t out of the question.

That would free up capacity in quarantine facilities, meaning airlines could bring in more people more frequently and get more stranded Australians home. BARA’s Barry Abrams says airlines are just pawns in the bigger game. He says the decision ultimately rests with the various State Governments in Australia who manage the health systems.

“The decision as to whether more Australians can return home before 31 December now ultimately rests with the individual state governments, who must decide if international arrivals can use the freed-up domestic quarantine capacity.

“For their part, international airlines are already providing more than enough flights and seats to return these Australians home,”


Rising Case Counts Delays Singapore And Hong Kong Travel Bubble

For over a month, there have been discussions about the formation of a travel bubble or travel corridor between Hong Kong and Singapore. Tomorrow was to be the launch date for this highly anticipated arrangement. Unfortunately, in light of rising case counts, the launch of this travel corridor will be deferred by two weeks. The announcement was made on November 21st via a press release on the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority’s website.

A decision reached by government representatives

According to Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority, this decision was reached following a discussion between the two states. Representing each side were Singapore’s Transportation Minister Ong Yu Kung and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, Edward Yau. “This is to safeguard public health in both cities as well as travelers’ own health,” the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority wrote. 

“Given the evolving situation in Hong Kong, Secretary Edward Yau and I discussed further this afternoon, and decided that it would be better to defer the launch of the ATB, by two weeks…I can fully understand the disappointment and frustration of travellers who have planned their trips. But we think it is better to defer from a public health standpoint.”

According to FlightGlobal, Hong Kong saw more than 60 new confirmed and preliminary cases on November 20th. 21 of these cases were locally transmitted. The public had been previously warned that travel bubble arrangements would be suspended for two weeks if the seven-day moving average number of unlinked coronavirus cases was over five.

What’s the status now, and where do we go from here?

The Singaporean government states that it, in cooperation with the government of Hong Kong, will review the new launch date of the air travel bubble (ATB) flights within two weeks, and an update will be provided at a later date.

This does not guarantee a travel bubble will be launched in two weeks. Rather, it will take this time to monitor the evolution and progress of the epidemiological situation. Should the COVID-19 case counts lower, and the situation improve to an acceptable level, it may provide sufficient justification for ATB flights to go ahead.

For now, travelers will still be able to continue their journeys on non-designated ATB flights. “However, such travelers will be subject to the prevailing border control and health requirements of both cities,” the press release states. For example, Singapore residents returning from Hong Kong will be subject to a 7-day Stay-Home Notice upon entry into Singapore. Additionally, airlines will be contacting affected passengers to provide assistance.  

The travel bubble would have allowed for leisure and non-essential travel to take place, without the need for quarantine. The plan would have seen travelers undergo pre-and post-arrival testing instead.


Azul A320neo Damaged By Hail Near Rio De Janeiro

An Azul Linhas Aereas Airbus A320neo performing a domestic flight on November 15th, 2020, in Brazil had to divert after suffering a hail strike that affected certain instruments onboard the aircraft. The aircraft safely landed at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão Airport, though the aircraft faced some visible damage.

The incident

On November 15th, an Airbus A320neo for Azul performing flight AD 4194 from Curitiba to Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont Airport suffered a hails from on approach, according to a report in the Aviation Herald.

While descending and approximately 20 nautical miles (~37 kilometers) out from the airport at 4,500 ft (~1,372 m), the crew decided to abort the approach due to a nail strike. After climbing, the aircraft diverted to another airport in Rio, Galeão Airport, and landed there safely.

Brazil’s CENIPA, the agency that investigates aircraft incidents, reported that the aircraft was climbing out of Curtibia when the jet flew through heavy rain, turbulence, and probably hail. While the crew continued the flight, the crew noted a lag in the first officer’s speed indications, leading to the diversion during the descent. On the ground, it was clear that the aircraft suffered damage to the radome.

The plane involved in the incident

The aircraft operating this flight is registered as PR-YRQ. According to data from Flightradar24, the aircraft is a baby and only two years old. The plane spent two days on the ground. On November 17th, the plane positioned to Viracopos – Campinas International Airport (VCP) and was scheduled to reenter commercial services the night of November 18th.

Azul’s Airbus A320neos seat 174 passengers, according to SeatGuru. The jet is in a single-class configuration with economy class and extra-legroom economy seats. Onboard this flight, there were 135 passengers onboard and six crewmembers.

Azul has 42 Airbus A320neo aircraft in its fleet currently. In addition to the A320neo, the airline also flies Airbus A321neos, Airbus A330-200s, Airbus A330-900neos, ATR 72-600s, Embraer E190s and E195s, and the E195-E2. The widebody Airbus A330s are the only ones that feature a proper business class.

The route

Azul is one of Brazil’s largest airlines, and it has an extensive route map throughout the country. Out of Rio’s Santos Dumont Airport (SDU), Azul has a handful of routes that gives it a sizable presence out of the airport, including to Curitiba (CWB). The flight is traditionally pretty short, coming in at about over an hour. Traditionally, Azul competes with LATAM and Gol, though it has a codeshare agreement with the former.

