The Future of Airplanes Lies on HydrogenBy Alessa Flores | Thu, 10/01/2020 - 12:24
Airbus industries announced that it will manufacture hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2035 and that these will be the first clean, zero-emissions aircraft. The European airplane manufacturer noted that the three prototypes it is designing will have a futuristic design. The first prototype will be designed with a "mixed wing," that will have the capacity to carry between 120 and 200 passengers and will be capable of making short transcontinental flights powered by a gas turbine engine muffled to run on hydrogen instead of kerosene, explains a note from El País. The second model will be a turbo propeller with a capacity of 100 passengers to operate regional routes and will be able to fly over 1,000 nautical miles. The third prototype will be the first "mixed wing body" for up to 200 passengers and is planned to be used for European airlines flying to and from America.
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The Aviation Surcharge Union Association (ASSA) negotiated the cut of 1,000 seats suggested by Aeroméxico and approved the cut of 616 flight attendants that are part of the airline's labor force. The union proposed rotation of flight attendants from Oct. 1 until September 2021. Finally, negotiations with the airline's pilots' union are pending to determine how many pilots will be cut as part of the airline's financial restructuring.
On Tuesday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) updated its full-year traffic projections for 2020 to reflect poor results from the summer season. The association had previously estimated that global traffic would see a 63 percent contraction in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but after considering data from the summer months, it readjusted its projections to a 66 percent contraction. The sector has seen a gradual recovery from March, when it saw its lowest point of history, but the reinstatement of COVID-19 containment measures and the prevalent fear of exposure have kept demand down. In August 2020, demand for air travel measured in revenue passenger kilometers was at -75.3 percent against the levels it saw the previous year, a small step up from July’s 79.5 percent year-on-year contraction.
Air cargo is seeing a small recovery from its lowest point earlier this year as borders open and international flights resume. However, recovery is smaller and slower than previously estimated, warns IATA, as a large percentage of the world’s commercial fleets remains grounded due to poor demand for passenger traffic.
Global air cargo capacity saw a 29.4 percent year-on-year contraction during August, albeit it was slightly larger than the 31.8 percent year-on-year drop it saw during July. IATA explains that belly capacity in passenger flights is down by 67 percent, which is only slightly offset by the 28.1 percent increase in freighter capacity. The sharpest drop was felt in Latin America as the region saw 43.5 percent less capacity. Demand is also down. Globally, air cargo demand measured in cargo ton kilometers (CTK) shrank by 12.6 percent year-on-year. Again, the Latin American region saw the sharpest drop, reporting 27.3 percent less cargo than in August 2019. The region also faces the sharpest decrease in international capacity, with a 38.5 percent fall.