AviationThis week's news wrap: New year, new restrictions

Jab and Go a no-no, Ryanair told

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Ryanair’s “syringe” ad has pricked a nerve with consumers.
Ryanair’s “syringe” ad has pricked a nerve with consumers. Photo Credit: Ryanair

Europe's largest airline Ryanair is being investigated by the UK's Advertising Standards Agency after a "jab and go" advertising campaign promoting air travel attracted more than 1,500 complaints.

The advert on the airline's website features an image of a syringe and a bottle branded "vaccine" alongside the slogans, "book summer," "vaccines are coming" and "jab & go", accompanied by promotions for flights.

Those complaining said the advertisement "misleadingly suggests that the vaccine will have been successfully rolled out across the UK population by spring or summer and that travel restrictions won't apply by then”.

Welcome back, neighbour

Qatar Airways is finally allowed back into neighbouring skies.
Qatar Airways is finally allowed back into neighbouring skies. Photo Credit: Qatar Airways

A flight by Qatar Airways this week travelled through Saudi Arabian airspace for the first time since June 2017, when several of Qatar’s neighbours blockaded the airline’s flights.

The ending of the blockade means Qatar will resume aviation activity with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain.

Testing time for Phuket

Visitors arriving in Phuket from any of the 28 provinces currently declared ‘red zones’ in Thailand will be asked to undergo swab tests for Covid-19 and will face a 14-day quarantine after arriving on the island, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew has announced.

Still in Thailand, Bangkok Airways has confirmed the delay of planned new route launches, temporarily reduced flights to some destinations, and will close all of its passenger lounges and F&B kiosks until further notice, citing the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on its services.

Queensland “goes hard and goes early”

Brisbane has gone into a three-day lockdown.
Brisbane has gone into a three-day lockdown.

Queensland has placed Greater Brisbane into a three-day lockdown after a cleaner who worked in hotel quarantine tested positive for the UK strain of Covid-19.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was “going hard and going early” to stop the spread of this “incredibly contagious virus”.

The lockdown comes only days after a quarantine-free flight from New Zealand to Queensland carrying the first international travellers into the state in nearly a year.

Those on board the Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Brisbane did not have to undergo hotel quarantine, although New Zealanders will be forced into hotel quarantine when they return home and will have to pay for the service.

Why you have a spare seat next to you

Only 1.4 million international passengers were carried by Asia Pacific airlines in November 2020, just 4.6% of the 30.8 million recorded in the same month of 2019.

Seat capacity was comparatively higher at 12.5% of levels in the previous corresponding period. The region’s carriers recorded an average international passenger load factor of just 30% for the month, well below the 80% achieved in November 2019.

Director general of Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, Subhas Menon, said international travel remains crippled by border closures affecting 60% of Asia Pacific destinations.

Globally, international passenger demand in November was 88.3% below November 2019, slightly worse than the 87.6% year-to-year decline recorded in October.

Capacity globally fell 77.4% below previous year levels, and load factor dropped 38.7 percentage points to 41.5%.

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