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Tag Archives: Aer Lingus

Virgin Atlantic to shut down Little Red next year

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is shutting down its Airbus A320 feeder operation operated by Aer Lingus (Dublin). The feeder flights known as “Little Red” will end on September 26, 2015. The operation currently feeds London (Heathrow) from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester. Manchester flights will end sooner on March 28, 2015.

The Little Red operation is flown by four wet leased Airbus A320s.

Aberdeen flights began on April 9, 2013
Edinburgh flights began on April 5, 2013
Manchester flights began on March 31, 2013

On October 6 the airline issued this statement:

Little Red was launched in March 2013 as an attempt to reintroduce consumer choice on key domestic services after British Airways’ takeover of bmi gifted them a monopoly on these routes. Over the past eighteen months, Little Red has delivered for consumers, leading the way on customer service and on-time performance at Heathrow. Flying well over a million passengers between London, Scotland and Manchester, Little Red also offers convenient onward connections to the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s worldwide network.

Bookings grew steadily for the service in the first part of 2014 with the airline enjoying excellent customer feedback. However the demand has been predominantly from point to point customers rather than connecting traffic. High levels of connections onto Virgin Atlantic’s long haul network have always been important to the success of Little Red.

Chief Executive Craig Kreeger has committed to returning Virgin Atlantic to profit by the end of this year and the airline is on track to deliver that, however Little Red has unfortunately not been able to make a positive contribution to Virgin Atlantic’s network.

Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Craig Kreeger said:

“Little Red came about through an enduring passion at Virgin Atlantic to make a difference for our customers. We really wanted it to be a success and everyone involved worked extremely hard and has given it their best efforts.

“It was always a huge challenge on behalf of the consumer, as the totally inadequate number of slots made available by the European Commission did not deliver close to BA’s network position, even when supplemented by our own slots to fly between Heathrow and Manchester. The time lag between the takeover of bmi and our entering the market also meant Little Red initially faced an uphill battle to win recognition and convert customers to its services.

“While this challenged environment meant Little Red ultimately did not deliver the results we had hoped, this certainly will not dampen our enthusiasm to try new things in the future. We have always fought for what we believe is best for our customers and we will continue to do so.

“We’re very grateful for all of the support and goodwill shown to Little Red in Scotland and Manchester, where we received a warm welcome. I would also like to personally thank the Little Red team who have been fantastic ambassadors providing exceptionally high levels of customer service. We look forward to continuing to work with the Little Red cabin crew as we will be offering them roles on our long haul operation when these services end.”

The President of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson, said:

“When the competition authorities allowed British Airways to take over British Midland and all of its slots, we feared there was little we could do to challenge BA’s huge domestic and European network built through decades of dominance.

“To remedy this, we were offered a meagre package of slots with a number of constraints on how to use them and we decided to lease a few planes on a short term basis to give it our best shot. The odds were stacked against us and sadly we just couldn’t attract enough corporate business on these routes. We will stop flying the Little Red services between Manchester and London at the end of March 2015 and the Aberdeen and Edinburgh services at the end of September 2015.

“The team did their absolute best to make a go of it and I thank them all for their amazing efforts. In the meantime, keep flying on Little Red where you’ll continue to get amazing offers and great service.”

Virgin Atlantic would like to thank its customers and teams in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Heathrow and Manchester as well as its partner Aer Lingus, for their loyalty and commitment to Little Red and looks forward to continuing to work with them on the service over the next 12 months.

Passengers can continue to book with Little Red with confidence until this time and frequent fliers will be able to enjoy special loyalty benefits for doing so. There will be an increased earning incentive per-sector as well as a significant reduction in the number of Flying Club miles needed to redeem a flight.

The airline remains committed to its operations in both Manchester and Scotland. Its existing services from Manchester to Orlando, Barbados and Las Vegas will continue, with the addition next summer of a new daily Virgin Atlantic flight between Manchester and Atlanta. In Scotland, the popular seasonal service from Glasgow to Orlando will continue with eight extra return flights just announced for summer 2015, alongside a new route between Glasgow and Las Vegas.

The decision on the airline’s short haul carrier follows a major review of Virgin Atlantic’s wider network. Last month the airline announced a network update delivering five new daily transatlantic flights and an ambition to grow to record levels of sustained profitability by 2018. This will be supported by a major programme of work that will see £300m invested into customer experience.

Read the analysis by City Index: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus’Airbus A320-214 EI-DEI (msn 2374) in Virgin Atlantic’s colors arrives at London (Heathrow).

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

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Aer Lingus to restore the Dublin-East Midlands route on February 4, 2015

Aer Lingus (Dublin) is restoring the Dublin-East Midlands route on February 4, 2015. The restored route will be operated daily by Stobart Air (formerly Aer Arann) (Dublin) ATR 72s as an Aer Lingus Regional carrier.

Read the full story from Dublin Airport: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rob Skinkis/AirlinersGallery.com. ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) EI-REL (msn 748) departs from Manchester.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

Aer Lingus Regional-Aer Arann: AG Slide Show

 

Virgin Atlantic to operate the new Boeing 787-9 between London Heathrow and Newark, will it drop Little Red?

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 (10)(Flt)(Virgin Atlantic)(LR)

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is getting its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (G-VAHH, msn 37967) later this month. The airline will also 264-seat introduce its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the London (Heathrow)-Newark route starting on January 19, 2015 per Airline Route. This will be the third route for the new type. The 787-9 will enter revenue service on October 28 on the London (Heathrow)-Boston route as previously reported.

Virgin Atlantic logo (large)

In other news, the airline is not commenting on media speculation that it may be considering dropping its Little Red (operated by Aer Lingus) operation due to poor loads. Little Red operates feeder flights from London (Heathrow) to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester.

Read the full story from The Telegraph: CLICK HERE

Image above: Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Operated by Aer Lingus, Airbus A320-214 EI-EZV (msn 2001) of Little Red arrives at the London (Heathrow) hub.

Aer Lingus has its highest second quarter operating results since 2010, wants to expand to North America, especially Dallas/Fort Worth

Aer Lingus (Dublin) posted a first half net loss of €12.3 million ($16.5 million), narrowed from a €23.5 million ($31.5 million) net loss in the same period a year ago. This includes the highest second quarter operating result since 2010 despite a €10 million negative effect of industrial action.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

The airline has been very happy with the  results of new service to San Francisco and Toronto and wants to further expand with new routes to North America. Dallas/Fort Worth is high on their list for new routes according to this article by the Irish Independent.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus is using Air Contractors Boeing 757-200s formerly operated by Finnair for the Toronto route. Boeing 757-2Q8 EI-LBR (msn 28167) taxies at Toronto (Pearson).

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

Stobart Air sets new passenger records for the Aer Lingus Regional operation in May

Stobart Air (formerly Aer Arann) (Dublin) has issued this statement for its expanding Aer Lingus Regional operation:

Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, has announced a 35% increase in passenger numbers for the month of May 2014 compared to the same month last year. It represents the eleventh consecutive month of passenger growth for the airline.

May 2014 was a record breaking month for the airline as it flew 122,079 passengers, 31,589 more than May 2013 and 1,191 more than the previous record set in August 2013.

Total passenger numbers for the year to date are up 23% compared to this time last year. Passenger numbers on the airline’s Dublin routes were up 49%, with the Dublin-Kerry route seeing an increase of 21% in May. The Dublin–Bristol route saw an increase of 22% due to the deployment of new aircraft on the route and an increase to three daily flights for the summer months.

Aer Lingus Regional passenger numbers from the UK connecting to trans-Atlantic flights has more than doubled in the first four months of the year compared to the same period in 2013. This was due to Aer Lingus’ new San Francisco and Toronto services. Boston and New York bound passengers from Birmingham and Manchester via Shannon Airport has proven to be very popular

Passenger numbers on the airline’s Cork services saw a second consecutive month of growth with an 11% increase from the same month last year. The Cork-Bristol route increased by 14%, while the Cork-Manchester route saw a 17% increase in May.

A focus on providing services for major sporting events continued to be a key driver in passenger growth for the airline. May’s Heineken Cup Final in Cardiff contributed a 44% monthly increase in passenger numbers on the airline’s services to the Welsh capital alone.

Routes from Shannon Airport also saw a significant growth with a 15% increase in May compared to the same month last year.

‘May 2014 was a record period for us and our eleventh successive month of passenger growth. New and expanded routes, along with our investment in new aircraft are resonating with passengers. It is notably that growth is occurring across the network and at each of our bases in Dublin, Shannon and Cork.’

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. ATR 42-300 EI-CBK (msn 199) arrives back at Dublin.

Stobart Air logo

Aer Lingus Regional: AG Slide Show

 

Aer Lingus launches Shannon-Faro flights today, reports a first quarter operating loss of $67.2 million

Aer Lingus’ (Dublin) inaugural flight today (May 1), from Shannon to Faro took to the skies as planned. The three times weekly service will operate until the end of October, giving customers in the West of Ireland direct access to the ever-popular holiday resort of the Algarve.

In addition, Aer Lingus operates daily flights between Shannon and London Heathrow, three flights a week to New York and four flights a week to Boston. Aer Lingus Regional operates daily flights between Shannon and Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester.

This brings the total number of weekly flights with Aer Lingus from Shannon to 58 with over 8,000 seats available each week, from May through to October.

