Budapest secures first new route of the year

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Further illustrating its development at Budapest Airport, Ryanair has confirmed the addition of a twice-weekly service to Marseille in France for winter 2018/19.

The new link will become the Irish low-fare carrier’s 34th destination to be offered from the airport and the Hungarian gateway’s seventh connection to a French airport. The new link will join Budapest’s existing connections to Bordeaux, Nice, Lyon and Paris (CDG, ORY and BVA) and Ryanair will face no direct competition on this new route.

“Not only is this our first route announcement of the year, but our new link to Marseille is also Ryanair’s – Europe’s largest airline – first new route statement of 2018 as well,” stated Kim Jandu, CCO, Budapest Airport.

“A top priority for us is to be able to offer our passengers an ever-expanding selection of great places to visit. To announce our seventh brand new destination for 2018 already is just the beginning of us ensuring we continue to deliver a combination of attractive routes and good services,” added Jandu.

Ryanair recorded a 23% growth at Budapest in 201 and the addition of its new flights in W18/19 secure the airline’s pole position as the airport’s second largest carrier.

Germania strengthens presence at Bremen Airport

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Low-fare German leisure carrier, Germania, is strengthening its presence at Bremen’s Hans Koschnick Airport, by stationing an additional aircraft there. The move will bring the total number of aircraft based at the airport to three, a number that is set to increase to four aircraft in summer 2019.

The gateway to north-western Germany, Bremen Hans Koschnick Airport serves as a base for Germania and Ryanair, but is also served by a handful of other airlines, including Eurowings and Small Planet Airlines. The low-fare German leisure carrier’s increased presence will consolidate its position as the leading holiday airline at Bremen airport, while also creating 34 new jobs.

“Given the changes affecting the constellation of German airlines, we decided to expand and further develop relations with our bases in regional conurbations,” said Claus Altenburg, sales director at Germania, explaining how the airline sees growth potential in Bremen and is also expanding its technical division at the airport.

As of winter 2018/19 onwards, the airline will be operating flights from Bremen to all the larger Canary Islands, as well as a new weekly flight to La Palma. Meanwhile from March, Germania passengers flying from Bremen will be able to take advantage of year-round links to Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) and Athens (Greece), while capacities on services to the popular holiday resort of Antalya in Turkey will also be increased.

In addition to developing its leisure schedule, Germania is also looking at various city pairings in partnership with Air Europa.

“A business partner like Germania is of great value because of the airline’s long-term commitment to the region,” said Ekkehart Siering, state councillor for economy, labour and ports in the Senate. “With Germania, Bremen can continually expand its traffic flow, incoming traffic and trade, and plan specific infrastructure investments,” Siering concluded.

Liverpool Airport appoints new CEO

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The former CCO of Newcastle International Airport is to take the helm at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA).

John Irving has been credited with driving record passenger and airline growth during his two-and-a-half-year stint at Newcastle and will take over as CEO at Liverpool on 12 March 2018.

Bringing a wealth of business experience from different sectors, Irving is a qualified management accountant and prior to moving into the airport sector he held senior commercial and financial positions at Newcastle United Football Club as well as Procter and Gamble – the consumer goods company.

Commenting on his new appointment, Irving said: “I am very excited at being given the opportunity to take this business forward at a time when the Peel Group’s continued investment in the airport has seen Liverpool become one of the UK’s stand-out regional airports.”

Having handled almost 5 million passengers last year, passenger numbers at LJLA grew by almost 3% in 2017 compared to 2016 generating the airport’s highest annual passenger figures since 2011.

The airport has also garnered a well-earned reputation for its relaxed, hassle-free environment and best-in-class operational performance and Irving also stated that he is looking forward to building on the airport’s recent success by continuing to make Liverpool the “faster, easier, friendlier airport of choice for passengers from across the region.”

The airport’s chairman, Robert Hough expressed his delight at the new appointment saying “John has helped Newcastle Airport make significant progress in his time there and we are therefore delighted to welcome him in his new role here at Liverpool, bringing drive and determination to take the airport to the next level and realise its tremendous potential.

