Helvetic Airways is a Swiss airline which operates its fleet of Embraer aircraft to destinations such as Greek islands and the Egyptian Red sea coast from their hubs in Switzerland. Their CEO, Tobias Pogorevc, has been in charge of the company since 2018 and overseen major developments such as the introduction of the Embraer E195 E2 and E190 E2 to their fleet. I put some questions to the man himself about the environment and the pandemic.
What do you see as the biggest challenge to the aviation industry at the moment?
One of the biggest challenges in the entire aviation industry is the staff situation. The pandemic
disrupted the entire aviation ecosystem and the situation is still very tense in the personnel area – both
on the ground and in the air. Helvetic Airways was able to counteract the natural fluctuation in the
cabin through early recruitment measures. In addition, as of the beginning of 2023, Helvetic Airways
has significantly expanded its existing and very popular part-time models for cabin crews, and now
offers various innovative models with “Fly your way”, in which cabin attendants can determine their
own assignments on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. Today, we employ over 240 flight attendants
and senior flight attendants in the cabin crew – more than ever before in the history of Helvetic
In the cockpit, we benefit from the good and long-standing cooperation with our sister company
Horizon Swiss Flight Academy. From this pool, we were able to recruit 24 pilots this year.
Another challenge relates to supply chains, from carpet suppliers to engine manufacturers. This will
keep the industry busy for a long time to come.
How are you lessening the impact of Helvetic’s aircraft?
Helvetic Airways has renewed almost its entire fleet between 2019 and 2021 and now has 12 state-of-
the-art Embraer E2s – eight E190-E2s with 110 seats and four E195-E2s with 134 seats – and four
Embraer E190s. Helvetic Airways thus operates one of the most modern regional jet fleets in Europe
and the most modern fleet in Switzerland. The Embraer-E2 is currently the most environmentally
friendly regional aircraft on the market. Compared to the E1, the E190-E2 consumes 20 to 23% less
fuel per seat on European routes and the E195-E2 up to 30% less. Our own measured values are
even higher than Embraer’s factory specifications.
The E2 also sets new standards in terms of noise emissions, impressing in particular with its low noise
levels both inside the cabin and outside. The noise diagrams for departures from Zurich Airport show:
The noise contour of the Embraer E195-E2 is 28% lower than for the Airbus A319 and 60% lower than
for the Airbus A320. Particularly for airports near densely populated areas, the ability to reduce the
noise impact on people is an important factor.
What lessons did you learn from the pandemic?
In aviation, crisis situations are regularly trained for, but no one was prepared for a global crisis like the
Corona pandemic. We kept all our crews current during the pandemic so that we would be ready when
business picked up again. In retrospect, that was absolutely the right decision. But then the restart
happened faster than expected. On the one hand, we all had to get back to the “old normal” as quickly
as possible; on the other hand, the pandemic was not yet over – a balancing act that placed enormous
demands on the entire industry.
The pandemic showed us that even when things are at a standstill, you always have to keep moving.
As an airline with lean structures, we have the opportunity to implement new ideas and innovations
quickly, which proved its worth during the restart after the pandemic.
How is the Russo-Ukrainian war affecting Helvetic Airways’ business?
The Ukraine war and the fates associated with it are terrible but have no immediate impact on us as a
regional airline from an operational point of view. Our routes do not pass over Russian or Ukrainian
territory, which may not be flown over at present. What we do feel, however, are the indirect effects of
the war, for example on the fuel prices.
You have been CEO of the company since 2018, what has been the biggest change you have seen in the company since you became in charge?
On the one hand, as a small, private company, the fleet renewal to an E2 fleet has been very busy for
us. It is something special that we, as a niche player, can rely on the most modern fleet. But this is
only possible thanks to the financial strength of our owner, which got us through the Covid crisis even
without government aid. Today, we are financially strong, with no liabilities.
On the other hand, there was the biggest difference in the area of human resources: the needs that
applied in 2018 are outdated today. Today, we need to offer innovative and flexible working models to
recruit the best young talent. Work-life balance, diversity, inclusion must not just be buzzwords, they
must be lived.
