FedEx pilots, union call on company to suspend Hong Kong operations

(Reuters) – The union representing FedEx Corp pilots on Tuesday called on the U.S. package delivery company to suspend its operations in Hong Kong after some of its members were subject to “extremely difficult conditions” in government-mandated quarantine aimed at tamping down the spread of the coronavirus.

The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) said three FedEx pilots infected with the coronavirus were forced into mandated hospital facilities for up to 10 days in Hong Kong. Those pilots were asymptomatic.

Several other pilots who tested negative, but had been in contact with individuals who tested positive, were put in government camps “under extremely difficult conditions,” the world’s largest pilots’ union said.

“Not only do these situations pose unacceptable risks to our pilots’ safety and wellbeing, but they also create added stress and distraction for flight operations,” said Dave Chase, chairman, FedEx ALPA Master Executive Council.

FedEx in a statement said the company was fully engaged with government authorities to support its crew members in situations that required medical treatment or self-isolation in Hong Kong.

The statement comes as Hong Kong implemented tightened testing and quarantine arrangements for sea on and air crew entering the Asian financial hub starting Wednesday.

Before arriving, crew must test negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of boarding. On arrival, they will be tested again and must self isolate without going into the community, the government said.

There have been numerous instances of aircrew flouting quarantine rules, including a FedEx pilot who flew from Boston to Hong Kong.

On July 26, one Twitter user based in Hong Kong posted that he had met the pilot on the city’s historic Peak tram as he awaited his test results.

“You are not going to believe this! An American guy got on the tram and started chatting… Said he won’t get results for two days-AND HE’S ON THE PEAK TRAM.”

After arriving in Hong Kong, crew have not been given clear guidelines as to what they can or cannot do while awaiting their test results, said one pilot who declined to be named because of corporate policy.

Authorities in the former British colony have warned the city faces a critical period to contain the virus. Strict new measures that ban restaurant dining and restrict gatherings to two people also came into effect on Wednesday.

Hong Kong reported 106 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, including 98 that were locally transmitted.


Korean Air Suspends Flights, Adjusts Premium Classes and Freighter Fleet

Korean Air announced Monday that it is scaling back a significant number of flights due to the decrease in passenger volume because of the coronavirus. In a press release, the airline announced it would be either suspending or reducing the frequency on dozens of flights in both its international and domestic networks.

Beginning Aug. 1, Korean Air will suspend 14 round-trip flights from Incheon, South Korea to seven cities in the Americas. Additionally, nine flights to the Americas will drop from daily service to a reduced schedule of 3-4 times a week. Service to Honolulu; Los Angeles; Las Vegas; Chicago; New York; Boston; Washington; Atlanta; Vancouver, Canada and other cities affected.

Similar schedule adjustments are being made for flights from Incheon to cities in Europe, the Middle East, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Oceana and Asia. Over 300 international flights and 17 domestic flights are affected.

Seating and Class Changes
Korean Air is making a number of adjustments with its aircraft involving both its class offerings and the planes in its fleet. These changes reflect adjusted demand related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Korean Air has stopped offering first-class ticket seats on some of its international flight segments through the summer of 2021, according to a report by One Mile at a Time. The only flights being offered with first-class seats are those aboard the Airbus A380.

This isn’t the first time Korean made such a move on its first-class product offering. Korean cut back some of its first-class seat sale options in 2019 when it stopped offering the product on certain flight segments operated on its Boeing 777 and Boeing 747 aircraft.

It is unclear if Korean Air will remove any seats or leave them installed if it resumes offering first-class seats on more international flights again.

Korean Air is also moving to seek technical and regulatory permission to convert some of its aircraft to freighters. ch-aviation reports the airline has asked the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport for permission to convert some of its Boeing 777-300ERs into freighters.

Korean Air operates a sizable fleet of cargo-only aircraft compromising mostly of 747-400s, 747-8s and 777-200s. Each 777-300 the airline converts could add 10 tonnes of payload to its cargo operations.

