AviationAviation Wrap: Free Covid cover for Eithad passengers, IATA reiterates face mask call, and Qantas pyjamas anyone?

New Zealand stalls on Singapore border reopening invite

New Zealanders will stay in their own backyard for now. Credit: Ian Jarrett
New Zealanders will stay in their own backyard for now. Credit: Ian Jarrett

Director general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, Subhas Menon, has praised Singapore's opening of its borders to travellers from Brunei and New Zealand, calling it “a very important step in the right direction”.

The AAPA chief said adopting a testing regime without onerous quarantine requirements “sets a standard worth emulating in facilitating air travel and economic recovery in the region”.

However, a spokesman for New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that the government’s advice to residents not to travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic remains unchanged.

“We will continue to review these settings in response to international development,” the spokesman added.

Free Covid cover for Virgin Atlantic passengers

Virgin Atlantic has become the latest airline to offer every passenger complimentary Covid-19 insurance cover.

The insurance policy will cover up to £500,000 (US$656,000) in emergency medical costs and related expenses. It follows a similar move from Emirates.

The cover is currently valid on trips up until March 31, 2021 and applies to medical expenses and related accommodation, transport, and repatriation expenses.

Up to £3,000 will also be covered if a passenger is denied boarding due to Covid-19 or has to quarantine during a trip.

IATA says it again: Flying is safe but wear a mask

IATA is backing its own research by insisting that the risk of catching Covid-19 on a flight remains “very low”.

The international trade association cites factors such as the high flow rate of cabin air from top to bottom, constant filtering of air through state-of-the-art filters, and the fact that all seats face the same direction.

IATA is also calling on all passengers to wear a face covering while on the aircraft.

“This is not just about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting everyone else on the flight,” said IATA’s medical advisor, Dr David Powell.

The association said only “a very small number of individuals” were refusing to wear a face mask and added that “some on-board incidents have become violent, resulting in costly and extremely inconvenient diversions to offload these passengers”.

Hot item: Qantas pyjamas sell out

Qantas found a way to make quick money when it sold off surplus amenity kit products, including its premium class pyjamas.

Qantas sold all 10,000 of the packs – which also included Tim Tam chocolate biscuits – within a few hours of the offer being made.

The packs were available on the official Qantas Store via 4,350 Qantas Points or by paying A$25 (US$18).

Qantas has cancelled all international flights, except to New Zealand, until March 2021.

Airline schedules fail to take off in August

Hopes that airline schedules would see a gradual uplift in August have not materialised. OAG’s latest scheduled capacity data shows a further reduction this week with the loss of some 700,000 fewer seats reported.
This is now the third consecutive week of global capacity falling back.

The normal weekly capacity flow between North-east and South-east Asia of more than 1.8 million seats a week is now less than 10% of that mark.

OAG suggests that the trend may continue to dip as airlines tinker with their September schedules.

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