Covid-19 Live Blog: April 2
Florida (the third largest business jet market in the US), Georgia (home of Gulfstream and the fourth largest) and Mississipi (one of the two hardest states to spell) have all introduced stay-in-place measures.
Please send any stories to [email protected]
EBAA, GAMA and other associations ask European policy-makers for help
European Business Aviation community calls for urgent safeguarding measures from European Institutions and national governments
2 April 2020, Brussels. Today, the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), as well as national associations together urged European policy-makers and regulators to protect the continuity and survival of the Business Aviation sector in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its open letter, the European Business Aviation community calls on policy-makers and regulators in the EU Institutions, Member States, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to:
- Maintain full and effective coordination with our industry and the associations supporting our sector in Brussels and in the Member States, Switzerland and the United Kingdom;
- Ensure basic operational continuity for Business Aviation operators, service providers, manufacturers and supply chain to maintain essential flight operations such as – but not limited to – medical flights, supply of medical equipment, repatriation of citizens to their home countries and the supply of aircraft and parts to ensure such operations can continue;
- Implement all measures as soon as possible to ensure that Business Aviation can resume its normal activities as soon as the crisis is over. The packages recently launched by the European institutions will definitively support our sector but additional measures – proposed here – are also essential in consideration of the magnitude of the crisis.
The 374,000 people who work in the European Business Aviation sector are facing a crisis of unprecedented magnitude and uncertain futures. In the last week of March, EUROCONTROL had observed a decrease of 72% in business aviation traffic across Europe compared to the same time in 2019 (with some variations between countries).
Furthermore, a pan-European survey of 130 European Business Aviation CEOs conducted by EBAA (see note to editors) revealed that estimated financial losses for the thousands of SMEs that make up the sector range from 50-90%. The most pressing issues for the CEOs surveyed are staff retention costs, fixed location costs and taxes.
Commenting on the joint letter, Athar Husain Khan, EBAA Secretary-General said:
“The measures detailed in our letter today aim at the same objective; helping to safeguard as many companies as possible in our sector. Business Aviation has a vital role to play in the fight against COVID-19 and the post-crisis European recovery.”
Pete Bunce, President and CEO of GAMA:
“The General and Business Aviation industry pays tribute to all those working tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Our industry stands ready to work in partnership with the EU institutions and national governments to continue to support relief work, deliver medical supplies, and to implement the measures outlined in this letter, which will help pave the way for recovery both in terms of health and the economy.”
Many operators specialised in medical and emergency flights are currently providing essential services to communities fighting the pandemic, including for the transport of health workers. But all other medical emergencies have not stopped, and are being handled by Business Aviation operators despite numerous operational challenges and restrictions. Along with medical and emergency flights, Business Aviation also provides cargo flights, ensuring the transport and delivery of critical medical supplies in Europe and around the world. Business Aviation is also supporting European and national governments’ efforts in reuniting families through repatriation flights.
Gama Aviation says Sharjah fully open, as airports shut down
Sharjah, UAE – Gama Aviation, the global business aviation services company is pleased to announce their non-slot restricted FBO at Sharjah International Airport is fully open and available to assist operators with transit and crew stayovers traffic operating through the UAE.
The services have been created to assist in the management of flights that require technical, transient fuel or crew duty rest stops. The services are provided with zero slot restrictions into OMSJ allowing for the fluidity that is a requirement when operating such flights in the prevailing conditions.
- Fuel stop transient traffic
- H24 and zero slot restrictions
- Good fuel prices
- Line maintenance for minor technical items*
- Short, fuel efficient taxi times
- Crew rest transient traffic
- H24 and zero slot restrictions
- Mandatory COVID-19 test on arrival
- Secure, police escorted transfer to nearby high-quality hotel
- Return, escorted transfer, post duty rest
- Line maintenance
- Cleaning (external & internal)
- Fuel and catering for onward travel
Tom Murphy, Commercial Manager commented:
“We have been working with the authorities to accommodate these transit and crew rest flights, making the experience, in these times, as smooth and convenient to the crews as possible, allowing them to focus on their more important tasks. The situation is, of course, fluid and subject to change, but we would encourage any operator seeking to transit via the UAE to call us as we can help.”
Tom can be contacted on: [email protected]
WINGX says global flights down by 30%, Europe by 34%
WINGX says that North American flight activity in March was down by just under 30%, with Asia and Europe closer to 35% down.
