Rawlinson steps down as Monarch chairman

Rawlinson steps down as Monarch chairman 

The Monarch Group has announced a number of senior management changes, with executive chairman Iain Rawlinson stepping down after five years with the company.

Sir Roy McNulty, currently a non-executive director, will assume the role of group chairman, while Andrew Swaffield, current managing director of Monarch Airlines, will become group chief executive.

Andrew Lavery has been appointed chief financial officer.

McNulty said: “On behalf of the Mantegazza family, the group’s principal shareholder, I would like to thank Iain for his five years of service to Monarch where he has strengthened the group and repositioned Monarch Airlines as a differentiated scheduled low-cost carrier with a focus on superior customer service. He leaves with our best wishes.”

Rawlinson added: “”The Monarch Group has reached another chapter in its development and the time is now right for me to stand back. There could be no two better people than Sir Roy and Andrew Swaffield, both with exceptional careers in the aviation and transport industries, to take Monarch forward and build on the excellent Monarch name and reputation.”

Swaffield said: “This is a challenging time for airlines and we have much to do. Monarch has outstanding people, a strongly differentiated position in the budget airline market and an excellent travel group and engineering business.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to realise all the opportunities ahead of us. As a priority, along with our work on a new fleet of aircraft, we are currently engaged with our shareholder in a close look at our capital structure to ensure we have the most appropriate base to support future growth.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Ryanair hints at flights beyond Europe

Ryanair has hinted that it might start offering routes beyond Europe following a potential deal with the Cypriot government.

Ryanair aircraft

The Telegraph has reported that the airline could use the country as a base from which to offer services to the Middle East and Russia.

The airline has said it would be “very interested” in expanding in southern Europe while it has also entered a non-binding expression of interest in buying Cyprus Airways which has been put up for sale following years of heavy losses.

However, chief executive Michael O’Leary has said the expression of interest was only made at the government’s request and instead it is believed the interest comes as discussions are held over offering Ryanair a license to offer low-cost flights from Cyprus to the Middle East and further afield.

The news comes following yesterday’s announcement by the airline that it is upping its full-year profit guidance having reported first-quarter net profits of €197 million, a year-on-year increase of 152%.

Sourced from TTG Digital


Ryanair raises profit forecasts amid aggressive plans for European growth

Budget operator plans to to open bases this winter at Cologne, Gdansk, Warsaw and Glasgow

Ryanair raised its full-year profits guidance after more than doubling first- quarter earnings and setting out aggressive plans for expansion in Europe.

The news comes after the budget airline announced in May it was returning to Cardiff Airport after an eight year absence.

The operator has invested in a route from Cardiff to Tenerife.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said it was “overrun with growth offers” from airports on the continent as rivals scaled back operations.

But he warned against “irrational exuberance” as the second half of the financial year was likely to see downward pressure on fares as a result of competition and Ryanair’s increased capacity. Shares opened 5% higher.

Profits after tax for the Dublin-based carrier in the first quarter to June 30 were up 152% to 197 million euros (£156m) though Mr O’Leary said this was distorted by the absence of Easter in the same period last year.

The carrier said more passengers, fuller flights and shaved costs meant full-year earnings were now expected at 620-650 million euros (£491-£514m), up from 580-620 million euros (£459-£491m).

For the first quarter, passenger numbers were up 4% to 24.3 million and they travelled on planes that were 86% full after a rise in load factor of 4%.

Revenues were up 11% to 1.34 billion euros (£1.06bn) as fares rose 9%, boosted by a strong Easter period.

The carrier managed to raise “ancillary” revenues by 4% as reductions in airport and baggage fees were offset by a rising uptake of allocated seating.

Mr O’Leary said four new bases at Athens, Brussels, Lisbon and Rome were “performing strongly” with bases due to open this winter at Cologne, Gdansk, Warsaw and Glasgow.

Routes and frequencies at Stansted and Dublin are due to increase “substantially” while there will be more investment to make routes attractive to business customers.

Mr O’Leary added: “We are overrun with growth offers from primary European airports whose incumbent flag and regional carriers continue to cut capacity and traffic.

“These new airports along with our existing 69 bases offer Ryanair significant growth opportunities as the first of our 180 new Boeing order delivers this September.”

A business service will be launched in September to include same-day flight changes, bigger bag allowances, premium seat allocation and fast-track through security at many airports.

The carrier plans to return 520 million euros (£411m) via a special dividend to shareholders in the fourth quarter.

