The research was sparked by several safety incidents involving wasps, including where the plane had to land again immediately after departing from Brisbane Airport because the pilot recognized the difference in airspeed in November 2013.
After studying the behavior of the keyhole wasp (Pachodynerus nasidens) at Brisbane Airport, the team found a total of 26 wasp-related problems reported at the airport between November 2013 and April 2019, in connection with a series of serious security incidents involving the “pitot probe.”
Wasps easily build nests in these python probes – which are tube-like instruments often installed under the cockpit on the outside of aircraft.
“It’s not a Mayday emergency but it’s the next level, and it’s closing the runway,” said biologist Alan House. A blocked pitot probe was found to be the cause in that case.
As a result of the research, risk mitigation strategies have been introduced, such as including a pitot probe upon arrival at Brisbane Airport.
In South and Central America, where the keyhole wasp is a native species, it is known to build its nests in cavities including keyholes and electrical sockets. “It’s quite well known for its nesting behavior,” said House.
“We hope this research will address the few known but serious problems for air travel in the tropics and subtropics,” said the biologist.
“Having found its way across the Pacific Ocean, there is no reason to doubt that it could spread to other parts of Australia. The consequences of not managing this smart but dangerous pest could be enormous, ”he concluded.
It is one of the busiest – and most profitable – routes on the planet.
As of earlier this year, more than 90 minutes of air travel between Melbourne and Sydney had traveled than any other in the Western world, with an average of about 5,000 flights carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers between cities each month.
But that all changed in March, as travel became a potential public health hazard.
Within months, the country’s most popular airline route will be the route between Brisbane and Cairns, as Queenslanders seek an interstate holiday.
Other domestic routes among the most popular in the country during the pandemic are Sydney-Ballina for NSW and Perth-Karratha for WA.
Interstate routes across the country were destroyed.
But now, with national borders lifted and flights across the country continuing, airlines hope the increased travel ahead of Christmas will bring a taste of COVID-normal to the country’s skies.
When the sky becomes a dead zone
Data released by the Australian Government explains the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s domestic aviation industry through September.
In April – Australia’s first full month of coronavirus restrictions – the number of flights between Melbourne and Sydney plunged to 439 – less than 10 percent from previous months.
But even then the planes were flying empty, with an average of only 38 paying passengers per flight, compared to 153 per flight in January.
In a normal month, more than 2 million paying passengers will fly on Australia’s top 10 airline routes. At April’s nadir, that number was only 70,000.
In September, when the entire city of Melbourne was in stage four of the lockdown, the Melbourne-Sydney route was removed from its mantle as Australia’s most traveled, replaced by Brisbane-Cairns.
In fact, seven of the 10 most traveled air routes in September (last month data) did not cross national borders at all.
Most popular air routes in Australia, September 2020:
1.Brisbane, QLD – Cairns, QLD
2.Brisbane, QLD – Townsville, QLD
3.Brisbane, QLD – Mackay, QLD
4.Sydney, NSW – Melbourne, VIC
5.Brisbane, QLD – Sydney, NSW
6.Brisbane, QLD – Rockhampton, QLD
7.Perth, WA – Karatha, WA
8.Sydney, NSW – Ballina, NSW
9.Perth, WA –Broome, WA
10.Brisbane, QLD – Adelaide, SA
A spokesman for Virgin Australia said that by the middle of the year, the number of interstate flights served had shrunk to the point where domestic destinations were the most popular.
“As border restrictions remain in place for most states and territories in September, the most popular places for travel are mainly domestic destinations in Queensland, such as Cairns, Townsville and Mackay, as well as intras Western Australia, with Broome as the top destination in terms of this. state, “he said.
“Then in September, Adelaide also became popular when the borders of South Australia were relaxed.”
He said the upcoming opening of the Queensland border to Sydney and Victoria on Tuesday had created a surge in demand.
“We have seen very positive demand for travel between the capital and to popular holiday destinations such as Hamilton Island and the Sunshine and Gold Coasts.”
Qantas wishes you a busy Christmas
Airline economist and UNSW professor Tim Harcourt said the domestic capital-to-capital route was critical to the airline’s profit.
“The temporary loss of Sydney and Melbourne due to COVID has become a major problem.
“We are not the largest airline nation, but the routes from Sydney to Melbourne, Sydney to Brisbane that generate the most money are airlines.
“[Qantas] lost a lot of money on international routes, but that’s enough to some degree in Sydney-Melbourne. ”
Last week, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline had seen a surge in bookings on the Sydney-Melbourne route since travel restrictions between Victoria and NSW were lifted.
“We see a massive demand has occurred,” he said.
The airline hopes that by Christmas it will operate at 60 percent of domestic capacity before the coronavirus.
“Then in the new year, we started to get closer to 100 percent,” said Joyce.
Professor Harcourt said while Christmas would give airlines a boost, it would be muted somewhat.
“People are not that interested in still flying. People who fly really have to, they have sick relatives or they have to work,” he said.
