Air Serbia reports its first net profit for 2014

Air Serbia (formerly Jat Airways) (Belgrade) is prospering under its new brand and growing relationship with partner Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi). The flag carrier reported a 2014 net profit of €2.7 million ($3 million), a complete turnaround from its 2013 €73 million net loss.

The airline issued this statement:

Air Serbia tails (Air Serbia)(LRW)

Air Serbia, the national airline of the Republic of Serbia, reported a net profit of EUR 2.7 million for 2014. In its first full year of operation, the airline’s revenues rose by 87 per cent to EUR 262 million, marking the strongest results in the existence of the national carrier.

Audited by KPMG, these financial statements also reflect strong growth in passenger traffic and cargo volumes. A total of 2.3 million passengers travelled with the airline in 2014, 68 per cent more than in 2013.

Air Serbia logo

Air Serbia’s passenger carrying capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs), increased by 74 per cent to 3.3 billion by the end of 2014. Despite this increase the airline’s seat load factor rose by three percentage points from 64 per cent in 2013, the last year of operation as Jat Airways, to 67 per cent in 2014.

Air Serbia Cargo also performed significantly better in 2014, carrying 2,700 tonnes of freight, a 67 per cent increase on 2013. Cargo services continue to be a major area of growth for Air Serbia.

In a year of significant capacity increase, Air Serbia’s 2014 average on-time performance at its hub, Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla International Airport, was 78 per cent. This represents a four percentage point improvement over the performance of the former Jat Airways.

Dane Kondić, Chief Executive Officer of Air Serbia, said: “These results are a great achievement validating the effectiveness of our strategy. We are proud to have been able to deliver on our mandate which was to achieve strong growth, to become the region’s leading carrier and, most importantly, to do so as a commercially viable and profitable enterprise, while becoming a key driver of economic growth in Serbia. The profit we have delivered in 2014 is, above all, a great sign for the future, as it lays a solid foundation going forward and is proof positive, of what can be achieved when the right strategies and governance structures are put in place. We owe a debt of thanks to our two shareholders – the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Etihad Airways for their ongoing support. I would also like to thank our staff for their contribution and hard work, without which, none of this would have been possible.”

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, said: “We are delighted with the progress Air Serbia has made in delivering on its performance objectives in the very competitive European market. Its continued success amidst these challenges will depend not only on continued investment in its workforce and in innovative products and services, but also on the ongoing and strict financial discipline and focus on cost which have marked its first year of operation.”

Since Air Serbia’s launch on October 26, 2013, the airline has undertaken a number of initiatives outlined in its turnaround plan to rebuild the national carrier and transform it into a profitable, stable, reliable and strong airline to serve Serbia and the broader Balkan region

The airline was rebranded and ten new generation Airbus aircraft were introduced, with eight A319 and two A320 added to the fleet. As a result, the average age of the jet fleet has decreased from 25 to 10 years, delivering greater reliability and significantly lowering the costs of operation.

During 2014, Air Serbia’s network of direct routes grew to 40 destinations in 30 countries, the last of which was the highly symbolic launch of flights to Zagreb in December, re-establishing a link between Zagreb and Belgrade, last flown 23 years ago. The airline also expanded to 35, the number of destinations served with codeshare partners – airberlin, Aeroflot, Etihad Airways, Etihad Regional and Tarom. Coupled with the introduction of a modern and reliable fleet, the network expansion strategy has been a key driver of the significant growth in passenger numbers and cargo volumes.

Aviolet logo

Air Serbia also established a dedicated charter brand – Aviolet – which operates four rebranded and refurbished Boeing 737-300 aircraft. Aviolet operated over 520 return flights during the 2014 summer season and transported over 90,000 tourists to popular vacation destinations in Turkey, Greece, Egypt and Italy, among others.

Air Serbia FAs (Air Serbia)(LRW)

Air Serbia’s growth has created a significant number of new jobs for Serbian nationals. During 2014, the airline grew its workforce by more than 400 new professionals. The technical department of Air Serbia has employed 44 engineers and technicians to establish the line maintenance facility at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla International Airport. A number of new pilots were hired in the first half of 2014, including three of the airline’s first female pilots. The airline’s largest ever global drive for pilots was launched in September 2014, and resulted in the recruitment of over 40 new pilots by the end of the year. A nation-wide recruitment drive for cabin crew attracted nearly 1,700 candidates – the highest in the history of the airline, indicating that the national airline not only inspires confidence, but that it has become an employer of choice among young Serbian nationals.

Presently, over 1,900 employees work at Air Serbia, including its subsidiaries Air Serbia Catering and Air Serbia Ground Services.

Air Serbia launched a ground-breaking multi-channel advertising campaign in October, with the tag-line “Air Serbia. The New Wings of Europe”, to boost awareness of the airline and position Belgrade and Serbia as an attractive destination and a convenient European air transport hub. The success of the campaign was recognised by the Association of Advertising Professionals of Serbia (UEPS), receiving two golden awards.

