By Mike Mangano
AirlineGeeks Year in Review: 2022
Perhaps, this year is best summed up by one word — lively. From the chaos of reopened airports to the incredible development of new aircraft, we certainly are finding ourselves in a new era of aviation and air travel. While the dreaded COVID-19 has not yet disappeared, it would appear that the airline industry has found a footing and begun returning to some sense of normality.
We’ve witnessed declining airline reputations, the continuing fallout of the 737 MAX fiasco, and tragedy from the war in Ukraine. But there has been some positive news; new airlines have continued to takeoff, flight frequencies have returned to pre-COVID levels, large investments have been made as the industry continues to define what the future will look like, and – of course – AirlineGeeks managed to support two major Australian air shows!
Here, then, is the year that was — 2022 in review:
It was an interesting start to the year, with many nations opening up borders and airlines struggling to get back into their pre-COVID business.
Philippine Airlines resumed service to Tel Aviv, which it last served in the 1940s and 1950s.
Having flown its maiden flight in 1994, the Airbus A300-600ST Super Transporter — also known as the adorable and oversized Airbus BelugaST — became the world’s most unique cargo carrier as it featured one of the biggest cargo holds of any civil or military aircraft flying today in quite an unorthodox shape.
It is no surprise that 2021 was a bad year for aviation globally, however, for many players, a timid recovery began to be seen. In the case of Boeing, such recovery became visible in the last quarter but did not prevent a loss of $4.3 billion, pushed mainly by the production problems of its airplanes.
According to ITA Airways, the Italian national airline offers three travel classes onboard its aircraft: Business Class on long- and medium-haul flights, Premium Economy on long-haul flights only, and Economy. However, on Dec. 26, the airline launched its new Superior Class, a service that was present in the old Italian flag carrier Alitalia but had since been eliminated. Superior Class will be available on some domestic flights, and later — after Jan. 10 — it will be available throughout the airline’s entire domestic network.
Today, Icelandic low-cost airline PLAY is announcing a new service connecting Iceland to the United States. Starting June 9, PLAY will fly between its main base at Rekjavik, Iceland’s Keflavik Airport and New York’s Stewart International Airport.
The low-cost carrier industry is about to have some major breakthrough changes, beginning with the definitive merger between two of the largest and most prominent low-cost carriers in the U.S.; the first airline merger since Alaska purchased Virgin America back in 2016.
On Tuesday, Ethiopian Airlines operated its first Boeing 737 MAX flight almost three years after regulators grounded the fleet globally — following two deadly accidents involving the aircraft.
On Feb. 14, ANA and Joby Aviation announced an agreement that will see Japan’s largest airline unite with the aerospace company to offer aerial ridesharing services to Japan. Toyota Motor Corporation has also joined the agreement — with plans to study potential topics such as ground-based mobility.
The situation on the border between Ukraine and Russia has always been very tense. To better comprehend the reasons for this war, it is necessary to understand the events of recent years.
Bamboo Airways — a Vietnamese leisure carrier — hasn’t stopped expanding its route map during the pandemic. Recently, the carrier announced the launch for flight operations between Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Sydney on March 30.
As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues escalating, more countries are closing their airspace to Russian carriers and Russia-registered aircrafts. In return, Russia closed its airspace to those countries to retaliate.
Today there are only three Italian airlines with an Air Operator Certificate (AOC), ITA Airways, Air Dolomiti (part of the Lufthansa group) and Neos Air.
The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has recently released an airworthiness bulletin stating that “CASA has not confirmed any RA (radar altimeter) system failure from 5G interference but continues to monitor this situation.”
On the afternoon of March 21, a China Eastern Boeing 737-800 flying domestically from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed in a mountainous of Southern China. According to official sources, the aircraft had 123 passengers and 9 crew members on board flight MU5735.
Following reports by the New York Times, JetBlue announced that it had submitted a $3.6 billion all-cash offer for Miramar, Fla.-based Spirit Airlines, putting the New York-headquartered carrier in direct competition with Frontier Airlines — the ultra-low-cost carrier with which Spirit had agreed to merge earlier this year.
Ryanair has posted positive gains in traffic figures for the month of March with the airline recording 11.2 million passengers carried.
An AvGeek couldn’t visit the Hawaiian Islands without thinking about the airline that carries the namesake of them, Hawaiian Airlines.
This year’s Easter weekend has seen Australian airports and airlines struggle to manage the highest amount of passengers some airports have seen in over two years.
One of Europe’s busiest airports is set to have further disruption this weekend after an unannounced baggage handlers strike caused chaos last weekend.
Australian flag carrier Qantas today announced a set of aircraft orders aimed at expanding both its international and domestic route networks.
The lifting of coronavirus travel restrictions in North America and across Europe has created a sharp increase in the demand for air travel.
The Essential Air Service – or EAS – communities have been taking a major hit over the past eight months. First Boutique Air requested to terminate Jackson, Tenn. followed by Show Low, Ariz. Altoona, Penn., and Pendleton, Oregon, although the latter three were just so the carrier could get a higher subsidy and is in the process, they are planning to leave Jackson in the next month or so.
On Monday, JetBlue set in motion a second attempt to merge with Spirit — the ultra-low-cost carrier — through the means of a hostile takeover.
Dubai, the United Arab Emirates-based Emirates will convert six more of its Boeing 777s into freighters which will serve to provide capacity growth, according to Cargo Facts.
Airline passengers this summer can continue to expect record flight cancellations as the aviation industry wages its battle against one of the largest pilot shortages to date.
