Cityjet appoints new chief commercial officer in advance of unveiling new brand

Cityjet appoints new chief commercial officer in advance of unveiling new brand

Cityjet appoints new chief commercial officer in advance of unveiling new brand

Patrick Lukan

Cityjet has appointed Patrick Lukan as chief commercial officer as the airline strives to ensure its future success as a newly independent regional airline.

Leading the commercial team, his responsibilities will include sales, pricing and revenue management, distribution, e-commerce, marketing, network planning and customer service.

The airline is headquartered in Dublin and has offices in Antwerp and London, with staff residing across Europe, in Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, the UK and Ireland.

Joining CityJet from Carlson Wagonlit Travel where he was senior director of global operations, Lukan brings more than 25 years of global travel and technology industry experience to his new role with CityJet.

He started his career at American Airlines and transitioned to Sabre where he held a variety of senior sales, operations and customer service positions in the US, Asia and Europe.

In 2005, he joined Travelport as general manager UK & Ireland where he was later promoted to vice president of global e-commerce sales.

CEO of Cityjet Christine Ourmières said Lukan’s experience in airline, technology, distribution and e-commerce would be “extremely beneficial” to the company.

Lukan said: “I am excited to take on this role at such an interesting time for CityJet. There are a variety of exciting changes underway because of CityJet’s new independence including the unveiling of our new brand later this year.”

Sourced from


Air France-KLM reports halving of losses

Air France-KLM reports halving of losses 

Air France-KLM reported an ‘adjusted’ operating loss of €342 million for the six months to the end of June, halving its losses of a year ago.

The carrier has suffered six consecutive years of losses and issued a profit warning earlier this month which triggered a plunge in its share price.

Air France-KLM chairman Alexandre de Juniac blamed “a tough operating environment” and “industry overcapacity on certain long-haul routes, notably North America and Asia”.

However, de Juniac said the carrier “maintained the momentum of its recovery in the first half of 2014”.

The airline recently announced plans to cut 700 cabin crew, having cut 1,660 ground staff since October.

It reported a 1.8% fall in half-year revenues, but said turnover would have been 1% up without a decline in the value of the euro year on year.

Passenger traffic was up 2.5% against a capacity increase of 1.2%, with the group reporting “strict capacity discipline”.

The half-year losses were split unevenly between the group’s two main carriers, Air France and KLM, which merged in 2004.

Air France reported an operating loss of €180 million from revenue of €7.6 billion and KLM an operating loss of €34 million out of a turnover of €4.56 billion.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Airbus terminates Japanese A380s order

Airbus terminates Japanese A380s order 

Airbus has terminated an order for six A380s placed by Skymark Airlines of Japan, a move seen as a setback for the manufacturer as it seeks fresh orders for the superjumbo.

Skymark operates a purely domestic schedule from its base in Tokyo but had plans to begin services to London, New York, Paris and Frankfurt with the A380, which carries 500-plus passengers.

Airbus said it terminated the Skymark order “when Skymark made clear that it was not going to perform its contractual obligations”.

Skymark said it had been in talks with Airbus since April about possible changes to its A380 order but that Airbus was demanding “a cancellation fee beyond all common sense”.

The carrier reported a loss of Yen1.8 billion (£10.4 million) in the year to March, but a profit the previous year.

Airbus now has A380 orders from just 19 carriers, with Dubai-based Emirates committed to taking 140 or 40% of the total.

British Airways took delivery of its first A380 just over a year ago.

Virgin Atlantic is committed to buying six, but has delayed taking delivery and may not decide whether to proceed until 2018.

Emirates president Tim Clark called earlier this month for Airbus to produce a new version of the A380 with more fuel-efficient engines – an A380 neo.

The Gulf carrier was the launch customer for the A380 in 2008 and has 140 on order or already in operation

Clark said Emirates would buy an additional 60-80 of the aircraft if it had new engines.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Tourism VAT campaigners take their case to government

Tourism VAT campaigners take their case to government 

Campaigners demanding a cut in VAT for UK tourism firms will hand over research to the Treasury today claiming the move would boost the economy by up to £4 billion annually.

The Cut Tourism VAT Campaign also claims reducing the sales tax would net the government a £3.9 billion one-off windfall.

The Nevin Report, commissioned by the campaign, says that a cut from 20% to 5% for visitor accommodation and attractions would boost the UK’s tourism economy.

