Emirates

Emirates retains cargo operations, but temporarily suspends most passenger operations by 25 March

Emirates
© Image Emirates

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 22 March 2020 – Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Emirates and dnata have been adapting operations in line with regulatory directives as well as travel demand.

The airline has aimed to maintain passenger flights for as long as feasible to help travellers return home amidst an increasing number of travel bans, restrictions, and country lockdowns across the world. It continues to maintain vital international air cargo links for economies and communities, deploying its fleet of 777 freighters for the transport of essential goods including medical supplies across the world.

With many of its airline customers dramatically reducing flights or ceasing services altogether, dnata has also significantly reduced its operations, including temporarily shutting some offices across its international network.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group said: “The world has literally gone into quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is an unprecedented crisis situation in terms of breadth and scale: geographically, as well as from a health, social, and economic standpoint. Until January 2020, the Emirates Group was doing well against our current financial year targets. But COVID-19 has brought all that to a sudden and painful halt over the past 6 weeks.

“As a global network airline, we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns. By Wednesday 25 March, although we will still operate cargo flights which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended most of its passenger operations. We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services.”

Having received requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travellers, Emirates will continue to operate passenger and cargo flights to the following countries and territories until further notice, as long as borders remain open, and there is demand: the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, USA, and Canada. The situation remains dynamic, and travellers can check flight status on emirates.com.

Sheikh Ahmed added: “Emirates Group has a strong balance sheet, and substantial cash liquidity, and we can, and will, with appropriate and timely action, survive through a prolonged period of reduced flight schedules, so that we are adequately prepared for the return to normality.”

Cost reduction measures

The Emirates Group has undertaken a series of measures to contain costs, as the outlook for travel demand remains weak across markets in the short to medium term. This includes:

  • Postponing or cancelling discretionary expenditure
  • A freeze on all non-essential recruitment and consultancy work
  • Working with suppliers to find cost savings and efficiency
  • Encouraging employees to take paid or unpaid leave in light of reduced flying capacity
  • A temporary reduction of basic salary for the majority of Emirates Group employees for three months, ranging from 25% to 50%. Employees will continue to be paid their other allowances during this time. Junior level employees will be exempt from basic salary reduction
  • Presidents of Emirates and dnata – Sir Tim Clark and Gary Chapman – will take a 100% basic salary cut for three months

On the decision to reduce basic salary, Sheikh Ahmed said: “Rather than ask employees to leave the business, we chose to implement a temporary basic salary cut as we want to protect our workforce and keep our talented and skilled people, as much as possible. We want to avoid cutting jobs. When demand picks up again, we also want to be able to quickly ramp up and resume services for our customers.”

The Emirates Group has strong liquidity, with a healthy cash position but it is prudent that it take steps to reduce costs at this time. Emirates remains committed to serving its markets and looks forward to resuming a normal flight schedule as soon as that is permitted by the relevant authorities.

Safeguarding customers, employees, and communities

Emirates Group closely monitors the situation and keeps in regular contact with all relevant authorities, so that it can implement the latest guidance to keep travellers and its employees safe and healthy.

The company has strongly discouraged its employees from non-essential travel, implemented work from home policies for all employees where operationally feasible, enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols at its facilities, introduced temperature screening at its key office entry points, and launched internal educational campaigns on hand hygiene and health practices to reduce risk of COVID-19.

Over the past weeks, the airline has also implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures on all of its aircraft departing Dubai as a precaution, and worked closely with airports to implement screening measures as required by the local authorities.

Frontline employees such as crew and airport teams have also been provided with support to stay safe while on duty, including providing hand sanitizers and masks where required.

The Emirates Group fully supports all initiatives to safeguard the health of communities in every market where it operates, including the UAE’s national COVID-19 response.

Sheikh Ahmed said: “These are unprecedented times for the airline and travel industry, but we will get through it. Our business is taking a hit, but what matters in the long run is that we do the right thing for our customers, our employees, and the communities we serve. With the support and unity that we have seen from our employees, partners, customers, and other stakeholders, I’m confident that Emirates can tackle this challenge and come out stronger.”

Qantas

Qantas and Jetstar to suspend scheduled international flights from late March

Qantas
© Image Qantas

  • Qantas and Jetstar to suspend scheduled international flights from late March, following latest government travel advice; some ongoing ad hoc services possible.
  • 60 per cent reduction to domestic flights, focused on cutting frequency.
  • Two-thirds of employees to be temporarily stood down to preserve as many jobs as possible longer term.
  • Payment of $201 million shareholder dividend deferred until September 2020.

