Here is our rolling report with short aviation news for the month of February 2022:
8 – SAS will add Toronto to its network again from June from Copenhagen and Stockholm. It will offer three weekly services from Copenhagen and four from Stockholm, using its new Airbus A321LRs. The type entered service with SAS to Washington on December 2021. The Scandinavian airline has been rebuilding its North-American network since September to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Toronto.
8 – European travel group TUI Group reported an underlying EBIT of €-259 million for its Markets and Airlines business unit in Q1 2022. Thanks to a higher capacity to 67 percent of 2019 levels, the loss was reduced from €423.1 million. Revenues were €2.1 billion compared to €394.3 million in Q1 2021. The result includes €34 million from a hedging ineffectiveness. TUI generated €16.9 million with sale and leasebacks of four aircraft. The restructuring of TUI’s German airline will be concluded in Q2, with an expected fleet reduction of seventeen aircraft.
8 – Australia will reopen to vaccinated tourists from February 21, the federal government has announced. The relaxation of restrictions doesn’t apply to Western Australia, however, as the government delayed this until further notice following the emergence of the Omicron variant.
4 – New Zealand will not reopen for international travelers until coming October. Kiwi’s living in Australia are welcome to return home from February 28 and from elsewhere from March 14, but borders will remain closed for international visitors, the government announced. Air New Zealand expects to have some 300 flights available between Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast during March. The airline reported a surge in demand, with the first tickets sold out in minutes. All passengers on the carrier’s international network must show proof of vaccination since February 1.
2 – Russian airline Aeroflot reported a RUB 45.6 billion net loss over 2021 compared to RUB 96.5 billion in 2020. The gross loss declined to RUB 35.7 billion from RUB 102 billion. Revenues were up 64.8 percent to RUB 379 billion. In Q4, the airline reduced its net loss to RUB 22.2 billion from RUB 31 billion. Revenues soared 94.3 percent to RUB 103 billion. Aeroflot benefitted from a significant demand on domestic routes. As IATA figures have shown, Russia was the strongest market in 2021. Rising fuels costs are a sign of concern: the increased 58.9 percent to RUB 27.9 billion. Aeroflot has RUB 70.7 billion in liquidity by the end of December.
2 – American Airlines has converted options on a total of thirty Boeing MAX 8s into firm orders, it said in an SEC filing. It has amended the original 2013 order to convert 23 options, plus another seven. Fifteen aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2023 and the other fifteen in 2024. The airline also amended its 2008 order for Boeing 787-9s and has deferred deliveries from 2023 to Q4 2023 through 2027. Four Dreamliners will join American in 2023. The carrier said recently that the delay of deliveries of thirteen 787-8s is hurting its summer schedule, forcing it to reduce capacity. It was hoping to get at least four aircraft by this summer, but Boeing is unable to guarantee that 787 deliveries will resume in time. They have been paused since May 2021 over quality issues, with 110 aircraft in inventory all needing rework.
2 – The European Airport Coordinators Association has clarified the rules that give airlines an exemption from the current 64/36 percent winter slot rules. The clarification covers the so-called Justified-Non-Use-of-Slots or JNUS. In January, there was some confusion about the application of this rule. Lufthansa claimed that it was forced to operate almost empty aircraft on European routes or would otherwise risk losing its slots, as demand and capacity plummeted following the outbreak of Omicron. Lufthansa’s wording was incorrectly interpreted by some media as if it was operating ‘ghost flights.’ IATA criticized JNUS, because the rule was applied differently by different countries.
The EUACA now says that slot coordinators will strive to a uniform approach and application of JNUS, which clearly covers Covid now. IATA has welcomed the updated guidance, which it hopes should provide a more harmonized application of the rules.
2 – ATR has successfully completed flight test with a 72-600 prototype using pure sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) on one engine. The engine used Neste SAF produced from renewable waste and residual materials as cooking oil. The turboprop maker has started the certification of 100-percent SAF in September in partnership with regional airlines Braathens, which has planned a demonstration flight later this year. Certification is scheduled for 2025.
2 – Allegiant Travel Group reported a $151.9 million net profit in 2021 compared to a $184.1 million net loss in 2020. The results include that of Allegiant Air and Allegiant Vacations. Operating revenues improved to $1.707 billion from $990 million. In Q4, the net profit was just $10.7 million compared to a $28.8 million loss. The company says it is one of the domestic airlines to record a full-year adjusted profit. Omicron caused ‘unprecedented’ crew shortages and cancelations in the final quarter and continued through January, but capacity should be normalized in March. Forward bookings look strong. Allegiant recently announced an order for fifty Boeing MAX 7s and -8200s for delivery from 2023. This year, its fleet will grow from 113 to 127 aircraft by adding fourteen A320ceo’s with a 186-seat cabin configuration.
1 – Iceland start-up Play will launch its third route to the US on June 9. It will start a daily service to New York Stewart International Airport. This follows on flights to Baltimore/Washington in April and to Boston in May. Play hopes to attract passengers who connect via Iceland and like to spend a few days there. This model has been successfully tried before by Icelandair and Wow, although the latter went bankrupt in 2019. The carrier will have 25 destinations to Europe and the US on its summer schedule, served by a fleet of six Airbus A320neo’s and A321neo’s.
1 – British Airways and UK regional carrier Loganair have announced an expansion of their codeshare agreement. As part of the agreement, eighteen new routes are added to give BA access to 38 Loganair routes. These include multiple destinations from Aberdeen, Norwich, Inverness, the Isle of Man, City of Derry, Exeter, Cornwall, and Teeside.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.