The new crown pneumonia epidemic has brought an unprecedented impact on the global air transport industry. Recently, with the recovery of the global aviation market and passenger travel demand, major airlines around the world have formulated a series of support measures to promote the recovery of the air transport industry. This article summarizes some of the measures currently taken by some airlines for reference.
1. Rehiring employees
In the early days of the outbreak, airlines were forced to lay off staff or arrange early retirements to reduce operating costs. Airlines around the world are facing severe staff shortages as demand for air travel rebounds. In recent days, several airlines have announced that they are starting to re-hire staff in response to the current staffing shortage.
Air Canada: Prior to 2005, Air Canada had approximately 33,000 employees. At the height of the pandemic in January 2021, Air Canada was forced to cut 1,700 jobs. With the recent resumption of flights, Air Canada announced in late June that it would be recalling all previously unemployed employees and hiring more than 2,000 new ground handlers.
British Airways has opened up its student pilot program, hoping to recruit more pilots to help the UK further connect with the world. Current job positions include co-pilot. British Airways said its short-haul fleet, particularly the Airbus A320, remained its main target for recruitment.
Virgin Atlantic also plans to recruit pilots, the first time the airline plans to add pilots to its Airbus and Boeing fleets since 2020. Virgin Atlantic expects to add at least 100 pilots by summer 2023; 60 more pilots are expected by summer 2024 and 40 more pilots are expected by summer 2025.
India's Jet Airways tweeted on July 26 that it was hiring Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 pilots. According to foreign media reports, the airline, which is about to resume operations, is in talks with aircraft manufacturers and leasing companies to lease 6-8 planes by the end of this year. If all goes according to plan, Jet Airways could start operations as early as September 2022.
2. Increased flexibility for passengers to book, refund, or change tickets
As passenger travel demand picks up, some airports have recently imposed maximum passenger numbers due to the chaos caused by the surge in passengers. The measure forced airlines to cancel a large number of flights. To this end, some airlines have introduced more flexible booking and cancellation measures to allow travelers to better plan their trips.
British Airways introduces a voluntary rebooking policy
British Airways said passengers who booked on or before July 25 on a British Airways flight (both short and long haul) departing from Heathrow on or before 25 July could re-book within a year of their original departure date. Book another British Airways flight on the same flight to your destination. Additionally, travelers can choose to change their departure airport from Heathrow to any other airport in London. Likewise, the arrival airport can also be changed to other nearby airports in the same area.
For passengers wishing to cancel their trip, British Airways will provide a future travel voucher of the same value as the original booking. These vouchers can be redeemed until September 30, 2023. Second, passengers who plan to fly with British Airways before September 30 can also receive future free travel vouchers.
Air Canada allows passengers refunds and offers same-day alternative flights.
Air Canada unveiled key steps in its airline recovery plan in June and said it would allow passengers to incur refunds for flight changes, delays, or cancellations. Passengers can also rebook their itinerary in minutes through Air Canada's mobile app or official website. Passengers can choose other flights on the day of departure, including domestic and cross-border flights, without restrictions on fares and classes.
3. Adjust flight schedules to improve operational efficiency
Recently, due to the increase in passenger travel demand, Air Canada United Airport has improved its operational efficiency by adjusting flight schedules and extending the passenger transit time.
1. Adjust the flight schedule to optimize the travel time of passengers.
Air Canada has introduced minimum connecting times for connecting from international and cross-border destinations to domestic destinations while extending the connecting times for passengers (and their luggage). Travel time is protected by re-adjusting flight schedules to reduce congestion at airports during peak hours.
2. Extend the transit time of passengers and improve the operating efficiency of the airport.
Toronto Pearson Airport has announced that passengers flying into Toronto Pearson Airport will have the option to extend their connecting time. The airport will extend the transit time for passengers to 48 hours free of charge to improve the travel flexibility of passengers. In order to provide passengers with a more convenient travel experience, Air Canada has purchased more ground service vehicles and worked closely with airports to improve operational efficiency.
To sum up, the aviation recovery measures are taken by airlines mainly include the following categories:
One is to re-employ staff. In addition to airline personnel and ground service personnel, airlines have particularly urgent needs for pilots;
The second is to increase the flexibility of passengers to book and cancel or change tickets. Due to the limitation of transportation capacity, some airports have adopted traffic restrictions. Improving the flexibility of booking and canceling and changing tickets can provide guarantees for passengers to travel;
The third is to adjust flight schedules to improve operational efficiency. By re-adjusting flight schedules, airport congestion at peak hours can be alleviated and passenger transfer time can be shortened.
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