The Qantas Group has outlined the customer and employee impact of a huge drop in travel demand triggered by the public health response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Earlier this week, cuts to 90 per cent of international flying and about 60 per cent of domestic flying were announced by Qantas and Jetstar. With the Federal Government now recommending against all overseas travel from Australia, regularly scheduled international flights will continue until late March to assist with repatriation and will then be suspended until at least the end of May 2020. As the national carrier, Qantas is in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government about continuation of some strategic links.

More than 150 aircraft will be temporarily grounded, including all of Qantas’ A380s, 747s and B787-9s and Jetstar’s B787-8s.  Discussions are progressing with airports and government about parking for these aircraft.

Essential domestic, regional and freight connections will be maintained as much as possible.

Qantas’ fleet of freighters will continue to be fully utilised. Some domestic passenger aircraft will also be used for freight-only flights to replace lost capacity from regular scheduled services. There is no impact on Qantas Loyalty’s operations as a result of today’s announcement.

INTERNATIONAL NETWORK CHANGES

The Qantas Group is making the following changes:

  • All regularly scheduled Qantas and Jetstar international flights from Australia will be suspended from end March until at least end May 2020. Some flights may continue in order to maintain key links, based on ongoing discussions with the Federal Government.
  • Jetstar Asia (Singapore) will suspend all flights from 23 March to at least 15 April 2020.
  • Jetstar Japan has suspended international flights and cut domestic flying.
  • Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) has suspended international flights and will significantly cut domestic flying.

DOMESTIC NETWORK CHANGES

The Group will maintain connectivity to almost all Australian domestic and regional destinations that Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar currently operate to. The 60 per cent reduction in capacity will come mostly from a significant reduction in flight frequency, but also route suspensions and postponing a number of new route launches.

(The route-by-route detail of these changes can be found here.)

PEOPLE IMPACT

In order to preserve as many jobs as possible longer term, Qantas and Jetstar will stand down the majority of their 30,000 employees until at least the end of May 2020.

During the stand down, employees will be able to draw down on annual and long service leave and additional support mechanisms will be introduced, including leave at half pay and early access to long service leave. Employees with low leave balances at the start of the stand down will be able to access up to four weeks’ leave in advance of earning it. Unfortunately, periods of leave without pay for some employees are inevitable.

Senior Group Management Executives and the Board have increased their salary reductions from 30 per cent to 100 per cent until at least the end of this financial year, joining the Chairman and Group CEO in taking no pay. Annual management bonuses have also been cancelled.

SHAREHOLDER IMPACT

Given the current extraordinary circumstances, a decision has been made to defer payment of the shareholder dividend announced on 20 February from 9 April until 1 September 2020. This is in addition to the cancellation of the off-market buy back, previously announced.

CEO COMMENTARY

Comments from Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce:

“The efforts to contain the spread of Coronavirus have led to a huge drop in travel demand, the likes of which we have never seen before. This is having a devastating impact on all airlines.

“We’re in a strong financial position right now, but our wages bill is more than $4 billion a year. With the huge drop in revenue we’re facing, we have to make difficult decisions to guarantee the future of the national carrier.

“The reality is we’ll have 150 aircraft on the ground and sadly there’s no work for most of our people. Rather than lose these highly skilled employees who we’ll need when this crisis passes, we are instead standing down two-thirds of our 30,000 employees until at least the end of May.”

“Most of our people will be using various types of paid leave during this time, and we’ll have a number of support options in place. We’re also talking to our partners like Woolworths about temporary job opportunities for our people.

“This is a very hard set of circumstances for our people, as it is for lots of parts of the community right now.

“No airline in the world is immune to this, with the world’s leading carriers making deep cuts to flying schedules and jobs. Our strong balance sheet means we’ve entered this crisis in better shape than most and we’re taking action to make sure we can ride this out.

“Since this crisis started, there has been overwhelming support from our customers. That gives me even more confidence that we’ll get through this,” added Mr Joyce.

CUSTOMER INFORMATION

Customer contact centres are currently experiencing long wait times from people seeking to change their travel plans as a result of the Coronavirus. To help manage the demand we ask that customers only call if they have travel within the next 48 hours.

To avoid further inconvenience, we’re converting all bookings on cancelled flights to a travel credit, which can be used anywhere on our network.  Affected customers will be contacted directly from next Monday.  Any customers travelling before the end of May who wish to change their booking are also eligible to receive a travel credit instead.

