World’s Shortest Flight

Here’s the entire flight between Westray and Papa Westray, Orkney islands. It’s 1.7 miles, shorter than Heathrow runways.

They’re Not Making It Easy

The Covid AVDaily newsletter reacts to the UK’s “green list” of countries approved for travel without the requirement for travelers to quarantine on their return. They’re unimpressed.

They note that “it includes a number of remote islands such as South Georgia, as well as countries that are right now not welcoming tourists (e.g. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore).”

Then there is talk of passengers facing immigration queues of up to seven hours. The newsletter opines that “Governments like the UK are sending signals that they’d rather people didn’t travel. One of the most revealing parts of Friday’s announcement was when … Paul Lincoln from the UK Border Force (talked) about significant border delays. Lincoln said that each officer would be taking up to ten minutes to check every passenger … listening to him talk the message seemed to be ‘these are the consequences of you choosing to travel.’

Nobody needs that. So we’ve routed ourselves through Amsterdam Schiphol for our July visit to Finland. 

 

Quotes: in the US, Flying Soars

Seven of the 10 most-active international city pairs feature US links, suggesting one of the world’s most-advanced inoculation programs is uncorking demand that’s been building for a year.

And OAG forecasts that the U.S. domestic market “should return to almost normal levels by July.”

Forbes, also using OAG’s data, isn’t so sure.

No Paycheck but You Can Keep Your Shirt

“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.

European Airline Grounded

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.”

IATA Travel Pass

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.

World Map of Travel Restrictions

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.

The Future of Flying?

“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.

Airline Food Available for Delivery

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.

State Run Airlines Throw Money

Boeing got a big hug this week from Kazakhstan. At the Dubai airshow, Air Astana’s chief planning officer Alma Aliguzhinov announced plans to order up to 50 737 Max jets worth $6bn, saying

“We are making flying affordable for the people of Kazakhstan.”

Here’s an article.

“Separately, another airline signed a firm order for 10 Boeing 737 Max 7 and 10 Boeing Max 10 jets, a person familiar with the matter said. The airline’s name was not disclosed,”

the article says. Add that to Turkey-based airline SunExpress, which added a firm order for 10 of the planes, worth $1.2 billion at list.

A fine week’s work

“for a plane whose dangerous defects triggered the largest crisis in the aviation industry in years.”