On the financial side, for the first quarter the company reported an operating loss of €48.5 million ($67.2 million) which was €3.0 million ($4.1 million) or 6.6% higher than the first quarter of 2013. This result reflects the later timing of Easter in 2014 and the negative effect of threatened industrial action on booking volumes in March 2014. This threatened action resulted in the cancellation of flights in advance of St. Patrick‟s weekend as well as the forced re-booking and re-accommodation of a significant number of passengers.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 EI-DVN (msn 4715) arrives in the photogenic Tenerife Sur (South).

Aer Lingus Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

 

Aer Lingus launches its inaugural flight to Toronto and its first Boeing 757 from Dublin

Aer Lingus (Dublin) yesterday (April 14) recorded two firsts; the launch of its inaugural flight from Dublin to Toronto (Pearson) and the first operation from Dublin of the Boeing 757-200 aircraft recently added to its trans-Atlantic fleet.

The new service will operate year-round with a daily service between Dublin and Toronto during the summer season and up to four weekly services operating during the winter. This is the fourth trans-Atlantic route launch in recent months and forms part of Aer Lingus’ significant trans-Atlantic growth plan in 2014.

The 2014 growth plan includes;

· New routes from Dublin to Toronto and San Francisco
· The addition of three Boeing 757-200 aircraft to the long haul fleet
· Almost doubling of frequency on services from Shannon to Boston and New York
· The creation of more than 200 new jobs

Aer Lingus customers travelling from over twenty UK and European cities via Dublin to Toronto will also have the option to connect to eight key cities within Canada including Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary.

To support the operation of the new routes from Dublin to Toronto and from Shannon to New York and Boston, Aer Lingus has wet leased three Boeing 757-200 aircraft from ASL Aviation Group. The aircraft are configured with an economy and business class cabin. Business travellers will continue to enjoy the same great level of service; with gourmet meals, sleeper seats and an extensive in-flight entertainment selection.

The ASL Aviation Group, based in Ireland, is a well-established global aviation group providing an unrivalled array of aviation services. The group of aviation companies includes Irish airline Air Contractors and French based airline Europe Airpost as well as two support service companies – ACLAS Global and Air Contractors Engineering; and various leasing entities. The Group’s operations are worldwide with the airlines operating a mixed fleet of wide body, short haul and turboprop passenger and cargo aircraft under their own brands and for a number of leading airlines. ASL Aviation Group has a staff of 1,200, a fleet of ±80 aircraft. ASL is a joint venture between CMB (51%) and 3P Air Freighters (49%).

Copyright Photo: Michael Kelly/AirlinersGallery.com. Formerly operated by Finnair as OH-LBT, Boeing 757-2Q8 EI-LBT (msn 28170), operated by Aero Contractors for Aer Lingus, departs from Dublin on its inaugural flight to Toronto on April 14, 2014.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

Aer Lingus launches its new route to San Francisco

Aer Lingus (Dublin) yesterday (April 2) launched its inaugural flight to San Francisco. The flight, flight EI 147, was assigned to an Airbus A330-200 (EI-DUO) named St. Columba,

Aer Lingus will operate five flights per week from Dublin to San Francisco as part of its significant trans-Atlantic growth plan in 2014.

The 2014 growth plan includes:

· New routes from Dublin to San Francisco and Toronto (Pearson)
· Almost doubling of frequency on services from Shannon to Boston and New York (JFK)
· The addition of three Boeing 757 aircraft to the long haul fleet

Top Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-202 EI-DUO (msn 841) taxies at Shannon.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. EI-DUO arrives at SFO on the inaugural flight.

Aer Lingus A330-200 EI-DUO (96)(Nose) SFO (MDB)(LRW)

Aer Lingus:

AG Slide Show

 

Aer Lingus’ 2013 operating profit drops by 12% to $83.8 million

Aer Lingus Group (Aer Lingus) (Dublin) today announced its unaudited preliminary results for the year ended December 31, 2013. The group reported a 12 percent drop in its operating profit for 2013, before net exceptional items, of €61.1 million ($83.8 million).

Read the full report from Aer Lingus: CLICK HERE

Read the analysis from Independent.ie: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-302X EI-DUZ (msn 847) lands back at the Dublin hub. Aer Lingus has now settled on a long-haul fleet around the new Airbus A350. The airline has nine A350-900s on order.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

Aer Lingus threatens to go to court if the SIPTU union strikes

Aer Lingus (Dublin) is threatening legal action if the SIPTU union goes ahead with its strike plans against the carrier according to the Irish Times. The union is unhappy with the shortage in the pension fund.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-211 EI-CPE (msn 926) climbs gracefully away from Geneva, Switzerland.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

 

Aer Lingus to start Shannon-Malaga service next summer season

Aer Lingus (Dublin) will start twice-weekly Shannon-Malaga flights on March 30, 2014 according to the Limerick Leader.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 EI-DEB (msn 2191) is pictured on the runway at the Dublin hub.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic to cut back on the “Little Red” London Heathrow-Manchester service

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will cut one of four London Heathrow-Manchester “Little Red” Airbus A320 flights next year according to TheBusinessDesk.com. The airline explained the reduction was not due to decreased demand but rather having to give back one LHR slot to another unnamed carrier.

However The Independent reported last month the “Little Red” feeder flights were experiencing low sales.

Read the full report from The Independent: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Terry Wade/AirlinersGallery.com. The “Little Red” domestic flights are operated by Aer Lingus in full Virgin Atlantic colors. Airbus A320-214 EI-DEO (msn 2486) arrives at London (Heathrow).

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

Video: Virgin Atlantic ad:

Aer Lingus reports a third quarter operating profit of $126.8 million

Aer Lingus Group (Aer Lingus) (Dublin) for the third quarter reported an operating profit of €94.9 million ($126.8 million) which is 4.4% ahead of last year.

Read the full financial report: CLICK HERE 

Read the analysis by Irish Times: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom/AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus’ Airbus A330-302X EI-ELA (msn 1106) lifts off the runway at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

 

Ryanair carries over 9 million passengers in August, the first European airline to do so

Ryanair (Dublin) celebrated a milestone in August and issued this statement (while taking a swipe at Aer Lingus):

Ryanair released its passenger and load factor statistics for August 2013:

  • Traffic increased by 1% to over 9 million passengers.
  • First European airline ever to carry 9 million passengers in one month.
  • Annual traffic to end August grew 2% to over 80 million passengers.
  • Load factor increased 1% to 89%.
  • Ryanair carries 9 million passengers in a month, Aer Lingus carries 9 million in a year!
Aug 12
Aug 13
Change
Yr to Aug 13
Passengers
8.90M
9.02M
+1%
80.2M (+2%)
Load Factor
88%
89%
+1%
82%

Ryanair 9m passengers in Aug

Ryanair celebrated its first ever 9 million passenger month by releasing 900,000 seats for travel in October and November at fares starting from just €14.99 one-way.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Ryanair to appeal the UKCC final report concerning Aer Lingus

Ryanair (Dublin) will appeal the UK Competition Commission (UKCC) final report concerning Ryanair’s 29.8 percent share of Aer Lingus (Dublin) and its effort to acquire a controlling share. Based on this decision the Irish ultra low-fare carrier has been shopping its share to other carriers but so far there are no takers. Here is the statement by the flamboyant airline:

Ryanair has confirmed that it will appeal the UK Competition Commission (UKCC) final report which wrongly found that Ryanair, through its 7 year old minority (29.8%) shareholding in Aer Lingus, “had led or may be expected to lead to a substantial lessening of competition between the airlines on routes between Great Britain and Ireland”. This baseless claim is manifestly disproven by 7 years of evidence and by the European Commission’s recent (Feb 2013) ruling that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has “intensified” since 2007.

Under EU law, the UKCC has a duty of sincere cooperation with the EU, and cannot contradict or reach different conclusions to the European Commission’s findings. Inexplicably, today’s report by the UKCC infringes this legal duty by ignoring and contradicting the recent findings of the European Commission that:

“Aer Lingus and Ryanair compete on a greater number of routes compared to the 2007 Decision”, “there is significant competitive interaction between the Parties”, and“evidence collected by the Commission in the market investigation has also confirmed that the competitive relationship between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has at least persisted, if not increased, since 2007”.

In addition, the UKCC has inexplicably dismissed Ryanair’s unprecedented remedies package which comprehensively addressed the UKCC’s three invented “concerns”. For example, the UKCC rejected Ryanair’s offer to unconditionally sell its minority stake to any other airline that makes a bid for Aer Lingus and obtains acceptances from 50.1% of Aer Lingus’ shareholders. Ryanair also offered to support Aer Lingus’ rights issues and any disposal of Aer Lingus’ Heathrow slots, but these simple and effective remedies were also rejected by the UKCC.

The UKCC’s manifestly unjust ruling demonstrates that it did not conduct any fair investigation and that it has now merely announced what was its pre-determined conclusion. Ryanair will appeal the UKCC’s unlawful ruling to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal. In any event, until the completion of Ryanair’s appeal to the EU courts against the European Commission’s February 2013 prohibition decision, the CC cannot lawfully impose any remedies on Ryanair.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“This report by the UKCC is bizarre and manifestly wrong but also entirely expected. From the first meeting with the UKCC it has been clear to us that Simon Polito’s and Roger Davis’ minds had been made up in advance and no truth or evidence was going to get in the way of their story. This prejudicial approach to an Irish airline is very disturbing, coming from an English government body that regards itself a model competition authority.