If flights were booked through a travel agency or third-party website (e.g. Webjet, Booking.com), customers will need to contact them directly to make changes to their booking.

Qantas

The Qantas Group has announced further cuts to its international flying, reducing capacity by almost a quarter for the next six months

Qantas
© Image Qantas

The Qantas Group has announced further cuts to its international flying, reducing capacity by almost a quarter for the next six months.

The latest cuts follow the spread of the Coronavirus into Europe and North America over the past fortnight, as well as its continued spread through Asia, which has resulted in a sudden and significant drop in forward travel demand.

These additional changes will bring the total international capacity reduction for Qantas and Jetstar from 5 per cent to 23 per cent versus the same time last year and extend these cuts until mid-September 2020.

The biggest reductions remain focussed on Asia (now down 31 per cent compared with the same period last year). Capacity reductions to the United States (down 19 per cent), the UK (down 17 per cent) and Trans-Tasman (down 10 per cent) will also be made in line with forward booking trends.

CHANGES TO SERVICES

Rather than exit routes altogether, Qantas will use smaller aircraft and reduce the frequency of flights to maintain overall connectivity.

This approach results in eight of the airline’s largest aircraft, the Airbus A380, grounded until mid-September. A further two A380s are undergoing scheduled heavy maintenance and cabin upgrades, leaving two of its A380s flying.

In response to strong customer demand for the direct Perth-London service, the existing Sydney-Singapore-London return service (QF1 and QF2) will be temporarily re-routed to become a Sydney-Perth-London service from 20 April.

The start of Qantas’ new Brisbane-Chicago route will be delayed from 15 April to mid-September.

Jetstar will make significant cuts to its international network, including suspending flights to Bangkok and reducing flights from Australia to Vietnam and Japan by almost half. Jetstar’s daily Gold Coast to Seoul flight was suspended last week.

(See table below for more detail of international network changes.)

Domestically, Qantas and Jetstar capacity reductions will be increased from 3 per cent to 5 per cent[1] through to mid-September 2020, in line with broader economic conditions.

In total, this is the equivalent of grounding 38 Qantas and Jetstar aircraft[2] across the international and domestic network. The Group’s total capacity reduction changes from 4 per cent (announced on 20 February) to 17 per cent for the last quarter of FY20.

Given the reduced flying across the Qantas Group fleet, maintenance work will be brought forward where possible to make best use of this time.

IMPACT ON FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

The Group is taking decisive action to mitigate the significant adverse impact of Coronavirus on demand, including longer range capacity cuts that improve the business’ ability to reduce costs. However, given the dynamic and uncertain nature of this situation, it is not possible to provide meaningful guidance at this time on the size of that impact on Group earnings for the remainder of FY20.

In line with its Financial Framework the Group is in a strong position, with low debt levels and a long debt maturity profile, $1.9 billion in cash plus a further $1 billion in undrawn facilities and $4.9 billion in unencumbered assets.

To help maintain this position in the face of current uncertainty, the Board has decided to cancel the off-market buyback announced in February, which will preserve $150 million in cash. The interim dividend of 13.5 cents per share will still be paid on 9 April.

COST REDUCTION MEASURES

In addition to cutting capacity, a number of cost reduction measures will be triggered across the Qantas Group, including:

  • Annual management bonuses set to zero for FY20.
  • For the remainder of FY20:
    • Qantas Chairman will take no fees.
    • Group CEO will take no salary.
    • Qantas Board will take a 30 per cent reduction in fees.
    • Group Executive Management will take a 30 per cent pay cut.
  • Freeze of all non-essential recruitment and consultancy work.
  • Asking all Qantas and Jetstar employees to take paid or unpaid leave in light of reduced flying activity.

A material drop in fuel price has provided a significant cost benefit in addition to the saving from lower consumption. The Group’s total fuel cost is now expected to be $3.74b[3] (excluding the benefit of capacity reductions compared with the same time last year) with limited participation to further falls in Brent crude prices.

CEO COMMENTARY

Announcing the changes, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, said: “In the past fortnight we’ve seen a sharp drop in bookings on our international network as the global coronavirus spread continues.

“We expect lower demand to continue for the next several months, so rather than taking a piecemeal approach we’re cutting capacity out to mid-September. This improves our ability to reduce costs as well as giving more certainty to the market, customers and our people.

“We retain the flexibility to cut further or to put capacity back in as this situation develops.

