Several big airlines remain bullish about their prospects for 2022. They include BA and Iberia owner IAG which said this week it is forecasting a rebound this year to 85% of 2019 capacity, with Easter and summer bookings particularly strong.
Also upbeat is Brazil’s Azul, which this week reported revenues in quarter four of 2021 even stronger than the corresponding period in 2019, thanks to the addition of more than 30 destinations from two years ago. And Singapore Airlines – which for 18 months had its passenger flights virtually grounded by the country’s strict border controls – reported its first quarterly profit since the Covid-19 outbreak.
The trend is not universal. Air New Zealand’s revenues and profits for the latest six-month period fell considerably, with lockdowns hitting its domestic network on top of a long-running ban on international travel. Over the Tasman Sea, Australia’s Qantas admitted to a “rollercoaster” half-year, with losses widening over the same period in 2020. Again, pandemic-related stay-at-home mandates and state-border closures impacted what had been its saving grace: domestic flights.
When it comes to the industry’s drive to reduce its carbon footprint, much attention has been given to the potential of sustainable fuel and developments in hydrogen-sourced propulsion. But Swiss has come up with a novel way of reducing drag, and thus fuel-burn: covering its 12 Boeing 777 freighters in a sharkskin film. The product – developed by Lufthansa Technik and BASF – will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.1% a year, the airline claims, the equivalent of 87 long-haul flights.
Wizz is the latest European low-cost carrier to fall foul of US pilot unions. Pre-pandemic, Norwegian faced court action based on claims its transatlantic business flouted US labour laws. Wizz’s plans are less ambitious – it wants to fly an occasional A330-200 freighter to US destinations – but it faces resistance from four unions representing flight crew. They accuse the Hungarian airline of supposed defects in its safety culture, but Wizz believes its non-recognition of unions is behind the campaign.
And finally, it looks like farewell to China’s only Airbus A380s with the country’s sole superjumbo operator reportedly set to retire the type by the end of the year. China Southern has five A380s, but has notched up more than a decade of losses on operations, made worse by the nation’s long ban on international flights. Several airlines have either parted out or grounded their fleets of the double-deck airline since Airbus announced in early 2019 that it was ending production.
welcome aboard the new airside
We took our community to the next level with an elevated look, innovative features, and new tools.