PANDEMIC NEWS UPDATE: Aerion delays first flight; airlines get tough on passengers who refuse to wear masks; Arianespace to resume launches; a UV machine for sanitizing aircraft
By Cat Hofacker|June 17, 2020
Our weekly compendium of coronavirus news
Aerion Corp. has pushed the first flight of its prototype 12-passenger supersonic business jet from 2024 to 2025, president and CEO Tom Vice said in remarks during the AIAA Aviation virtual forum. “Obviously the pandemic has slowed us down a bit,” Vice said. Before the pandemic, Aerion anticipated that customers would start flying operational versions in 2026. The company has slipped that target to 2027.
Passengers who don’t wear face coverings aboard aircraft could have their flying privileges revoked by major U.S. airlines, trade group Airlines for America said Monday. In a press release, the group laid out the updated policy to be implemented by its member carriers, which include American, Southwest and United Airlines.
Arianespace is scheduled to launch a rideshare mission of 53 satellites on Thursday, the first since the company halted operations at the French Guinea spaceport in March.
About 12,500 passenger aircraft remain parked worldwide, down from the roughly 17,000 that were grounded as of mid-April, London-based data firm Cirium reported today. The reduction “shows encouraging initial signs of a pick-up in activity,” particularly for airlines in Western Europe where stringent travel restrictions remain in effect.
The U.S. Department of Defense began reopening the Pentagon on Monday, after months of mandatory teleworking for all but mission-critical workers. Under Phase One of the reopening plan, up to 40% of employees can return to Pentagon offices, but gatherings of 10 or more people are still prohibited and face masks are mandatory when social distancing isn’t possible.
Honeywell last week unveiled a machine for cleaning aircraft cabins via UV light. A crew member would push the machine, which resembles an aircraft beverage cart, up and down the plane aisle while UV arms extending over the top of seats beam UV light to sanitize surfaces. The first products are scheduled to be shipped out in July.