AirBaltic (airBaltic.com) (Riga) will launch a new route between Riga and Keflavik serving Reykjavik, Iceland on May 28, 2016. AirBaltic will fly from Riga to Keflavik (Reykjavik) twice weekly. Passengers will board a Boeing 737-300 for a flight that will last 4 hours and 5 minutes.
AirBaltic is expanding operations at both Tallinn (Estonia) and Vilnius (Lithuania) following the failure of Estonian Air (Tallinn). airBaltic expects by 2021 to be operating 11 nonstop routes from both cities.
AirBaltic will also increase the Vilnius – Tallinn and Tallinn – Vilnius routes to 10 flights a week (Monday through Friday) with Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft for a flight that will last 1 hours and 20 minutes.
In other news, AirBaltic will sign a new agreement with investor Ralf Dieter Montag-Girmes of Germany for a 20 percent share in the airline.
Additionally the carrier is expected to finalize its order for 17 Bombardier CS300s it has on tentative order.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-31S YL-BBR (msn 29266) arrives in Zurich.
Norwegian today reported its second quarter results for 2015. The pre-tax result (EBT) was 456 million NOK ($56.0 million), an improvement of 593 million NOK ($72.8 million) from the previous year. The load factor for this period was 85 percent with strong progress in all of Norwegian’s markets. This also applies to the long-haul operation, where the load factor was over 90 percent and the passenger number has more than doubled since the same period last year.
The load factor for the second quarter was 85 percent, up five percentage points from the same quarter last year. Norwegian’s long-haul operation had an even higher load factor of 91 percent. During the second quarter, the airline carried 324,000 passengers on its long-haul network. This means that passenger figures for the long-haul operation has more than doubled since the same period last year, where the passenger number was 139,000. Norwegian currently operates 434 routes in Europe, USA and Asia – 21 of which are long-haul routes. All in all, Norwegian has 28 long-haul destinations for sale, with more to come within just a few weeks, including London Gatwick – Boston.
During the second quarter, Norwegian took delivery of a new 787 Dreamliner and two Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Today, Norwegian has a long-haul fleet of eight Dreamliner aircraft. Four more Dreamliners will be added to the fleet next year; all of which will be a bigger version of the ones Norwegian operates today.
Solid growth in all markets
Seven million passengers chose to travel with Norwegian in the second quarter – an increase of nine percent. Norwegian’s strongest growth in terms of passenger numbers was at London Gatwick, with Oslo Airport as a close runner up. The Spanish airports are also experiencing a solid rise in number of Norwegian-passengers. During this quarter, Norwegian has launched domestic routes in Spain, new routes to the Caribbean, as well as new routes between the Caribbean and the cities of Boston, New York and Washington DC.
Despite a weak Norwegian krone, the unit costs are down, ensuring the company’s competitiveness in the future. The fuel prices have decreased, which more than outweighs the effects of a weak Norwegian krone. New aircraft consume considerably less fuel than older aircraft, which gives Norwegian a significant competitive advantage. Norwegian boasts one of the world’s youngest aircraft fleets with an average age of just four years.
During the second quarter, Norwegian’s total revenue was almost 5.9 BNOK, up 16 percent from the same quarter last year. Norwegian’s long-haul routes had a revenue growth of 60 percent. Norwegian’s production growth (ASK) for this quarter was 8 percent, while the company’s traffic growth (RPK) was 15 percent, which reflects that each of Norwegian’s passengers on average flies significantly longer than they did before. In addition, more and more passengers are purchasing optional extras on board.
Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Norwegian is phasing out the last of the older and less fuel efficient Boeing 737-300s. The last of the type is expected to be retired at the end of the current summer season. Boeing 737-31S LN-KHB (msn 29264) is pictured departing at Southend.
ASL Aviation Group (Dublin) is combining and rebranding its four European airlines under the same name. Air Contractors, Europe Airpost, Farnair Switzerland and Faranair Hungary will begin operating under the ASL Airlines brand. The group issued this statement:
Ireland based ASL Aviation Group is to launch a new European airline brand, ASL Airlines, as part of its strategy for continued growth in passenger and cargo operations.
ASL’s 4 European airlines are to be renamed under the new ASL Airlines brand and there will be 4 airline operations ‘centres of excellence’ in Ireland, France, Switzerland and Hungary.
