Pesawat Garuda Pakai Masker, Dukung Kampanye Pemerintah

Garuda Indonesia meluncurkan pesawat dengan corak visual bermasker pada bagian depan pesawat Airbus A330-900 Neo.
Garuda Indonesia meluncurkan pesawat dengan corak visual bermasker pada bagian depan pesawat Airbus A330-900 Neo.(Dok. Garuda Indonesia).

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia — 

PT Garuda Indonesia (Persero) Tbk meluncurkan livery atau corak khusus yang menampilkan visual masker pada bagian depan pesawat Airbus A330-900 Neo.

Direktur Utama Garuda Indonesia Irfan Setiaputra mengatakan peluncuran livery masker pesawat ini merupakan bentuk dukungan terhadap program edukasi pemerintah melalui kampanye ‘Ayo Pakai Masker’.

“Kebanggaan tersendiri bagi kami menjadi maskapai penerbangan nasional pertama di Indonesia yang menampilkan livery khusus pesawat dengan masker. Hal ini juga sejalan dengan komitmen dalam mengedepankan aspek keselamatan dan kenyamanan penumpang di masa adaptasi kebiasaan baru,” ujar Irfan melalui keterangan resminya, Kamis (1/10).

Irfan memaparkan total pesawat yang akan menggunakan livery bermasker sebanyak 5 armada. Lima pesawat ini akan melayani rute penerbangan domestik maupun rute penerbangan internasional, termasuk destinasi penerbangan Singapura dan Jepang.

Lebih lanjut, dalam rangka mengoptimalkan kampanye penggunaan masker tersebut, Garuda Indonesia akan menyelenggarakan kompetisi desain livery masker pesawat bertajuk ‘Fly Your Design Through The Sky’ yang sepanjang Oktober 2020.

Sementara itu, Ketua Komite Penanganan covid-19 dan Pemulihan Ekonomi Nasional (KPCPEN) Erick Thohir mengungkapkan apresiasi terhadap inisiatif tersebut.

Irfan memaparkan total pesawat yang akan menggunakan livery bermasker sebanyak 5 armada. Lima pesawat ini akan melayani rute penerbangan domestik maupun rute penerbangan internasional, termasuk destinasi penerbangan Singapura dan Jepang.

Lebih lanjut, dalam rangka mengoptimalkan kampanye penggunaan masker tersebut, Garuda Indonesia akan menyelenggarakan kompetisi desain livery masker pesawat bertajuk ‘Fly Your Design Through The Sky’ yang sepanjang Oktober 2020.

Sementara itu, Ketua Komite Penanganan covid-19 dan Pemulihan Ekonomi Nasional (KPCPEN) Erick Thohir mengungkapkan apresiasi terhadap inisiatif tersebut.


Lion Air akan Buka Maskapai Baru?

Maskapai baru Super Air Jet. Sumber Foto: Twitter Gerry Soejatman.

PENGAMAT Penerbangan Gerry Soejatman membuat heboh dengan cuitan terkait maskapai baru Lion Air. Disebutkan namanya adalah Super Air Jet.

Dalam cuitan tersebut dilampirkan pula sebuah gambat pesawat berwarna dominan putih dengan tambahan sedikit hiasan berwarna merah khas Lion Air.

Di badan pesawat itu tertulis ‘Super Air Jet’ yang kemungkinan menjadi nama dari maskapai baru yang tengah disiapkan oleh Lion Air tersebut.

“BREAKING: 1/2. Amidst the pandemic #LionAirGroup has been rumoured to start a new airline. Still scant info on this new mysterious airline and at what stage of the set up it is… But it looks real. Smart? Or Foolish? The branding looks damn rushed though,” cuit Gerry dalam akun Twitter pribadinya @GerryS.

Gerry kemudian mempertanyakan jenis pesawat apa yang akan dipakai Lion Air untuk menjalankan bisnis maskapai barunya tersebut.

