Airlines Will Play Key Role In The Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines

The airline industry will play a crucial role delivering coronavirus vaccines worldwide after pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer (PFE) win approval for their pandemic fighting inoculations. “This is sort of an all hands on deck for distribution,” Cowen Managing Director and senior research analyst Helane Becker told Yahoo Finance Live.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently urged governments worldwide to prepare for vaccine delivery. “Air cargo plays a key role in the distribution of vaccines in normal times through well established global time and temperature sensitive distribution systems.”

However, IATA cautions that “delivering billions of doses of vaccine to the entire world efficiently will involve hugely complex logistical and programmatic obstacles” such as building refrigeration storage units.

Pfizer announced earlier this week that its experimental vaccine, which proved 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 in recent trials, must be stored at sub-zero temperatures.

An airborne armada

Airlines like New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW) will be among the global airborne armada eventually shipping billions of doses of vaccine, according to Becker. The cold storage requirements make it difficult.

“This is going to be one of the biggest challenges for the transportation industry,” Michael Steen, chief commercial officer at Atlas Air told the Wall Street Journal last month.

Atlas Air has the largest fleet of 747 freighters in the world but that alone won’t be enough. Becker said Atlas Air, FedEx (FDX) and United Parcel Service (UPS) will all be enlisted to deliver vaccines.

“UPS has the largest freezer farms I think in the world. They’ve got one big one at Louisville, Kentucky, which is their US Air hub, and they have one in the Netherlands,” which Becker said prepares them for the upcoming distribution task.

UPS (UPS) stock is up 42% year-to-date. FedEx (FDX) is up 77% and Atlas Air (AAWW) is up 87%. “We think Atlas has legs, the stocks really performed well,” Becker said.

IATA said the job ahead is enormous. “Just providing a single dose to 7.8 billion people would fill 8,000 747 cargo aircraft.”

U.S. carriers shipped 58,000 tons of cargo a day before the pandemic and passenger airlines like American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL) will be needed, according to Becker. “American and United also have cold storage facilities. American in Philadelphia and United in New York, so they’ll be able to participate,” she said.

As the world anxiously awaits approval of effective coronavirus vaccines, IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac described what lies ahead “Safely delivering COVID-19 vaccines will be the mission of the century for the global air cargo industry.”

Adam Shapiro is co-anchor of Yahoo Finance Live 3pm to 5pm.

By: Adam Shapiro

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British Airways Owner IAG To Operate Just 30% Of Flights For The Rest Of 2020

International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns British airways, the U.K.’s second largest airline by passenger numbers, fell far short of analysts’ expectations on Thursday as it recorded a loss of $1.5 billion (1.3 billion euros) in the third quarter and announced further cuts to its schedule amid a severe drop in demand for air travel.

Key Facts

Losses at IAG flew below forecasts of $1.1 billion (920 million euros) to report a 1.3 billion loss.

Revenue was down 83%, from $8.6 billion (7.3 billion euros) this time last year, to $1.4 billion (1.2 billion euros) in the three months to the end of September.

IAG blamed a rise in local lockdowns for impacting bookings as several of its key markets face a surge in new infections, while it added that governments had not adopted air travel corridors or new measures to replace quarantine periods as quickly as it had hoped. 

The group, which earlier this year was forced to cut 94% of its flights at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, now says it will operate up to 30% of its 2019 capacity in the fourth quarter, lower than the 40% that they had hoped.

But the group said liquidity remains strong, adding it had raised 2.74 billion euros in early October, helping it to maintain a strong pot of cash likely totalling 9.3 billion euros ($11 billion).

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IAG shares were down almost 2% on Thursday morning.

Key Background

IAG previously said it does not expect passenger demand to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023. Like many global air travel firms, the group was severely hit by coronavirus restrictions introduced earlier this year and forced to dramatically slash the number of flights it operated during the first wave of the virus.

As of May, the firm, which also owns Iberia, Spain’s flagship airline, budget airline Vueling and Ireland’s flagship airline Aer Lingus, had received some $1.45 billion in government support from the U.K. and Spain. Industry veteran Willie Walsh, who stepped down as IAG CEO in September with ex-Iberia CEO Luis Gallego taking over, recently warned that the coming months would be “very tough” for the industry and that it would “never go back to the way it was”, but added that he foresees airlines becoming more efficient

Tangent

British Airways announced over the summer that it would press ahead to cut almost a third of its workforce—or 12,000 jobs—to offset the pandemic-induced downturn. 

