EasyJet expands presence at Cologne Bonn

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British low-cost carrier (LCC) easyJet is expanding its offering from Cologne Bonn in Germany.

From 2 May 2022, the airline will be operating flights from the Rhineland region to Palma de Mallorca three times a week. There will be flights to the Balearic Islands on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

“The announcement of a new easyJet route is an important signal for our company in these difficult times,” said Cologne Bonn Airport’s CEO, Johan Vanneste. “It shows that we remain an attractive location for our airline partners in the future, and it offers our passengers an additional and convenient way of reaching Germany’s favourite island the whole year round,” he explained.

EasyJet only returned to Cologne Bonn Airport at the beginning of December after an 18-month break due to Covid-19. Since 1 December, 2021 the airline has been operating twelve flights a week from Cologne Bonn to the new airport in the capital, Berlin. The route is currently easyJet’s only German domestic route.

Knock Airport welcomes Ryanair link with Birmingham

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Irish low-cost carrier (LCC), Ryanair, has added a Birmingham to Knock service to its 2022 schedule. The twice weekly service reinforces the airline’s commitment to the UK as it rebuilds its tourism industry following the global pandemic.

“We are pleased to add this new route to Knock as part of our UK’s 22 schedule, offering our customers yet another amazing European destination to choose from when planning their summer break,” said Ryanair’s Director of Commercial, Jason McGuinness.

As part of its growth plan, the airline has already added more than 560 routes and opened 16 bases throughout the last 12 months. Looking ahead to next year, the “addition of 65 new B737-8200 ‘Gamechanger’ aircraft to its fleet, which offer 4% more seats, 16% less fuel and a 40% reduction in noise emissions, making Ryanair’s S’22 schedule the most exciting and environmentally friendly to date,” added McGuinness.

Birmingham Airport named as Flybe’s new headquarters and crew base

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The revived regional carrier, Flybe, has revealed that Birmingham Airport in the UK will serve as its new headquarters and first new crew base. The launch of the new Flybe is expected not only to enhance essential regional connectivity in the UK, but also to create many valuable industry jobs and help restart local economies as they rebound from the pandemic.

The airline is among the first UK carriers to be certified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) since Brexit. It will serve key regions across the UK and EU with operations scheduled to begin in early 2022. In a move that will create around 200 direct new jobs in the Birmingham and West Midlands region, the airline’s HQ and operations centre will be located in Birmingham Airport’s Diamond House. An additional 400 direct jobs are projected to be created nationwide.

Describing Birmingham as “an ideal choice”, Flybe CEO Dave Pflieger, cited the city’s great people, highly skilled workforce, its central UK location and the airport’s function as a global travel as reasons behind choosing the West Midlands hub as its home base.

“The announcement marks the culmination of over 12 months of dedicated hard work by all involved, and it would not have been possible without the support of the CAA and the UK Government,” he said.

Meanwhile Nick Barton, Chief Executive of Birmingham Airport added: “Flybe’s announcement that Birmingham has been chosen to become the headquarters for its launch next spring is fantastic news for our region’s connectivity needs, and it will bring with it some great new employment opportunities. Dave’s vast experience in managing start-up airlines and turnaround situations, coupled with the recovery of the Midlands’ economy post-Covid, means that Flybe’s return to the skies from Birmingham is a shot in the arm for our airport as well as West Midlands businesses and communities. We look forward to working with Dave and his team in preparation for next spring and to launch such a well-known brand here in Birmingham.”

Volotea becomes first airline to join VINCI Airports’ carbon sink programme

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Spanish low cost airline, Volotea, has partnered with VINCI Airports to join its forest carbon sink programme. The initiative was launched earlier in the year at Lyon Saint Exupery Airport in France to offset residual carbon emissions from VINCI Airports as well as its customers and partners. Volotea opened a new base at the Lyon hub in June 2021.

Commenting on the partnership Carlos Munoz, Founder and CEO of Volotea noted that, “this project reflects Volotea’s desire to offset its carbon emissions and to develop a cleaner and more environmentally friendly aviation sector.” He added that the collaboration also demonstrates how the two companies “share the same vision for the airline sector and are convinced that the future will be sustainable.”

In joining VINCI’s programme, Volotea is investing in projects that allow it to offset its carbon emissions and is in line with the LCC’s plans to transition to a less polluting sector. The airline’s efforts have been concentrated on the network’s value and eco-efficiency, the development and implementation of initiatives to reduce the emissions from its operations and support for new technologies and strategies to accelerate progress towards a more sustainable aviation sector. Volotea is also developing a 100% electric aircraft.

