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Transport

Saudia announces 60 daily flights as Covid-19 movement restrictions ease

Flights will be operated from the new terminal at Jeddah’s international airport

Saudia said that the first phase of its resumption of domestic operations will see the airline operate 60 flights a day to locations including Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Madinah, Jazan, Hail and Najran.

Saudi Arabia Airlines will begin operate dozens of daily domestic flights on May 31 following a decision from the kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), the airline has announced.

In a statement, Saudia said that the first phase of its resumption of domestic operations will see the airline operate 60 flights a day to locations including Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Madinah, Jazan, Hail and Najran.

All domestic flights will be operated from the new Terminal 1 at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport.

The announcement comes as Saudi Arabia moves to ease restrictions from Thursday, May 28, which includes an easing of domestic travel in all areas of the kingdom with the temporary exception of Makkah.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia reported 1,931 new cases of Covid-19, bringing its total to 76,726, including 411 deaths.

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Destinations

COVID-19: Emirates announces to operate more special flights on limited routes in May

Dubai: Emirates airline has announced to operate more special flights on limited routes from Dubai to Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Manila, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai in May.

Passenger flights from Dubai to Frankfurt are scheduled to operate on May 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 and 13. Emirates will fly from Dubai to London Heathrow on May 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 and 14; to Manila on May 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15 and 16; to Sao Paulo on May 3, and to Shanghai on May 2.

The one-way special flights will facilitate travel for residents and visitors wishing to return home, according to a statement issued by the airline on Thursday.

Those who wish to travel to Shanghai must contact the embassy or consulate of the People’s Republic of China in the UAE. For all other flights, passengers can book directly on emirates.com or via their travel agent.

One-way flights

Only citizens of the destination countries, and those who meet the entry requirements of the destination will be allowed to board. Customers will be required to follow all health and safety measures required by the UAE authorities and the country of destination.

Modified in-flight services

Similar to other repatriation flights that Emirates has operated thus far, for health and safety reasons, the airline will offer a modified in-flight service that reduces contact, and the risk of infection. Magazines and print reading material will not be available. Meals on-board will be served in hygienic prepacked meal boxes, offering customers sandwiches, beverages, snacks, and desserts. A selection of hot snacks will also be served on long-haul flights.

Pre-allocated seats

Emirates’ Lounge and Chauffeur Drive services will be temporarily unavailable during this period and in-flight Wi-Fi service is available for purchase only. On board Emirates’ flights, seats are pre-allocated where possible with vacant seats placed between individual passengers or family groups in observance of physical distancing protocols. More information is available on emirates.com.

No cabin baggage

Cabin baggage will not be accepted on these flights. Carry-on items allowed in the cabin will be limited to laptop, handbag, briefcase or baby items. All other items have to be checked in, and Emirates will add the cabin baggage allowance to customers’ check-in baggage allowance.

Passengers are required to apply social distancing guidelines during their journey and wear their own masks when at the airport and on board the aircraft. Travellers should arrive at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 for check-in, three hours before departure. Emirates’ check-in counters will only process passengers holding confirmed bookings to the above destinations.

All Emirates aircraft will go through enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes in Dubai, after each journey.

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Transport

Boeing Announces 10 Percent Cut to Staff, Scaled Back Production

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak and the continued grounding of the 737 MAX fleet, Boeing announced it would be forced to cut staff and slash production.

According to NPR.com, a massive first-quarter financial loss and a drastic drop in air travel demand forced Boeing officials to cut around 10 percent of its workforce (16,000 employees) through buyouts, natural attrition and involuntary layoffs.

Boeing’s commercial airplane unit took the hardest hit after it was announced production of the 787 Dreamliner and the 777 widebody passenger airplanes would be scaled back. The commercial unit also endured deep cuts to its staff, with around 15 percent of employees being let go.

“The demand for commercial airline travel has fallen off a cliff,” Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said in a statement. “The pandemic is also delivering a body blow to our business.”

With more than two-thirds of the aircraft around the world not currently operating, passenger demand down by around 90 percent and orders for more planes being delayed, Boeing lost $1.7 billion from its core operations during the first quarter.

The announcement comes after the airplane manufacturer announced hopes to win regulatory approval in August for the 737 MAX’s return to service, but the timeline could be pushed backed until fall due to the impact of the viral pandemic.

Earlier this week, Boeing shareholders have elected 12 members to its board of directors despite objections to almost half of them by proxy advisory firms.

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Transport

American Airlines Announces Changes to Admirals Club, Flagship Lounges

American Airlines announced it would make operational changes to Admirals Club lounges and Flagship Lounges at airports around the world.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the resulting decrease in demand, American has changed food and beverage procedures in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Orlando, Pennsylvania and San Francisco.

The airline has been forced to temporarily close some U.S. Admirals Club locations in airports with multiple lounges due to decreased demand. Facilities in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and London have also been temporarily closed.

American announced alcohol would no longer be served to guests at lounges in Boston, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Other facilities have instituted policies stating all food would be served as to-go items.

The carrier announced earlier this week it would cut 75 percent of its international capacity through May 6 to combat the loss of revenue from decreased customer demand due to the coronavirus.

Other airlines are also making changes, with United Airlines reducing the number of flights scheduled for next month by a total of 60 percent, including a 42-percent drop across the U.S. and Canada and an 85-percent decrease in international flights.

The U.S. Travel Association also announced Tuesday it projects an $809 billion hit on the U.S. economy and the loss of 4.6 million travel-related jobs in the country.

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