“2/2. While the image shows an Airbus A320, the rumors actual fleet is shown to be 737NG instead. At this stage, who knows what it will be like. #LionAirGroup is known to keep its info leaks in riddles. So, as usual, watch this space…#LCC? #ULCC? #HybridAirline? We’ll see,” sambungnya.

Kendati demikian, belum ada konfirmasi terkait dengan kebenaran informasi tersebut. Juga apakah benar Lion Air membuka maskapai baru. (yud)


FAA chief not ready to re-approve Boeing 737 Max

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Chief Steve Dickson conducted a nearly two-hour evaluation flight at the controls of a Boeing 737 MAX on Wednesday (September 30), a milestone for the jet to win approval to resume flying after two fatal crashes. Dickson, a former military and commercial pilot, and other FAA and Boeing pilots landed shortly before 11 a.m. local time (1800 GMT) at King County International Airport – also known as Boeing Field – in the Seattle area. “I like what I saw on the flight,” Dickson told a news conference afterwards, but said he was not ready to give the jet a clean bill of health, with FAA reviews still ongoing.”We are not to the point yet where we have completed the process,” Dickson said. Dickson also told reporters he had completed the revised pilot training protocols and a session in a flight simulator. The flight was a key part of the U.S. planemaker’s long-delayed quest to persuade the FAA to lift a March 2019 grounding order triggered by 737 MAX crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people within a five-month period.

The accidents plunged Boeing into its worst-ever crisis, strained its relationship with the FAA, threw into question the U.S. regulator’s position as the standard-bearer for global aviation safety and prompted bipartisan calls in Congress to overhaul how the FAA certifies new airplanes. Dickson said; “The FAA and I in particular, will not approve the plane for return to passenger service until I’m satisfied that we’ve adequately addressed all of the known safety issues that played a role in the tragic loss of 346 lives aboard Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Not a day goes by that I and my colleagues don’t think about the victims and their families.”


Top FAA official flies revamped grounded Boeing 737 MAX: ‘We’re in the home stretch’

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said he would fly a Boeing 737 MAX jet before it was recertified in the U.S.
SEATTLE — The head of the Federal Aviation Administration conducted a test flight of Boeing’s revamped 737 MAX jetliner on Wednesday as the agency considers whether to allow the plane to return to flight after two deadly crashes.
FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, a pilot who flew for the military and Delta Air Lines, sat in the captain’s seat during a two-hour flight. An FAA spokesman said Boeing pilots were also on the plane when it took off from King County International Airport.

Dickson and Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell, the FAA’s top two officials, addressed media questions Wednesday morning about the flight and where the FAA stands as several more milestones remain to be worked through before the 18-month-old grounding is lifted.
During the press conference, Dickson said he wanted to be clear that his test flight Wednesday was separate from the official certification process underway by the FAA. Last year, Dickson said he would personally fly the 737 MAX and not sign off on its return until he was “comfortable putting his family on it.”

Dickson said Wednesday he took the same training that the Joint Operations Evaluation Board recently looked at during their work at the London Gatwick Airport, followed by a session in a 737 MAX simulator.
“It was important to me to experience firsthand the training and the handling of the aircraft so I can have the most complete understanding possible as we move forward with this process,” said Dickson.
The crew put the jet through repeated changes in direction, speed and altitude as it headed east over the Cascade Range into central Washington state, according to data from tracking site
“I like what I saw [during the flight], said Dickson. “Its been a constructive week. That doesn’t mean I don’t have some debrief items for the Boeing team and FAA team. I have some observations that I’m going to share with them. That’s going to be incorporated into the process going forward.”

The MAX has been grounded since March 2019 following two deadly crashes. The crashes have been blamed on an automated anti-stall system that pushed the noses of the planes down based on faulty readings from sensors. Boeing hopes to win FAA approval later this year for changes it has made to flight-control software and computers.
“Not a day goes by that I and my colleagues don’t think about the victims and their families and our solemn responsibility to get this right,” Dickson said Wednesday.
The FAA won’t approve passenger service for the 737 MAX until the known safety issues that played a role in the two deadly crashes have been “adequately addressed.”
“We’re in the home stretch, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to take shortcuts to get it done by a certain date,” said Dickson.

