London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 16 September 2019

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Norwegian Aircraft
Norwegian Aircraft (Image Credit: Norwegian)

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 16 September 2019.

Norwegian & Thomas Cook

This week could be a very significant one for both Norwegian and Thomas Cook.

Today is the deadline for Norwegian’s bondholders to agree to an extension for the redemption of two outstanding bonds valued at $380 million from 11 December 2019 and 7 August 2020 to November 2021 and February 2022 respectively. This would be backed by a security package that includes Norwegian’s slots at London Gatwick.

Thomas Cook is also in final negotiations with its shareholder Fosun, lenders and bondholders to complete a £900m rescue deal. This is expected to give Fosun and Thomas Cook’s lenders control of the business, with remaining shareholders seeing their investments virtually wiped out. The Financial Times has reported that a planned meeting of bondholders this Wednesday may be postponed.

Update: Norwegian’s bondholders have agreed to the extension.

Cathay Pacific August 2019 Traffic

Cathay Pacific has revealed the impact of disruption in Hong Kong on its traffic performance.

The number of passengers carried fell 11.3% year on year. Its load factor was also down 7.2 percentage points to 79.9%. Inbound traffic to Hong Kong fell 38% and outbound traffic from Hong Kong fell 12%. The falls in traffic were particularly pronounced in premium cabins and mainland China and North East Asia markets.

Europe was the best performing market and traffic has held up relatively well. Cathay has indicated that as there is no sign of an imminent improvement it will be making short-term capacity adjustments.

PriestmanGoode at The Design Museum

London Design Week is currently underway. As part of this the acclaimed design agency PriestmanGoode has an exhibition “Get Onboard: Reduce.Reuse.Rethink” at The Design Museum.

The exhibition looks at the typical amount of waste generated by a single passenger on a long-haul economy flight. This is estimated to be 1.43kg per passenger, of which 500g is single use plastic.

PriestmanGoode Display, The Design Museum, London
PriestmanGoode Display, The Design Museum, London (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

This is primarily from the food and beverage service. Plastic serves a useful purpose for airlines. It is cheap, durable and lightweight. The exhibition looks at what alternative sustainable materials could be used, such as bamboo and wheat bran.

PriestmanGoode Display, The Design Museum, London
PriestmanGoode Display, The Design Museum, London (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

A number of airlines have committed to reduce the use of single use plastics. Earlier year, Qantas operated a “zero waste” test flight in Australia from Sydney to Adelaide.

To implement this in practice airlines require supply chains that can meet the scale of their operations around the globe, whilst also meeting strict hygiene standards on the disposal of organic waste. Of course, there is a lot – as touched on by the exhibition – that passengers can do to reduce single use plastic. And that includes all passengers, wherever they are seated on the aircraft, being prepared to rethink what they really need from a long-haul flight.

“Get Onboard: Reduce.Reuse.Rethink” is on display at The Design Museum until Sunday 9 February 2020.

On a related note, BBC Radio 4’s “In Business” this coming Thursday looks at changing attitudes towards the environmental impact of aviation.

Also of note this week:

Fiji Airways criticises the decision of its shareholder and fellow Oneworld alliance partner Qantas to expand direct flights between Australia and Fiji. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Radio futurologist James Cridland reviews a return flight from Brisbane to Europe in economy on Qantas and Finnair. (Medium)

How to ship an Audi A7 from Zurich to Johannesburg on an Airbus A340-300 aircraft. (SWISS World Cargo)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

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