The campaign has to date, received a record 800,000 YouTube views (below):

Top Copyright Photo: (all others by Air Serbia): SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 YU-APH (msn 2645) approaches the runway at London (Heathrow).

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Eurowings outlines its first intercontinental routes, will be operated SunExpress Germany

Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt) details the first long-range routes for the new Eurowings:

The new Eurowings will fly from October 25, 2015 on its new intercontinental flights  from Cologne/Bonn Airport. The first flights will take off to the Caribbean, Dubai and Thailand.
The new Eurowings is building on the successful Germanwings concept, which is positioned as an innovative quality low-cost airline and “low-cost” brand in Germany and Europe.

The new routes will include Dubai, the Thai cities of Bangkok and Phuket, as well as the Caribbean destinations of Varadero, Cuba and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The new Eurowings routes will be flown by Airbus A330-200s. From the coming winter season onwards, the fleet will initially consist of two aircraft and will be expanded to a total of seven Airbus A330s.

SunExpress Deutschland (SunExpress Germany), a joint venture of Lufthansa (Frankfurt) and Turkish Airlines (Istanbul), will operate the long-haul route aircraft on behalf of the new Eurowings with its own cockpit and cabin personnel.

Vienna has now been chosen as the first location outside of Germany as a new Eurowings base.

Initially two Airbus A320s will be put into operation on European routes in the first step of the expansion.

The fares will correspond to Germanwings’ popular “fly à la carte” principle, which was successfully introduced in 2013. The fares BEST, SMART and BASIC, which have been extremely popular with passengers, will also be used by the new Eurowings. The fare classes include various levels of services and service packages.

The BEST fare is offered to the most demanding private customers who value comfort and exclusiveness. This offer includes comfortable seating in an extra-wide seat with lots of leg-room in the exclusive forward cabin area. The BEST fare also includes two free items of luggage each of up to 23 kg, à la carte menus on board, priority check-in, lounge access and the chance to collect miles (including HON Circle miles).

The cheaper SMART fare includes extra services such as one piece of luggage of up to 23 kg, two meals and soft drinks on board, as well as the chance to collect miles.

The BASIC fare offers a straightforward travel experience at a reasonable price, to which further services can be added on an individual basis.

On long-haul routes, the new Eurowings offers three attractive options. The exclusive BEST area comprises the first three seating rows and offers the latest ZIM seats. These seats correspond to the new Lufthansa premium economy class model, which offers seat pitch of 115 cm, has a backrest that can be adjusted by up to 20 cm, allows a 130° angle, and offers every guest their own armrest as well as comfortable leg and foot rests. Economy tickets can be booked with both SMART and BASIC fares. The “More Comfort” option, which can be booked as an add-on, offers seats with greater seat pitch along with a blanket and a pillow. State-of-the-art in-flight entertainment is offered on all intercontinental flights across all fares, which can be enjoyed both on screens in the backrest of the seat in front as well as on passengers’ own electronic devices such as notebook computers, tablets and smartphones. All long-haul aircrafts will also have Wi-Fi on board.

On routes within Germany and on routes throughout Europe, the existing Eurowings fleet will gradually be replaced from the beginning of 2015 by aircraft in the new Eurowings livery (above). The 23 Bombardier CRJ900s operated until now will also be replaced by Airbus A320s.

Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. The first Airbus A320, the pictured A320-214 D-AIZQ (msn 5497) in new livery flew on February 1, 2015 from Hamburg to Prague.

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Iberia to take early delivery of 8 Airbus A330-200s to speed up the retirement of the A340-300s

Iberia A330-200 (13)(Flt)(Iberia)(LR)

Iberia (Madrid) and Airbus (Toulouse) have reached an agreement over the early delivery of the A330-200s the airline ordered last year, which will now join the long-haul fleet 14 months earlier than initially planned, between December 2015, and November 2016.

The new aircraft will replace the older Airbus A340-300s.

The new twin-engine, wide-bodied aircraft, with a range of up to 13,400 km, consumes less fuel than the four-engine A340-300s they replace, and also generate less noise and air pollution.

The earlier delivery dates also speed the upgrading of Iberia’s entire long-haul fleet with the new cabins, fittings, and entertainment and communications systems, for an improved customer experience.

Iberia is currently renewing its long-haul fleet and also its long-haul cabins. In recent years the IAG parent has ordered 24 new long-haul aircraft for Iberia, the eight A330-300s delivered in 2013 and 2014; the eight A330-200s; and eight A350-900s to be delivered later.

Meanwhile, the company is retrofitting its 17 Airbus A340-600s with new long-haul cabins.

Image: Iberia. The first new Airbus A330-200 for Iberia will now arrive in December 2015.

