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Covid-19: Airlines seek emergency aid as coronavirus brings industry to near-halt

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LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) - Airlines made unprecedented cuts to flights, costs and staffing on Monday, stepping up calls for emergency aid as coronavirus lockdowns and new travel restrictions hit more major routes.

Already battered shares in British Airways parent IAG (ICAG.L), easyJet (EZJ.L) and Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) plunged again as they scrapped most flights for the coming weeks, joining other major carriers that are all but halting operations in the face of the pandemic.

“It is now clear that the coronavirus is by far the biggest crisis in the history of aviation,” Finnair Chief Executive Topi Manner said as the carrier announced a 90% capacity reduction and its second profit warning in three weeks.

The outlook darkened further after Spain declared a state of emergency and the United States extended travel curbs to Britain and Ireland, while Australia and New Zealand began requiring all travelers to self-isolate. Germany advised citizens against non-essential trips abroad on Monday.

In an unusual joint statement, the world’s three main airline alliances - oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance - called for government aid to alleviate the “unprecedented challenges” faced by the industry.

IAG, which also owns Spain’s Iberia and Vueling, said it would cut April-May capacity by at least 75% and postpone CEO Willie Walsh’s retirement - keeping successor Luis Gallego at Iberia’s helm as the group navigates the crisis.

Besides cancelling flights, the group announced moves to freeze discretionary spending, reduce working hours and temporarily suspend employment contracts.

Budget carriers Ryanair (RYA.I) and easyJet announced plans to ground most of their fleets, with the latter echoing calls for government help.

More: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-airlines/airlines-seek-emergency-aid-as-coronavirus-brings-industry-to-near-halt-idUSKBN2131L8

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Norwegian Cancels Long Haul Flights, Lays Off 90% Of Employees

MARCH 16, 2020

This shows you just how quickly this situation is evolving. Just a few days ago Norwegian announced that they’d ground 40% of planes and lay off up to 50% of employees, and now the company has announced that they’ll cancel 85% of flights and lay off 90% of employees.

Report  here: https://onemileatatime.com/norwegian-cancels-flights/

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In Malaysia essential domestic air travel only allowed. But what i am observing are huge crowd gathering in terminals, airports, eyeing to beat the domestic state to state restriction which is set to commence at 12am later. Isnt this crowding more susceptible to virus spreading. Heard TBS nearly has 20k people at one goal and all highways are jammed in selangor. Its like China's CNY migration risk all over again.

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ini la kongsi raya rakyat jelata malaysia.... sounds crazy right? while people focus and  some blaming the tabligh event, yet still some of them practicing the same level of ignorance by doing gtting involve into large crowd.

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3 hours ago, Kenny Sing said:

ini la kongsi raya rakyat jelata malaysia.... sounds crazy right? while people focus and  some blaming the tabligh event, yet still some of them practicing the same level of ignorance by doing gtting involve into large crowd.

A lot of unpreparedness. My former university closed down its own hostel forcing students to bus back or fly back to their hometown. Reason hostel and university staffs are categorize as non essential workers. Wealthy students cant go to hotel majority of them are closed as well. 

Domestic flight kul-bki vice vesa recorded 8x daily for mab and 10x daily on ak. And this is after them cancelling half of them ad now re-adding quite a number of them using different flight number due to surge of demands. All using sabahan ic or spouse to fly. While semenanjung folks fly back to kul. The fact is allot of them have acomodation at their respective former destinations and still they chose to fly. Not helping is Sabah and Sarawak immigration chasing them out and accepting inbound on pretence of the passengers doing self quarantine. If everyone stay put this covid season will be over quickly. Infected count is now at 790. 

Edited by jahur

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We are edging close to 1000 mark if the current daily 100 new cases per day stat continues. I am sure some of us have friends in healthcare, they are all saying the same......Malaysia healthcare is stretched beyond its limit at this point. We simply cannot afford another wave of outbreak. Switzerland has warned today, their healthcare system will collapse in 10 days of the current spreading rate persists. Our army is now rehearsing how to handle COVID patients for preparation, just in case our healthcare really melt down. God bless us all.