As the travel industry attempts to return to a semblance of normality after months of restrictions due to the COVID pandemic, each country tried to find its own way to deal with the situation balancing the need to protect its population in a rapidly changing health environment and the need to restart business and leisure air traffic to support the economy.
Air New Zealand unveiled its plan on Wednesday for completely redesigned cabins on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, creating a much more comfortable experience for passengers on the carrier’s long-haul flights.
On 30 June 2022, Etihad Airways celebrated the arrival of its new Airbus A350-1000 (one of five new Airbus A350s to join Etihad’s fleet this year) in the United States, with 371 passengers, following the inaugural commercial flight from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).
On Wednesday Alaska Airlines announced the launch of their new electronic bag tag program – the first amongst U.S. carriers.
American Airlines has announced company-record second-quarter revenue earnings of $13.4 billion for Q2 2022. The revenue figure is a 12.2 percent increase over the same quarter in 2019, despite capacity being down 8.5 percent.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has made it through the pandemic without starting a single tag route.
Earlier this week, United announced new direct flights between Washington, DC’s Dulles Airport and Cape Town, South Africa —becoming the first airline to provide nonstop round-trip service from the United States’ capital to one of South Africa’s main gateways.
While the airline industry recovers from the drastic collapse in demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines and airports worldwide are struggling to cope with the sudden uptick in demand triggered by the removal of many restrictions on international mobility.
The U.K ‘s Manchester Airport has expanded its route map to mainland China again, after a two-year hiatus.
This month, AirlineGeeks took advantage of the opportunity to review the US airline described by Forbes magazine as “top in reliability for the second year running.”
This past week, Emirates announced an expansion of their premium economy offering, making it available across more routes. Premium Economy was initially not a focus for the airline, but over the years its popularity has been growing and airlines have quickly come to see the dollar signs tagged to it.
Last week Icelandair, Iceland’s national airline, made the first flight in Iceland operated by an electric aircraft.
Virgin Atlantic revealed images on Twitter of its freshly painted Airbus A330neo. The highly anticipated aircraft is just one of the carrier’s 16 Airbus A330-900s firm orders that were placed during the 2019 Paris Airshow.
United Airlines has requested an additional 30-day waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) ahead of an Oct. 31 deadline to resume flights to Cuba.
Air travel was dead in late-2020. Airlines had slashed their schedules to fractions of 2019 levels, potential travelers had hunkered down to protect themselves from Covid-19 and airports had little to do but sit idly by.
Australian airline Regional Express has finally acquired National Jet Express, having made the announcement on Friday, Sept. 30.
Alaska Airlines, Yakima Chief Hops and Bale Breaker Brewing Company are teaming up to deliver fresh hop harvests to Hawaii and Alaska.
At its global headquarters in Montreal, Canada, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has just concluded its 41st Assembly, a global event that every three years gathers all Member States to decide the way forward for all global items involving commercial aviation.
Amazon Air, the cargo airline of Amazon.com, Inc. which operates exclusively for Amazon’s parcel transportation business, has signed a lease agreement for ten converted to freighters (P2Fs) Airbus A330-300.
Another earnings presentation, another negative result for Boeing. In recent years, the U.S. manufacturer found no way to escape this sequence, and Q3 2022 was no exception.
The chance to visit any air show is, of course, a delight. The opportunity to attend an air show based at an aviation museum, however, is extraordinary. That’s what makes Wings Over Illawarra so distinctly unique.
Wizz Air is among the fastest-growing European airlines in 2022. It was also recently named Global Environmental Sustainability Airline Group of the Year at the inaugural Centre for Aviation Asia Aviation Summit and Sustainability Expo in Singapore and received the Europe, Middle East and Africa Environmental Sustainability Airline of the Year.
The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA)’s 66th Assembly of Presidents is being held in Bangkok, Thailand this week.
As China continues to pursue its zero-Covid-19 strategy imposing heavy restrictions on international travel and countries in East Asia continue to feel the impact of the closure of Russian air space to European and North American carriers, efforts are being made to boost commercial relationships with other Asian countries that represent viable commercial partners for Western economies.
Frontier Airlines announced a ‘first-of-its-kind,’ ‘all-you-can-fly’ pass for a year, not without numerous caveats of course.
The airline plans to be based in Belfast, Northern Ireland in the summer of 2024. Operating flights to both the United States and Canada, Fly Atlantic will look to change the narrative on ultra-low-cost transatlantic travel.
A recent report from the Regional Airline Association (RAA) noted that 76 percent of U.S. airports lost air services when comparing figures from October 2022 with the same month in 2019.
The 747-8 Freighter will be delivered to Atlas Air in early 2023, becoming the freight line’s 53rd 747.
Denver based startup Boom Supersonic announced on Tuesday that it had finally found a designer and manufacturer for the engine it hopes will power its Overture aircraft.
These new seats will be rolled out on their A320neo aircraft as early as January 2023.
The week leading to Christmas is usually a very busy travel period in North America, but this year it has been made particularly chaotic by Winter Storm Elliot, an extra-tropical bomb cyclone that created blizzard conditions over large parts of the United States and Canada and wreaked havoc into airline schedules.
It’s no lie that this year has been incredible – we’ve worked around the clock and around the globe to deliver all things airlines and aviation. We are thankful most for you — our cherished reader. This year saw us crack 60,000 followers on Twitter alone, and with all the comments and retweets, you sure know how to make us feel appreciated. Thank you.
As this year ends, we are excited for the next! We thank you for your support, and we — AirlineGeeks — look forward to delivering the very best we can.
All the best, and however you welcome 2023, be safe and keep your eyes on the skies!