Issue No. 785

How to Fix Singapore Airlines

Pushing Back: Inside This Issue

The fateful day of October 1 is fast approaching. It’s the day that U.S. airlines will lose federal money for wages, unless Congress acts to extend payroll support. With time running out, airlines and their unions are lobbying hard for an extension. But as the new week begins, still nothing. Layoffs loom.

Looming large on IATA’s agenda, meanwhile, is Covid testing, and its potential to facilitate a safe resumption of travel and the reopening of international borders without quarantines. “The key to restoring the freedom of mobility across borders is systematic Covid-19 testing of all travelers before departure,” IATA said in a statement. Speed, accuracy, affordability, ease of use, and scalability are all important in creating an effective, globally standardized testing protocol. With advances in these areas, some airlines are now introducing Covid testing in selected markets, like Hawaii.

The industry badly needs something to escape the crisis, which now exceeds six months in duration. Carriers like Lufthansa never expected things to be this bad for this long, forcing it to rethink its survival measures — the big cuts it announced early on won’t be enough. The only silver lining, other than cheap fuel, is the abundance of capital available to airlines, from governments, from banks, from private investors, and from aircraft lessors.  American, for its part, just tapped Washington for billions in new loans.


“IATA is calling for the systematic testing of all international travelers before departure. This should enable governments to safely open borders without quarantine.”

IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac

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Southwest CEO Gary Kelly appeared on CNBC, discussing the industry’s efforts to secure a six-month extension of federal payroll support. As of this writing, Congress has yet to act despite what Kelly described as “broad backing” among legislators of both…


Delta, a much bigger Airbus customer than either American or United, wants to defer at least 40 deliveries scheduled for this year, Bloomberg reports. Discussions are in progress. The airline is indeed a prolific Airbus buyer, ordering A350s, A330 NEOs,…

State of the Unions

Two Republican senators introduced a bill to extend the payroll support program for airline employees through March of next year, but whether the legislation will even be debated in times remains an open question. Meanwhile, support for more airline aid…

Routes and Networks

Ryanair sees an opening in Paris, where easyJet is currently the low-cost leader. The Irish LCC will base planes at Beauvais airport, where it’s already a sizable player with service to 30 cities. That will increase to 32 as it…

Covid Crisis 2020

United became the first U.S. carrier to announce rapid-result Covid testing for passengers flying from SFO to Hawaii. The tests, which United said it worked with Hawaii to develop, are a way to get around the state’s strict 14-day quarantine…

Feature Story

Singapore Airlines is lucky. Singapore Airlines is cursed.

Around the World

A look at the world’s airlines, including end-of-week equity prices