Monday
May162011

US Airways starts Charlotte-Madrid and Charlotte-Dublin routes

Last week, US Airways launched two seasonal routes between its hub at Douglas International Airport in Charlotte (IATA: CLT; ICAO: KCLT), and Europe.  Last Friday, it kicked off its once-daily round-trip route between Charlotte, and Barajas Airport (IATA: MAD; ICAO: LEMD) in the Spanish capital city of Madrid.  The route will be flown with the Boeing 767-200ER.  The eastbound leg is scheduled to depart Charlotte at 4:25 in the afternoon, local time.  It is scheduled to arrive in the Spanish capital at 6:40 in the morning the following day, local time.  The westbound leg is scheduled to depart from Madrid at 9:30 in the morning, local time, and arrive back in Charlotte at 12:55 in the afternoon, local time.

Last Saturday, US Airways launched its seasonal, daily round-trip route between Charlotte, and Dublin Airport (IATA: DUB; ICAO: EIDW), in the Irish capital city.  This route will be flown with the Boeing 757-200.  The eastbound leg is scheduled to depart Charlotte at 6:20 in the evening, local time.  It is scheduled to arrive in Dublin at 6:50 in the morning the following day, local time.  The westbound leg is scheduled to depart from Dublin at 9:15 in the morning, local time, and arrive back in Charlotte at 12:40 in the afternoon, local time.  Both the Charlotte-Madrid route and the Charlotte-Dublin route are scheduled to operate through September 30.  US Airways will continue to serve both European cities via Philadelphia, after September 30.

US Airways' main international gateway is in Philadelphia International Airport (IATA: PHL; ICAO: KPHL), but London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Rome are each accessible year-round via US Airways from Charlotte.

original story (US Airways)

Tuesday
Apr052011

AirTran adds Tampa-San Juan; wins customer service award

AirTran Airways today launched a twice daily non-stop round-trip route between Tampa International Airport (IATA: TPA; ICAO: KTPA) and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (IATA: SJU; ICAO: TJSJ) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Flights depart from Tampa in the early morning and early afternoon.  Flights depart from San Juan in the late morning and late afternoon.  According to search results returned by the online airfare booking engine at www.kayak.com/flights this morning, the route will be flown with the Boeing 737-700.

Moreover, the Orlando, Florida-based low-cost airline, which is in the process of merging with fellow low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines, recently edged out defending winner Hawaiian Airlines for highest honors in the most recent Airline Quality Rating (AQR) study, which analyzed the performance of airlines over the course of 2010.  It was conducted jointly by faculty from Purdue University and Wichita State University.

original stories

AirTran Airways Launches Nonstop Service Between Tampa and San Juan (Air Tran Airways)

AirTran's customer service tops list of improving airlines, study finds (USA Today)

Monday
Apr042011

Remains of Air France 447 found beneath Atlantic

Airplane wreckage and remains of some of the 228 victims of the 2009 crash of Air France 447 have been found.  This was the fourth attempt at locating the wreckage, and this site erroneously reported last year that a previous attempt was successful.

Air France 447 was a regularly-scheduled commercial passenger flight from Galeão International Airport (IATA: GIG; ICAO: SBGL) in Rio de Janeiro to Charles de Gaulle Airport (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG) in Paris.  The flight was operated with an Airbus A330-200.

The flight data recorders, known informally as the "black boxes," have not yet been found.  But it is hoped that these devices can be recovered, and that the data on them can shed light onto the cause of the accident.

AF 447 located: statement by Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO AIR FRANCE-KLM (Air France)

Saturday
Mar262011

SAS begins daily Oslo-Newark non-stop next Monday

The largest Scandinavian airline will start a new daily non-stop route between the Norwegian capital Oslo, and the New York metropolitan region next Monday.  It will operate between Gardermoen Airport (IATA: OSL; ICAO: ENGM) northeast of Oslo, and Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, 15 miles southwest of Midtown, in the New York borough of Manhattan.

