The industry has again seen some major improvements this week in terms of airlines and airports springing back to life – but also a lot more bad news including financial woes, aircraft retirements and scary prospects and predictions for the years ahead. Let’s take a look at the past week!
British Airways Retire the 747
This week British Airways announced an immediate early retirement of their entire 747 fleet. The carrier have operated the iconic aircraft for almost 50 years – in several variants. The Queen of the Skies has been a flagship of the BA fleet for decades.
Being one of the very first carriers to operate the 747, it’s terrible news for the industry to see British Airways remove them. Qantas and Virgin Atlantic are jut two other examples of airlines letting go of the four engine aircraft due to its higher operating costs. BA are set to focus on their 787 and A350 aircraft for future fleet development.
Boeing See a Difficult Start to 2020
Boeing have seen a dreary start to 2020 and June was no exception. In the last month, Boeing delivered just 10 commercial aircraft, and so far this year have only delivered 70.
This represents a 71% fall on last years half-year results. The 737 MAX grounding remains a key problem for the company, though recent breakthroughs in tests on the aircraft seem to show that it may be set to return potentially by the end of this year.
Airbus, meanwhile, have had a brilliant start to the year when compared with Boeing’s results. With 36 deliveries in the past month and 196 so far this year, the European manufacturer are certainly benefiting from the MAX issues and delays to the 777X programme.
Ryanair Flight Diverted After Bomb Threat
A Ryanair flight en route from Krakow to Dublin was forced to divert to Stansted after a bomb threat was raised on board. It’s reported a note was found in the on-board lavatory which claimed there to be explosives on board.
The aircraft was accompanied by two RAF jets, landing safely at the Essex airport and taken to a remote stand away from the terminal. Stansted can be considered an ideal airport for this scenario as it has a remarkably large airfield and is more than suitable for segregating threats.
Luckily nobody on board suffered any injuries and it’s seeming likely that the note was a false alarm. Investigations will be ongoing to find the culprit, but at least it all turned out safe in the end!
ACI Predict a Difficult Recovery for Europe’s Airports
ACI Europe have predicted that Europe’s airports will suffer a €32.4 billion fall in revenues this year, with June being yet another depressing month for the continent’s airfields.
Although aviation is slowly starting to pick back up with quarantine restrictions lifted across Europe, the figures for last month were 93% lower than in 2019.
ACI Europe, whilst predicting the extent of the damage Covid-19 may cause to airports this year, have also predicted that we won’t see passenger levels return to pre-coronavirus levels until at least 2024.
Whatever happens, we are definitely going to see a long road to recovery for airports both in Europe and worldwide – and it’s frightening to think about the sheer extent of financial impact and burden this will have on the travel industry as a whole.
Emirates and Qatar Battle Over A380 Strategies
Emirates this week brought their A380 aircraft back into service – albeit with a limited offering from Dubai to both Heathrow and Paris. These two routes, for now, are the only ones deemed viable by the airline.
Qatar on the other hand have taken a completely different approach and effectively taken a dig at the UAE carrier. The Doha based airline have declared their commitment to sustainable and fuel efficient aircraft – declaring the A380 to be out of their schedule plans until potentially August 2021. There remains the possibility that Qatar will simply retire the type early and focus on their A350, 777 and 787 fleets.
What’s Happening on The Final Approach?
That’s all the news for this week – but we have a lot of other exciting content here on The Final Approach! This week we posted a General Aviation article about White Waltham airfield and have also announced the launch of our new monthly aviation news magazine, Aviation This Month. If you’re interested subscribe below to get a copy delivered every 4 weeks directly to your inbox!