In Washington, the House Transportation Committee approved legislation to change the way the FAA certifies new planes, including the agency’s reliance on employees of Boeing and other aircraft makers to perform key safety analysis.
The bill would not eliminate the FAA’s use of private-sector employees to review their own companies’ planes – lawmakers believe it would be too expensive for FAA to do the work, and that the aerospace companies have more technical expertise. Instead, the bill would give FAA approval over picking private-sector employees who perform safety analysis and allow civil penalties for companies that interfere with their work. Boeing whistleblowers complained of pressure to approve systems on the MAX.

The bill would also require plane manufacturers to tell the FAA, airlines and pilots about automated systems that can alter a plane’s path. Top FAA officials and most pilots did not know about the anti-stall system on the MAX, called MCAS, until after the first crash, in October 2018 in Indonesia. Less than five months later, another MAX crashed in Ethiopia. In all, 346 people died.
“Safety has to be the primary role for the FAA, and that’s one of the concerns we had in our investigative report, that Boeing and the FAA were too close, and that needs to be separated,” said Rep. Rick Larsen, the Washington state Democrat who is chair of the Aviation Subcommittee.
“Those crashes were the inevitable culmination of stunning acts of omissions within Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration,” said committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.
Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., a staunch defender of the FAA, said the agency represents “the gold standard” in aviation regulation but the crashes show the need for improvement.

The committee approved the bill by what appeared to be a unanimous voice vote. Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., left the meeting after complaining that lawmakers had only one day to read the bill, which he called an “absurd” rush for such a complex, technical subject.
The measure, based on recommendations from U.S. and international regulators and safety investigators, goes next to the full House. Its fate is uncertain, however. A similar bill was pulled from consideration in a Senate committee on Sept. 16, and Congress is rushing to adjourn so that lawmakers can go home and campaign for re-election.


Saat Lima Pesawat Garuda “Pakai” Masker…

Livery “Ayo Pakai Masker” pesawat Garuda Indonesia A330-900 neo PK-GHG di Hangar 2 GMF AeroAsia.
Livery “Ayo Pakai Masker” pesawat Garuda Indonesia A330-900 neo PK-GHG di Hangar 2 GMF AeroAsia.(Twitter Garuda Indonesia)

JAKARTA, – Banyak cara yang bisa dilakukan untuk mendukung program edukasi pemerintah melalui gerakan “Ayo Pakai Masker”. Garuda Indonesia misalnya, menampilkan visual masker pada bagian hidung pesawat jenis Airbus A330-900 Neo. Foto pesawat Garuda Indonesia “pakai” masker itu diunggah akun Twitter resmi maskapai BUMN tersebut @IndonesiaGaruda, Kamis (1/10/2020). Sontak saja foto itu dibanjiri pujian para netizen. “Keren!!!,” tulis akun @bimaevans.

Direktur Utama Garuda Indonesia Irfan Setiaputra mengatakan, Garuda Indonesia terus mendukung berbagai upaya yang dilaksanakan pemerintah dalam mencegah penyebaran Covid-19. “Menjadi kebanggaan tersendiri bagi kami menjadi maskapai penerbangan nasional pertama di Indonesia yang menampilkan livery khusus pesawat dengan masker,” ujar Irfan dalam keterangan yang diterima, Senin.

Irfan menambahkan, pihaknya menyadari bahwa upaya pencegahan penyebaran pandemi Covid-19 tentunya memerlukan dukungan penuh dan peran aktif berbagai pihak. “Kiranya dengan dengan upaya yang kami lakukan tersebut dapat turut meningkatkan kesadaran masyarakat akan penerapan protokol kesehatan dalam kehidupan sehari-hari, khususnya melalui penggunaan masker,” kata Irfan.

Irfan menjelaskan, ada lima pesawat milik Garuda Indonesia yang bagian depannya menampilkan visual masker. Nanntinya, pesawat-pesawat tersebut akan melayani rute domestik maupun internasional, termasuk rute Singapura dan Jepang.

