The Future of Brazil’s Aviation in a Post-Covid World

The Future of Brazil’s Aviation in a Post-Covid World

Passengers boarding an Embraer 190 airplane from Azul at Rio de Janeiro, Brazils Santos Dumont Airport

The biggest country of South America, Brazil, has the most to gain from a return to service. With an aviation friendly government in power, the local Brazil market is set to recover quickest on the continent. Should it expect 2021 to be its year?

Setting the stage

Brazil, while not only the most populated country in South America, has a robust aviation sector as well. It has its home airframe builder (Embraer, which is well-known and sells aircraft around the world), an industry worth $18.8 billion in 2019, supporting 839,000 jobs in related sectors and contributes to 1.1% of the countries GDP. As a popular tourist destination, Brazil sees $5.8 billion spent by tourists in their country each year, with top arrivals from Argentia, USA, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The market is connected internationally to former mother-country Portugal and the United Kingdom, with Europe after South America as the largest region of travelers.

The majority of Brazil’s aviation traffic travels through the top five airports; Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo in first place with 4,233,709 passengers in 2019-2020. The second was Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, with 1,912,835 passengers.  Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport in Brasília was third with 1,598,671 passengers. The fourth was Galeão International Airport Rio de Janeiro, with 1’261,700 passengers. The fifth was also in Rio de Janeiro, with Santos Dumont Airport 987,843 passengers.

Plus, thanks to some government reforms and a friendly government, the airline industry has been able to add 600 new flights, this is an increase of 35% in 10 years. One of the most significant policies has been the government’s new air transport service agreements with neighboring countries. This allows airlines to charge extra for checked luggage, unbundle services, and enable low-cost travel domestically and internationally (as the most significant arrivals are nearby nations, sans the USA, opening up the country to low-cost travel has rapidly expedited growth). Other overhauls include scrapping aviation fuel taxes implemented by individual states across the country. Lastly, the government has also supported a new airport policy to open new facilities or to renovate existing bases (such as Florianopolis, Porto Alegre, Salvador, and Fortaleza).

“We have been through a true revitalization in airport infrastructure,” Brazil’s secretary of aviation infrastructure Ronei Glanzmann said to FlightGlobal.We believe that the Brazilian infrastructure is no longer a bottleneck to the industry.”

Who are the most prominent players?

When it comes to the thirteen registered airlines that operate in Brazil, you can’t look past flag carriers LATAM, Azul, and GOL.

  • LATAM, the South American giant has 153 aircraft stationed as part of its LATAM Brasil fleet, and three aircraft in the LATAM Cargo Brasil fleet.
  • Azul, the start-up airline by the same founder as the US JetBlue, has 145 aircraft. This carrier targets low-cost travelers.
  • GOL Transportes Aereos has a fleet of 129 exclusive Boeing 737 narrowbodies.

There are a few other carriers in the region, such as cargo operators and other regional airlines (some owned by the big three).

LATAM unfortunately, succumbed to bankruptcy during the coronavirus in May 2020. It has since requested bankruptcy protection and is operating until it can formally restructure. If LATAM is unable to rise back into the spotlight, the Brazilian market will dramatically shift. We will have to wait and see.

“Latam entered the COVID-19 pandemic as a healthy and profitable airline group, yet exceptional circumstances have led to a collapse in global demand [that] has not only brought aviation to a virtual standstill, but it has also changed the industry for the foreseeable future,” said Roberto Alvo, the group’s chief executive to the Financial Times.

Azul has survived better than LATAM, able to defer its aircraft orders, and expects to operate half of its fleet by the end of 2020.

“We are glad to see that passenger demand is returning, which is already allowing us to be at 45% of last year’s capacity,” said Abhi Shah, Azul’s Chief Revenue Officer to Simple Flying. 

The carrier has also moved forward to debut its new regional airline, AzulConceta, which will fly to 36 destinations and operate as a feeder airline for the primary carrier.

According to a report last year, GOL has forecast that its domestic capacity would increase by 2% to 4% in 2019. This was a conservative estimation in line with the other carriers, but alas, this victory has been short-lived. The airline is currently battling market forces to gather enough money to repay its shareholders.