Results returned today by the online airfare booking engine at www.kayak.com/flights show that the daily round-trip route will be flown with the Airbus A330-300.  Westbound travelers are scheduled to depart Oslo at 11:00 in the morning local time, and arrive in Newark at 1:10 in the afternoon local time, the same day.  Eastbound travelers are scheduled to depart Newark at 7:00 in the evening local time, and arrive in Oslo at 8:20 in the morning the following day.

SAS stood at one time for Scandinavian Airlines System, though the airline no longer officially uses the full, former name.  It was founded in 1946, and its main offices are located in Solna, Sweden.  It operates a fleet of Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, and McDonnell Douglas aircraft to destinations in Europe, North America, and Asia.

Continental Airlines, which operates a hub at Liberty International, is the only other airline to fly this route non-stop.  It is in the process of merging with United Airlines.

original story (SAS)

Thursday
Mar032011

The Norwegian Pearl will leave from NYC starting October 2012

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced yesterday that a five-year-old ship in the line's Jewel Class of ships, the Norwegian Pearl, will sail from New York starting on October 14, next year.  It will replace the Norwegian Jewel, which will move to Miami, according to USA Today.  According to search results returned by the itinerary search engine at Norwegian Cruise Line's official website, the Norwegian Pearl currently cruises round-trip from Seattle and Vancouver to Alaska and back, and also from Miami to the Caribbean and back.  Cruisers can also reserve tickets for the Norwegian Pearl's repositioning cruises that travel from the Pacific Northwest to Miami, through the Panama Canal.

Moreover, late next year the Norwegian Gem, also a Jewel Class ship, will sail from its home port of New York on two extended itineraries.  According to Norwegian Cruise Line's announcement, the Norwegian Gem will operate four ten-day round-trip tours of the Canadian Maritimes and the Saint Lawrence River beginning September 8, 2012.  It is then scheduled to operate a series of nine-day round-trip tours of the Eastern Caribbean Sea, until April 2013.

Next October the Norwegian Dawn will also depart from Boston and Quebec City, on alternating seven-day tours of the New England coast and the Canadian Maritimes.  The recent announcement from Norwegian indicates that back-to-back cruises along these routes can be booked to form a 14-day itinerary.

original story (Norwegian Cruise Line)

Thursday
Feb172011

Air Berlin adds London Gatwick to its network

Earlier this month, the Germany-based airline Air Berlin made its first flights to Gatwick Airport (IATA: EGKK; ICAO: LGW), south of Central London.  Germany's second-largest airline now flies non-stop between Hannover-Langenhagen Airport (IATA: HAJ; ICAO: EDDV) and Gatwick, and also non-stop between Nuremberg Airport (IATA: NUE; ICAO: EDDN) and Gatwick.  From Hannover, the new non-stop round trip will operate twice daily through the week (Monday through Friday inclusive), and once on Saturday.  The round trip from Nuremberg will operate twice daily through the week, and once on Sunday.

This is a seasonal route which will be suspended indefinitely this coming October.

Air Berlin is located in the North Terminal at Gatwick.  Air Berlin now has a permanent presence at two London area airports, the other being Stansted (IATA: STN; ICAO: EGSS) northeast of the city, which connects travelers non-stop to three other German destinations.

related stories

Air Berlin will commence year-round JFK routes this coming fall (February 3, 2011)

Air Berlin starts flying between Berlin and Dubai non-stop (November 11, 2010)

American Airlines and Air Berlin codeshare is in effect (November 8, 2010)

Air Berlin begins Winter 2011 route to Spain's Costa Blanca (November 4, 2010)

original story (Air Berlin)

Tuesday
Feb082011

Air New Zealand and Etihad Airways agree to codeshare

Air New Zealand and United Arab Emirates-based Eithad Airways announced today that their codeshare agreement will be in effect starting at the end of March.

Air New Zealand will place its codeshare symbol (NZ) on Etihad flights between the Etihad hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport (IATA: AUH; ICAO: OMAA) and the Australian cities of Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne.  Air New Zealand will also place its codeshare symbol on all three daily flights operated in each direction by Etihad between Abu Dhabi International and Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL) in London.

