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COVID-19: Spain overtakes Italy as second highest COVID-19 cases: CAPA update 07-Apr-2020

Analysis

Welcome to the latest edition of CAPA’s daily Coronavirus and Aviation global update. We offer this product to our active CAPA Members, as well as visitors to our website to help our industry navigate through this crisis.

The report contains a small selection of news briefs and CAPA commentary, on the US system and from each region.

Top news headlines:

- China air pax down 79% on 05-Apr-2020, although domestic capacity increases;

- Etihad Airways to trial self service health assessment technology;

easyJet successfully issues GBP600m CCFF short-term note, requests USD500m RCF drawdown  

Following the aviation summaries, the report contains the latest coronavirus data, globally and by country.

- Global cases increase show signs of slowing;

- Spain overtakes Italy as second highest COVID-19 cases.

Aviation & Travel Industry coronavirus news updates

Air Capacity Update: Europe airlines among the hardest hit globally 

Europe capacity looks very different this week versus the same time last year. The impact of COVID-19 on travel to and within Europe has been devastating, grounding some and dramatically decreasing the availability of others. 

Top 10 airlines in Europe by weekly system seats: w/c 06-Apr-2020

Top 10 airlines in Europe by system seats: w/c 08-Apr-2019

The above is an example of future planned air capacity, available to CAPA Members from CAPA’s country profiles. For more information about CAPA Membership, please click here.Aviation & Travel Industry news updates

1. Global

ICAO adds new measures aimed at ensuring safe operations during COVID-19 situation

ICAO issued (03-Apr-2020) a new State Letter, drawing the attention of national governments to new measures aimed at ensuring safe operations during COVID-19, and to a contingency coordination website it will establish through 31-Mar-2021.
 
The letter comes as more aviation service providers and personnel are facing challenges in terms of maintaining the validity of their certifications, licences and other types of official operating approvals.
 
Many of the related challenges are resulting directly from the social distancing guidelines, current business closures and other public health measures being taken to mitigate the spread and societal impact of COVID-19. The letter also drew states' attention to the specific articles to the Convention on International Civil Aviation relating to certificates and licences and urged them to record and inform ICAO of any contraventions or differences currently arising against these provisions during the current contigency period. [more - original PR]

2. Asia

China: China air pax down 79% on 05-Apr-2020

China's Ministry of Transport reported (06-Apr-2020) the following traffic highlights by mode of transport for 05-Apr-2020:

Australasia: Airways New Zealand to reduce cost base by 30%, personnel by 25%

Airways New Zealand reported (06-Apr-2020) plans to reduce its cost base by 30% over 2020 due to "collapsing air traffic" caused by coronavirus impacts.
 
The ANSP is in "consultation with staff and unions, the Civil Aviation Authority and airlines" and expects that 180 personnel will leave in the coming months through redundancy, a 25% reduction. [more - original PR]

South Korea: Eastar Jet to cut 20% of workforce due to coronavirus outbreak

Eastar Jet reached an agreement with its union to lay off 20% of its workforce in an effort to reduce costs during the outbreak of coronavirus (Korea JoongAng Daily/Yonhap News Agency, 06-Apr-2020).

As previously reported by CAPA, the carrier initially planned to restructure 40% of its workforce, or 750 employees, through layoffs and a voluntary retirement programme.

3. Middle East:

Etihad Airways to trial self service health assessment technology

Etihad Airways announced (06-Apr-2020) it partnered with Elenium Automation to trial new technology which allows self service devices at airports to be used to help identify travellers with medical conditions, potentially including the early stages of COVID-19.

The airline will be the first airline to trial this technology, which can monitor the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of any person using an airport touch point, such as a check in or information kiosk, a bag drop facility, a security point or immigration gate. The Elenium system will automatically suspend the self service check in or bag drop process if a passenger's vital signs indicate potential symptoms of illness. It will then divert to a teleconference or alert qualified staff on site, who can make further assessments and manage travellers as appropriate. The carrier will initially trial the monitoring technology at Abu Dhabi International Airport at the end of Apr-2020 and throughout May-2020. [more - original PR]

4. Europe:

easyJet successfully issues GBP600m CCFF short-term note, requests USD500m RCF drawdown

easyJet announced (06-Apr-2020) it successfully issued a GBP600 million Commercial Paper through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). easyJet also issued a utilisation request to fully draw down on its USD500 million Revolving Credit Facility (RCF), secured against aircraft assets.
 
As a result of the issues, the LCC is expected to have access to cash reserves totalling GBP2.3 billion from 09-Apr-2020 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. easyJet added that given the possibility of a prolonged grounding due to the virus, it will continue to consider future additional liquidity and funding options. [more - original PR]

5. North America:

RavnAir Group ceases all operations, files for relief under Chapter 11

RavnAir Group applied (05-Apr-2020) for voluntary petitions of relief under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code to obtain immediate debtor-in-possession funding. Due to the coronavirus crisis and the loss of 90% of passenger revenue at Ravn Alaska, PenAir and Ravn Connect, the group has grounded all 72 aircraft, ceased all operations and temporarily laid off all employees.
 