“The abruptness of the decline in business aviation activity this month is only comparable to the effect of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption back in 2010, only with much longer and more severe consequences,” says Richard Koe, managing director.
“WINGX expects a trough in flight activity in April, which may see some countries completely shut down flights.”
Business aviation departures from Europe were down by 34% in March 2020 compared to March 2019. Overall, there were 17,800 fewer flights flown month on month. The last few days have seen close to 50% reductions.
Activity in Italy has been most affected, with just over 1,000 departures during the entire month, 70% below March 2019 activity. Activity in France, normally the busiest market, was down by 43%. Germany and Switzerland saw declines of over 30%. Flights in the UK fell by 23%. Flights in Sweden, one of the few European countries not in lock-down, were up by 1.3%.
Le Bourget, Nice and Geneva have seen the largest declines in business aviation activity this month, all seeing declines of at least 35%. London Biggin Hill has seen the least impact out of the major business aviation airpots with March activity down by only 1%. Flight activity out of Malaga was slightly up this month.
- Ultra Long-Range operations down by 40%.
- Super Light and Very Light Jet activity is down by around 25%.
- King Air 200s were the busiest aircraft but with activity down by 19%
- Citation Latitude flight hours are up this month.
Branded Charter and Private flight departments cut back activity by 20% in Europe over the month, whilst Aircraft Management companies registered a 50% fall in flight activity. Ambulance traffic more than doubled.
In the US, business aviation flight activity fell by 30% compared to March 2019. That decline equates to more than 100,000 business aviation sectors month on month. The first half of the month saw modest turbulence, with declines accelerating from there; on 31st March flight activity fell 66% compared to the same date in March 2019 (and that compares Tuesday with a Sunday).
“With an optimistic outlook for ending virus containment, we might see renewed demand for flights by the summer, at which point business aviation may have a window of opportunity to meet pent-up demand whilst the airline capacity is still parked.”
Poll: When will it end?
Some 400 people joined our Town Hall yesterday – and you can still view it here
When do you think the pandemic will be considered over /business starts to recover?
- 6 months – 53.0%
- 3 months – 28.0%
- 12 months+ – 11.6%
- 9 months – 6.7%
- 12 months – 0.6%
How optimistic are you about 2020?
- Very optimistic – 3.8%
- Fairly optimistic – 36.4%
- Fairly pessimistic – 47.8%
- Very pessimistic – 12%
You can also sign up for next week’s one looking at aircraft values.
Argus TRAQ Pak: US flights down 46.8% in last two weeks of March
Argus TRAQ Pak data says that US business aircraft flights were down 29.4% for the first 29 days of March 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.
Flights in the first 10 days were only down 5%. But the number of business aircraft flights between March 18 and 24 dropped 46.8%.
“We’re now seeing activity levels that are closer to Christmas day activity, rather than one of the busiest months on the calendar,” says Argus TRAQ Pak.
It expects March 2020 to be down 27.8% compared with March 2019.
You can download their full report here.
NBAA running CARES Act webinar
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is running a free webinar on Friday for anyone interested in how the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act could help their business.
Tamarack cuts $42,000 Winglet installation fee
The release says:
“In response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the aerospace industry, Tamarack is launching a temporary program with special pricing for its revolutionary Active Winglet technology for Cessna CitationJets. This ensures Tamarack employees and the supply chain stay strong while providing added economic resilience and safety margins for customer operations. Tamarack is waiving the $42,000 Active Winglet installation fee until the end of June 2020. Paired with the possibility of Tamarack customers receiving economic assistance provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the aerospace industry has a unique chance to invest in a revolutionary technology that will save fuel and operational costs, while increasing safety and the capability to conduct more non-stop flights during this time of health and economic uncertainty.
Danny Hiner, COO of Tamarack Aerospace:
“This pandemic continues to negatively impact so many lives and our businesses. The personal loss is tragic and, making matters worse, the economic strain makes coping with the pandemic even worse. Carefully considering current market conditions, Tamarack Aerospace is responding with special pricing for our Active Winglets. We view this as our economic contribution to help kick-start the aerospace industry back to full speed while keep our business strong as we all recover from this attack.”
The CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020 sets aside $25 billion for passenger and cargo air carriers, including general aviation commercial operators, such as FAR Part 135 operators. Part of the Economic Stabilization Fund includes economic assistance if a charter operator is looking at cost restructuring, which may include efficiency upgrades like Active Winglets.