“Continued support from GOL’s stakeholders is critical to ensuring the Company maintains the sufficient required months of cash-on-hand to see the Company through this crisis,” the company said in a statement to Reuters.

Healthy private industry

Brazil also has a healthy private aviation industry. While many private jets are made in Brazil (Embraer business jets), many customers are located here as well. Brazil has the second-largest fleet of business aircraft in the world following the United States. With almost 2,000 executive turboprops and jets, the sector connects approximately 1,225 municipalities across the country, versus just 105 airports connected through scheduled operations.

In detail, 61% of these private aircraft are turboprops, which happens to be the highest ratio in the world. The aircraft type is perfect for Brazil’s smaller runways and regional airports. Additionally, most of the private travel in Brazil takes place around 300 miles of Sao Paulo (99% of all private travel is domestic in the country), from businesses in the cities downtown to close-by island beach resorts. Not bad for a billionaire life. Three major companies are leasing out most of the private aircraft to private charter firms, and a few upstart companies offering cheaper alternatives as they try to break into the industry.

However, the private industry has slumped in recent years, falling from 300 registered companies to only 115 charter operators. This has been due to an amalgamation of the industry (with firms buying up other firms) and the decline of ‘black’ charter firms – companies that don’t exist except on paper to protect the investors of the aircraft. Many believe that the industry may bounce back, with the rise of the coronavirus has made these billionaires more health conscious and desire to fly private has dramatically increased.

“Traditionally reserved for the wealthy, private aviation is gradually entering the travel mainstream. Taking into account data from Serasa and Facebook, there are at least 300,000s potential clients for charter services in Brazil and more than 2 million future pay-per-seat users.” – said Paul Malicki, CEO of Flabber (a private jet operator in Brasil).

Government support during the coronavirus

Unfortunately, this upward growth has been hit hard by the COVID-19 virus (like many other nations in the world). While the response by the government has been controversial in some circles, in terms of aviation, the government has been quick to take action.

Some of the steps that the government has taken include:

  • Opening up an exclusive line of credit for airlines – allowing them to draw down special financial liquidity during extraordinary circumstances
  • Postponing air navigation fees due by airlines by six months for March, April, May, and June.
  • Allowing airlines to defer payments to airports until the 18th of December, 2020.
  • Allowing airlines more time to refund tickets to passengers for canceled flights, such as issuing waivers instead.

“Aviation is going through an unprecedented crisis. The predicted losses in revenue for the industry have been calculated at around US$113 billion. Airlines across the globe are being forced to slash capacity and are taking other emergency measures to reduce costs while doing their best to maintain the vital task of linking the world’s economies. We would like to extend our thanks to the Brazilian government for having considered our industry in the overall relief measures announced,” said Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Americas to Mirage News.

Besides, the Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) has suspended the rule that airlines have to use 80% of airport slots to retain them until the end of October 2020.

“Once the COVID-19 outbreak is under control, the global economy will need to rebuild rapidly. Air connectivity will be essential for that to happen. But without help now, airlines will be in no fit state to restart operations. Many airlines may not exist at all. Assistance now will keep essential cargo services going, preserve as many jobs as possible, and ensure that supply chains and tourism can recover quickly,” said Cerdá in the same article.

Eways Aviation is your partner for all things aviation in Brazil and the world. Let our experts guide you in MRO, AOG, and other operations throughout the aviation world and help your customers get from A to B.

The Challenges Facing South Pacific Aviation

The Challenges Facing South Pacific Aviation

The South Pacific region, consisting of the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, have arguably benefited the most from the introduction of air travel. Remote island communities are now closer to the world stage than ever before, and fantastical landscapes are now in front of the mind for tourists all over the world. But recent events have turned the aviation world upside down and the South Pacific won’t survive unscathed. What challenges await for the South Pacific? Let’s explore.

The South Pacific Landscape

First, we should better define the specific regions of the South Pacific (and just how north it goes). The region is bordered by New Zealand to the South West, Papua New Guinea to the North West, Hawaii to the North East, and Easter Island to the South East. This means that this region is one of the largest in the world, including Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tahiti, and many more, with their own cultures, histories, and diverse regional connections. As the nation of Australia is so large and right on the edge of the region (and arguably also part of South East Asia), it won’t be included in this discussion apart from were its effects dramatically impact others.