“John will also be a great asset for the city region too, developing the airport’s strategic importance through improved connectivity, helping to attract further inward investment and bringing continued benefits for the region’s visitor economy.”

Inset image: LJLA’s new CEO, John Irving

Stobart Aviation opens new executive jet centre in the South East

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Boosting the capacity available for private flights into London, Stobart Aviation has launched a new executive jet fixed based operator (FBO) at London Southend Airport.

Promising to outstrip competitors on price, speed and convenience, the new FBO will operate 24/7 all year round (except Christmas day). Offering unrestricted slots and a VIP experience at competitive prices, the centre is expected to cater for 5,000 flights per year by 2022.

Located less than 50 miles from the heart of London’s West End and with six trains per hour into the city, London Southend offers strong rail and road links to the centre of London. Meanwhile, helicopter transfers to and from Canary Wharf or Battersea Heliport take just 10 minutes from London Southend.

London Southend also has the added advantage of no slot restrictions, so is able to reduce flight times, by offering faster departure routes outside of Heathrow airspace.

Talking at the launch event for the new FBO, Stephen Grimes, MD, Stobart Jet Centre Limited said:

Always at the heart of our thinking for this new FBO has been to provide our customers with the utmost convenience, speed and comfort. We will be also offering the most competitive prices in the London business and private aviation market.

The Stobart Jet Centre will give our customers a fast, hassle-free service 24 hours a day with home from home comfort and no slot restrictions.

We are absolutely confident that Stobart Jet Centre provides a unique environment and refreshing alternative to other airports serving London.

Inset image: From left to right – Steve Grimes, CEO of Stobart Jet Centre, Ronan Keating, lead singer of Irish boy band Boyzone, Andrew Tinkler, executive director, Stobart Group and Warwick Brady, CEO, Stobart Group at the launch party for Stobart Jet Centre. 

Jersey passenger traffic hits 17-year high

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Recording the highest number of passengers since 2000, Jersey Airport had over 1.6 million passengers travelling through its doors in 2017.

The increase of 25,253 passengers compared to 2016 and in excess of 83,000 passengers compared to 2015 was a massive cause for celebration at the airport. The last time it had such high passenger traffic was in 2000, when 1,635,584 passengers were recorded.

“For the past four years our air passenger numbers have been steadily growing and it’s a great boost for the island to start the new year on a positive note. In fact, since 2013 we have increased air passenger numbers by over 100,000 we believe we have an enviable network of air services available to us and, as always, Ports of Jersey will continue to explore new opportunities while maintaining the excellent relationships we already have with our existing carriers,” said Myra Shacklady, key account and marketing director for Ports of Jersey, the airport operator.

The majority of UK regions saw significant increases in passenger numbers when compared to figures for 2016. Scotland (+23%), the north-west (+3%) and the midlands (+7%) in particular saw impressive growth, while the London market (+2%), north-east (+3%) and south (+3%) also fared well. However, inter-island passenger numbers ended the year down with just under 13,000 passengers fewer than in 2016 (-13%)

Low-fare carrier, easyJet, which in summer 2018 will operate eight routes from the island, carried almost 600,000 passengers in 2017, ending the year with the largest overall market share of 37%, followed by British Airways (23%), Flybe (22%) and Blue Islands (15%).

 

Inset image: Aerial view of Jersey Airport

Antwerp welcomes new links with Birmingham, Munich and Maribor

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The Belgian-based carrier, VLM Airlines, will start a new daily service from Antwerp (Belgium) to Birmingham (UK) from 12 February 2018. The airline will also fly from the same date to two other new routes; Antwerp–Munich (Germany) and Munich–Maribor (Slovenia).

The new services will be operated on a Fokker 50 with fares starting at €59 (all taxes included).

Commenting on the new service to Birmingham, William Pearson, aviation director at Birmingham Airport said: “It is fantastic news that Birmingham will be reconnected with the Belgian city of Antwerp. This medieval city has something for everyone, steeped in history but also named as the country’s capital of cool. It is also known as the world’s leading diamond city. We are delighted that VLM will be operating this service.”

