Ryanair to bid for Cyprus Airways

Ryanair plane taking off

Budget airline Ryanair has confirmed that it plans to bid for the Cypriot national airline, which is up for sale.

Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, told BBC Radio 5 live that it would submit its business proposal for Cyprus Airways in time for the bid deadline on Friday.

The Cypriot authorities say they expect to get about 15 different proposals.

The loss-making state-controlled airline’s new owner should be announced by the beginning of October.

Mr Jacobs told the BBC that Ryanair had “a very positive meeting” with the Cypriot government and the airline last week.

He said the eastern Mediterranean was “a really fast-growing area” for travel.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has previously said his airline believes it can boost the Cypriot flag-carrier’s annual passenger numbers from their current level of 600,000 to three million.

Mr Jacobs was speaking as Ryanair launched its latest attempt to woo more business travellers, who already make up a quarter of its passengers.

The airline’s new Business Plus ticket, which starts from £59.99, will offer free flight changes and a 20kg checked-in baggage allowance, as well as “premium seating”.

Sourced from BBC News


Ryanair unveils enhanced corporate fare

Ryanair unveils enhanced corporate fareA range of travel benefits designed to attract more business travellers has been unveiled today by Ryanair.

Priced from €69.99, Ryanair Business Plus includes:

•       Flexibility on ticket changes
•       20kg checked-in bag allowance
•       Fast track security at selected airports
•       Priority boarding
•       Premium seats

The move comes ahead of the low fares carrier launching a second GDS partnership, to complement a dedicated corporate and groups service. Ryanair fares became available via Travelport systems in April.

The airline claims more than a quarter of its passengers are already business travellers.

Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “Businesses are becoming smarter with their travel and over 25% of our customers already travel on business, choosing Ryanair for our low fares, industry-leading punctuality and the largest route network in Europe.

“We now offer even more business routes, connecting Europe’s major cities with additional flights and improved schedules, ensuring great savings for businesses of all sizes.

“Our commitment to the improvement of our customer experience under our ‘Always Getting Better’ programme continues, following the introduction of allocated seating, a free second carry-on bag, reduced fees, a new website, a brand new app with mobile boarding passes, and our dedicated family service, Ryanair Family Extra.

“This launch of Ryanair Business Plus, combined with our new groups and corporate service, and partnership with Travelport GDS – with a second GDS partner to be announced soon – will make business travel with Ryanair ever simpler, as we continue to offer so much more than just the lowest fares.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Windowless aircraft plan to improve efficiency

Windowless aircraft plan to improve efficiencyWindowless aircraft could be the future of cheaper air travel as a government technology centre develops a proposal to help airlines save on fuel, according to reports today.

Plastic display screens projecting the sky outside could line the cabin of an aircraft, taking the place of windows.

The technology would reduce aircraft weight and cut fuel costs without worrying nervous passengers.

The display screens will function using a technique called printable electronics, which involves the use of conductive inks to carry electric current in cardboard and plastic for just a few pence per unit.

Windowless

Developers at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in Sedgefield, which is one of the government’s network of technology centres known as Catapults, are particularly excited by the benefits that printable electronics offer to aviation.

Tom Taylor, who is part of the management team at CPI in County Durham, told the Financial Times: “Getting weight out of a plane is a key [goal] for the industry.

“You could see the first of these coming to market in three to four years.”

US company Spike Aerospace has announced plans to have a windowless cabin on board its Spike S-512 Supersonic Jet, which is due to launch in 2018, the Telegraph reported.

President Vik Kachoria believes the technology would win over passengers, saying they would experience “a wonderful panoramic view of the outside world”.

The company still plans to have several windows for emergency purposes.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Fastjet to create Kenyan offshoot

Fastjet to create Kenyan offshootAfrican low-cost carrier Fastjet is moving towards establishing a base in Kenya by creating a local offshoot in the country.

The move came as the airline, based in Tanzania, said it was continuing to monitor the outbreak of the Ebola virus and confirmed that there have been no reported cases in any of its destinations.

“Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia which is the nearest country effected by the outbreak, is 8,150 km from Dar es Salaam, compared to 7,150km from Monrovia to London, the airline said.

“Additionally, there are currently no direct flights between West Africa and Tanzania. The Fastjet business has not been affected by the epidemic.”

To comply with local airline ownership rules in Kenya, 51% of the equity of Fastjet Kenya is owned by an unnamed Kenyan national. The balance of 49% is ultimately held by Fastjet.

The airline’s chief executive Ed Winter said: “This is an important step for Fastjet. We have submitted a comprehensive application to the authorities who have confirmed that Fastjet Kenya has entered the approval process.

“We look forward to bringing the Fastjet operation to Kenya, offering our market stimulating fares, our excellent on time performance and friendly service.

“We are excited at the prospect of extending the footprint of the Fastjet operation through greater penetration of the African market with a Kenyan-based airline.

