This is the twelfth Potpourri edition. Computer issues prevented the last publication on time
This information resource is intended to capture some of the articles about the coronavirus impact on aviation. Not included are, for example, the high profile battles over the grants/loans under CARES, but stories of how the aviation safety personnel are dealing with this epidemic.
In individual airport news: JFKIAT, which runs terminal four at JFK International Airport, is launching a Covid-19 testing and screening site in the airport, which it says is the first of its kind in the country. The XpresCheck location is open to all JFK terminal employees, airline employees and airport workers (including TSA and CBP staff). It can screen up to 500 employees per day, with nine separate rooms, and has the capability to screen both for the virus and antibodies.
SELLING SEATS: American Airlines announced on Friday that it will go back to booking planes at full capacity, no longer blocking seats in order to create a perception of social distancing on its aircraft.
This led to some misleading headlines and misguided reactions on social media. The reality is that no airline was or is offering social distancing, as defined by medical professionals, on its planes. Even on a flight that’s half full, passengers would still be within six feet of others in almost every imaginable scenario and seating layout. So American isn’t “throwing out” or “ditching” social distancing policies, as several headlines read: It was never offering social distancing in the first place.
Another example of the strange patchwork that’s led to inconsistent experiences for air passengers: Allegiant Airlines is making masks mandatory for its passengers starting this week. That puts it way behind most other U.S. airlines that have had that requirement in place for nearly two months (although enforcement is a separate question).
COMPLAINING IN DROVES: Nearly 20,000 Americans filed consumer complaints with DOT in April, according to a new report from the agency. The 19,856 complaints are staggering, especially when compared with April 2019, which saw only 1,206. The vast majority of complaints were about refunds, as airlines canceled flights by the thousands and in some cases shifted their refund policies by the day.
The big loser: United Airlines, which was the subject of nearly 3,000 complaints to DOT in April.
Consumer advocacy groups like Consumer Reports are using the data to reup their call for DOT to mandate refunds for passengers whose travel was disrupted by the pandemic. “Secretary [Elaine] Chao has a duty to protect airline passengers and should immediately take action to ensure they get the refunds they deserve,” said CR’s Anna Laitin. Up to this point, DOT has simply reminded airlines of their duty to provide refunds when the carriers cancel flights.
More April data: Scheduled airline flights in April hit record lows, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The 194,390 flights operated by carriers beat out the all-time monthly low set in February 1994. And both the number and percentage of canceled flights hit record highs: 137,000 flights were canceled in April, for a 41 percent cancellation rate, more than double the number of scheduled flights that were canceled after 9/11.
Dominican Republic reopens airports without restrictions to countries
Reno airport to require masks for all passengers and visitors starting on Friday, June 26
With few rules in place, airlines, airports adopt their own strategies for combating the coronavirus
Avoiding Crowds Is Tough At Hubs And Mask Enforcement Is Tough Everywhere, But Charlotte Airport Tries
BA & GA
AOPA WORKS WITH FAA ON SFAR UPDATES
SFAR MAINTAINS MOST OF ORIGINAL PANDEMIC RELIEF
NATA News – General Aviation Businesses Remain a Critical Link in the Face of a Shrinking Airline Footprint
Qatar- Health and safety measures by Gulf airlines critical to persuade wary air passengers: Report
EU Lifts Some Non-Essential Travel Restrictions; U.S. Still Prohibited
NY to ‘Randomly’ Check Flights for Quarantine
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