Polito’s and Davis’ ignoring of evidence, their conduct of a manifestly unfair investigation, their omission of all the substantial body of evidence that conclusively disproves their case, and their rejection of Ryanair’s unprecedented undertakings (which patently address their three invented future concerns), all in a misguided pursuit of their pre-determined conclusion, demonstrate that this process was not a competition investigation but merely a corrupt and politically biased charade.

While Ryanair is one of the UK’s largest airlines, Aer Lingus has a tiny presence in the UK, serving just 6 routes to the Republic of Ireland, a traffic base that has declined over the past 3 years and now accounts for less than 1% of all UK air traffic. This case, involving two Irish airlines where one (Aer Lingus) accounts for less than 1% of the UK’s total air traffic and concerns very few UK consumers, is yet another enormous waste of UK taxpayer resources from a body which took no action whatsoever when the two main UK airlines (BA and bmi) merged. It would appear to be a case of one rule for the UK airlines but an invented set of rules for two Irish airlines.

In February 2013 the European Commission found that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has “intensified” since 2007. The UKCC’s failure to accept this finding is a breach of its legal duty of sincere cooperation between the UK and the EU competition authorities and will form the basis for Ryanair’s appeal against this bizarre and manifestly unsound ruling, which our lawyers will lodge with the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the coming weeks.”

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DLO (msn 34178) with “Bye Bye EasyJet” sub-titles approaches the London (Stansted) for landing.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Aer Lingus’ loss expands in the first half of 2013

Aer Lingus (Dublin) record a first half 2013 pre-tax loss of $21.7 million, an increase of  272.7 percent from the smaller loss in the first half of 2012. However the flag carrier was able to record a pre-tax profit of $38.6 million in the second quarter but it was not enough to offset the larger loss in the first quarter.

The airline put a positive spin of the second quarter:

Christoph Mueller, Aer Lingus’ CEO, commented:

“Aer Lingus is pleased to report an excellent business performance for the first half of 2013. All key revenue metrics have trended positively with passenger numbers up 1.3%, load factor up 2.0 points and growth in fare revenue per seat across short and long haul.

Our Q2 2013 revenue performance was particularly strong. We expanded long haul capacity by 16.3% in the quarter and successfully sold the additional seats, achieving a load factor of almost 95% in June. Short haul continues to trade positively. However, the weakness in UK routes identified in our Q1 results has continued in Q2. The first half of our financial year is seasonally loss making and we are reporting an operating loss (before exceptional items) which is €12.0 million higher than the prior year. This performance reflects the impact of a number of one-off factors including the start up of our contract flying operations and planned changes to our long haul fleet.

We continue to focus on our cost base and are conscious that certain planned cost saving initiatives have not had effect as quickly as we had initially hoped. However, the voluntary severance program we outlined at Q1 seeking a headcount reduction of 100 has been oversubscribed with expressions of interest. We expect the benefits of this programme will start to take effect towards the end of the current year with full year effect in 2014.

Bookings for the remainder of the year at 30 June 2013 were ahead of prior year with Q3 long haul looking particularly positive. However, this booking profile has somewhat eroded over July due to the good weather. Nonetheless, we maintain our guidance that 2013 operating profit, before net exceptional items, will be broadly in line with 2012.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Read the analysis from the Irish Times: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-202 EI-DUO (msn 841) taxies at the the Dublin hub.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

Ryanair to add more Ireland-UK frequencies in response to Aer Lingus increases, takes another swipe at the UKCC

Ryanair (Dublin) always famous for its comments about government agencies, has issued this new scathing comment and news:

Ryanair, the UK’s largest airline, today (31 July) announced that it would add additional daily frequencies from October on its five main Ireland-UK routes in a direct response to similar flight increases recently announced by Aer Lingus for the 2013-14 winter schedule. Aer Lingus’ decision to increase flight frequencies on these UK routes further undermines the discredited UKCC investigation into Ryanair’s 6 ½ year old minority (29%) stake in Aer Lingus. Confronted with incontrovertible evidence that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has intensified, the UKCC has been reduced to inventing fairytale future “concerns” that Ryanair has “influence” over Aer Lingus or that this stake has or will lead to a lessening of competition.

The UKCC, in its provisional findings, has ignored, or excluded, 6 ½ years of evidence which totally disproves their bogus claims. It has failed to produce any evidence that competition would be lessened (or UK consumers penalised) when the European Commission recently (Feb 2013) prohibited Ryanair’s offer for Aer Lingus on the very grounds that competition has intensified between the two Irish airlines over the past 6½ years. If, as the UKCC now claims, Ryanair has “influence” over Aer Lingus which “might” lessen competition, then it should explain why Aer Lingus has recently increased flights on the five main Ireland-UK routes or why Ryanair is now responding with yet more flight frequency, which will lead to lower prices and better deals for those few UK consumers who actually fly Aer Lingus.
Ryanair will add at least one additional daily return flight from October 2013 to each of its top 5 Dublin-UK routes including London (STN), Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Bristol as follows:
RYANAIR INCREASES ON 5 DUBLIN-UK ROUTES – WINTER 2013-14
Route
Daily rotations Nov 2012
Daily rotations Nov 2013
Dublin – London (STN)
7
8
Dublin – Manchester
4
5
Dublin – Birmingham
3
4
Dublin – Edinburgh
3
4
Dublin – Bristol
2
3

 

Ryanair continues to question why the UK’s OFT and CC have wasted millions of UK taxpayer funds investigating a 6 ½ year old failed merger between two Irish airlines (which has little, if any, impact on any UK consumers) while at the same time neither quango took any action whatsoever on behalf of UK consumers when BA acquired BMI, or previously when Easyjet acquired GB Airways. The UKCC has failed to explain this glaring lack in consistency particularly when neither the EU nor the Irish competition authorities had any concerns about Ryanair’s 6 ½ year old minority stake.
Since the UKCC inquiry has been unable to produce one shred of evidence that competition between Aer Lingus and Ryanair has lessened over the past 6 ½ years and since the UKCC has been forced to accept the EU’s ruling (that intensified competition has benefited consumers) this has reduced the UKCC to flailing around, inventing fairytale future “concerns” so that it can ignore the inconvenient truths of the last 6 ½ years of evidence.
The UKCC’s 3 fairytale future “concerns” are disproven by the past 6 ½ years of evidence as follows;
a) That Ryanair “might” block a rights issue by Aer Lingus: however the UKCC have ignored the inconvenient truth that over the past 6 ½ years – Ryanair has repeatedly confirmed it will support take up rights to prevent dilution.
b) That Ryanair “might” block a disposal by Aer Lingus of its Heathrow slots (despite the fact any such disposal would lessen competition between the two airlines) while ignoring the inconvenient fact that Aer Lingus, as recently as April 2013, disposed of a pair of Heathrow slots without any objection or block by Ryanair.
c) That Ryanair “might” prevent another EU airline from acquiring Aer Lingus, and/or “squeezing out” Ryanair. Again the UKCC has ignored the inconvenient truth that over the past 6 ½ years, no other EU airline has shown any interest in acquiring Aer Lingus and almost all other EU airlines have publicly stated that they have no interest in acquiring Aer Lingus.
In order to destroy any remaining shred of credibility from these bogus and invented “concerns” Ryanair has offered to unconditionally and irrevocably dispose of its 29% minority shareholding to any other EU airline who offers for, and successfully acquires 50.1% of Aer Lingus (which is far below the legal 80% squeeze out threshold). This undertaking has been dismissed by many commentators on the very obvious grounds that no other EU airline wishes to acquire Aer Lingus, another inconvenient fact which the UKCC has conveniently ignored. Ryanair’s undertaking removes any possibility that it can or could block an acquisition of Aer Lingus by another EU airline and sheds this UKCC process of any credibility whatsoever.
The UKCC’s case now lies in tatters, as Simon Polito and his team flounder around, looking to invent new and even more fairytale “concerns” when the inconvenient truth is that 6 ½ years of evidence proves that Ryanair’s minority stake has resulted in intensified competition between the Irish airlines to the benefit of UK consumers. Finally, the UKCC has produced no shred of evidence whatsoever that any other EU airline – other than Ryanair – has any interest in acquiring Aer Lingus.
Copyright Photo: Lucio Alfieri/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS WL EI-DCL (msn 33806) in the original Dreamliner colors taxies at Bologna.
Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Ryanair gives up, will sell its 29% Aer Lingus stake to another EU airline

Ryanair (Dublin) is giving up on taking control of rival Aer Lingus (Dublin). The airline issued this statement:

Ryanair on July 23 confirmed that, as part of its ongoing remedies discussions with the UK Competition Commission (CC) in a case where the CC have produced no evidence whatsoever of any lessening of competition as a result of Ryanair’s 6½ year old 29% shareholding in Aer Lingus, Ryanair has now offered the following undertaking to the CC:

In order to dispel the CC’s unfounded and invented “concern” that Ryanair’s shareholding may prevent Aer Lingus from being acquired by another EU airline, Ryanair will undertake to unconditionally sell its 29% shareholding to any other EU airline that makes an offer for Aer Lingus and obtains acceptances from 50.1% of Aer Lingus shareholders.

