Today's news in brief:
Turkish Airlines cancels fights until May 20
Turkish Airlines is suspending all its international services until May 20 (while domestic flights remain halted until May 1).
The Turkish flag carrier, a Star Alliance member, flies to more global destinations than any other airline, so it’s an interesting data point when considering when international travel might resume.
Under normal circumstances, Turkish flies to 11 destinations in India: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kochi, Madras, Mumbai, New Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram and Tiruchirappalli.
Turkish obviously sees no possibility of resuming its international operations for the next five weeks, at least.
USA agrees $25bn airline bailout
The US has agreed a $25bn rescue package for 10 of its largest airlines, with low-cost loans and direct grants being issued for payroll, in order to keep airline workers in jobs.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the deal would "support American workers and help preserve the strategic importance of the airline industry while allowing for appropriate compensation to the taxpayers".
Among the recipients is oneworld member American Airlines, which will receive an initial $5.8 billion, made up of a direct grant of $4.1 billion, and a low-interest rate loan of $1.7 billion.
American also intends to apply for a loan of approximately $4.75 billion from the US Treasury.
United, Delta and Southwest will also benefit.
SpiceJet keeps busy with cargo flights
SpiceJet carried out its first-ever B737 cargo freighter flight yesterday, carrying covid-19 related medical supplies from Shanghai to Hyderabad.
Coronavirus is keeping the low-cost airline in business for the moment, and SpiceJet says it has already transported over 2,700 tons of cargo on more than 300 flights since India’s nationwide lockdown began.
Ajay Singh, the chairman and managing director of SpiceJet, said: “SpiceJet freighters have begun ferrying crucial medical supplies from China. In addition to Shanghai, we are also operating freighters to Singapore and Sri Lanka.
“Regular SpiceJet cargo flights are also being operated to Hong Kong, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Ho Chi Minh City and other places, while our domestic cargo operations have been significantly boosted by our passenger aircraft fleet, where both our B737 and Q400 aircraft have been deployed to operate cargo-on-seat flights.”
Through its SpiceXpress cargo arm, SpiceJet has been regularly transporting medical equipment such as surgical supplies, sanitizers and face masks, as well as carrying out deliveries of essential supplies, medicines and medical equipment to various cities in India.
It has transported more than 4,000 Coronavirus Rapid Test Kits to Kozhikode from Mumbai, and last month it operated a special flight between Delhi and Jodhpur, transporting 136 Indian passengers evacuated from Iran to a quarantine facility in the city.
The airline has also operated cargo flights to Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, taking fresh fruits and vegetables to helping Indian farmers maintain continuity of their supply chains. A recent operation included a freighter flight to Colombo, carrying farm produce from West Bengal.