KLM presents new 'Premium Comfort' cabin class

30 May, 2022

KLM presented (27-May-2022) its new 'Premium Comfort' intermediate cabin class, targeted towards business and leisure passengers. Premium comfort seats will be cheaper than 'World Business Class' and will feature a footrest and increased recline and space compared to economy class seats. Passengers will also benefit from more flexible baggage arrangements and SkyPriority privileges, including preferential check in and boarding. The capacity of the class will vary from between 21 and 28 seats, with reconfiguration to be carried out by KLM Engineering & Maintenance at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The first aircraft equipped with the new class will operate on routes to North America from the end of Jul-2022. [more - original PR]

Hong Kong adjusts testing for inbound travellers, updates flight suspension mechanism

30 May, 2022

Hong Kong's Government updated (29-May-2022) pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 nucleic acid testing arrangements applicable to persons boarding for Hong Kong from overseas places and Taiwan, as it aims to reduce the impact on the journeys of persons coming to Hong Kong, effective 01-Jun-2022. Key highlights as follows:

  • Pre-departure PCR based nucleic acid tests not required for inbound children aged below three;
  • Pre-departure PCR based nucleic acid tests not required for travellers transferring or transiting in Hong Kong;
  • Post-arrival testing arrangements for persons entering Hong Kong: All relevant persons arriving in Hong Kong on or after 24-May-2022 and being discharged early from compulsory quarantine will be required to undergo an additional compulsory test on the ninth day of arrival;
  • Updated penalty triggered by omission in checking under the route specific flight suspension mechanism: If it is the first instance within a 10-day period for a certain flight to trigger the mechanism due to passengers' non-compliance of the boarding conditions, Airport Authority Hong Kong will impose a penalty of HKD20,000 (USD2548). If the flights of the relevant route triggers the criterion again within 10 days, the passenger flights of that route run by the relevant airline from the same origin place will be prohibited from landing in Hong Kong for five days. [more - original PR]

Qantas Airways pushes back Sydney-San Francisco resumption

27 May, 2022

Qantas Airways postponed (26-May-2022) the restart of service between Sydney and San Francisco from 30-Jul-2022 to 30-Oct-2022. Customers will be reaccommodated on services via Los Angeles. [more - original PR]

American Airlines to suspend four international services in winter 2022

27 May, 2022

American Airlines plans to suspend the following services in winter 2022, according to a 26-May-2022 GDS display:

  • Dallas Fort Worth-Lima: Suspended from 03-Nov-2022;
  • Los Angeles-Auckland: 29-Oct-2022;
  • New York JFK-Cali: 03-Nov-2022;
  • New York JFK-Medellin: 03-Nov-2022.

Qantas Airways adjusts group international network

27 May, 2022

Qantas Airways announced (26-May-2022) the following adjustments across its group international network:

  • Group International continues to see strong demand;
  • Group International capacity remains unchanged at just under 50% of pre coronavirus levels by the end of the Q4FY2022 and rising to around 70% by the end of the Q1FY2023;
  • QF1 will reroute from Sydney-Darwin-London to operate Sydney-Singapore-London from 19-Jun-2022 and switch from a Boeing 787 back to an A380 service;
  • Following recent relaxation of New Zealand border restrictions, Qantas and Jetstar's trans-Tasman flying has ramped up significantly;
  • Qantas doubled frequency on services to Auckland from Melbourne and Sydney and is operating some flights from Brisbane with A330s;
  • Jetstar has resumed flights on all Australia to Auckland markets and will restart on remaining Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington markets in the next few weeks;
  • Strengthening demand for travel to Bali has seen Jetstar restart services from all seven Australian cities it flew from pre coronavirus and will be close to pre coronavirus levels of capacity on the majority of routes by the end of Jun-2022. [more - original PR]

American Airlines to launch Dallas Fort Worth-Auckland service in Oct-2022

27 May, 2022

American Airlines plans to launch seven times weekly Dallas Fort Worth-Auckland service on 29-Oct-2022, according to a 26-May-2022 GDS display. The service will be operated with Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

