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Air France-KLM Low Cost Carrier Scraps Flights in Union Dispute - BLOOMBERG

JULY 14, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Air France-KLM’s French low-cost carrier, Transavia, cancelled 15% of flights amid a dispute with cabin crew, exacerbating the chaos engulfing European air travel.

Dozens of the company’s flights from Paris-Orly airport were not operating Wednesday, according to the SNPNC union, which had called for strike action over wages. The labor group refused to sign a deal agreed to with other parties last month -- including the biggest CGT union -- because the accord included bonuses but no increases in base pay.

The disruption is the latest to hit a sector that’s plunged into crisis over a combination of surging demand for travel, staff shortages and labor disputes. The strikes are also a setback for Air France-KLM Chief Executive Officer Ben Smith, who has touted the labor peace that followed his taking of the helm as crucial for the turnaround of the carrier.  

 

Travel chaos: Emirates rejects Heathrow’s demand to cut flights - YAHOO FINANCE

JULY 14, 2022

Emirates airline has rejected an order from Heathrow Airport that it must cancel flights, with the airline accusing the airport of “blatant disregard for consumers".

On Tuesday, Heathrow pleaded with carriers to stop selling summer tickets as it imposed a cap on passenger numbers until September 11.

The airline accused the west London airport of showing “blatant disregard for consumers” by attempting to force it to “deny seats to tens of thousands of travellers”.

The Dubai-based carrier said it had, on Wednesday, been given 36 hours to comply with the order as the west London hub airport attempts to ensure it can operate without further delays during the summer travel peak.

Emirates said in a statement: “LHR (London Heathrow) last evening gave us 36 hours to comply with capacity cuts, of a figure that appears to be plucked from thin air.

“Their communications not only dictated the specific flights on which we should throw out paying passengers, but also threatened legal action for non-compliance.

“This is entirely unreasonable and unacceptable, and we reject these demands.”

It added: “Until further notice, Emirates plans to operate as scheduled to and from LHR.”

Many passengers flying to and from the UK’s busiest airport have suffered severe disruption in recent months, with long security queues and baggage system breakdowns.

The Dubai-based carrier said its ground handlers at Heathrow are “fully ready and capable of handling our flights”, which means “the crux of the issue lies with the central services and systems which are the responsibility of the airport operator”.

It stated it would be “impossible” to re-book the number of passengers that would be affected by Heathrow’s cancellation demands.

Moving some of its operations to other UK airports at short notice is also “not realistic” as locating somewhere that can facilitate a widebody long-haul aircraft carrying 500 passengers is “not as simple as finding a parking spot at a mall”, the airline explained.

The statement added: “The bottom line is, the LHR management team are cavalier about travellers and their airline customers.

“All the signals of a strong travel rebound were there, and for months, Emirates has been publicly vocal about the matter.

“We planned ahead to get to a state of readiness to serve customers and travel demand, including rehiring and training 1,000 A380 pilots in the past year.

“LHR chose not to act, not to plan, not invest. Now faced with an ‘airmageddon’ situation due to their incompetence and non-action, they are pushing entire burden – of costs and the scramble to sort the mess – to airlines and travellers.

“The shareholders of London Heathrow should scrutinise the decisions of the LHR management team.”

Last week, Jet2 criticised airports for being "woefully ill-prepared and poorly resourced", which has led to "inexcusable" travel chaos.

Executive chairman Philip Meeson said: "Most of our 10 UK base airports have been woefully ill-prepared and poorly resourced for the volume of customers they could reasonably expect, as have other suppliers, such as onboard caterers and providers of airport PRM (passengers with reduced mobility) services.

"Inexcusable, bearing in mind our flights have been on sale for many months and our load factors are quite normal."

"This difficult return to normal operations has occurred simply because of the lack of planning, preparedness and unwillingness to invest by many airports and associated suppliers," he added.

A Heathrow spokesperson accused Emirates of focusing on profit instead of safety, and said airlines had not expanded their ground handling teams fast enough.

“While many factors have resulted in the delayed flights, misconnected bags, long waits for arriving bags and last-minute cancellations at Heathrow and airports across Europe in recent weeks, a key issue is airline ground-handling teams which are currently only resourced up to 70% capacity to serve passenger demand which has returned to 80-85% of pre-pandemic levels.

