News Roundup: Qatar, Emirates, Aeroflot, Cargologicair UK, Airbus & Boeing, RyanAir

Qatar

Qatar yesterday removed the A380 from its schedules through 2021. Reintroduction had been pushed back to the end of March 2021, then June.

The move suggests the airline, which had already said it would retire the A380 by the end of 2024, may be looking at earlier withdrawal.

Qatar’s CEO is being interviewed later today and may provide more insight.


Emirates

Emirates operated its first A380 service in four months yesterday, with a flight to London Heathrow. It’s part of an expanding rollout of A380 flights, which will expand to most of the U.K. regions, France, Germany and Italy and the Far East during August. The first A380 is due at BHX on August 15.


Aeroflot

Aeroflot announced yesterday a complete change of strategy. It’s decided to phase out most short haul operations, passing those to its sister airlines Pobeda and Rossiya, and reducing domestic operations.

Instead, Aeroflot will begin a process of transforming to long haul only operations and concentrating on quality of service on international routes. It’s aim is to acquire a Skytrax Five Star rating by 2028.

As a result, it will transfer almost 250 aircraft (existing and from future orders) to its subsidiary airlines, Pobeda and Rossiya. Aeroflot will operate only Airbus A320s, A321s, A330s, A350s, and Boeing 777s for a total of about 170 aircraft.

Frankly, the whole Skytrax thing is something of a joke, like most of these awards and rating schemes they can be drastically skewed by vested interests. Lufthansa managed to acquire a Five Star rating based on a business class seat it wasn’t even due to deploy for over a year.


Cargologicair U.K.

Just a few months ago Cargologicair UK was nearly bankrupt and had to ask for its AOC to be suspended. It laid off most of its staff and got caught out by having over committed to Chinese customers, who then stopped suddenly as Covid hit their production and they shut down.

Within months the carrier was flying again as demand in Europe soared and demand for PPE was providing cash charter rates of around $900,000 to $1,200,000 per flight.

The airline, which is the only cargo only operator registered in the U.K., has now bounced back and is planning on adding a 777F to its fleet in the coming months.

Like they say, every cloud has a silver lining for someone.


Airbus & Boeing

Just to underline the crisis the pair of them sold just one commercial aircraft each in the past quarter.

Further delays and cancellations have roiled the industry. Yesterday Virgin Atlantic confirmed a reschedule of its A339 and remaining A350 deliveries (and the withdrawal of its 4 albeit always temporary A332’s by next year).

Boeing has already admitted to 487 737MAX cancellations, although Airbus has lost just 27 A320 orders by comparison.

For both manufacturers the crisis is the huge downturn in what they can produce, and how soon they can produce it, as not one airline seems anxious to take delivery of anything in the next few months. The knock on effect for component suppliers is at crisis levels as few of them have the resources to just ride out the current downturn.


RyanAir

RyanAir has had to face facts, in that its price driven fare offerings for August-September in the Ireland-U.K. markets into Europe have failed miserably to stimulate the market and a return to flying. As a result it’s cut 1,000 flights over the later part of the summer.

Pilots have agreed pay cuts and staff are being let go.