Flight News & Airline Gossip

 Updated – 20th February 2019

Flight News & Airline Gossip from around the World, just small bits of information that we feel you might be interested in.


Collapse of Flybmi is ‘only the beginning’

The collapse of Flybmi is ‘only the beginning’, an airline body has warned as it called for urgent action to finalise Brexit aviation plans.

The European Regions Airline Association says unless the European Commission and UK Department of Transport act now, there will be more casualties.

It says the challenges caused by Brexit are ‘unsurmountable’ and the collapse of Flybmi shows airlines have not had time to prepare, plan or react.

ERA director general Montserrat Barriga said the disastrous consequences for the aviation industry, both in the UK and the rest of Europe, will be significant unless the uncertainty is ended.

“I was deeply saddened to learn that ERA member British Midland Regional Limited, which operated as flybmi, had filed for administration on 16 February,” she said.

“Rising fuel and carbon costs coupled with the uncertainty, unfairness and challenges surrounding Brexit has led to the airline ceasing all operations.

“I will once again be in direct contact with the European Commission and the UK Department of Transport, as a matter of urgency, to persuade them to act immediately. It is imperative that they put in place a comprehensive agreement for aviation that mirrors the current situation with the UK as the highest priority, and that they reach a solution that will allow airlines to continue operating as they do today, enabling Europeans to continue benefiting from affordable and stress-free travel.

“This is a sad day for European aviation and a clear example of the impact of a too long uncertainty surrounding Brexit.”


TUI chief buys shares following price slide

TUI chief executive Fritz Joussen has bought almost €1 million of shares in the company after the price fell following last week’s profit warning.

Joussen’s purchase of €983,647 of shares was revealed by the London Stock Exchange yesterday afternoon. The price of the shares later slipped a further 2.6%, ending the day at 809.20p.

Almost a third has been wiped off the value of TUI shares since the company issued a profit warning last week. On Tuesday, it revealed its seasonal losses had more than doubled to £75.7 million for the three months to the end of December 2018.

The travel giant has downgraded its profit forecast for the full year, saying that it no longer expects a 10% rise in earnings, instead it expects them to remain flat.

However, Joussen has insisted that the group remains ‘financially strong’.

“The overall trends for our sector are intact. Travel and tourism remain a growth market. Customers continue to travel, but they are currently resistant to increases in price,” he said.

“During this consolidation phase in our sector, it is particularly important to adequately participate in market growth. TUI has a good strategic and operational positioning, and the transformation of the Group as a digital platform company is progressing.”


Airbus pulls the plug on superjumbo


Airbus will stop making the double-decker A380 ‘superjumbo’, which is the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

In a statement, the manufacturer said the last deliveries of the aircraft will be in 2021.

The announcement came after Dubai-based Emirates, the largest customer of the A380, reduced its order from 162 to 123 aircraft.

“As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021,” said Airbus chief executive Tom Enders.

“Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft. Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide.”

Airbus said the impact of the decision was ‘largely embedded’ in the firm’s 2018 results, which showed a net profit of €3 billion (£2.6bn) up nearly 30% from 2017.

Airbus makes the wings for the A380 in the UK, employing 6,000 staff at its main wings factory at Broughton in Flintshire, as well as 3,000 at Filton, near Bristol. The manufacturer said 3,000 to 3,500 positions could be impacted by the decision to cease production over the next three years, however, it said increased production of the A320 would offer ‘a significant number of internal mobility opportunities’.


Manchester Airport looks to fill 1,000 jobs

Manchester Airport is to recruit for 1,000 roles in preparation for its busiest summer to date.

A job-seekers event will take place at Lancashire County Cricket Club’s The Point complex on March 7.

Roles on offer include lounge agents, drivers and security officers.  Full training programme will be offered to successful applicants.

Manchester Airport is already one of the largest centres of employment in the North West with more than 25,000 people directly employed on site, supporting a further 45,000 jobs in the region.

As well as roles with Manchester Airport, other employers recruiting at the event include Swissport, Jet2.com, Boots, Dnata and the Clayton Hotel.

Jobs available with on-site partners include cabin crew, baggage handlers and customer service roles.  There are also apprenticeships, graduate schemes and managerial roles.


Norwegian traffic increases, but not as fast as capacity

Budget carrier Norwegian saw an 18% increase in traffic in January, but the growth in passenger numbers failed to match its 27% increase in capacity.

As a result, it managed to fill only 76.1% of its seats, which was almost six percentage points fewer than a year earlier.

Nevertheless, CEO Bjorn Kjos said the management team was please with the passenger growth, saying there was traditionally less demand in January.

He added: “Norwegian has been through a period of significant growth, but now the company will change its strategic focus from expansion and growth to profitability.”

Norwegian’s yield for the quarter to date grew to 0.35 Norwegian crowns from 0.32 crowns a year earlier. Analysts had expected an increase to 0.33 crowns, said Reuters.

The loss-making airline, which has rapidly expanded its transatlantic business, recently announced plans to cut costs and raise cash from owners after British Airways’ parent IAG abandoned its attempt to buy it.


Budget airline goes bust

Berlin-based budget airline Germania has gone bust, cancelling all of its flights with immediate effect.

The airline, which carried more than four million passengers a year across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, blamed rising fuel prices and currency fluctuations for its demise.

“We ultimately failed to successfully complete our financing efforts to meet short-term liquidity needs,” said managing director Karsten Balke.

“We very much regret that, as a consequence, we had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.”

The company said that passengers who had booked flights as part of a package should contact their tour operator to make alternative arrangements. Passengers who booked directly with the airline are not being offered replacement flights.

The airline did not fly to the UK.

Its collapse follows the demise of Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency in August 2017. Many of its routes were picked up by easyJet.


Qantas passengers want exercise bikes on London-Sydney flights

Qantas passengers have come up with a wish list of amenities including exercise bikes and virtual reality relaxation aides for the airline’s proposed ultra-long Sydney-London direct flights.

Wellness, health and comfort are the main requisites for passengers based on focus group research and surveys of customers who have taken the airline’s 17-hour non-stop route from Perth to London.

The Sydney-London flight would last 20 hours.

“Customers are sharing some incredibly imaginative ideas, which is an exciting challenge and helps us to think outside of the box to redefine the ultra-long haul experience,” Qantas industrial designer David Caon said.

Passenger suggestions also included an in-flight café with seating and wireless noise-cancelling headsets.

Qantas will consider the requests and implement them if ‘both affordable for customers and commercially viable for the airline,’ said Qantas International chief executive Alison Webster.

The airline is mulling an order for either Airbus A350 or Boeing 777X jets which would have to be adapted to handle the long range journey and specially fitted out with the chosen amenities.

Qantas expects to begin the landmark route in 2022.

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