Saturday, October 27, 2012

Maastricht Airlines announced as new regional carrier based in Maastricht.

The new Dutch airline Maastricht Airlines has announced regional operations from Maastricht-Aachen Airport. The airline plans to operate with an fleet of Fokker 50s from early 2013 to Amsterdam, Berlin SXF, Munich and Paris CDG. Later flights are planned to Copenhagen and London SEN. By end of 2014, the airline expects to operate six Fokker 50.

The most of the routes, Maastricht Airlines plans to operate, are currently unserved. On the planned route to London, Ryanair flies in competition to Stansted. The route to Berlin SXF is currently served by Germanwings, but the no-frills airline will cease operations on this route in a few months and has plans to restart this route, when the new BER airport opens.

Maasticht Airlines have announced to be a full-service carrier.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

norwegian announces base in London Gatwick

One of the 737s of the airline in Oslo.

The Scandinavian cut-price carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle, simply referred to norwegian, has announced an new base in London Gatwick. From spring 2013, the airline will base three Boeing 737-800 on the UK airport, an 4th aircraft is planned for late 2013. The airline will use the planes on new scheduled routes out of Gatwick to leisure destinations in Southern Europe. All in all the airline will operate up to 300 weekly flights to Alicante, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Faro, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Las Palmas, Malaga, Montpellier, Nice, Palma, Rome, Split and Tenerife. All flights are operated in competition to other budget airlines.

This will be the first flights fully outside of Scandinavia for the airline. Until now, the carrier has based planes in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and for operational reasons in Spain. The 64 Boeing 737 of the airline serves a high number of Scandinavian domestic flights and flights between the Scandinavian countries and as well flights from Scandinavia to a huge number of leisure and business destinations in Europe.

Norwegian is an very popular low-cost airline. It offers cheap fares, but in contrast to carriers like easyJet and Ryanair no dumping fares. There is no free baggage and now complimentary meals on board. A very famous brownie point of the airline is, that it offers free WLAN on several flights.

Iceland Express acquired by WOW air

The virtual low-cost carrier Iceland Express has been acquired by it´s young competitor WOW air, even a virtual cut-price carrier, but with an higher level of service. The operations will be merged into one airline. The WOW air brand will be used for the new carrier, while the name Iceland Express will be dropped. The booking engine of Iceland Express has already been withdrawn and replaced by the WOW air booking system.
The flights of Iceland Express will operate as scheduled, but now are WOW air flights. For the costumers, there will be no major changings.

Iceland Express was founded in 2003 and offered low-cost flights in the Icelandic inbound leisure market. The airline newer had an own AOC and always used wet-leased aircraft. Currently the fleet of two Airbus A320 is operated by Holidays Czech Airlines. In the past the airline used planes from Astraeus and Hello.
WOW air was founded in 2011 and commenced operations in 2012 with two A320, both leased from Avion Express. The merged fleet now consists of 4 Airbus A320.

Iceland Express and WOW air are and was active in the same market and often served the same destinations. Due to this, the two carriers offered killer prices. Following, Iceland Express run into major financial difficulties.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blue Panorama filed for bankruptcy protection.

Blu-express Boeing 737-400 in Catania
The Italian low-cost, leisure and charter airline Blue Panorama has filed for bankruptcy protection. This give the ailing carrier the possibility, to restructure it´s deficit-making business, similar to Chapter 11 in the US. The operations of the airline are unaffected by this step.

Blue Panorama was established in 1998. The airline offers leisure long-haul flights from Italy to destinations around the world with Boeing 767-300ER and Boeing 757-200. Beside this, the airline has the low-cost brand Blu-express that operates with a fleet of 2 Boeing 737-300 and 4 Boeing 737-400 various domestic flights in Italy and as well international connections to Russia, Greece and France. The airline has ordered eight Sukhoi Superjet and has options for four additional aircraft of this type.

In the beginning of 2012, Alitalia announced, that it would acquire Blue Panorama, it´s subsidiary Blu-express and the now failed Wind Jet. A few months later the merger talks with Blue Panorama/Blu-express were dropped. The merger talks with Wind Jet come to nothing, the Sicilian LCC was forced to cease it´s operations in August this year.

It is to expect, that the airline will cut a lot of it´s domestic frequencies. The Italian domestic market is overcrowded with low-cost carriers.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hawaiian Airlines to commence turboprop operations

Hawaiian Airlines, the leading airline of Hawaii, will launch turboprop operations an the islands soon. Two ATR 42 are schedueled to be added to the fleet, which nowadays consists of Boeing 717, Boeing 767 and Airbus A330. The first ATR 42 is already on delivery. The aircraft previously operated for CSA Czech Airlines. The second ATR 42 is expected to be an former CSA-aircraft too, but until now, this not have been confirmed.

Hawaiian Airlines will operate new services between the airlines in competition with Island Air. Island Air operated three Q100 and one Saab 340. It is surprising, that Hawaiian did not acquire the competitive carrier instead of add new planes. This would have the advantage, that there would be no competition between the airlines. This is expected to result in lower fares for both airlines. Bot however Hawaiian Airlines decided to expand with new aircraft.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Strategic Airlines has ceased operations

Due to financial problems the European wet-lease and charter airline Strategic Airlines has stopped all operations on October 3 with it´s three Airbus A320-200 and entered administration. The company is based  and licensed in Luxembourg, but planes were based at Manchester and Gatwick airport in the UK.

Strategic Airlines was established as an subsidiary of the Australian airline Strategic Airlines in 2009 in France and flew charter tourists from France to holiday destinations with it´s A320. Due to safety problems, the French authorities had withdrawn the AOC in autumn 2010, so the airline was forced to cease it´s operations in September 2010. The owners of the airline reregistered the airline in Luxembourg, so Strategic commenced the operations as an new company in October 2010. Eftsoons the airline the airline signed a contract with Olympic Holidays to fly tourists from UK airports to Greece in summer. Beside this, the airline flew Ad-hoc charters and flights for other tour operators too, especially in the winter season. The carrier had a high number of delays and cancelled flights. After two summer seasons, the airline loosed it´s contract with Olympic holidays in 2012. The airline was not able to compensate the loss of this business so it now had to cease it´s operations.

The Australian Strategic Airlines, a scheduled carrier, rebranded itself as Air Australia in November 2011 and had to cease operations due major financial problems in February 2012.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

South African Airways rescued

The South-African government has announced major financial support for the struggling airline South African Airways with an loan guarantee for loans from September 2012 until August 2014 up to 5 billion Rand (around 500 million Euro). With this the deficit-making carrier is rescued. In the recent days reports have strengthen, whereby the airline is not able to survive without cash-injection. SAA is the biggest airline in the country and is owned by the state. Except 2010, when the football world cup took place in the country, the airline has made huge losses in the recent years. The low-cost subsidiary Mango is deficit-making too.

In return for the loan guarantee, SAA has to develop an restructuring plan. Beside an optimization process of the carrier the airline want´s to serve more international plans in Africa.