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Norwegian gives the pilots unions one last chance to come to the negotiating table

Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian Air Norway) (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) is struggling with a crippling strike by its two pilot groups, NPU and Parathyroid. Norwegian has issued this statement (translated from Norwegian) to the two groups giving the unions a deadline to come to the negotiating table:

Norwegian will soon go into the seventh day of pilot strikes creating a state of emergency throughout the Group. Enough is enough. Over 100,000 travelers have so far been affected by the pilot strikes. The management of Norwegian Air Norway (NAN) has received authority from the management of the parent company to save the group from the current crisis. There is also a clear desire of some pilots in Norway, Sweden and Denmark will have the opportunity to influence their own future.

Attempts to get negotiations going have failed with the unions.

There are different situations in the three Scandinavian countries and the Norwegian has received questions from the Swedish and Danish pilots who do not want to risk their own workplace a result of, among other things, the NPU’s requirements for defined benefit pension. The Danish pilots already have a Danish pension and the Swedish pilots have their Swedish pensions.

Norwegian has always been set to reach a settlement with the NPU and Parathyroid but management does not want or can assign to a group of employees to take control of Norwegiankoncernen. NAN has now given the NPU and Parathyroid one last chance to immediately come to the negotiating table.

The airline has given a deadline to the NPU and Parathyroid unions to come to the negotiating table.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.no) Boeing 737-8Q8 WL LN-NOD (msn 35280) with Sonja Henie on the tail arrives at Las Palmas (Gran Canaria).

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Air Canada to launch flights to Atlantic City

Air Canada (Montreal) has announced it is launching nonstop service between its Toronto Pearson hub and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The seasonal service, to be flown by Air Canada Express, operated by Jazz Aviation (Halifax), will offer four roundtrips trips a week beginning May 22, 2015.

Air Canada’s service between Toronto Pearson and Atlantic City International Airport will be operated four days a week from May 22 to September 7, 2015, using a 74-seat Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (marketed as the Q400) C-GGND (msn 4394) arrives at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.

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US Airways flight 445 makes an emergency landing in Denver with smoke in the cabin

US Airways (Phoenix) flight US (AWE) 445 from Charlotte to Denver made a safe emergency landing at Denver International Airport yesterday (March 4) after smoke reportedly filled the cabin. Passengers safely evacuated the pictured Airbus A321-211 registered as N188US (msn 1724) (now painted in American Airlines colors). The 158 passengers and six crew members used the emergency chutes to safely evacuate the aircraft.

Video Below: By CalNinjaMonkey.

American Airlines issued this statement:

American Airlines confirms that US Airways Flight 445, from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to Denver International Airport was involved in an incident at Denver this afternoon. While taxiing to the gate, the pilot was alerted to possible smoke in the cabin. The passengers and crew deplaned via the slides and are all in the terminal.

We are in contact with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Airbus A321 had 158 passengers and six crewmembers.

Read the full account from CBS 4 in Denver: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-211 N188US (msn 1724) arrives at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).

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United Airlines to upgrade its airport lounge experience

United Airlines Food Offering

United Airlines (Chicago) has issued this statement about an upgraded experience including new food items at its United Clubs. U.S. airlines are all upgrading their premiums services and United is upgrading its experience too for its premium passengers.

United Airlines has announced it is transforming the customer experience in its United Clubs with upgrades including an overhauled, complimentary food menu launching this week, extensive club renovations and a hospitality-focused approach to customer service.

New Complimentary Food Menu

United will launch an all-new complimentary food menu in its United Clubs – from a Greek yogurt bar and hot oatmeal station to hummus with pretzel crisps and peppers. The menu is focused on freshness, variety and quality. United is replacing all current offerings with the new healthy and delicious choices, beginning with Chicago O’Hare International Airport this week.

The new items will be available at United Clubs in Houston, Denver, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington Dulles by the end of summer. All United Clubs worldwide will feature the new food by the end of the year.

United morning food selections

Also in 2015, United will launch an upgraded beverage-for-sale program of premium wines, beers and spirits including Champagne Laurent-Perrier and Trinchero Family Estates Wines. United plans to test a new food-for-sale pilot program later this year as well.

United Club Renovations

In the coming year, the airline will renovate clubs in Chicago O’Hare, Washington Reagan, Hong Kong and Tokyo Narita. It will also build new clubs in Atlanta and San Francisco, and begin major changes in Los Angeles.

Each lounge will reflect the new, modern style with upgraded amenities showcased in the airline’s Chicago O’Hare, Boston, London Heathrow, San Diego and Seattle United Club renovations. The new design schemes incorporate both United’s unique aviation history and panoramic views of modern-day aviation in action. New and renovated United Clubs offer more and diverse seating arrangements.

Service and More

United will re-train its United Club agents with a new, comprehensive customer service program throughout 2015. The training will reflect standards of the hotel and hospitality industry to better match club members’ expectations. United Club members will also enjoy complimentary, Wi-Fi-based printing for greater customer productivity this year.

Top Photo: United Airlines. Fresh hummus with pita thins or pretzel crisps along with Greek olives and freshly sliced red bell peppers.

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Below photo: United Airlines. Scones (flavors rotate between cinnamon vanilla, blueberry, cranberry orange) and fresh bagel sticks (plain and everything bagels) with cream cheese and assorted jams.

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