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News of August 2009


British Airways reaches 90th birthday amid stormy time for industry

27 August 2009

BA, which began life as Air Transport & Travel, took off on its first flight from Hounslow, west London to Le Bourget on the outskirts of Paris, on Aug 25 1919. The airline was the first to offer a daily international service.

BA in its present form was created by the merger of British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways, in 1974.

Today, BA is struggling to compete with low-cost carriers such as Ryanair offering no-frills flights with fares of a few pounds and, like the rest of the airline industry, has suffered from the sharp drop-off in business and holiday travel as a result of the global downturn. BA is particularly reliant on business-class travel across the Atlantic for its profits.

source: telegraph.co.uk


EasyJet attempts to kill off the airport queue with handheld devices

24 August 2009

EasyJet hopes to introduce mobile check-in using handheld devices to reduce queueing at airports.

The budget carrier wants to replace check-in desks with devices that process passenger details and print boarding passes. Queueing at departure gates could also be eliminated, with mobile scanning of boarding passes.

Ryanair, easyJet’s great rival, is pressing ahead with plans to remove all its check-in desks in October and require passengers to check-in online instead. Passengers who do not check in online will face a heavy charge to do so at the airport.

source: Times Online


Hungarian Wizz Air overtakes struggling SkyEurope

22 August 2009

Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air has now clearly overtaken its main regional rival, Slovakia’s SkyEurope. Once Eastern Europe’s largest discount airline, SkyEurope has failed to turn a profit since its founding in 2002 and was forced to file for creditor protection in June 2009.

Since then, the Slovak carrier’s woes have only gotten worse. The carrier failed to reach a deal with Vienna’s Schwechat Airport last Friday, which led to the cancellation of all flights from SkyEurope’s Central European hub. SkyEurope reportedly has a significant outstanding debt with airports in both Vienna and Prague and as such, Schwechat has decided to stop servicing all SkyEurope flights.

source: kanadaihirlap.com


American Airlines continues in-flight Wi-Fi revolution

22 August 2009

American Airlines announced yesterday an expansion to its in-flight Wi-Fi to more aircrafts. The service, branded “GoGo“, is now available on 100 of American’s MD-80 aircraft, with another 50 installations planned by the end of the year. The announcement coincides with GoGo’s launch anniversary – a year ago, AA was the first US airline to launch the GoGo service. Soon after, Delta Air Lines followed, along with Air Tran.

source: rethink-wireless.com


Ryanair closing Manchester routes

18 August 2009

Ryanair is to switch or close nine of the 10 routes it currently operates from Manchester Airport, blaming the airport’s refusal to lower its charges.

The nine routes from Manchester that will close are those to Barcelona (Girona), Bremen, Brussels (Charleroi), Cagliari, Dusseldorf (Weeze), Frankfurt (Hahn), Marseille, Milan (Bergamo) and Shannon.

The airline said passengers affected by the changes would be e-mailed and, “provided with a full refund, or the alternative of flying to some destinations” from East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool.

source: BBC News


Continental to join Star Alliance in late October

18 August 2009

Continental Airlines said on Monday it expects to join the Star Alliance on Oct. 27, allowing it to cooperate on scheduling and prices with global carriers including United.

The Star Alliance was created in 1997 with more than 20 member airlines offering a combined 17,000 daily departures to 160 countries.

Continental said members of its frequent-flier program, OnePass, will not need to make changes to their accounts and their mileage balances will not be affected during the switch.

source: Reuters


TUI Travel slashes winter capacity

16 August 2009

Tui Travel, Europe’s biggest tour operator, with brands including Thomson and First Choice, said today that it expected to cut capacity for the coming winter season by 15 per cent after a slide in demand.

The company said that it was mindful of the trend towards later bookings and had retained the flexibility to increase capacity in the event of a late rise in demand.

source: Times Online


JetBlue offering a month of unlimited flights for $599

16 August 2009
The airline is selling all-you-can-fly tickets for $599 per passenger, allowing for unlimited travel between Sept. 8 and Oct. 8.
The deadline for the purchase of the unlimited-flights package is Aug. 21. Individuals flights must be booked at least three days before departure.

The airline is selling all-you-can-fly tickets for $599 per passenger, allowing for unlimited travel between Sept. 8 and Oct. 8.

The deadline for the purchase of the unlimited-flights package is Aug. 21. Individuals flights must be booked at least three days before departure.

source: The Business Journal


Ryanair looks to Italy for growth

12 August 2009

Europe’s leading LCC, Ryanair, looks set to continue its expansion in Italy as LCC capacity share (a good indicator of market share) growth generally in Europe has tailed off during the last three years. Alitalia has meanwhile announced it is considering transforming Air One, the local rival it merged with in Dec-2008, into an LCC, in response to intense competition.

Traditionally ‘big business’ regions for the LCCs such as Poland and the eastern Baltic – boosted by migrant workers – are no longer growing, and even potentially contracting. Slovakia’s SkyEurope, currently in bankruptcy protection, is one airline to have been affected. With its fleet halved early in 2009 (though some new aircraft have since been added on lease agreements) its passenger traffic was down by over 37% in Jul-09.

source: centreforaviation.com


Vueling tops 1 million passengers a month in July

11 August 2009

Spanish airline Vueling annouced that July passenger traffic topped 1 million for the first time after the group’s merger with Iberia’s low-cost subsidiary Clickair.

Passenger traffic in July rose 79.8 percent from a year earlier to 1.12 million, while load factor, which measures how full its planes fly, rose 0.6 percentage points to 77.9 percent

source: Reuters