“The Qantas Group is a strong business in a challenging environment. We have a robust balance sheet, low debt levels and most of our profit comes from the domestic market. We’re in a good position to ride this out, but we need to take steps to maintain this strength.

“When revenue falls you need to cut costs, and reducing the amount of flying we do is the best way for us to do that.

“Less flying means less work for our people, but we know coronavirus will pass and we want to avoid job losses wherever possible. We’re asking our people to use their paid leave and, if they can, consider taking some unpaid leave given we’re flying a lot less.

“Annual management bonuses have been set to zero and the Group Executive team will take a significant pay cut for the rest of this financial year.

“It’s hard to predict how long this situation will last, which is why we’re moving now to make sure we remain well positioned. But we know it will pass, and we’ll be well positioned to take advantage of opportunities when it does.”

ADVICE FOR CUSTOMERS

Qantas and Jetstar will contact customers affected by these changes in the coming week. Customers who booked via a travel agent (including online travel agents) will be contacted by their agent rather than the airline.

Typically, customers flying internationally will be offered an alternative flight via another capital city or a partner airline, or an alternative day. Disruption to domestic passengers is expected to be minimal given the continued high frequency on most routes.

The latest information will be published on Qantas and Jetstar websites. Customers are encouraged to check this before calling the airline.

To provide customers with greater flexibility and confidence when they book, Qantas and Jetstar will waive change fees for new international bookings made from today until the end of March, if customers change their travel plans[4]. This applies to travel commencing up to 30 June 2020 and is limited to one free change per customer. Customers will need to pay any fare difference.

SUMMARY OF QANTAS GROUP NETWORK CHANGES

Route Change Effective dates(until mid-Sept 2020)
Asia
Sydney-Tokyo (Haneda) B747 replaced by smaller A330 30 March
Melbourne-Singapore – 7 return flights per week cancelled (QF 37/38)

– B787 replaced by larger A330 on 7 return flights per week (QF 35/36)

– 20 April– 4 May
North America 
Brisbane-Chicago Route launch postponed Was to start 15 April
Brisbane-San Francisco Route suspended (3 return flights per week) 18 April
Sydney-San Francisco B787 replaced by larger B747 18 April
Melbourne-San Francisco Route suspended (4 return flights per week) 18 April
Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth A380 replaced by smaller B787 20 April
Melbourne-Los Angeles A380 replaced by smaller B787 1 June
Sydney-Vancouver Seasonal service suspended (3 return flights per week) June and July only
United Kingdom
Sydney-London (Heathrow) – Flights to operate via Perth (instead of Singapore)then non-stop to London.

– Perth-London to become double daily as a result.

– A380 replaced by smaller B787

20 April
South America
Sydney-Santiago Delaying planned B787 introduction and continuing with B747 1 August

Note: The suspension of the A380 and First Class from Singapore routes will see the Qantas First Lounge in Singapore close temporarily, with customers instead invited to use the adjacent Qantas Business Lounge.

Note: Qantas B787 has approx. 250 less seats than an A380.  

 

Qantas – Extension of previously announced cancellations

(Until mid-Sept 2020 unless stated)

Route Change
Sydney-Shanghai Route continues to be suspended until at least mid-July (7 flights per week)(sole route to mainland China)
Sydney-Hong Kong Reduced from 14 to 7 return flights per week
Melbourne-Hong Kong Reduced from 7 to 4 return flights per week (1 additional cancellation per week from previously announced cuts)
Brisbane-Hong Kong Reduced from 7 to 3 return flights per week (1 additional cancellation per week from previously announced cuts)

 Note: Further capacity reductions will also be made on flights to Japan and New Zealand, with other Asian routes under evaluation.

 

Jetstar Airways – Summary of New Changes

Routes Change Effective date(until end June but may be extended)
Asia
Melbourne-Bangkok Route suspended 1 May
Sydney/Melbourne-Ho Chi Minh Flights reduced by over 50 per cent 1 May
Japan routes Flights reduced by almost 40 per cent 20 May
Brisbane-Bali Minor flight reductions 1 May

Note: Further capacity reductions will also be made on flights to New Zealand, with other Asian routes are under evaluation.

 

Jetstar Airlines in Asia – Summary of changes

Jetstar Asia (based in Singapore) will cut capacity by almost 40 per cent with reductions in frequencies across the network. Singapore to Taipei and Osaka routes will be suspended.

Jetstar Japan has suspended its international services to Hong Kong, Taipei and Shanghai until at least the end of May and will reduce flights to Manila. Further reductions will be made to its Japanese domestic network.

