Airport Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on airlines trends in August 2022, based on data from GlobalData’s Travel & Tourism Influencer Platform.

The top trends are the most mentioned terms or concepts among Twitter discussions of more than 165 airlines experts tracked by GlobalData’s Travel & Tourism Influencer platform during August 2022.

1. Pilots – 166 mentions

Ethiopian Airlines confirming the suspension of Boeing 737 pilots, and CommutAir raising the pay for its pilots, were some of the popularly discussed topics in Q2.

Alex Macheras, an aviation analyst, tweeted on Ethiopian Airlines confirming that Boeing 737 pilots have been suspended pending further investigation. Macheras expressed deep concern over the incident, citing pilot fatigue to be a deep-seated problem that existed across the airline spectrum and posed major threat to Air safety. The article detailed that Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800, registration ET-AOB performing flight ET-343 from Khartoum (Sudan) to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), was enroute at FL370 when the pilots fell asleep. Reports suggested that the aircraft was still cruising an altitude of 37,000ft by the time it reached Addis Ababa, its destination, but did not start descending for landing, the article noted. Air traffic control (ATC) reportedly tried to reach the crew several times without success.

The term also trended in an article shared by Ethan Klapper, a senior aviation reporter, on CommutAir, a regional airline that is partially owned by the United Airlines, set to make its airline pilots some of the best paid in the industry. The airline decided on hiking its starting pay for first officers from $51 per hour to $72 per hour and for captains from $84 per hour to $100 per hour, the article highlighted. With this move, the airline becomes the fourth regional airline to dramatically increase its pay for pilots this summer, following the three regionals owned and operated by the American Airlines.

CommutAir is also expected to pay its first officers a $25,000 annual retention bonus, along with a $50,000 retention bonus for its captains, the article detailed. These bonuses will be paid out in monthly installments.

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2. Aircraft – 160 mentions

Speculations over India being the next beneficiary of new-build A350s meant for Qatar, and Archer Airlines new Midnight electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft expected to enter service in 2023, were some of the popular discussion trends in the second quarter.

Vinamra Longani, an aviation analyst, tweeted on Air India likely to purchase both the -900 and -1000 versions of the A350 aircraft or just the -900. As many as 21 A350-1000 aircraft deliveries are outstanding as part of the Qatar Airways order that have now been cancelled, he added. European aircraft maker Airbus has cancelled its contract to deliver 19 A350 planes to Qatar Airways amid dispute between the two aviation giants, the article detailed. Airbus also cancelled a multi-billion order of 50 planes from Qatar Airways, earlier this year, over the airline’s grounding of A350 aircraft.

Qatar Airways has been involved in a row with Airbus about the degradation of the exterior fuselage surfaces on some of the A350 wide-body planes, the article further noted. This led the airline to ground 23 of the aircraft and not refuse further deliveries from Airbus until the problem was solved. Qatar Airways demanded damages worth $200,000 per day, per plane from the European firm.

The term was also discussed with reference to the US aircraft company, Archer Aviation, announcing the launch of its new eVTOL aircraft, Midnight, entering service by 2025. The flights are expected to be conducted by both Archer and United Airlines, the article detailed. The company further stated that it is planning to reveal the design of the four-passenger aircraft in 2023, and is also preparing to set up a manufacturing plant for its production aircraft this year. Archer also received a $10m down payment from United Airlines for the first 100 of the 200 production eVTOL’s United had agreed to purchase in February 2021, the article noted.  

3. Airport – 105 mentions

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) dramatically expanding new airport screening systems, and UK airport disruptions having eased after passenger caps and flight cancellations, were some of the popular discussions in Q2.

The Points Guy, a travel website, shared an article on the TSA dramatically expanding new airport screening systems. The article detailed that the TSA is using the credential authentication technology system to scan driver’s license or other government identification at several airports. The system validates the identification (ID), confirms the flight reservation linked to the ID, checks for pre-screening status, and also cross-references it with security alerts, the article highlighted. It does all this without the need for a boarding pass.

The article further noted that the TSA has installed over 1,600 CAT units across 175 airports in the past three years, and the number of airports using the system has also grown by about half from the number TSA reported in 2021.

Discussions on the term also revolved around UK airport disruptions having eased after passenger caps were imposed and airlines cancelled flights to cope with staff shortages, according to an article shared by Issac Alexander, an aviation and defence expert. Aviation data company OAG further revealed that just 0.34% of the flights from UK airports were cancelled in the first week of August, compared to over 5% in the last week of June.

As a result, the proportion of affected journeys or cancelled flights steadily trended lower since mid-July, suggesting that the industry had managed to cope in time for the peak summer holiday season, the article detailed. Imposing passenger caps also helped improve customer experiences, such as fewer last-minute cancellations, more punctuality, and better baggage delivery, airports revealed.

4. Fleet – 84 mentions

Air Tanzania targeting international growth after fleet additions in 2023, and Spirit Airlines deal to consolidate JetBlue as the fifth largest US fleet, were some of the trending discussions in the second quarter.

Kurt Hofmann, an air transport world correspondent, shared an article on Air Tanzania targeting international growth after fleet additions in 2023. The article further noted that the East African airline expected to add four more Boeing aircraft by the end of 2023. The new services  were expected to be launched from  Julius Nyerere International Airport, its hub that served Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital.

The term also trended in a discussion by Max Kingsley-Jones, a senior international air transport editor, on the Spirit Airlines merger with JetBlue consolidating the latter as the fifth largest US fleet. Data currently showed that JetBlue currently had a 6% share of the in-service fleet and with Spirit, the seventh largest fleet, the share rose to 11%, with a combined 460 aircraft. With respect to aircraft seat-capacity, the increase was from a 7% to 10% share, the article highlighted.

Frontier Airlines was looking to merge with Spirit Airlines in February for a $6.6bn deal, the article detailed. This merger would have made Frontier’s fleet size similar to that of JetBlue and also have about 20% higher aircraft seat capacity, shifting it to fifth place above JetBlue, Alaska and Allegiant, the article noted.

5. Travel – 74 mentions

A concession company at the Denver International airport giving employees weekly travel allowance, and France considering taxing private jet use by the wealthy to travel distances that can be covered by a car or train, were some of the popular discussions in Q2.

Paul Thompson, a freelance aviation and travel writer, shared an article on Mission Yogurt, a concessionaire at the Denver International airport offering employees a $100 weekly travel allowance to compensate for the hassles of commuting to the airport, security, parking, and more. The allowance is also likely to encourage new talent, given industries’ need for on-site workers, the article noted. The family- and minority-owned hospitality company is the only concessionaire at the airport to offer the allowance to its staff for the time spent on travelling to office and for waiting in security queues.

Robert Wall, a technology editor, further shared an article on France considering to tax private jets used by wealthy individuals to push its fight against climate change. These high-emitting planes are being used to travel distances that can be covered by cars or trains, the article highlighted. The country is among the first countries globally to find measures to curb private-jet use. Planes accounted for 2.4% of the global carbon emissions and private aviation accounted for 4% of that, according to researchers. However, the wealthy polluted a lot more on a per capita basis, the article detailed.