The new routes are in addition to VLM’s existing Antwerp–London City Airport route and flights between Antwerp and Zurich, which will commence on 22 January.

Commenting on how the new routes will cater for both business and leisure travellers, Karl Rickard, CEO of VLM Airlines enthused that as well as being the diamond capital of the world, one of Europe’s largest seaports and the second largest petrochemical centre in the world, Antwerp is a “thriving city, that is also known for its bold and diverse arts, fashion and culinary scene. A short ride takes you to other popular Belgian cities including Bruges, Ghent and Brussels as well as to Dutch cities such as Rotterdam and Eindhoven.”

Billund delivers best-ever results in airport’s history

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Welcoming 3.4 million passengers through its doors in 2017, Billund Airport bid farewell to the last 12 months on an all-time high in terms of both passenger traffic and cargo.

Last year marked the best-ever results in the history of West Denmark’s busiest gateway and its eighth consecutive year of passenger traffic growth.

Citing the airport’s international routes as driving growth over the last few years, Kjeld Zacho Jørgensen, CEO, Billund Airport, said: “Our core catchment embraces seven major West Danish cities and the overall progression in the economy in our area has been evident over the last 12 months. Our strong customer base is taking advantage of our expanding route network and cementing Billund’s position as West Denmark’s international airport.”

Five additional routes are already lined up for 2018. Wizz Air will kick-start the summer season providing the airport’s first direct connection to Romania’s second-largest city – Iasi. The Hungarian low-fare carrier will also launch a highly in demand link to Vienna, following a steady year-on-year increase in indirect traffic to the Austrian capital.

Billund will also welcome a new partner in the summer – the Norwegian regional carrier, Widerøe. Joining the airport’s existing links to Bergen and Oslo Gardermoen, the new flights will see the Danish gateway’s links to Norway increase to 40 flights each week in summer 2018.

Meanwhile, both the low-fare Irish carrier, Ryanair, and the Icelandic carrier, Primera Air, will add new weekly connections to Athens, the Greek capital city in May.

“We are looking forward to another year of developing our connectivity with the world”, states Jørgensen. “Over the next three years we will be investing in our infrastructure to support our strategy in providing a sustainable airport and, with thanks to our partners confirming new routes, as well as frequency increases on existing successful services, we can continue our journey and get great results together.”

London Stansted celebrates record-breaking performance

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London Stansted ended 2017 on a high having announced that Emirates will open a direct service from the Essex-based hub to Dubai in June 2018.

The airport also marked 2017 as its busiest year to date with 25.9 million passengers travelling through the airport, marking an increase of 1.57 million passengers (6.5%) over the previous 12 months.

The airport’s record-breaking achievement was credited to the addition of 11 new routes across the year, bringing the total number of destinations served from Stansted up to 190 across 38 countries. Apart from Munich, the airport also serves more scheduled connections to Europe than any other airport in the world.

“The last year has been a very busy and exciting time at London Stansted with passenger numbers and the range of destinations directly available from the airport both reaching all-time highs.

“The positive passenger growth was driven by increased choice from many of our airline partners, particularly Ryanair who experienced another strong year, and the very successful opening of Jet2.com’s first base in the south of England back in March,” said Stansted Airport CEO, Ken O’Toole.

Explaining that the new direct service to Dubai in June 2018 would also provide onward access to a wide range of destinations around the world including Shanghai, Sydney and Hong Kong, O’Toole added that Emirates’ “excellent addition to our route network comes on top of the very exciting news that Primera Air will also launch direct flights to New York, Boston and Toronto from April and May this year.”

O’Toole also confirmed that work is now underway on phase one of the airport’s £500million airport transformation project.

“It’s imperative that we plan how we can keep pace with demand and invest in developing quality, good value facilities” he said, referencing that the multi-million-pound investment will add more check-in desks, extra seating and more car park spaces.

