Most conversations about autonomous aircraft focus on smaller planes. But Airbus decided to go large when it comes to taxi, take off, and landing automation. Very large. The aircraft manufacturer announced this week the successful conclusion of its Autonomous Taxi, Take-Off and Landing (ATTOL) project using the A350-1000 XWB aircraft.
Airplanes and Airports
China’s COMAC added a trio of new airline operators for its ARJ21-700 aircraft over the weekend. China Eastern, China Southern, and Air China each took delivery of their first aircraft during a joint ceremony. And, still, COMAC’s grand ambitions to challenge Western manufacturers remains years away.
Facing dozens of customer complaints to the US Department of Transportation, Air Canada is fighting back. While the carrier has only filed one response publicly so far the contents suggest that passengers may well come up short in their efforts to get their money back. Not only does the airline intend to not provide refunds to passengers on flights it canceled, but it now also suggests that the DOT should not and can not regulate such policies.
Caribbean airline LIAT is on the brink of liquidation, according to Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Flights are suspended through at least 15 July 2020 and that could be enough to kill the carrier.
If ever there were a time to try something completely crazy in the route planning department, this is it. JetBlue’s new route plan brings the carrier deep into competitor hubs and away from its own as the carrier aims to bring planes and crew back to the skies.
More than half the British Airways 747 fleet is parked, with little reason to believe that it will return to the skies soon. But late on Friday another bit of news leaked out that could see the fleet fully grounded indefinitely.
Can small changes to the catering process make the current inflight environment a bit safer and bring back some of the comforts passengers have previously enjoyed? We’re also talking about routes returning and new ideas to protect passengers in the cabin on this edition of the Weekly Wrap.
Another pair of airlines will halt operations, with the financial impact of COVID-19 the tipping point. LATAM Argentina and LEVEL Europe are both poised to shutter, though the larger parent operations of each will continue services.
Do the rules even matter when there is no enforcement action? For many travelers the answer appears to be a resounding “no” as they seek refunds from flights cancelled over the past few months. A few are now pursuing alternate channels, however, and starting to see some wins.
Norwegian is the latest airline to announce plans to put its planes back in the skies over Europe. The carrier will add several routes from its hubs in Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen as it seeks to meet growing passenger demand.