Category Archives: IAG

IAG, Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air submit French ATC strikes complaint to European Commission

A320neo, delivered on April 25, 2018

International Airlines Group (IAG), Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air have submitted complaints to the European Commission against France as its air traffic controllers’ strikes restrict the fundamental principle of freedom of movement within the EU.

The airlines are not questioning the right to strike but believe France is breaking EU law by not enabling flights over the country during strikes. Passengers on overflights are being denied their fundamental freedom to travel between member states not affected by strike action.

So far this year, French ATC strikes have increased by 300 per cent versus 2017. Last month, the French Senate confirmed that France alone is responsible for 33 per cent of flight delays in Europe. The Senate states also that the right to strike has to be balanced against the obligation to provide public service. (*).

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “The right to strike needs to be balanced against freedom of movement. It’s not only customers flying in and out of France who are affected during French ATC strikes. Passengers on routes that overfly France, especially the large airspace that covers Marseille and the Mediterranean, are also subject to delays and massive disruptions. This affects all airlines but has a significant negative impact on Spain’s tourism and economy.”

The complaints state that there is a legal precedent to this case. In 1997, the Spanish complained to the European Commission after they suffered for many years when French farmers prevented their fruit and vegetable exports into the EU. The European Court ruled against France as the French authorities didn’t address the farmers’ actions and failed to ensure the free movement of goods (**).

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive, said: “Europe’s ATC providers are reaching the point of meltdown with hundreds of flights being cancelled and delayed daily either because of ATC strikes or because Europe’s ATC don’t have enough staff. When Greece and Italy have ATC strikes, overflights continue as normal. Why won’t France do the same? ATC providers (especially in Germany and the UK) are hiding behind adverse weather and euphemisms such as “capacity restrictions” when the truth is they are not rostering enough air traffic controllers to cater for the number of flights that are scheduled to operate. These disruptions are unacceptable, and we call on Europe’s Governments and the EU Commission to take urgent and decisive action to ensure that ATC providers are fully staffed and that overflights are not affected when national strikes take place, as they repeatedly do in France.”

Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s chief executive, said: “We fully respect the right to strike and have been in constructive dialogue with the EU and the French government to address the issue of ATC strikes. Unfortunately, our passengers have felt little progress so far, which is why we felt it is necessary to take this next step – particularly given the sustained industrial action this year which has totalled 29 days to date.”

József Váradi, Wizz Air’s chief executive, said: “The failure of French air traffic control authorities to ensure a continued and adequate service has already caused massive disruption to the travel plans of thousands of passengers across Europe, with airlines left to pick up the pieces. Addressing this issue must be a priority for the European authorities to ensure European citizens and businesses are no longer held hostage to national industrial relations issues.”

According to Eurocontrol, more than 16,000 flights had been delayed by June this year due to ATC strikes, affecting more than two million passengers.

Last summer, the European Commission said that since 2005 there have been around 357 ATC strikes in Europe. That’s the equivalent of roughly one month per year when the EU skies are disrupted.

Top Copyright Photo (all other photos by respective airlines):

British Airways aircraft slide show: British Airways Airbus A320-251N WL G-TTNB (msn 8139) LIS (Stefan Sjogren). Image: 942707.

British Airways slide show (Airbus):

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IAG’s statement on Norwegian

Response to Press Speculation on Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA

International Airlines Group (IAG) notes the recent press speculation that it is considering making an offer for Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (Norwegian).

IAG considers Norwegian to be an attractive investment and has acquired a 4.61 per cent ownership position in Norwegian (minority investment).

The minority investment is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian.

IAG confirms that no such discussions have taken place to date, that it has taken no decision to make an offer at this time and that there is no certainty that any such decision will be made.

A further announcement will be made if appropriate.

