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News of March 2010

BMI targets British Airways’ frequent flyers

30 March 2010

BMI is offering perks to executive travellers switching to its flights from strike-hit British Airways. It is hoping to tempt lucrative business class travellers away from its rival by offering to match any frequent flyer membership.

Travellers displaying BA silver or gold cards will be offered the BMI equivalents. These offer benefits such as free upgrades and access to exclusive airport lounges.

source: BBC News

EU blacklists all airlines from Philippines and Sudan

30 March 2010

The European Union’s executive on Tuesday banned all airlines from the Philippines and Sudan from flying into Europe, arguing that their safety standards were too unreliable.

Europe’s airspace is tightly monitored to prevent accidents, with almost 300 airlines from around the world banned from flying there. The new ban covers over 40 Philippine airlines and a dozen Sudanese ones.

The commission also decided to restrict the operations of Iran Air in Europe after airport inspections revealed serious safety problems.

source: Earth Times

Ryanair, OnAir go separate ways on in-flight phone services

29 March 2010

Ryanair Holdings announced a halt to its in-flight phone service after a 13-month contract with OnAir ended, and invited rival providers to bid for the expansion of the service to its entire fleet.

The carrier said it will now invite other providers of in-flight communications to tender for access to its 73 million annual passengers. Considering Ryanair is well known for rapidly dropping initiatives that don’t pay off, news of a tender suggests the airline was happy with the trial it ran on part of is fleet.

OnAir currently works with six airlines and plans to launch services with six more during the course of the year.


Thousands of Globespan customers may only get 5% back

23 March 2010

Thousands of customers owed money by failed airline Flyglobespan may only get 5% of their fares back.

About 40,000 people, including hundreds of staff, were owed money or were left with worthless tickets.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said customers who paid by credit card or Visa debit could claim compensation but up to 8,000 others may receive just 5%. It would take up to two years to process all the Flyglobespan claims and called for better regulations to protect customers in future business failures.

source: BBC News

BA strives to recover from impact of 3-day strike

23 March 2010

British Airways said Tuesday it is canceling fewer flights through an upcoming four-day cabin crew strike because more employees want to cross the picket line.

The airline is still recovering from a three-day strike that ended Monday, in which the Unite union — locked in a long-standing dispute with airline management over pay and working conditions — went ahead with a walkout after talks collapsed at the end of last week.

The airline said that during the cabin crew’s next strike from Saturday to March 30 its schedule at London’s Heathrow airport will include up to 55 percent of short-haul flights and 70 percent of long-haul flights.

source: Business Week

Continental ends airline era as free coach meals cut

16 March 2010

Continental Airlines, the last U.S. carrier serving free meals in the coach cabin, will start charging for food for economy-class passengers on most domestic and Canadian flights as well as certain Latin American routes.

Complimentary meals will still be offered to passengers on economy fares on all intercontinental trips, certain other international routes and domestic flights longer than six hours, Houston-based Continental said today in a statement.

Now, with shorter flights and pressure from low-fare rivals such as Southwest Airlines Co., Continental and the rest of the large U.S. airlines are turning to fees including bag-check charges to raise revenue from sources other than tickets.

source: Business Week

Wizz Air is outraged at the re-nationalization of Malév

15 March 2010

Wizz Air said it would immediately call on the European Commission to investigate the Hungarian government’s decision to yet again waste significant financial resources into Malév, the struggling and massively loss making national airline.

The Malév re-nationalization plan does not solve the issue as the airline will require continuous illegal financial aid from tax payers’ money going forward.


UK airports see record drop in passenger numbers

15 March 2010

The UK’s airports handled 7.4% fewer passengers last year than in 2008, the biggest annual decline since records began 65 years ago, figures have shown. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that with passenger numbers having also fallen in 2008, it was the first time levels have fallen two years in a row.

It said last year’s decline was led by a fall in holiday airline traffic, with charter flights down 17%. UK domestic flight traffic was down 8% and overall scheduled airline traffic fell 6%.

source: BBC News

Air France-KLM sues Ryanair over ‘subsidies’

13 March 2010

European airport authorities subsidise Ryanair to the tune of at least €11 (£10) per passenger, Air France-KLM claimed this week as it filed a lawsuit in Brussels against the low-cost carrier.

In the latest in a series of legal attacks on Ryanair’s business model, the Franco-Dutch airline accused the Irish company of receiving illegal state aid and distorting competition.

Air France-KLM said that Ryanair obtained at least €660 million a year in financial incentives from regional authorities in Europe, notably in the form of reduced ground-handling fees and other airport charges.

source: Times Online

British Airways strike set for seven days in March

13 March 2010

British Airways’ cabin crew have voted for strike action over two consecutive weekends in March: a three-day walkout March 20-22 and a four-day walkout March 27-30.

The strikes will involve 12,000 flight attendants and will affect more than half a million BA passengers. As promised, there will be no strikes over the Easter period, but further strike action will take place after April 14 if no deal has been reached by then.