When it comes to aviation, there are three distinct markets. First, there are long-haul tourist routes, attracting rich foreign travelers from nations as far away as Europe to the region. Then there are also long-haul connectivity services, for remoter islands that need medical, education, or commerce support from bigger hubs. Lastly, there is inter-island aviation that connects various islands together (especially if they are the same island nation).

Tourism drives the region

Tourism has been a major growth driver for the region, with airlines focusing on several different destination opportunities:

  • Aircalin focusing on the Japanese market.
  • Fiji Airways focusing on the trans-pacific route from Australia to the United States (offering travelers a chance to take a rest day in Fiji).
  • Air Tahiti Nui focusing on Europeans (including a flight to Paris no less)

Growth had been steadily rising in the region, although it has been hampered by the slow development of tourism accommodation on the islands.

By the end of 2019, with the inclusion of SPTOs two new member countries, Rapa Nui and Wallis & Futuna, it is forecasted that about 2.2 million international air visitor arrivals will be received across these Pacific Island destinations, at an annual growth rate of around 6.6% from 2018.

However, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room that is the Coronavirus. While the virus has decimated other regions of the world such as North America, the South Pacific’s quick action to use their island nature to their advantage. has resulted in fewer cases than anywhere else in the world. In fact, as of today, the virus is mainly eliminated from the region with the exception of New Zealand.

Airlines have realized that without a virus, there is no real need to prevent travel between the various islands and have proposed a ‘travel-bubble’ arrangement. Air Tahiti Nui GM Pacific Daniel Eggenberger said “Now it’s time to take the next step in COVID recovery”,  “[by opening] borders to French Polynesia and other South Pacific Islands who have either successfully extinguished COVID-19 or evaded the pandemic altogether”,

The airline CEO wanted to also include New Zealand in the bubble (despite the recent outbreak), as wealthy New Zealand travelers would be a big boost to the local economy “Lost on Kiwis [New Zealanders] if a South Pacific bubble doesn’t fly soon. Direct services ex Auckland to French Polynesia and the South Pacific offer a level of containment that together with strict protocols at entry and exit points should be sufficient to enable travel”.

Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes says the recent influx of new COVID cases may lead to the extension of the country’s travel restriction policy. Feakes says that while the Federal government is imposing stringent measures to contain the virus, the decision to allow Australian tourists to visit Fiji is not applicable now.

“We understand critically how to get Australian tourists back in Fiji, but we want to do it safely. But at the moment with the outbreak in Australia, we need to get that under control before we can contemplate or regularize travel between the two countries.”

The virus has also caused problems for locals – with demand outstripping the supply on some carriers (Aircalin is sold out until at least Christmas), citizens can’t return home to their loved ones.

Airlines have over-leveraged with new aircraft

The good times of 2017 to 2019 have led many airlines to upgrade their aircraft and modernize the soft product onboard. However, the crisis seemed to perfectly hit just before, or after the carriers took ownership of their new aircraft.

Air Vanuatu ordered four A220s in 2019 with an expectation that they would be delivered mid-2020. Alas, the delivery of these game-changer aircraft (that have superior economics and yet can still perform routes like widebodies) has been pushed back following the current crisis in the region.

“We are returning Air Vanuatu to the people,” said Air Vanuatu Chairman Sam Firi to Simple Flying “I am heartened by our government’s commitment to provide the financial support that will ensure Air Vanuatu can emerge from the current crisis. The board I lead today will continue to work closely with the management and staff, especially in these unprecedented times. We will get through this together, in the spirit of Vanuatu.”

Air Kiribati planned to receive two Embraer E190s in December 2019 and April 2020 but managed to only get one before the crisis struck.

Air Kiribati acting chief executive officer and chairman of the Tourism Authority of Kiribati (TAK), Danial Rochford said back in January: “I certainly believe these aircraft will certainly see a major boom in tourism in Kiribati which is already seeing some upswing in growth.“This growth will be felt right across the nation in the Gilbert Islands, the Line Islands, and the World Heritage Listed Phoenix Islands because of these aircraft.” The date for delivery for the second aircraft has come and gone, and Air Kiribati has no passengers to fly.