“For months we have asked airlines to help come up with a plan to solve their resourcing challenges, but no clear plans were forthcoming and with each passing day the problem got worse.

“We had no choice but to take the difficult decision to impose a capacity cap designed to give passengers a better, more reliable journey and to keep everyone working at the airport safe.

“We have tried to be as supportive as possible to airlines and our 100,000 cap on daily departing passengers is significantly higher than the 64,000 cap at Schiphol (in Amsterdam).“It would be disappointing if instead of working together, any airline would want to put profit ahead a safe and reliable passenger journey.”

Air France KLM's low-cost unit Transavia cancels 25% of its French flights - REUTERS

JULY 14, 2022

PARIS (Reuters) - Air France KLM's low-cost unit Transavia said it was cancelling around 25% of its French flights on Thursday due to a strike protest among some staff over pay and working conditions.

Dozens of cabin attendants, stewardesses and stewards have been on strike since Wednesday, the national union of cabin crew SNPNC said, which plans to have its actions last until July 17.

Transavia's management had to cancel 15% of its flights on Wednesday. [FWN2YU28K]

The SNPNC want a complete review of salaries next January, adding the latest aid measures offered by the management to cope with soaring inflation were not enough.

Management said it planned to hold talks on the topic at the start of next year.

(Reporting by Caroline Pailliez; writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; editing by Jason Neely)

Emirates, Air Canada sign pact ahead of codeshare - THE GUARDIAN

JULY 15, 2022

By Wole Oyebade

Emirates and Air Canada have announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement that will create more options for customers when travelling on the carriers’ networks.

Emirates and Air Canada intend to establish a codeshare relationship later in 2022 to offer enhanced consumer travel choices for Air Canada customers to travel to the United Arab Emirates and to destinations beyond Dubai, and vice versa.

Customers will have opportunities to book connecting travel between both airlines’ networks with the ease of a single ticket, seamless connectivity at the carriers’ respective global hubs and baggage transfers to their final destinations.

President of Emirates Airline, Sir Tim Clark, described the pact as a significant partnership that would enable customers’ access to more destinations in Canada and the Americas, via the Toronto and U.S. gateways.

“It also opens up many new route combinations for travellers across Emirates’ and Air Canada’s extensive networks in the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

“We are pleased to partner with Air Canada, one of North America’s most established airlines and Canada’s flag carrier and we look forward to jointly progressing in various areas to provide even better customer flight choices and experiences.”

President and CEO of Air Canada, Michael Rousseau, added that they were very pleased to form a strategic partnership with Emirates, a highly respected flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates with a hub in the vibrant city of Dubai.

“This strategic agreement will create network synergies, and Air Canada customers will have additional, convenient options when travelling between Canada and the United Arab Emirates as well as destinations beyond Dubai. We look forward to introducing Air Canada codeshare service on key Emirates flights, as well as adding the EK code on select Air Canada flights, and welcoming Emirates customers on our services later this year.”

To further enhance the customer experience, the carriers will also establish reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and reciprocal lounge access for qualifying customers. Further details of the partnership and specific codeshare routes will be announced when finalised and will be subject to regulatory approvals and final documentation.

British Airways sent passengers an email mid-flight saying the airline had canceled the 2nd leg of their trip - BUSINESS INSIDER

JULY 15, 2022

  • British Airways passengers received an email mid-flight saying their connection had been canceled.

  • Airport staff couldn't locate the passengers' luggage, making them travel to Edinburgh without bags.

  • Heathrow has been asking airlines to cancel flights at the last minute due to a lack of capacity.

Three British Airlines passengers said they got an email during their flight informing them that the airline had canceled their connecting flight.

The passengers told Insider that their flights from the US to Edinburgh, Scotland to watch the British Open golf tournament had been hit by a spate of cancelations affecting airlines worldwide.

Raynee Graeff, Victoria Esparza, and Robert Esparza left Austin, Texas on Sunday night for London Heathrow, where they would take another flight to Edinburgh. They had booked their tickets through American Airlines, but British Airways — one of American Airlines' codeshare partners in the OneWorld alliance — operated the flights.

However, Robert Esparza said that they received an email while they were en route to Heathrow saying that the flight to Edinburgh due to depart at 11:45 a.m. UK time had been canceled. The email American Airlines sent to Graeff was sent at 6:43 p.m. Central time — just after their flight had taken off.