Organizations must provide “a description of any plans the borrower has to restructure its obligations, contracts, staffing, or organization to improve the borrower’s financial condition.” Tamarack Active Winglets are an investment that yields long term cost savings, improving the overall financial health, operational resilience, and fleet safety of aviation companies.
Jacob Klinginsmith, president, Tamarack:
“We’ve already been approached by one charter operator who sees the opportunity the CARES Act presents. As folks start to see how this could help them get back on their feet we expect to even more will take this opportunity to strengthen their operation.”
The world has learned a lot of hard lessons as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. One reality that is more apparent now than ever is the great need for aviation technology to be safe, efficient, and sustainable. Tamarack’s Active Winglet technology can help by reducing fuel consumption by up to 33%, increasing the capability for non-stop flights.
Helijet Offers No Charge Flights For British Columbia’s Health Care Responders
Vancouver, Canada – April 1, 2020: Recognising the important work of British Columbia’s health care responders during the current COVID-19 crisis, Helijet has announced that it will provide seats at no cost between Vancouver and its Vancouver Island terminals in Victoria and Nanaimo for health care responders travelling on business.
The initiative is aimed at medical personnel including doctors, nurses or others in the health care sector who may need to travel quickly to provide direct patient care, or to attend urgent medical strategy sessions or briefings on the outbreak.
“We’ve been providing downtown-to-downtown scheduled air service for 34 years and we know that right now, every minute counts,” explained Danny Sitnam, President and CEO of Helijet International. “We’re proud to help out during the COVID-19 crisis by supporting free flights for British Columbia’s health care responders who may need to travel to and from Vancouver Island. Their efforts are unprecedented right now and we’re proud to help where we can.”
Helijet is now designated as an “essential service” air provider and is currently the only air carrier operating regularly scheduled “downtown-to-downtown” passenger and cargo flights between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. The service is operating on a reduced schedule based on current demand, with daily return flights between Vancouver Harbour and Victoria Harbour, as well as Vancouver Harbour and Nanaimo Harbour.
BC health care responders travelling on business can book seats free of charge on any of these flights, based on availability. Proper identification to verify health care responders is required at time of check-in.
This first responder program begins April 6th, and will continue for at least the next 30 days, at which time the program will be reviewed, and possibly extended.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Helijet has increased its sanitising and social distancing procedures to include:
- Limiting the maximum number of passengers in all aircraft to six, instead of the usual 12, to increase the distance between travellers.
- Sanitizing aircraft cabins before each flight, as well as disinfecting high touch areas within the cabin and cockpit.
- Providing a detailed disinfection regime for all aircraft at the end of every day, to ensure no contaminants remain for passengers who board the aircraft next.
- Making hand sanitizer available to all travellers and staff at each terminal.
- Deeper cleaning of terminal facilities, washrooms and offices on a more frequent basis.
- Complimentary food and beverage service at terminals has changed to offer only grab-and-go pre-packaged foods and beverages.
London Biggin Hill Airport launches coronavirus recovery package for operators
London, UK – 2 April 2020: London Biggin Hill Airport is launching a package of services to help operators maintain aircraft airworthiness and keep flight crew training current during the coronavirus crisis, so that flight operations can be ramped up quickly once travel restrictions are lifted.
Branded ‘Return to the Skies’, the package applies to all business jets, whether based at London Biggin Hill Airport or visiting. Included within the price of a single landing fee, operators will receive the following benefits:
- Six landings, all to be used on a single day (for visiting aircraft, the first arrival will be included within this total)
- Complimentary handling
- The first two hours of aircraft parking free
- Access to crew support and the Airport’s briefing room
Through this initiative, it will become easier for operators to access the world-class MRO services based at the airport for Bombardier, Gulfstream, Textron Aviation, Pilatus and Dassault aircraft, provided by the OEM or an authorised service centre. Furthermore, as even furloughed employees are still permitted to continue training, it is expected that Return to the Skies may help operators keep their flight crews current and ready to start work immediately when conditions improve.
Return to the Skies is available immediately to enquiring operators and will run until 31 May 2020.
Robert Walters, Commercial Director, London Biggin Hill Airport, says: “London Biggin Hill remains fully operational for essential flights, but operators are facing many challenges during the Covid-19 crisis. Keeping aircraft and crew ready to restart operations is difficult but with our Return to the Skies initiative we are giving our clients access to the services they need. By pulling together like this, we can get our industry back on its feet as quickly as possible and support the global economic recovery.”