Other airlines in the region that completed a fleet renewal include Aircalin (you can read our full analysis about this airline here), Air Tahiti Nui upgraded to the Boeing 787-9 from aging Airbus A340s, Air Niugini and Fiji Airways (which also now has a new Airbus A350) both got caught in the Boeing 737 MAX debarkle (further stranding capital) when they tried to renew their narrowbody fleets.

Despite some well-suited aircraft entering the market (such as the Embraer E-Jet E2, the Airbus A220, and the Airbus A321XLR) that have small passenger loads, can land at smaller airports and have excellent economics, the region is so far burned by the current circumstance that likely they won’t order new aircraft for many years. This is also an issue for parts suppliers and MRO services. With new aircraft sitting in hangers with nowhere to go, there will be few spare parts required for the airlines. And with older aircraft, since retired, the carriers won’t need any major overhauls anytime soon.

‘Short’ haul regional aviation

When we say short-haul, we only mean it in the context of the long-haul flights discussed above. There is nothing short about the distances that these aircraft fly. There is a big market of lighter turboprop aircraft operating in the region, many of which are owned by smaller operations that are not linked to the bigger government operations listed at the start of this article. These market players represent a significant (if dispersed) market group and could be quite lucrative to any aviation industry interested in targeting them. The only issue, of course, is how to reach them.

Survivability is on the cards for these ‘domestic’ operations. As the tourism trade has dried up, there isn’t enough traffic between the islands to sustain fare-paying routes and many airlines have either had to shut down or significantly reduce operations. Air Rarotonga, a small carrier that operates domestic travel in the cook islands – has effectively shut all domestic routes until it either receives funding from the government or the border restrictions lift.

“Our tourism business to Aitutaki is the backbone for all inter-island air services, and obviously until international border restrictions are lifted we will not see a resumption of anything like normal schedules,” chief executive Ewan Smith told The Cook Islands News back in April (by way of CH-Aviation).

Bottom line

In conclusion, the challenges facing the South Pacific are two-fold:

  • The majority of air transport is focused on external tourism, who are currently banned from entering the region in order to keep the islands safe
  • The airlines have new aircraft, but no customers to fly on them, dramatically increasing costs and reducing the requirements for MRO or spare parts.

Due to these reasons, the aviation market here will be one of the latter areas to recover, with operators focusing on essential domestic operations and mothballing fleets.

If you are an airline or an aviation firm interested in exploring opportunities in the South Pacific region, then let Eways Aviation be your partner and guide to understanding the dynamic market landscape. Get in touch today.

Aircalin and the Challenging Aviation Landscape Of New Caledonia

Aircalin and the Challenging Aviation Landscape Of New Caledonia

Aircalin takes delivery of its first of two A330neo aircraft in July 2019

One of the world’s best-kept secrets is the tropical paradise of New Caledonia. Situated in the South Pacific, closer to Australia than New Zealand and sharing its sunny climate, the country is a bountiful paradise with crystal clear waters and a slower pace of life. What isn’t slow is the fast-moving innovative national airline Aircalin. Who are they, and what is it like to operate a first-class carrier in the South Pacific?

Destination: New Calendonia

When it comes to flying to New Calendonia, your options for carriers are as limited. Nouméa, the capital of the island, is also the location of La Tontouta International Airport on the south of the island. Only four airlines fly to the island nation, three of which are international carriers.

On the bigger end of the market, you have the Australian and New Zealand carriers such as Qantas and Air New Zealand. Currently, Virgin Australia has taken a step back from the international market and is now focusing just on local travel in Australia, and Jetstar has only limited operations in the region in the best of times. All three carriers have since restricted operations during the pandemic. There are still several services a week by Air Vanuatu – who operates flights to the named islands from New Calendonia.

Over-reliance on international carriers from other nations made it clear to the local authority that New Calendonia needed its own international airline, and thus Air Calédonie International was born.

Who is Aircalin?

