- Tue, 2020-09-22 00:56
MONTREAL: When Megyn Thompson landed her dream job as a commercial pilot last year, she was one of thousands being recruited globally to boost the number of women in the cockpit and meet record pilot demand.
Now an industry-wide campaign to recruit more female aviators is under threat, dealing a blow to efforts to overhaul the male-dominated airline sector as the coronavirus crisis transforms a shortage into a pilot surplus.
In the United States alone, the top two airlines are set to furlough more than 3,000 pilots when government stimulus expires this month, and a disproportionate number of those are women.
Under layoff agreements between airlines and unions, junior pilots lose their jobs before senior ones, regardless of gender, race or age.
These “Last In, First Out” labor deals at many Western airlines mean the most recent hires are the first to go.
And those new hires include a higher percentage of women than in the past, the International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISWAP) said.
Thompson, who flies with a regional carrier owned by American Airlines, is among at least 600 female pilots in the United States who will be furloughed on Oct. 1 unless there is more government payroll aid or last-minute union deals.
Thompson, 32, said her low seniority ranking puts her “smack-dab in the middle” of a furlough at American’s PSA affiliate, which expects to cut about 35 percent of its pilots.
“If you go back 40 years ago it was a man’s world through and through, so there are not a lot of women at the top who are protected from this furlough,” said Thompson, who decided not to have biological children as she built flying hours for her license.
“PSA is not letting (me) Megyn go because they don’t like her. It’s zero to do with that and 100 percent to do with, if you’re the last in, you’re the first out.”
Now the mother of three adopted children is applying for jobs at Amazon, Kellogg and PepsiCo.
Before the crisis, global air travel was growing at a record 5 percent a year, generating a need for 804,000 pilots over the next 20 years, based on Boeing Co. estimates. The need for more pilots had pushed female recruitment to the top of the agenda.
But a shattered post-COVID industry does not expect traffic to regain 2019 levels and start growing again before 2024.
“This year we were meant to launch a great big campaign which we have just put on hold because of what has happened,” said Australian pilot Davida Forshaw, who heads education and outreach at ISWAP.
Despite the female recruitment campaign, just 5.3 percent of airline pilots globally were women before the coronavirus crisis, ISWAP data shows. That percentage is set to drop again as airlines carry out furlough plans, the group predicts.
At American and Delta Air Lines, women make up around 5.2 percent of the combined pilot population of about 27,800 and 6.7 percent of the 3,645 pilots whom those airlines expect to furlough, according to numbers provided by their main pilot unions.
American Airlines declined to comment directly on the issue, but a spokesman said the union data implied that the proportion of female pilots would slip post-furloughs to 4.9 from 5.1 percent.
Delta said it was in discussions with unions on pilot departures but did not give a breakdown by gender.
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- ID:1600761754320584900Tue, 2020-09-22 08:00
BERLIN: Germany’s Ifo institute on Tuesday said Europe’s largest economy would likely shrink by 5.2 percent this year, raising its previous estimate for a 6.7 percent drop, in the latest sign the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could be smaller than initially feared.
“The decline in the second quarter and the recovery are currently developing more favorably than we had expected,” Ifo chief economist Timo Wollmershaeuser said.
For 2021, Ifo cut its economic forecast for Germany to 5.1 percent growth from its previous estimate of 6.4 percent. It expects the economy to expand by 1.7 percent in 2022.
The number of people out of work is seen rising to 2.7 million this year from 2.3 million in 2019, before edging down to 2.6 million in 2021 and then to 2.5 million in 2022.
That would translate into a jump in the unemployment rate to 5.9 percent this year from 5.0 percent last year. The rate would then drop to 5.7 percent percent in 2021 and 5.5 percent in 2022, Ifo said.
The Ifo institute cautioned that there was an unusually high degree of uncertainty attached to the forecasts. It pointed to the rising number of coronavirus infections, the risk of a disorderly Brexit and unresolved trade disputes.
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- Tue, 2020-09-22 01:13
LONDON: HSBC’s shares in Hong Kong and Standard Chartered’s in London fell on Monday to their lowest since at least 1998 after media reports that they and other banks, including Barclays and Deutsche Bank, moved large sums of allegedly illicit funds over nearly two decades despite red flags about the origins of the money.
BuzzFeed and other media articles were based on leaked suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by banks and other financial firms with the US Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen).
HSBC shares in London fell as much as 5 percent to 288 pence, their lowest intraday level since 2009, after the lender’s Hong Kong shares earlier touched a 25-year low. The stock has now nearly halved since the start of the year.
StanChart dropped as much as 4.6 percent in London to its lowest since 1998, against the backdrop of a broader sell-off in the market with the STOXX European banks index down 4.8 percent.