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Wisma Putra: 841 Malaysians currently stranded in 20 countries, consular service afforded to those affected

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/03/18/wisma-putra-841-malaysians-currently-stranded-in-20-countries-consular-serv/1847827

Our beloved PM was having golf session with Tony Fernandes on the day we recorded our highest spike in COVID cases. Kind of curious to know if these two are linked......Hmmm.......

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10 minutes ago, JuliusWong said:

Our beloved PM was having golf session with Tony Fernandes on the day we recorded our highest spike in COVID cases. Kind of curious to know if these two are linked......Hmmm.......

I am not sure if this is real news or fake news. If it is real news, it has been covered up by the mainstream media (who did not cover up Najib/Obama golfing a few years ago). If it is fake news, it is a malicious piece of propaganda.

It looks like currently, the govt. is a one man show. Today we should have seen more ministers in action - at least the Home , Women and Family, Economic Affairs, Finance, Health, Transport and Education ministers should be in the frontline overseeing the MCO Day 1 affairs. They were mostly no show!

Well lets hope that they pull up their socks ASAP!

Meanwhile,

Malaysia Airlines suspends more flights, cancelling over 4,000 in all:

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/over-4000-cancelled-flights-malaysia-airlines-suspends-more-routes

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Covid-19: Singapore’s Jetstar Asia to suspend all operations for at least three weeks

SINGAPORE, March 18 — Budget carrier Jetstar Asia will be suspending its operations for three weeks, from March 23 to at least April 15, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is “the result of the introduction of new government restrictions across multiple jurisdictions in recent days,” the Singapore-based carrier said in a travel alert yesterday.

“The decision is in response to factors beyond our control including a rapid decline in forward travel demand due to government containment measures, corporate travel bans and a general pullback from everyday activities across the community,” the airline added in a media statement today.

More: https://www.malaymail.com/news/money/2020/03/18/covid-19-singapores-jetstar-asia-to-suspend-all-operations-for-at-least-thr/1847938

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4 hours ago, JuliusWong said:

We are edging close to 1000 mark if the current daily 100 new cases per day stat continues. I am sure some of us have friends in healthcare, they are all saying the same......Malaysia healthcare is stretched beyond its limit at this point. We simply cannot afford another wave of outbreak. Switzerland has warned today, their healthcare system will collapse in 10 days of the current spreading rate persists. Our army is now rehearsing how to handle COVID patients for preparation, just in case our healthcare really melt down. God bless us all.

It is a matter of when not if local hospitals will run out of ventilator for critical patients. Current 2 weeks soft lock down won't eradicate covid 19 from the country; believe lock down could be extended or reimposed later.

without gomen assistance, many airlines won't survive. believe central banks like fed may purchase bonds issued by airlines or gomen could compensate airlines for flights cancellation during lock down.

Edited by KK Lee

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AirAsia, Malindo and Malaysia Airlines will only fly once a day to main domestic route: Penang, Johor Bahru, Kuching and KK. Red flight information board all over.

Logistic companies now are impacted. 

I guess since there is no more international destinations to serve,  Malindo has suspended hot meal service: https://www.malindoair.com/news-events/2020/03/18/Temporary-Suspension-of-Hot-Meals-on-Board

 

 

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1 minute ago, flee said:

I wonder if airlines will operate cargo only flights on pax aircraft?

Only once per day to Penang, Johor, KK and Kuching. The rest are all cancelled by AirAsia. I believe OD and MH too.

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-19 at 10.23.55 AM.jpeg

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All tunnel, no light for Asia-Pacific airlines

The Asia-Pacific is seen as the engine of future aviation growth, but the coronavirus pandemic has brought its airline sector to its knees.

Recent days have seen a collapse in air travel demand in the region. When news of coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China during January, comparisons were quickly drawn with 2003’s Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) crisis.

SARS had a major impact on the region’s carriers, sharply lowering traffic from February to May 2003. Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines grounded dozens of aircraft for a period as load factors cratered. While SARS was a cathartic event, it was largely an Asia-Pacific phenomenon in a less-globalised world. Air travel in Europe and the United States was largely unaffected.

