Air China planes are parked at gates of Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, China. AP
Airline industry turmoil deepened on Thursday as Qantas Airways Ltd told most of its 30,000 employees to take leave and India prepared a rescue package of up to $1.6 billion to aid carriers battered by coronavirus, government sources said.
The UN's International Civil Aviation Organization called on governments to ensure cargo operations were not disrupted to maintain the availability of critical medicine and equipment such as ventilators, masks, and other health and hygiene items that will help reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Passenger operations have collapsed at an unprecedented rate as the virus spreads around the world, with Delta Air Lines Inc parking more than 600 jets, cutting corporate pay by as much as 50 per cent, and scaling back its flying by more than 70% until demand begins to recover.
Shares in US airlines fell sharply on Wednesday after Washington proposed a rescue package of $50 billion in loans, but no grants as the industry had requested, to help address the financial impact from the deepening coronavirus crisis.
The Trump administration's lending proposal would require airlines to maintain a certain amount of service and limit increases in executive compensation until the loans are repaid.
American Airlines Group Inc in a memo to staff rebuffed criticism that it had rewarded its shareholders with too many dividends and stock buybacks in better times, leaving it with less cash to manage the crisis.
In Australia, Qantas said it would cut all international flights and two-thirds of its 30,000 workers would need to take paid or unpaid leave. The Australian government has warned citizens not to travel overseas and said it would ban the arrival of non-citizens and residents starting Friday.
"The sad fact is that due to circumstances beyond our control, travel demand has evaporated," Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said in a memo to staff seen by Reuters. "We have no work for most of our people."
In China, the epicentre of the outbreak, international flight cancellations are rising this month, hitting 2,938 on average daily so far, Reuters calculations based on data from aviation data provider Variflight showed. That compared with 2,460 daily flights cancelled in February and 387 in January.
Domestic capacity in China has been recovering since the second half of February, when workers started to return, but it is still down about 60% from a year earlier, according to Variflight.
India is poised to join a growing list of governments offering aid to its aviation industry. The Finance Ministry is considering a proposal worth up to $1.6 billion that includes temporary suspension of most taxes levied on the sector, according to two government sources who have direct knowledge of the matter.
Taiwan's Transport ministry said on Thursday it was inviting its airlines to submit capital requirements and financial plans with the view to giving them assistance, such as rolling over loans and providing operating funds.
New Zealand on Thursday outlined the first tranche of a NZ$600 million ($344 million) aviation relief package, including financial support for airlines to pay government passenger charges and cover air traffic control fees.
The New Zealand government on Thursday advised citizens not to travel overseas because of the risks posed by the coronavirus and said it would shut its borders to those who were not citizens or residents.
Air New Zealand Ltd, which on Monday announced plans to maintain a bare-bones international flying schedule, expects to make further changes now, chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said on Twitter. The airline is also closing its cabin crew base in London earlier than initially planned, leading to the loss of 130 jobs.
Budget carrier easyJet PLC and its UK pilot union signed an agreement to minimise the risk of pilot layoffs in Britain over the next 18 months, including a pay freeze and asking all crew to take unpaid leave from March 23 to June 22, according to a memo seen by Reuters.
The planemaker also said it hoped to avoid consuming cash before M&A and customer financing in the second half of the year after a quarterly outflow of 4.4 billion euros as deliveries tumbled due to the coronavirus collapse in air travel.
The COVID-19 outbreak has devastated the global aviation sector, with passenger numbers slumping during lockdown measures as air travel demand evaporates. EasyJet follows competitors British Airways, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic, which have all slashed staff numbers to save costs.
The US Department of Transportation had in April granted PIA permission to operate 12 direct flights to the US to repatriate people stranded by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Not only have we effectively safeguarded the health and wellbeing of citizens and residents, we have also weathered the economic impact of the crisis. Thanks to the vision of our founding fathers, combined with our robust institutions and public services, have enabled us to counter the COVID-19 challenge'
Marking 100 days to go until the whole world gathers in one place, Expo 2020 Dubai is using its cutting-edge projection and display technology to light up Al Wasl dome.
Dubai-based Hilshaw Group and Kyiv’s Tech & Change Management Consultancy ‘Green – Z’ have initiated the process to mitigate the effects of Climate Change on Ukraine’s $18.6 billion agriculture sector. The companies inked a contract whereby Hilshaw Group
The first virtual session of the ‘Digital Next Leadership Series’ concluded on Wednesday on a high note, with powerful discussions on the unstoppable rise of a culture of innovation within the government sector. The successful session was attended by 1170 delegates
The Mohamed Bin Zayed Solar PV Complex, one of the largest solar PV plant in West Africa financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and selected under the ADFD-IRENA Project Facility, is now fully operational. The 50-megawatt (MW) project in Blitta,