For its part, Etihad Airways will place its codeshare symbol (EY) on various domestic and trans-Tasman flights operated by Air New Zealand, and involving the New Zealand cities of Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown; and the Australian cities of Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne.  According to the press release from Etihad, the EY symbol will even be placed on Air New Zealand's flights between Auckland and the Chinese capital city of Beijing.

The partnership also allows members of each airline's frequent flier program to earn and redeem points with the corresponding program of the other airline.  Both airlines' press releases clarify that Etihad Airways' EY symbol will only be placed on trans-Tasman services inbound to Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne, Australia (IATA: MEL; ICAO: YMML), from various New Zealand points of origin (Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch).  Air New Zealand flights outbound from Melbourne to those three destinations are not part of the codeshare.

Although the codeshare does not begin until the end of March, travelers with Air New Zealand and Etihad will be able to buy tickets in each other's networks (for travel at the end of March or later) toward the end of this month.  The codeshare is still subject to regulatory approval.

The United Arab Emirates is a sovereign federation of seven emirates on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, immediately to the east of the dominant occupant of that peninsula, Saudi Arabia.  It is a nation of contrasts, bordering Saudi Arabia along the extremely desolate Rub'al-Khali desert, but also boasting modern cities and surroundings that Westerners sometimes find surprisingly familiar.  Abu Dhabi is the capital and the most populous of the emirates.  Another emirate, Dubai, is dominated visually by the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

Air New Zealand also announced that its newest Boeing 777-300ER would make a special visit tomorrow, to Wellington International Airport (IATA: WLG; ICAO: NZWN).  The capital city's largest airport has one bituminous surface 6,400 feet (1,951 meters) in length, which is insufficient length for the Boeing 777-300ER when the plane is filled to capacity with passengers, luggage, and fuel.  But with "only essential staff on board," the 777-300ER will be able to land and take off from Wellington International safely, according to Air New Zealand.

The 777-300ER will be assigned to Air New Zealand's Auckland-Los Angeles route, and its Los Angeles-London route.  Air New Zealand also flies non-stop between London and Hong Kong, and between Hong Kong and Auckland, making it the only airline to circumnavigate the globe.

Historically and politically often grouped with Australia, but geographically and geologically Polynesian, New Zealand is one of the southernmost inhabited places on the planet.  It was the native country of the late mountaineer Sir Edmund Hilary, and is also where the celebrated Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies was filmed, by New Zealander Sir Peter Jackson.

related stories

Air New Zealand increases its ownership share in Virgin Blue (January 21, 2010)

Air New Zealand-Virgin Blue partnership approved (December 16, 2010)

Malév and Etihad sign a codeshare deal (June 9, 2010)

original stories

Air New Zealand and Etihad Airways in codeshare agreement (Air New Zealand)

Etihad - Air New Zealand codeshare continue Australasia drive (Etihad Airways)

Air New Zealand's newest aircraft makes flying visit to Wellington (Air New Zealand)

Thursday
Feb032011

Air Berlin will commence year-round JFK routes this coming fall

Air Berlin, the second-largest airline based in Germany, announced Tuesday that it will begin year-round non-stop service between its two German hubs and the City of New York in the United States.  For the first time, Air Berlin will offer its non-stop service between Düsseldorf International Airport (IATA: DUS; ICAO: EDDL) in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK; ICAO: JKFK) in the American state of New York, throughout autumn and winter.

Historically, the airline, founded in 1978 and based in Berlin since 1985, has annually suspended many trans-Atlantic routes during autumn and winter, only flying those routes during spring and summer when its sometimes significantly lower than average fares stand out more clearly against those offered by other airlines, over the same travel period.  Air Berlin is expected to resurrect the Düsseldorf-New York route in mid-March this year, flying it in each direction three times a week until April, then four times a week until May, and then daily in each direction until late October, then four times a week again, through the rest of autumn, and winter.