Converting aircraft to freighters makes sense while passenger volumes have declined due to the pandemic. Korean Air is expected to report a $124 million net profit in the second quarter, thanks in large part to a large boost in cargo sales.

“Halt of passenger aircraft increased cargo traffic, resulting in a spike in freight charges. Sales from cargo is projected to stand at 1.2 trillion Won [$1 billion], up 96.2% on year,” said analyst Kim Yoo-hyuk from Hanwha Investment & Securities in a report released Tuesday.


Man Holds Up American Airlines Flight Claiming HIPAA Rights Over Not Wearing a Face Mask

American Airlines Airbus A330
PHOTO: American Airlines Airbus A330. (photo via Jozsef Soos/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Best-selling conservative author David J. Harris Jr. held up an entire American Airlines flight on Saturday, claiming he could not wear a face mask due to medical reasons – and then saying American could not ask about his conditions because it violated his HIPAA rights.

Harris laid out his concerns in a video shot while he was still on board the plane and posted to his Instagram account, as outlined by the Mediaite website.

“So because I declared that I have a medical reason to not wear a mask, people on the plane are tripping out and may not want to fly on this plane,” Harris said. “There are a couple [fellow passengers] that are definitely having an issue, me not wearing a mask.”

American Airlines policy states that “a face-covering is required while flying on American, except for very young children or anyone with a condition that prevents them from wearing one.”

But Harris said he declined to divulge his condition as he felt it violated his personal and medical protections under The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

“They cannot violate your HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rights at American [Airlines] and ask you anything about your medical issue, so for all the people on the plane who might want to get off, cause they might not feel safe, then get the heck off!” Harris said. “I’m staying right here.”

Airline and airport officials have been pleading with the federal government to mandate the wearing of face masks on all flights to avoid confusion and vagueness.

The aircraft’s captain did speak with Harris, who said the crew attempted to kick him off the plane, but he remained in his seat. The captain then made an announcement over the public address system saying that any passengers who did not feel safe could get off the plane and re-book their travel without a change fee.

American Airlines did not return a request for comment.

Wearing masks on planes continues to be a hot button issue.

Earlier this week, American Airlines booted a woman off the plane for not wearing a mask, to which fellow passengers cheered when she was removed.

Delta Air Lines also recently had to turn a plane around after multiple passengers refused to wear a mask.


ACI Launches Accreditation Program to Assess Airport Health Measures

Airports Council International (ACI) World has launched the Airport Health Accreditation program to assist airports by assessing new health measures and procedures introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic against global standards.

As airports around the world begin to restart and then prepare to sustain continuing operations they are focused on the health and welfare of travelers, staff, and the public.

The ACI Airport Health Accreditation program provides airports with an assessment of how aligned their health measures are with the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Recommendations along with industry best practices.

The CART guidelines are very well aligned with the ACI Aviation Business Restart and Recovery guidelines as well as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol guidelines.

The program enables airports to demonstrate to passengers, staff, regulators, and governments that they are prioritizing health and safety in a measurable, established manner while also validating their own measures and processes.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects have halted the airport industry at global level, airports are vital cogs in the aviation ecosystem, and our Airport Health Accreditation program will help to restore passenger confidence in air travel.” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. “As important engines of growth, wealth creation, and employment, the recovery of the airport sector will be a significant driver of the global economic recovery. “Key to this recovery will be reassuring the traveling public that airports are prioritizing health and safety and providing safe and hygienic facilities.

“Assessment is aligned with guidelines for health measures established by ICAO, EASA, and ACI to help airports to prioritize and promote a safe and healthy environment for passengers, staff and the public.

“Airports cannot do this in isolation, however, and collaboration, cooperation and consistency across the aviation industry will be the key to rebuilding global air services capacity and keeping passengers safe, healthy, and secure as we do this.

