AirAsia Announces Domestic Flight Resumptions

Low-cost carrier AirAsia has announced domestic flight resumptions are starting on April 29th with other countries following in… The post AirAsia Announces Domestic Flight Resumptions appeared first on Simple Flying.

AirAsia Announces Domestic Flight Resumptions

Low-cost carrier AirAsia has announced domestic flight resumptions are starting on April 29th with other countries following in the days after. The initial recovery will not be the carrier’s full schedule. Instead, AirAsia will gradually bring back operations, with international routes restarting after domestic.

AirAsia is planning on resuming domestic services starting later this month. Photo: AirAsia

Domestic flight resumptions

AirAsia will resume domestic flights starting at the end of this month in Malaysia with other countries to follow. These are:

  • Malaysia: April 29th
  • Thailand: May 1st
  • Philippines: May 1st
  • India: May 4th
  • Indonesia: May 7th

The schedule is not hard and fast. Governments still need to give their approval. This may not happen for a few days, or even some weeks, as the situation continues to evolve. The primary goal for governments is to restrict the spread of illness and to keep people at home.

AirAsia free seats getty images
If the current schedule holds, Indonesia will be the last country where domestic flights on AirAsia resumes. Photo: Getty Images

Like many other airlines, the carrier is taking things slow with its service restart. It will begin with critical connections before adding international flights. Border restrictions will largely determine when the airline is able to open international routes.

A330neo
International flight resumptions will depend on border restrictions. Photo: Airbus

For domestic flights, however, AirAsia is already taking bookings on its website. For those with credits, this is an opportunity to use them.

It is important to note, however, that these flights may still be canceled in the future if governments continue restrictions and lockdown. Leisure travel should be avoided at this time. These flights will primarily serve to fly people who need to get to home or work at a low cost.

AirAsia vs AirAsia X

AirAsia X operates only international routes using Airbus A330 aircraft with A321XLRs and A330neos set to join the fleet later. Meanwhile, AirAsia primarily operates Airbus A320ceo and A320neo aircraft.

AirAsia has the A321XLR on order. Photo: Airbus

AirAsia has had impressive low-cost growth and was looking at opportunities to launch new flights to destinations as far as the United States.

The situation at AirAsia

AirAsia has had to park over 96% of its fleet, sought to delay lease payments and defer Airbus A330neo orders amid the global downturn in aviation. The low-cost giant has made a significant impact in Southeast Asia in the last few years, making travel more accessible to many more people.

AirAsia check-in desk
The airline has made a significant impact in Southeast Asia. Photo: Getty Images

Also, the airline has broken ever-so-slightly into the premium market with a Premium Flatbed seat. This lie-flat seat is not quite up to the standards of other full-service carriers. However, on price, it is unbeatable for some of AirAsia’s longer flights.

Despite the global downturn, AirAsia has pledged that it will not cut jobs due to the current state of the aviation industry. This is a significant diversion from the stance other airlines have taken. In addition, the carrier could be up for a merger with Malaysia Airlines to create Malaysia’s largest airline. However, it may put the airline in a better position to survive in the long-run once the aviation climate rebounds.

Will you take any of these AirAsia domestic flights? Let us know in the comments!

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Air France Parks Its Planes With Short-Term Storage Procedures

Earlier this week, Air France shared that it has parked 80% of its fleet in short-term storage. The… The post Air France Parks Its Planes With Short-Term Storage Procedures appeared first on Simple Flying.

Air France Parks Its Planes With Short-Term Storage Procedures

Earlier this week, Air France shared that it has parked 80% of its fleet in short-term storage. The airline said on Thursday that it was taking an active approach to maintain aircraft for a return to the skies in no more than three months. However, is Air France’s approach too narrow-sighted?

Air France will ground 80% of its fleet for up to three months. Photo: Getty Images

Air France aircraft placed into storage

Over the past few weeks, Air France has been steadily grounding its fleet, including its gargantuan A380s. Since the extent of the coronavirus pandemic is not yet known, many airlines are being forced to ground aircraft for unknown amounts of time. However, Air France has taken more of an optimistic approach. It’s put its aircraft in short-term storage in the hopes that the pandemic will abate over the next one to three months.

Air France A380
Air France will need maintenance workers to protect its aircraft constantly. Photo: Air France

The air carrier has parked its planes at three locations across France. Some are stationed in the airline’s maintenance base in Toulouse Blagnac, but the rest are split between two Parisian airports: Paris Charles De Gaulle and Paris Orly.

Despite these aircraft being in storage, there is a lot that needs to be done to maintain them. Air France has 1,000 employees working to keep the aircraft in tip-top shape. So, how does it all work?

What is Air France’s short-term storage procedure?

Air France is carrying out “active” storage. This process will see aircraft remain grounded for between one and three months. 150 hours of work will be needed to keep the planes ready for operation post-coronavirus.

The first stage of the process is to get the aircraft ready for their storage placement. Aircraft will need to be protected correctly with tarps. Windows will be blocked off, as will vents to prevent animals from nesting inside. The fan blades will also need protection and landing gear and hydraulics cleaned. This process is the most time-consuming, but the work done at this stage is crucial.

Afterward, Air France’s aircraft will routinely be checked. It will move the planes to alleviate pressure on the tires. The engine will be switched on, and general inspections will be carried out to ensure everything is still in working order.

The final step in the process is to get aircraft ready for routine service. This will require two days of work that involves removing the protective equipment and giving the aircraft a once over.

Air France grounded planes
Although most of its fleet is grounded, the planes need constant attention. Photo: Getty Images

Safety comes first

In a press statement, the Executive Vice President of Engineering and Maintenance at Air France said that safety was the top priority throughout. Géry Mortreux said:

“In these special circumstances, our priority is the safety of our flights, our customers and our staff. At the present time, we monitor our entire fleet on a daily basis, with each of our aircraft receiving special care and attention. Nothing is left to chance.

“Our primary mission is to ensure our fleet of aircraft are maintained in the best possible condition so that we can put our aircraft back in the air in complete safety as soon as this becomes possible”.

Like most airlines, Air France wants to get its aircraft back up in the air as soon as possible. But is it’s approach too optimistic?

Will Air France’s aircraft need to stay in storage for longer?

No one knows how long the airline industry will suffer as a result of the coronavirus. However, the consensus is that even when the majority of restrictions have been lifted, it will be a while before things get back to normal. Assuming that aircraft will be in operation again in a month is, at this point, quite unthinkable. What about three months?

Air France aircraft on runway
Will Air France’s aircraft be back in the sky as soon as it hopes? Photo: Getty Images

Interestingly, other airlines have not been vocal about how long they intend to keep their aircraft in storage. Some, like Delta, have parked them in long-term storage facilities. However, a decision like that does not necessarily indicate that they will stay for a long time. The benefits of a long-term storage facility like Pinal Airpark in Arizona ensure that aircraft are kept in the best possible condition for however long it takes for them to be operational again.

Even though Air France might be optimistic about when its aircraft return to operation, it also has the flexibility to keep the aircraft in storage for a long time. The second phase of the active storage process could be extended so that regular checks continue without the aircraft being prepared for operation.

What do you think? Will Air France need to extend its storage? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

The post Air France Parks Its Planes With Short-Term Storage Procedures appeared first on Simple Flying.

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