The airline is also expected to inaugurate non-stop service between Tegel Airport in Berlin (IATA: TXL; ICAO: EDDT) and Kennedy International in New York on May 1 this year.  The Berlin-New York route will be flown in each direction four times a week until October, when frequency will drop to three times a week, according to a timetable found on the airline's official website.

Air Berlin non-stop flights between Kennedy International and the two German hubs will be flown this year with an Airbus A330-200, according to results returned by the online airfare booking engine at www.kayak.com/flights.

related stories

Air Berlin makes codeshare agreements with Finnair and American (July 29, 2010)

Air Berlin begins Winter 2011 route to Spain's Costa Blanca (November 4, 2010)

American Airlines and Air Berlin codeshare is in effect (November 8, 2010)

Air Berlin starts flying between Berlin and Dubai non-stop (November 11, 2010)

original story (Air Berlin)

[This version corrects an earlier version which wrongly said that Air Berlin will start flying the seasonal Düsseldorf-New York route again in mid-April.  The route will be restarted on March 18.]

Sunday
Jan302011

Air Canada offers more flights between Calgary and Tokyo

Last Wednesday Air Canada announced an increase in the frequency of its seasonal non-stop trans-Pacific round trip between Calgary International Airport (IATA: YYC; ICAO: CYYC) and Tokyo's Narita International Airport (IATA: NRT; ICAO: RJAA).  The increase from three per week to five per week will take effect March 26, when the route is re-introduced for the North American high travel season.  Air Canada's Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Ben Smith said the airline looks forward to approval by Japanese regulators, of year-round service from Air Canada, between Calgary and the Japanese capital.

The Calgary-Tokyo non-stop seasonal route will be flown this season with the Boeing 767-300 according to results returned by the online airfare booking engine at www.kayak.com/flights

Also, Canada's highest-profile airline had announced plans last August to fly once daily between Vancouver International Airport (IATA: YVR; ICAO: CYVR) and Tokyo's Haneda International Airport (IATA: HND; ICAO: RJTT) in both directions, starting yesterday.  But "[as] a result of lower than expected demand," inauguration of that route has been pushed back to March 3 at the earliest, according to Air Canada's official website.

Haneda International, closer to central Tokyo than Narita, is the preferred airport for business travelers traveling through Tokyo.  Last October, a dedicated international terminal opened at Haneda.  And for the first time in 32 years, regularly scheduled international air traffic operated through the facility.  Haneda International was the busiest Japanese airport in 2009, the second-busiest airport in Asia that year, and the fifth-busiest in the world.  The monorail train ride between the international terminal at Haneda and Minato in Tokyo is about fifteen minutes long, and costs 470 JPY (5.68 USD, 5.68 CAD, 4.14 EUR, 3.57 GBP, 5.75 AUD, 7.40 NZD).

Prior to the opening of the international terminal at Haneda, Narita International, 36 miles (58 kilometers) away from Tokyo, handled nearly all international traffic through the Japanese capital.  North Americans traveling to Japan will still more likely use Narita than Haneda.  Public transportation to Tokyo from the more distant Narita International is available, but it can take an hour or more to go between the airport and the city.

related stories

 Air Canada expands Winter 2011 schedule (October 21, 2010)

Tokyo's Haneda Airport resumes regular international service (October 31, 2010)

original story (Air Canada)

Friday
Jan212011

Air New Zealand increases its ownership share in Virgin Blue

Air New Zealand recently acquired a 14.99 percent ownership stake in Australia-based "cut price carrier" Virgin Blue, according to the New York-based Associated Press, and the Otago Daily Times, a New Zealand newspaper.  The national airline of New Zealand, whose majority owner is the New Zealand government, would be required to make a "takeover offer" to the shareholders of Virgin Blue, if its ownership share in the Australian carrier grew to 15 percent.

Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe said with certainty that Air New Zealand would not increase its ownership share in Virgin Blue to 15 percent in the forseeable future.  Last month, the two airlines were allowed by Australian anti-trust regulators to enter into a partnership on certain trans-Tasman routes.

According to the Associated Press, the New Zealand government bought a majority of the shares in Air New Zealand ten years ago, to rescue the airline from the loss it suffered after investing in the now defunct Australian airline Ansett.  Ansett ceased operations in 2002.

Virgin Blue, Australia's second-largest airline behind Qantas Airways, is 26 percent owned by the United Kingdom-based Virgin Group, founded by British venture capitalist Sir Richard Branson.

related stories

Air New Zealand-Virgin Blue partnership approved (December 16, 2010)

Virgin Blue-Air New Zealand alliance blocked (September 10, 2010)

original stories

Air New Zealand buys 14.9 percent of Virgin Blue (Yahoo News)

Benefits from Air NZ's stake in Virgin (Otago Daily Times)

Friday
Jan212011

British Airways and Iberia unite under one holding company

British Airways (BA) and Spain's largest airline Iberia officially merged under the holding company International Consolidated Airlines Group earlier today.  This move creates the second-largest European-based airline by some measures, and the third-largest by others.  Germany's Lufthansa was the continent's largest airline by most major measures in 2009.

The merger will give British Airways greater access to South America than it had previously, and Iberia will enjoy greater access to North America than it had previous to the merger.

The final shares of British Airways stock were traded on the London Stock Exchange late yesterday, according to The Guardian, a U.K.-based newspaper.  The merger is valued at a little more than 6 billion GBP (7.09 billion EUR, 9.59 billion USD).  Former British Airways CEO Willie Walsh will assume the same post at the new company.

related stories

BA and Iberia respective shareholders both approve merger (November 29, 2010)

British Airways resolves Iberia merger concern over deficit (September 23, 2010)

DOT grants anti-trust immunity to BA-Iberia-AA alliance (July 22, 2010)

BA-Iberia merger approved by the EU (July 14, 2010)

original stories

British Airways, Iberia merger takes effect (Yahoo Finance)

British Airways trades for last time ahead of Iberia merger (The Guardian)

Thursday
Jan062011

LAN starts Peru-Easter Island twice-weekly service

LAN, the national airline of Chile, started a twice-weekly non-stop round-trip route between the Peruvian capital Lima and the Chilean territory Easter Island yesterday.  The route will operate in each direction every Wednesday and Sunday.  It will be flown with the Boeing 767-300, according to a post to LAN's official website, made last July.  The route will fly from Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport (IATA: LIM; ICAO: SPIM) to Easter Island's Mataveri International Airport (IATA: IPC; ICAO: SCIP).  LAN is the only airline that flies through Mataveri International on a regular schedule.

LAN is in the process of consolidating with the Brazilian carrier TAM, under a single holding company called LATAM Airlines GroupThe consolidation is expected to be in effect around the middle of this year, according to a radio interview given by LAN Chief Operating Officer Ignacio Cueto last month.

Easter Island is the southeastern corner of a vast collection of Pacific islands known as the Polynesian Triangle.  (The other two corners are New Zealand and Hawaii.)  In European languages, the island is named after the day in 1722 when Dutch explorers made contact with it.  Its local name is Rapa Nui.  James Cook, on behalf of Great Britain, visited the island in 1774.  In 1888, Easter Island was annexed by its nearest neighbor on the mainland to the east, Chile.  In July 2010, a total solar eclipse was visible from the island, drawing thousands of visitors.  Easter Island is most famous for the hundreds of giant monolithic human figures of unknown origin, present there, and called moai.

related story

LAN says merger with TAM will occur in mid-2011 (December 26, 2010)

original story (LAN)

Saturday
Jan012011

Finnair adds flights to Japan and South Korea

Yesterday Finnair, the national airline of Finland, added a new weekly flight in each direction between its Helsinki hub Vantaa Airport (IATA: HEL; ICAO: EFHK) and the Japanese city of Nagoya.  Finnair flies to Nagoya's Chūbu Centrair International Airport (IATA: NGO; ICAO: RJGG), a facility constructed on an artificial island in the Ise Bay between 2000 and 2005, 22 miles (35 kilometers) south of Nagoya.  Chūbu Centrair International Airport is one of five Japanese offshore airports and is one of two built on a manmade island.  Despite its relative isolation, passengers may easily access the facility by automobile via a toll road, by train, by bus, or by ferry.  This additional weekly flight introduced by Finnair increases the number of weekly round-trips between the two locations to five.  The newly added round-trip will operate each Friday, indefinitely.