Air Calédonie International would take on the shortened name Aircalin in 1996, and is the international airline of the New Calendonia government (99% owned and supported by the European French government). Founded in 1983, the carrier has a fleet of only four aircraft.

But these are not ATR turboprops like the domestic airline arm of New Caledonia; instead, there are two Airbus A320-200s and two brand new Airbus A330-900neos. The airline also has two Airbus A320neos on order for a 2023 delivery. This makes Aircalin the first carrier in the Pacific to have the new start-of-the-art A330neo, with a modern business class cabin rivaling airlines like Singapore and Emirates.

With these long-range jetliners, the carrier can operate a wide range of destinations for locals and tourists alike. They also provide an essential connectivity service to other French territories throughout the South Pacific and all the way to France (by connecting to an Air France flight in Japan).

Country or Territory City Airport
Australia Brisbane Brisbane Airport
  Sydney Sydney Airport
Fiji Nadi
Nadi International Airport
France (French Polynesia) Papeete
Faa’a International Airport
France (New Caledonia – Hub) Nouméa
La Tontouta International Airport
France (Wallis and Futuna) Wallis Hihifo Airport
  Vele
Pointe Vele Airport
Japan Osaka
Kansai International Airport
  Tokyo
Narita International Airport
New Zealand Auckland Auckland Airport
Vanuatu Port Vila
Bauerfield International Airport

Technically the carrier also provides the world’s longest domestic flight, Nouméa, to Papeete – a distance 2,900 miles over the Pacific.

What challenges does the airline face?

Naturally, the biggest challenge right now for the airline is bunkering down until the Coronavirus has run its course. The island nation is particularly vulnerable due to its isolation, and one of the best ways to prevent tragedy is to (unfortunately) reduce flights. Apart from government flights to bring citizens home, Aircalin is looking like it will be stuck to irregular cargo cycles for the time being.

Aircalin CEO Didier Tappero has had to make some difficult choices asthe downturn forced the company into survival mode, with a return of passenger numbers seen last year now not expected before 2024. Since the suspension of regular flights in March, the airline had lost 93% of its passengers and incurred a loss of $US7 million.” It is believed that the airline has also asked for a small loan from the government to support itself until operations return.

When it comes to AOG and MRO services, Aircalin is somewhat at the mercy of providers based in New Zealand and Australia. As the power of the dollar is somewhat stronger than the New Caledonian CFP franc (Pacific Franc), Aircalin needs to spend more to stay competitive with carriers from bigger nations. This also means that they are competing with international carriers for spare parts and other maintenance expertise – which during a supply parts shortage can be tough.

There is also some turbulence at home. As Aircalin and its domestic counterpart are the only local airlines operating to and from other nations, there is a pressure to reduce the ticket price well below the competition.

Aircalin needs to operate at the same standard level as its codeshare partners Qantas and Air New Zealand, but then also has a duty (as a government airline) to provide services between island nations. An inquiry began in 2019 to investigate options, with the matter due to be settled sometime this year. One possible option would be the creation of a low-cost carrier in the island nation. One that would complement Aircalin (much as Jetstar does to Qantas in Australia) and also provide a cheap alternative with reduced onboard amenities for local citizens.

What is their market strategy?

Aircalin has taken a strategy to focus on the lucrative high-wealth tourism trade, working with resorts and tourism boards to attract tourists from nearby developed nations. What was surprising is the long-haul international destinations of Japan and, at one time, Korea. Bringing rich tourists from Japan (who love islands if Hawaii is anything to go by) is an intelligent business strategy and has paid off for the carrier in recent years.

When the current crisis settles, and the global aviation industry returns to the ‘new normal,’ the carrier will need to ensure that they can target those tourists looking to travel. Focusing on Australia and New Zealand, and how the island’s French colonial history makes it stand out among rivals like Fiji and Tahiti, may be a challenge – but with a proximity advantage and arguably the best weather out of the group, the market should be theirs for the taking. Another alternative for the tourism trade is China. The Chinese tourist trade has swamped many island nations such as Bali and Thailand, and with the right marketing, New Calendonia could benefit as well.