Further Reading

IAG preliminary third quarter results and update (IAG)

Full coverage and live updates on the CoronavirusFollow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip

Isabel Togoh

Isabel Togoh

I am a breaking news reporter for Forbes in London, covering Europe and the U.S. Previously I was a news reporter for HuffPost UK, the Press Association and a night reporter at the Guardian. I studied Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, where I was a writer and editor for one of the university’s global affairs magazines, the London Globalist. That led me to Goldsmiths, University of London, where I completed my M.A. in Journalism. Got a story? Get in touch at isabel.togoh@forbes.com, or follow me on Twitter @bissieness. I look forward to hearing from you.

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British Airways owner IAG cuts flight numbers again IAG, the owner of British Airways, has said it will operate fewer planes than planned for the rest of the year as the pandemic continues to hit demand. The airline group said it would fly no more than 30% of its usual flights compared to last year. The news came as the firm – which also owns the Iberia and Aer Lingus airlines – reported a €1.3bn (£1.17bn) loss for the period from July to September.

In the same period last year, the group reported a €1.4bn profit. IAG said revenue in the quarter plunged 83% to €1.2bn, compared to €7.3bn last year. “Recent overall bookings have not developed as previously expected due to additional measures implemented by many European governments in response to a second wave of Covid-19 infections,” IAG said. ►► Like and share more news! ►► Subscribe to 00Fast News! ►► See you in the next news! Goodbye! https://00fastnews.blogspot.comhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UClk2… Created By 00Fast News #news#00fastnews#breakingnews#latestnews#newsupdate

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United Airlines Is Getting Rid Of Fee To Change Flights, Permanently

United Airlines is getting rid of change fees on domestic flights, as a measure to give passengers more flexibility with scheduling during the current coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, August 30, the Chicago-based airline announced that it will permanently let customers change flights for free on all of its standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the United States, effective immediately.

The new policy is applicable on these types of tickets for travel within all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is said in a media release that customers will not be limited in the number of times they adjust their flights.

This move by United is said to be in response to a top request from passengers.

“When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of this fee is often the top request,” said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, in a video message. “Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service. United Airlines won’t be following that same playbook as we come out of this crisis. Instead, we’re taking a completely different approach – and looking at new ways to serve our customers better.” 

Flying on Standby for Free

United's removal of change fees is said to have come from being a top customer request.
United’s removal of change fees is said to have come from being a top customer request. United

Starting next year, United will enable passengers additionally to change their flights at no additional cost in another way — same-day standby.

Beginning on January 1, 2021, United customers can choose to add themselves to the standby list for free to travel on a different flight earlier or later on the same day as their original departure. If a seat opens up, they will be able to take that other flight instead.

United’s previous flight switch fee for domestic U.S. travel was $200, and the fee to be listed for standby travel was $75; however, the carrier’s Basic Economy cabin is not included in this new policy but with the pandemic its change fees have been waved.

Southwest Airlines has preceded United in not charging change fees, even before the pandemic hit.

Extending More Waivers

United is also extending its waiver for new tickets issued through the end of 2020, to permit unlimited changes with no fee and applying to both domestic and international ticket types issued after March 3, 2020.

For MilagePlus members, United will waive all redeposit fees on award travel for flights changed or cancelled more than 30 days before departure and allowing all MileagePlus Premier members to confirm a different flight on the day of their travel. On January 1, all Premier members will be able to confirm a seat for free on a different flight with the same departure and arrival cities as their original ticket. This expanded option will allow MileagePlus Silver members and above to confirm a new seat in the same ticket fare class if space is available.

Michele Herrmann

 Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann develops guides on U.S. and international destinations and writes about travel trends, food and culture for various print and digital media outlets and travel companies.

In A Twist On Loyalty Programs, Emirates Is Promising Travelers A Free Funeral If Infected With Covid19

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Last year, advertising spending in the insurance industry reached $7 billion. This is an incredible figure as it accounts for about 2.7% of all U.S. advertising spending, which is $240 billion. Overall, the acquisition cost is just about $20 per each person in the U.S. or about $60 for the typical insurance-purchasing single person, couple or family. The ROI on lifetime customer is exponential.

How can they afford such exorbitant ad outlays? Firstly, insurance companies have plenty of cash. And secondly, because it’s a mature category, insurers must steal share from each other to grow. Insurance isn’t a fun product – Millennials aren’t arguing whether Allstate or Progressive is cooler, the way they would for a Nike or an Adidas. It’s also a low-involvement product, one that is continually paid for without much consideration by the consumer. As long as nothing goes wrong retention rates are stay high without switching.

