Three Things to Celebrate as Air Travel Recovers

by | Sep 27, 2021 | Airlines, Airports, News

We may not have seen a recovery for aviation – yet – but we see some signs of better days ahead.


The Biden Administration Clears Vaccinated European Travelers to enter the US.

The Biden Administration will allow vaccinated European travellers to enter the US with a negative COVID-19 test result before travel starting in early November.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Transatlantic air travel, particularly for European and US carriers. It has historically been a profitable travel corridor, including a healthy share of business travellers.

OAG values the Transatlantic marker at $1.4 Billion. Here’s a neat chart from OAG to show the value of this market by share of airline revenue:

“[This] announcement is a major step forward. Allowing access to the US for those vaccinated will open travel to the US for many who have been locked out for the past 18 months. This is excellent news for families and loved ones who have suffered through the heartache and loneliness of separation. It’s good for the millions of livelihoods in the US that depend on global tourism. And it will boost the economic recovery by enabling some key business travel markets,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

“[It] marks a key shift in managing the risks of COVID-19 from blanket considerations at the national level to assessment of individual risk. The next challenge is finding a system to manage the risks for travellers who do not have access to vaccinations. Data points to testing as a solution. But it is also critical that governments accelerate the global rollout of vaccines and agree on a global framework for travel where testing resources are focused on unvaccinated travellers. We must get back to a situation where the freedom to travel is available to all.”

The news could not be more welcome. On the same day of the Biden announcement [20 Sep], OAG reported a continuing reduction in capacity with just under a quarter of a million seats fewer planned for the week, falling below 78.8 million. Capacity remains at 70% of 2019, with load factors up to 15% below normal.

We still have a way to go, but at least now there are more places to visit.


Helsinki Airport’s new travel centre—which embraces intermodal travel—will open 1 Dec

The new travel centre of the airport’s extended Terminal 2 will be a hub for local and long-distance buses, a train station for commuter trains, a taxi station and a parking hall, including a bicycle parking area. It’s all part of Helsinki’s airport development programme, which continued during these difficult times.

“The train station and parking hall can be accessed directly from the airport’s departures and arrivals halls, and the taxi station and bus terminal are only a few steps away. The areas for different modes of transport are clearly separated, which makes it easier to find what you’re looking for. The new arrangements also improve safety, as pedestrians will not need to cross even a single lane meant for motor vehicles to get to the various areas,” says Project Manager Tuomo Lindstedt from Finavia.

“You can comfortably wait for your bus indoors, as there is only a short distance to the bus stops and a direct line of sight to them through, for example, the café’s window. Thanks to the new connecting corridor, the distance between the Ring Rail Line train station and Terminal 2 is now hundreds of metres shorter, which means that passengers can get to the station from the arrivals hall in just a few minutes. More space has been reserved for drop-off and pickup traffic right in front of the terminal’s main entrance, and the waiting area for taxis is separate from drop-off traffic. Short-term parking for drop-off and pickup traffic and the new parking hall is also located in the immediate vicinity of the terminal.

“A handy connection to a commuter train station also makes Helsinki Airport’s services more accessible to local residents. After the completion of the renovation, the airport will be a local concentration of services with its restaurants, cafés, grocery stores and pharmacies. Many people working at the airport and in the surrounding area use the same public transport links as the airport’s customers.”

Finavia has received a total of EUR 2.25 million of EU funding for the travel centre’s planning phase and EUR 7.38 million for the realisation.


When life gives you lemons, make gin? Munich thinks so

This was one of those news items that reminds us of the creativity required to get through difficult times. Waste not want not, and that applies especially to food. Beer is food, right?

As the Coronavirus curbed visitors, Munich Airport’s Airbräu brewery faced having to pour out 4,000 litres of leftover Airbräu beer. Instead, the brewmaster René Jacobsen developed a gin-style beer spirit under the brand name “Mountain Hub Distillers,” in cooperation with the Hilton Munich Airport Hotel. Distilling Airbräu beer with select botanicals resulted in the rich and aromatic “infused beer spirit”, which combines the taste of strong beer and high-percentage juniper aromas.

The limited-edition beer gin was distilled at the Huber fruit distillery in Langenpreising. Those 4,000 litres of beer yielded almost 300 litres of beer gin. The “infused beer spirit” is now available at Munich Airport’s Airbräu, the Mountain Hub restaurants and the Hilton Bar.

As a bonus, Airbräu beer is produced CO2-neutrally using 100% solar energy. Sustainable and resourceful—cheers to that!