Seventeen years on, the early stages of coronavirus saw a collapse in Chinese air travel as Beijing, waking up to the threat, deployed its full might to prevent the virus’s spread. Still, it was only in the second half of January when carriers outside of China started cutting flights to the disease’s epicentre, Wuhan. This was followed by massive domestic capacity cuts within China, and a sharp reduction in international services to the Mainland.

Coronavirus remained the overriding concern of Asia-Pacific airline chief executives throughout February with additional capacity cuts taking place. In Qantas’ half-year results released on 20 February, airline chief executive Alan Joyce noted weakening demand, adding that capacity to Asia would be reduced by 15%, domestic capacity by 2%, and on trans-Tasman services by 6%. 

As the following weeks would show, these plans proved wildly optimistic as the coronavirus evolved from a regional issue into a global pandemic. 

It emerged that long-haul, low-cost carrier AirAsia X, which has struggled at the best of times, was seeking lease payment deferrals to tide it over through the crisis. Sources at lessors note that a number of airlines were seeking some sort of relief.

By early March, travel restrictions were on the rise, with Singapore barring new visitors who had visited South Korea, Iran, or northern Italy in the previous 14 days. A cascade of restrictions and quarantines was soon to follow with countries across the region imposing either 14-day quarantines or banning new arrivals outright. Many nations have admonished citizens to avoid travel.

More here: https://www.flightglobal.com/airlines/all-tunnel-no-light-for-asia-pacific-airlines/137393.article

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Would I be right in assuming MH's two daily LHR flights are being maintained (so far at least) regardless of yields or loads just so those precious slots can be retained ?

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59 minutes ago, BC Tam said:

Would I be right in assuming MH's two daily LHR flights are being maintained (so far at least) regardless of yields or loads just so those precious slots can be retained ?

Yes, I think that was what Virgin Atlantic were doing: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51809318

Perhaps, they may not need to do for too long: https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2020/03/11/coronavirus-european-commission-to-relax-slot-usage-obligations/

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Qantas to cease international flying, tells majority of workforce to take leave

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX) said on Thursday it will halt all international flights from late March until at least the end of May and is putting two-thirds of its workforce on leave after Australia told citizens not to travel overseas due to the coronavirus.

Qantas will also delay the payment of its dividend, worth A$201 million ($116.24 million), from April 9 until Sept. 1. Senior executives and the board will take a 100% pay cut until at least the end of the financial year, up from 30% earlier, joining the chairman and CEO in taking no pay.

More: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-qantas/qantas-to-cease-international-flying-tells-majority-of-workforce-to-take-leave-idUSKBN21602W

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How full is the apron at KLIA/KLIA2 now with the grounded fleet from MH, AK group and Malindo ?

Same goes to SIN. It must be quite a sight especially with SQ group’s wide bodies.

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1 hour ago, flee said:

Heathrow Plans to Close Terminal’s 3 and 4 in Coming Days But Entire Airports Might Shut Within Weeks

https://www.paddleyourownkanoo.com/2020/03/17/heathrow-plans-to-close-terminals-3-and-4-in-coming-days-but-entire-airports-might-shut-within-weeks/

Heard thausands of Malaysians in london are on go show on mas check in. I think staying put indoor and abiding uk's restrictive measures is more safe than fighting for a seat back to Malaysia and then somehow getting infected along the way. Lol

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15 hours ago, BC Tam said:

Would I be right in assuming MH's two daily LHR flights are being maintained (so far at least) regardless of yields or loads just so those precious slots can be retained ?

The EU is relaxing the slot usage rule, will the Brits do the same?

https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2020/03/11/coronavirus-european-commission-to-relax-slot-usage-obligations/

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1 hour ago, jahur said:

Heard thausands of Malaysians in london are on go show on mas check in. I think staying put indoor and abiding uk's restrictive measures is more safe than fighting for a seat back to Malaysia and then somehow getting infected along the way. Lol

Good reason to send the A380s to LHR, I'd imagine.

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