Low-cost airline news - April2006 archives

April 28th, 2006

SmartWings to fly from Budapest

This winter, Czech Republic-based low-cost airline SmartWings will begin flying from Budapest. They intend to fly daily to Paris (Charles de Gaulle) and 6 times per week to Rome (Ciampino), Milan (Orio al Serio) and Prague. Launch dates have not yet been announced.

From 01 May 2006 they will also begin offering complementary light refreshments and non-alcoholic drinks on all flights.

TUI plans monster low-cost merger

It has been reported that TUI Group, which owns Hapag-Lloyd Express, are in discussions with a number of other low-cost airlines regarding a potential merger.

They are believed to be talking to Air Berlin, dba and Condor. Their intention would be to create a low-cost airline large enough to compete with the major 2 European budget airlines, easyJet and Ryanair.

Germanwings launch summer Bastia service

Germanwings will launch a summer route between Cologne-Bonn to Bastia (Corsica) on 20 June 2006. They will fly twice per week on this route. Flights are now on sale at www.germanwings.com.

Wizz Air to fly between Hamburg and Katowice

Central European low-cost airline Wizz Air will begin flying from Hamburg (Luebeck) to Katowice from 18 September 2006. They intend to fly 3 times per week.

April 26th, 2006

Wizz Air to fly to Tirgu Mures

Wizz Air will begin flying 3 times per week from their Budapest base to the Romanian city of Tirgu Mures. This will be the first low-cost route to Tirgu Mures.

Iberia to launch low-cost airline

It was announced today that Iberia, the Spanish national airline, will to launch a low-cost airline in October of this year. With 3 partners, they expect to operate 5 aircraft by the end of the year.

The airline does not yet have a name, however they expect the airline to be based at Barcelona. This will of course put them in direct competition with Vueling, who have a large base at Barcelona.

April 24th, 2006

easyJet and Ryanair suffer Italian flight ban

Both easyJet and Ryanair have complained to the European Commission regarding practices that they consider to be anti-competitive.

easyJet were due to begin flying between their base at Milan (Malpensa) to Olbia (Sardinia) last week, but were banned from doing so by the Italian authorities. The National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) in Italy refused to let easyJet fly as they claim this route should be covered by a Public Service Obligation, meaning that the authorities can decide which airlines operate on the route.

In a bid to avoid to the legislation, easyJet attempted to give tickets away free (the wording of the legislation suggests that it only applies to the sale of flights), however ENAC also prevented this. easyJet had already sold 13,000 seats on this new route, which will (at least for the meantime) be withdrawn.

Ryanair has suffered much the same problem on their route from Rome (Ciampino) to Alghero.

Thomsonfly to connect Cardiff and Jersey

As of 25 May 2006, Thomsonfly will begin flying 4 times per week from Cardiff to Jersey. Tickets are available to book now at www.thomsonfly.com.

April 21st, 2006

Wizz Air to connect Cork and Poland

Wizz Air will launch a route from Cork to the Polish city Katowice from 15 July 2006. They will fly 3 times per week on this new route.

April 20th, 2006

British Airways try to compete on price

British Airways, who recently relaunched their regional CityExpress brand as BA Connect – a so-called traditional airline offering low fares, have announced further changes to their pricing strategy. They will remain a traditional scheduled airline, however intend to begin competing on price with rival low-cost airlines on short-haul European flights.

BA will increase the number of single tickets they sell and on many routes from London (Gatwick) and London (Heathrow) they intend to cut the price by half. In addition, they are getting rid of non-changeable economy tickets – meaning that all customers will be able to change their booking, up until midnight the day before departure (this will however be subject to a £30 fee).

They will continue to offer free food, however customers are required to pay a fuel surcharge of £8 per single journey (£16 per return), in addition to their regular taxes and charges.

Flights can be booked online at www.ba.com.

April 19th, 2006

Thomsonfly routes update

At the end of 2005, charter operator Britannia was rebranded Thomsonfly. The former low-cost airline of the same name was also integrated into this brand, with the aim of creating a seamless brand, with little distinction between scheduled and charter operations and some sort of commitment to low-cost flying.

Thomsonfly now makes little distinction between their former low-cost scheduled routes and charter routes. It has been reported in the media that Thomsonfly would like to further remove this distinction.

While Thomsonfly continue to decide how this will work in practice, we have decided to include all routes in our flight database which they call “high frequency flights”. We have therefore included an additional 12 routes in the database, 4 of which do not commence until the winter 2006/07 season. All routes are bookable at www.thomsonfly.com.

Air Berlin to float in May

It has been reported that German low-cost airline Air Berlin are in the final stages of planning their IPO, with many suggesting that they may float as early as the first week of May. The exact date and details are expected to be revealed by the end of this week.