The above remedy is without prejudice to Ryanair’s vehement objection to the CC’s manifestly false conclusion that Ryanair has influence over Aer Lingus’ commercial strategy and/or that Ryanair’s 6½ year old minority shareholding in Aer Lingus has resulted in a lessening of competition. This conclusion is flatly contradicted by 6½ years of evidence, by the European Commission’s findings in February 2013 that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has intensified, and by the evidence submitted even by Aer Lingus and the Irish Government (to the EU), which proves that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus intensified to the benefit of consumers over the last 6½ years.
Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said:
“It is clear from the CC’s own Provisional Findings report that it has found no evidence of any lessening of competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus. In fact, Ryanair’s recent (3rd) offer for Aer Lingus was prohibited by the EU precisely because of the evidence, submitted by both Aer Lingus and the Irish Government, that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has “intensified” during the past 6½ years.
These inconvenient facts have reduced the CC’s Simon Polito (Chairman) and Roger Davis (Member) to inventing new and fantastical “concerns” in order to justify their apparently premeditated and biased “thinking” that Ryanair should be forced to sell down this 6½ year old minority stake. The only remaining “concern” they can now dream up is that Ryanair’s 29% stake “might” prevent another EU airline buying Aer Lingus; despite 6½ years of evidence (and repeated public statements) that no other EU airline has any interest in acquiring Aer Lingus.
In order to remove any remaining shred of credibility from this CC process and eliminate any doubt about this imaginary albeit non-existent “concern”, Ryanair has now agreed that it will unconditionally sell its 6½ year old minority stake to any other EU airline which makes an offer for, and acquires more than 50.1% of, Aer Lingus shares, at the same price and terms which are accepted by these other 50.1% of Aer Lingus shareholders. This remedy unconditionally removes any ability by Ryanair to block any future takeover of Aer Lingus by another EU airline.
This bogus CC “concern” has now been fatally undermined thereby removing any requirement for a divestment of Ryanair’s 6½ year old minority shareholding which even the CC now admits hasn’t given Ryanair any influence, and Aer Lingus admits has led to intensified competition to the benefit of the perhaps 1 or maybe 2 UK consumers who even fly Aer Lingus.”
Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-CSE (msn 29920) taxies at the Dublin hub. The airframe has since gone on to Gol as PR-VBE.
Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show
Ryanair: AG Slide Show

 

Aer Lingus to fly to both San Francisco and Toronto

Aer Lingus (Dublin) has announced it will reinstate the Dublin-San Francisco route on April 2, 2014. The Irish carrier is also planning to open a new route to Toronto (Pearson) on April 21, 2014  in competition with Air Canada rouge.

As previously reported, Aer Lingus is adding three leased Boeing 757-200s to supplement its Airbus fleet, allowing for some expansion.

Aer Lingus issued this statement:

Aer Lingus today (July 3) announced significant expansion to its trans-Atlantic route offering for 2014. In addition to its existing services from Boston, Chicago (O’Hare), New York (JFK) and Orlando, the airline will commence year round direct service between San Francisco and Dublin from April 2014 with 5 services per week being operated by Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft.

Aer Lingus will also commence direct year-round service from Canada from April 2014. A daily direct Boeing 757 service between Toronto (Pearson) and Dublin will operate during the summer season, with up to four weekly services operating during the winter. Two Boeing 757 aircraft will be based in Shannon and will be used to deliver increased frequency on existing services from Boston and New York. Year-round connections from the east-coast to Shannon will be introduced. This expansion will directly support more than 200 new jobs.

In addition Aer Lingus customers from sixteen cities across the U.S. (including Seattle/Tacoma, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego) will benefit from convenient connections to Ireland via San Francisco, as well as a number of UK and European cities via Dublin. The new San Francisco route also represents a business opportunity for Aer Lingus Cargo.

Further to the direct service to Ireland from Toronto, Aer Lingus will provide connections from eight Canadian cities including Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary. Once in Dublin, flights will connect to over twenty UK and European cities.

This growth plan will bring the Aer Lingus long haul schedule to 10 daily trans-Atlantic services, connecting North America with Ireland and Europe.

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-302X EI-ELA (msn 1106) prepares to depart from the Dublin hub.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

Ryanair attacks Aer Lingus’ staff compensation increases, will appeal the Competition Commission’s preliminary decision to divest its 29.4% share of Aer Lingus

Ryanair (Dublin) is appealing the UK’s Competition Commission’s preliminary decision to force the carrier to divest its 29.4 percent share of rival Aer Lingus (Dublin). The ultra low cost carrier could drag out the decision for at least two years appealing the decision according to The Independent. The Competition Commission ruled in its preliminary ruling that Ryanair exerts “material influence” over Aer Lingus due to this minority share.

The airline issued this fiery statement (as it normally does) in response:

Ryanair on May 30 criticized the UK Competition Commission’s (CC’s) provisional decision that Ryanair, through its 6½ year old minority (29.8%) shareholding in Aer Lingus, “has influence’ over Aer Lingus and that this “could reduce competition”. This unfounded claim is disproven by the European Commission’s recent (February 2013) ruling that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has “intensified” since 2007.

Under EU law, the UK CC has a duty of “sincere cooperation” with the EU, and cannot contradict or reach different conclusions to the European Commission’s findings. Inexplicably, this provisional decision by the CC infringes this duty of sincere co-operation by ignoring the recent findings of the European Commission that:

“Aer Lingus and Ryanair compete on a greater number of routes compared to the 2007 Decision” and “there is significant competitive interaction between the Parties” and “evidence collected by the Commission in the market investigation has also confirmed that the competitive relationship between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has at least persisted, if not increased, since 2007”.

Should the CC maintain this untenable position in its final decision (due in July), Ryanair will appeal that decision to the UK Competition Appeals Tribunal and thereafter, if necessary, to the Court of Appeal. Until the outcome of this UK appeal, and the completion of Ryanair’s appeal against the European Commission’s February 2013 prohibition decision, the CC cannot impose any remedies, however unlawful, on Ryanair.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“This provisional decision by the UK CC is bizarre and manifestly wrong. The CC’s finding that Ryanair’s shareholding obstructs Aer Lingus’ ability to attract other airlines was disproved by Etihad’s purchase of a 3% stake and the evidence submitted by other large EU airlines, which confirmed that Ryanair’s shareholding was not a barrier to other airlines acquiring a stake in Aer Lingus. 

In February 2013 the European Commission found that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has “intensified” since 2007. A decision by the Competition Commission that Ryanair’s 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus may lead to a lessening of competition will clearly breach the EU Treaty duty of sincere cooperation between the EU and the UK. Ryanair therefore calls on the Competition Commission to abide by this overriding legal principle and end this bogus and baseless enquiry into a 6½ year old minority shareholding between two Irish airlines.

While Ryanair is one of the UK’s largest airlines, Aer Lingus has a tiny presence in the UK, serving just 6 routes to the Republic of Ireland, a traffic base that has declined over the past 3 years and now accounts for less than 1% of all UK air traffic. This case, involving two Irish airlines where one (Aer Lingus) accounts for less than 1% of the UK’s total air traffic, is yet another enormous waste of UK taxpayer resources on a case which has little if any impact on UK consumers. 

UK taxpayer interests would be better served if the UK Competition Commission investigated (rather than ignored) BA’s recent takeovers of BMI, Iberia and Vueling, instead of wasting time pursuing this Irish case, which is of no consequence to UK consumers.”

Read the full report by The Independent: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile to re-emphasize it does not have much control over Aer Lingus, Ryanair issued this scathing statement on recent Aer Lingus employee compensation increases:

Ryanair, a 6½ year old minority shareholder in Aer Lingus on May 31 condemned the spineless Board and Management of Aer Lingus which has accepted the latest crazy Irish Labour Court recommendation that another €170m to €200m of shareholder funds be squandered to compensate Aer Lingus staff for a pension deficit which Aer Lingus has repeatedly assured shareholders is a defined contribution (‘DC’) pension scheme, and for which Aer Lingus has no further liability. If, as Aer Lingus’ IPO prospectus (and every subsequent annual report) confirmed, neither Aer Lingus nor its shareholders have any liability towards this ‘DC’ pension scheme, then why is yet another €170m to €200m being wasted on yet another pay off for Aer Lingus’ staff.