LEVEL and Qatar Airways enter codeshare partnership

27 May, 2022

LEVEL and Qatar Airways entered (26-May-2022) a codeshare agreement to expand Qatar Airways' connectivity to the US via LEVEL's Barcelona hub. Through the agreement, Qatar Airways will codeshare on LEVEL's services from Barcelona to New York, San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles. The partnership will later be expanded to include LEVEL's Barcelona-Buenos Aires service. In addition, Qatar Airways' Privilege Club members will also be able to redeem Avios points on all codeshare services operated by LEVEL. [more - original PR - Spanish]

Air France-KLM launches EUR2.256bn capital increase to repay state aid

25 May, 2022

Air France-KLM launched (24-May-2022) a capital increase with preferential subscription rights to existing shareholders, to raise EUR2.256 billion through the issuance of 1928 million new shares. The measures aim to strengthen the group's balance sheet and accelerate its repayment of French state aid. Key details include:

  • Around EUR1.7 billion to be allocated to the repayment of the COVID-19 recapitalisation aid, granted by the French State. The remainder will be used to reduce the group's debt;
  • The group confirmed its objective to reduce its net debt to EBITDA ratio, to reach between 2.0x and 2.5x by 2023;
  • The French State, holding a stake of 28.6%, plans to participate in the rights issue to keep its shareholding unchanged; 
  • The Dutch State plans to maintain its 9.3% stake, provided it receives the necessary approvals from the Dutch Parliament in time;
  • CMA CGM will become a new reference shareholder and exclusive strategic partner for the cargo business. CMA CGM will invest up to EUR400 million to acquire a stake of up to 9%. China Eastern Airlines (9.6%) and Delta Air Lines (5.8%) will participate on a cash neutral basis through the sale of part of their rights to CMA CGM, representing EUR110.7 million;
  • The rights issue will occur between 27-May-2022 and 09-Jun-2022 at EUR1.17 per share, or three shares per existing share. 

Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith stated as recovery continues the group wants "to be in a position to seize any opportunity in a changing aviation sector and to be able to accelerate our environmental commitments". [more - original PR] [more - original PR - KLM]

Qantas restores full pre-pandemic trans Tasman network

25 May, 2022

Qantas resumed (23-May-2022) Sydney-Queenstown, Sydney-Wellington, Melbourne-Christchurch, Melbourne-Wellington and Brisbane-Christchurch services. Qantas stated the inaugural services are "full", reflecting strong demand from Australians to travel to New Zealand. The carrier will also resume Melbourne-Queenstown and Brisbane-Queenstown services on 18-Jun-2022. The airline will operate up to 20 weekly frequencies from Australia to Queenstown and capacity is expected to reach 110% of pre-COVID levels by Jul-2022. The additional services restore Qantas' full pre-coronavirus trans Tasman network. Services to New Zealand are operated with a combination of Boeing 737-800 and A330 equipment. Qantas reported strong demand in both directions across the Tasman, with New Zealanders connecting across Qantas' domestic and international network, including to and from London, Singapore and Bali. [more - original PR]

Western Australia Government promotes working holidays

25 May, 2022

Western Australia's (WA) Government announced (24-May-2022) it is encouraging working holiday makers from overseas and interstate to 'stay and play' in WA with a series of promotional campaigns. Tourism WA's AUD850,000 (USD603,600) initiative is supported by the WA Government's AUD195 million (USD138.5 million) Reconnect WA package and aims to boost the seasonal workforce at key tourism destinations and regional locations. Promotional campaigns in the UK, Europe, Japan and South Korea will feature flight offers, incentives and working holiday packages. The domestic 'Paid Escape' campaign will target interstate working holiday makers. Eligible working holiday makers could also make an extra AUD2100 (USD1491) to work and travel in select regional locations through the WA Government's Regional Agriculture, Tourism and Hospitality Workers Travel and Accommodation Support Scheme. This includes an accommodation allowance of AUD40 (USD28) per night up to a maximum of six weeks for international working holiday makers or 12 weeks for Australians, along with a one-off allowance up to a maximum of AUD500 (USD355) to assist with travel costs. [more - original PR]

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