Covid Positive Passenger Dresses As Wife To Avoid Virus Checks

There have been plenty of reports of fake COVID test certificates. Or a group of Belgian youngsters getting on a plane home from their holiday while suspecting they could very well have been infected. However, instances of people knowing they are COVID positive and still doing their utmost to travel have fortunately been few and far between – as far as we know.

A whole new passenger on board

Meanwhile, a man in Indonesia went to great lengths to be allowed on board a domestic Citilink flight from Jakarta to Ternate. The man, who is referred to by officials only by his initials ‘DW”, dressed in his wife’s niqab, covering him from head to toe. He also grabbed her passport, negative COVID-19 test certificate, and took off for the airport.

Boarding agents at Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport in Jakarta suspected nothing. The man’s ruse might have remained successful had he not thought it a good idea to change back to his own clothes mid-flight. A cabin crew member saw a fully-covered and veiled person enter the lavatory, only to emerge minutes later wearing entirely different clothing.

Isolated and could be facing arrest

The crew member notified the authorities at the arrival destination of Ternate, and the passenger was detained after deboarding. An on-duty health officer immediately tested the man for COVID-19, and the results came back positive. The man is now in self-isolation and could face arrest.

“He bought the plane ticket with his wife’s name and brought the identity card, the PCR test result, and the vaccination card with his wife’s name,” Ternate police chief Aditya Laksimada said after arresting the man, as reported by USA Today Travel.

Authorities have tightened restrictions on non-essential travel during the Eid al-Adha holiday this week, as virus cases in the country continue to surge with over 50,000 new cases per day.

Citilink is the low-cost brand of flag carrier Garuda Indonesia. The carrier operates a daily service between Jakarta and Ternate, deploying either an Airbus A320 or A320neo on the route.

Thanks to modern aircraft’s state-of-the-art ventilation systems (who had ever known HEPA filters were to become such a hot topic), the risk of catching COVID on board a plane is minuscule. The wearing of face masks reduced the risk even more. However, being seated within three rows of an infected person still presents a perilous situation.


Maldives Reopens To Indian Tourists: Here’s What You Need To Know

The Maldives has officially confirmed that it will open up to travelers from India and other South Asian countries on 15th July. The popular archipelago will only require a negative RT-PCR before arrival for entry and no quarantine. In response, airlines have quickly restored their schedules. Let’s find out more.


After just over two months, the Maldives will open to Indian and South Asian tourists from Thursday, 15th July. Currently, travelers can only stay on stand-alone resorts and islands and will only be able to stay in local guesthouses from 30th July onwards. A list of approved resorts can be found on the Maldivian government’s website here.

Entry requirements for travelers from India are simple. All passengers above the age of one must bring a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test taken within the last 96 hours. This means your test sample must be collected at least 96 hours before your arrival in Malè. Even those fully inoculated with any vaccine are required to arrive with negative tests.

Passengers must also fill in a self-health declaration, with a copy of their negative test, anytime 24 hours before their arrival.

The restrictions are more liberal than other countries, which usually require samples taken 48 or 72 hours before arrival. However, this will allow passengers more than enough time to get their testing in order. In response to the reopening, airlines have responded by quickly re-adding flights to the Maldives.

Back in action

Before May, Indian airlines had all seized on demand to fly to the Maldives. IndiGo, GoAir, and Vistara all launched new services to the country to cater to a surge of travelers. As travel restrictions meant Europe and Asia were mostly off the map for Indias, the short journey to the Maldives became a quick favorite.

As flights resume, airlines are back equally quickly. IndiGo will offer direct flights to Malè from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kochi starting July 15th. GoAir will fly from Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Vistara’s Mumbai service is currently not available for sale, while Air India will not start flights from Delhi, Bangalore, or Trivandrum until early August.

A new entrant to the Maldives market will be SpiceJet. The carrier announced last week that it would offer flights to Malè from Kochi and Mumbai from late July, officially marking the entry of all major Indian airlines into the Maldives market.

Huge boost

For the Maldives, the return of Indian tourists will be a huge boost. India was the largest market for tourism arrival last year and in early 2021, prior to the ban. With borders now open, expect to see thousands of more passengers arrive every week as grounded and excited travelers take to the skies internationally once again.


Air Belgium Looks To Swap Its Airbus A340s For A330neos

Air Belgium has signed an agreement with Airbus to take delivery of two new Airbus A330neo aircraft. The airline will use the aircraft to replace two of its three remaining Airbus A340-300 aircraft currently leased from the European planemaker.

While most airlines were removing their Airbus A340s from service, even before the current situation, one airline was keen to take them. Air Belgium launched in 2018 intending to fly to Hong Kong with a fleet of four Airbus A340s. This didn’t work out, with the airline instead turning to wet lease operations before launching flights to the Caribbean.

Two A330-900s inbound

In mid-June, Simple Flying reported that Air Belgium would look to take delivery of two Airbus A330-900 aircraft. Today the news has been confirmed by the Brussels-based airline, who said that services with the first aircraft would begin from October 15th.

It’s reasonably clear that this isn’t an order for new aircraft, given the short turnaround time tied with the backlog of orders. Instead, it seems that the airline is taking white tail aircraft. The aircraft were to be delivered to Air Berlin before Rwandair was set to take them. Air Berlin ceased operations, while Rwandair scrapped its A330neo ambitions in September.

According to data from, at least one of these aircraft was such a plane. The airline is expected to take delivery of the aircraft with the serial number 1844. This plane took its first flight in Toulouse on March 7th, 2019.

What to expect from the aircraft

As mentioned, Air Belgium wants to put its first Airbus A330neo into operation from October 15th. The plane will fly from Brussels Airport to Mauritius every Tuesday and Friday. Like the airline’s Airbus A340s, the A330 will come with three cabins. This will see passengers seated in business class, premium economy, or economy.