“They will not have a normal year but they will definitely do better than what they have done all year.”
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – International air travel could be booming again next year but with new rules: Travelers to certain countries must be vaccinated against the coronavirus before they can fly.
The encouraging news about vaccine development has given airlines and countries hope that they will soon be able to revive suspended flight routes and scrape lucrative tourism plans. But countries in Asia and the Pacific, in particular, are determined not to let their hard-earned work against the virus evaporate.
In Australia, the boss of Qantas, the country’s largest airline, said that once a viral vaccine is widely available, its operators will likely have passengers use it before they can travel overseas or land in Australia.
Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said he had spoken with colleagues at other airlines around the world about a possible “vaccination passport” for international travelers.
“We are changing our terms and conditions to say for international travelers that we will ask people to get vaccinated before they get on the plane,” Joyce told Network Nine Australia television.
He said they were looking for ways to electronically verify that people had the vaccines needed for the purposes they were aiming for, a difficult task.
“But for sure international visitors who come out, and people leaving the country, we think it’s a must,” he said.
South Korea’s biggest airline has a similar message. Jill Chung, a spokesman for Korean Air, said on Tuesday there was a real possibility that airlines would require passengers to be vaccinated. He said this was because the government tended to require vaccination as a condition to lift quarantine requirements for new arrivals.
While Korean Air is reviewing several options for screening, any changes by other companies or airlines will be the result of coordination with the government, Chung said.
“This is not something airlines have to decide on their own,” he said.
Air New Zealand echoes Chung’s position.
“Ultimately, it is up to the government to determine when and how safe it is to reopen borders and we continue to work closely with the authorities on this,” Air New Zealand said in a statement.
Australia, South Korea and New Zealand have all succeeded in minimizing the spread of the virus. They are viewed internationally as success stories, and a large part of their containment efforts are focused on keeping infected people away.
Australia has imposed some of the world’s worst border restrictions since the pandemic began. It has closed its borders to most international visitors and allows its citizens to travel internationally only under special circumstances. New Zealand has also closed its borders, while South Korea has imposed a two-week quarantine for all arriving passengers.
Australia, with 26 million people, has reported about 900 deaths since the pandemic began, fewer than many countries of its size. South Korea, with 51 million people, has reported a little more than 500 deaths. And New Zealand, with 5 million people, has only reported 25 deaths.
Chung said there had been various discussions within the industry to ensure safer travel during the pandemic. This includes a trial of “Common Pass,” an app supported by the World Economic Forum that aims to provide airlines with a standard format for evaluating passengers’ coronavirus test results to determine whether they should travel.
“With the world getting closer to a coronavirus vaccine and negative testing also a requirement to stop tourists from self-quarantine in countries around the world, airlines feel the need for effective systems to screen passengers for vaccinations and tests,” said Chung.
Several companies have tested possible viral vaccines with encouraging initial results. Many hope that vaccinations will become widely available next year, paving the way for a wider reopening of international air travel.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters Tuesday that no decision had yet been made on border or re-entry rules around a potential vaccine.
“Our job is to provide vaccines for all Australians,” he said.
As Air New Zealand changed its Airpoints scheme, the value of the loyalty, now the star of the airline’s operations, was outlined in an analyst report.
Forsyth Barr says the Airpoints schematic is scalable, light on assets and generate relatively stable income.
“ We believe this is a double business that is higher than Air [NZ’s] the aviation business and make a material contribution to the current share price, ” said analysts Andy Bowley and Scott Anderson.
“ This may sound strange, but a number of US airlines have recently used their loyalty schemes as collateral in recent funding events. “ This airline will increase capital in the first half of 2021.
Forsyth Barr has upgraded the airline’s rating to neutral, having implemented the Airpoints value as part of a revised net asset value approach.
Chief executive Greg Foran said loyalty would be the “second engine of growth” and the scheme was now under review. Among other changes, the airline may introduce new top tier Airpoints.
In addition to the Elite Plus tier, surveys indicate that there may be a chance of obtaining lifetime status at a lower tier.
A survey sent to Airpoints members indicated that a target range of between 2800 and 3200 status points a year would be required to pocket Airpoints Elite Plus membership, compared to 1500 points to reach the current Airpoints Elite tier, and 900 for Airpoints Gold.
The Australian-based Executive Traveler said that the benefits of Elite Plus status derived from the survey included the possibility of free same-day flight changes for domestic, transtasman and Pacific flights, free parking at members’ “home airports” and free Elite status for the nominated partner. from Elite Plus members.
Analyst Forsyth Barr said the main sources of external loyalty revenue include bank partners, via credit card aligned schemes, and a number of retailers.
Under normal operating conditions, loyalty represents just another revenue stream for an airline and can be valued as part of the company’s overall profit base, in cash flow-based valuations or some revenue.