Santos Dumont is closer to the city center of Rio de Janeiro. It is the closest to some hotspot destinations in Rio, including Copacabana. However, with SDU’s short runways, the airport can only support narrowbody aircraft, so the airport does not get any long-haul international flights. Rio’s larger Galeão Airport gets all of the long-haul international flights.


When Will Porter Airlines Finally Resume Operations?

Canadian regional carrier Porter Airlines has updated its schedule for resuming operations. Unfortunately for the airline, this date has been delayed yet again, pushed further back due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, and the domino effect of travel restrictions and low customer demand. The airline had previously aimed to resume operations in November, which it then postponed to December. This latest move will have the airline restart in February 2021.

A February 11th resumption

Porter Airlines now intends to resume operations on February 11th due to the lack of progress with the overall COVID-19 situation and travel restrictions. This is what the airline’s leadership had to say via a press release:

“Deferring service until 2021 is not a decision we anticipated having to make as COVID-19 emerged early this year…Every delay to restarting flights has the greatest effect on our team members, who are eager to do their part to help serve customers under safe conditions. Unfortunately, the continued and cumulative effects of restrictive travel advisories, border closures and quarantines have suffocated travel demand to the point that a return to sustainable levels of passenger traffic is highly unlikely in 2020.” -Michael Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines

The airline goes on to say that this date was chosen to restart as it is after the traditionally slow post-holiday January period. As such, it will provide a “reasonable opportunity to begin flying if conditions improve.” Furthermore, the airline is hopeful that progress will be made with regards to developing rapid testing solutions as a means to lift government-imposed restrictions on travel.

Porter’s small network disproportionately affected

As a regional airline, Porter serves Canada’s most populated urban area, covering much of Southern Ontario. Out of its Toronto City airport hub, the carrier connects smaller cities in Western Ontario, most of the Maritime provinces, and cities of the US East Coast with one another. Chicago is also a part of the airline’s network.

A much smaller airline than other Canadian competitors, Porter has been more severely affected by the downturn in air travel demand. Furthermore, the existence of a Canadian ‘Atlantic bubble’ means even tighter travel restrictions for a huge portion of the airline’s network.

Now that a second wave is well underway across much of Canada as well as a much worse third wave across the United States, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be getting further away. Canadian international travel restrictions continue to hamper transborder traffic as the government continues to renew the border closure every month or so.

Porter temporarily suspended operations on March 21st and had planned the following resumption dates:

Hopefully, this is the final postponement of service and the industry will manage to establish reliable pre-flight testing by February as a way to get people flying safely once again.


Thai Airways Selling Everything From Cutlery To Boeing 747s In Bid To Raise Funds

This year has seen a lot of new things in the airline industry. One of the more unusual innovations is the public auctioning of aircraft. Not just small single-engine two-person Cessnas, but big jets that take up a lot of garage space. Iran Air made headlines earlier this year when it started auctioning off many of its aircraft, including its classic Boeing 747s. Then embattled THAI Airways jumped on the bandwagon. Now THAI is upping the ante and looking at auctioning a whole range of aircraft consumables to raise badly needed cash.

THAI looks to raise cash from non-passenger sources

THAI Airways is in a world of financial pain. The airline has defaulted on over US$2.8 billion worth of loans and bonds and lost $926 million in the first six months of 2020. Yesterday, THAI announced its third-quarter results and another loss. The airline said domestic travel was showing some signs of recovery, but international travel was almost zero.

However, THAI’s financial problems pre-date 2020. The travel downturn is simply the catalyst that has pushed the airline to its present tipping point. Yesterday, THAI said they were placing more emphasis on earning revenue from non-passenger sources.

Which might help explain the auction of their planes and various bits and pieces.

Earlier this month, Simple Flying reported THAI Airways was auctioning off 32 of their widebody planes, including all of their Boeing 747s. The THAI 747s were a familiar sight at many airports. Regular passengers know the planes to be showing a few signs of superficial wear and tear, but super comfortable to fly in.

THAI wants to sell surplus aircraft consumables

But unlike Iran Air, THAI is also giving you the chance to accessorize your newly purchased plane. The airline is looking at selling a range of aircraft consumables designed to make flying an altogether more pleasant experience.

According to a report in Thai PBS World, THAI Airways is going through its warehouses to see what else they can flog off. In THAI’s sights are everything from salt and pepper shakers and wine glasses to seat covers and aircraft tires.

Should you be interested, THAI also wants to swap its stash of booze for cash. It could be a great opportunity to pick up some bargain Dom Perignon from the first class supplies or Veuve Cliquot from their business class hoard.

THAI’s excellent taste in champagne is a good indicator of why this airline was always such as pleasure to fly on and why it’s so sad to see THAI in its current state.

Also becoming available are various office spaces, including the head office building.

The airline is in the middle of a restructuring program under the supervision of Thailand’s Central Bankruptcy Court. The process is similar to Chapter 11.

Meanwhile, should you wish to pick up an ex-THAI widebody plane, you’d better shake out your wallet and get in quick. We could provide a link, but we don’t want to encourage reckless aircraft impulse buys that might upset your partner. However, if you must,  the auction closes today, November 13. The auctioneers would also like to remind you that they offer no offer sales warranty. So best buy a few extra tires just in case. And champagne.