World JetBlue is the latest airline to retreat from blocking seats
New Zealand has elected its most diverse Parliament ever. How does Australia compare?
New Zealand has elected its most diverse Parliament ever, with more women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people and Maori MPs. How does it compare to Australia, and what systems are in place to ensure people from diverse backgrounds are well-represented at the highest level?She is of Māori descent and is also a takatāpui, a Māori term for those who identify with diverse sexes, genders and sexualities.
The days of airlines blocking seats to make passengers feel safer about flying during the pandemic are coming closer to an end.
JetBlue is the latest to indicate it is rethinking the issue. A spokesman for the carrier said Thursday that JetBlue will reduce the number of seats it blocks after Dec. 1 to accommodate families traveling together over the holidays.
Southwest Airlines said last week that it will stop limiting the number of seats it fills after Dec. 1. Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines say they will lift caps on seating early next year.
The pandemic and resulting border restrictions caused U.S. air travel to plunge 95% in April. Some airlines promised to block middle seats to create more distance between passengers. Others, notably United Airlines and American Airlines, did not, arguing that ventilation systems and air filters made planes safe without social distancing.
Cathay Pacific to cut thousands of jobs, close subsidiary airline
Cathay Pacific is to slash up to 5,900 jobs and shutter its Cathay Dragon subsidiary, the Hong Kong carrier said Wednesday, joining a growing list of airlines making swingeing cuts as they reel from the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, Cathay Pacific published a corporate restructuring plan that will lead to thousands of job losses and one of its airlines to disappear completely. "The global pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on aviation and the hard truth is we must fundamentally restructure the Group to survive," CEO Augustus Tang said in a statement.
It is unclear whether airlines that blocked seats took passengers from other airlines. All the airlines have reported a slow rise in the number of passengers. Yet so few people are flying — in October, several months into the pandemic, U.S. air travel isfrom a year ago — that anyone willing to get on a plane might feel it's safe anyway.
JetBlue spokesman Derek Dombrowski said the airline will keep flights under 70% full through Dec. 1, and will keep some limits through the holidays, “but what that capacity cap will be has yet to be determined.”
Dombrowski said there will be more families and groups traveling over the holidays, so the New York-based airline will offer “a small number of rows” where people traveling together can occupy all the seats.
Cathay Pacific axes regional carrier and jobs
Hong Kong’s flag carrier is closing Cathay Dragon and cutting 8,500 jobs as part of a restructuring plan.Cathay Dragon was a full service regional carrier flying mainly to mainland China and other Asian destinations.
Earlier this week, JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty said blocking seats “is not something that’s sustainable,” and that as passenger numbers rise and studies show airplane cabins are safe, the airline will raise capacity on flights.
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly made a similar reference to “scientific evidence” that cabins are safe, but he also cited a strong financial incentive to stop blocking middle seats. Kelly said Southwest lost $20 million in revenue September because of the policy, with the loss seen rising to between $40 million and $60 million in November.
A recent study by the Defense Department's transport command said the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 on planes is very low if everyone wears face masks. However, the study was not peer-reviewed and did not account for things like people moving around the cabin.
A number of reports suggest that transmission on airlines is rare, although the lack of testing and contract tracing make it impossible to quantify the risk of flying.
David Koenig can be reached at www.twitter.com/airlinewriter
One Nation leader faces misery as support for her party 'COLLAPSES' .
Accused of not properly campaigning, the veteran politician insisted she had been out on the trail but the media had not properly covered her campaign. Launching into a row with senator Murray Watt, who was in the Sky News studio to cover the election, she was laughed at by the Labor senator.'You actually spoke very highly of me,' she furiously told the politician, 'of the work I do as a senator, and you gave me credit for what I do for Queensland.''I think you must be thinking of a different person there,' he replied, grinning at his co-hosts off camera.