“Along with sustainable biofuels and hydrogen, forest carbon sequestration is an integral part of our comprehensive strategy to decarbonise air travel,” said Nicolas Notebaert, CEO of VINCI Concessions and President of VINCI Airports. “This partnership demonstrates our ability to offer relevant solutions to our customers, partners and all users of our transport network.”

Pegasus expands network and operations as Turkey reopens for UK travellers

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Following last week’s announcement that Turkey has been moved to England’s amber list, low-cost carrier (LCC) Pegasus Airlines has expanded its schedule and launched new direct flights from London Stansted and Manchester in the UK to Turkey and further afield.

The Turkish carrier has launched twice daily direct flights to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport from London Stansted. Five times weekly direct flights are also now operating to the Turkish gateway from Manchester Airport. Both routes offer a selection of onward connections across Pegasus’ extensive network of 36 destinations in Turkey, including to popular resorts such as Bodrum, Dalaman and Antalya, as well as its 83 other international destinations.

Pegasus is also launching twice-weekly direct flights between London Stansted and Antalya starting on 20 October, as well as five-times weekly flights to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport from 21 October.

“In light of the new announcement putting Turkey back into the amber list, we’re seeing strong growth in our bookings to Turkey from England, and in response to this growing demand and desire for autumn travel, we’re delighted also to be expanding our flight programme from London Stansted and Manchester to Turkey, with excellent connections across our network of 119 destinations in 44 countries – meaning travellers will have a lot more choice with our flexible booking options this autumn and winter,” said Pegasus Airlines CCO, Guliz Ozturk.

“We’re planning to further increase the number of flights from England later in the autumn if demand continues to rise, and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming our guests back on board as travel begins to reopen again.”

Continued low-cost expansion at Sweden’s Stockholm Arlanda Airport

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The German low-cost carrier (LCC) Eurowings plans to set up a new base at Stockholm Arlanda Airport in Sweden for the summer 2022 season. The Lufthansa-owned carrier will expand its range of destinations adding 20 new direct routes in Europe from the Swedish hub, which is operated by Swedavia.

Eurowings decision to set up a base at Arlanda follows Ryanair’s announcement in May that it planned to open a base initially with two aircraft at the airport serving some 20 European routes as well as domestic services to Gothenburg and Malmö. In July, Finnair also revealed its plans to place three aircraft at Arlanda offering intercontinental services and enhancing access to Asia and the US.

“Eurowings’ continued expansion in Sweden entails a major increase in capacity and is a complement to our airports’ existing range of flights on offer,” said Elizabeth Axtelius, Director Aviation Business at Swedavia.

“The fact that Eurowings has now chosen to set up a base at Arlanda is clear evidence of the airline’s strong faith in development opportunities in the largest market in Scandinavia and in the attractiveness of the Stockholm region. This improved access is important to the tourism industry across Sweden. The expansion also suggests further growth can be expected in the low-cost segment of the Swedish market going forward. We have a good collaboration with Eurowings, which we happily look forward to developing in the future.”

The German LCC initially plans to place five aircraft at Arlanda and launch 20 European destinations, of which a couple will be new links for the airport. The base will be the airline’s fourth outside the German-speaking region.
Jens Bischof, CEO at Eurowings commented: “Sweden is a market that fits perfectly with our goal to be the number one European value carrier. Since the pandemic, many travellers are no longer looking first for the cheapest ticket, but for an airline they can unconditionally trust in terms of safety, reliability and social responsibility. With our Lufthansa DNA – for example an attractive network of low-cost direct flights and an unmatched customer service – we can offer just that.”
In other news for Arlanda airport, Ryanair has launched a service to Skelleftea from Arlanda in conjunction with its winter programme. It marks the Irish LCCs third domestic route in Sweden out of a total of 23 new routes.

The new route will begin in December and will be served twice weekly.

Cologne celebrates return of Eurowings connection with Budapest

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Budapest Airport’s link with Cologne is the latest to be re-introduced to the Hungarian gateway following the temporary halt of services following the global pandemic.

The four times weekly service to western Germany’s cultural hub will be operated by Eurowings, the German low-cost carrier (LCC) and subsidiary of Lufthansa Group, which will utilise its fleet of A319s and A320s on the 958-km sector.