They didn't get the email until landing at Heathrow at about 9:50 a.m. — just two hours before the second was scheduled to depart.

The subject of the email read: "Please call to book a new flight."

"One of your flights was canceled and we were unable to rebook your trip from LHR to EDI," American Airlines said in the email, which was viewed by Insider. The email did not give a reason for the cancellation. "We're sorry for the change to your travel plans."

American Airlines said that passengers could call their helpline to rebook their flight, request a refund, or use the value of their ticket as credit for a future trip.

On Monday, Heathrow asked airlines to cancel 61 flights scheduled for that day, saying that the company expected more passengers than it could cope with at terminals 3 and 5. British Airways uses terminal 5 as its main base.

Graeff had booked her trip in November and spent $1,291 on return flights, according to a booking confirmation Insider viewed.

The passengers said that they had not been able to book seats on another flight to Edinburgh and instead took a train, arriving at their accommodation at about 1 a.m. Of the 12 BA flights from Heathrow to Edinburgh on Monday, one departed on schedule, and BA canceled the other five.

All three passengers told Insider that they also hadn't received their hold luggage after landing at Heathrow and had been forced to go to Edinburgh without it.

Graeff said that they had been told they would be reimbursed for the canceled flight, train tickets, clothes, and cosmetics — within reason — but that she hadn't yet received any compensation.

Two other passengers traveling with two small children told Insider that BA had canceled their Monday flight from Heathrow to Frankfurt — where they were due to catch a connecting flight to Hong Kong — with only a few hours' notice.

The passengers said this was the second time BA had canceled part of their flight back to Hong Kong, though the airline had notified them of the first cancellation in advance.

The passengers said BA had no other flights available, so they had to book a flight with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. British Airways' flight tracker shows that the airline had canceled three of its five Monday flights from Heathrow to Frankfurt.

Have you been affected by current travel disruptions? Or do you work at an airport or for an airline that's swamped by staffing and cancelation chaos? Email this reporter at [email protected]

Italian president rejects Mario Draghi resignation as Rome plunges into political crisis - CNBC

JULY 15, 2022

KEY POINTS

  • Draghi has often pushed for a reformist agenda and his work has softened previous concerns among investors regarding the stability of Italy’s economy.
  • Italy is due to have new parliamentary elections before June 2023, but the latest uncertainty in Rome could bring that forward.
  • After Mattarella’s rejection of Draghi’s resignation, the former European Central Bank chief will now have to go back to Parliament to hold a vote of confidence in the government itself.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrives for a press conference in Rome, Italy, on July 12, 2022.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrives for a press conference in Rome, Italy, on July 12, 2022.
STR | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Political uncertainty returned to Rome Thursday with the government in a state of limbo and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi being urged to rethink his resignation.

Draghi on Thursday said he would quit as Italian leader, after a political party in his ruling coalition refused to participate in a confidence vote earlier in the day.


“I will tender my resignation to the president of the republic this evening,” Draghi told the Cabinet, according to a statement translated by Reuters, throwing Italian politics back into a fragile state of affairs.

But the Italian head of state later on Thursday rejected Draghi’s resignation and asked him to address Parliament to get a clear picture of the political situation, according to a statement from President Sergio Mattarella’s office.

The Five Star Movement, one of the parties in the coalition government led by Draghi, had earlier opposed a new decree aimed at lowering inflation and battling rising energy costs. Italy’s lawmakers held a confidence vote on the wide-ranging policy package, but Five Star boycotted despite Draghi threatening to step down if the party didn’t back it.

Analysts, however, contended that the opposition to this policy package is not so much ideological but a result of internal party disputes.

“The move by the M5S was largely triggered by turmoil prevailing within the ailing party rather than by meaningful policy differences with the executive,” Wolfango Piccoli, co-president of the consultancy firm Teneo, said in a note Thursday.

After Mattarella’s rejection of Draghi’s resignation late Thursday, the former European Central Bank chief will now have to go back to Parliament to hold a vote of confidence in the government itself.

EU very much likes to have Draghi leading Italy, official says amid new political uncertainty

Bond yields rise

Draghi has been in power since February 2021 and has led a government formed by several parties and technocrats with the aim of bringing stability to the southern European nation, which is often thrown into fresh rounds of political chaos.

