The aviation industry is still grappling with the fallout from the ongoing pandemic. Following are some highlights on what the airlines, airports, industry associations and governments did in September to introduce new travel incentives, win back travelers’ confidence, and advance business operations and infrastructure expansions.
Airlines – Too Good to Not to Fly
Air Canada launched its Infinite Canada Flight Pass. Pass holders, who pay a flat fee, gained the ability to book domestic flights without any blackout and booking restrictions, make changes to their itinerary, cancel tickets without penalties, and fly as often as they want while their pass remains active. The passes were available from September 16 – September 23, 2020 and were issued in three service classes: Standard, Flex and Latitude. Additionally, passengers will continue to accumulate Altitude Qualifying Miles.
In another effort to stimulate demand, the American low-cost carrier, Southwest Airlines, offered passengers booking a flight from September 22 – September 24, 2020 a free companion pass, redeemable January 6 – February 28, 2021. The only criteria required was that the original coupon needs to be applied for flights flown by November, 2020.
Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sandramacgregor/2020/09/17/what-you-need-to-know-about-air-canadas-new-unlimited-flight-passes/#25b76ac9275f https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2020/09/22/southwest-airlines-promo-buy-one-flight-get-seven-weeks-companion-pass-free/#16f540cc3610
Airports – More Testing Needed To Replace Mandatory Quarantines
In another effort to win back travelers’ confidence and to convince governments to lift travel restrictions, the International Air Transport Association’s CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, continued to argue for mandatory COVID-19 tests at departure airports. This sentiment was shared by Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director General of Airports Council International. Both organizations concurred that governments need to take action to establish globally harmonized travel standards based on the premise of mitigating contagion risks and stimulating a coordinated recovery of the entire aviation spectrum. At the core of this effort, they agreed, lies assuring travelers’ safe journey.
On the Bright Side
Some airlines may be ready for a fleet expansion. According to a Davy Research report cited on the airline data analytics website Cirium, Ryan Air may be ordering more Boeing 737 Max by the end of the year. This is an indication, that while most flagship carriers continue to suffer, some low-cost airlines may be able to grow their networks and grow their fleets.
In another positive development, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao, announced on September 24, 2020, that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award $335 million in airport safety and infrastructure grants to U.S. airports. The funding “will advance safety, improve travel, generate jobs and provide other economic benefits for local communities,” said Chao.
Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/fleets/ryanair-could-order-more-max-jets-by-year-end-davy/140218.article https://www.eturbonews.com/757608/335-million-in-infrastructure-grants-to-us-airports-announced/https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/speeches/2020-09-22-01/