Cargo leads as Aerospace Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on commercial aerospace in April 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Cargo – 200 mentions

Reconfiguring of aircraft to commence cargo operations in order to move medical supplies and equipment across countries to curb the growing Covid-19 pandemic, was popularly discussed in April 2020. According to an article shared by Flightradar 24, which tracks global air traffic in real time, Antonov An-225, the world’s largest cargo aircraft, rested at Almaty, Kazakhstan, before travelling to Paris with medical supplies. The heaviest cargo plane ever, began operating multiple flights in the month to transport medical supplies for battling virus crisis from China to Europe.

China Aviation Review, which provides aviation news and analysis for the Greater China region and the world, further tweeted on the China Eastern airlines offering a new cargo plane, the Airbus A330, to carry medical supplies and equipment from Shanghai to Madrid. The seats of the aircraft were removed to accommodate as much protection cloth and masks.

In other news, Jason Rabinowitz, an airlines researcher and writer, tweeted on Emirates having resumed flying on a limited scale to Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, and Brussels during the month. However, these flights carried passengers out of Dubai only, and both ways were loaded with belly cargo in the lower deck of all 777-300ERs.

2. Fleet – 121 mentions

A majority of world’s airline fleet being grounded to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, costs involved in managing them and keeping them in the best shape possible, and re-adjusting or reducing fleet size, were popularly discussed during the month. According to an article shared by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global trade of associations, over 40% of the world’s airline fleet is now grounded. As a growing number of passenger aircraft get grounded because of the coronavirus related travel restrictions, border closures, and quarantine rules, airlines are grappling with a new problem and that is insufficient areas to park them.

Jason Rabinowitz, the airlines researcher, further shared an article on how the Lufthansa Group has issued a restructuring plan. As per the plan, six Airbus A380s and seven A340-600s as well as five Boeing 747-400s will be permanently decommissioned. In addition, eleven Airbus A320s will be withdrawn from short-haul operations. Eurowings will also reduce the number of its fleet, while the Swiss International Air Lines will also reduce its fleet size by delaying deliveries of new short haul aircraft and considering early retirement of older aircraft.

In other news, Steve Trimble, defense editor for Aviation Week, discussed how the airline industry is re-adjusting to weird dynamics to keep fleets that no one needs. For instance, airlines are selling their airplanes to lessors for immediate cash. Delta Air Lines has been among the most audacious and opportunistic to trade its 717 fleet to Boeing for a 100 Max 737 jets, the influencer tweeted.

3. Aviation – 68 mentions

With millions of jobs supported by the aviation industry witnessing the sudden fallout because of the spread of the coronavirus, furloughs of engineering staff, and the effect of the Covid-19 crisis on aviation mental health, were popularly discussed during the month of April. According to an article shared by Speed Bird, which provides commercial aviation news, GE Aviation is expected to furlough 50% of its engine manufacturing staff as coronavirus weighs. The article further noted that the struggles of the aviation industry will further hurt the demand for new aircraft and travel in 2020. This implies that it will hurt top GE Aviation customers including Boeing and Airbus.

The IATA, the global trade of associations, further released a new analysis that showed that approximately 25 million jobs in aviation and related sectors were endangered globally, owing to the plummeting demand for air travel amid the COVID-19 crisis. The analysis also noted that almost 65.5 million jobs worldwide were supported by the aviation industry, with 2.7 million airline jobs.

In other news, European Pilots, which publishes aviation news and analysis, shared an article on the Covid-19 crisis’ effect on aviation mental health. The article details how all flight attendants, relatives and passengers are all exposed to particularly high psychological stressors such as job insecurity, loss of income, increased risk of infection, and long working hours, among others during the crisis.

4. Covid-19 – 53 mentions

The grounding of fleets due to the Covid-19 crisis, and immediate support for air cargo, were popularly discussed during the April month. According to an article shared by AeroTime News, providing aviation news and events, the British Airways suspended 36,000 employees and parked more than half of its fleet to fight the Covid-19 outbreak. The article noted that the International Airlines Group (IAG)-owned company already parked almost 140 out of its 277 aircraft. The British government is expected to support the affected employees through job retention schemes, and retain 80% of their wages.

The IATA, the global trade of associations, shared an article on almost 40% of the world’s airline fleet being grounded due to the Covid-19 crisis, travel restrictions and border closures. The article noted that approximately 10,500 aircraft were grounded already and the number was likely to increase.

In other news, Skies Magazine, providing news, features, and stories on aviation, discussed the immediate support of air cargo. The article noted that the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) urged the need to provide immediate support to the air cargo sector. TIACA maintained that financial assistance for air cargo by governments and simplified processes were essential for fighting the Covid-19 crisis and to support global economies.

5. Fuel – 27 mentions

Fuel stops, and efforts to reduce fuel and maintenance costs, were some popular topics discussed in the month. According to Airline Geeks, providing the latest airline industry news, grounded planes are helping save fuel and maintenance costs. The first quarter of the year has been a bloodbath for the travel industry, with airline staff and related sectors being hit hard, the article noted.

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) further tweeted on fighting for business aviation and fuel tax relief matters. The article noted that it is critical that fuel taxes paid by commercial and non-commercial operators be suspended through 2020.

In other news, Aviation International News, providing aviation and aerospace news and analysis, discussed how the decrease in the number of commercial and private aviation flights due to the Covid-19 crisis, has led to the abundance of jet fuel as the fuel industry struggles with the sudden drop in demand. Supporting figures further suggested that jet fuel consumption in March was down 16.4% and year-over-year showed a decline of nearly 8%.

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