Air France-KLM to raise €2.3bn to repay state aid


Air France-KLM is launching a €2.3 billion “rights” issue of 1.9 billion new shares to raise money to repay the state aid it received during the pandemic.

The airline group will use €1.7 billion of this money to repay some of the Covid-19 financial aid received during the height of the crisis. The rest of the funds will be utilised to reduce the company’s debts.

The French and Dutch governments, which are both shareholders in Air France-KLM, have said they will participate in the rights issue and will maintain their current shareholdings after buying their proportion of new shares. The French state currently owns 28.6 per cent of the group and the Netherlands has a 9.3 per cent shareholding.

The financial move will allow Air France-KLM to “free itself from the conditions” set by the European Commission on pandemic bailouts, which prevent it from buying 10 per cent of another company.

Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, said the fundraising would “strengthen our financial autonomy and regain strategic and operational flexibility”. 

“As the recovery continues and our economic performance recovers – in particular, thanks to our ambitious transformation plan and the structural benefits it continues to deliver – we want to be in a position to seize any opportunity in a changing aviation sector and to be able to accelerate our environmental commitments,” added Smith.

Other investors including China Eastern Airlines and Delta will also take part in the rights issue. Air France-KLM said it planned to further repay French state aid over the coming quarters.



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April storms impact air travel in North Dakota | News, Sports, Jobs



April snowstorms led to fewer airline passenger boardings for the month due to larger than normal airline cancellations rates, according to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

Still, North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports posted 76,553 airline passenger boardings during April, a 23% increase from the 62,168 boardings the state experienced in April 2021. The number was about 17% below April 2019’s pre-pandemic passenger count of 92,063.

Of 190 scheduled departures from Minot International Airport in April, 36 were canceled, for an 18.9% cancellation rate, the highest rate in the state. The average statewide airline departure cancellation rate for the month was 9.6%. April has been historically in the 1-3% range for a statewide cancellation rate, the aeronautics commission reported.

“April was a challenging month for our airports and passengers particularly in central and western North Dakota, as they experienced an increased amount of delays and cancellations due to multiple major snowstorms.” said Kyle Wanner, executive director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. “Our airports did an incredible job in keeping up with snow removal operations to alleviate the impacts to the traveling public as best as possible. That being said, we look forward to improved weather conditions as we move into the summer months.”

Minot saw 10,149 passenger boardings in April, up 11.3% from a year ago but down 20.4% from 2019. Year-to-date boardings are up 37% in Minot and nearly 44% statewide from 2021.



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Air traffic control shuts down in Jamaica, stranding passengers


(CNN) — Air traffic control came to a stop for parts of Thursday morning and afternoon in Jamaica, forcing flight cancellations and leaving thousands of frustrated passengers stranded there or unable to reach the Caribbean island.

MBJ Airports Limited, the operator of Sangster International Airport near the popular resort destination of Montego Bay, confirmed in a news release to CNN that flights were canceled on Thursday morning “due to the suspension of air traffic services.”

The airport’s arrivals board started showing cancellations around 9:30 a.m. local time on May 12. The departures board also starting posting cancellations around 10:30 a.m.

American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United flights were canceled, among others.

It was a similar story at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, the capital city. Arrivals started being canceled around 11:30 a.m., and departures were canceled starting at 12:19 p.m.

Kurt Solomon, president of Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association, told CNN that flights were resuming as of 5 p.m. local time on May 12.

Robert Nesta Morgan, minister without portfolio with responsibility for information in the Office of the Prime Minister, posted a news release on his Twitter account confirming that flights were resuming.

“The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) wishes to advise the public that, as dialogue progresses between the Authority and its key stakeholders, particularly the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA), air traffic services are currently being restored,” the release said.

Since that time, Sangster showed one departure, Delta Flight DL1987 at 5:07 p.m. Manley showed one arrival, British Airways Flight BA2263 at 4:43 p.m.

Limited staffing

Sharon Hislop, manager of commercial development and marketing at Sangster, told CNN that the airport was notified Thursday morning that the air traffic control center in Kingston didn’t have enough support for air traffic because of “limited staffing.”

The JCAA then decided to suspend air traffic services and flights, Hislop said.

The air traffic control center in Kingston controls operations for all three international airports in Jamaica: Sangster, Manley and Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios.

CNN Travel reached out to the JCAA for comment via email and phone on Thursday afternoon but had not received a reply as of 8 p.m. ET.

Passengers are shown stranded in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on May 12, 2022.

Passengers are shown stranded in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on May 12, 2022.

TVJ

Hislop estimated there were about 100 passengers on each flight affected by the suspension of services.

Shops at the airport were set to remain open into the night as some passengers were expected stay at Sangster overnight, Hislop told CNN.

Local media referred to the situation as a strike, though no officials contacted by CNN confirmed that was the case.

“That’s what we’ve been hearing, but we can’t know for sure,” Hislop said when asked whether a strike by air traffic controllers led to the limited staffing that in turn led to suspension of flights.