“To assist airports, ACI has developed the Airport Health Accreditation Program to promote best practices and help align efforts across the industry to harmonize measures, processes, and procedures with ICAO, EASA, and ACI’s global guidance.”

Topics covered by the accreditation include cleaning and disinfection, physical distancing (where feasible and practical), staff protection, physical layout, passenger communications and passenger facilities. Airports are communities – or mini-cities – so, to address this, all passenger areas and processes are considered including:

  • terminal access and check-in area
  • security screening
  • boarding gates and lounges
  • retail, food, and beverage areas
  • gate equipment such as boarding bridges
  • escalators and elevator
  • border control areas and facilities (in collaboration with authorities), and
  • baggage claim area and arrivals exit.

The program is voluntary and open to all ACI member airports of all sizes in all regions. Upon submission of the completed questionnaire and all supporting materials, a virtual evaluation is conducted online by ACI to determine that health measures are being applied in alignment with ICAO CART guidelines, as well as EASA, and ACI recovery guidance, including ACI EUROPE’s Guidelines for a Healthy Passenger Experience at Airports.


Mulai 1 Agustus 2020, Kamboja Larang Penerbangan dari Indonesia dan Malaysia

Ilustrasi virus corona  dunia
Ilustrasi virus corona dunia( – Kementerian Kesehatan Kamboja menyebutkan, negaranya akan melarang sementara seluruh penerbangan dari Malaysia dan Indonesia. Langkah ini dilakukan sebagai upaya untuk menekan penyebaran virus corona. Adapun kebijakan tersebut akan berlaku efektif mulai 1 Agustus 2020 mendatang. Melansir The Star, Minggu (26/7/2020), dalam sebuah pengumuman yang dikeluarkan pada Sabtu (24/7/2020), kementerian melihat adanya lonjakan jumlah kasus Covid-19 yang bersifat imported dalam seminggu terakhir. Imported case tersebut diidentifikasi banyak berasal dari dua negara, yaitu Indonesia dan Malaysia. Dari 108 penumpang yang dikonfirmasi positif Covid-19 saat tiba di Kamboja melalui Malaysia dan Indonesia, 55 orang diketahui mengambil penerbangan dari Malaysia.

Pengumuman pada hari yang sama juga menyebut bahwa Kamboja mengonfirmasi 8 kasus Covid-19 pada penumpang dua penerbangan berbeda dari Indonesia. Pada Sabtu (25/7/2020), Kamboja mengonfirmasi 23 kasus imported Covid-19. Penambahan ini membuat jumlah total kasus virus corona yang telah dikonfirmasi di negara ini menjadi sebanyak 225. Sementara, Xinhua memberitakan, dari 8 kasus positif yang dideteksi, 4 merupakan warga negara Kamboja, dan 4 lainnya adalah warga negara Indonesia.

Mereka tiba di Ibu Kota Kamboja, Phnom Penh, pada 23 Juli 2020 dengan menggunakan dua penerbangan yang berbeda. Informasi ini disampaikan oleh Sekretaris Negara Kementerian Kesehatan dan Juru Bicara Or Vandine. Menurut dia, 199 penumpang lain padaa dua penerbangan tersebut telah diwajibkan menjalani karantina wajib selama 14 hari. Mereka ditempatkan dalam berbagai pusat karantina Covid-19 yang ada di ibu kota.

Selain itu, 15 kasus baru lainnya dikonfirmasi pada warga negara Kamboja yang baru tiba di Kamboja pada 19 Juli 2020. Menurut Vandine, mereka datang dari Rusia dan Mesir dengan penerbangan lanjutan atau connecting flight di Malaysia. Adapun dua tes pertama dari mereka menunjukkan hasil negatif virus corona. Namun, menunjukkan hasil positif pada pemeriksaan yang ketiga. “Sampel dari 15 warga Kamboja diuji untuk ketiga kalinya oleh Pasteur Institute of Cambodia dan hasilnya keluar pada Jumat, menunjukkan mereka positif Covid-19,” kata Vandine. Seluruh pasien tersebut telah dibawa ke rumah sakit-rumah sakit untuk dirawat. Sejauh ini, Kamboja telah mengonfirmasi 225 kasus virus corona dengan 143 pasien telah dinyatakan sembuh dan 82 lainnya masih dirawat di rumah sakit.