Helvetic airways operates a fleet solely made up of Embraer aircraft, why was the decision made to do this?
Before unifying to an all Embraer fleet, Helvetic Airways operated Fokker100 aircraft, an Airbus A319
and Embraer E1 aircraft, four of which are still in our fleet today. The cooperation with Embraer was
excellent from the beginning and the development of the E2 series progressed well also due to our
experience and input from Switzerland. So the decision was also obvious to carry out the planned fleet
renewal in 2019 to 2021 with the new Embraer E2 models. The Embraer E2 is an aircraft of the latest
generation and therefore the right aircraft for the future. The E2 consumes significantly less fuel than
the E1 and, especially in times of high kerosene prices, it makes economic sense to operate an
aircraft that saves 20 to 30% fuel on certain routes at high load factors.
Another key reason for choosing the E2 jet was the commonalities, which is particularly advantageous
in the areas of training and maintenance.
All our pilots are certified for both the E1 and the E2, and the maintenance in our hangar is also
certified for both types of aircraft. We operate the aircraft, we maintain it and we have our own flight
school, the Horizon Swiss Flight Academy, where we train our pilots and engineers – all from Zurich.
In other words, we have specialists for all areas: training, operations and maintenance – in effect we
have become the Embraer competence center in Europe.
And Finally, what can we see in the near future for Helvetic airways?
First and foremost, our goal is to continue to offer our partners, customers and passengers reliable
flight operations with top service. In doing so, we will continue to rely on our three main pillars of
wetlease, charter and scheduled flights. Furthermore, we want to remain a good and modern employer
for our employees. Due to our manageable size, we remain agile and score with innovation and a
family atmosphere with flat hierarchies. We will continue to promote this spirit. From April, for example,
the first “Helvetic shared apartments” will be ready for occupancy – apartments rented by Helvetic
Airways and sublet to employees who do not have their main place of residence in Zurich. These
colleagues should immediately feel at home in our Helvetic family!
Cover image credit: Flikr
EgyptAir Celebrates 91 Years of Service: A Look Back at Its History, Achievements, and Future
EgyptAir, the national flag carrier of Egypt, Celebrates 91 Years of Service, marking nearly a century of service in the aviation industry. As one of the world’s oldest airlines, the seventh carrier globally, EgyptAir has an impressive history and has experienced numerous significant events throughout its existence. In this article, we’ll explore some facts about the airline, delve into its history, and discuss some of the most notable incidents it has encountered.
The Early Days and Expansion
From its establishment in 1932, EgyptAir has experienced several transformations, including name changes, mergers, and expansions. The airline began commercial operations in August 1933 with the Spartan Cruiser, flying from Cairo to Alexandria.
The name Misr Airlines changed to MisrAir, in 1946, and 10 Beechcraft were purchased, adding American technology to the fleet. By 1949, MisrAir bought 10 Vickers Vikings.
And in 1960, it merged with Syrian Airlines, forming United Arab Airlines (UAA). UAA enhanced the fleet with Comet 4-c jets, becoming the first carrier in the Middle East to use these jets. In 1968, UAA introduced the Boeing 707-320c to manage growing international traffic and operate longer routes, becoming the first airline in the Middle East to fly Boeing 707s.
MisrAir and Syrian Airlines split, In 1971, resulting in the new identity of EgyptAir.
In July 2002, the company became a holding company with eight subsidiaries, providing a comprehensive range of air transport services including:
- EGYPTAIR AIRLINES
- EGYPTAIR DUTY FREE
- EGYPTAIR MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING
- EGYPTAIR GROUND SERVICES
- EGYPTAIR IN-FLIGHT SERVICES
- EGYPTAIR MEDICAL SERVICES
- EGYPTAIR SUPPLEMENTARY INDUSTRIES
- EGYPTAIR CARGO
Membership in the Star Alliance Network
In July 2008, EgyptAir joined the Star Alliance network, the largest airline alliance in the world. This membership allowed the airline to offer its customers better flight connections and more comfortable travel experiences. EgyptAir’s unique position as the only North African and Middle Eastern-based member of the network has further solidified its standing in the aviation industry.