Solomon said “a contingency team” that was working Thursday morning at the Kingston Air Traffic Control Center was unable to continue and that team stopped. Solomon was unable to say why they stopped working.

The contingency team is made up of management personnel for air traffic controllers.

Solomon also told CNN there have been persistent equipment issues at the Kingston Air Traffic Control Center, and they have been ongoing for several years.

Passenger frustrations

Justin Novak told CNN he was flying from Toronto to Montego Bay on Thursday when his flight was turned around 30 minutes before landing.

Novak says that the pilots didn’t say much except that they were forced to turn around.

“It was a tense return home. Mixed reactions but the majority visibly upset,” Novak said.

Novak was headed to Jamaica for an eight-day vacation with his wife. He’ll now lose two of the days because of the delays, he said.

“What I don’t understand Is apparently they knew this was happening but still let us board the plane.=,” Novak added. “We are rescheduled for 12 p.m. tomorrow [Friday, May 13], but who knows what will happen.”

Erin Fletcher Langen also hit problems on Thursday as she was flying from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Jamaica for work.

She was on a layover in Atlanta when the problems started. Her flight was delayed, then canceled and then there was hope when officials told them that Sangster (MBJ) reopened. Then it was officially canceled again.

“It was a roller coaster of emotions. When they said MBJ was opening, everyone cheered and clapped. When they said it was canceled (again), people weren’t necessarily mad, but sad. People were crying.” Fletcher Langen said.

She said people at the airport were saying how they haven’t traveled in a long time and a lot of people were traveling for weddings.

She said she hopes to fly out on a rescheduled flight on Friday.

Waivers offered

American Airlines, which had more flights affected at Sangster than any other airline, issued a waiver for change fees to affected passengers.

“Due to air traffic service disruptions impacting air travel in Jamaica, Delta has issued a travel waiver  for those whose travel may be impacted between May 12-13,” it said on its news website.

“This waiver allows the fare difference for customers to be waived when rebooked travel occurs on or before May 16, 2022 the same cabin of service as originally booked.”

You should check with your carrier if your flight was disrupted.

Top image: A general view of Norman Manley International Airport from 2016. (Henry Romero/Reuters)





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Air France to Introduce New Business-Class Cabin This Fall


Air France in September will launch a new 48-seat business-class cabin on 12 Boeing 777-300s, the company announced Wednesday. The first flight with the new cabin will depart from New York-JFK, with the remaining 11 planes progressively rolled out afterward.

The new seat design will convert into a flat bed almost two meters long (about 6.5 feet) and include a new sliding door for passengers to create a private space. All seats will have direct access to the aisle. Seats located in the center of the cabin will be equipped with a central panel that can be lowered for passengers traveling together. 

Seats also will feature a wide 17.3-inch 4K high-definition anti-glare screen with a noise-reducing headset, a new Bluetooth connection and several electric outlets, according to Air France. 

In addition, Air France will include 48 premium-economy seats in an updated cabin already available on its Airbus A350 aircraft. The seat offers 96 centimeters (nearly 38 inches) of legroom, and the seatback reclines to 124 degrees and has been widened. A new noise-reducing audio headset is integrated into the seat, which also features USB A and C ports. These seats also will have a wide 13.3-inch 4K high-definition screen with Bluetooth connection, according to the carrier.



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EU removes mask mandate advice for air travel


The EU is removing the recommendation that face masks should be mandatory at airports and onboard aircraft as the Covid-19 crisis continues to ease.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued a joint statement on Wednesday (11 May) announcing the relaxation of the Aviation Health Safety Protocol on mask-wearing for air travel from 16 May.

However, the two agencies noted that wearing a mask is “still one of the best protections against the transmission of Covid-19”.

They have also relaxed some of the “more stringent” measures placed on airline operations, which the agencies said would “relieve the burden on the industry whilst still keeping appropriate measures in place”.

EASA executive director Patrick Ky added: “For many passengers and also aircrew members there is a strong desire for masks to no longer be a mandatory part of air travel. We are now at the start of that process. 

“Passengers should continue to comply with the requirements of their airline and, where preventive measures are optional, make responsible decisions and respect the choice of other passengers.”

ECDC director Andrea Ammon warned that risks “remain” for travellers despite the withdrawal of the recommendation on wearing masks.

“It is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene, it [wearing masks] is one of the best methods of reducing transmission,” said Ammon. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

IATA’s director general Willie Walsh welcomed the move as “another important step along the road back to normality” for airline passengers.

“Travellers can look forward to freedom of choice on whether to wear a mask and they can travel with confidence knowing that many features of the aircraft cabin, such as high frequency air exchange and high efficiency filters, make it one of the safest indoor environments,” added Walsh.



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EU lifts mask requirement for air travel as pandemic ebbs


BERLIN (AP) — The European Union will no longer require masks to be worn at airports and on planes starting next week amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions across the bloc, authorities said Wednesday.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it hoped the joint decision, made with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, would mark “a big step forward in the normalization of air travel” for passengers and crews.

