Air Greenland, IAG gets AirEuropa, AirTransat sold, COVID grounds UK flights

Air Greenland orders new A330-800

Air Greenland’s only long haul aircraft for the past 18 years has been OY-GRN, an A330-223 named Norsaq that was even then, second hand and 4 years old. Originally flown by Sabena until its bankruptcy in October 2001.

The airline has decided this time to lease a brand new A330-800, likely from Guggenheim AP. The aircraft will be delivered in early 2022 and is crucial to maintain links with Denmark, the islands former colonial rulers. (Greenland is now a fully autonomous state and only its Defence and Foreign Affairs are managed by Denmark).

Air Europa sold to IAG in bargain deal

It’s been a pending deal for months, subject to Spanish and EU competition enquiries, but IAG owned Spanish flag carrier Iberia will now own Air Europa as a subsidiary airline within the group.

The plan is to run the airline brand as is and it will report directly to Iberia’s CEO, but operate as its own cost centre for profit and loss.

Bearing in mind IAG’s huge €1.3 billion loss, you might wonder how it can still afford the cost of buying another airline, but as with many takeovers and buyouts in various industries, Covid has forced a revaluation. As such IAG will pay only half the original price it offered for the airline and it doesn’t have to finish paying for it until 2026.

The original price tag had been €1.0 billion and has been cut to €500m, which roughly corresponds to the debt Air Europa took on in a bailout loan from the Spanish Government, which IAG will have to eventually repay, in fact it’s due in 2026.

Air Europa is in Skyteam and will leave it as soon as possible, almost certainly to Oneworld of which most of IAG is a member, Iberia certainly is and it would make no sense for it not to work hand in hand.

The move gives IAG control of almost all of Spains aviation sector worth mentioning. Iberia and its subsidiaries with Air Europa will mostly operate from Madrid Barajas. It also owns what’s left of LEVEL, technically based in Barcelona, and all of the major low cost carrier Vueling, also based in Barcelona.

If they’ don’t simply ditch all four of the A330’s guess who needs a repaint?

Air Europa’s fleet consists of: 4 ATR-72-500’s and 1 ATR-72-201 operated by Swiftair and 1 -500 by Aeronova.

2 A330-202, 1 A330-243, 1 A330-343, 19 737-800 (ranging from 19 to 2.4 years old, 2 MAX-8 are due), 8 787-8, 10 787-9 (6 more due, but likely to be renegotiated into IAG’s overall order book). 7 ERJ-190.

The only aircraft currently parked up are 3 of the 787’s and the 4 A330’s.

Air Transat will finally, be sold to Air Canada

In a further sign of a wave of rolling consolidations that continue to process around the world despite the dire covid conditions, the Canadian court system approved the sale of Air Transat to Air Canada with 91.5% of shareholders voting in favour of the deal.

The final legal process is now under way and will close in the early part of 2021.

Famous for its long term flying of the the old A310, of which ran as many as 14, the last three retired in March this year, ostensibly to storage, but its unlikely they’ll ever fly again commercially as most were nearly 30 years old.

The current fleet is 14 A321’s including 7 Neo’s. 16 A332’s all of which are 18-20 years old, 4 A333’s which range from 20 to 26 years. There’s also a single 738. Most of the fleet is parked, with the Neo’s being mostly in use.

UK flights grounded over Covid variant

A new strain of the COVID-19 virus has emerged in the SE of England, only it’s transmission rate is said to be about 70% higher. What that means is that those infected with it don’t get any more ill, but that they carry 70% more virus – that means when you come into contact with them they have a 70% higher chance of infecting you without a mask, social distancing and so on. It’s not uncommon for mutations to develop, and there have been over 1,000 recorded this year. Most just die out. One of the novelties about a virus is it requires its hosts to live in order to spread, so killing the host isn’t effective, and often they become less lethal, but you can’t take the risk. The vaccines are exceptionally unlikely to be stopped by the new variant as they still work in the same way.

What it does mean is that France, Italy, Spain and others have already stopped flights to and from the UK, as well as Eurostar and ferry services. The variant has already been found in Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Australia. Governors in the US are calling for UK passenger flights to be stopped, but Trump has only one thing on his mind, which is sulking and plotting some kind of coup to stay in power, and the US is consumed with a runaway pandemic of its own, currently killing every day, more people than died in the 9-11 attack. So far more people have died in the US than all of their soldiers, sailors and airmen killed in World War 2.

It’s unclear what Europe plans to do about passenger air services longer term, and blocking trucks is a major problem for food supplies.