Ryanair pointed out that this is not the 1st , not the 2nd, but the 6th time (in 7 years) that Aer Lingus’ staff have blackmailed the Government and trade union controlled Board of Aer Lingus, to enrich themselves at shareholders expense at a total cost of over €600m and rising as follows:
  Aer Lingus post IPO exceptional payments to staff & unions
Year
  Payment
Reason
2006
  €132m
Pension deficit & ESOT contributions
2008
  €138m
Staff restructuring and PCI payments
2009
  €89m
Staff restructuring and PCI payments
2010
  €55m
ESOT debt & leave/redundancy tax payments
2012
  €17m
Staff restructuring payments
2013
€170m – €200m
Pension deficit & employee payments
Total
€600m – €630m
This latest staff grab of €170m – €200m confirms Ryanair’s belief that Aer Lingus cannot be trusted to protect shareholder funds from repeated raids by its unions and staff. Over the past 7 years since Aer Lingus’ flotation, more than €600m in “exceptional payments” has been unjustifiably snatched by staff, while the Board and Management repeatedly promise shareholders that each time would be the “last time”. As recently as September 2011, Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller and CFO Andrew Macfarlane assured shareholders at investor meetings that they would not make “any further contributions to the pension scheme above the current DC rate of 6.375%”. Just 18 months later they both roll over and shell out another €170m to €200m and agree an increased D.C. rate of 10%, thereby increasing Aer Lingus’ cost base, with no benefit for Aer Lingus shareholders.
The recent record of this Government appointed Board of Aer Lingus in safeguarding its shareholder funds from staff grabs is awful, as the following examples demonstrate:
1.  Following its 2006 IPO, Aer Lingus made a one off (not to be repeated) contribution of €104m to eliminate its pension scheme deficit on the basis that the scheme would thereafter be a defined contribution (D.C.) scheme and Aer Lingus would have no future obligations for any deficits.
2.  In December 2010, when the ESOT (Employee Share Ownership Trust) was unable to service its bank debts, Aer Lingus wrote a cheque (on Christmas Eve) for €26m – without shareholder approval – to pay off the ESOT’s debts, again with no benefit for shareholders.
3.  Also in 2010 when the Irish Revenue rejected Aer Lingus’ “leave and rehire redundancy scheme”, which gave rise to employee tax liabilities of almost €30m, the Board and Management again rolled over and paid more than €29m in “exceptional payments” – without shareholders approval – to pay off these personal tax liabilities of Aer Lingus staff.
4.  Now in 2013, when the Aer Lingus DC pension scheme has again racked up multi million euro deficits, the unions threaten industrial action, and the spineless Board of Aer Lingus again roll over and splash out between €170m to €200m in pension contributions, pay increases, annual increments and other benefits to Aer Lingus’ staff. This brings to over €600m the exceptional payments made to Aer Lingus staff since the company floated in September 2006.
Ryanair believes that these €600m staff pay-offs over 7 years shows that the Board of Aer Lingus (which is controlled by the Irish Government and trade union bosses) cannot be trusted with shareholder funds.  They roll over every time they are threatened. Ryanair believes that Aer Lingus will, with the connivance of the Irish Government, continue to squander shareholder funds every time they are threatened by the vested interests of staff.
Ryanair will vote against this unwarranted and unjustified pay-off of up to €200m to a ‘DC’ pension scheme which Aer Lingus has confirmed it has no liability for. However since Ryanair’s minority stake gives it no influence or control over Aer Lingus it will yet again be voted down by the Government and unions who control and run Aer Lingus. Ryanair believes that this €600m to €630m of exceptional payments to Aer Lingus staff over the last 7 years since its IPO is a scandal which must be exposed and ended. Ryanair calls on the Board of Aer Lingus to stand up for shareholders and resist this industrial relations blackmail by unions and staff.
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:
“How many times are the Board of Aer Lingus going to roll over when their staff and unions threaten industrial action unless they get paid off again and again. The original pension pay-off of €104m in 2006 was sold to shareholders at the IPO on the basis that Aer Lingus would have no obligation to any future pension deficits. Now despite paying over €400m to its staff in exceptional payouts over the last 6 years, yet another €170m to €200m of shareholder funds is to be squandered on paying off a deficit in a D.C. pension scheme and providing for annual increments which don’t exist in any other privately run company! We believe this is blatant mismanagement by a Board which is controlled by, and panders to, Government and unions and does nothing to protect shareholder funds.
This decision is irreconcilable with the repeated assurances given by Christoph Mueller CEO and Andrew Macfarlane CFO at previous investor meetings that Aer Lingus would not make any further one-off contributions to this D.C. pension scheme. Today’s decision (which could only take place in a company that was controlled by the Government and trade unions) is yet another example of how shareholder funds are being squandered to buy off staff again and again. Ryanair will oppose this latest “daylight robbery” of up to €200m, which brings to over €600m the cash that the staff of Aer Lingus have grabbed in exceptional payments since 2006.
Ryanair does not believe that this latest exceptional payout will be the last. The Aer Lingus unions have repeatedly shown that whenever they threaten, the Board and Management will roll over. This will continue while Aer Lingus remains controlled by a Board of Directors which was appointed by and is controlled by the Irish Government and ICTU boss David Beggs and which has presided over wholesale destruction of Aer Lingus’ share price, a six year record of cumulative losses, 3 years of declining traffic and now over €600m in exceptional pay-offs to Aer Lingus’ 3,000 staff or over €200,000 a head. As a public company, Aer Lingus should be run for the benefit of its shareholders and not to repeatedly enrich its 3,000 staff.”

Top Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Ryanair’s Boeing 737-8AS WL EI-EVF (msn 40291) with “Modlin Jest OK! – Modlin is OK!” sub-titles taxies at the Dublin base.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus’ Airbus A319-111 EI-EPT (msn 3054) lands at Dublin.

Aer Lingus to lease three Boeing 757-200s for thin trans-Atlantic routes, 1Q operating loss widens to $59.1 million

Aer Lingus (Dublin) is planning to wet lease three Boeing 757-200s starting in early 2014. The aircraft will be assigned to thin trans-Atlantic routes. The company believes there is growth potential on these new routes because of its new jetBlue Airways (New York) relationship.

Read the full report from Bloomberg: CLICK HERE

On the financial side, the company will seek to reduce its staff by 100 positions by the end of the year after its first quarter operating loss widened to $59.1 million.

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection. The Boeing 757s will supplement the Airbus A330 fleet. A330-302 EI-EDY (msn 1025) prepares to depart from the Dublin hub.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic prepares to launch “Little Red” on Sunday

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is preparing to launch its new UK feeder service called “Little Red” on Sunday, March 31. The first route will be London (Heathrow)-Manchester. London (Heathrow)-Edinburgh will follow on April 5 and finally London (Heathrow)-Aberdeen will be launched on April 9. The new service will be operated with four Aer Lingus A320s now being painted in the Virgin Atlantic brand.

Virgin Atlantic Careers website: http://careersuk.virgin-atlantic.com/

Copyright Photo: Malcolm Nason. Aer Lingus’ A320-214 EI-DEO (msn 2486) “Queen of the Cobbles” poses for the camera at Shannon on March 28 after the repainting was finished.

Virgin Atlantic Little Red logo

Hot New Photos: AG Hot New Photos

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

JetBlue and Aer Lingus expand their code share relationship

JetBlue Airways (New York) and Aer Lingus (Dublin) have announced a codeshare agreement that expands upon the partnership that has linked the two carriers’ networks at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Boston’s Logan International Airport since 2008.

Flights operated by JetBlue and featuring the Aer Lingus “EI” flight number will soon be available for sale on the Aer Lingus website, travel agents and online travel agencies, connecting the Irish carrier’s transatlantic flights with 29 JetBlue destinations in North America including Baltimore/Washington, Buffalo, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Orlando, Philadelphia, Rochester, Syracuse, Tampa, and West Palm Beach, subject to receipt of government approval.

Through the JetBlue-Aer Lingus partnership, customers can enjoy the convenience of booking a single ticket that includes flights operated by both carriers, with benefits including one-stop check-in and baggage transfer to dozens of destinations throughout the United States.

The start of the new codeshare arrangement coincides with the move of Aer Lingus’ New York flight operations from Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport into JetBlue’s acclaimed Terminal 5. Aer Lingus customers connecting to one of JetBlue’s many destinations across the U.S. will benefit from same terminal connections, one-stop ticketing and baggage check-in for travel on both airlines, from the U.S. to Europe.

With the move to Terminal 5, scheduled for April 3, 2013, the minimum connection time from European arrivals to US departures will be reduced to just about 60 minutes. Customers travelling to Ireland will enjoy connections as fast as 40 minutes.

Copyright Photo: Dave Campbell. Airbus A320-232 N569JB (msn 2075) in the 10th Anniversary scheme taxies to the runway at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

European Commission intends to deny the Ryanair takeover of Aer Lingus

Ryanair (Dublin) is planning to appeal if it is denied its goal of acquiring rival Aer Lingus (Dublin). The airline issued the following statement today:

Ryanair was notified this morning (February 12) at a State of Play meeting with the EU Commission, that the EU Commission intends to prohibit Ryanair’s offer for Aer Lingus, despite the fact that Ryanair has met every competition concern raised in the EU’s Statement of Objections and during the review process, including providing the EU – at its request – with irrevocable commitments from not one, but two, upfront buyers to eliminate all competitive overlaps between Ryanair and Aer Lingus.  IAG has committed that they would take over divestments of Ryanair’s and Aer Lingus’ entire London-Gatwick operations, and Flybe has committed to take over 43 Aer Lingus UK and European routes.

Given that the EU Commission recently approved IAG’s acquisition of BMI at London-Heathrow on the basis of three year commitments, the EU’s claim that it could not be satisfied of IAG’s and Flybe’s commitments to these Irish routes after three years is another example of the EU  holding Ryanair to a much higher standard than any other EU airline. Ryanair’s remedies package is unprecedented.  For the first time in EU airline history, Ryanair delivered not one, but two, substantial upfront EU airline buyers who have agreed to come to Ireland to compete against a combined Ryanair/Aer Lingus.
Ryanair has today instructed its lawyers to appeal any prohibition decision to the European Courts.
Top Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection. Ryanair accurately predicted the demis of bmibaby but it is not getting its way with Ryanair. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DLN (msn 33595) with the “Bye Bye Baby” banner on the fuselage arrives at the Dublin base.
Ryanair: AG Slide Show
Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show
Bottom Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection. Aer Lingus’ Airbus A330-301 EI-JFK (msn 086) prepares to depart from the DUB hub bound for its registration namesake, New York (JFK).