Fortunately, with such a small fleet and less than 1000 employees, the airline has fewer upkeep costs and is easier to support. It should come through this crisis in an excellent position to take the lead with its natural advantages. If its new fleet and plans are anything to go by, we can’t wait to see what Aircalin will do next.

Eways Aviation is a leading airline and aviation partner throughout the South Pacific and Oceania and stands ready to help firms fulfill their dream of taking to the sky. Get in touch today to see if we can help you through MRO, AOG, and many more services.

How Aviation can Adapt to the Environnement Crisis

How Aviation can Adapt to the Environnement Crisis

Make no mistake; this current aviation crisis is nothing compared to the more significant industry shift looming on the horizon. Air travel is one of the most polluting forms of transport, and thanks to a lack of fuel alternatives, the aviation industry looks set to be on a collision course with the green movement.

Why air travel is inherently environmentally unfriendly

Putting a plane in the sky costs tonnes of carbon emissions. Basic maths shows that aircraft are more polluting than trains, buses, and cars (only beaten by boats), putting more carbon into the atmosphere than other forms of transport by far. In fact, out of all the travel options, choosing to fly halfway around the world (for example Europe to South East Asia) for a holiday is one of the worst environmental things you can do as a person.

“It really does matter. If there’s one thing a single person can do with maximum effect, it’s thinking about their flights,” said Dietrich Brockhagen, executive director of Atmosfair, a German non-profit that focuses on flight emissions to USA Today. 

To put it into perspective, to fly from London, United Kingdom, to Perth, Australia, will cost 3,153 kg CO2 per person. This is more carbon than the average person generates in 90% of Africa, all of South East Asia, India, Central Asia, and Central America do in an entire year. One way. Fundamentally, for the single flight, a passenger will use the equivalent carbon emission that two people would use in a year.

Yet, it isn’t as simple as it first might appear. In terms of carbon impact, any journey under 600 miles (1000 km) is best performed by car or bus. Any trip over 3000 miles (4800 km), roughly the distance of continental USA or pan-Europe, dramatically increases carbon pollution as the aircraft has to carry more fuel and fly longer. Plus, any flights that take off rapidly (say a short-haul domestic route) and land within an hour pollute far more than long-haul flights.

“Takeoffs and ascent require significantly more energy than cruising at altitude – as much as 75 % of fuel usage on a flight of 430 miles”, said Dan Rutherford, director of aviation programs at the International Council on Clean Transportation.

All of the above assumes that the passengers are sitting in the highest density configuration onboard. When you consider roomy business class seats and private first-class suites, the CO2 output rapidly climbs to astronomic levels. Then on top of that, you have private aviation and private long-haul flights.

“A passenger traveling in a private aircraft emits around four to 15 times the emissions of an economy-class passenger — and between 75 and 250 times the CO2 of a comparable high-speed rail journey.” – Martin Kuebler via DW.com

And with aviation taking off in a big way over the next twenty years (after this dip), without radical changes to the way we fly and what we fly in, the sector may become the obvious face of climate change.

Fixing the problems with air travel

One of the first responses to this crisis is to suggest that passengers fly less. Instead of going to South East Asia as mentioned above, passengers should consider options closer to home, or those accessible by high-speed rail. This is called the ‘flight shaming’ movement and has seen air travel rapidly decline in regions like Scandinavia. One policy that has been considered in the United Kindom is a ‘frequent flyer’ levy, which would charge passengers more if they fly more frequently (and thus, not penalizing those who go on an occasional holiday).

While these ideas have merit, they are only convenient in areas with extensive infrastructure like Europe or Japan. Plus, the aviation industry employs so many and contributes so much to the development of the world, that it is highly impractical to return to a tighter existence.

“We’ve got to make aviation grow and be sustainable,” Rolls-Royce CTO Paul Stein said during the 2019 Paris Air Show,Those who propose traveling less are heading for a darker place.”

Hence it falls on the aviation industry itself to find a way to reduce carbon emissions and become the new cutting edge green industry.

