airBaltic Relaunches As An All Airbus A220 Airline

airBaltic will resume services as an all A220 airline following the impact of the coronavirus. The airline has…

airBaltic Relaunches As An All Airbus A220 Airline

airBaltic will resume services as an all A220 airline following the impact of the coronavirus. The airline has started flying between the three Baltic capital of Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius, and will operate a number of flights to other European destinations in the coming weeks. The decision to go all A220 means the airline will shelve over 40% of its fleet. Let’s find out more.

AirBaltic will retire its fleet 737s and Dash 8s in favor of the newer A220s. Photo: airBaltic

Substantial fleet reduction

Prior to this announcement, airBaltic had a fleet of 37 aircraft, consisting of the following:

  • 4 Boeing 737-300,
  • 12 Dash 8-400
  • 22 Airbus A220-300

Both the 737s and Dash-8s in the airlines’ fleet were aging. The three 737s averaged an age of 20.7 years, while the 12 Dash 8s averaged an age of 9.8 years, according to Planespotters.net.

Now, the carrier will retire these 15 aircraft to focus on the high-efficiency Airbus A220, of which it currently operates 22. 

airBaltic 737
airBaltic will retire its entire 737 fleet, which averages over 20 years of service. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

These retirements haven’t come as a huge surprise, however. airBaltic suspended operations back in March due to government restrictions and soon after it was reported that the airline was looking to ditch its 737 fleet.

While the Dash-8 retirements are a bit surprising, it does make sense considering the airline only plans to fly a handful of routes in the coming months. The cost of operating an A220 on shorter routes far outweighs the requirements to maintain another fleet of aircraft.

Flights slowly return

Carriers have been forced to massively scale back operations during the coronavirus, if not suspend operations altogether, as airBaltic did. However, with the number of daily cases slowing down around most of Europe, airlines are looking to slowly restart flights.

airBaltic Dash-8
airBaltic is resuming flights to a number of destinations in Europe. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

In the case of airBaltic, which has three bases of operations, it will operate a limited schedule using only five aircraft, to begin with. The airline will fly to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Oslo, and Copenhagen by next week, from one of its three bases, in addition to flights between the three Baltic capitals.

However, travel restrictions mean only select passengers, those with citizenship or long-term visas, will be able to travel. These restrictions are likely to stay for the coming months, meaning demand will remain low for the summer months.

Overall

airBaltic’s plan to move to just an A220 fleet will provide fleet uniformity save millions in costs in the future. The airline also received a $250mn investment from the Latvian government, which will go a long way in keeping the airline afloat.

While the A220 does not seem like a plane that can replace the 737-300, it actually does offer a lot. airBaltic’s A220-300 has a range of 3,300nm and carries 145 passengers, easily beating the older 737-300. The airline has put in a lot of focus to optimize its A220s and is looking to take more deliveries of the plane than planned.

What do you think about airBaltic’s A220 pivot? Let us know in the comments below!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Air France Is Slowly Ramping Up Its Flight Schedule

Starting May 18th, Air France has gradually increased its flight schedule, while adhering to travel restrictions and passenger…

Air France Is Slowly Ramping Up Its Flight Schedule

Starting May 18th, Air France has gradually increased its flight schedule, while adhering to travel restrictions and passenger demand. From May to June, the carrier’s flight schedule will resume 15% of its usual capacity during the summer months.

Air France announces an increased flight schedule with dates up to June 30th. Photo: Air France

At present, the French airline is only operating between 3-5% of its regular schedule. According to Aviation24, Air France stated it has been “maintaining service to the French regions and links with key destinations in Europe and worldwide, to both transport passengers and goods.”

The airline will employ 75 out of 224 aircraft to accommodate the upcoming flights. Air France has also put out a schedule, which includes planned services until June 30th. The flight schedule is updated daily and remains subject to travel restrictions.

In an official statement, the airline notes that it will publish flight schedules for July and August 2020 at the beginning of next month.

To and from Paris-Charles De Gaulle (CDG)

Following the closure of Paris-Orly airport on April 1st, the carrier has also ensured timely regrouping of flights to destinations affected. Flights to/from Cayenne, Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, Toulouse, Nice, and Marseille will now operate out of Paris-Charles De Gaulle (CDG) airport.

Flights to and from Paris-Charles De Gaulle (CDG) airport will involve these destinations:

Metropolitan France:
Ajaccio, Bastia, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brest, Calvi, Clermont-Ferrand, Figari, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice, Pau, Perpignan, Toulon, Toulouse

French Overseas Departments and the Caribbean:
Cayenne, Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, Saint-Denis de La Réunion

Europe:
Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Bari, Bergen, Berlin, Birmingham, Bologna, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Florence, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Hanover, Heraklion, Ibiza, Lisbon, Ljubljana, London, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Naples, Newcastle, Oslo, Palma de Mallorca, Porto, Prague, Rome, Stockholm, Warsaw, Venice, Vienna, Yerevan, Zurich

Middle East:
Bangalore, Beirut, Bombay, Delhi, Dubai, Cairo

Africa:
Cotonou, Douala, Yaoundé
+ Conakry and Nouakchott, only for sale to Paris CDG.
+ other destinations subject to obtaining necessary governmental authorizations.

North America:
Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Montreal

South America:
Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo

Asia:
Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo

*The flight schedule above does not include cargo-only flights.

To and from Lyon-St. Exupéry (LYS)

Air-France-Increase-Schedule
Air France has started flying again to Metropolitan France destinations from May 18. Photo: Air France

For flights to and from Lyon-St. Exupéry (LYS) airport, these are the destinations Air France will serve:

Metropolitan France:
Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brest, Caen, Lille, Nantes, Nice, Pau, Rennes, Strasbourg, Toulouse

Flight cancellations

Inevitably, the updated flight schedule has come with a round of flight cancellations. Those affected will be allowed to reschedule or cancel their trip at no extra cost, says the airline in a statement.

Further, customers are required to ensure they are aware of updated formalities involving the countries they are visiting. The virus outbreak has affected various travel requirements, and some states require visitors to download tracking apps or obey a 14-day quarantine.

Safe-distancing measures still in place

Although the French carrier is starting to ramp up flights, strict safe-distancing measures will continue to take place. The airline has taken to social media to inform passengers of such measures.

Beginning May 11th, passengers are required to clear temperature screenings before boarding.

All Air France travelers must also wear a mask upon entry to the airport as well as onboard flights. On top of that, Air France practices a staggered boarding procedure as part of a new social-distancing measure.

Europe starts flying

Meanwhile, travelers may still find the idea of flying daunting, given that the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of slowing down. Most may have even given up the idea of going abroad this summer altogether.

Finnair
Finnish flag-carrier Finnair will resume flights to Europe and Asia in July. Photo: Getty Images

However, it seems that Air France is not the only airline that staying positive. Other carriers across Europe have also pushed forward, increasing their schedules for the coming months.

Just yesterday, Finnair reported a gradual increase in its schedule, albeit starting July. German carrier Eurowings has resumed flights for May, focusing on flying to the Mediterranean region.

What do you think of Air France increasing its flight schedule? Will you be flying this summer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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