Air Berlin is currently the 3rd largest low-cost airline in Europe, and is expanding outside Germany. Last year they made a net loss of over €115 million.

April 13th, 2006

Jet2 to fly from Blackpool to Faro and Amsterdam

Jet2 have announced that they will launch 2 new routes from Blackpool from 23 October 2006. They will fly to Amsterdam up to 5 times per week and Faro 3 times per week.

April 12th, 2006

SkyEurope to connect Prague and Croatia

From June 2006, Sky Europe will launch summer routes from Prague to Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia.

Ryanair expands outside Europe from Frankfurt

Ryanair have announced a major expansion from their Frankfurt (Hahn) base. This will include 9 new routes, starting from 25 October 2006.

The new routes will see Ryanair follow rival low-cost airline easyJet into the North African market, as they will begin flying to Morocco. The new routes from Frankfurt (Hahn) include flights to Marrakech and Fez. Additional new routes also includes the Polish cities of Wroclaw and Krakow, Verona (Villafranca) and Trieste in Italy, Granada and Murcia in Spain and also the Lithuanian city of Kaunas.

April 11th, 2006

flybe launches online check-in

Following similar movements by other low-cost airlines, flybe have also launched an online check-in facility – Q-Buster.

The new service allows travellers to check-in online from 24 hours prior to departure, up to 2 hours prior to departure. Unlike other low-cost airlines, flybe also allows you to check-in online if you have hold luggage. Passengers with hold luggage simply drop their bags at designated area before proceeding to security at the airport. Customers without hold luggage can proceed directly to security.

Online check-in is available now at www.flybe.com.

April 7th, 2006

Germanwings to fly to Albania and Serbia

Germanwings will begin flights from their Cologne-Bonn base to Albania and Serbia and Montenegro from June 2006. From 11 June they will begin flying to Pristina and from 24 June they will begin flying to Tirana.

Both destinations have previously been served by low-cost airlines, but routes have been dropped. These will also be the only low-cost flights to these countries. Flights can be booked at www.germanwings.com.

Norwegian launches a base in Poland

Norwegian Air Shuttle today made a surprise announcement that they would open a base in the Polish capital – Warsaw. They will begin flying from 13 July 2006 from their Warsaw base to Nice, Malaga, Alicante and Girona.

April 6th, 2006

SmartWings flies to Bulgaria

The Czech low-cost airline, SmartWings, will begin flights from their Prague base to Bulgaria this summer. From June 2006 they will fly to Bourgas and Varna. They will also add routes to Malaga and Thessaloniki for the summer.

SkyEurope to fly between Poland and Croatia

Sky Europe will launch direct flights between their Krakow base and Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia. These flights are currently timetabled to operate for the summer season, and will begin from 17 June 2006.

April 5th, 2006

SkyEurope to fly between Naples and Bratislava

From 18 June 2006, the Central-European airline Sky Europe will begin flying between the Slovakian capital, Bratislava and Naples.

Ryanair announces major expansion at Liverpool

Liverpool and nearby Manchester continue to grow as hubs for low-cost flying. Today, Ryanair has announced 11 new routes for Liverpool.

The new routes, which span Europe, will begin from the beginning of October 2006.

They include Aberdeen and Inverness in the UK, the Spanish cities of Santander and Santiago de Compostela, expansion into Poland with flights to Wroclaw, Poznan and Krakow. They will begin flying to the Italian cities of Alghero (Sardinia) and Ancona, and also to Kaunas in Lithuania and Tampere in Finland.

April 3rd, 2006

Fly between Palermo and Berlin with Hapag-Lloyd Express

German low-cost airline Hapag-Lloyd Express will fly between Berlin (Tegel) and Palermo from 24 June 2006. They have also done a deal with Meridiana such that some Hapag-Lloyd Express routes are advertised on the Meridiana site.

The new route is on sale now at www.hlx.com.

Meridiana to fly to Malta

Meridiana will begin flying from Bologna (Guglielmo Marconi) to Malta from 02 June 2006. They will also begin flying a route between Paris (Charles de Gaulle) and Olbia via Cagliari from the beginning of June.

April 1st, 2006

Condor adds Munich to Budapest

From 02 May 2006, Condor will begin flying between Munich and Budapest following the low-cost model adopted on selected routes at Munich.

Flights can be booked at www.condor.com.

Changing the rules of low-cost..Centralwings offers child discount

The Polish low-cost airline, centralwings, now offers a discount on tickets for those ages 2-16 years on all flights (when travelling with at least 1 adult). During the booking process, children can now receive a 20% discount on the standard adult fare. Those under 2 travel for free.

Blu Express to connect Bari and Bologna

From 01 May 2006, Blu-express will fly between Bologna (Guglielmo Marconi) and Bari 5 times per week.

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