Egyptian minister says airlines may not be required to leave empty seats between passengers 

Minister Mohamed Enaba said he would meet on Wednesday with government officials managing the response to the coronavirus pandemic to determine the date when international flights would resume. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 June 2020

Egyptian minister says airlines may not be required to leave empty seats between passengers 

  • The minister said airports would follow social distancing rules
  • Egypt’s airlines had lost billions in revenue due to coronavirus

The minister of Egypt’s Civil Aviation said airlines may not be required to mandate empty seats between passengers when flights resume.
Mohamed Enaba said he would meet on Wednesday with government officials managing the response to the coronavirus pandemic to determine the date when international flights would resume, according to a statement cited by state-owned daily Ahram Online.
The Egyptian minister is expecting flights to resume within the coming weeks, as a number of other countries have said they will also reopen their airspace to flights in the coming period.
“The return of aviation depends on the return of aviation in other countries,” he said, adding that Egypt’s airports were ready to receive visitors and tourists.
The minister said airports would follow social distancing rules, while meals would be distributed in closed packets, and passengers and crew on planes would be required to wear gloves and masks. However, the decision on empty seats between passengers has yet to be decided.
Egypt’s national carrier EgyptAir, and other private airlines, had lost billions in revenue due to the suspension of flights since March, according to the minister.
Enaba met with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany on Tuesday to discuss preparations for the return of international tourism.
Last month Egypt shortened a mandatory quarantine period for Egyptians arriving from abroad from 14 days to one week. Returnees who test negative by the end of the period can spend the rest of their quarantine at home.


Oil giants’ production cuts come to 1m bpd as they post massive write-downs

Updated 10 August 2020

Oil giants’ production cuts come to 1m bpd as they post massive write-downs

  • Crude output worldwide dropped sharply after the market crashed in April

LONDON: The world’s five largest oil companies collectively cut the value of their assets by nearly $50 billion in the second quarter, and slashed production rates as the coronavirus pandemic caused a drastic fall in fuel prices and demand.

The dramatic reductions in asset valuations and decline in output show the depth of the pain in the second quarter. Fuel demand at one point was down by more than 30 percent worldwide.

Several executives said they took massive write-downs because they expect demand to remain impaired for several more quarters as people travel less and use less fuel due to the ongoing global pandemic.

Of those five companies, only Exxon Mobil did not book sizeable impairments. But an ongoing reevaluation of its plans could lead to a “significant portion” of its assets being impaired, it reported, and signal the elimination of 20 percent or 4.4 billion barrels of its oil and gas reserves.

By contrast, BP took a $17 billion hit. It said it plans to recenter its spending in coming years around renewables and less on oil and natural gas.

Weak demand means oil producers must revisit business plans, said Lee Maginniss, managing director at consultants Alarez & Marsal. He said the goal should be to pump only what generates cash in excess of overhead costs.

“It’s low-cost production mode through the end of 2021 for sure, and to 2022 to the extent there are new development plans being contemplated,” Maginniss said.

London-based BP has previously said it plans to cut its overall output by roughly 1 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOEPD) by the end of 2030 from its current 3.6 million BOEPD.

Of the five, Exxon is the largest producer, with daily output of 3.64 million BOEPD, but its production dropped 408,000 BOEPD between the first and second quarters. The five majors, which include Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell and Total SA, also cut capital expenditures by a combined $25 billion between the quarters.

Crude output worldwide dropped sharply after the market crashed in April. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut output by nearly 10 million barrels a day to balance out supply and demand in the market.