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Etihad buys stake in Aer Lingus in possible link-up deal

1 May 2012

Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad has quietly acquired 2.987 per cent of Aer Lingus’s shares over the past couple of months.

Aer Lingus last night confirmed it was in discussions with Etihad in relation to reciprocal code-sharing arrangements. The two airlines are also investigating the possibility of joint procurement opportunities.

Aer Lingus said Etihad had given an undertaking it does not intend to increase its shareholding pending the outcome of these discussions. Aer Lingus said: “There is no certainty as to the outcome of these discussions.


Delta buys a refinery in bid to cut its fuel bill

1 May 2012

Delta Air Lines is buying a refinery in a novel — and some say risky — attempt to slice $300 million a year from its escalating jet fuel bill.

The airline said Monday that it is buying the refinery near Philadelphia for $150 million from Phillips 66, a refining company being spun off from ConocoPhillips. The refinery has struggled to make money, and ConocoPhillips planned to shut it down if it couldn’t find a buyer.

Fuel is the largest and most volatile expense for the major airlines. They paid an average of $2.86 a gallon for jet fuel last year, up from $2.09 in 2007, according to statistics from the Bureau of Transportation.


Iberia Express budget airline aims for Germany

28 April 2012

New Spanish budget airline Iberia Express is considering entering the German market, and could be flying from Berlin or Frankfurt to Spanish coastal resorts before the end of this year.

Pilots from parent airline Iberia have been striking since December in protest at what they see as a piecemeal outsourcing of their jobs.

The budget airline is projected to save Iberia company €100 million by 2015, much of it recouped from staff costs that will see Iberia Express pilots pocket on average €4,000 a month less than their colleagues at the main airline.


US Airways launches bold takeover bid for troubled American Airlines

21 April 2012

US Airways launched an aggressive takeover bid for its larger rival American Airlines on Friday.

The bold move would lift troubled American out of bankruptcy and create a contender for the title of the largest airline in the U.S.

But the deal – which is resisted by American’s management – could also complicate the company’s already messy bankruptcy reorganisation.

US Airways went behind the larger company’s back and secured the support of American’s three labour unions in its bid to force a merger.


Iberia looks to slash pilots’ pay

18 April 2012

Iberia is looking to slash pilots’ pay by a fifth as it takes a hard line in its battle with their union over cost cuts and the launch of a budget carrier to compete with the likes of Ryanair and EasyJet.

Alongside the pay cut, which includes an across-the-board reduction in pay scales and changes to perks for pilots with 15 years’ seniority, the airline is proposing to increase the number of hours pilots are expected to fly every year and eliminate extra holidays for senior staff.


Government approves plan to save Air India

14 April 2012

The Indian government has approved a debt restructuring plan to save Air India, the country’s national airline.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said 30bn rupees ($5.9bn; £3.7bn) would be injected into the airline by 2020.

But there will be many checks and targets that the company will need to achieve, the minister said.


Emirates expects more airlines to go under

28 March 2012

Emirates said more carriers will go bust this year as fuel costs and sluggish economies undermine profitability.

Airline profits will plunge 62 per cent in 2012 to $3 billion, equal to a 0.5 per cent margin on sales, as oil prices rise, the International Air Transport Association said this week. Emirates’s fuel bill accounts for 45 per cent of costs and may jump by an “incredibly challenging” $1.7 billion in the year ending March 31.

Emirates president said some private airlines will need to be bailed out by governments in the countries where they’re based, though that will raise aid issues with the European Union and other parties.

In the United States, more filings for Chapter 11 protection are likely, while smaller carriers operating in the Indian Ocean region and in Africa face “difficulties,” the executive said.


Spanish new low-cost airline Iberia Express launched

28 March 2012

Spain’s Iberia has launched a new entry in Europe’s competitive market for low-cost airlines.

Iberia Express will cover Spanish cities including Madrid and the islands such as Ibiza, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

he low-cost Iberia Express has 500 staff and has a fleet of four Airbus A320 aircraft, according to Iberia Express chief executive Luis Gallego.


Fiji takes control of national airline from Qantas

28 March 2012

Fiji’s military government says it is taking control of the country’s national carrier Air Pacific from Australian company Qantas.

Fiji already owns a majority stake in the airline, holding 51 percent of it while Qantas owns 46.3 percent. But Fijian Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Qantas since 1998 has exercised effective control over the carrier because Qantas-appointed board members enjoy supermajority and veto rights.


Lufthansa may shut BMI if sale blocked

22 March 2012

Lufthansa AG is considering shutting down its loss-making British Midland Ltd. – known as BMI – if its sale to International Consolidated Airlines Group is held up by anti-trust authorities in Brussels.

The German airline agreed in December to sell BMI to IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, for a maximum GBP172.5 million. But the deal could be held up following Brussels’ rejection last week of concessions offered by IAG, which the competition regulator said were inadequate.