  • Find a new sustainable fuel – carbon emissions are the result of hydrocarbons (like jet fuel) emitting into the atmosphere. If aviation can find an original source of fuel, perhaps a biofuel, then it could radically change the carbon equation.
  • Find a new power source – perhaps airframe builders should look at replacing fuel as the power source completely. Other sources of power generation exist away from oil, and maybe one will work for aircraft.
  • Increase efficiency – an alternative is to ensure that the fuel burn is so effective that the form of transport rivals trains and buses.
  • Become carbon neutral – the last effort would be to balance carbon emissions by operating carbon buy-back schemes, offsetting the pollution into the atmosphere.

Future projects on the horizon

Beginning with fuel, major US carriers in the United States have started to work with biofuel companies to supplement their usage. According to Simple Flying, US carrier United Airlines will produce 900 million US gallons in biofuel for the next ten years. They will also build five biofuel facilities near its significant hubs. Other carriers like KLM in Amsterdam have committed to biofuel, leading the change in that region of the world.

“From 2022, the plant will produce 100,000 tonnes a year, of which KLM will purchase 75,000 tonnes. This will reduce our CO2 emissions by 200,000 tonnes a year, which is equal to the emissions released by 1,000 KLM flights between Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro,” KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said at the time, according to FlightGlobal.

Manufacturers are also following the green movement, offering their new aircraft to be delivered to airlines either carbon neutral or using 100% biofuel. However, the current production of biofuel in the world (around 1.7 million liters) is nowhere near enough to promote sustainable travel – not even meet 2% of the total market (the current fuel market is seven billion liters per year). It will take a combined effort with airlines, plane makers, and government agencies to build biofuel production and promote its use. IATA has been a loud voice in this movement and has been promoting a goal to reach 2% of all flights powered by alternative and sustainable fuel sources. They predict at the current rate, its goal will be achieved by 2025.

“Alternative fuels can ultimately cut emissions up to 80% compared to ordinary jet fuel, but we’re a long way off widespread deployment. What we need to do is create enough economies of scale to ensure SAF is financially competitive with kerosene.” – Michael Gill, Director, Aviation Environment from IATA.

What about new and different aircraft?

Alice electric

Eviation Alice, a nine-seater electric aircraft.

The industry is also examining other power sources, such as electric aircraft. While battery technology is not capable of long-haul flights at the moment, some firms have already produced aircraft prototypes that could fill that important short-haul market. Israeli startup Eviation presented the Alice aircraft at the Paris Air Show in 2019, capable of flying nine passengers to a range of 650 miles (1,046 kilometers) at 10,000 feet with a cruising speed of 276 miles per hour (444 km/h). This plane will even recharge its batteries up to 40% as it descends to its destination – reducing charge time. The aircraft will be sold for only $4 million US and will enable regular renewable flights between city pairs like New York and Chicago, or Melbourne and Sydney.

We can also see a trend of jet-engined aircraft becoming more and more efficient, even backward engineering new technology into older aircraft (like winglets). Ironically, this is primarily done not to save the environment but to save on fuel costs and earn the airline more money. The mere fact that there are environmental benefits is a welcome side effect.

If you are an aviation industry and want to discuss modifying your operations to be more green, then consider speaking with Eways Aviation. With unparalleled insight into worldwide aviation markets, Eways Aviation can guide you in the best transformative direction to the bright green future.

Why airlines and airports should invest in gloves during the Coronavirus pandemic

Why airlines and airports should invest in gloves during the Coronavirus pandemic

Gloves and masks are mandatory for all customers and employees at the airport in Dubai and are distributed in complimentary hygiene kits – Photo credit: Emirates

​Next to masks, there is one item of personal protection equipment (PPE) that is essential to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus – gloves. Why are they so crucial for airlines and airports? Let’s take a look.

Why are gloves necessary?

Disposable medical-grade latex gloves allow airline and airport staff to handle potentially contaminated materials and objects, with a lower risk of transferring the virus. They serve as a physical barrier between the skin and other items, allowing virus particles to remain on the surface of the gloves, which can then be disposed of when the gloves are removed.

Gloves do not destroy viruses like anti-bacterial gel or sanitising spray. They only provide a barrier over the wearer’s skin, like gowns, aprons and full suit PPE’s.

Why are they essential against the coronavirus?

Gloves are a game-changer when it comes to battling the coronavirus. This is because of the way the virus spreads.

