Emirates Ditches Pre-Flight Blood Tests After Accuracy Concerns

After being the first airline to perform rapid COVID-19 testing on its passengers, Emirates decided yesterday to cease…

Emirates Ditches Pre-Flight Blood Tests After Accuracy Concerns

After being the first airline to perform rapid COVID-19 testing on its passengers, Emirates decided yesterday to cease any further tests from taking place. The move comes after the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) deemed these tests to be mostly inaccurate. Emirates first utilized the pre-flight blood tests on passengers flying to Tunisia on April 15th, and again this month for repatriation flights to India.

The Dubai-based carrier ditched antibody testing after found to be unreliable. Photo: Emirates

According to The National, a Spanish study has revealed that the blood tests are only 30% accurate, as opposed to the previously reported 80%. Thus, the Dubai Health Authority has moved forward in putting an end to these quick tests. The DHA is banning all health providers from using these test kits.

As for now, the sole method used for coronavirus testing will be the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Commonly known as the nasal swab, the proven PCR test can determine if an individual has the virus.

Rapid COVID-19 blood tests

These rapid tests only required a finger-prick before producing results 10 minutes later. Emirates passengers could only board their flight after clearing the blood test at a group check-in area.

The Dubai Health Authority prepared testing stations at Dubai International Airport. Photo: Emirates

However, the Spanish study found that these tests did not signify if individuals were presently carrying the virus – but if they had it previously and thus built up antibodies.

Initially, the Dubai-based airline used these tests as a gateway to start performing tests on all its passengers, ensuring a safe environment for travelers.

As Emirates Chief Operating Officer said in a statement in April, “We are working on plans to scale up testing capabilities in the future and extend it to other flights, this will enable us to conduct on-site tests and provide immediate confirmation for Emirates passengers traveling to countries that require COVID-19 test certificates.”

Currently, Emirates is planning to shelve the test requirements as the carrier resumes scheduled flights to nine destinations beginning May 21st.

Enhanced safety measures remain

All other safety measures started in April remain. Passengers and crew will continue to have their temperatures screened before boarding. Masks and gloves remain compulsory at the airport for both customers and employees.

Mandatory for cabin crew to wear personal protective equipment over their uniforms. Photo: Emirates

All cabin crew, boarding agents, and ground staff must don personal protective equipment (PPE) together with their masks and gloves. In-flight services are still limited to bento-style food, with cuts to complimentary WiFi and live TV.

Airlines conducting COVID-19 tests

Although these rapid blood tests are allegedly inaccurate, the Spanish airline, Iberia, has recently jumped on the bandwagon.

On May 6th, the national carrier started using these antibody tests to monitor its employees’ health. Employees will be voluntarily tested to see if they have previously contracted the virus and has now recovered. If they return from sick leave, employees will receive a PCR test instead.

Iberia has started offering voluntary antibody testing for employees. Photo: Thomas Boon / Simple Flying

While a kind gesture in terms of Iberia’s employee welfare, The National stated that some antibody tests provide “an unacceptably high false positivity rate.” The false-positive may mislead individuals into thinking they have contracted the virus and are now immune.

Seeing as results for PCR testing take hours, it proves to be logistically impossible for airlines. On the other hand, airports who have come on board to conduct PCR tests on all arriving passengers seem to be our best bet in curbing the spread of the virus amongst travelers.

More accurate tests

It is not over for antibody testing, as kits are improving day by day. Recently, the UK has also seen the production of a new testing kit that Public Health England claims to be effective.

Dubbed the Roche-Sars-CoV-2, the new serology test “recorded a specificity of 100% in tests”, according to the program’s national coordinator, John Newton, in The National.

What do you think about antibody testing? Was it a good move by Emirates to discontinue the tests? Let us know in the comments section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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These Airlines Are Airbus’ Biggest Customers

Airbus has been producing commercial passenger aircraft since 1970 for customers all around the world. The European planemaker…

These Airlines Are Airbus’ Biggest Customers

Airbus has been producing commercial passenger aircraft since 1970 for customers all around the world. The European planemaker has been engaged in an intense rivalry with American company Boeing trying to secure the most significant orders. But which airlines have been Airbus’ best customers and shown loyalty throughout the last few decades? Let us find out.

Who are Airbus’ best customers? Photo: Airbus

Who are the top ten Airbus airline customers?

Without further ado, here is the list of the airlines that have ordered the most aircraft from Airbus as of April 2020. This list is ranked by aircraft number, not by finacial amount.

Airline Historic Orders Historic Deliveries Operating
IndiGo 830 217 239
AirAsia Malaysia 592 230 245
Lufthansa 519 396 278
easyJet 480 366 337
Delta Air Lines 401 168 313
Wizz Air 388 120 121
China Eastern Airlines 374 361 389
Jetblue Airways 348 202 202
China Southern Airlines 284 270 340
Turkish Airlines 273 173 178

All of the orders above are historical and don’t represent what the carriers currently have on order (although each entry includes aircraft on order if they have them).

Deliveries are aircraft ordered and delivered to the airline, and operating is currently how many Airbus aircraft are in the fleet as of April 2020. Let’s break down the leaders on this list and see what carriers have ordered.


IndiGo A320 order
IndiGo loves the A320 and is a favorite of Airbus. Photo: Airbus

At the top of the list is the Indian giant IndiGo. The carrier has made a colossal 830 orders with Airbus and heavily use the A320 family aircraft throughout the Indian sub-continent. Its orders are below. If you are wondering where the A321XLR is, Airbus includes that (and the A321LR) as a variant of the A321neo.

Aircraft Number of Historical Orders
A320ceo 100
A320neo 332
A321neo 398
Total 830

AirAsia Malaysia

AirAsia has almost the same big order as IndiGo. Photo: AirAsia.