Notable Facts about EgyptAir
- EgyptAir was the first Middle Eastern and African airline to use jet aircraft, starting with the Comet 4B in 1960.
- The airline has an all-Airbus and Boeing fleet, featuring models such as the Airbus A320, A330, A220, and Boeing 777, 737, and 787 Dreamliner.
- EgyptAir’s main hub is at Cairo International Airport, with secondary hubs in Alexandria and Sharm El Sheikh.
- EgyptAir Plus, the airline’s frequent flyer program, offers passengers the chance to earn miles and enjoy benefits like priority boarding and lounge access.
Significant Incidents in EgyptAir’s History
- EgyptAir Flight 648 (1985): This flight from Athens to Cairo was hijacked by terrorists. Egyptian commandos stormed the plane in Malta, resulting in the death of 60 passengers and crew members.
- EgyptAir Flight 990 (1999): This flight crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 217 people on board. The crash’s cause remains disputed, with the U.S. NTSB citing co-pilot actions and Egyptian authorities blaming mechanical failure.
- EgyptAir Flight 804 (2016): This flight from Paris to Cairo crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, claiming the lives of all 66 passengers and crew. The crash’s cause is still uncertain, with technical issues and terrorism considered as possible factors. Read more about this incident
As EgyptAir Celebrates 91 Years of Service, it is a testament to the airline’s resilience and determination to provide world-class service to its passengers. With a rich history and numerous achievements under its belt, EgyptAir remains a prominent player in the aviation industry. Here’s to many more years!
Have you ever flown with EgyptAir? Share your experiences in the comments section below!
The Rise of Emirates: Where They Came from and Where They are Now
Emirates airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world, carrying 60 million passengers in the year of 2019. To put that into perspective, that’s as if every single person in the country of Italy decided to fly Emirates. But, from a nation which has only recently rose to the point it is in, how did this revenue come in such a short period of time? In the wake of their 37th birthday, I take a look at how far the airline has come, and what’s to become of it.
The founding of the airline
Emirates was officially founded on the 25th of March 1985 by Maurice Flanagan. This beats the airline’s UAE competitor and the country’s flag carrier, which was founded in 2003. Its founding marked the first airline in the United Arab of Emirates, and had the backing of Dubai’s royal family, in particular Rashid Al Maktoum. Interestingly, his half-brother has been the Chairman and CEO of Emirates since 1985. Emirates’ first flights took off in Late October, flying from Dubai to Karachi with a Boeing 737 and A300 which were wet-leased by Pakistan International airlines, the airline which played a key part in Emirates’ founding.
One thing that has been particularly important in the growth of the airline has been the routes which Emirates have operated. In its first 5 years of being an airline, it already had 14 routes. This is key because a major part of the airline’s business is that it connects passengers through to other destinations. And so, by expanding its route network, it was able to provide affordable long-haul flights to passengers across the world, with only one layover at DXB airport. An example being that it still is rare to be able to catch a direct flight from London to Sydney in Australia, and therefore Dubai is a key layover spot for passengers bridging between the two destinations, holding a near monopoly level stake in the route. Now, it’s more likely that you’ll find Emirates passengers connecting than actually visiting Dubai itself.
Where the airline is now
Now, the Airline is recovering from the pandemic quickly, as expected. Since peak levels, it has managed to launch a brand new premium economy product, with raving reviews by many. It has also recently unveiled the launch of its new livery, revealing a twist on the current one. It has also risen to fame through its vast sponsorship of sports teams and events, ranging from Formula 1 to football worldwide. In terms of facts and figures, the airline’s income from April to September of 2022 was 228% of what it was in the same time the year before, indicating a speedy recovery for the airline.
