NEWS: US Airlines alarm bells, Emirates 777-9, Norwegian, Breeze, Manston…

US Airlines sound alarm bells over recovery

In the past few weeks United among the others have been boasting about the level of bookings and the speed of recovery. Airline stock prices soared because investors thought that a V shaped recovery was underway.

What they didn’t bargain for was the Trump Administration seemingly trying to pretend the Covid19 pandemic isn’t now a problem, but is in reality dramatically worsening across the entire country, with 37 states showing horrendous rises in infections, now exceeding 60,000 a day across the country.

The result has been a crash in the number of bookings for newly relaunched routes, with United saying bookings had fallen on some routes as much as 70% and averaged 50% across the network, as passenger confidence dived with the increase in infections.

The overall result is the airlines are terrified things are about to get worse, and their share prices will suffer. United warned for example that their recovery would be long and slow, and nobody should expect anything to come back quickly.

Norwegian breaks its promises

You remember a few weeks ago how Norwegian told its investors that it would hibernate, keep itself out of the market, use the time to rebuild its structures and operations, then come back stronger and fitter, able to compete in a way that it hadn’t before, and not before the end of 2021?

Do you recall me saying that Norwegian managers would have to be disciplined and strong to get it done and I didn’t think they were even remotely capable of restraining themselves?

Well they already started short haul, now we’re back on to launching long haul. The UK arm plans on Gatwick resumption from December 2020 to major US destinations – JFK, Miami, Orlando, LAX, Boston and Tampa. Never mind three of those are in Florida, currently the worlds Covid19 hotspot.

They also plan on Paris CDG flights to LAX and JFK in the summer of 2021.

If you think its harsh saying Norwegian shouldn’t fly, when that’s its business, bare in mind that its whole plan was based on careful restructuring and rebalancing of its operations, really re-thinking the airline and making it work. They’re not doing that, keeping everything that was wrong just to get airborne. All that means is trouble down the road. the very trouble they were supposed to be trying to avoid.

Emirates 777-9

Emirates has ruled out any deliveries of the 777-9 in 2021. And they weren’t just talking about theirs. Boeing have sort of quietly left it to Emirates to break the news that the aircraft won’t be ready in 2021 and first deliveries will be at the earliest Q1 2022.

There are a number of reasons, Covid and the collapse of the airline industry is the biggest. Nobody wants new aircraft, especially half billion dollar big aircraft like this.

The other primary reason is that the FAA and Boeing are going through a deep audit on the way the 777-9 has been designed and the plan for its certification. By all accounts it was far to close to the 737MAX in methodology and the FAA is making its clear that’s just not going to work this time round.


David Neeleman’s latest venture, he founded JetBlue and was largely responsible for the success of Azul, and the rebirth of TAP Portugal) Salt Lake City based Breeze has presented its business plan.

It plans to operate charters from October 2020 and scheduled passenger flights by May 2021.

The airline will lease 15 Embraer E190’s from Nordic Aviation Capital (one of the parts of Norwegian’s multiplexed holdings with the Norwegian banks).

Manston is a go!

For UK enthusiasts this is a big deal. Manston is the longest runway in the UK, was crucial to the Battle of Britain Victory, hosted forward based US nuclear weapons and bombers in the 1950’s during the cold war, served as an emergency secondary base and service point for NATO until the end of the cold war in 1990, and then became a rather back water cargo airport off and on, while being home to the Air Sea Rescue helicopters for the Straights of Dover and adjacent areas.

More recently KLM operated a very successful Fokker 90 flight to Amsterdam and were seriously annoyed at the way they were treated when the in-debt airport and airfield was sold for £1 to Anne Gloag and they were shoved out.

After battles over what to do with the runway, from housing to returning it to use, the later has finally won, with the government over-ruling the local planners and permitting it to become a cargo hub. £300m is to to be spent on facilities and updates, to allow cargo operations – especially those from Africa for vegetables, fruits and flowers.

There are downsides, location, distance, but upsides too. Airports like Amsterdam are at capacity for cargo, the south east of England has little in the way of direct cargo access – other than busy Heathrow and more distant Stanstead.