Moreover, as of today, Finnair has increased the frequency of its flights between Helsinki and the Japanese city of Osaka.  Finnair operates out of the North terminal at Kansai International Airport (IATA: KIX; ICAO: RJBB), 24 miles (38 kilometers) southwest of central Osaka.  With this addition of one more weekly flight, Finnair now flies between Helsinki and Kansai International - the other Japanese airport constructed on an artificial island - six times a week.

Today, Finnair also added a weekly flight in each direction to Incheon International Airport (IATA: ICN; ICAO: RSKI) in the South Korean capital of Seoul.  Finnair plans to resume a suspended route between Helsinki and Changi International (IATA: SIN; ICAO: WSSS) in Singapore in May, and to increase the frequency of its existing service between Helsinki and Hong Kong International (IATA: HKG; ICAO: VHHH) in June.

Finnair heavily promotes its non-stop connections to eastern Asia, of which it boasts more per week than any other European-based airline.

original stories

Finnair increases flights to Asia (GlobeNewswire)

Finnair adds flights to Nagoya (GlobeNewswire)

Finnair's growth in Asia continues, additional flights to Osaka (GlobeNewswire)

Monday
Dec272010

JFK, LGA, EWR, trains, buses all shut down for snow in NYC

On account of the first blizzard of winter 2010-2011, transportation and infrastructure in the City of New York is all but shut down this morning.  Reuters reported that "up to 29 inches of snow" fell on the area.  And the region's three largest airports, Kennedy International (IATA: JFK; ICAO: KJFK), Newark International (IATA: EWR; ICAO: KEWR), and LaGuardia (IATA: LGA; ICAO: KLGA) have shut down, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights, and stranding tens of thousands of post-Christmas travelers.

Earlier this morning a camera aimed at an intersection near Times Square showed absolutely no automobile traffic on the road, at an hour of the day when it is usually very crowded.  Moreover, the Associated Press reported that two subway trains operating near Kennedy International had been stranded overnight for "several hours" on the tracks.  Ice formation on the third rail, which delivers the electricity necessary to power the trains, caused the lengthy delay.

New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority advised travelers to expect delays on all bus routes, to expect limited service buses to make local stops, and to expect delays on subway routes.  All Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) service has been suspended indefinitely "in both directions."  Metro-North service is suspended indefinitely on the Hudson, New Haven, and Harlem lines; and there are service disruptions on the Pascack Valley and Port Jervis lines.

AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark, which provide service from local transit hub and subway stops to the airport terminals, have also suspended service indefinitely, and are being temporarily replaced by bus service.

original stories

New York hard hit as winter storm slams northeast (Yahoo News)

East Coast storm strands travelers, vexes drivers (Yahoo News)

NYC subway stalled for hours in snow drifts (Yahoo News)

New York Metropolitan Transit Authority Official Website

Sunday
Dec262010

LAN says merger with TAM will occur in mid-2011

Ignacio Cueto, Chief Operating Officer of the Chilean national airline LAN, said last Friday that his airline's merger with the Brazilian carrier TAM will start sometime around the middle of next year.  Cueto said LAN will be acquiring TAM, under a holding company called LATAM Airlines Group.  The merger still depends on approval by the governments of both countries.  Approval by both Chile and Brazil is expected, even though it would give LATAM Airlines Group "nearly complete control over the Santiago-Sao Paulo route."