Artikel ini telah tayang di dengan judul “Mulai 1 Agustus 2020, Kamboja Larang Penerbangan dari Indonesia dan Malaysia”,
Penulis : Vina Fadhrotul Mukaromah
Editor : Inggried Dwi Wedhaswary

Delta Air Lines permanently bans scores of flyers for refusing to wear masks

Delta Air Lines – which now provides about 70% of departures from Salt Lake City International Airport – is serious about requiring masks on its flights.

“We’ve already banned 120 passengers from future travel with Delta for refusing to wear masks on board,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian wrote to company employees in an email Thursday.

He added that the airline just strengthened a policy requiring customers who believe that medical issues prevent them from wearing a mask to complete a “clearance-to-fly” process before they travel, including a consultation with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

“And we’re encouraging those who can’t wear masks to reconsider their travel altogether,” Bastian wrote. “Countless studies and medical experts have advised us that masks are an essential response to the virus that will help us reduce transmission.”

Bastian also said that the airline is working toward testing all of its employees for COVID-19 within the next four weeks.

That includes scheduling additional testing at its hubs such as Salt Lake City and introducing at-home testing for employees based elsewhere.

“By testing 100% of our people, we’re establishing a baseline that helps us make critical decisions to protect everyone’s health and safety – our employees and our customers,” Bastian wrote. “We’re exploring additional programs and technology to make it easier for everyone to stay tested, notify us if they contract the virus, and enable contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed and reduce transmission.”

Earlier this month, Bastian also announced that at least through September, Delta will continue to block middle seats and limit its capacity on flights to 60% to allow social distancing. He also said he expects the airline will likely continue the policy even longer.

That comes after United and American airlines announced that they are discontinuing such precautions, and will fill flights to capacity – saying flying with so many empty seats is a business model that cannot be sustained. Also, the chief of United said that blocking middle seats is more of a public relations strategy than one to protect safety.

Bastian has said the future of Delta depends on it being a leader in protecting the safety of its passengers and workers, along with helping travelers to feel confidence in the airline’s priorities.

Delta Air Lines permanently bans scores of flyers for refusing to wear masks

(David Zalubowski | AP file photo) A ticketing agent for Delta Air Lines hands a boarding pass to a passenger as he checks in for a flight in the main terminal of Denver International Airport in Denver on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.


Gelombang Bangkrut Maskapai Dunia Terjadi, Apa Menular ke RI?

A SAS jet taxis at Newark Liberty International Airport, Wednesday, May 2, 2018, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Foto: Maskapai Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS). (AP/Julio Cortez)

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Menteri Perhubungan (Menhub) Budi Karya Sumadi mengungkap betapa mengerikannya industri penerbangan dunia dihantam pandemi covid-19. Maskapai papan atas dunia ramai-ramai mengalami tekanan, bahkan tak sedikit yang bangkrut.

“Kita mengambil contoh bahwa di industri penerbangan, secara global perusahaan penerbangan mengalami masalah. Tercatat penerbangan swasta Kolombia, Avianca sedang proses pengajuan opsi bangkrut, Virgin Australia juga demikian,” ujarnya dalam sebuah webinar, Rabu (22/7/20).

Selain itu, dia menyebut bahwa dua maskapai besar, yakni Airtrans dan Lufthansa juga mengalami hal yang sangat serius. Kondisi ini diperparah dengan iklim usaha di dunia yang masih mencemaskan.