“However, when the airline business generates significant losses, the normally defensive flow of loyalty revenue can easily be lost, especially if it is not shared,” said the analysis. ” The book value approach to airline valuation ignores the light asset nature of loyalty schemes that generate revenue from third parties (credit card companies and retailers) regardless of whether the aircraft is flying. ”
The Air NZ scheme has about 3.5 million members – up from 1.2 million eight years ago. The airline does not provide any financial details about its Airpoints scheme, beyond disclosing balance sheets for loyalty-related “upfront earnings”.
This liability reflects the dollar amount of Airpoints owed between the members. Bowley and Anderson said the lack of disclosure, exacerbated by Covid-19, made it difficult to assess Airpoints.
“However, based on recent loyalty scheme transaction value assessments, third party loyalty assessments and registered loyalty scheme providers, we rate Airpoints at $ 725 million. While it appears significant in the context of the airline’s $ 1.9 billion market capitalization, it is only about 15 per percent of the company’s pre-Covid value. “
Analysts said their estimates of the scheme’s value had a “reasonable margin of error”.
Air New Zealand can get more direct economic value from the Airpoints loyalty scheme by generating additional revenue through sales points / air miles to third parties including credit card companies (many schemes issue a larger proportion of points to third parties than to their own airlines) .
The airline can expand its membership base: about 90 percent of its members are New Zealanders so the scope for growing its membership base is limited by its historic success and New Zealand’s population.
However, the airline can increase the proportion of its active members and expand its plans to include more partners.
“ We expect Airpoints to expand the depth and breadth of its retailer / financial services relationship, to white label its own credit cards as other airlines have successfully done, and to expand Airpoints’ store for redemption options. ”
How the airline loyalty scheme works
Analyst Forsyth Barr explains that loyalty schemes usually cover the broader business of the airline (because Airpoints are located within Air NZ). However, some schemes are treated inappropriately because of tenure requirements, funding arrangements, or reporting frameworks.
Regardless of whether a schema is internalized or externalized, they share common features:
• Selling points: The scheme sells (issue) points to airlines and third parties (scheme partners). • Points awarded to members: Airlines and scheme partners issue points / air miles to scheme members as an incentive to purchase other flights, products and services. • Members exchange points / air miles: Members can redeem the points earned by booking flights or through third party redemption partners. • Flights usually make up the majority of exchanges. According to Air NZ, more than 90 percent of Airpoint dollars redeemed is spent on flights. At Qantas, this is about 80 percent. At United, 97 percent, of which 20 percent are exchanged with partner airlines.
Tourists walk through Beijing Daxing International Airport in Beijing, China, on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.
Yan Cong | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mainland China has banned entry of non-Chinese visitors from the UK, Belgium and the Philippines, as well as required tourists from the United States, France and Germany to provide additional medical test results, as corona virus cases are increasing worldwide.
In some of the strictest border restrictions imposed by any country in response to the pandemic, China has temporarily suspended entry of non-Chinese nationals traveling from the UK even if they have valid visas and residency permits, the Chinese embassy in Britain said.
The Chinese embassies in Belgium and the Philippines released similar statements announcing restrictions on tourists from both countries.
The rejection of non-Chinese tourists from the UK comes as Britain enters a month-long lockdown starting Thursday.
Britain’s death toll is the highest in Europe and grapples with more than 20,000 cases of the new coronavirus every day.
Belgium has the highest number of new confirmed cases per capita in Europe, while the Philippines has the second highest number of infections and deaths in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.
The suspension is a partial reversal of the easing on September 28, when China allowed all foreigners with valid residence permits to enter. In March, China banned the entry of foreigners in response to the epidemic.
Starting November 6, all passengers from the United States, France, Germany and Thailand heading to mainland China will have to undergo a nucleic acid test and a blood test for antibodies to the coronavirus. The test must be done no more than 48 hours before boarding.
If a passenger needs to make a transit stop en route to China, the same test must be carried out in the country or region of transit.
Linyi Li, a Chinese national, had planned to fly from Seattle to China in mid-November but switched to his flight to November 6 to circumvent the rule, even though fares have tripled.
“Tickets sold out in seconds, because people were all scrambling to get past the deadline,” said Li, 30. “I’ve been in a rush to sell a lot of my family’s stuff these past few days in case I can’t get back to America. “
Similar requirements were imposed on travelers from countries such as Australia, Singapore and Japan, starting November 8.
The dual testing requirement was unprecedented.
Passengers arriving on specially arranged flights from countries such as India can undergo several rounds of the test.
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said it saw no reason to change the current system.
“Unfortunately, while technically leaving the door open, this change implies a de facto ban on anyone trying to return to their life, work and family in China,” he said.
The chamber also said antibody tests were not widely available in many countries.
On Tuesday, China Southern AirlinesThe country’s biggest carrier by passenger load said it would suspend transit services for passengers departing from 21 countries, mostly African and Asian countries such as India and the Philippines.
The number of weekly international passenger flights serving mainland China from late October to March will drop 96.8% from a year earlier to 592, according to the latest schedule.