LAN, officially Línea Aérea Nacional de Chile, was founded in 1929 and now flies 97 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 45 destinations in South America, North America, and Europe.  In addition LAN flies to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.  LAN belongs to the Oneworld airline alliance.  Its main hub is Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (IATA: SCL; ICAO: SCEL) in the Chilean capital of Santiago.  Its main offices are also in Santiago.

TAM, originally Táxi Aéreo Maríla, was founded in 1976 and flies 146 aircraft (Airbus and Boeing) to 63 destinations in South America, North America, and Europe.  TAM belongs to the Star Alliance.  Its hubs are Guarulhos International Airport (IATA: GRU; ICAO: SBGR) in São Paulo, Galeão International Airport (IATA: GIG; ICAO: SBGL) in Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia International Airport (IATA: BSB; ICAO: SBBR) in the Brazilian national capital.

related story

TAM and LAN plan merger, but pursue expansion independently (August 23, 2010)

original story (Reuters)

Saturday
Dec252010

British Airways launches London-Chambéry winter service

Last Saturday, British Airways commenced a seasonal winter route between London City Airport (IATA: LCY; ICAO: EGLC) and Chambéry-Savoie Airport (IATA: CMF; ICAO: LFLB) in the French Alps.  The route is marketed toward leisure travelers, and will be operated four times a week by BA CityFlyer, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the United Kingdom's highest-profile airline.  The "brand new" Embraer 190 operated by BA CityFlyer will fly once in each direction on Sunday, Monday, Friday, and Saturday "until the end of March 2011," according to a post made several months ago to British Airways' official website.

British Airways says fares for the route start at 59 GBP one way (69 EUR).

original story (British Airways)

Thursday
Dec232010

MegaBus changes sales window due to extremely high demand

The "low-cost daily express bus service" MegaBus is indefinitely limiting how far in advance bus travelers can purchase MegaBus tickets, to "a rolling 28-day booking period," according to a message that currently appears on the United States version of the homepage.  The company cites "unprecedented demand" for its services as the reason for the change.

Reservations made prior to this change, for travel more than 28 days in the future will still be honored, according to the message.  The increase in demand for discount bus travel, and for MegaBus services in particular, comes in the midst of the Christmas travel spike, and on the heels of drastically heightened security measures at many American airports.

MegaBus in the United States serves various cities and colleges on the East Coast, in the Midwest, and on the Great Plains.

Service Advisory (www.megabus.com)

Saturday
Dec182010

London Gatwick suspends flights due to heavy snow, others delayed

One of the larger snowfalls western Europe has seen in a long time forced Greater London's Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK) to close its runway, suspending all flights in to or out of the facility indefinitely.  The airport's website currently notes that British Airways, which uses the facility as a hub, has cancelled all "domestic and European" Gatwick flights today (coming and going) between the hours of 10:00 in the morning and 5:00 in the afternoon, local time.

The airport's website asks passengers with plans to travel through Gatwick soon, to check with their operating airline for details on the delay or cancellation of their flight.  The BBC reported that "regulations require [Gatwick] to suspend flights if snow lies thicker than 3cm on the ground."  Up to 20 centimeters of snow (8 inches) is forecast for some places in and near London, according to the BBC.

Greater London's busiest airport, Heathrow (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL), also expects that it might have to suspend flights because of the weather, according to Yahoo News.  In addition, other airports throughout northwestern Continental Europe are faced with cancellations and delays due to snow.

original stories

Heavy snow hits air travel, roads across Europe (Yahoo News)

Heavy snowfall closes runway at Gatwick Airport (BBC)

Thursday
Dec162010

Air New Zealand-Virgin Blue partnership approved

Air New Zealand and Virgin Blue are now approved by anti-trust regulators at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to enter into the trans-Tasman partnership rejected by that same regulatory body three months ago.  The ACCC had been unhappy with low passenger capacity levels that the two airlines had in mind for certain trans-Tasman routes, according to the BBC today.  And to discourage a level of collusion on price between the two airlines that it (presumably) deemed unfair, the ACCC required that the number of seats available on those routes be increased.  Upon receiving "more information," detailing the exact nature of the partnership, the ACCC signed off on it.