Ryanair to help establish Flybe Ireland if it is able to acquire Aer Lingus

Ryanair logo

Ryanair (Dublin) is proposing to sell a new company and transfer Airbus A320 aircraft in order to establish Flybe Ireland (Dublin) as a new Irish competitor if it is able to acquire rival Aer Lingus (Dublin). The European Commission has previously denied the acquisition because of its competitive concerns for the Irish market.

Flybe logo

Flybe‘s (Exeter) board has accepted the offer. The details have been announced by Flybe:

THE DEAL

  • Flybe has agreed to acquire a new company, Flybe Ireland, from Ryanair for €1 million.
  • Prior to its acquisition by Flybe, Ryanair has agreed to transfer to Flybe Ireland:
    • 43 routes, all within Europe, many to or from current Flybe destinations;
    • The requisite number of slots and licences to operate the routes;
    • A minimum of 9 Airbus A320 aircraft;
    • The requisite number of flight crew, aircraft engineers, management and facilities to operate the business;
    • A cash injection of $135 million (€100 million);
    • All forward sales cash and liabilities, estimated at a further circa €50 million in working capital funding.
  • Ryanair in consultation with Flybe will undertake to develop a one year business plan to deliver a cost structure that, based on the assumption that the preceding year’s revenue remains the same, would provide €20 million in pre-tax profits in the 12 months following the transfer to Flybe Ireland. In the event that the business plan does not project €20 million in pre-tax profits, there is an agreed adjustment mechanism factored into the €100 million cash contribution referred to above.

FLYBE IRELAND

  • Flybe Ireland will:
    • Operate from bases in Dublin and Cork.;
    • Operate 43 routes to 34 destinations in Europe. Flybe currently operates to circa 50% of those destinations in its Flybe UK business;
    • Deploy Flybe’s frequency model on the major city pairs, and its leisure model on the European leisure markets;
    • Have the right to use the Aer Lingus brand for up to three years post the transaction. This will allow it to develop its own brand position in Ireland during a realistic transition period.

COMMITMENTS MADE BY FLYBE TO RYANAIR AS PART OF THE EC REMEDY PACKAGE

  • Flybe Ireland will be committed to operating an agreed frequency on routes, with the ability to terminate a certain number of routes per year whilst maintaining stable capacity in the Irish market.
  • If Flybe Ireland exceeds the route termination threshold, it will pay a contractual penalty.

THE EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Outlined below is the expected timetable:

  • March 2013
    • On 6 March 2013, EC is scheduled to give a decision on the competition aspects of Ryanair’s bid for Aer Lingus.
    • If the EC gives the agreement for Ryanair’s bid for Aer Lingus to proceed, Ryanair may then re-activate its bid with a view to gaining sufficient acceptances from Aer Lingus shareholders.
  • May 2013
    • If the Ryanair bid is reactivated and is successful, Flybe would expect the deal to close on or around mid May.
  • Summer 2013:
    • If the Ryanair bid for Aer Lingus has been successful, Flybe will undertake due diligence on the new entity.
    • It is expected that the Class 1 Circular will be completed and posted to Shareholders in August 2013, followed by an EGM for shareholders to vote.
  • October 2013:
    • The effective date of the transaction is envisaged to be October 2013 with Flybe Ireland commencing operations under Flybe’s ownership at the beginning of the 2013/14 IATA winter season.

 

The Board of Flybe believes that the transaction offers the following benefits to its shareholders:

  • As stated at IPO, the Group’s strategy is to diversify away from its reliance upon UK revenue. This opportunity is a good mixture of diversification, and overlap with our existing route network, to fulfil this goal.
  • Flybe has existing presence and network points at circa 50% of the 34 destinations in the 43 route package.
  • Flybe Ireland will be a well-capitalised company, with circa €150m of cash on the balance sheet, including the one off capitalisation by Ryanair, and the transfer of the forward sales cash within Aer Lingus at the time of the transaction.
  • Flybe Ireland will increase Flybe’s ability to drive further economies of scale from fleet basing, suppliers and airports, as part of this transaction.
  • Flybe has proven expertise in the acquisition and turnaround of acquired entities:
  • In March 2007, Flybe acquired British Airways’ UK regional airline, BA Connect, a business losing £40m per year at acquisition. The business was fully integrated into Flybe within 12 months, and made profits by the end of its first year of ownership. At the time of its acquisition the business had 39 aircraft, 1,700 staff and £350m of revenue.

Ryanair’s motivation for this deal and transaction is to remove the last competitive concerns in the Irish market by the European Commission. Will it work?

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Flybe: AG Slide Show

Aer Lingus Group announces its preliminary financial results for 2012

Aer Lingus Group plc (Aer Lingus) (Dublin) has announced its unaudited preliminary results for the full year ending on December 31, 2012. The company reported:

  • Operating profit, before exceptional items, of $92.9 million (€69.1 million) (up from $65.9 million – €49.1 million in 2011), up  40.7% with strong operating margin of 5.0% (2011: 3.8%).
  • - Total revenue up 8.2% with capacity growth of 0.5%.
  • - Strong balance sheet; total cash up 1.5% to $1.2 billion – €908.5 million as at December 31, 2012. Debt down 7.9% to $714.6 million – €531.6 million.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection. Set against stormy skies, Airbus A330-202 EI-DAA (msn 397) arrives back at the Dublin base and hub.

Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show

The Irish government opposes the latest takeover bid of Aer Lingus by Ryanair

The Republic of Ireland, which owns 25 percent of Aer Lingus (Dublin), has publicly expressed its opposition to the takeover of Aer Lingus by rival Ryanair (Dublin). The European Commission will be the final judge on whether Ryanair can continue to acquire additional shares of Aer Lingus for a possible controlling interest. Ryanair currently controls 30 percent of Aer Lingus stock.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Ryanair issued the following “no comment statement”:

Ryanair said it has no comment to make on the Minister Varadkar’s statement. Since the Government owns just 25% of Aer Lingus, it has no power to block Ryanair’s offer, which can still be successfully completed if we acquire a shareholding of 50% or more (Ryanair currently owns 30%).

The progress of Ryanair’s offer is subject to the outcome of the current EU competition review and Ryanair is continuing to progress that approval process, having submitted an unprecedented remedies package, which will increase competition, choice, traffic and jobs to and from the island of Ireland.
In other news for Ryanair, the ultra-fare carrier announced it had received the final two aircraft of its current Boeing order, growing its fleet to 305 Boeing 737-800s.

According to the airline, “Ryanair’s fleet is the youngest in Europe, with an average age of less than four years, making Ryanair the greenest and cleanest airline. Ryanair confirmed its intention to place a significant order for further aircraft once a sensible pricing agreement with a suitable manufacturer can be reached.”
Ryanair also announced a new route from Ireland West Airport Knock to Malaga in Spain starting on April 4, 2013. Ryanair also announced a new route from London Stansted to Kefalonia in Greece from April 1, 2013 and a new route from East Midlands to Zadar also from April 1, 2013.
Finally Ryanair announced it would open its 54th base (first in Croatia) at Zadar in April 2013 with one-based aircraft and unveiled 7 new routes (16 in total), to/from Dublin, East Midlands, Gothenburg, Haugesund, Liverpool, Paris and Wroclaw.
Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner. Aer Lingus is an Airbus operator and Ryanair is a loyal Boeing customer up until now, although it is due to place another order. The battle for Aer Lingus could also determine which manufacturer prevails in the future if a takeover and merger is successful. Airbus A319-111 EI-EPR (msn 3169) of Aer Lingus arrives at London (Heathrow).
Aer Lingus: AG Slide Show
Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Ryanair criticizes Brussels Airlines, the Belgian government, Lufthansa and Aer Lingus, announces a new Eindhoven base

Ryanair (Dublin) has publicly stated it will not move to Brussels (Zaventem) should Brussels Airlines (Brussels) fail due to its current financial losses. The airline is committed to Charleroi near Brussels. The company issued the following statement:

Ryanair rejected recent speculation emanating from the Belgian Government and/or Brussels Airlines that there was some prospect that Ryanair would move to Brussels Zaventem when Brussels Airlines disappears due to its catastrophic losses. Ryanair has rejected this idle speculation and confirmed its commitment to its base at Brussels Charleroi, where Ryanair has operated for 15 years, and has built a growing and successful partnership with Brussels South Charleroi Airport.

Ryanair confirmed that it has recently reaffirmed its traffic development plans with Brussels Charleroi Airport, that it continues to add new aircraft and new routes at Charleroi, continues to grow traffic and jobs in Charleroi, and that it has no intention of moving to Brussels Zaventem, even if Brussels Airlines, an airline which is effectively controlled by Lufthansa (Frankfurt), ceases operations.
Ryanair called on the Belgian Government to reject Brussels Airlines pathetic attempt to obtain subsidies for its high labour costs, which would result in the Belgian taxpayer effectively subsidising Lufthansa, one of Europe’s strongest airline groups.
Ryanair pointed out that Lufthansa freely chose to take a 45% stake in Brussels Airlines, and if Lufthansa is unhappy with Brussels Airlines cost base, then it should reduce those costs or invest in the airline, rather than inappropriately pressurising the Belgian Government to subsidise another large Lufthansa partner.
Ryanair, Europe’s only ultra-low cost airline, today announced it would open its 52nd base (second Dutch base) at Eindhoven in April 2013 with one based aircraft as it invests over $70 million at Eindhoven Airport.

