SAS Records 27% Load Factor In April

In a press release issued yesterday, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) announced its traffic figures for April, which showed a…

SAS Records 27% Load Factor In April

In a press release issued yesterday, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) announced its traffic figures for April, which showed a load factor just short of 27%. That’s a drop of almost 95% over the same period in 2019. SAS said that cost reduction measures and cash preservation would help the airline emerge from the COVID-19 crisis as a sustainable business.

SAS suffers a 95% drop in passengers for April. Photo: Andreas Hoppe via Wikipedia

SAS passenger numbers hit hard by COVID-19

The SAS press release revealed that as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline’s scheduled capacity fell by 94.5% from April last year with a load factor of just 26.6%. SAS only operated a limited network of services in Norway and Sweden during April that saw the airline’s passenger numbers cut to 94,000.

Simple Flying reached out to SAS for further comment but hadn’t heard back at the time of publication.

SAS aircraft taxiing
COVID-19 crisis means job losses. Photo: Ken Fielding via Flickr

SAS implementing cost-cutting measures

SAS said that these challenging times are impacting their business and, while nobody can predict how the demand for air travel will evolve in the near future and beyond, it’s apparent that recovery is going to take much longer than previously anticipated.

The airline predicts that it could take until 2022 for passenger demand to begin to get close to pre-COVID-19 levels. CEO of SAS, Rikard Gustafson said:

“The current situation forces us to take all possible measures to reduce costs and preserve cash to be able to emerge from this crisis as a sustainable, profitable and vital part of Scandinavian infrastructure.”

As reported by Simple Flying last month, SAS might cut its staff by half. The airline said that with the time necessary to build up their services, SAS has regrettably begun the process of reducing future full-time staffing by up to 5,000 positions.

Government credit may safeguard SAS

SAS is relieved to have secured SEK 3.3 billion ($338 million) in revolving credit that has been guaranteed by the states of Norway and Sweden. This, along with the airline’s ongoing measures, will help to safeguard its future. Mr Gustafson says:

“This additional liquidity will, alongside our initiated cost reduction measures, give us the time needed to explore further opportunities and financial support to safeguard our business.” 

SAS aircraft taking off
International air travel will be slow to take off. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr

International travel will be slow to recover

The huge drop in Scandinavian Airlines” traffic follows the announcement on Friday that Norwegian Air had carried just 41,000 passengers in April — a fall of 98.7% over the previous year. Even after the coronavirus pandemic is over, Norwegian predicts a 30% reduction in the size of its fleet.

While some countries are beginning to emerge from the worldwide crisis, the full relaxation of international border closures will take much longer.

New Zealand will decide tomorrow whether to downgrade its state of alarm to a lower level, which will allow an increase in domestic flight capacity. However, after a strict lockdown, the nation will be reluctant to allow international travel until the safety and health of incoming passengers can be assured to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport, stated that social distancing is physically impossible at airports. He said that better solutions need to be found to safeguard passengers, such as the compulsory wearing of face coverings and health screening on entry to terminals.

Many people might take a cautious wait-and-see approach to air travel. Will you be as eager to take an international flight in the short term?

Source : Simple Flying More   

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United Boeing 737 Returns To Houston Due To Engine Failure

Last Thursday, May 7, a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 on route to Mexico City from Houston had to…

United Boeing 737 Returns To Houston Due To Engine Failure

Last Thursday, May 7, a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 on route to Mexico City from Houston had to return to the Texas city shortly after takeoff due to an engine failure. United Airlines flight number UA-1060 was performing a regularly scheduled flight from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Mexico City International Airport (MEX) when the incident occurred.

United flight number UA-1060 had just taken off from IAH when the right side engine failed. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

According to the Aviation Herald, the aircraft registration number N87513 with 120 passengers aboard had just taken off from Houston Intercontinental Airports’ runway 15L. At around 10,000 feet, the right-hand CFM56 engine failed.

As the pilots positioned for a return to Houston, they tried to restart the engine, but it’s not clear whether or not this was successful. The aircraft safely landed on runway 09 some 30 minutes after departure.

United immediately brought in a replacement aircraft

A replacement United Airlines Boeing 737-800 registration N87512 was brought in and reached the Mexican capital after a delay of four hours. The aircraft that incurred the engine failure got inspected by mechanics and returned to service some eight and a half hours later.

The plane landed back at IAH 30 minutes after having taken off. Image: Flightradar24

Nowadays, three-engine aircraft are no longer flying, and four-engine airliners like the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A340 and A380 are being replaced by more fuel-efficient planes like the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350. These aircraft only have two engines, yet due to advances in engine design are deemed safe for transoceanic flights.

What happens when an engine fails?

So with only two engines like the Boeing 737-800 in the Houston incident, how worried should passengers be if an engine failed mid-flight?

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is a United hub. Photo: United Airlines

While speaking to the Daily Express, two commercial airline pilots who wanted to remain anonymous said:

“If one engine fails mid-flight, it doesn’t pose too much of an issue. It’s almost a non-event as aircraft are designed to fly for long periods of time on one engine.”

The other pilot explained the steps they are trained to take following an engine failure, saying,

We have some procedures we have to do from memory straight away. This sets an appropriate speed and gets the max performance out of the remaining engine. We then have an electronic checklist we have to work through.

“At the start, we descend to a lower altitude, and then we decide where we are going to land.”

Planes can fly on one engine

While not going into great detail, the pilots explained that providing the aircraft has enough fuel; there is not a time limit on how long you can stay in the air while flying on just one engine. Altitude is more of a problem, but that only comes into play when flying over high mountains or in the event of the cabin losing pressurization.

Aircraft can fly on just one engine. Photo: Bill Abbott via Flickr

Despite an aircraft’s ability to keep flying on one engine, a pilot will automatically look for the nearest airport where the plane can land. “You wouldn’t just carry on the flight,” said one of the pilots.

The good news here for the flying public is that pilots see the loss of one engine as no big deal.

“You are trained to deal with it,” the pilot explained. “It’s not in itself a big issue.”

Simple Flying has reached out to United Airlines for comment.

Have you ever been on a flight that suffered an engine failure? If so, we would love to hear about what happened in the comments section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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