“Thailand sudah melakukan lockdown dan tentu ini membuat situasi situasi semakin tidak baik. Kita harapkan dunia aviasi dapat keluar dengan baik tanpa mengabaikan protokol kesehatan,” katanya.

Dia ingin, protokol kesehatan di Indonesia bisa dilakukan dengan disiplin. Meski tak mudah, namun menurutnya kedisiplinan merupakan ujung pangkal menyelesaikan persoalan.

“Kalau kita melihat hari-hari ini maka pergerakan daripada transportasi begitu bermasalah. Sehingga kita perlu melakukan upaya-upaya agar kita bisa tetap eksis,” tegasnya.

Secara umum, dia menilai bahwa sektor transportasi memiliki peran penting dalam menopang perekonomian. Kini, dengan adanya pembatasan transportasi, pertumbuhan ekonomi pun ikut terkoreksi.

“Kita tentu melihat bahwa apa yang terjadi membuat shock, karena transportasi adalah darah daripada roda perekonomian, sehingga banyak insan transportasi yang tak bisa berpartisipasi dalam kehidupan sehari-hari,” katanya.

“Menurunnya sektor transportasi memang membuat perekonomian terkoreksi tajam, diperkirakan terdapat suatu kinerja negatif namun demikian kita harus usahakan di kuartal III dan kuartal IV, itu bisa pulih kembali. Sehingga pertumbuhan yang relatif lebih baik dari hari-hari ini,” katanya.


Syarat dari Menhub Agar Industri Transportasi Bisa Kembali Bangkit

Grafis Pesawat Take Off, Jakarta – Menteri Perhubungan (Menhub) Budi Karya Sumadi menekankan pentingnya penerapan disiplin protokol kesehatan agar industri transportasi dapat kembali bangkit.

Dirinya berujar, sektor transportasi mengalami penurunan 30 persen hingga 70 persen akibat dampak pandemi ini.

Oleh karenanya, operasional transportasi baik darat, laut maupun udara harus dilengkapi dengan protokol kesehatan yang ketat agar pandemi tidak semakin mewabah, sehingga masyarakat bisa merasa aman kembali saat menggunakan transportasi umum

“Kita tahu, transportasi adalah darahnya ekonomi. Ekonomi sekarang terkoreksi karena (pergerakan) transportasi menurun,” ujarnya dalam pembukaan webinar, Rabu (22/7/2020).

Menhub mencontohkan beberapa kasus industri aviasi yang terdampak pandemi seperti Air France, Virgin Australia hingga Thai Airways. Situasi global yang sedang tidak menguntungkan bisa sangat mempengaruhi industri nasional jika penerapan protokol kesehatan tidak dimaksimalkan.

Dirinya juga menekankan pentingnya berkolaborasi dengan berbagai pihak untuk merumuskan kebijakan beriringan dengan penerapan protokol kesehatan. Namun, kebijakan juga tidak boleh terlalu progresif.

“Kita nggak boleh terlalu optimis membuat prediksi terlalu dini, nggak boleh progresif, tapi kita harus terukur,” ujarnya.


Prosedurnya Ribet, Saat Ini Penerbangan Kalah Saing dengan Transportasi Darat

Ilustrasi bus, Jakarta Bisnis penerbangan saat ini dikatakan kalah bersaing dengan transportasi jalur darat. Prosedur penerbangan saat ini yang tidak fleksibel karena calon penumpang harus menjalani rapid tes menjadi penyebab. Rapid menjadi keharusan demi memastikan penumpang terbebas dari virus corona.

Ini diungkapkan Direktur Utama Garuda Indonesia, Irfan Setiaputra. “Hari ini karena harus rapid tes dan lain-lain kita jadi kalah bersaing dengan jalan darat,” kata Irfan di Jakarta, Jumat, (24/7/2020).