Air Contractors will become ASL Airlines Ireland
Europe Airpost will become ASL Airlines France
Farnair Switzerland will become ASL Airlines Switzerland
Farnair Hungary will become ASL Airlines Hungary
The ASL Group, which employs 1,500 globally, will continue to be based at its Corporate Support Office in Swords, County Dublin and will be led by Group Chief Executive, Hugh Flynn.
The total ASL fleet is +/- 100 aircraft depending on leasing arrangements, of which 75 aircraft are flying in Europe and in future will operate as ‘ASL Airlines’. Some of these aircraft will be painted in airline customer colours while the rest will soon start to become visible in Europe’s airports in the new ASL Airlines livery.
The strategy, named ‘Platform for Growth’, is an initiative aimed building on ASL’s leading role in various express integrator, passenger and postal markets in Europe.
ASL will also expand its global presence through its interest in Safair in South Africa and cargo airlines K-Mile in Thailand and QuikJet in India where ASL announced last week that its shareholding is to increase to 72.59%.
The new ASL Airlines brand and identity will achieve a number of key strategic aims:
The creation of an evolutionary new identity and brand image
A progressive transition from the current ASL Aviation Group identity
Show a clear and consistent link between ASL Aviation Group and the 4 airlines
Reflect key selling points of trust, reliability, size and credibility
Affirm ASL’s commitment to our value proposition to our customers
Enable us to enhance optimisation across the group
Increase the competitiveness of each airline in the market
“Our intent is to have a new strong single brand that will play a major role in helping us to achieve our vision and mission and reflect our corporate values in our business”, said ASL Group Chief Executive, Hugh Flynn.
“This strong single brand will make it considerably easier to use the aircraft of the European fleet across the individual countries to meet customer demand and this increased fleet flexibility and consequent competitiveness will enable us to grow our business”, Hugh Flynn continued.
Hugh Flynn explained that ASL’s optimisation potential will include the creation of ‘Centres of Excellence’, reducing cost and improving safety, reliability, quality and profitability, 4 of ASL’s 5 corporate values.
“In addition”, he said. “there will be increased security of employment, job satisfaction and challenge for all of the people of ASL, our 5th corporate value, and the most important after safety,”, Hugh Flynn concluded.
A 5th operations ‘centre of excellence’ in South Africa will oversee the continued growth in Safair, the specialist humanitarian Hercules operator; FlySafair, South Africa’s first ‘true’ low cost airline launched in October 2014 and the two Asian airlines. ASL’s aircraft leasing platforms will also continue to be based in Dublin.
To facilitate the ‘Platform for Growth’ strategy the ASL Group is being restructured into two divisions, European Airlines and Rest of the World Airlines and Leasing.
The current CEO of Air Contractors, Colin Grant will become Chief Executive of the new European Airline’s division and will be based in Dublin.
The current CEO of Safair, Dave Andrew, will become Chief Executive of the new Rest of the World Airlines and Leasing Division and will be based between Johannesburg and Dublin.
‘Platform for Growth’ will see ASL increase the number of aircraft in its combined cargo and passenger fleets. Aircraft will also be transferred throughout the group to facilitate the airlines and their ‘centres of excellence’ becoming specialists in operating specific aircraft types.
The 4 European airlines to be rebranded ASL Airlines currently operate throughout Europe for the leading express freight integrators and for postal services in France and the UK from hubs in France and Germany and between bases throughout the continent from Norway to Greece.
Passenger services are also operated under the airlines own brand from Switzerland, Ireland and France while the Irish airline, Air Contractors, operates three passenger Boeing 757’s on daily transatlantic flights from Dublin and Shannon to Canada and the United States.
Air Contractors – ASL Airlines Ireland
Copyright Photo above: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. ATR 72-212 EI-SLK (msn 395) prepares to land at Shannon.
Irish Airline, Air Contractors, will be rebranded as ‘ASL Airlines’ Ireland. Just last week the airline won the prestigious ‘Aircraft Operator of the Year’ award at the Irish Aviation Authority sponsored Irish Aviation Awards.
Copyright Photo above: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Contractors operates this Boeing 757-2Q8 EI-LBS (msn 27623) for Aer Lingus.
Air Contractors operates Boeing 757-200 transatlantic passenger services from Shannon and Dublin to North America for Aer Lingus and also operates Boeing 737 charter passenger services throughout Europe from Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock Airports.