Sementara itu,  Ketua Komite Penanganan COVID-19 dan Pemulihan Ekonomi Nasional (KPCPEN) Erick Thohir mengungkapkan apresiasinya terhadap inisiatif yang dijalankan Garuda Indonesia tersebut. ”Apresiasi setinggi-tingginya dari Komite kepada Garuda Indonesia yang ikut berperan aktif mensosialisasikan penggunaan masker dengan cara yang unik. Rencananya selain di dalam negeri, akan juga ada rute yang ke luar negeri. Hal ini sangat baik, agar masyarakat dunia juga tahu, bahwa Indonesia menomor satukan penanganan kesehatan,” ungkap Erick.

Selain penggunaan masker, Garuda Indonesia juga memastikan protokol kesehatan berjalan optimal pada seluruh lini operasional penerbangan. Misalnya melalui prosedur pengaturan jaga jarak antar penumpang, penggunaan alat pelindung diri (APD) bagi crew yang bertugas, penyediaan makanan dalam wadah sekali pakai dan penyajian dengan tanpa kontak erat.

Selain itu ada juga kegiatan disinfeksi kabin pesawat yang dilakukan secara rutin serta melalui edukasi terhadap penumpang terkait sistem filtrasi udara di pesawat yang mampu menyaring debu, partikel dan virus hingga mencapai 99,97 persen.

Lebih lanjut dalam rangka mengoptimalkan kampanye penggunaan masker tersebut, Garuda Indonesia menyelenggarakan kompetisi desain livery masker pesawat bertajuk “Fly Your Design Through The Sky” yang dilaksanakan sepanjang bulan Oktober 2020.

Melalui gelaran kompetisi tersebut, Garuda Indonesia turut memberikan kesempatan kepada masyarakat untuk menampilkan hasil kreativitas dan desain livery masker pesawat melalui platform media sosial yang nantinya desain masker livery terbaik akan dipilih untuk dapat digunakan Garuda Indonesia pada pesawat lainnya.

Artikel ini telah tayang di dengan judul “Saat Lima Pesawat Garuda “Pakai” Masker…”, Klik untuk baca:
Penulis : Akhdi Martin Pratama
Editor : Yoga Sukmana

Lion Air’s Founders Planning to Launch New Airline in Indonesia

By Harry Suhartono, October 1, 2020, 7:30 AM GMT+7 Updated on 

  • Ministry says it’s processing a permit, without naming Lion
  •  Lion has been trying to move forward from deadly 2018 crash
Lion Air Group co-founder Rusdi Kirana in Banten, Indonesia, in 2018.
Lion Air Group co-founder Rusdi Kirana in Banten, Indonesia, in 2018. Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

The founders of Indonesia’s PT Lion Mentari Airlines are planning to start a new airline, according to people familiar with the plan, a development that could aid the carrier’s efforts to move beyond one of aviation’s biggest disasters.

The new carrier is a project started by Lion’s founders including Rusdi Kirana, said the people, who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak publicly on the plan.

Lion Air has been trying to move forward from a deadly crash in 2018, which was blamed on design flaws in Boeing Co.’s 737 Max jet, as well as a raft of errors at the airline by pilots and mechanics. Boeing said it has settled 90% of the wrongful death claims as of July.

Budi Prayitno, a spokesman for the transport ministry confirmed it’s processing one application for an air operator certificate, while declining to reveal more details. Lion Air’s spokesman Danang Prihantoro declined to comment on the matter, while Kirana couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Fresh Start

The new carrier could give the founders a fresh start, said Shukor Yusof, founder of aviation consulting firm Endau Analytics in Malaysia.

“Don’t underestimate Rusdi,” he said. Closely held Lion has better leverage ratios than its Southeast Asian rivals and many 737 Max orders that can prove valuable once the pandemic subsides, he added. “There may be a method to the madness.”

Airlines in Indonesia, like their peers around the world, are suffering from falling passenger numbers due to travel restrictions. While air travel in the country’s vast archipelago rebounded to 1.46 million people in July, from just 87,000 in May, that’s still far below 7.14 million seen in the same month last year, according to the statistics bureau.