Ryanair will grow at Eindhoven as follows:
  • 1 based aircraft
  • 31 routes
  • 4 new routes to/from Agadir, Bordeaux, Chania and Fez
  • Warsaw Modlin extended for summer season
  • Increased frequencies to/from Alicante, Faro, Ibiza, Malaga, Marrakech and Pisa
  • 238 weekly flights (up 8%)
  • 1.7 million pax p.a (up 7%)
  • 1,700 jobs at Eindhoven Airport
Ryanair also took a public swipe at competitor Aer Lingus (Dublin) which it has been attempting to take control. Here is the full statement:
Ryanair criticized the Board and Management of Aer Lingus for their latest “wet lease” agreement with Virgin Atlantic Airways (London), which Ryanair believes is yet another example of Aer Lingus’ commercial failure and lack of any independent future.

Ryanair highlighted that this is Aer Lingus’ second attempt at such a wet lease type arrangement, following the trans-Atlantic “partnership” with United Airlines (Chicago), which started in March 2010, under which Aer Lingus switched one of its trans-Atlantic aircraft, to operate an effective wet lease for United Airlines on the Washington – Madrid route.  In July 2011, Aer Lingus’ CEO Christoph Mueller claimed We operate the aircraft very cost efficiently and United is selling it at very reasonable yields and it works…”.  Mr Mueller “believes this type of operation could be strategically important for the future”.  Yet this “strategically important” partnership was ended by United in October 2012 after just 30 months.
Ryanair called on the Board and Management of Aer Lingus to explain why Aer Lingus is wet leasing four of its larger A320 aircraft to Virgin Atlantic to operate routes to/from London Heathrow Airport which have no connection with or value to Ireland.  Where will these four aircraft come from?  Will they be taken from Aer Lingus’ existing bases at Shannon, Cork or Dublin?  Will this result in yet another decline in Aer Lingus’ traffic, which has already fallen from 10.4 million in 2009 to 9.5 million in 2011?  Will Aer Lingus’ contribution to Ireland’s “Grabbing” in 2013 be yet another 1 million cut in capacity and traffic to/from the Republic of Ireland?
Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said:
“In 2010 Aer Lingus was promising that the United Airlines wet lease “partnership” would be the way forward, yet 2 years later United abruptly cancelled the deal and returned the aircraft to Aer Lingus.  Instead, United have now entered the Washington-Dublin route, which Aer Lingus previously withdrew from.
Today’s announcement that Aer Lingus is to take 4 of its existing aircraft away from Ireland, thereby reducing its Irish traffic by up to 1 million passengers annually, so that it can rent these aircraft to Virgin Atlantic on a short-term wet lease arrangement seems to be yet another admission that Aer Lingus has no commercial strategy or independent future.  What happens in a year or two years time if Virgin Atlantic wants to cancel the deal and Aer Lingus is left with 4 aircraft with nothing to do, but has 1 million fewer core passengers ?
If, as Aer Lingus claims, their brand and commercial strategy is working, then why are they spray painting 4 aircraft in Virgin colours and renting them out, rather than running more routes to/from Ireland for the “Grabbing” in 2013?  Ryanair believes that this latest wet lease deal with Virgin is yet another sign that Aer Lingus has no viable commercial strategy, a mismanaged and fading brand and no independent future.”
Copyright Photo: Guillaume Besnard. Boeing 737-8AS EI-EKJ (msn 38497) with special “Comunitat Valenciana” promotional sub-titles climbs away from Barcelona.
Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Ryanair is still optimistic about its proposed takeover of Aer Lingus after the EC ruling

Ryanair (Dublin) is still optimistic about final European Commission approval of its proposed takeover of rival Aer Lingus (Dublin). The European Commission has raised concerns about competition in Ireland despite Ryanair’s offer to surrender European routes from Ireland to allow for other carriers to add Irish service.

Ryanair issued the following statement:

Ryanair, Europe’s only ultra-low cost airline, confirmed on November 14 that its discussions continue with the European Commission about its radical package of remedies designed to address the Commission’s competition concerns in relation to Ryanair’s June 19 offer for Aer Lingus. This comprehensive remedies package includes a number of new airline bases in Dublin, new entrant competitors on over 40 routes to/from Dublin, Cork and Shannon, as well as specific competition solutions that guarantee increased price competition on routes to and from Ireland.

Following receipt of the Commission’s statement of objections last evening (November 13), a standard procedural step in Phase II EU merger reviews, Ryanair expects that the Commission will shortly market test this transformational remedies package, and remains confident that its offer for Aer Lingus will receive competition clearance following any fair assessment by the Commission. A detailed process of engagement with the EU Commission is now underway.

Ryanair’s offer for Aer Lingus is being reviewed while dramatic changes take place across the EU airline industry, including: (1) a large restructuring of Iberia with 4,500 job losses; (2) the takeover of Vueling by IAG, combining the Number 2 and Number 3 airlines in Spain; (3) a major restructuring of SAS including 6,000 job losses and state backed loan guarantees; and (4) the planned merger of Aegean and Olympic, the Number 1 and Number 2 airlines in Greece.

It is against this backdrop that Ryanair is proposing a merger that provides secure jobs, growth opportunities and financial benefits for all shareholders in a larger Ireland based EU carrier.

Read the local media analysis of this proposed merger from The Irish Times: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DCL (msn 33806) in the Dreamliner livery lands at London (Luton).

Ryanair: 

Aer Lingus: 

Bottom Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection. Airbus A320-214 EI-DEJ (msn 2364) taxies at the Dublin base.

Ryanair continues its push for Aer Lingus by asking at least six airlines to fly from Ireland

Ryanair (Dublin) is making a new push to obtain a controlling interest in rival Aer Lingus (Dublin). According to this report by the Financial Times, Ryanair has approached at least six international airlines to consider starting long-range international service to and from Dublin to increase competition. If Ryanair is able to take control of Aer Lingus (so far Aer Lingus is fighting off this hostile attempt), Ryanair would need regulatory approval to complete the transaction which could lead to a possible future merger. Regulatory concerns would be concentrated around the lack of competition from DUB if Ryanair is successful, hence the new push for new competition.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, Ryanair is adding new service to Tenerife Norte from both Barcelona and Madrid starting on November 7, 2012.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DLK (msn 33592) approaches Ryanair’s largest hub at Stansted Airport near London.

Ryanair Slide Show: 

Aer Lingus has a pre-tax first half loss of $30.1 million

Aer Lingus (Dublin) has reported a first half pre-tax loss of $30.1 million.

Read the full analysis from the Irish Examiner: CLICK HERE

Read the full report from the airline: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Dave Glendinning. Airbus A320-214 EI-DVM (msn 4634) painted in the 1963 retrojet livery taxies at London (Heathrow).

Aer Lingus: 

Aer Lingus rejects the hostile takeover bid by rival Ryanair

Aer Lingus‘ (Dublin) board of directors today rejected a takeover bid by rival Ryanair (Dublin). Ryanair yesterday launched a new bid to take control of the Irish international flag carrier. The board is recommending that all stockholders take no action on any proposals by Ryanair. Ryanair currently controls 29.82 percent of the Aer Lingus stock and is seeking to acquire a controlling share.

Read the full report from Finfacts Ireland: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle.

Aer Lingus: 

Aer Lingus wants to fly domestic routes in the United Kingdom

Aer Lingus (Dublin) is planning to launch a domestic route in the United Kingdom between London (Heathrow) and Edinburgh according to the Irish Independent. The route is up for grabs after British Airways (London) took over bmi (East Midlands) and was forced to give up the appropriate LHR slots as ordered by the European Commission. Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has also expressed an interest in serving the UK domestic route. The projected expansion comes after Ryanair (Dublin), which owns 29.8 percent of the Aer Lingus stock, launched its hostile bid to take control of the Irish carrier.

Read the full report from the Irish Independent: CLICK HERE

In other news, Aer Lingus today announced its schedule for winter 2012 along with the addition of six new routes and increased frequencies.

Dublin to Verona and Stockholm and Cork to Brussels are set to continue right throughout the winter, owing to their continued popularity. Other exciting destinations on offer include Copenhagen, Bordeaux and Venice.

Frequencies will be increased on a further eight popular routes such as Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam. There will also be extra flights to Lanzarote and Tenerife which will be music to the ears of those seeking out a winter sunshine holiday in the Canary Islands.

Copyright Photo: Sebastian Fernandez.

Aer Lingus: 

Ryanair makes a new bid to take control of Aer Lingus

Ryanair (Dublin) has made another attempt to acquire a controlling share of rival Aer Lingus (Dublin). The ultra low-fare carrier which already owns slightly under 30 percent of the current Aer Lingus stock is offering a premium price of 1.30 euros a share, a 38 percent premium according to this report by Reuters. If Ryanair is successful in becoming the majority owner, the acquisition of the stock would still be subject to approval by the European Commission which in 2007 blocked a previous attempt by Ryanair due to concerns about the lack in competition in the Irish market if a transaction was approved.

Meanwhile Aer Lingus has told its shareholders to do nothing and to hold on to their shares. Will a quick profit tempt many stockholders?

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth.

Ryanair: 

Aer Lingus: 

Bottom Copyright Photo: Jay Selman.

Aer Lingus’ workers at Shannon threaten a strike over a potential move to Dublin

Aer Lingus (Dublin) is facing a possible strike by maintenance workers at a Shannon hangar over a potential consolidation move to Dublin. The 55 workers are protesting the move.

