The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a massive corruption and a misbalance in almost every field. Aviation industry is one of the sufferers. Meanwhile, Asiana airlines Inc. are flying their world’s biggest commercial plane, SE A380 more than 20 times. The flight neither carries any passenger nor goes anywhere. This great challenge that they are facing is only to keep their trainee pilots certified.
In order to enable pilots of the 495-seat superjumbo to operate taking off and landing, the empty aircraft had to fly over South Korea for a few hours in a day for three consecutive days in the month of May.
“Takeoffs and landings of this plane cost a lot of money, and it’s money that needs to be used wisely, especially these days,” said Um Kyung-a, an analyst at Shin Young Securities Co. in Seoul. “Asiana is in a bind because it also can’t afford for its pilots to lose their licenses.”
Another 135 pilots couldn’t get enough flying time and also Asiana couldn’t afford to keep flying their aircraft. Later, the country’s transport ministry extended the flying credentials and considered it as an exception.
The International Civil Aviation Organization has set guidelines on how to train pilots better and help them become more used to. Usually, pilots need to take off and land an airbus more than thrice within the previous 90 days to keep their license.
The only problem is with the big jets. It is difficult for them as it is used mainly for travel for large number of people. But Boeing Co.’s 747 has more simulators and is accessed by several airlines, including Korean Air, for cargo flights, which allows carriers to rotate crews to keep them certified.
The International Air Transport Association stated that international air traffic probably won’t return to pre-Covid levels until 2024.
Emirates Airlines is one of the few Airlines who are flying the A380 amidst the bad situation. It has the world’s biggest fleet of the superjumbos.
The airline started A380 flights on July 15 to London Heathrow and Paris since Dubai eased travel restrictions.
Even before the corona outbreak, fragile request for the massive aircraft caused Airbus to announce it would stop making the A380 next year.
“It’s like you’re basically stuck with a 1990 car that’s running on diesel,” said Shukor Yusof, founder of aviation consulting firm Endau Analytics in Malaysia. “We’re going to see more heading to the scrapyard.”