Globally, airlines are floundering. American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. will cut a combined 32,000 jobs as a debate over new government assistance drags on. The International Air Transport Association expects December air travel to fall 68% from the previous year, compared with an earlier forecast of a 55% decline, due to the impact of a resurgent coronavirus in European countries.

Suffering Rivals

Flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia is relying on bridging loans from the government to avoid falling into bankruptcy, while regional airline AirAsia Group Bhd. seeks cash injections by the end of the year as it seeks to survive.

If the new airline plan goes ahead, it may allow Lion’s founders to grab a bigger share of one of the world’s fastest growing air travel markets when the pandemic subsides, said independent aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman.

“This could be a good strategy for the company as its rivals are suffering,” Soejatman said by phone. It’s unclear whether the new entity will be part of the same Lion group.



Bisnis, JAKARTA — Menghadapi kondisi industri penerbangan nasional yang kian berat, kalangan maskapai mendesak dibentuknya lembaga pembiayaan nonbank khusus untuk aviasi guna mendukung kelangsungan bisnis mereka.

Bisnis Indonesia, Rabu, 30 September 2020, halaman 3.

Ketua Umum Indonesia National Air Carriers Association (INACA) Denon Prawiraatmadja menegaskan

Terobosan fundamental harus mulai disusun selama satu hingga dua pekan ke depan melalui strategi pembiayaan yang dihadirkan oleh pemerintah. Pasalnya, selama ini nilai tukar rupiah menjadi momok

utama bagi industri penerbangan yang dapat menggerus operasional maskapai.

Apabila kondisi ini terus berlanjut, kata Denon, bisnis penerbangan dapat terpinggirkan dengan beban

risiko yang terus meningkat. Apalagi saat ini dunia usaha sedang menghadapi kondisi darurat akibat bencana nonalam yang disebabkan pandemi Covid-19. Adanya semacam proteksi dari pemerintah, kata Denon, sangat dibutuhkan agar kelangsung bisnis penerbangan dapat terjaga.

Lembaga yang diusulkan oleh INACA pada prinsipnya seperti yang sudah berjalan saat ini untuk pembiayaan ekspor impor, yaitu Lembaga Pembiyaan Ekspor Indonesia (Indonesia Exim Bank). Model pembiayaan dari lembaga khusus semacam itu, kata Denon, bisa juga dipertimbangkan untuk direalisasikan guna mendukung kelangsungan bisnis maskapai penerbangan.

Menurut dia, dalam kondisi yang serba sulit saat ini, pemerintah harus hadir secara nyata dalam industri transportasi udara nasional. “Lembaga ini bisa diinisiasi sejak awal, karena musuh utama maskapai nilai tukar menjadi kesulitan tersendiri bagi industri penerbangan karena nilainya bergeser dari waktu ke waktu. Ini untuk mengurangi ketergantungan dari lembaga dan bargaining power maskapai cukup kuat,” ujarnya, Selasa (29/9).

Denon, yang juga CEO Whitesky Aviation tersebut, mengemukakan bahwa jumlah penumpang transportasi udara di Tanah Air hingga Agustus mencapai 2 juta hingga 3 juta per bulannya. Angka ini hanya mencapai 30% dibandingkan dengan pencapaian pada 2019. Adapun jumlah penumpang pada 2019 dibandingkan dengan tahun sebelumnya telah terjadi penurunan sekitar 20%. Jumlah penumpang pada 2018 tercatat sebesar 115 juta orang dan pada 2019 berjumlah 91 juta orang.

“Kami melihat ada upaya realistis menghadapinya di mana demand yang ada saat ini tidak bisa kembali seperti pada 2019. Upaya memangkas biaya dan mengurangi beban harus dilakukan secara bertahap,

sehingga pasar maskapai yang saat ini mencapai 40% secara realistis bisa dicapai,” papar Denon.


