Trabber News

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News of December 2006


Alitalia buyers must make guarantee

31 December 2006

Potential buyers for Alitalia must guarantee the airline’s 18,000 jobs, national routes and the Italian identity of the Alitalia brand, the Economy Ministry said Friday.

The ministry, in a document published on its Web site, said expressions of interest for its stake in the struggling flag carrier must be presented by Jan. 29. Buyers must have minimum capital of 100 million euros ($131.73 million).

The government is seeking an investor or group of investors to buy at least a 30.1 percent stake in the airline as it sells down its 49.9 percent share.

source: Courier Post online


Chinese airline launches first regular flight to Africa

31 December 2006

China’s Southern Airlines will launch the first airline connecting Beijing with Lagos, former capital of Nigeria, on Saturday, according to the airline’s Beijing office.

This will be the first regular flight offered by a Chinese airline between China and an African country, said deputy manager Zhao Fengsheng.

Flight CZ331 will take off at 11:40 p.m. from Capital International Airport in Beijing, fly via Dubai, capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and land at 11:10 a.m. local time in Lagos. The total flight time is around 16 hours.

source: People.com


London baggage backlog still being sorted

30 December 2006

A holiday fog bank that stranded thousands of travelers in Britain also stranded thousands of suitcases that are still being sorted out.

British Airways tells The Telegraph that it could be weeks before the “baggage mountain” at London’s Heathrow is cleared out and luggage reunited with owners.

The airline said the problem began even before the bad weather rolled in when a conveyor belt at the airport’s Terminal Four broke down.

As we cleared this initial backlog, a new backlog of several thousand bags appeared due to the cancellations because of fog,” an airline spokesman said Friday.

source: United Press International


LTU ends takeover talks with spanish airline

30 December 2006

LTU, a German holiday-charter airline which has shown interest in taking over Air Madrid, said Friday it had ended talks on acquiring any stake in the Spanish airline.

LTU has no intention of acquiring shares in Air Madrid,” a spokesman for the Dusseldorf-based company told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. The talks had ended and there were no arrangements to resume them. He did not state the reason.

source: Playfuls


Four injured in Barajas car bomb blast

30 December 2006

A car bomb placed inside a Renault Traffic van exploded at 9am this morning in the car park of Terminal 4 of Madrid’s Barajas airport, slightly injuring four people. Prior to the blast, two warning calls were received, the second of which was to claim responsibility for the attack in the name of the Basque separatist group, ETA, which gave police sufficient time to evacuate the area and transfer people to the main terminal building.

Two police officers were injured by flying glass and only two other people were very slightly hurt, although a number of passengers have been complaining of ear-ache caused by the noise of the explosion.

source: Thinkspain


Virgin America gets grounded by DOT

29 December 2006

Startup airline Virgin America Inc. got an expected rejection from the government Wednesday, when the Department of Transportation ruled that the company must change its corporate structure before it can get an operating certificate.

The Burlingame, Calif.-based branchild of Sir Richard Branson — head of England’s Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. — had planned to begin low-cost flights in 2007. Branson raised $177 million in startup capital for the airline in December 2005 from U.S. private equity firms and from himself.

However, the DOT said Virgin America doesn’t meet a requirement that the president and two-thirds of the board of directors are Americans, and Virgin America’s relationship with the British Virgin Group in the U.K. “indicates that the carrier is not under the actual control of U.S. citizens.

source: Dallas Business Journal


Lufthansa low-cost airline posts profit

29 December 2006

Lufthansa’s low-cost airline Germanwings is gearing up for further expansion after posting its first profit just four years after beginning operations, says Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann.

Germanwings has just had the best year in its history,” said an ebullient Winkelmann over a lunch of wiener schnitzel at Berlin’s Cafe Einstein, a popular meeting place for movers and shakers in the German capital.

Germanwings – which began operating in 2002 – is set to make a profit this year, said Winkelmann who declined to reveal any figures.

source: Playfuls


Spain warns it will have zero tolerance for airline safety breaches

27 December 2006

Spain’s development minister said Wednesday the government would have zero tolerance in future for airlines failing to heed safety regulations, as she defended her handling of the Air Madrid crisis which left thousands of people stranded before Christmas.

The airline suspended operations on December 15, leaving 330,000 passengers stranded in Latin America and Spain. It had its flying license revoked by Spain’s Civil Aviation authority a day later.

source: International Herald Tribune


Discount airline Ryanair loses battle with online critic

27 December 2006

The low-fares airline Ryanair has lost its battle to win control of an Internet domain name from a disgruntled former customer, according to a ruling issued by a United Nations panel Wednesday.

Michael Coulston of London, England, set up a Web site in July under the domain name http://www.ryanaircampaign.org which is critical of Ryanair’s business practices.

The Irish carrier complained to the World Intellectual Property Organization that the domain name infringed on its trademarks and should therefore be transferred into Ryanair’s possession.

source: International Herald Tribune


Denver airport gets back up to speed

25 December 2006

Hundreds of flights left Denver’s beleaguered airport on Christmas Eve with many passengers who had been stranded when a two-day blizzard shut down the runways last week.

The airport’s two biggest airlines, United and Frontier, said they flew full schedules of a combined 1,200 flights Sunday. They had a similar schedule Saturday as travelers around the country whose itineraries were wrecked by the storm raced to get home.

source: Forbes