“Resuming these services means Eurowings returns with flights to Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Stuttgart – 30% of all our operations to Germany this coming winter,” said Balázs Bogáts, Head of Airline Development at Budapest Airport.

“This latest revival continues to help us work towards our goal to ensure we once again offer a rich variety of destinations to our customers,” he continued.

Eurowings’ resumption of all services from Budapest will see the airport offer more than 400,000 seats to the Central European country during W21/22 as the LCC’s flights join the gateway’s operations to Berlin, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Munich and Nürnberg.

FlyWestAf Algeria to support African tourism with first LCC in Algeria

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FlyWestAf Algeria. The new LCC will help boost African tourism by offering domestic and international services.

The FlyWestAF team had been considering Algeria as a potential market as early as 2016, however the conditions required to move forward were not then in place. Subsequently, the LCC had instead been focusing on operating out of Banjul in The Gambia in West Africa. According to CAPA, the proposed start-up LCC was due to commence services by May 2021 from a base at Banjul Yundum International Airport, offering flights to nine destinations including Dakar, Bissau, Conakry, Freetown, Abidjan, Monrovia, Praia and Bamako with a fleet of five DHC-8-400s.

With the Gambian LCC still not launched however, FlyWestAf has confirmed plans (via its website) to push ahead with the launch of its Algerian service. “The arrival of a 100% Algerian LCC will contribute to one of the most important conditions to launch the tourism sector: low-cost prices,” a statement on its website reads. It will also make the “Algerian destination attractive” and support growth in the tourism sector.

The team behind the airline also believes that a 100% Algerian charter operator on African soil will reduce the costs associated with charter operations and thus develop the market share for external demand which is experiencing strong growth in West and Central Africa.

With regard to domestic demand, the flexibility of supply it says will have a direct effect on the control of charter budget.
The airline’s statement also states that “80% of charter in West and Central Africa in 2019 was carried out by European or Middle Eastern companies, which accounts for more than $350 million in revenue.

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Ryanair to end its London Southend Airport operations

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Popular low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair has confirmed that it will be leaving London Southend Airport this winter, making it the second airline to close its operations at the Essex-based hub after easyJet made the same call at the end of summer 2020. Southend also lost another major airline customer last year in the form of Flybe when the airline ceased trading.

Ryanair will close its two aircraft base at London Southend from 1 November following a reduction in traffic as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The airline had originally had three aircraft based at Southend from 2019, but already decreased that to two in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The departure of Ryanair leaves London Southend relatively empty, with regular passenger service currently only scheduled for Wizzair, which plans to relaunch its Bucharest route on 1 November.

Having served around 2 million passengers in 2019 with the holiday hotspots of Alicante and Malaga proving popular routes, the airport is reportedly in talks with a range of airlines to see if previously profitable links can be started up again in the future.

Esken, the current operator of Southend, is in the process of reviewing the impact of Ryanair’s departure on its forecasts.

A statement from Esken read: “The financial impact of Ryanair’s base closure will be mitigated by a reduction in costs directly associated with serving Ryanair’s base and the low level of passengers expected during the winter season.”

Malmo Airport welcomes continued expansion of Ryanair and Wizz Air’s network

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Both Ryanair and Wizz Air continue to expand their range of destinations from the Greater Copenhagen region and Malmö Airport with new connections to the Balkans.

Irish low-cost carrier (LCC), Ryanair, has announced its return to Malmö after being absent for a time. The airline will resume services to the Polish city of Krakow in early June and launch domestic service to Stockholm Arlanda this autumn. Another direct route will be launched in the autumn, this time to Ryanair’s recently opened based in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Flights to Zagreb will operate twice weekly.

Meanwhile Hungarian LCC, Wizz Air, which currently flies to four countries in the Balkans from Malmö, is adding twice weekly flights to Banja Luka, the second largest city in Bosnia-Herzegovina after the capital, Sarajevo. Wizz Air also currently serves Tuzla twice weekly.

“It is gratifying that both Ryanair and Wizz Air see opportunities in Southern Sweden and the Greater Copenhagen region and have chosen to expand at Malmö Airport, especially after a period that has been extremely difficult for the whole industry,” said Elizabeth Axtelius, Director Aviation Business at Swedavia Airports. “The entire Balkan region is a popular destination from Malmö, and these destinations are an important addition and complement to our existing range of flights, for tourists in general but especially for the important visiting friends and relative travel segment. Access will be important in the restart after the pandemic, and more direct air links are crucial to regional growth and to the tourism industry all across Sweden,” she added.