Terkait dengan menjaga kelangsungan bisnis penerbangan, Kementerian Perhubungan mendukung upaya maskapai dalam bernegosiasi dengan perusahaan sewa pesawat (lessor) meski tergolong tidak mudah, karena klausul kontrak tidak secara khusus membahas kondisi darurat seperti pandemi saat ini.

Dirjen Perhubungan Udara Kementerian Perhubungan Novie Riyanto mengemukakan pada umumnya sistem pembiayaan pesawat udara yang diberikan lessor adalah dengan operating lease (sewa) dan beberapa lessor mendapatkan pembiayaan melalui bank terkemuka dunia. Dia mengakui pandemi Covid-19 berdampak berat kepada lessee yang tidak bisa membayar biaya sewa pesawat sesuai jadwal yang telah disepakati. Namun sayangnya di dalam konteks perjanjian sewa pesawat secara umum tidak dibahas khusus mengenai wabah dan kewajiban lessee kepada lessor bisa dikatakan absolut.

“Alhasil dalam hal terjadi wabah negosiasi untuk restrukturisasi menjadi hal yang tidak mudah.” Berdasarkan data Kementerian Perhubungan, sekitar 75% atau 483 unit dari total 641 unit pesawat AOC 121 atau Air Operator Certifi cate menggunakan skema sewa pesawat udara. Sementara itu untuk AOC 135 sekitar 38% di antaranya atau 124 unit dari total 320 unit yang menggunakan sewa.

Pesawat dengan kapasitas di atas 30 kursi penumpang dikategorikan sebagai AOC 121, sedangkan pesawat berkapasitas di bawahnya atau borongan ditandai dengan AOC 135. “Pemerintah mendukung

kondisi pembiayaan pesawat. Apa yang bisa kami dukung, pasti kami dukung. Kami juga memonitor terus langkah gugatan di Prancis dan London. Karena meskipun sama-sama di Eropa standar memberlakukan perjanjian b to b berbeda,” kata Novie.

Sebanyak 15 badan usaha niaga berjadwal nasional melakukan pengurangan frekuensi meski telah kembali melayani rute penerbangan domestik periode summer 2020, kecuali TransNusa yang telah berhenti sementara pada 2019.

Untuk rute internasional, maskapai nasional juga mengurangi rute dan frekuensinya. Garuda Indonesia dari 30 rute hanya beroperasi 11 rute, sedangkan AirAsia dari 25 rute hanya melayani 5 rute pada Juli 2020.

Dimintai komentarnya, Hendra Ong, praktisi hukum leasing dan keuangan pesawat, menjelaskan maskapai dan perusahaan leasing menerapkan empat skema transaksi pesawat yang berlaku secara internasional dan juga diterapkan di Indonesia. Di antaranya direct financing, finance lease, operating

lease serta sale and lease back.

Dari skema-skema tersebut tidak ada klausul kondisi darurat force majeure melainkan net lease. Alhasil, ketika pesawat didistribusikan kepada maskapai maka seluruh kewajiban pembayaran dan pemeliharaan harus dilakukan sesuai dengan kontrak.

“Apapun yang terjadi termasuk ketika ada Covid-19 kewajiban pembayaran rental, termasuk pemeliharaan tetap harus dilakukan. Namun lessor sebenarnya juga reasonable. Selama 6 bulan ini ada yang melakukan restrukturisasi amendemen dan penyesuaian bunga,” ujarnya tanpa merinci maskapai dimaksud.

Anitana Widya

Cathay Pacific open to employee ideas as it works on restructuring plan

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd 0293.HK said on Wednesday it welcomed all employee ideas to get it through the pandemic after pilots pushing to be included in restructuring talks ran a newspaper advertisement to drum up public support.

FILE PHOTO: Cathay Pacific Airways planes are seen at the Hong Kong International Airport, China September 6, 2019. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

The Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association (HKAOA) is facing a loss of relevance as its key agreements with Cathay expire next month, meaning the airline would no longer recognise the union’s representation.