What to expect in the future
Perhaps the biggest thing to look out for in the future of the airline is the arrival of their next generation fleet. At the moment, Emirates’ fleet only comprises the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777. But, what’s to come in the future is one of the newest aircraft out there, the A350. Emirates has placed orders for 50 of the aircraft, which are expected to start being delivered, the earliest of their orders, in 2024. Aside from the A350, Emirates has also invested in a whopping 115 Boeing 777Xs and 30 Boeing 787-9s, both expected to start arriving in 2025. Emirates are also expected to start fitting their current fleet of Boeing 777s with their brand new premium economy.
- Simple Flying
Cathay Pacific Chair and CEO report results from 2022, and expected recovery levels for this year
In a press conference attended by Aviation for Aviators, Top executives at Cathay pacific reported on the company’s growth and recovery during the year before answering questions from the media. In the opening statement provided by the company’s chair, Patrick Healy, he talked about the recovery levels expected from the airline in the year, and the profits from the previous year.
The Company’s results
When talking about the year of 2022, Patrick Healy said “Our airlines and subsidiaries reported an attributable profit of 2.3 Billion dollars in the second half of 2022.” This indicates recovery at the airline, as this is reportedly the first time the company has made a profit since 2019. This matches many other airlines in the time period, as the industry begins to take back the areas which it has lost due to the pandemic. When talking about profits at Cathay Pacific, this not only includes the main area of the airline, but also their Cargo and Low cost airlines and firms as well. The Pandemic was particularly damaging to many of the airlines in East Asia, as China’s COVID regulations were harsh, and in some areas, are still being lifted. This is important because in most cases, China has the largest group of tourists travelling with east Asian airlines, and so for them to have harsh regulations would drastically decrease passenger numbers.
In terms of recovery this year, Healy Stated “By the end of March, as a group, we will be operating approximately 50% pre-pandemic flight capacity”, a figure which some might view to be low compared to others. However, when talking about recovery in terms of destinations, Healy said that they would be “Serving more than 70 destinations.” The Chair then continued to say that these numbers should be increasing by the end of the year. However these are still not close enough to the levels they were before the pandemic, as would be expected with most airlines.
How is Cathay Pacific ensuring that their fleet is as environmentally friendly as possible?
In answer to a question about the environment asked by Aviation for Aviators, Cathay Pacific’s CEO, Ronald Lam, Said: “Being a leader in sustainability is a very important part of our strategy moving forwards, and in fact we have announced our commitment for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050; as well as usage of 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuel by 2030. We have been making plans and implementing actions to make this happen. So, for example, last year, we launched the first ever corporate sustainable aviation fuel program in Asia which is joined by a number of partners from different sectors. We are very encouraged by their participation. We have also signed up with a number of different parties sourcing for SAF for the future. We have an investment in a company called Fulcrum in the US in which they have offered to supply us with a good quality of sustainable aviation fuel for the future. And also we have signed up another company called Amadeus with uptake of SAF in the future. So we are working to us building more SAF supply to reach our 2030 target in the coming years. So that’s one main area, working on the SAF. Another Area, We will continue to upgrade our aircraft to new generation aircraft. From this year onward, we still have 48 firm aircraft orders that will be delivered. And each of those aircraft will provide up to 15-20% fuel efficiency and therefore lower carbon emissions compared to their counterparts in the older generation. So those are the two main focuses that we have on sustainability. “
In Simple terms, Cathay Pacific is making a commitment to the environment, in particular with the use of Sustainable Aviation fuel, that is, fuel which emits no negative impact on the environment. They also are trying to keep their fleet modern and efficient, to ensure that the least amount of damage is made.
In Conclusion, Cathay Pacific are making significant advancements in the way that they are recovering from the Pandemic and the damage which it has caused to the aviation industry. In terms of recovery, whilst progress may be slow, this is something expected of the airline as many others are going through similar things at the same time. With regards to environmental impact, Cathay Pacific is making commitments to make its aviation cleaner, with a new fleet and sustainable aviation fuel developments on the way.
Please Note: All information was taken from Cathay Pacific’s March 8th 2023 Press conference.
Cover Image credit: NPR
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