Executives from every major US airline discussed the impact of the pandemic and industry recovery efforts, including the need for ongoing government support and a multi-year effort to assure passengers that flying is safe, touting technological advances and research by Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The airline executives also suggested that testing regimes and policies would be positive steps while agreeing on the importance of commitments to sustainability and diversity.
"There's certainly not much time left, but there's enough time," American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation, ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline to extend the Payroll Support Program. Parker expressed hope that Congress will agree on extended payroll aid for airlines as House Democrats confirmed that their newest proposal includes additional relief for airlines. "We are hopeful that this is the start of a negotiation that will help our industry and others in distress," said Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio. Without additional federal aid, up to 100,000 airline employees face involuntary furloughs in a few days.
Airlines must continue investing in new technology, such as contactless baggage handling and improved customer service applications, despite the coronavirus crisis, Air Canada CIO Catherine Luelo said at the World Aviation Festival. "When you have no money to spend, sometimes you have the most innovative ideas because you look at the tools that you have at your disposal, and you're maybe a little bit different in terms of how you think about it," she said.
Airlines are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting Latino employees and partnerships, such as Southwest's work with the Latino Leaders Network, which brings together community leaders. United Airlines hosted a panel discussion about the immigrant experience through UNITE, its business resource group, and American Airlines highlighted its commitment to serving Latin America through various efforts such as donating relief supplies to community hospitals and food banks.
Airports' innovative pandemic-related programs include customer assistance robots handing out masks at San Francisco International Airport as well as high-tech sanitation systems and onsite testing. Denver International Airport's VeriFLY program streamlines health checks, promotes social distancing and allows passengers to make checkpoint reservations.
Pilots practiced, briefed and were ready but the Arsenal of Democracy 75th World War II Victory Commemoration Flyover that was to have launched 70 warbirds into the skies over Virginia and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 25, with a second and final chance to overfly the National Mall on Sept. 26, was scrubbed for weather.
Ocean County Airport in Toms River, N.J., will begin construction next month on a $2.8 million T-hangar project, which will be comprised of a 20,000-square-foot pre-engineered steel building with 12 units. The undertaking also will include renovating a taxi lane, building a new taxi lane and making stormwater upgrades.
The Airbus H175 super-medium helicopter will be flown by Omni Taxi Aereo for passenger and cargo transport missions in the oil and gas industry, marking the first time the aircraft will be operated in Brazil. The helicopter can accommodate up to 16 passengers and features a Rig'N Fly mode, which enables fully automatic oil platform approaches.
In his second flight for the "Mask a Vet" initiative, Steve Wendling transported 3,000 reusable face masks to Chillicothe Municipal Airport in Ohio to be donated to military veterans. Since surviving Stage 4 esophageal cancer, the pilot said he has tried to find ways to use his Cessna airplane to make a difference in others' lives.