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April 22, 2022

Twitter tweets: removal of international travel testing and more

Airport Technology lists five of the most popular tweets on airlines in Q1 2022 based on data from GlobalData’s Travel &Tourism Influencer Platform.

The top tweets are based on total engagements (likes and retweets) received on tweets from more than 150 airlines experts tracked by GlobalData’s Travel & Tourism Influencer platform during the first quarter (Q1) of 2022.

1. Simon Calder’s tweet on UK airports and airlines calling for the removal of international travel testing requirements

Simon Calder, a freelance travel journalist and broadcaster, shared an article on UK airports and airlines requesting for the end of Covid-19 tests for international travel. Aviation CEOs have stated that the burdensome and expensive Covid-19 tests for passenger arrivals to the UK have had no impact on limiting Omicron case rates or the overall cases and hospitalisations in the country.

Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in the UK, had stated that since the Omicron variant had become the dominant variant, it was not urgent to impose any kind of travel restrictions. The travel restrictions are, however, still in place and come at huge cost to the travel industry.

The testing rules for international travellers were stepped up at the end of November in an effort to curb the Omicron variant. All international travellers to the UK, except from Ireland, were required to self-isolate until testing negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the article noted.

Username: Simon Calder

Twitter handle: @SimonCalder

Likes: 362

Retweets: 44

2. Sara Nelson’s tweet on aviation unions calling for the implementation of longer rest period between shifts for flight attendants

Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, shared an article on the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposing a new regulation that allows flight attendants to have longer rest periods in between their shifts. The aviation unions believe that the new rule will help flight attendants conduct their critical safety role by reducing fatigue and are requesting the Congress to implement the longstanding change that was mandated in 2018.

Flight attendants are currently getting just nine consecutive hours of rest period, the article noted. In 2018, the Congress had directed the FAA under the FAA Reauthorization Act, to increase the minimum rest period for flight attendants who are scheduled for duty of 14 hours or less in domestic, flag and supplemental flights.

The article further detailed that the new proposal increases flight attendants’ rest period to ten consecutive hours when assigned for a duty of 14 hours or less. Pete Buttigieg, the secretary of transportation, added that the new proposal will lead to a healthier and safer workplace for flight attendants. Furthermore, Steve Dickson, administrator of the FAA, believes that reducing fatigue is important as flight attendants play a critical role in keeping the passengers safe, especially during emergencies.

Username: Sara Nelson

Twitter handle: @FlyingWithSara

Likes: 194

Retweets: 62

3. Jon Ostrower’s tweet on 5G deployment in the US causing airport disruptions

Jon Ostrower, an aviation reporter, shared an article on aerospace company Boeing cautioning carriers flying 777 and 747-8s to avoid approaching and landing onto the US runways that have 5G C Band notices without proper clearance on the reliability of their radio altimeters. The recommendation was made after the FAA issued a warning on the possibility of disruption from 5G signals that were activated by telecommunication providers Verizon and AT&T on 19 January across 32 states. The warning was issued despite the two companies limiting the deployment of 5G around some major US airports to avoid disruptions, the article noted.

The FAA later cleared operations with two radio altimeters found on Boeing 747-8s. International carriers, nonetheless, started pulling back operation after Boeing’s guidance to operators. Air India, Emirates, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways, cancelled their flights to select US cities claiming the 5G C Band interference risk to their respective aircraft, the article highlighted.

In December 2021, both Boeing and Airbus had requested US telecom operators to postpone the deployment of 5G, Ostrower added. The companies maintained that they needed time to evaluate its impact on radio altimeters that determine the reliable height that airplanes need to maintain from the ground. Radio altimeters are also integral to the flight control and propulsion logic on aircraft such as the 787, irrespective of the visibility or weather conditions, the article detailed.

Username: Jon Ostrower

Twitter handle: @jonostrower

Likes: 142

Retweets: 94

4. Vinamra Longani’s tweet on the launch of Akasa Air in the summer of 2022

Vinamra Longani, an aviation analyst, shared an article on India’s latest airline, Akasa Air, awaiting approval from the government despite the negative impact on air travel demand in the country due to the third Covid-19 wave. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, stock trader and investor, holds a majority of the ownership of the new airline, which is co-founded by Aditya Ghosh, the former president of IndiGo Airlines.

The article detailed that the airline has ordered 72 Boeing Max 737 aircraft and is aiming to start flying in the summer of 2022, according to Akasa CEO Vinay Dube. The company is aiming to have 18 aircraft by March 2023. Dube also stated that the new airline will be an affordable airline, with a single cabin configuration and a single category of seats without any business or premium economy class.

The airline has plans to eventually fly international by taking full advantage of the Boeing 737 Max’s range, which has allowed the aircraft to fly to many destinations, such as the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

Username: VT-VLO

Twitter handle: @Vinamralongani

Likes: 120

Retweets: 24

5. Leslie Josephs’ tweet on United Airlines hiking pilots’ pay to ease Omicron-related flight disruptions

Leslie Josephs, airline reporter with the CNBC, a news channel, tweeted on United Airlines offering pilots triple pay to take up trips throughout January 2022, amid Omicron-related staff shortages and flight cancellations. The airline is among several other airlines such as Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines, and SkyWest, that have hiked the pay of both pilots and flight attendants, following a record number of sick calls and bad weather that caused disruptions in the aviation industry. More than 10,000 flights were cancelled since 23 December 2021.

The article further detailed that United Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association agreed to increase the pay of pilots to cover open trips, offering them three-and-a-half times the pay for flying between 30 December 2021 and 3 January 2022. The entities also agreed on tripling their pay for picking up extra trips between 4 January 2022 and 29 January 2022, according to Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations.

United Airlines’ operations suffered a huge hit when pilots and flight attendants called in sick due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. United’s flight attendants also received extra pay for extra trips, while other carriers such as American, JetBlue, Southwest, and Spirit, increased their crew’s pay to avoid holiday flight interruptions, the article highlighted.    

Username: Leslie Josephs

Twitter handle: @lesliejosephs

Likes: 91

Retweets: 69

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