The new guideline “takes account of the latest developments in the pandemic, in particular the levels of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, and the accompanying lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries,” the two agencies said in a joint statement.

“Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said. “And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”

While the new recommendations take effect on May 16, rules for masks may still vary by airline beyond that date if they fly to or from destinations where the rules are different.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control director Andrea Ammon said washing hands and social distancing should still be practiced, but airport operators are advised not to impose distancing requirements if these are likely to lead to a bottleneck.

The agencies also recommended that airlines keep systems for collecting passenger locator information on standby in case they are needed in future, for example if a new dangerous variant emerges.

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Real ID air travel requirement on approach | News


OREGON, USA — The countdown is underway for Oregon residents to meet national Real ID requirements for domestic air travel.

The Real ID deadline arrives one year from this week.  Starting May 3, 2023, travelers need more than a standard state driver’s license or identification card at airport security checkpoints to board flights within the U.S.  That’s the day people need a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card, or a passport or other federally acceptable identification.

The federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a full list of identity documents it will accept for air travel at TSA.gov.

Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) Administrator Amy Joyce says, “A year may sound like a long time, but it isn’t when it comes to issuing secure identification such as driver licenses, ID cards and passports.  It can take weeks to gather the documents you need to qualify for a type of ID that the TSA will accept at airports.”







ODOT DMV driver license image 2022.png

DMV says its offices in Oregon and across the country are busy, and the U.S. Department of State has a backlog for passport applications and renewals.  That’s why the DMV insists people get the Oregon Real ID option or a passport now.

It suggests that Oregonians who need to renew a license or ID card in the next year may do so up to 12 months before the expiration date.  It says that early renewal would save a second trip to DMV or the wait for a passport.







ODOT DMV Real ID help image 2022.png

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says to “get the Real ID option in Oregon:







ODOT DMV appointments image 2022.png
  1. Make sure you have the documents you need to qualify for Real ID. Create your own checklist at Oregon.gov/Realid.
  2. You must apply for Real ID in person. You can visit a DMV office or make an appointment at DMV2U.Oregon.gov.
  3. Bring the documents on your checklist and your current license or ID card, and pay the $30 Real ID fee in addition to the regular issuance, renewal or replacement fee.
  4. Then the process is the same as a standard Oregon card: signature, get your photo taken and receive a paper interim card until your Real ID plastic card arrives in the mail in 5-10 business days. You cannot use the interim card for air travel.”

Joyce says, “You may already have the ID you need for air travel, but if you don’t, please act now – get or renew your passport, or add the Real ID option to your Oregon license or ID card. Oregon DMV offices are already very busy, but they will get busier in 2023 because of Real ID.”

Follow @KDRV12 on Facebook and @KDRV on Twitter for the latest news, sports, and weather in Southern Oregon and Northern California.





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Real ID air travel requirement on approach | News


OREGON, USA — The countdown is underway for Oregon residents to meet national Real ID requirements for domestic air travel.

The Real ID deadline arrives one year from this week.  Starting May 3, 2023, travelers need more than a standard state driver’s license or identification card at airport security checkpoints to board flights within the U.S.  That’s the day people need a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card, or a passport or other federally acceptable identification.

The federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a full list of identity documents it will accept for air travel at TSA.gov.

Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) Administrator Amy Joyce says, “A year may sound like a long time, but it isn’t when it comes to issuing secure identification such as driver licenses, ID cards and passports.  It can take weeks to gather the documents you need to qualify for a type of ID that the TSA will accept at airports.”







ODOT DMV driver license image 2022.png

DMV says its offices in Oregon and across the country are busy, and the U.S. Department of State has a backlog for passport applications and renewals.  That’s why the DMV insists people get the Oregon Real ID option or a passport now.

It suggests that Oregonians who need to renew a license or ID card in the next year may do so up to 12 months before the expiration date.  It says that early renewal would save a second trip to DMV or the wait for a passport.







ODOT DMV Real ID help image 2022.png

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says to “get the Real ID option in Oregon:







ODOT DMV appointments image 2022.png
  1. Make sure you have the documents you need to qualify for Real ID. Create your own checklist at Oregon.gov/Realid.
  2. You must apply for Real ID in person. You can visit a DMV office or make an appointment at DMV2U.Oregon.gov.
  3. Bring the documents on your checklist and your current license or ID card, and pay the $30 Real ID fee in addition to the regular issuance, renewal or replacement fee.
  4. Then the process is the same as a standard Oregon card: signature, get your photo taken and receive a paper interim card until your Real ID plastic card arrives in the mail in 5-10 business days. You cannot use the interim card for air travel.”

Joyce says, “You may already have the ID you need for air travel, but if you don’t, please act now – get or renew your passport, or add the Real ID option to your Oregon license or ID card. Oregon DMV offices are already very busy, but they will get busier in 2023 because of Real ID.”

Follow @KDRV12 on Facebook and @KDRV on Twitter for the latest news, sports, and weather in Southern Oregon and Northern California.





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