Read the full story from the Irish Examiner: CLICK HERE

In other news, Ryanair’s (Dublin) 30 percent share in Aer Lingus is being investigated by a British examiner over the fear the ownership could lead to higher ticket prices (so far the acquisition has not changed anything in Ireland or the UK).

Read the full report from the Irish Times: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough.

Aer Lingus: 

Aer Lingus posts a 38% improvement in the first quarter: reduces loss to $47.2 million

Aer Lingus Group (Aer Lingus) (Dublin) reduced its first quarter loss by 38 percent to $47.2 million.

Highlights of the quarter according to the Irish carrier:

  • - Strong Q1 performance with revenues & operating loss both better than prior yr.
  • - Q1 2012 operating loss of €36.1 million improved by 32.8% on Q1 2011.
  • - Quarterly result driven primarily by strong revenue performance; yield per passenger up 8.4%; passenger numbers increased by 6.6%.
  • - Particularly strong long haul performance with Q1 passenger volumes and yield up 12.1% and 11.2%, respectively, compared to prior year.
  • - Retail revenue per passenger increased by 8.5% in the first quarter.

Read the analysis by the Irish Times: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough.

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Etihad Airways acquires a 2.987% share in Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus (Dublin) has a new partner. Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), still on its spending spree, has acquired a 2.987 percent share of the Irish flag carrier. Aer Lingus has issued the following statement:

“Aer Lingus Group plc is aware of speculation that Etihad Airways has acquired a shareholding in the Group. Aer Lingus confirms that Etihad has acquired a holding of 2.987% of the Group’s issued share capital. Etihad has stated to Aer Lingus that it does not intend to increase this stake, pending the outcome of the discussions referred to below.

Aer Lingus and Etihad are engaged in discussions which to date have focused on reciprocal code-share opportunities. Future discussions may explore additional commercial and cost opportunities to develop a closer working relationship in areas such as joint procurement. Aer Lingus views these discussions as a natural progression of its successful Greenfield cost reduction program. There can be no certainty as to the outcome of these discussions.”

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best.

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Etihad Airways Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Aer Arann to operate Aer Lingus Regional flights from Dublin to Southend

Aer Arann (Aer Lingus) (Dublin) will launch three daily Aer Lingus Regional roundtrips between the Dublin hub and Southend (near London) in May for Aer Lingus.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton.

Aer Lingus’ profits were up in 2011 but warns about the affects of higher fuel costs for 2012

Aer Lingus (Dublin) reported net profit for 2011 rose to $95.6 million. The airline expects a profitable 2012 but warned against the affects of higher fuel costs.

Read the full report from the WSJ: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton.

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Aer Arann paints its first ATR 42 in the Aer Lingus Regional colors

Aer Arann (Dublin) has painted its first ATR 42 in the colors of Aer Lingus Regional. On January 18, 2012 this Aer Arann (Dublin) ATR 42-300 registered as EI-CBK (msn 199) was rolled out at Shannon in full Aer Lingus Regional colors after repainting by Eirtech Aviation. Named “St. Fintain”, EI-CBK is the first Aer Arann ATR 42 to be painted in Aer Lingus Regional colors.

In February 2010 Aer Lingus announced it was entering into a joint venture with Aer Arann to establish Aer Lingus Regional, which would be operated by Aer Arann with a portion of the profits going to Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus took no equity stake in Aer Arann but the deal involved Aer Lingus bulk-buying seats on Aer Arann services. The move allowed Aer Lingus to expand its operations without the need for additional aircraft plus serve airports that cannot handle the Aer Lingus fleet. The agreement covers all former Aer Arann flights from Cork as well as new and existing Aer Lingus flights from Dublin including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Doncaster.

Aer Lingus Regional commenced scheduled operations on March 28, 2010.

Copyright Photo: Malcolm Nason.

Aer Lingus to start new routes to Stockholm and Verona

Aer Lingus (Dublin) will launch a new route from Dublin to Stockholm (Arlanda) (four times a week) starting on March 25, 2012.

Additionally the airline will also launch Dublin-Verona twice-weekly flights on the same date.

Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle.

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

 

Aer Lingus posts a strong third quarter

Aer Lingus (Dublin) posted an operating profit of $130 million in the third quarter. This represents an increase of 19 percent.

Read the full story from The Irish Times: CLICK HERE

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle.

European Routes from Dublin:

Ireland considers selling its 25% share in Aer Lingus, Ryanair promises not to bid

Aer Lingus (Dublin) is partially owned by the government of Ireland as a “strategic asset”. The government is now considering selling its 25 percent share in the flag carrier.

According to this report by Reuters, Ryanair stated it would not bid for the 25 percent stake if the government indicated that such an offer would be unwelcome.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Ryanair Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil. Please click on the photo for additional information.

Aer Lingus posts a first half net loss of $19 million

Aer Lingus (Dublin) posted a net loss of $19 million. However the company remains optimistic about the second half due to increased bookings.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle. Please click on the photo for information about this logojet.

Aer Lingus announces 10 new routes for Winter 2011/2012

Aer Lingus (Dublin) has announced 10 new routes as part of its winter schedule for 2011/2012 including an exciting route from Cork to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

The new service will operate once weekly, commencing on Sunday October 30, 2011. This route expands on the extensive choice already on offer to Aer Lingus customers travelling to the Canary Islands, with scheduled services also available from Ireland to Lanzarote, Tenerife and Fuerteventura.

This winter, Aer Lingus will introduce three weekly flights from Cork to Barcelona and a twice weekly service from Cork to Rome.

The Aer Lingus network will be extended to include twice weekly services from Belfast to both Rome and Alicante.

The extensive route network from Dublin will now include four weekly flights to Milan Malpensa throughout the winter schedule – good news for ski and snowboarding enthusiasts seeking out the snow this winter.

The recently launched service to Stuttgart will also be extended this winter with four weekly flights from Dublin.

Aer Lingus Regional will continue to provide a wide range of services to the UK, with services from Dublin to Aberdeen and Bristol being extended into the winter months. Flights from Shannon to the increasingly popular city-break destination of Edinburgh will also be extended to operate throughout the winter.

Copyright Photo: Roy Lock.

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Aer Lingus takes delivery of its first Airbus A319

Aer Lingus (Dublin) today (July 1) accepted its first Airbus A319. Formerly operated by Iberia, A319-111 EI-EPR (msn 3169) arrived at the DUB base.

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle. Please click on the photo for the full story.

Aer Lingus to acquire four Airbus A319s from Iberia

Aer Lingus (Dublin) is getting ready to acquire four Airbus A319s from Iberia. The first (EC-KEV) is being painted into EI colors at Madrid.

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Happy 75th Anniversary Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus (Dublin) formally unveiled its Airbus A320 1963 retrojet yesterday (June 9).

The pictured A320-214 EI-DVM (msn 4634), named “St Coleman”, was painted especially for the anniversary celebrations and was officially unveiled yesterday at a ceremony at the iconic, Old Central Terminal Building Dublin Airport – designed by the late Desmond FitzGerald.

Cabin crew modelled vintage uniforms, from each decade beginning 1945 through to the current Aer Lingus uniform by acclaimed designer, Louise Kennedy.

Speaking at the event, Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller said: “2011 is a very special year for Aer Lingus as it marks the airline’s 75th anniversary. Since the early days of 1936, Aer Lingus has grown to become a flag carrier with a worldwide reputation for our friendly staff, our high quality of service, value for money and innovation. Throughout the 75 years we have carried out our mission of connecting Ireland with the world, transporting millions of customers annually. We look forward to continuing to fly the shamrock for the next 75 years.”

On May 27th 1936 Aer Lingus launched its first ever flight between Baldonnel and Bristol, with five passengers, on a six-seater De Havilland 84 Dragon named Iolar, – meaning ‘eagle’ in Irish. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the sister aircraft of the Iolar has undergone a restoration project, meaning it is once again airworthy and will partake at celebratory events throughout the year.

Copyright Photo Below: Aer Lingus:

In its inaugural year Aer Lingus operated three routes, carrying 892 passengers and employed a total of 12 staff. In 2010, its 75th year of service, the airline carried 9.4 million passengers, flying to over 100 routes – to 75 destinations in 22 countries and providing employment to almost 4,000 staff.

Aer Lingus was founded by the Irish Government in April 1936 to provide air services to/from Ireland. The first flight, from Dublin to Bristol, took place on May 27th 1936. On October 2nd 2006, Aer Lingus entered a new phase in its history with the airline’s floatation on the Irish and London Stock Exchanges, becoming a publicly quoted company and realising euro 400 million in equity for the airline’s future growth.

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Paul Doyle. Please click on the photo for additional information.

Logo:

Aer Lingus’ pilots call off their strike, the airline is running a full schedule

Aer Lingus (Dublin) today is running a full schedule.

The airline announced after an “extensive engagement” between the airline, the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association and Impact unions over the weekend, the immediate threat of industrial action has been removed according to this report by the Irish Times.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Please click on the photo for additional aircraft information.

Aer Lingus in talks to advert another strike

Aer Lingus (Dublin) today (June 1) went to the Labour Relations Commission in an attempt to resolve a simmering issue with pilots over rostering arrangements.

This move follows a move by the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) to notify the airline of its intention to begin industrial (Strike) action next Tuesday (June 7).

Read the full story for Herald.ie: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Sebastian Fernandez.

Aer Lingus Slide Show: CLICK HERE

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