Draghi has consistently pushed for a reformist agenda and his work has softened previous concerns among investors regarding the stability of Italy’s economy. But this new setback risks efforts to secure post-pandemic funds from the EU and also comes as Europe pushes hard to ween itself off Russian hydrocarbons.

Italy is due to have parliamentary elections before June 2023, but the latest uncertainty in Rome could bring that forward.

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Draghi, despite still having a majority in the Italian Parliament without the support of the Five Star Movement, has previously said he would not be available to lead another executive.

Italian bond yields pushed higher during the session ahead of Draghi’s announcement and Italy’s FTSE MIB shed 3.3% by the market close, with banking stocks taking a tumble.

Direct Flight To China A Huge Relief To Nigerians – Rep - DAILY TRUST

JULY 16, 2022

By Abdullateef Aliyu

The chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, has said the inauguration of direct flight from Nigeria to China would bring relief to travellers.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that a Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, had flagged off a direct one weekly flight from the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA), Lagos to Guangzhou, China.

This was the first time a Nigerian carrier would be operating a direct flight to the Asian country.

It would be recalled that another Nigerian airline to set its foot on the Asian airspace was the defunct Bellview Airline, which operated to India before the airline collapsed.

The Air Peace is also set to inaugurate flight to Mumbai, India in few weeks.

With the direct flight to Guangzhou, many Nigerian businessmen would not have to access China through connecting flights.

Nnaji, while commending the management of Air Peace on the commencement of direct flight between Nigeria and China, noted that the move would bring a huge relief to Nigerians and citizens of other African countries who travel regularly on business trips to China.

He stressed that Nigeria, and indeed, Africa, shared huge business and cultural ties with China, adding that the direct air link would further strengthen such relationships.

Nnaji, who represents Njanu East/West federal constituency of Enugu State, assured that the legislature would continue to work with the executive to ensure a robust aviation industry in the country. 

Ibom Air says passengers to face flight delays in coming weeks -

JULY 16, 2022

The airline blames fuel scarcity and closure of the Lagos airport runway.

By Abdulkareem Mojeed

Ibom Air has said its passengers will experience flight delays in the coming weeks due to scarcity of aviation fuel and the closure of the domestic runway at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.

In a statement Friday, the Akwa Ibom State-owned carrier said the delays are “unavoidable” and will be for the next three months.

“The Management of Ibom Air regrets to inform the general public and our customers in particular, that despite our best efforts, our passengers will experience flight delays this period, due to two critical factors: The closure of the domestic runway (Runway 18L) at Murtala Mohammed Airport for the next 3 months and the current serious scarcity of aviation fuel,” the airline statement read.

The airline said it will try to minimise the impact of these factors on its flight schedule.

Within the past three months, major domestic airline operators have lamented about the sharp increase in aviation fuel and have threatened to halt operations repeatedly. The intervention of the Nigerian government, which promised to resolve the aviation fuel scarcity, has apparently not been felt.

The lingering scarcity pushed airline operators to increase flight base fare to N50,000 and above since February this year, with many Nigerians criticising the move.

Ibom Air’s flight figures shows that the airline scheduled a total flight of 1,023 in June. Of this figure, it operated a total of 965 flights, rescheduled 234 flights, delayed 199 flights and cancelled 58 flights.

“Fuel availability is a major impediment to schedule reliability and on time performance in June,” the airline management said.

Fuel Scarcity: Abuja marketers flout govt regulation, sell petrol above N165 - PREMIUM TIMES

JULY 16, 2022

The development comes as residents continue to face shortages that began in 2021.

BY Mary Izuaka


Fuel marketers increased the pump price of petrol in Abuja on Monday, with several stations selling the product above the government-regulated price of N165 a litre.

The development comes as residents continue to face shortages that began in 2021. While the government says it has enough supplies to go round, marketers say several factors have made it difficult to sell at the approved rate.

The president of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okoronkwo, told PREMIUM TIMES while his members were not selling at a loss, their margin had fallen significantly. He blamed high cost of logistics and the war in Ukraine, although the crisis predates the conflict.

Last week, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, said despite payment of extra freight claims to marketers, they were asking for more. He said the situation in Abuja continued because marketers were closely monitored to ensure they maintain the approved rate, unlike elsewhere where they can sell at higher prices.

