Military Transport Plane For Slovakia Involved In Repatriation Flights

Authorities in Slovakia and Ireland have turned to an Alenia C-27J Spartan for help this week. The countries…

Military Transport Plane For Slovakia Involved In Repatriation Flights

Authorities in Slovakia and Ireland have turned to an Alenia C-27J Spartan for help this week. The countries are using the military transport aircraft, manufactured in Italy since the 1990s, to repatriate their citizens. The aircraft is one of two C-27J Spartans belonging to the Slovak Air Force. Let’s take a look at what other rescue operations the Spartan has conducted.

The Slovak Air Force has two Alenia C-27J Spartan aircraft. Photo: Urby2004 via Wikimedia

Rescue flight from Bratislava to Dublin

The Ambassador of Slovakia to Ireland, Igor Pokojny, Tweeted about the first arrival of the Alenia C-27J Spartan aircraft in Dublin earlier this week. In a series of photographs, he documented how the Slovak Air Force accommodated passengers for this COVID-19 rescue operation.

This service was the first of three such rescue flights with the Alenia C-27J Spartan aircraft between Bratislava and Dublin. The operation was a joint effort between Ireland and Slovakia, in which citizens of both countries were brought to their home countries. Priority was given to citizens with various vulnerable categories of citizens, all outlined in the Tweet below.

Mel Byrne, a radio presenter from Ireland, posted a photograph of the landing of this Slovak Air Force Alenia C-27J Spartan aircraft in Dublin on Wednesday 13th May on her Twitter page. In response, the Irish Embassy in Slovakia noted that there would be another, third, COVID-19 rescue operation between Bratislava and Dublin on Tuesday, 19th May.

The Irish Embassy’s tweet was written after the second Bratislava-Dublin rescue flight had already taken place. This event was two days after the one that Mel Byrne had photographed. Therefore, the three COVID-19 rescue operations dates between Ireland and Slovakia are 13th May, 15th May, and 19th May.

Rescue flights to Lebanon and Cyprus

This is not the first operation of its kind for Slovak Air Force’s Alenia C-27J Spartan. The aircraft had previously also operated rescue operations from Bratislava to Larnaca in Cyprus and Beirut in Lebanon.

Photos of the operation to Cyprus were posted on Facebook by the Slovak Ministry of Defense.

Z CYPRU SME DOPRAVILI DOMOV 15 SLOVENSKÝCH OBČANOV ????15 slovenských občanov zastihla kríza koronavírusu na Cypre. ????????

Publisert av Ministerstvo obrany Slovenskej republiky Lørdag 2. mai 2020

The Twitter account of Slovakia’s permanent delegation to NATO in Brussels also posted photos around two weeks ago, of the Slovak Air Force operation to Lebanon and Cyprus. The German Ambassador to Slovakia, Joachim Bleicker, retweeted these photos. Additionally, he said that the Alenia C-27J Spartan carried onboard German citizens too. They were later transported to Munich from Bratislava.

Other countries without national airlines

The fact that Slovakia does not have a national airline has made COVID-19 rescue operations more challenging for this country. Simple Flying previously covered the example of North Macedonia when analyzing how countries without national airlines rescue their citizens. While Slovakia has chosen to use its military capacity for this purpose, North Macedonia had launched a tender that was later won by Wizz Air.

Meanwhile, other countries in the region that do have a national airline differed in their approaches as well. Serbia abruptly closed all its airports in March, and Air Serbia has been performing rescue operations ever since, including flights to Los Angeles and Washington. On the other hand, Croatia Airlines chose to maintain a daily service to Frankfurt for the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown to minimize the need for chartered rescue flights.

What do you think of the Slovak Air Force participating in repatriation efforts in and out of Slovakia? Have you been on any of these operations? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Aegean Begins Gradual Resumption Of International Services

Aegean Airlines has said that it is ready to restart its international operations later this month. The flag…

Aegean Begins Gradual Resumption Of International Services

Aegean Airlines has said that it is ready to restart its international operations later this month. The flag carrier of Greece said on 14th May that it would resume limited frequency services to select destinations in Europe. That’s in addition to increasing flights on its route between Athens and Brussels. Furthermore, the airline will gradually increase frequency and capacity on its domestic routes from tomorrow.

Aegean is ready to restart some international routes by the end of the month. Photo: Aegean Airlines

Aegean Airlines ready for international service

At the end of 2019, Aegean Airlines was hopeful for a promising year. In its full-year financial result for 2019, it announced that the Aegean Airlines Group, including Aegean and Olympic Air, had increased domestic and international passenger traffic by 7.4%. With the addition of six new aircraft, the airline had hoped to increase capacity this year by 1.5m seats.

However, Aegean Airlines is only just now beginning to recover from the coronavirus.

It announced on 14th May that it plans to resume international services by the end of the month. The airline will be reinstating limited frequency flights to:

  • Geneva
  • Frankfurt
  • Munich
  • Zurich.
Aegean Airlines A320ceo
Aegean’s international routes include select destinations in Europe and more frequent trips to Brussels. Photo: Aegean Airlines

All routes will fly out of Athens, where the airline has one of its hubs. In addition to this, Aegean will also be increased the number of flights it operated between Athens and Brussels. Being the administrative center of Europe, Brussels was the only international destination that Aegean kept amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But before international destinations resume, Aegean plans to operate more domestic flights.

More flights operated throughout Greece

In March 2020, the number of travelers passing through Greek airports dropped by 59% compared to March the previous year. This figure was not as low as we’ve seen from some other airports around the world, perhaps because Greek airlines were trying to keep the various islands and regions of Greece connected where they could.

Aegean Airlines
Aegean has tried to keep its country connected where it can but Greece has still lost more than half of its travelers. Photo: Aegean Airlines

Throughout the coronavirus, Aegean had been operating several services to maintain “minimal essential connectivity.” From tomorrow (18th May) the airline will be increasing capacity on the following routes to:

  • Alexandroupolis
  • Chania
  • Heraklion
  • Thessaloniki.

From 25th May, Aegean also plans to increase frequency on domestic routes to:

  • Chios
  • Corfu
  • Mytilene
  • Rhodes
  • Samos.

The airline has not said by how much it will increase capacity on these routes. We contacted Aegean to find out how long it would take for its schedule to return to full capacity. However, it was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

A320ceo in flight Aegean
Aegean has been able to operate repatriation flights as well as deliver PPE from China. Photo: Aegean Airlines

Keeping busy throughout the coronavirus

Despite the reduced schedule, Aegean Airlines has still kept itself busy regardless of international travel restrictions. While it hasn’t scaled down its operation quite as much as some other countries’ flag carriers, it has still operated a handful of Greek flights.

But more than that, it’s also had a role to play in the coronavirus fight in terms of delivering essential supplies and bringing home citizens.

Aegean Airlines sun setting
Despite its activity, Aegean is likely excited to get back to normal operations. Photo: Aegean Airlines

In a statement, the airline said:

“Throughout the entire period following the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, AEGEAN maintained a limited frequency flight service to all domestic network, aiming to facilitate minimum essential connectivity for the island’s needs and a small number of weekly flights from Athens to Brussels in order to maintain the country’s connectivity with the EU’s administrative center. It also operated, in cooperation with the relevant authorities, numerous humanitarian cargo flights for the transport of medical and pharmaceutical supplies from China to Greece and Cyprus alongside repatriation flights from various international destinations.”

That said, it will no doubt be pleased to resume regular services in the coming weeks.

Will you be taking advantage of these flights? How long will it take Aegean to reinstate its full schedule? Have your say in the comments. 

Source : Simple Flying More   

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