“Near bankrupt low-cost airline Norwegian has told over a thousand laid-off employees that it can’t afford to pay them their final wages or other redundancy payments but that it will let them keep their uniforms and branded cabin bags as a “keepsake” of their time with the airline.”
From Paddle Your Own Kanoo.
The government has grounded Montenegro Airlines, whose employees hadn’t been paid since September.
Things ended poetically: “[T]he pilots on the company’s last flight to Belgrade on Friday were given permission by air controllers to make a heart-shape course in the skies over the picturesque mountainous Adriatic state.”
In order to hurry along the resumption of international air travel the trade group International Air Transport Association (IATA) plans to initiate its Travel Pass in the first quarter of 2021 which, of course, is now only a couple of weeks away. Travel Pass will be “A global and standardized solution to validate and authenticate all country regulations regarding COVID-19 passenger travel requirements,” and will include “accurate information on passengers’ COVID-19 health status.” Essentially, it will tell passengers what’s required of them to reach their destination, and tell airlines whether passengers have been tested and/or vaccinated. IATA says it will soon be downloadable for iOS and Android phones. Here is a pdf fact sheet.
It’s one sign that things are stirring in the world of air travel. Another: Airlines warned about safety of COVID-19-grounded planes leaving storage.
The aviation consultancy Simpliflying reaches some fairly downbeat conclusions about the swift resumption of tourism in 2021. It thinks:
1 – It’s likely that there will be some form of air travel recovery from April. Shorter haul leisure routes (e.g from Northern / Western Europe to the Mediterranean) will recover first, especially those catering to older leisure travellers, who are higher in the vaccination queue.
2 – Widespread vaccinations of the adult population in Europe and North America however, won’t occur until after April, and we can’t expect a mass of adults to be vaccinated until the Summer.
3 – In Western Countries, vaccination schedules will not be uniform. In other countries, the roll-out may take until 2022 or 2023. This means testing is here to stay, and will work alongside vaccination certificates and biosafety measures.
4 – Reopening borders for air travel will not be a priority for Governments. Even the introduction of vaccines may not be enough.
You can download the entire report here.
El Al is trying it. The article says they’re selling about a hundred meals a day.
My monthly On the Road column at 3 Quarks Daily is live today. This month, it’s Field Notes from the Wreckage of Tourism.
Read it here at 3QD right now, and I’ll post it to CS&W later this week.
Much as we might prefer otherwise, we may be in this air travel limbo for a while.
Forbes predicts a future of “no cabin bags, no lounges, no automatic upgrades, face masks, surgical gloves, self-check-in, self-bag-drop-off, immunity passports, on-the-spot blood tests and sanitation disinfection tunnels” and a four hour check-in process.
My bet, that’s too grim, if only because airlines and governments alike are committed to maintaining viable airline businesses. Plus, airlines need you way more than you need them for a change. How about that.
For now, here’s a useful, clickable IATA map of worldwide travel restrictions.
“A requirement forcing all air passengers arriving at Hong Kong to be tested for the coronavirus will remain in place going forward, a leading city health official said, with experts predicting the practice will become standard at airports around the world as the aviation industry adapts to a new normal once the pandemic recedes.”
From the South China Morning Post. Read the rest here.
Here is a country by country list of coronavirus air travel restrictions from IATA.
AirNorth, Yukon’s airline, with service (in normal times) to Old Crow, Mayo, Watson Lake and more, now has a largely idle catering facility in Whitehorse. So it’s offering pick up and delivery of airplane food from its Flight Kitchen. Here’s a screen shot:
Choose from cabbage rolls, meatloaf, lasagne, cannelloni, shepherd’s pie. The Thai vegetable curry is sold out.