Today’s news in brief:

Qatar Airways expanding with flights to Toronto

There aren’t many airlines launching flights to new destinations, but that’s exactly what Qatar Airways is doing with the introduction of a new service to Toronto.

Beginning July 4 (this coming Saturday!), Qatar Airways will operate three flights per week to Toronto Pearson International Airport using an Airbus A350-900, offering 36 seats in business class and 247 in economy.

Qatar will continue to offer four flights per week to Montreal, using Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 777 aircraft.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “We have worked closely with the Government of Canada and its embassies around the world during this crisis to bring home safely over 16,000 Canadians through our scheduled flights to Montreal and special charter flights to Toronto and Vancouver.

“Qatar Airways has never stopped operating to Canada throughout this crisis and we are pleased to be able to further strengthen our support to the people of Canada with the addition of these three weekly scheduled flights to Toronto.”

Indian pilots see pay cuts and leave without pay

There was a raft of bad news for India’s airline staff yesterday, when two revenue-starved airlines asked their employees to share their pain.

Vistara has initiated paycuts ranging from five per cent for junior staff up to 20 per cent for the airline’s CEO Leslie Thng who has reportedly written to his team to say: We are now operating at less than 30 per cent of our original network and the passenger loads on our flights are not as strong as they were before the lockdown. Our financial performance will continue to be negatively affected by Covid-19.”

India’s largest domestic carrier, IndiGo, requires its pilots to take 5.5 days of leave without pay per month, as of July.

A statement from the low-cost carrier said: "IndiGo was one of the few airlines globally to give out full salaries in the months of March and April, despite business disruption.

"We employed the first paycut in May, followed by leave without pay. Given the current capacity utilisation, we have had to announce further leave without pay for pilots, which is a temporary measure. It will be reviewed basis the changes in our operational capacity."

Increasing demand sees half of Lufthansa fleet back in the air

Things look a bit more positive for Star Alliance airline Lufthansa, which claims that demand for air travel has returned to the extent that half of its fleet is back in service.

A new summer timetable for Lufthansa group airlines (including Swiss and Austrian Airlines) has been loaded in booking systems for travel valid until October 24 (the end of the normal summer season for airlines).

By the end of October, over 90 per cent of all originally planned short- and medium-haul destinations and over 70 per cent of the group's long-haul destinations are expected to be served again.

"Little by little, the borders open again. Demand is increasing, in the short term but also in the long term. We are therefore consistently expanding our flight schedule and our global network and pushing ahead with our restart,” said Harry Hohmeister, a board member at Lufthansa.