HKAOA General Secretary Chris Beebe told Reuters the union had been served with termination notices in July that took effect in three months, confirming an earlier report in the South China Morning Post. Cathay declined to comment.

The airline this month declined to apply for more government employment subsidies for its main business units, freeing it from the condition to retain jobs tied to the grants and fuelling worries of layoffs.

HKAOA ran an advertisement in the South China Morning Post on Wednesday in its push for a seat at the table for talks on restructuring. A plan is due to be announced in the fourth quarter.

“What we want is to make sure if there is some sort of decision with regards to the future of the pilots, that we will be involved in discussions on what the structure looks like,” Beebe said on Tuesday.

He declined to comment on whether pilots would offer concessions like temporary salary cuts or unpaid leave as have been agreed at other airlines amid crumbling demand.

Many Cathay pilots had already participated in company-wide voluntary unpaid leave, Beebe said.

The carrier, which received a $5 billion government rescue package, has refrained from large-scale job cuts but has warned it is reviewing all aspects of its business model.

Cathay said on Wednesday it had been talking with different employee groups and had met with the HKAOA at least four times since July.

“We appreciate all ideas presented to us for consideration in our planning, and our door remains open,” the airline said in a statement.

Beebe said the recent talks had centred on an already announced voluntary early retirement programme for pilots, not the ongoing review.

HKAOA represents pilots at the main brand, Cathay Pacific. Pilots at regional brand Cathay Dragon and low-cost carrier HK Express are represented by other unions.

Several employees have told Reuters on condition of anonymity that they are bracing for major job losses.

Rival Singapore Airlines Ltd has announced plans to cut about 20% of positions, while Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd has said it will cut nearly 30% of its pre-pandemic staff.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Gerry Doyle.


Neptune Aviation continues to adapt to changing business conditions

A Neptune Aviation tanker recently delivered the one-millionth gallon of retardant during this explosive 2020 fire season.

MISSOULA — They were the first to deploy jet aircraft as large tankers to fight wildfires. But that decision a decade ago looks absolutely prophetic, as Neptune Aviation’s competitors followed the same path.

Yet the company continues to thrive, helping to tackle the growing wildfire threat.

It’s a number staggering to imagine. Last week, a Neptune Aviation tanker delivered the one-millionth gallon of retardant during this explosive 2020 fire season.

Aerial firefighting has been going through changes in the past few seasons and although demand remains high, the way of doing business is different, with the US Forest Service using more “call when needed” aircraft.

Neptune Aviation
Neptune Aviation’s Tanker 10 aircraft soars through the sky.

“So there’s two types of contracts for these airplanes. We have call when needed contract and exclusive use,” explained Neptune Aviation Senior Vice President Dan Snyder.

“Exclusive use contracts are contracts that we know have a start date and have an end date and its definitive time,” he added. “Call, when needed, is really when the need arises, we get called up.”

That’s a fundamental shift from a decade ago when Neptune led the industry in deploying the jet-powered, “next-gen” air tankers. Then, it was all about firm, “exclusive use” contracts the company could count on.

“It does create some challenges for us as a company. From a planning standpoint, because realistically we still need to invest in our training and maintenance for the airplanes, irrespective of what kind of fire season we’re going to have,” Snyder said.

“Last year, was a perfect example. A very quiet fire season. We still had to produce everything necessary to go out and perform for a much shorter time.”

Another challenge, Neptune has lots of competition.

“We were the first one to bring on the Jets for firefighting. 2010 is when we did it. Now we’re one of seven vendors that have some type of turbine-powered aircraft. So we’re right in the mix,” Snyder said.

“And what does that mean for the future? We’re always looking for what’s next and how do we continue to have that sharpening edge to just be a little bit more competitive.”

But as with other aspects of the fire protection industry, Snyder says the hardworking team at Neptune, whether it’s the pilots and maintenance team or the administrative staff, all recognize it’s a cyclical business. And they’re continuing to adapt and appreciate the support they receive from Missoula.

“We have roughly 230 employees out here, and the majority of them live in Missoula. We do have a few of our pilots that live elsewhere,” Snyder said. “But from a family standpoint, they understand the business. Some years it’s normal and some years it’s very lean.”