This is in addition to a boost to GDP each year peaking at £4 billion per annum, and the creation of over 120,000 jobs around the UK.

The group says political backing for the Cut Tourism Vat campaign has grown with over 70 MPs indicating their support.

Nick Varney, chief executive of Merlin Entertainment, said: “Doing a few fancy posters saying ‘Heritage is Great’ and putting them up at Shanghai Airport is not going to turn around 30 years of constant decline. If all UK holidays became 15% cheaper, economics tells you what’s going to happen.”

The campaign group claims UK is currently one of the most expensive destinations to holiday in the world – ranked 138th out of 140 for price competitiveness by the Travel and Tourism Index.

It says it is one of just four countries in Europe not to have a reduced rate of VAT for the tourism sector.

The Nevin Report states cuts made in France, Germany and Ireland in the last five years have been hugely successful.

The new report adds to a Deloitte study conducted in 2011, and analysis by Prof Adam Blake using the Treasury’s own model in 2012 who said: ‘cutting Tourism VAT represents one of the most, if not the most efficient, means of generating GDP gains at a low cost to the Exchequer.”

A series of tourism firms, operators and organisations and MPs in the UK have thrown their weight behind the campaign

Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said: “We fully support the initiative to cut tourism tax.

“A cut would deliver a huge financial boost for tourism around the UK and 120,000 new jobs with 8,000 already being created by Premier Inn by 2018.”

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, added: “As the driving force behind our recovery, it’s vital we help smaller firms grow.

“Cutting VAT to 5% not only allows the sector to be competitive with Europe, where the majority of countries charge less VAT, but it shows hard grafting businesses the government is behind them.

“No one denies the cut would dent tax revenues initially, but this is a chance for politicians to prove they are really in it for the long by making an investment in an industry which is the UK’s biggest employer of young people.”

Graham Wason, chairman of the Cut Tourism VAT Campaign, said: “This new research is the economic proof the Treasury has asked for to prove what every other country in Europe knows – that cutting VAT on holidays is profitable for governments.

“Many of our coastal towns are ignored but cutting VAT would help them thrive. More than 60 cross-party MPs have signed our parliamentary motion and more than 1,000 companies and groups are backing the campaign.

“David Cameron and George Osborne should remember that next election will be won or lost in the regions and in coastal constituencies who would benefit from the huge boost cutting tourism VAT would add to our economy.”

Dermot King, managing director of Bourne Leisure, which owns Butlins, said: “As the pound continues to strengthen against the Euro driven by a combination of Mark Carney indicating higher UK interest rates and the European Central Bank considering a programme of quantitative easing, the gap in price competitiveness between the UK and her European partners widens.

“Outside of the London bubble, UK tourism continues to try to compete with not just one but increasingly two arms tied behind it’s back.”

Margaret Ritchie, MP for South Down said: “A cut in the rate of [Tourism] VAT would create demand, which would spur job creation and go some way towards reducing youth unemployment.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

UK pilots seek urgent meeting with ministers on air safety

UK pilots seek urgent meeting with ministers on air safety 

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) has demanded “an urgent meeting” with UK ministers to discuss safety in the air following the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines flight.

Balpa welcomed yesterday’s announcement that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) intends to establish a new task force to look into airspace safety, but said: “We are a long way from a solution.”

The association said of ICAO: “The UN body has at least acknowledged there is a problem with the current system that is supposed to protect passengers and crew from becoming targets.“ However, it warned: “Groups such as the one announced are often slow and ponderous. So we are asking what can be done now.

“We are calling on the UK Government to show leadership in ensuring the safety of UK passengers whichever airline they are flying with and wherever in the world.

“Balpa is seeking an urgent meeting with ministers to progress a proposal of a joint Department for Transport and Balpa summit on the issue.”

The pilots’ association said “the same level and quality of data, intelligence and guidance” are currently not shared among all airlines and pilots.

“There appear to be variations in the quality, extent and usefulness of intelligence between different airlines, agencies and countries,“ Balpa added.

And it said: “Pilots need to know when they plot flight paths that the guidance on safe areas is independent of any interests other than flight safety.”

Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: “It’s reassuring that the UN aviation body and airlines accept there is a problem with the lack of clear, uniform rules and information guiding pilots on when they should not fly over conflict areas.

“What we need now is action from the working group.

“The current system allowed 298 passengers, pilots and crew to become targets in a war and pilots want to see a solid and serious solution to stop this happening again.

“We will be asking the British government to lead the way.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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


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