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News of December 2006

Gabon Airlines to make maiden flight in January 2007

19 December 2006

Gabon Airlines, a new Gabonese private franchise, will make its maiden flight in January 2007, in a bid to succeed the defunct national carrier, Air Gabon, according to company officials.

The Gabonese transport minister on 8 November granted Gabon Airlines official permit to operate flights in the country.

source: Africa Interactive

Turkish eyes low-cost operation

19 December 2006

Turkish Airlines is looking to set up a low-cost operation as it works to join the Star Alliance in early 2008. The carrier says it may use Antalya-based leisure airline SunExpress, which it owns jointly with Germany’s Thomas Cook, as the base for its new low-cost subsidiary. It is unclear when the new airline, provisionally named Turkish Express, will be formally established, but Turkish says a launch is not imminent.


easyJet adds Madrid, Milan and Palma to flights from Edinburgh

18 December 2006

Budget airline easyJet said it will expand its Edinburgh Airport operation by adding three low-cost direct flights to Italy and Spain.

The flights – daily to Madrid and Milan, and twice weekly to Palma in Spain – are scheduled to begin early next year.

They bring to 12 the number of destinations served by easyJet from Edinburgh, a capacity increase of 10 pct, the airline said.

source: Forbes

Airline fined for selling cheap tickets

18 December 2006

Chinese regulators fined a low-cost carrier nearly $20,000 after the airline rolled out a fare sale offering 13-cent tickets. In doing so, regulators say the airline broke national pricing rules: “Spring Airlines … sold more than 400 tickets on a new route between Shanghai and the northern city of Jinan for just 1 yuan (US $0.13),“.

Spring Air’s fares apparently violated a 2004 rule that bars airlines from offering more than a 45% discount off government-set base fares. “A regular one-way ticket on that route costs 910 yuan (US $116), including taxes,“. The case underscores the difficulty facing Chinese low-cost airlines, which are trying to model themselves on carriers such as Ireland’s Ryanair in bringing cheap no-frills travel to the world’s most populous nation.

source: USA today

Spain opens air route to Gibraltar

17 December 2006

Spain and Britain have been squabbling over Gibraltar for the past 300 years, but two simple one-hour flights could be the first practical signs that all three parties are willing to say goodbye to all that.

Shortly before 1 p.m. (1200 GMT) Saturday, an Iberia Airlines Airbus A319 became the first-ever direct passenger flight from Spain to land at the disputed British colony on Europe’s southern tip. Almost simultaneously, a GB Airways flight landed in Madrid.

source: CNN

Spain Suspends Air Madrid’s License

17 December 2006

Spain suspended the flying license of Air Madrid airline Saturday, hours after the troubled carrier announced it was halting operations, leaving thousands of passengers stranded in Spain and abroad.

The Civil Aviation authority rejected Air Madrid’s proposals to resolve problems with repeated flight delays and security issues.

This decision has been taken with total independence of the absolutely irresponsible and unilateral behavior of the company,” a Civil Aviation statement said.

The two-year-old carrier, which mainly flies between Spain and Latin America, announced Friday that it was suspending operations.


Air India to launch low cost services on Bahrain-Mumbai route

17 December 2006

Air India said that it plans to introduce its low-cost Air-India express service from Bahrain, beginning Jan.1, 2007.

The budget airline is to initially operate on the Bahrain-Mumbai route and expand to other sectors in India.

An airline official said that the fares for the service will be 20% less than the published fare, providing relief to a large number of low paid workers in the Gulf.

The airline also decided to phase out first and business class services on routes out of Bahrain once the Air-India Express service comes into operation, the official added.

source: myiris

EasyJet probed over infringement of French employment law

17 December 2006

Low-cost airline EasyJet is being investigated over allegations of infringing of French employment legislation, a source in the public prosecutor’s office said.

Tax and labour inspectors raided the Paris offices of easyJet to check for possible breaches of the law.

The operation ‘was aimed at establishing the judicial status of easyJet’s operating base in Orly,’ the site of Paris’s second international airport, ‘in relation to French labour laws,’ a transport inspection official said.


Airlines press US to revise China route review

15 December 2006

An influential group of corporate travel managers has asked the U.S. Transportation Department to reopen its decision-making process for new services to China now that United and Continental are in preliminary merger talks, a group spokesman said on Thursday.

A decision is expected soon by the department on the competition among AMR Corp.’s American Airlines , Continental Airlines Inc., Northwest Airlines Corp. and UAL Corp.’s United Airlines for the new single route.

Each carrier has proposed a different U.S. departure city with service scheduled to begin in March.

source: Reuters

TUI plans jobs cuts, asset sales; scraps profit aims

15 December 2006

TUI AG, Europe’s largest travel company, plans to cut 3,600 jobs at its tourism division, omit payment of a dividend this year and sell assets to rein in costs and pay back debt to offset slowing earnings growth.

The company will sell a harbor terminal in Montreal, Canada, several small ships owned by its CP Ships unit and properties not needed for the operating business, the Hanover, Germany-based company said in a statement on the OTS newswire today. By 2008, net debt will decline to 2.5 billion euros ($3.3 billion) from 2.9 billion euros in September this year.

source: Bloomberg