Jetstar Pacific (based in Vietnam) has also suspended all international routes to the end of April, with the exception of Ho Chi Minh-Bangkok where flights have been halved. Further reductions are being made to its Vietnamese domestic network.

[1] Versus Q4 FY19.

[2] Includes seven Jetstar Asia (Singapore) aircraft and nine aircraft across Jetstar Japan and Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam).

[3] Compared with estimate of $3.85b at 20 February 2020.

[4] Changes need to be made at least three days before the date of travel.

Alaska featured

Coronavirus update: Clearing the air at Alaska Airlines

Alaska featured

© Image Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines have been fielding questions from guests and employees alike about air quality onboard aircraft. While Dr. John Lynch, one of our University of Washington medical directors, has advised coronavirus is not thought to be airborne, our planes are equipped with systems that contain two HEPA, or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters. They’re the same kind of filters found in hospital operating rooms.

“It’s not a self-contained tube with the same air for a six-hour flight,” said Constance von Muehlen, senior vice president of maintenance & engineering. “The air in a cabin comes from the top and flows out from your feet. In fact, there’s a large portion of air that comes directly from outside. Within a three-minute period you get completely new air in the entire cabin.”

© Image Alaska Airlines

If guests want more filtered air, they can simply open the vent above them. It’s important to note that the flight deck, galley areas, and lavatories get air directly from outside the aircraft. That air also gets directly exhausted outside.

Alaska Airlines has one of the newest fleets in the country which ensures our planes have the latest filtration technology in use. Our filters are changed according to manufacturer guidelines.

Studies have shown due to the frequency of cabin air recirculation, that the air onboard planes can be better than the air found in many office buildings.


Alaska

© Image Alaska Airlines

Exchange

International Youth Exchange program for Airline Employee teens

IYE

Experience the adventure of a lifetime!

IYE matches teens aged 14 to 19 with a person of similar age from an airline family abroad. Your son or daughter can use your flight privileges to experience the adventure of a lifetime.

The young people spend two weeks in your home and two weeks in the home of the match family, creating international friendships.

Since 1994, IYE has matched more than 6,500 teens in more than a dozen countries!

Some countries include Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

Finding a match

After you register, you will be able to create a profile and see profiles of young people your own age. When viewing profiles, you can indicate who you would like to be matched with. When both families agree on a match, you will receive contact information. From here, you will begin to plan the exchange with your match family! Airline families enjoy this program in part because of the flexibility it allows. Each exchange is unique. You and your match family decide the details.

Learn more:  www.intlyouth.org

About

Camille, the IYE program director and a retired airline employee, loves to travel. When her four children were growing up, she wanted them to be able to see other countries, but the cost of traveling with a family of six was discouraging. Searching for a way for her children to travel abroad, learn different languages and experience new cultures, she developed the International Youth Exchange. Using her airline travel benefits, she found a way for all of her children to participate in these exchanges. After seeing what great experiences they had, she wanted to offer this opportunity for cultural understanding to other airline families.

 

lufthansa

Coronavirus: Lufthansa adopts a package of measures

lufthansa
© Image Lufthansa

  • Budget reduction in the administrative areas
  • Offer of unpaid leave for employees
  • Expansion of options for part-time work planned
  • New recruitment suspended

In order to counteract the economic impact of the coronavirus at an early stage, Lufthansa is implementing several measures to lower costs: among other things, all new hires planned for the airline with the crane will be reassessed, suspended or deferred to a later date. Lufthansa is also offering employees unpaid leave effective immediately. An expansion of part-time work options in the context of collective bargaining agreements is currently being examined.

All planned flight attendant and station personnel training courses as of April 2020 will not be carried out. For the time being, the participants of courses that are already in progress will not be hired. However, the aim remains to be able to offer the participants employment contracts in the long term. In the administrative areas, the core brand Lufthansa will reduce its project volume by ten percent and the budget for material costs by 20 percent.

Following a thorough assessment of all available information on the effects of the novel coronavirus, Lufthansa Group had already cancelled all flights by Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines to/from mainland China until the end of the winter flight schedule on 28 March. Due to the current demand situation for flights to and from Hong Kong, capacity adjustments have already been made on this route, and additional frequency adjustments to and from Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich are planned. In purely mathematical terms, 13 Lufthansa Group aircraft are currently on the ground.

It is not yet possible to estimate the expected impact of the current developments on earnings. The group will be commenting on this matter at the press briefing for the annual results on 19 March.