The most awarded low-cost-carrier in the world has a stellar fleet of Airbus aircraft. Its network reaches throughout South East Asia and brings affordable travel to the region. Here is its fleet breakdown:

Aircraft Number of Historical Orders
A320ceo 188
A320neo 51
A321neo 353
Total 592

AirAsia also has several subsidiaries, such as AirAsia Thai and AirAsia X (Long haul to Australia), not included on this list. But if we did include the extra orders from AirAsia X, the total would be 730. Still shy of the IndiGo order.


Lufthansa, Airbus A380, Munich
Lufthansa is the first carrier on this list to have ordered the A380. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

In third place is Lufthansa, who is on Airbus home ground in nearby Germany. Unlike the first two in this list, Lufthansa has a mixed fleet of several different airbus aircraft, both short-haul and long-haul.

Aircraft Number of Historical Orders
A319ceo 30
A320ceo 123
A320neo 84
A321ceo 64
A321neo 40
A300 23
A310 20
A330-300 19
A340-200/300 35
A340-500/600 24
A350-900 43
A380 14
Total 519


Easyjet Airbus A320neo
easyJet made life easy for Airbus with large orders over the years. Photo: Airbus

Lufthansa’s rival (and many others in Europe) easyJet has a big fleet of aircraft, but only consisting of a single Airbus family, the A320.

Aircraft  Number of Historical Orders
A319ceo 172
A320ceo 149
A320neo 129
A321neo 30
Total 480

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines A220
Delta loves the A220 and has invested heavily in the type. Photo: Delta

The first US carrier on this list, Delta, has a big fleet of Airbus aircraft that it has slowly ordered over the years. This order history included the new A220 (both versions) as well as the A350.

Aircraft  Number of Historical Orders
A220-100 45
A220-300 50
A321ceo 127
A321neo 100
A310 9
A330-300 10
A330-900 35
A350-900 25
Total 401

Wizz Air Hungary

Wizz Air, Abu Dhabi, Middle East
Wizz Air is using its fleet to expand outside of Europe towards the Middle East. Photo: Wizz Air

Wizz Air, a rival to Boeing’s Starchild Ryanair and easyJet above, has its extensive history of orders with Airbus. It is a fan of the versatile Airbus A320 range of aircraft.

Aircraft  Number of Historical Orders
A320ceo 72
A320neo 65
A321ceo 40
A321neo 211
Total 388

Not included in the above list is the Indigo Partners A321XLR orders, 20 of which will go to Wizz Air.

China Eastern

A China Eastern Airways A300
China Eastern ordered the A300 many years ago. Photo: byeangel via Wikipedia

The first Chinese airline on this list used Airbus aircraft to become a powerhouse in Asia. This carrier has been with Airbus since the beginning and has orders from the A300 to the A350.

Aircraft Number of Historical Orders
A319ceo 33
A320ceo 124
A320neo 37
A321ceo 72
A300 7
A310 5
A330-200 33
A330-300 33
A340-200/300 5
A340-500/600 5
A350-900 20
Total 374


JetBlue, New York, Guatemala City
JetBlue has used Airbus aircraft to reach 25 countries, and will soon be flying to Europe. Photo: Airbus

Jetblue has effectively used the Airbus A320 series to carve out a new market for itself in the US against bigger rivals like United and American Airlines. The carrier is also the second US airline on this list to order the Airbus A220, proving that this aircraft variant will do well in the region.

Aircraft Number of Historical Orders
A220-300 70
A320ceo 132
A321ceo 61
A321neo 85
Total 348

China Southern

China Southern A380
China Southern has a fleet made up of both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

China Southern is likewise a big customer of Airbus with China Eastern and has bought a considerable range of Airbus aircraft.

Aircraft Number of Historical Orders
A319ceo 14
A320ceo 100
A320neo 8
A321ceo 77
A321neo 10
A330-200 16
A330-300 34
A350-900 20
A380 5
Total 284

China Southern is only one of two airlines on this list to have ordered the Airbus A380.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish A330 to Newark
Turkish Airlines uses Airbus aircraft for its narrow long-haul routes. Photo: Turkish Airlines

Just barely scraping into the top ten is Turkish Airlines, with its range of Airbus orders over the many years it has been operating. With orders like the A310 and the A340, Turkish Airlines has a long history working with Airbus.

Aircraft Number of Historical Orders
A319ceo 6
A320ceo 19
A321ceo 65
A321neo 92
A310 14
A330-200 6
A330-200F 9
A330-300 30
A340-200/300 7
A350-900 25
Total 273

Other big customers

The list at the start of the article is not the most accurate because it has left out two critical customers.

The first is leasing companies. It didn’t seem fair to include them in the list (as they don’t operate any aircraft) and compare them to airlines. But if we add them back into the record, this is what we get:

Airline Historic Orders Historic Deliveries Operating
IndiGo 830 217 239
GECAS 633 458
ILFC 600 600
AirAsia 592 230 245
Lufthansa 519 396 278
EasyJet 480 366 337
Delta Air Lines 401 168 313
AERCAP B.V. 397 215
Wizz Air 388 120 121
China Eastern 374 361 389
Jetblue 348 202 202
China Southern 284 270 340
Turkish Airlines 273 173 178

The other group that we haven’t added is actually ‘unknown’ orders. These are orders for airlines that, for some reason or another, are still hidden or not yet ultimately confirmed. Sometimes the orders are for airlines that ordered the aircraft then went bankrupt. One theory is that as the carrier didn’t formally dissolve the order, thus Airbus can keep it on the books to make the order book look more impressive for shareholders.

If added to the list, it would be the fifth-largest Airbus ‘order’.

Airline Orders Deliveries Operating

What do you think? Which order is the most impressive? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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