It’s not just Neptune’s jets that have helped change aerial firefighting. The company had to design and develop its own Active Response tank, which uses a computerized system to control the delivery of retardant.


FAA chief will pilot Boeing’s 737 MAX in Seattle Wednesday as ungrounding nears

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson on Wednesday will fulfill a promise he made just months after taking command of the regulatory agency in the midst of Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis.

“I am not going to sign off on this aircraft until I fly it myself and am satisfied I would put my own family on it without a second thought,” Dickson told FAA employees last November.

On Wednesday he’ll take off from Boeing Field in a high-profile test flight intended as Dickson’s personal assurance to the public that the MAX is safe following 19 months of intense scrutiny by his agency.

It’s the clearest signal yet that the FAA is poised to unground the jet in late October or early November.

The MAX was grounded worldwide in early March 2019 after the second of two fatal accidents that together killed 346 people aboard almost-new aircraft. A series of investigations established that the pilots on the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines jets struggled against a flawed flight control system on the MAX that overcame their commands.

Since then, the FAA and international regulators have been minutely examining the fixes proposed by Boeing.

As the company girds against the new existential threat posed by the historic pandemic-driven aviation downturn, Dickson’s flight is a high-stakes moment.

For the MAX crisis that has consumed Boeing, shattering its plans for accelerated production and causing the loss of significant market share to rival Airbus, it could perhaps at last be a turning point.

Dickson tests Boeing’s fixes
Dickson’s MAX test plane is scheduled to depart from Boeing Field at about 9 a.m. and is expected to fly for about two hours. Dickson will brief reporters after landing, at a news conference around 11:30 a.m. that will be broadcast live on the FAA’s website and social-media platforms.

On Tuesday in Seattle, Dickson and FAA Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell completed the recommended new pilot training for the MAX as part of the preparation for the flight.

Dickson is a former Air Force F-15 jet fighter pilot, and as a captain with Delta Air Lines he flew the previous models of the 737 as well as other Boeing and Airbus jets. At Delta, he rose to senior vice president of flight operations, responsible for the safety and operational performance of the airline’s global fleet.

He took charge of the FAA in July 2019.

Testifying in December before the U.S. House Transportation Committee, Dickson reiterated the FAA position that “when the 737 MAX is returned to service, it will be because the safety issues have been addressed and pilots have received all the
training they need to safely operate the aircraft.”

Last December, Dickson starkly rebuked Boeing’s then-CEO Dennis Muilenburg for seeming to push for clearance to fly the MAX by the end of that month.

In August, the FAA laid out the proposed design changes on the MAX that it believes will make it safe. The proposals drew more than 200 comments from the public and aviation experts.

As the ungrounding approaches, foreign aviation regulators are lining up their own requirements and Congress is beginning to consider legislation to reform the process through which the FAA certifies airliners.

Last week, the executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Patrick Ky, said publicly that his agency expects to sign off on ungrounding the 737 MAX in November.

EASA will stipulate further changes beyond those in the FAA proposal, but Ky said those can be retrofitted after the jet’s return to service and so won’t delay the MAX’s ungrounding.

And on Monday, the House Committee on Transportation announced a bipartisan legislative proposal designed to strengthen the FAA certification process.

However, at this point ahead of the election, it’s unlikely new legislation can be passed before next year.

An FAA report detailing the required pilot training must be published, with a period for public comment.

And a multi-agency Technical Advisory Board must review the final design documentation and issue its report.

Federal Aviation Administration administrator Steve Dickson speaks to journalists at the Dubai Airshow in November 2019. Dickson will fly Boeing’s updated 737 MAX  Wednesday to assure the public the jet is now safe. (Jon Gambrell / The Associated Press)
Federal Aviation Administration administrator Steve Dickson speaks to journalists at the Dubai Airshow in November 2019. Dickson will fly Boeing’s updated 737 MAX Wednesday to assure the public the jet is now safe. (Jon Gambrell / The Associated Press)