Hal ini membuat masyarakat memilih bepergian menggunakan jalur darat dengan menumpang mobil. Cara ini lebih mudah karena tidak perlu khawatir terpapar selama di perjalanan.

“Kalau ke airport itu kan prosesnya panjang dan akhirnya naik mobil aja beres. Masuk mobil dan sampai Solo turun langsung masuk ke rumah,” kata Irfan.

Meski begitu, hal ini tak menyurutkan Garuda untuk tetap melayani penerbangan pada rute tertentu. Meskipun dia tak menampik sempat berpikiran untuk mengurangi frekuensi penerbangan rute yang sepi penumpang.

Tetapi, saat ini beberapa rute seperti Solo tetap dipertahankan untuk melakukan penerbangan setiap hari. Begitu juga dengan rute lainnya.

“Kita tetap jaga minimal 3 hari sekali (rute penerbangan domestik) atau seminggu sekali ke luar negeri,” katanya mengakhiri.

Reporter: Anisyah Al Faqir


Corona Tak Kunjung Reda, Maskapai AS Catat Rugi Miliaran Dolar

Maskapai AS Penuhi Tuntutan China Untuk Ubah Penyebutan Taiwan

Jakarta – Sejumlah maskapai penerbangan Amerika Serikat (AS) mencatat kerugian hingga miliaran dolar. Hal itu akibat semakin anjloknya permintaan yang disebabkan meroketnya kasus virus Corona di AS.

Dikutip dari CNBC, Jumat (24/7/2020), sejumlah maskapai AS memprediksi pemulihan industri penerbangan tergantung dari turunnya kasus dan adanya vaksin Corona.

American Airlines dan Southwest Airlines Kamis kemarin telah membukukan kerugian kuartal-II. Kerugian bersih Southwest US$ 915 juta (Rp 13 triliun) dan American mencatat kerugian bersih US$ 2,1 miliar (Rp 30 triliun). Kerugian tersebut didorong turunnya pendapatan.

American mencatat pendapatannya turun 86% dan menjadi US$ 1,6 miliar setara Rp 23 triliun (kurs Rp 14.600) dibandingkan tahun lalu US$ 12 miliar (Rp 175 triliun). Sedangkan Southwest turun hampir 83% menjadi US$ 1 miliar (Rp 14 triliun) dari US$ 5,9 miliar (Rp 86 miliar) tahun lalu.

Baca juga:Waduh! Maskapai Besar Ini Mau PHK 25.000 Pegawai

Selain itu pengeluaran untuk operasional juga harus terus berjalan. Juni ini American mendapati turunnya pengeluaran operasional dari US$ 100 juta per hari pada April lalu menjadi US$ 30 juta per hari. Sedangkan Southwest turun dari US$ 30 juta per hari April lalu, menjadi US$ 16 juta per hari di bulan Juni. Lonjakan infeksi virus Corona ditambah dengan pembatasan perjalanan mendorong maskapai mengurangi penerbangan untuk menahan uang operasional perusahaan.

CEO Southwest, Gary Kelly mengatakan maskapainya kemungkinan akan mengurangi jumlah penerbangan pada Agustus dan September. Sedangkan CFO American Airlines Derek Kerr mengatakan akan terus menambah langkah baru untuk menyelamatkan maskapai hingga masa mendatang.

“Kita harus bekerja lebih keras sekarang dan menyesuaikan kapasitas penerbangan Agustus dan September, untuk terus menekan pengeluaran,” ujar Kelly

“Kami akan terus berupaya mencari cara untuk menekan pengeluaran hingga di masa mendatang,” tambah Derek Kerr

Sejumlah maskapai AS telah menghabiskan kuartal-II untuk menopang likuiditas melalui utang dan ekuitas. Selain itu, Departemen Keuangan AS juga telah menggelontorkan dana sebesar US$ 25 miliar (Rp 365 triliun) yang dibagi kepada sejumlah maskapai AS sebagai dana penggajian karyawan.