He also added that: “we will shortly submit a planning application to make best use of our existing runway capacity within current environmental limits to improve UK connectivity and support national and regional economic growth.”

Inset images: Top – Ken O’Toole, CEO London Stansted; Bottom – New check-in area, London Stansted.

Pegasus Airlines plane skids off runway at Trabzon Airport

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A Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 narrowly avoided the Black Sea on Saturday 13 January, after it skidded off the runway at Trabzon Airport in Northern Turkey.

The passenger jet had flown from Ankara to Trabzon with 162 passengers, two pilots and four cabin crew on board when it overshot the runway and slid down a coastal cliff coming to a halt with its wheels caught in thick mud.

The cause of the incident is yet to be confirmed but all passengers and crew were safely evacuated from the aircraft by emergency services. The airport was temporarily closed for several hours on Saturday night while an investigation was launched by the Turkish Aviation Authority SHGM, but reopened on Sunday morning.

One of the passengers, Fatma Gordu, told reporters at the state-run news agency Andalou, that panic erupted as “we tilted to the side, the front was down while the plane’s rear was up. There was panic, people shouting, screaming.”

Having opened to air traffic in 1957, the airport was serviced with a new runway in 1985 making it accessible to all kinds of aircraft.

Pegasus Airlines said in a statement the aircraft “had a runway excursion incident during landing at Trabzon Airport”, while one of the pilots was quoted as telling prosecutors that the right engine ‘suddenly gained speed’ for unknown reasons as the plane was landing.  According to the flight path the aircraft had a speed of 110 knots 204 km/ h, 127mph) on the last third of the runway. Some reports have also suggested that the aircraft’s left jet engine was also ripped from its wing during the incident.

Cornwall plans continued passenger growth in 2018

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Having closed 2017 with a 23% increase from the previous year in passenger traffic, Cornwall Airport Newquay (CAN) has experienced its third consecutive year of double-digit growth and has become the UK’s fastest growing airport for a second consecutive year.

The gateway to the UK’s Southwest, CAN welcomed a total of 453,795 passengers in 2017, with the greatest number of passengers handled in July and August, when 121,000 passengers travelled through the airport. December was also a record-breaking month at the airport with 18% year-on-year growth primarily due to the Christmas flights to/ from Birmingham and a doubling of services to Manchester over the festive period.

CAN’s most popular destination with 964 flights throughout 2017 was London Gatwick, while the 1,511km link to Faro was the furthest point served.
Commenting on how he expects the growth in passenger traffic to continue throughout 2018, Al Titterington, CAN’s MD stated: “Our passenger growth remains far higher than the average with little indication of slowing down. It’s a credit to all those committed to ensuring we remain a popular destination with an efficient airport.”

With year-round flights to Gatwick, Manchester, Leeds Bradford, Dublin and the Isles of Scilly, CAN also operates seasonal routes in the summer with various carriers, including Flybe, Eurowings and Ryanair to Belfast, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, London Stansted, Aberdeen, Doncaster, Sheffield, Glasgow, Liverpool, Cork, Düsseldorf, Alicante, Faro and Frankfurt Hahn.

Passengers travelling from Cornwall will see an enhancement to the airport’s connections with Germany this year, when Eurowings’ seasonal operation to Stuttgart is added to the carrier’s established service to Düsseldorf and Ryanair’s link to Frankfurt Hahn. Lufthansa’s low-fare carrier will commence its weekly service to the German city of Stuttgart in May using an A319 aircraft.

Following London Heathrow’s (LHR) recent announcement in the reduction of domestic charges, Titterington also revealed that one of the main focuses for the coming year will be to gain a highly-desired link to London Heathrow.

The Government has stated its support for a third runway at LHR and we have been a longstanding supporter of Heathrow expansion. The link would be transformational for Cornwall’s economy and we are working closely with Heathrow Airport Ltd and our airline partners to try and make this happen. Such services will make Cornwall accessible on a global level, be that inbound (international) tourism or the export of goods and services, the impact would be significant. It would also provide a catalyst for discussion with potential new airlines operating from the airport.