  • The Coronavirus (COVID-19) doesn’t exist in the air outside of respiratory droplets. It is unlikely you will catch it from someone without them being incredibly close.
  • However, it can exist on surfaces for hours, if not days, and an unsuspecting person who touches these surfaces without gloves may unintentionally transfer the virus to their hands.
  • Once on the hands, the virus may be spread to the mouth and eyes through habitable touching of the face.

Unless the person is incredibly disciplined and never touches their face, at best, they will spread the virus beyond its current contamination. At worse, they will infect themselves and others.

This is where gloves come in. By wearing gloves in combination with other forms of PPE, a person may work in aircraft or passenger environments with a lower risk of the virus particles transferring to the skin. Once the crew member has left the infected environment, they can remove the gloves. Combined with hand washing, this should eliminate 99% of virus traces. It is vital to see gloves as disposable, as they are challenging to wash, and the wearer may accidentally infect themselves with the virus, if they are touching infected surfaces and then areas of their body that are not sanitised immediately.

“You should remove your gloves by pinching one from outside with one gloved hand and using your clean hand to reach inside the glove to remove the other one,” Dr Dean Winslow, an infectious diseases specialist at Stanford Health Care told Business Insider. “Even after you do that, with good technique, practice good hand hygiene.”

Are there different types of gloves?

It is important that airlines choose the right type of gloves for their workforce. Generally, there are two types of latex medical gloves, powdered and unpowdered.

  • Powdered gloves are lined with a fine powder that absorbs sweat and makes them easier to put on. They are more comfortable and don’t build up moisture inside. The cornstarch powder also prevents the fingers from sticking to one another.
  • Unpowdered or powder-free gloves don’t have any cornstarch, and maybe more comfortable for those who have allergic reactions. These gloves are also stronger and less likely to tear (something to consider when working with the coronavirus), more resistant to liquids and are better for the skin.

According to The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), it is recommended to use powder-free, reduced protein content latex gloves, in order to reduce exposure to natural latex proteins (and prevent allergic reactions).

Do airlines need gloves for cabin crew?

The Center for Disease Control in the United States does not recommend gloves for the general public; this is because they do not come in contact with COVID-19 regularly, or do not have the discipline not to touch their face while wearing the gloves.

However, they do suggest that gloves should be worn by those who are more likely to come into contact with carriers. While they list nurses and doctors as the most at-risk workers, we can’t ignore that cabin crew and other airport staff are equally on the front line.

“Wear disposable medical gloves when tending to a sick traveler or touching body fluids or potentially contaminated surfaces”CDC advice. 

Emirates was one of the first airlines to react. As stated in their May 21st press release this year, “Emirates has introduced complimentary hygiene kits to be given to every passenger upon check-in at Dubai International Airport and on flights to Dubai. These kits comprise of masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser… Gloves and masks are mandatory for all customers and employees at the airport in Dubai”.

Onboard the aircraft, many touchpoints are at risk of containing Coronavirus particles. This includes everything from seat rests, touchscreens, tray tables, bathrooms, bathroom doors, overhead bins, and especially the top of aircraft seats (passengers and crew touch them as they move through the cabin). Crew members need a safe and disposable way to interact with objects while flying, keeping themselves and their passengers safe.

“It’s primarily spread by droplets, so you’d need to be thinking about if someone is coughing or sneezing directly on you, or brushing up against something with droplets. Then you’d have to touch that part of the clothing and touch your face to get infected,” Dr. Sue Anne Bell, a nurse scientist, family nurse practitioner, and professor at the University of Michigan previously told Insider.

Airline and airport staff need to ensure that they wear gloves when working in the cabin, and then safely dispose of them when they leave the environment or swap them out with fresh PPE.

It is important to remember that wearing gloves is only one part of the Coronavirus prevention plan, and that it should be used in conjunction with facemasks, gowns, and face shields. Eways Aviation has access to an exclusive supply of aircraft-ready personal protection items and a robust network to deliver them around the world. If your team needs protection, then speak to Eways Aviation today.

You can get further information about our Non-Powdered Medical Gloves here, or the Powdered-Medical Gloves here.