 

Enrique Dupuy de Lôme

Chief Financial Officer

IAG to acquire Niki, will be put under Vueling

Transferred to Airberlin on January 12, 2017

International Airlines Group – IAG (London) has announced it will acquire insolvent Niki (Vienna) for €36.5 million ($43.8 Million). IAG became the lone bidder after the Lufthansa Group pulled out of the bidding. The IAG also out bid Niki Lauda who was bidding to take back his former airline. The IAG will pay €20 million ($24 million) for Niki’s assets and provide liquidity of up to €16.5 million to Niki.

The new Niki will become a subsidiary of Vueling and the IAG will employ most of the former Niki employees (around 740). Vueling will now be able to grow its presence in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Niki is now likely to adopt the Vueling brand.

Copyright Photo: Niki Luftfahrt (flyNiki.com) (Airberlin) Airbus A320-214 D-ABHF (OE-LEE) (msn 2749) PMI (Javier Rodriguez). Image: 937271.

Niki:

IAG is the last remaining bidder for Niki

Niki-The Spirit of Niki (flyniki.com) Airbus A320-214 OE-LEU (msn 2902) (Airberlin colors) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 929150.

The International Airlines Group-IAG is the last remaining bidder for insolvent airline Niki (Vienna) according to Reuters. Niki was part of the Airberlin Group.

Copyright Photo: Niki-The Spirit of Niki (flyniki.com) Airbus A320-214 OE-LEU (msn 2902) (Airberlin colors) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 929150.

Niki aircraft slide show:

IAG to launch LEVEL, a new low-cost, long-haul carrier

International Airlines Group (IAG) is launching LEVEL – a new low cost longhaul airline brand that will take to the skies in June 2017 with flights from Barcelona to Los Angeles, San Francisco (Oakland), Buenos Aires and Punta Cana.

LEVEL will fly two new Airbus A330 aircraft branded in its own livery and fitted with 293 economy and 21 premium economy seats. Initially it will be operated by Iberia’s flight and cabin crew and will create up to 250 jobs based in Barcelona.

Barcelona has been chosen as the first European city for the launch of IAG’s new operation but LEVEL will look to expand its flights from other European cities.

Fares start from €99/US$149 one way.

Checked luggage (in addition to a free cabin bag), meals, seat selection and the latest movie releases will be complimentary for customers flying in premium economy. Those travelling in economy can chose what they want to buy based on a menu of choices. All customers will have access to next generation inflight technology with a wide range of onboard entertainment options. High speed internet connectivity will be available with prices starting at €8.99.

LEVEL’s customers will be able to earn and redeem Avios – the loyalty currency for IAG’s airlines. This will give them the opportunity to fly to 380 destinations across the Group’s network.

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “LEVEL is an exciting new IAG airline brand which will bring a stylish and modern approach to flying at prices that are even more affordable. It will benefit from having the strength of one of the world’s largest airline groups behind it.

“LEVEL will become IAG’s fifth main airline brand alongside Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. It will complement our existing airline portfolio and further diversify our current customer base.

Image: IAG.

IAG orders 31 Airbus wide body and narrow body airliners

International Airlines Group (IAG) (British Airways, Iberia and Vueling Airlines) (London) has signed a firm order for 31 Airbus aircraft, which includes 11 wide-body aircraft (eight A350-900s, three A330-200s) and 20 A320neos.

IAG logo

 

The A350s and A330s are slated for Iberia’s fleet modernization and to open new long-haul routes, and the A320neos will be allocated to the group’s airlines for fleet replacement.

Iberia (2013) logo

With this latest order for 31 aircraft IAG and its airlines have ordered a total of nearly 450 aircraft from Airbus. IAG’s airlines British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, between them operate nearly every aircraft in Airbus’ product range from the smallest single aisle A318 to the world’s largest wide-body A380.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. The new Airbus A330-200s for Iberia will replace the aging Airbus A340-300s and compliment the pictured Airbus A330-300s. Iberia is due to take delivery of its first Airbus A330-200 in December 2015. Iberia’s Airbus A330-302 EC-MAA (msn 1515) approaches the runway at Miami International Airport.