An Air New Zealand-Virgin Blue alliance had been in the works for five years.  "The alliance still requires the approval of the New Zealand Minister of Transport," according to the New Zealand Herald today.

Air New Zealand was formed in 1940 as Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), as a joint venture among the British Overseas Airways Corporation, which held a plurality of the shares; Qantas Airways; the government of New Zealand; and the now defunct New Zealand carrier Union Airways.  The airline was nationalized in 1965, when the government of New Zealand bought all shares.  It was privatized in 1989, and re-nationalized in 2001.  Air New Zealand and its subsidiaries operate 99 aircraft to 53 destinations within Oceania, and on the continents of Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America.  Its headquarters is in Auckland, at a complex colloquially called “The Hub.”  As far as airports are concerned, the airline operates its largest hub at Auckland International Airport (IATA: AKL; ICAO: NZAA).  Its focus cities are the national capital Wellington, the nation's second-largest city Christchurch, and the American city of Los Angeles.

The design on the tail fins of Air New Zealand planes is called a koru.  As of the time of this post, the carrier is the largest airline headquartered in the land of the long white cloud, and the only airline to circumnavigate the world.

Virgin Blue is the second largest airline based in Australia, behind Qantas.  It was founded in 2000 by the venture capital conglomeration Virgin Group Limited, itself founded by the British venture capitalist Sir Richard Branson.  Virgin Blue and its subsidiaries operate 76 aircraft to 31 destinations within Oceania, and on the continents of Australia, Asia, Africa, and North America.  Its corporate offices are located in the Bowen Hills area of Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city, and capital of the Australian state of Queensland.  Virgin Blue operates its largest hub at Brisbane Airport (IATA: BNE; ICAO: YBBN), and operates secondary hubs at Tullamarine Airport near Melbourne (IATA: MEL; ICAO: YMML), and at Kingsford Smith Airport near Sydney (IATA: SYD; ICAO: YSSY).

related story

Virgin Blue-Air New Zealand alliance blocked (September 10, 2010)

original stories

Virgin Blue, Air New Zealand get alliance approval (Yahoo Finance)

Air NZ, Virgin Blue alliance approved (New Zealand Herald)

Virgin Blue's deal with Air New Zealand backed (BBC)

ACCC approves Virgin Blue-Air New Zealand alliance (http://atwonline.com)

Tuesday
Dec142010

Hawaiian Airlines eagerly anticipates future expansion

Hawaiian Airlines reported yesterday on its website that it has strengthened its financial position by paying off maturing loans, and by securing an expanded revolving line of credit, which it figures it will need in order to expand.  The posh Airbus A330, of which Hawaiian now flies three, is an integral part of the new expansion according to a post made to the airline's website.  Hawaiian exercised its rights to purchase six more A330s late last month.  Hawaiian explained that it chose the A330 over the Boeing 767 (pictured) on many routes involving the North American mainland, due to the A330's "superior fuel efficiency and longer operating range."

Hawaiian Airlines was founded in 1929 as Inter-island Airways.  The airline changed its name to Hawaiian Airlines in 1941.  It operates 36 aircraft (both Airbus and Boeing) to 21 destinations, five within Hawaii, ten on the American mainland, three in Asia, two in the South Pacific, and one in Australia.  Hawaiian Airlines has received a number of awards over the past few years, including awards for punctuality, baggage handling, and fewest oversales.  Its main offices are in Honolulu, the Hawaiian state capital.  Its largest hub is at Honolulu International Airport (IATA: HNL; ICAO: PHNL).

related story

Two brand new Airbus A330s join Hawaiian Airlines (June 3, 2010)

original stories

Hawaiian Airlines Announces New Financing Facility, Strengthens Financial Position for Future Growth (Hawaiian Airlines)

Hawaiian Airlines orders more Airbus A330 planes (Yahoo News)