The airline also operates a fleet of turbo prop and jet aircraft for express parcel integrators throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Air Contractors aircraft slide show:
Europe Airpost – ASL Airlines France
Paris CDG based Europe Airpost will be rebranded as ‘ASL Airlines’ France. The airline operates a fleet of Boeing 737-300/-400/-700 aircraft on passenger and cargo services.
Copyright Photo above: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-31S EI-STA (msn 29057) of Europe Airpost arrives at scenic Salzburg, Austria.
Europe Airpost flies passenger charter services for tour operators throughout Europe and the Mediterranean countries, as well as VIP and ad hoc passenger flights throughout the world. On the cargo side, Europe Airpost flies for overnight and postal operators within France and Europe, and operates ad hoc cargo flights throughout the world.
As part of its strategy of diversification, Europe Airpost also operates a weekly scheduled cargo service out of Paris CDG to Tunis, and a number of seasonal scheduled passenger routes serving France, Austria, Portugal and Halifax (Nova Scotia/Canada) via Dublin.
Europe Airpost aircraft slide show:
Video: Europe Airpost:
Farnair Europe – ASL Airlines Switzerland and ASL Airlines Hungary
The two European airlines in the Farnair Group will be rebranded as ‘ASL Airlines’ Switzerland and ASL Airlines Hungary.
Copyright Photo above: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Farnair Switzerland ATR 42-320 HB-AFF (msn 264) arrives back at the Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg base.
Farnair operates a fleet of turbo prop and jet aircraft for express parcel integrators throughout Europe and also operates cargo turbo prop services in Africa. Farnair also operates ATR42 passenger services.
Farnair’s joint venture airlines in Asia, Quikjet in India and K-Mile in Thailand are not included in the rebranding initiative.
Norwegian reports strong growth in all European markets with a capacity increase of 36 percent and a load factor of 85 percent in its third quarter results. The pre-tax result (EBT) was 505 MNOK, compared to 604 MNOK the same quarter previous year. The costs associated with wet-leasing replacement aircraft and a weak Norwegian Krone (NOK) significantly affected the figures.
Even with strong passenger growth, the load factor was high and increased by three percentage points to 85 percent in the third quarter. Norwegian carried 7.1 million passengers this quarter and the company’s operations at London Gatwick had the strongest passenger growth.
The pre-tax result (EBT) was 505 MNOK, compared to 604 MNOK the same quarter previous year. The combination of a weak Norwegian Krone (NOK), the delayed approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation and costs associated with flight delays, affected the results this quarter. Wet-leasing replacement aircraft and extra fuel, as well as accommodation, food and drink for delayed passengers also created extra costs. The costs associated with the long overdue application before the U.S. Department of Transportation for a foreign air carrier permit for Norwegian’s Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International were also considerable. The application is in full accordance with the Open Skies Agreement between the EU and the U.S.
“We’re very satisfied that throughout our world-wide route network, an increasing number of new passengers choose Norwegian. Norwegian has recently received several international awards and was even named ‘Europe’s best low-cost airline’ the second year running. However, we have also experienced some turbulence this quarter. Our results are affected by additional costs related to the pending U.S. permit for our subsidiary in Dublin, consequently reducing our ability to optimize our fleet of aircraft. Even though technical difficulties with our Boeing 787 Dreamliners have also caused additional costs, our long-haul operation now consists of more aircraft and improved reliability. Looking into 2015, we will see a year of consolidation and lower growth. Next year, our fleet of short-haul aircraft will consist exclusively of Boeing 737-800s as older Boeing 737-300s will be phased out,” said CEO Bjørn Kjos.
Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Norwegian will retire its last Boeing 737-300 in 2015. Devoid of a tail photo, Boeing 737-31S LN-KHC (m,sn 29295) arrives in Stockholm (Arlanda).
airBaltic (airBaltic.com) (Riga) is dropping its two routes to Istanbul (Sabiha Gokcen) and Kaliningrad on May 27 per Airline Route.
The airBaltic fleet currently consists of three aircraft types – 5 Boeing 737-500s, 8 Boeing 737-300s and 12 Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) NextGen turboprops, in total – 25 aircraft. The company hopes to replace the Boeing 737 fleet with new Bombardier CS300 aircraft which has been delayed.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-31S YL-BBS (msn 29267) taxies at Antalya, Turkey.