Iberia aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG Prints-6 Sizes

 

European Commission approves with concerns IAG’s proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus

The European Commission (Brussels) has issued this statement concerning the proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus (Dublin) by the International Airlines Group (IAG) (London):

European Commission logo

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Irish airline Aer Lingus by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG).

IAG is the holding company of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. The clearance is conditional upon commitments offered by the parties to address the Commission’s concerns regarding the transaction as notified.

The Commission had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition on several routes.

The Commission also found that the merged entity would have prevented Aer Lingus from continuing to provide traffic to the long-haul flights of competing airlines on several routes.

European Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “By obtaining significant concessions from the airlines the Commission has ensured that air passengers will continue to have a choice of airlines at competitive prices after IAG’s takeover of Aer Lingus.

The five million passengers travelling each year from Dublin and Belfast to London will be able to choose among several strong carriers.

And we are also protecting passengers travelling on connecting flights between Ireland and the rest of the world.”

The clearance decision is conditional upon the following commitments, which address the Commission’s concerns:

The release of five daily slot pairs at London-Gatwick airport to facilitate the entry of competing airlines on routes from London to both Dublin and Belfast ; and Aer Lingus continuing to carry connecting passengers to use the long-haul flights of competing airlines out of London- Heathrow, London-Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin .

The Commission’s investigation

The Commission’s investigation found that the transaction, as initially notified, would have led to high market shares on the Dublin-London, Belfast-London and Dublin-Chicago routes. The merged entity would have faced insufficient competitive constraints from the remaining players which could ultimately lead to higher prices.

The Commission also analysed whether there was a risk that IAG would prevent passengers flying on Aer Lingus’ short-haul flights, from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Belfast, from

connecting with long-haul flights operated by competing airlines out of other European airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Dublin and Amsterdam.

IAG submitted commitments to release five daily slot pairs at London Gatwick which can be used on the specific routes of concern, namely Dublin-London and Belfast-London.

The availability of these slots, and other incentives such as the acquisition of grandfathering rights after a certain period of time, facilitate the entry of competing airlines.

Furthermore, IAG made a commitment to enter into agreements with competing airlines which operate long-haul flights out of London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin so that Aer Lingus will continue to provide these airlines with connecting passengers.

Passengers will therefore continue to have a choice to use other airlines than IAG when connecting at these airports, for instance on Heathrow-New York, Gatwick-Las Vegas, Manchester-Orlando, Amsterdam-Singapore, Shannon-Chicago, and Dublin-Chicago.

These commitments adequately address all competition concerns identified by the Commission.

The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it. The transaction was notified to the Commission on 27 May, 2015.

Companies and products International Consolidated Airlines Group (“IAG” ) of the United Kingdom, is the holding company of British Airways, Iberia Líneas Aéreas de España S.A. and Vueling Airlines S.A.

Aer Lingus of Ireland is currently mainly owned by the Republic of Ireland and Ryanair, a competing carrier. Other significant shareholders include Etihad Airways.

Both IAG and Aer Lingus provide air transport for passengers, air transport for cargo, airport ground handling services and landside cargo handling services.

Merger control rules and procedures

The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

The vast majority of mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review.

From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).

The commitments offered by the Parties will be made available as of 16 July under the case number

The International Airlines Group (IAG) issued this statement:

IAG logo

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) welcomes the decision by the European Commission to approve its Offer for Aer Lingus.

IAG has offered the following remedies to the EC as part of the regulatory process:

  • Five daily slot pairs will be made available to other airlines at London Gatwick for flights between the airport and Dublin or Belfast.
  • Specifically, two of the five daily frequencies must be operated between Gatwick and Dublin.
  • One daily frequency must be operated between Gatwick and Belfast.
  • The other two frequencies can be operated between Gatwick and either Dublin or Belfast.
  • Other airlines can apply for seats on Aer Lingus’ shorthaul network for their transfer passengers, on normal commercial terms.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. London’s Gatwick Airport was the main competitive concern for the EC. Aer Lingus’s Airbus A320-214 EI-DEE (msn 2250) arrives at LGW.

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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