Airport Tech trends: Aircraft leads Twitter mentions in July 2020

5 August 2020 (Last Updated August 5th, 2020 23:01)

Airport Tech trends: Aircraft leads Twitter mentions in July 2020
Airports and airlines are increasingly feeling the strain of lockdowns.

Aircraft lead discussions as Airport Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on airlines in July 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Aircraft – 768 mentions

Aircraft sanitisation, aircraft reductions, and aircraft being used for other purposes were popularly discussed in the month of July. According to an article shared by Alex Macheras, an aviation analyst, the situation will be grimmer for airline operators this winter. Many airlines at the risk of collapsing in the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that robust aircraft sanitisation, airport testing, consistent mask policy and airport measures, and passenger tracing are absolutely necessary.

Will Horton, an aviation analyst, tweeted on the retirement of the world’s oldest flying A330 by Cathay Pacific group as part of its aircraft reduction programme. The Cathay Dragon MSN12 B-HLJ left the fleet after completing 27 years in service.

In other news, Jason Rabinowitz, an aviation journalist, discussed Lufthansa Technik’s plans to ready two of A321neoLR’s for the German Armed Forces in 2021. The aircraft interiors can be configured in 18 different ways, and can carry up to 163 passengers. It will be used for medical evacuation, and troop transport, among others, he added.

2. Pilots – 145 mentions

The laying off and furloughing of pilots and airline staff, were popularly discussed during the month. According to an article shared by Leslie Josephs, an airline reporter, the US airline, Delta, is planning to introduce a 15% cut to the minimum pay for pilots in order to lower costs. The pay cut is expected to avoid pilot furloughs for a year. The airline also warned more than 2,500 of its pilots of future furloughs as the Federal aid expires on October 1, the article noted.

Brad Sumers, an Airbus captain, added that American Airlines warned all of its frontline employees including pilots, flights attendants, mechanics, and others about future furloughs. The Allied Allied Pilots Association has urged the airline to expand early retirement options for pilots, citing that future furloughs could increase costs as certain existing pilots may have to be trained on new aircraft.

In other news, Ben Schlappig, an airlines blogger, shared an article on an agreement between JetBlue Airways and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) to avoid involuntary furlough of pilots at least through May 2021. Retraining costs, complicated layoff procedures, and re-hiring when demand recovered, were some of the challenges faced by the airlines, the article highlighted.

3. Aviation – 124 mentions

The impact of the global pandemic on travel and aviation, and the retiring of fleets, were popularly discussed topics in July 2020. According to an article shared by Jamie Freed, a chief correspondent, aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation cancelled an order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX planes. BOC, however, seemed confident about the more-than-a-year grounded jets. The article highlighted that the lessor will also defer the delivery of other Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

John Walton, an aviation journalist, added that Europe’s travel and aviation industry were wrecked because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In other news, Captain Dave, an A380 captain, discussed how British Airways scrapped its entire 747-400 fleet as the pandemic brought long-haul flights to a halt. The airline has hastened its retirement plans for its iconic 747 jumbo jet fleet four years in advance, the article noted.

4. Covid-19 – 106 mentions

Passengers’ exposure to the Covid-19 virus, and airlines’ wet leasing were popularly discussed during the month. According to an article shared by Johnny Jet, a top travel blogger and influencer, it is being speculated that passengers aboard a WestJet flight from Toronto to Halifax may have been infected by the Covid-19 virus.

In other news, Vinamra Longani, an aviation analyst, tweeted on SpiceJet’s plans to wet lease Oman Air’s wide-bodied A330 to fly to London. The influencer added that low cost airlines such as SpiceJet and others may be looking at this as an opportune moment to operate direct flights to Europe from India.

However, SpiceJet did not have slots at the London’s Heathrow airport, and going to Gatwik airport with the leased A330 was not a good idea as premium seats filled up more quickly at Heathrow. To operate from Heathrow, SpiceJet would have to opt for ad-hoc slots due to the current health crisis.

5. Fleet – 84 mentions

The retiring and revival of fleets, and re-structuring of fleet plans, were some of the popularly discussed topics during the month. According to an article shared by Max Kingsley-Jones, an aviation editor, Qatar Airways has decided not to revive its A380 fleet until passenger demand rises. The airline’s group chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said that flying a large aircraft with less load did not make commercial sense. He added that its younger fleet of Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft were sufficient to meet the current demand.

Scott Hamilton, an aviation editor, meanwhile, shared an article on how there were ways to re-structure the fleet plan for Boeing and Airbus. It was not possible to do this earlier, but could be leveraged now, the only problem being that of labour.

In other news, Kurt Hofmann, an air transport correspondent, tweeted on the French airline Corsair retiring its last operational Boeing 747 in June. The influencer added that the airline instead was working on switching to an all-Airbus A330 fleet.