Mr O’Leary said that, based on the first quarter results and forward bookings, it was clear the firm is on track for a strong first half.

“However we would strongly caution both analysts and investors against any irrational exuberance in what continues to be a difficult economic environment, with some company-specific challenges in H2,” he added.

Sourced from walesonline


Australian bank tipped to sell Bristol airport stake

Australian bank tipped to sell Bristol airport stake 

Australian bank Macquarie Group is believed to be looking to sell its 50% stake in Bristol airport.

The bank first bought into the airport from FirstGroup and Bristol City Council in 2001 for £198 million. At the time, Cintra, part of the Spanish Ferrovial group, owned a stake before Macquarie bought them out in 2006.

Now reports suggest the airport could change ownership as the bank is considering selling its stake, which could be worth between £200m and £250m, according to the Sunday Times.

It is thought the sale may interest the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, which already owns 49% in the airport and also has a stake in Birmingham Airport and Camelot Group, the operator of the National Lottery. Sydney Airport has a 1% stake in the airport.

Bristol airport saw passenger numbers increase to 6.1 million in 2013, 3.4% up on 2012.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Ryanair raises full-year profit forecast after Q1 surge

Ryanair raises full-year profit forecast after Q1 surgeBudget airline Ryanair saw profits rise 152% in the first quarter of 2014.

 

The airline said its net profits reached €197 million for the quarter to June 30, up from €78m last year for the same period, but warned the results of the first quarter were distorted because of strong performance at Easter which fell earlier in the calendar this year.

Due to its performance in quarter one, the carrier raised its full-year profit guidance to from €620m-€650m, up from €580m-€620m – a figure given out in May.

The carrier said it expects to grow passenger numbers by 5% to 86 million in the financial year that ends March 31, but cautioned that is has “zero visibility” for the second half of the financial year.

Traffic grew to 24.3m by the end of quarter one, compared to 23.2m in the same period last year, while the average fare increased by 9%, with Ryanair attributing that to a strong Easter period.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive, said: “The earlier launch of our summer schedule and actively raising our forward bookings has delivered a 4% increase in load factor to 86% and enabled us to better manage close-in yields.

“Ancillary revenues rose 4% in line with traffic growth, as airport and baggage fee reductions were offset by the rising uptake of allocated seating.”

He said the airline’s four new routes and bases in Athens, Brussels, Lisbon and Rome were performing strongly.

The carrier is set to open four new bases in Cologne, Gdansk, Warsaw and Glasgow this winter, as well as increase the frequency of routes and introduce new routes at Stansted and Dublin.

Ryanair’s new app was launched this month and reached 1 million downloads in 10 days.

The airline plans to launch a business service in September which will include same-day flight changes, bigger bag allowances, premium seat allocation and fast track.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Luton airport owner reportedly considering stock market flotation

Luton airport owner reportedly considering stock market flotation 

The owner of Luton Airport could become Europe’s biggest stock market listing this year as it gears up to become a listed public company.

State-backed Spanish company Aena Aeropuertos is considering a £7 billion stock market flotation in Madrid, according to theSunday Telegraph.

The newspaper reports the company has appointed a number of investment banks to advise on the deal.

Aena was set to be listed back in 2011 but didn’t go ahead due to Spain’s economy worsening.

Five banks have been chosen to oversee the listing – Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lunch, Morgan Stanley, Santander and BBVA.

As part of the deal the Spanish government will sell just under half of the company to new investors.

Aena controls 51 hubs including major Spanish airports such as El Prat in Barcelona and Barajas in Madrid.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Gatwick apologises after ‘resourcing issues’ cause lengthy baggage delays

Gatwick apologises after 'resourcing issues' cause lengthy baggage delays 

Gatwick Airport has apologised to hundreds of passengers after some were forced to wait for up to five hours for their luggage.

Many were told to go home without their bags due to the lengthy delays at baggage reclaim on Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

The delays affected passengers flying with British Airways, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson. It is also thought easyJet passengers were affected but were not told to leave the airport without their bags.

An airport spokesman told the Guardian the delays had been caused by “resourcing issues” involving baggage handling company Swissport.

The spokesman said: “Due to resourcing issues with the baggage handlers Swissport, there were overnight issues and delays with passengers’ luggage on some flights.

“Gatwick provided extra staff to help the airlines and their baggage handlers improve their service, as well as providing welfare and water for passengers waiting in the baggage areas, but we are sorry for the delays they faced. Baggage operations are now returning to normal.”

Officials from the airport said passengers would be reunited with bags within 48 hours.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


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