RavnAir Group CEO Dave Pflieger stated the group is now seeking "federal CARES Act grants and other sources of financial assistance that will allow us to weather the coronavirus pandemic and emerge successfully once it has passed". Ravn lenders agreed to continue providing financing during pendency of the Chapter 11 petition. [more - original PR]

6. Latin America:

IATA calls on Government of Panama to 'grant immediate support' for the aviation industry

IATA regional VP Americas Peter Cerda, via his personal LinkedIn account, urged (06-Apr-2020) the Government of Panama to grant immediate support to the air transport sector in the country to save jobs and to maintain air connectivity, which will be a critical pillar of Panama's economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

IATA estimated passenger revenues will reduce by around USD700 million in Panama in 2020.

7. Africa

Seychelles Airport closure extended until end of Apr-2020

Seychelles' President Danny Faure reported Seychelles International Airport will remain closed until the end of Apr-2020 due to coronavirus concerns (Seychelles News Agency, 06-Apr-2020).
 

The above is a selection of more than 150 news updates today specifically on COVID-19, from today’s CAPA Membership coverage, which also covers traffic data, route and frequency announcements, government advisories and more. For more information about CAPA Membership, please click here.

Additional Analysis (please click on the headings to go to the full story)

China and other East Asian nations were in the frontline in the fight against coronavirus. It is reasonable to assume they should equally be the first to emerge. As we search for a tipping point in the global battle against COVID-19, these Asian markets may offer cause for optimism - or at least the signs of what the road back might look like.

The most recent schedule filings certainly support that emergence proposition, for domestic airline market regrowth. International expansion will be some time away as many countries remain effectively locked against international visitation.

In some cases it is two steps forward, one step back, as concerns remain about lingering pockets of contamination. But a consistent pattern is emerging of domestic markets that have turned the corner.

The domestic airline markets of China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Indonesia are all clearly demonstrating a belief by their airlines that a corner has been turned, as they re-introduce capacity into the market. While welcome signs, they may not yet all be timely.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an extra layer of complexity for network planners worldwide as airlines are working carefully to preserve some level of network integrity once the crisis is over. But that remains a tricky exercise, since the duration of the pandemic remains anyone’s guess. 

American Airlines has outlined its planned international reductions for the peak season in the Northern Hemisphere, which will result in a 60% cut in capacity. The adjustments include a mix of pushing back the dates for the resumption of service in some markets and a decision by the airline to eliminate seasonal services in a number of markets. 

American’s hub in Philadelphia appears to be bearing the brunt of seasonal route cuts. The airline has launched numerous routes to secondary trans Atlantic markets, which were performing well before COVID-19 wiped out in demand in a matter of weeks.

American is striking an optimistic tone, noting that 25 seasonal flights are suspended until the US summer of 2021; however it is entirely too early to determine whether demand in some markets will regain pre-pandemic levels by next summer. 

As demand for air travel disappears in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, passenger airlines operating around the world are turning to cargo in order to produce fractional revenue. 

In the US, major passenger airlines – after turning their attention away from freight during the past year in order to push up revenues from credit card deals, frequent flyer miles and other general ancillary sales – are opting to operate cargo flights. North America’s cargo traffic declined by 3.4% in 2019, and cargo revenues for the largest US airlines fell solidly year-on-year. 

Obviously, cargo is not a long term saviour for the airlines, as they continue to navigate fast-moving changes brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, but operators are turning over every rock in order to recapture even a fraction of their lost revenue. 

The above is a selection of in-depth insights on the latest developments in the aviation and travel industry related to the COVID-19 outbreak. CAPA Membership includes a range of reports featuring accurate data and independent commentary from our global team of analysts, who offer a unique perspective and actionable insights to help improve decision making. For more information about CAPA Membership, please click here.

Coronavirus Situation Report

Global cases increase show signs of slowing

206 countries are now affected

Volume of daily cases diagnosed continues to decrease

New cases by day (7-Apr-2020)

Confirmed COVID-19 cases by day, excluding China (7-Apr-2020)

Spain overtakes Italy as second highest COVID-19 cases

Top ten locations for COVID-19 (7-Apr-2020)

Top ten highest increases in infections by location (7-Apr-2020)

Global cumulative cases (7-Apr-2020)

Global mortality rate (dark blue line) vs. key locations mortality rate (7-Apr-2020) 

Spread of virus is proving difficult to manage

The growth rate of the COVID-19 virus has differed greatly between countries depending on the measures in place to combat the spread.

Aggressive containment in countries like Japan and Singapore has slowed the pace of spread of the virus, while the US continues with the highest trajectory, as it comes late to lock downs - and even now, several states have still not done so.

The comparison below shows the growth rate per selected country once each has reached 100 cases - so there are different start dates e.g. that threshold was reached first for Japan, so that country was 27 days in.

Daily increase in COVID-19 cases, selected countries : Day 1 = 100 case threshold

Aggressive containment appears to slow the growth rate (daily counting starts once the country reaches 100 cases)

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