Air Belgium will take a hit on the number of passengers it can take, as the planes only carry 265 passengers, compared to 286 on the A340-300. However, they will make gains elsewhere. According to the airline, the A330neo is 35% more efficient than previous generation aircraft.

When you factor in the drop from four to two engines, it will allow the airline to save even more money on fuel. This is the main reason many airlines phased the A340 out in the first place.


Superjumbo Comeback: Emirates To Fly 30 A380s This Summer

Emirates is ramping up its schedules as demand rebounds. The Dubai-based giant will deploy 30 of its Airbus A380s and fly to 124 destinations in July. Europe and North America will see a flurry of resumed routes as they quickly reopen to tourists. Let’s find out more about Emirates’ A380 deployment.


In a statement today, Emirates announced that will deploy 30 of its Airbus A380s to meet the growing travel demand this summer. The planes will serve 15 destinations, down from 18 previously planned, with 129 weekly frequencies. Passengers can fly the superjumbo on routes as short as two hours to 15 hours, depending on their destinations.

Emirates President Sir Tim Clark recently revealed that the airline is currently flying 15 to 20 of its A380s every week. This means July will see the number of Emirates superjumbos sky almost double as tourists look to fly once again.

In total, Emirates operates a fleet of 118 Airbus A380-800s. This means only 25% of the superjumbos will be returning more than a year after COVID-19 first decimated international travel. However, considering Emirates had zero A380s flying in the spring of 2020, this summer marks a sharp and substantial recovery.

Major destinations

Emirates will be deploying the A380 to the following destinations:

  • North America: New York JFK, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Toronto.
  • Europe: London Heathrow, Manchester, Frankfurt, Munich, Moscow, Paris, and Vienna.
  • Middle East: Amman, Cairo, Jeddah.
  • Asia-Pacific: Guangzhou

Back in March, Emirates filed plans to fly the superjumbo to 18 cities this summer. Since then, Morocco, Mumbai, Johannesburg, Beijing, and Shanghai and have been dropped. While the latter two have likely been dropped due to China’s strict entry restrictions, Mumbai and Johannesburg are both considered high-risk regions due to new virus variants. Instead, the carrier has added Frankfurt and Vienna due to stronger demand.

Countries preparing

In total, Emirates will operate flights to 124 destinations starting this July, which represents almost 90% of its pre-pandemic network. The airline has been launching new routes as well, the most recent one being to Miami. However, capacity deployment remains closely linked to travel restrictions imposed by countries.

The European Union has begun easing travel restrictions for passengers from much of the world, allowing traffic to quickly return. Countries like Spain, Greece, Italy, and Austria are all hoping for a strong summer recovery as vaccinations quickly roll out in parts of the world.

For Emirates, the summer of 2021 will likely mark a turning point after a difficult year. The carrier reported a record $5.5 billion loss as the pandemic decimated business last year. While 2021 continues to see fewer passengers, hopefully, the worst for the airline is over.

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Alaska Airlines Commits To Paine Field With Latest Expansion

Everett’s Paine Field (PAE) is still a major airport for Alaska Airlines. The carrier is doubling down on Paine Field with plans to restore its full schedule by the spring of 2022 at the latest while adding a new route this winter to Arizona.

Alaska Airlines plans a full return to Paine Field

By the spring of 2022, Alaska Airlines plans to resume its full schedule of 18 daily nonstop departures from the airport. By this fall, Alaska will get to 13 daily departures out of Paine Field.

On June 17th, Alaska will fly to five destinations from Everett: Las Vegas (LAS), Orange County (SNA), Phoenix (PHX), San Diego (SAN), and San Francisco (SFO). These are key markets for Alaska Airlines, with Phoenix being a major hub for its partner – American Airlines.

Starting September 8th, Alaska will go from five to 11 daily departures. This includes two nonstops per day to Boise (BOI) and Spokane (GEG), with second daily flights to both Las Vegas and Phoenix.

On October 7th, seasonal flights to Palm Springs (PSP) return. Located in Southern California, this is a heavy leisure route that runs in the winter months.

A new destination: Tucson

Starting on November 19th, Alaska Airlines will add a new seasonal service to Tucson International Airport (TUS). This will bring Alaska Airlines to 13 daily departures to nine destinations.

Tucson already sees service to the larger Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), which is Alaska’s largest hub. Adding Paine Field to Tucson service will allow travelers located in the northern regions of Seattle a more convenient option to get down to Arizona.

Doubling down in Paine Field

Paine Field is one of the swankiest airports in the country. Opened for passenger services in 2019, Alaska Airlines quickly moved to assert its dominance in the Seattle region by flying out of PAE on point-to-point itineraries.

Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska, stated the following on the airline’s commitment to Paine Field:

“It has definitely been a difficult stretch, but our commitment to Paine Field never wavered. Our guests love the convenience of the airport. Next year, as we continue to offer additional flights, we’ll be in a position to resume our full allotment of 18 departures every day to the places our guests want to fly to the most.”

All of Alaska’s departures out of Paine Field are onboard Horizon Air regional jets. The airline uses the Embraer E175, which features both a first class and extra-legroom economy section, on all routes. WiFi is available on these aircraft for purchase or to stream complimentary entertainment.

Alaska Airlines calls Seattle home, and it has sought to continually assert its dominance in the area. With more nonstops across the US than any other airline in Seattle, the airline held its own against the rise of competition.

Paine Field does not detract from the airline’s position in SEA. Where SEA caters to a larger number of connecting passengers, PAE is mostly about origin and destination travel, and the Embraers are the perfect jet for these routes.

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