“This is in addition to the application for Fastjet Tanzania to operate services into Kenya from Tanzania.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Cardiff Airport’s passenger forecast “massively unrealistic” says former boss Keith Brooks

Keith Brooks, the former chief executive of airports group TBI, said Cardiff Airport’s passenger forecast is “massively unrealistic” and that it needs to be more realistic in its expectations.

Keith Brooks

The former chief executive of airports group TBI, Keith Brooks, believes that Cardiff Airport needs to be more realistic in its expectations for passenger growth.

Last week, in an unexpected move, it was announced that the airport’s chief executive Jon Horne will stand down next week after only 18 months in the role.

The airport’s director of operations Debra Barber will take up the role as interim managing director.

The airport’s board has yet to draw up a recruitment timetable to find a new permanent chief executive.

Mr Brooks worked closely with Mr Horne during his time at TBI – with Mr Horne being chief executive of one of the listed company’s portfolio of airports in Cardiff.

While the airport has not published any specific short to long-term passenger growth targets, since being taken over by the Welsh Government for £52m  last year it has arrested year-on-year decline. Annual passenger numbers now stand marginally up at just over one million.

Mr Brooks said: “They have had massively unrealistic expectations of what they can do in this period [since acquisition].

“It is not like a widget factory where you can go in and see what had been produced at the end of the day and improve things.

“Aviation is a very slow moving industry and negotiations with airlines take a long time.”

The former TBI chief executive said that convincing a low-cost carrier, whether that beRyanair to increase its presence from one flight from Cardiff – with a service after an eight year gap to Tenerife from this autumn  – or Veuling to expand on its existing routes would require  “significant subsidy” inducements.

The airport’s board is chaired by former chairman of the Welsh Development Agency Lord Rowe-Beddoe.

Mr Brooks said: “If you look at the board they all have great CVs in business, but there isn’t a great deal of aviation expertise there.

“They have to focus on the macro picture and really understand the economics from a customer perspective (airlines).

“The Welsh Government paid a lot of money for what was a loss-making airport. However, despite the expectations you just cannot turn things around in a short period of time.

“Cardiff needs a low cost carrier, whether that is Ryanair or a major expansion by Vueling which is already at Cardiff. However, that is going to require a major subsidy.”

Mr Brooks said he believes that Mr Horne achieved success for the airport, despite only being in the role for 18 months.

 During Mr Horne’s first tenure as chief executive of the airport, when owned by TBI, it achieved a high point of 2.2 million passengers in 2007.

Mr Brooks said: “I think Jon did a great job in rebuilding the credibility of the airport with the airlines and also starting the process of rebuilding relationships with the tour operators.

“When he was chief executive back with TBI Jon has profit and loss responsibilities and did a superb job in building strong relationships with all the stakeholders, including the airlines. He knows the industry very well.”

Cardiff Airport declined to comment.

In a statement last week confirming Mr Horne’s departure Lord Rowe-Beddoe said: “Jon has very successfully steered the airport through the first phase of our path to re-establishing its fortunes.

“This includes halting the decline in passenger numbers, establishing good and improving customer service and overseeing the physical transformation of the terminal as well as securing CityJet and the return of Ryanair to the airport.

“The board is grateful to Jon for all that he has done in laying the foundations for our future, we have agreed that whilst he will not continue his executive role, he will be available to the board as an advisor.”

Sourced from Walesonline


Aircraft diverted after fight over reclining seat

Aircraft diverted after fight over reclining seatA domestic United Airlines flight was diverted and two passengers were removed after one of them used a locking device to stop the seat in front from reclining.

A male passenger is believed to have used the banned device, called a Knee Defender, during a flight from Newark to Denver, the Guardian reported

After refusing requests from a flight attendant to remove the device, a female passenger in the seat in front of him is reported to have thrown a cup of water at him.

The flight was diverted to Chicago’s O’Hare airport after the dispute escalated, and both passengers, aged 48, remained in the city as the flight continued to Denver.

The Guardian said the argument occurred in United’s Economy Plus section, which has four more inches of legroom than economy.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Lufthansa bracing for further strikes

Lufthansa bracing for further strikesLufthansa is bracing itself for further strikes after the German pilots’ union said more industrial action was imminent in a dispute over pay and retirement ages.

The Frankfurt-based airline and its low-cost carrier Germanwings have already been hit by walk-outs this year, with strikes in April one of the contributing factors behind a profit warning in June.

The Financial Times reported the Vereinigung Cockpit union was expected to give two days’ notice of any further action.

But analysts claimed that previous disruption to schedules would mean that the union would lack public support.

Lufthansa shares fell on Monday over the threat of strikes which could cost it tens of millions of euros.

“We very much regret the VC’s decision to declare the talks a failure,” Lufthansa said. “In spite of the strike threat, we remain ready to talk – especially in order to avoid harm to our customers.”

Lufthansa is proposing an average retirement age for pilots of 61, while the union is insistent that an option for early retirement at 55 should be retained.

It is also unhappy about Lufthansa’s plans to tie pay rises to financial performance, which the airline says is necessary given increased competition and rising costs.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


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