In 2000 GEICO broke with the insurance advertising tradition and introduced a zany campaign which the staid and conservative insurance industry had never seen before – filled with pigs, cavemen, googly eyes and, of course, a little green lizard that was first conceived on the back of a napkin. GEICO’s gambit of injecting humor into the sleepy and conservative category worked, propelling the insurer to yearly market-share gains and forcing competitors to step up their game. Insurer after insurer is now hitting the airwaves with character-driven campaigns, from “Mayhem,” to “Flo,” to “Professor Burke,” to “Emu and Stakeouts.” Some center their campaigns on celebrities, such as football players like Aaron Rodgers or Payton Manning.

The goal is to grab the attention of consumers who would rather not think about, or even care about, insurance, certainly not at age 25 or 30. Therefore, there is this enormous overlap on the advertising, making brands indistinguishable. And the zany humor, or the irrelevant celebrities, make the ads trivial. That is why the insurance companies have to advertise – all the time. They must buy share of mind to engage.

Contrast that consumer indifference with Emirates Airlines’ foray into the insurance industry, offering COVID-19 insurance. Airlines are trying all sorts of things – from  leaving middle seats empty, to requiring everyone to wear masks, to health checks at terminals – in order to instill confidence in passengers who may be leery of air travel amid the global pandemic.

Emirates’ insurance for travelers stipulates that if one of its passengers is diagnosed with COVID-19 during their journey, the Dubai-based airline will cover their medical expenses, up to €150,000 (about $176,000). It will pay €100 ($118) per day for quarantine costs – such as a hotel room – for up to two weeks.

And if the worst happens, Emirates will offer €1,500 (about $1,765) for a passenger’s funeral. The insurance is automatic with ticketing, effective immediately, and carries no fees for travelers.

It’s an interesting idea. It delivers share of mind on steroids. It demonstrates the integrity of the brand to the public, and it shows they have empathy for their customers and understand the current environment.

The premise of insurance for medical bills or quarantine is brave. It’s bold and cuts to the heart of the reluctance to travel. It doesn’t skirt the emotions surrounding COVID-19 but tackle them head on. However, the  fact that the  insurance includes a death coverage could be problematic. It could encourage the kind of mental imagery that an airline normally wouldn’t want associated with its brand.

This kind of insurance is simply untried and carries the risk of reputational damage if it’s not done well. There’s no precedent where a brand offers burial services as an incentive. However, I applaud Emirate for assuming the risk. When airlines are flying planes in 20-30% capacity and even cancel entirely to some airports, the strategy may be well timed. Risky times call for risky measures. The shock value of free funeral offer might be a clever strategy to prompt travelers start flying again, or at least think about it.

And yeah, it’s one campaign that nobody will complain if it’s underdelivers on its promises.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

The author is CEO of Avidan Strategies, a consultancy that specializes in advising marketers about optimizing agency practices. They help marketers improve agency relationships and manage agency search and RFPs. Avi Dan was board member at two top global agencies and  held leadership positions at WPP, Publicis, Saatchi, Havas and Y&R, partnering with iconic brands for P&G, Kraft, Bayer, GM, Pfizer, Mars, The Wall Street Journal, Sprint, Samsung, Ally and Coca-Cola. A native of Israel, Avi is a former army officer, and a Columbia MBA. He can be reached at avi@avidanstrategies.com

Source: https://www.forbes.com

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easyJet Inside the Cockpit Series

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easyJet is now Britain’s biggest airline, carrying nearly 90 million passengers last year. But in 2019, times have never been tougher. Staying top in these turbulent times means attracting more passengers, flying to more destinations and training up a new crop of rookie pilots.

easyJet: Inside the Cockpit is a returning primetime series, with unprecedented fixed rig camera access which follows more pilots as they are put through their paces. From cadets taking to the air for the first time at the controls of a passenger plane, to the most experienced pilots landing at Europe’s most demanding airports.

In episode one we meet the pilots who have to battle with delays, deal with a sick passenger and negotiate landing at one of the world’s most challenging airports in the heart of the Alps. Over a busy two days, Captain Emma Henderson will have to face technical breakdowns, severe turbulence and a medical emergency when a female passenger collapses in her arms.

Meanwhile, Captain Brij Kotecha is flying into Innsbruck and as he approaches the runway through a blanket of cloud, he only has seconds to decide whether to land or abort. Captain Gaurav Adwaney and Senior First Officer Iris De Kan and are piloting easyJet’s first ever flight on a new route to Aqaba in Jordan. After five and a half hours flying, they will be greeted by a party of local dignitaries – if they can park in the right place.

Inside the Cockpit takes you behind the flight deck door, revealing what a pilot’s life is really like six miles in the air.

Source: https://www.itv.com

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