Seychelles' Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism announced (11-Jan-2021) the country's national COVID-19 immunisation campaign commenced on 10-Jan-2021. Effective 14-Jan-2021, international travellers may visit Seychelles without needing to undergo quarantine on arrival if they are vaccinated and provide a negative COVID-19 test result (Seychelles News Agency, 14-Jan-2021). The ministry stated Seychelles is the first country in Africa to commence a national COVID-19 vaccination programme. Seychelles aims to be the first country in the world to vaccinate at least 70% of its population over the age of 18, in order to achieve 'herd immunity', by mid Mar-2021. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde commented: "The COVID-19 immunisation campaign is an important milestone for the restart of our tourism industry as the country balances its efforts to maintain its tourism activities and protect its population... The world has not come to a standstill and there are people who are still keen to travel". Seychelles received a donation of 50,000 doses of the SinoPharm vaccine from Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the UAE Government will donate another batch soon. A batch of 100,000 doses of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine from the Indian Government is due to arrive in Seychelles in late Jan-2021. [more - original PR]
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Below is a sample of the latest news headlines. 155 news briefs have been published for CAPA Members in the past 2 days.
ICAO stated (15-Jan-2021) the near term outlook for global air travel is for "prolonged depressed demand", with downside risks to global travel recovery and further deterioration likely in 1Q2021. ICAO expects any improvement to only develop by 2Q2021, subject to the effectiveness of pandemic management and vaccination rollouts. Under the most optimistic scenario, passenger numbers may recover to 71% of 2019 levels (84% for domestic and 53% for international) by Jun-2021. Under a more pessimistic scenario, traffic may only recover to 49% of 2019 levels (66% domestic and 26% international). [more - original PR]
Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka announced (18-Jan-2021) the following key appointments to the executive leadership team to further drive transformation:
- Lisa Burquest to become chief people officer;
- Alistair Hartley to become chief transformation officer. Mr Hartley most recently served as director of strategy at IAG;
- David Marr to become chief financial officer;
- Nick Rohrlach to become CEO Velocity. Mr Rohrlach most recently served as Jetstar Japan co-CEO;
- Susan Schneider promoted to become chief legal and risk officer;
- Moksha Watts to become chief corporate affairs officer.
In Dec-2020, Virgin Australia appointed Paul Jones as chief customer and digital officer. Mr Jones most recently served as chief operating officer for Qantas. Several of the new appointments replace contractors or fill vacant positions. [more - original PR]
UK's Government announced (15-Jan-2021) emergency border measures to prevent the spread of new variants of coronavirus into the UK, including those identified in Brazil and South America from the risk of unidentified new strains of coronavirus. All travel corridors with the UK will be suspended, with all international arrivals who have departed or transited through any country outside the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days will be required to both take a pre-departure test and self-isolate immediately for 10 days on arrival, effective 04:00 on 18-Jan-2021. Passengers must continue to fill in a Passenger Locator Form and have a negative test before travelling to the UK or face a GBP500 fine for each. The new measures will be reviewed on 15-Feb-2021, while further work takes place to manage the threat posed by coronavirus variants. [more - original PR]
Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency announced (16-Jan-2021) Russian and foreign airlines are permitted to resume scheduled international services to the following destinations, commencing 27-Jan-2021:
- Vietnam: Twice weekly Moscow-Hanoi service approved;
- India: Twice weekly Moscow-Delhi service approved;
- Finland: Twice weekly Moscow-Helsinki and Saint Petersburg-Helsinki services approved;
- Qatar: Three times weekly Moscow-Doha service approved.
IATA reported (15-Jan-2021) bookings from the start of 2021 "point to another difficult quarter", on average 79% below 2019 levels. IATA stated: "Hence, airlines will keep burning cash until vaccines become widely available". It added effective testing instead of quarantine to accelerate market opening "will be critical for the survival of airlines in many regions". [more - original PR]
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi commenced (16-Jan-2021) twice weekly Abu Dhabi-Athens service on 15-Jan-2021 with A321neo aircraft, marking the carrier's official launch of operations. As previously reported by CAPA, the LCC will also launch twice weekly Abu Dhabi-Thessaloniki service on 04-Feb-2021, with plans to introduce Alexandria, Kutaisi, Larnaca, Odesa and Yerevan services over the coming months. [more - original PR]
IATA welcomed (14-Jan-2021) a planned requirement by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for all travellers to the US to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test from 26-Jan-2021. IATA VP member and external relations North America Douglas Lavin said: "As the efficacy of testing is confirmed, we need to move quickly to next steps - lifting travel restrictions which prevent travel from Europe and other key markets". Mr Lavin added quarantine requirements imposed by state and local governments in the US should also be removed. [more - original PR]
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo provided (14-Jan-2021) the following update on airport construction projects in the state:
- Continuing USD8 billion transformation at New York LaGuardia Airport. A majority of the roadway network will be completed in 2021 and "significant progress" has been made on Delta Air Lines' terminal and concourses;
- Continuing a USD700 million transformation of New York John F Kennedy International Airport, due to be completed in 2022;
- Building on a USD200 million investment through the upstate airport economic development and revitalisation competition, the Governor will commit an additional USD100 million in round two funding for continued renewal and modernisation. Funding will include enhanced security screening, expanded and rehabilitated terminals, boarding concourses and concession areas, and innovations in contactless technology. [more - original PR]
Ontario International Airport stated (14-Jan-2021) its passenger operations "fared significantly better than most airports in California and across the world" in 2020. Domestic passenger numbers decreased 53% year-on-year and international traffic decreased 68%, compared to projections of a global drop in air passenger volumes of 60%. Ontario International Airport Authority CEO Mark Thorpe said: "Despite the challenging passenger numbers for 2020, several airline partners restarted service to popular destinations in the second half of the year and announced additional routes for the first half of 2021". [more - original PR]
Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) forecast (14-Jan-2021) US airports will lose at least USD17 billion between Apr-2021 and Mar-2022 due to a prolonged decline in commercial aviation traffic. The losses are in addition to around USD23 billion that US airports are expected to lose between Mar-2020 and Mar-2021. [more - original PR]