In today’s roundup, Meggitt is to lead a consortium of UK aerospace suppliers working to produce a prototype of a medical ventilator for the NHS which can be produced at high volume in just two weeks, Qantas cancels international flights and IATA calls for government support for airlines in the Middle East and Africa.
Meggitt answers NHS call to industry for ventilator production assistance
Aerospace engineer Meggitt is heading up a consortium of aerospace suppliers answering the NHS’ call for industry assistance in ventilator production.
The aerospace consortium also includes GKN, Airbus, Thales and Renishaw. The consortium is one of three consortia working together to develop medical ventilator prototypes by next week in a bid to solve the shortage in the NHS. The other two consortia are headed up by automotive sector companies Nissan and McLaren.
The aerospace suppliers will be working to develop and produce 20,000 new machines to treat coronavirus patients in as little as two weeks. Meggitt mainly makes components for military and civil aircraft but does have some medical technology experience.
Meggitt announced it had put in place measures to “tightly manage the business” through the outbreak.
Lufthansa Group confirms 95 per cent reduction in capacity
Lufthansa Group has confirmed a 95 per cent reduction in capacity and has called for government aid for the industry.
Chief executive Carsten Spohr said no one would be able to “foresee the consequences” or financial impact of the crisis. “We have to counter this extraordinary situation with drastic and sometimes painful measures,” he added.
“The longer this crisis lasts, the more likely it is that the future of aviation cannot be guaranteed without state aid,” he said.
Lufthansa Group is parking approximately 700 of its 763 aircraft with Brussels Airlines, Austrian Airlines and Air Dolomiti having already suspended operations. Lufthansa is to discontinue long-haul flights from Munich with long-haul flights departing only from Frankfurt.
Qantas suspends international flights
Qantas is to suspend scheduled international flights from late March, in accordance with Australian government advice.
A statement by the Qantas Group reads: “With the federal government now recommending against all overseas travel from Australia, regularly scheduled international flights will continue until late March to assist with repatriation, and will then be suspended until at least the end of May 2020.
“As the national carrier, Qantas is in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government about continuation of some strategic links.”
All arrivals to Australia must now self-isolate for 14 days, including Australian citizens. The country’s Department of Foreign Affairs is encouraging its citizens to return to Australia as quickly as possible with travel becoming more complex as more countries close their borders or introduce travel restrictions.
Qantas Group is was grounding 150 aircraft, including most of its widebody fleet, and will cut its international capacity by about 90 per cent and domestic network by 60 per cent. The Group has said it will maintain essential domestic, regional, and freight connections where possible.
Technicians at Chicago Midway ATC tower test positive for COVID-19
The US National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has received confirmation that several technicians at Chicago Midway Air Traffic Control Tower (MDW) have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has closed the facility for disinfection and a review of cleaning protocols. NATCA has asked for rapid testing of all personnel at MDW Tower. Air traffic services have been moved from MDW Tower to the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control facility during the disinfection of MDW Tower.