More than 2,100 SARs, which are in themselves not necessarily proof of wrongdoing, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media organizations.
In a statement to Reuters on Sunday, HSBC said “all of the information provided by the ICIJ is historical.” The bank said that as of 2012 it had embarked on a “multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime.”
StanChart said in a statement it took its “responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programs.”
Barclays said it believes it has complied with “all its legal and regulatory obligations, including in relation to US sanctions.”
The most number of SARs in the cache related to Deutsche Bank, whose shares fell 5.2 percent on Monday. In a statement on Sunday, Deutsche Bank said the ICIJ had “reported on a number of historic issues.”
“We have devoted significant resources to strengthening our controls and we are very focused on meeting our responsibilities and obligations,” a spokesperson for the bank said.
London-headquartered HSBC and StanChart, among other global banks, have paid billions of dollars in fines in recent years for violating US sanctions on Iran and anti-money laundering rules.
The files contained information about more than $2 trillion worth of transactions between 1999 and 2017, which were flagged by internal compliance departments of financial institutions as suspicious.
The ICIJ reported the leaked documents were a tiny fraction of the reports filed with FinCEN. HSBC and StanChart were among the five banks that appeared most often in the documents, the ICIJ reported.
“It confirms what we already knew — that there are huge numbers of SARs being filed with relatively low numbers of cases brought through to prosecution,” said Etelka Bogardi, a Hong Kong-based financial services regulatory partner at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.
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- ID:1600772278581177200Tue, 2020-09-22 10:54
LONDON: Libya’s National Oil Company said it expected oil production to rise to 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) next week, as the OPEC member looks to revive its oil industry, crippled by a blockade since January.
Oil prices fell around 5 percent on Monday, partly due to the potential return of Libyan barrels to a market that’s already grappling with the prospect of collapsing demand from rising coronavirus cases.
Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd — over 1 percent of global production — before the blockade, which slashed the OPEC member’s output to around 100,000 bpd.
NOC, in a statement late on Monday, said it is preparing to resume exports from “secure ports” with oil tankers expected to begin arriving from Wednesday to load crude in storage over the next 72 hours.
As an initial step, exports are set to resume from the Marsa El Hariga and Brega oil terminals, it said.
The Marlin Shikoku tanker is making its way to Hariga where it is expected to load a cargo for trader Unipec, according to shipping data and traders.
Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said last week his forces would lift their eight-month blockade of oil exports.
NOC insists it will only resume oil operations at facilities devoid of military presence.
Nearly a decade after rebel fighters backed by NATO air strikes overthrew dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya remains in chaos, with no central government.
The unrest has battered its oil industry, slashing production capacity down from 1.6 million bpd.
Goldman Sachs said Libya’s return should not derail the oil market’s recovery, with an upside risk to production likely to be offset by higher compliance with production cuts from other OPEC members.
“We see both logistical and political risks to a fast and sustainable increase in production,” the bank said. It expects a 400,000 bpd increase in Libyan production by December.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, are closely watching the Libya situation, waiting to see if this time Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable, sources told Reuters.
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- Tue, 2020-09-22 01:03
FRANKFURT: Lufthansa said Monday it will slash more jobs on top of 22,000 previously announced cuts and put more planes out of service with current losses running at some €500 million ($590 million) a month.
With demand set to be lower than expected through winter as the coronavirus pandemic continues to severely curtail travel, the airline said it now plans to reduce its fleet by 150 planes by 2025.
It had previously estimated it would have to scrap 100 aircraft in response to the unprecedented crisis in the aviation sector.
Lufthansa, which received a government bailout worth €9 billion in June, said it would have to book 1.1 billion in impairment over its fleet decision.
And “the previously announced personnel surplus amounting to 22,000 full-time positions will increase as a result of the decisions taken,” it said.
The group did not give a figure for further job cuts, but said it would engage in talks with labor representatives to “limit the number of necessary redundancies.”
Managers will also be hit, with one in five management positions to go in the first quarter of 2021.
A resurgence in infections across Europe meant that after a brief uptick in demand over the summer months, Lufthansa’s previous assumption that demand could reach half of last year’s “no longer seems realistic.”
Germany is also planning new rules from October, requiring travelers arriving from risk zones to go into quarantine for at least five days before taking a test.
That would essentially rule out intra-Europe weekend city hops — something which had resumed over the summer months.
“The continuing high level of uncertainty in global air traffic makes short-term adjustments to the current market situation unavoidable for the foreseeable future,” said the group.
As part of its fleet reduction, the airline said it has been forced to put its eight remaining A380s as well as 10 A340-600s into deep storage.
Six A380s had already been taken out of service earlier this year.
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