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Aussie Airline war intensifies over COVID refunds



REX Airlines has taken another aim at Australia’s national carrier, Qantas – this time over COVID refunds

Rex, placing full-page ads in today’s newspapers accused its rival of failing to provide more than a billion dollars’ worth of refunds during the pandemic.

Rex Airlines‘ ads show dozens of social media posts from angry Qantas customers complaining about the national carrier’s refund process.

The regional Australian carrier which has recently expanded its network has spruiked its “COVID refund guarantee” policy, as a way of winning new customers. Regional Express promises to offer a full cash refund on tickets sold after April 1 to any passengers whose travel plans are disrupted because of a direct COVID-related reason, such as the current lockdowns in Melbourne, Australia.

Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said the airline had also refunded every passenger who had requested their money back because of travel plans interrupted by COVID on tickets sold before April 1.

“Rex believes that it is extremely important for the airline industry to do as much as they can to reinstill confidence in people to book and pay for a flight,”

Mr Sharp Said.

Sharp took aim at Australia’s leading airline, accusing Qantas of doing the opposite and “undermining the confidence” of passengers by “making it extremely difficult” for its passengers to get a refund.


The airline set to fire unvaccinated aircrew and pilots



As the coronavirus vaccine rollout ramps up within many nations around the world, many aviation industry experts say the jab will play a huge role in bringing aviation back to normal

Cathay Pacific Airways has confirmed that all Hong Kong-based pilots and flight attendants would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by August 31st or risk losing their jobs.

The mandate has become one of the airline industry’s toughest policies.

Cathay Pacific stated it had struggled with staff rostering due to Hong Kong’s strict quarantine rules, which require unvaccinated crew members to quarantine every flight.

New guidelines exempt flight crew that are vaccinated from quarantining

There are also requirements that only fully vaccinated crews can operate to certain high-risk destinations and on quarantine-free “bubble” flights.

Hong Kong has a surplus of unused vaccines and some of the shots are about to expire.

Cathay said 90% of pilots and more than 65% of the cabin crew had already received their vaccinations or had appointments booked, following a previous warning that vaccination was highly likely to become compulsory.

US Airlines impose similar rules

United Airlines has confirmed it would mandate full vaccination for crew members flying to countries with high COVID-19 cases at the beginning of August.

Delta Air Lines last month said all new hires would have to be vaccinated.

While vaccines for passengers on all Qantas international flights will also become mandated after the airline said it will require all passengers and crew to be vaccinated when the country’s borders reopen to widespread international travel.

Emirates has provided employees with free vaccines since January.

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Visa’s multi-billion investment in European open banking platform



Payments technology company Visa has confirmed it has signed a deal to buy Swedish open banking platform Tink

The payment tech company is set to hand over $2.15 billion for the acquisition, one of the largest investments for the company.

The total financial consideration included cash and retention incentives.

Visa says Tink would retain its brand and management team, and its headquarters would continue to operate as normally in Stockholm.

Visa is now set to fund the deal from cash on hand and the acquisition would have no impact on Visa’s previously announced stock buyback programme or dividend policy.

In January, Visa and financial technology company Plaid called off their $5.3 billion merger agreement following a U.S. government lawsuit aimed at stopping the merger on antitrust grounds

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Regulators send urgent danger warning to global airlines



Airlines across the world have been sent an urgent warning by regulators

As parts of the world slowly recovers from the pandemic, and consumer confidence in travel peaks, airlines are being urged to check a certain type of aircraft that millions of people fly on each and every year.

Regulators have called for more rigorous checks when pulling some Airbus Aircraft out of pandemic storage, following flawed cockpit readings that can suggest blocked sensors.

Pilots rely on airspeed readings obtained from external probes known as pitot tubes, which can become blocked by insect nests or dirt if they are not properly sealed during storage.

Multiple airlines forced to abort takeoffs

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency confirmed that recently, airline operations have become disrupted due to incidents involving the A320 range of aircraft.

“an increasing number of operational disruptions have been reported due to airspeed discrepancies” as they return to the air.

A spokesperson said the events included commercial flights and in most cases led to aborted takeoff. “EASA had no reports of any resultant injuries, aircraft or system issues,” she said.

Asked whether passengers had been on board, an Airbus spokesperson said it did not have a breakdown between passenger, freight or technical check flights.

Recent reports have now prompted Airbus to carry out further computer simulations which suggested that problems with two out of three sensors may affect the plane’s stability during take-off. The agency noted however that none of these events happened in operations.

The Airbus spokesperson said these follow-up actions were precautionary and that safety was its chief priority.

“Alarming” Rise in Cases

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency first reported an “alarming” rise in August 2020. The agency saw a rise in the general number of cases of unreliable cockpit indications during the first flight of jets leaving storage.

It called on operators of all makes and models of passenger aircraft to be vigilant.

Pilot rustiness, maintenance errors and a loss of expertise in the supply chain due to job cuts have also raised concerns.

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