Petrol pump at Eyis Global Invest Limited showing the adjusted pump price of N185 / Litre [Photo: Richard Akinwumi]

A PREMIUM TIMES correspondent who visited petrol stations on Monday in Abuja found that some filling stations in the Lugbe and Wuse areas of the city had started selling to buyers at prices as high as N190.

At Danmarna Petrol Limited, Police Sign Board junction, Lugbe, and Eyis Global Ltd, Opp Dunamis Church, Airport Road, Lugbe, the product was sold for N185 per litre.

An attendant at Danmarna Petrol Ltd who did not give his name told PREMIUM TIMES that the price was increased last Friday.

An attendant at Eyis Global Ltd said most petroleum stations in the city are now selling the product for N185 per litre.

“As you can see, we are selling this for N185. Just go around Abuja and you will find out that many stations have also increased their pump price,” the attendant said.

Europe Can’t Shake Off Covid as Variant Fuels Summer Spike - BLOOMBERG

JULY 16, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- It was supposed to be a post-Covid-19 summer in Europe. Masks are gone in most places, and vacation season is in full swing as workers rush for the beaches and cities they missed in the two years marked by the pandemic. But instead, the reality confronting people is that the virus never went away.

A super-transmissible subvariant of the omicron strain, known as BA.5, is fueling a fresh increase in infections, with cases climbing across the UK and the continent. Intensive-care admissions are rising, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, which has warned that another wave of the disease is starting.

The ending of restrictions on international travel and the return of mass-participation events such as music festivals are also helping the virus to spread. And cases may already be far higher than the figures currently show, given most countries have dramatically scaled back testing.

But governments have long thrown out the initial Covid playbook, and are loath to tighten mask rules, limit gatherings or reinstate vaccine and testing requirements for travel. Most are pushing for another round of boosters for at-risk people, counting on Europe’s relatively high vaccination rates to continue to keep the death rate down.

The timing of the uptick suggests that Covid isn’t yet seasonal like the winter flu. Instead, the successive waves of ever more infectious versions show that it’s still not clear what living with the virus will mean in the long run, said Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

“This isn’t like seasonal influenza,” he said, adding that there’s no guarantee that the current vaccines will continue to be as effective against future variants. “We’re seeing waves coming every few months. And as a consequence, we need to reassess where we go with this.”

To combat the summer spike, the ECDC issued new guidance this week recommending that adults over the age of 60 and medically vulnerable people of any age consider a second booster now instead of waiting for a shot that’s been adapted to be more effective against the current variants.

According to ECDC Director Andrea Ammon, given that most people in that age group had their original boosters more than three to six months ago, protection against severe disease may be waning.

“The risk for people is now,” said Pierre Delsaux, head of HERA, the EU’s emergency health authority. “It’s better to be vaccinated now because the current vaccines are still effective.”

In the UK, the government announced Friday it will broaden its Covid booster shot campaign, set to begin in the fall, to include everyone aged 50 and over. The infection rate there is rising, and is at the highest since April in England, according to the latest survey.

Hospitalizations are also rising, in some cases more quickly than the recorded spike in infections. The disparity between the measures is probably due to less accurate surveillance, said Louise Blair, who leads the vaccine and variants team at London-based data firm Airfinity Ltd.

She added that the summer wave is a reminder that the virus isn’t seasonal yet. “We’re actually seeing cases and waves being driven by new variants rather than mixing indoors,” Blair said. 

And the surge isn’t confined to Europe. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week said that the BA.5 variant probably accounts for about 65% of cases. Infections there could reach 600,000 cases per day, Bloomberg Intelligence estimated in a report, based on patterns seen in South Africa, where omicron was first identified, and elsewhere.

New York’s positivity rate is at the highest since January, and Los Angeles County raised its Covid warning level this week. It also warned that if case numbers are sustained, masks will be required indoors. In Japan, Tokyo lifted its infection alert to the highest level.

“From a psychological perspective, many people may feel like they are caught in a limbo around Covid,” said Rachel McCloy, a behavioral psychologist from the University of Reading. The absence of restrictions sends a message that things are back to normal, but “on the other side rates are rising, people are ill and at risk, and everything is still very much not as it was,” she said.

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