News: A380, Delta, AA, Qantas, ExpressJet, CroatiaAirlines, AirIndia, Finnair, SAS, Spirit

Delta & American Airlines

Delta issued 1,941 furlough notices to pilots last night, telling them they won’t be needed in October, as financial pressure mounts and customers continue to decide not to fly. America’s Covid pandemic just keeps on running and running, notching up 46,000+ cases per day, and the Trump Administration acts like nothing is happening.

Business meetings – the lifeblood of most airlines and their main profit centres, just aren’t coming back. Even if some companies try and force people to go, they partners they visit don’t want face to face meetings.

Newer pilots will be affected first, but if unions were to agree to a deeper more permanent cut across the whole company, then the furloughs might be avoided.

1,806 pilots have taken voluntary retirement packages and leave on August 31st, but its nowhere near enough for Delta right now.

American Airlines Boeing 787-8

American Airlines announced it was cutting another 19,000 jobs across the company from the end of September into October.

The problem for them is the CARES ACt bailout moiney from the government is ending and the US Republican led Senate refuses to pass the bill approved by the Democratic led House of Representatives because it thinks $3 trillion (three-thousand billions), is too much.

There’s an argument of course that by artificially propping up the airlines, when there just isn’t a market for their services, no amount of money is going to keep them as they are. A viable vaccine is a long way off – maybe six months, and at least a year before enough people have it to make a difference.

Even then, its exceptionally unlikely the world will just snap back to how things were in 2019. Airlines will just have to adapt.

ExpressJet

ExpressJet, the regional partner airline dumped by UNITED, has said it plans on winding down operations even faster than many expected. Its entire operation is expected to wind down by the end of September, with the airline closing its doors shortly after.

Spirit

Spirit pilots agreed to work less hours so get paid less, saving 600 from permanent job losses.

Finnair

Finnair has sold and leased back one of its A359’s, giving it another €100m to keep it running. It’s burning through around $3m per day, so another months grace. Its also negotiated to cut 1,000 jobs, almost 15% of its workforce.

SAS

SAS has agreed to push back 2 A350-900’s and 8 A320neos with Airbus.

SAS says it still wants to be all Airbus by 2023 but that will come about mostly through retirements of Boeing aircraft rather than buying in new ones.

The delays to buying in new aircraft between 2021-24 will help save the airline’s capital outlay and preserve cash.

Qantas

Another set of restructuring plans saw its head of international leave – at the moment Qantas has no international operations and doesn’t plan on restarting them until well into next year, mostly for the Southern Hemisphere Summer Season starting in September-October 2021. Its also outlined plans to loose another 2,500 jobs by outsourcing its ground handling operations.

Air India

The Indian Government couldn’t have picked a worse time for selling off the cash sucking airline and has delayed the deadline for interested parties to make offers by another two months. The Covid pandemic has made it virtually impossible to sell it as going concern and interest has virtually evaporated.

The Government would probably be better off forgetting the sale, as if it does get buyers it will be a near fire sale, but the argument seems to be that it costs the state so much money, they’d almost like to be rid of it at any cost.

Croatia Airlines

Croatia Airlines has entered delayed talks to cancel its Airbus A320neo order, as it simply cant afford the aircraft and has no means of deploying them on its restricted routes and there are no passengers to fill them. It ordered four in 2015, just before the type entered service.


Germany drops COVID airport arrivals testing

Germany has scrapped airport COVID testing for the time being, saying its reimposing 14 day quarantines on travellers from appropriate destinations instead.

The COVID testing simply isn’t quick enough or accurate enough and it believes too many international arrivals, including Germans returning from summer holidays, have slipped through the net.

Its move brings it inline with the UK Governments policy, where they’ve insisted that airport testing just doesn’t work well enough, and quarantines are the only way to contain the risk.

The problem for airlines is that the quarantines – usually issued on a Thursday afternoon and effective from 4am on the Saturday, cause panic returns and full aircraft, ferries and rail services. Its estimated that countries hit with a quarantine see around 15-20% of visitors try to leave immediately, others just stay.

A380 Trent-900

Rolls Royce and EASA have agreed to widen the A380 Trent-900 inspection regime.

A draft airworthiness directive issued Aug. 25 calls for repetitive on-wing borescope inspections of spacers between intermediate pressure compressor (IPC) stage 2 and stage 3 disks at specific intervals, based on the affected module’s condition. The maximum interval is 500 flight cycles or 5,000 flight hours, whichever occurs first.

The checks expand an existing program, mandated in a February EASA directive, that requires checks of the spacers during shop visits. Rolls recommended the initial inspections after finding two instances of cracked spacers between stage two and stage three IPC disks. “This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to IPC rotor shaft failure, possibly resulting in release of high-energy debris,” EASA noted.

Since the original recommendation and related mandate were issued, “it was decided that repetitive on-wing inspections are necessary,” EASA said.

Rolls told operators of its plan to add on-wing checks to its inspection recommendations on Aug. 19. The updated service bulletin is pending.

EASA said the “investigation is on-going to identify the cause of these cracks.”

Have no doubt Rolls Royce are deeply concerned that they might be facing problems with 112 A380’s and some 448 engines on the aircraft, along with around another 100 spares. The company admitted the Trent-1000 problems cost it over $2.4 billion.

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