ElAl stops flying, AirCanada cuts, MAX, American, United, Alaska, Virgin Atlantic

El Al

El Al Israeli Airlines has ordered its entire fleet back to Israel and will ground all aircraft until it receives a bailout from the Israeli Government.

The decision comes after a spat with unions over who gets to fly and who doesn’t. The bailout is mired in political infighting and it simply can’t be long before the airline has to file for full bankruptcy.


Air Canada

Air Canada announced more job cuts, a reduction of 15 bases and 30 domestic and regional destinations.

Blaming Covid 19, they don’t expect any real recovery until 2022-23. Most are operated by Jazz Aviation under a capacity agreement, but Jazz won’t be loosing any aircraft – yet.


American Airlines

The airline has come under some serious fire for abandoning its middle seat blocking, but says its doing enough and it doesn’t make enough of a difference to maintain it. Many disagree, but American isn’t changing its mind. Meanwhile Covid19 cases in the US are rising at rate higher than before the lockdowns in March-April, passing 50,000 a day.

American also published its summer 2021 schedules for long haul, which will be around 25% lower than 2019. It doesn’t think it will be back to 100% until 2022-23. Its also preparing its routes to operate within the new Alaska included OneWorld alliance.

Destinations its keen to return to are Tokyo and London, and the biggest news was they pan to start operating across the US and the Pacific from Seattle, again all as apart of the cooperation with Alaskan, and in direct competition with Delta. American is also keen on expanding its operation at Heathrow, making it its European hub.

However it has cut a number of routes, most notably ending LAX as its international hub as it plans to move to Seattle:


Alaska

Alaska, soon to be a member of OneWorld, is prepping itself for working more closely with American and British Airways particularly. It’s expected once things get back to whatever passes for normal, that the ability to book through-tickets from London to Juneau for example, via Seattle, will greatly benefit the tourist business and cruise lines.

Meanwhile, a decision on the future of the Alaska fleet seems, inevitably, to be leaning very much back with the 737 and Boeing. For a while there it looked like they might just be prepared to take on more Airbus – especially the A321LR, as they started to hand back leased ex-Virgin America A320 family. Covid seems to have put an end to that notion.


UNITED

UNITED has started to issue its schedules, which include 25,000 domestic flights in August, and plans to return to London and Frankfurt as soon as that becomes viable.

Resumptions include Chicago to Brussels and Frankfurt, and San Francisco to London.

Its also boosting its Central, South American and Caribbean schedules, with dozens of resumptions.


Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic made a carefully worded announcement that it was close to finalising a package of finance deals that would see it continue to operate indefinitely and begin a return to full normal operations.

It seems the government will not be involved, but I would strongly suggest that Cyrus Capital will be.

The question will be does Branson surrender his majority holding of 51%? The other 49% is owned of course, by Delta, not that they can buy more under current restrictions (although the UK plans on lifting those eventually for any appropriate investor, as it was an EU rule that won’t apply after Dec 31st this year when the transition runs out.

One thing that hasn’t gone down well at Virgin is the total lack of any interest from delta – they just didn’t want to know about contributing to helping the airline out. Has that changed?


737 MAX

Finally, three days of flight testing for FAA recertification have been completed. It happened with little issue that’s been made public. Over the same three days a raft of reports and criticism over the way Boeing and the FAA allowed themselves to be handled by each other, and Boeings deliberate obfuscation of key data, made pretty awful reading.