Tag Archives: Barcelona

WestJet is now flying to Barcelona

WestJet on May 24 opened greater access to both Europe and Canada with its inaugural flight between Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) and Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ). The airline’s new route is its first to Spain and gives European business and leisure travellers access to the greater WestJet network through the airline’s Toronto hub.

The three-times weekly service is operated on WestJet’s Boeing 767-300 that includes the airline’s updated Premium and Economy cabin service. This summer, with the addition of Barcelona, WestJet will operate to five European cities including London, Gatwick, Paris, Dublin and Glasgow.

Route Frequency Departing Arriving Effective
Toronto-Barcelona Three-times weekly 10:05 p.m. 11:50 a.m. +1 May 24, 2019
Barcelona-Toronto Three-times weekly 1:20 p.m. 4:15 p.m. May 25, 2019

Photo: WestJet.

Etihad Airways celebrates its launch of services to Barcelona

Etihad Airways has celebrated the launch of its new scheduled service to Barcelona in style by hosting a spectacular evening reception at the historic Capella dels Angels, a sixteenth-century Gothic building which is now part of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). The event was attended by leading figures from the local government, diplomats, media, corporate partners, and travel trade.

The inaugural flight, EY49, arrived in Barcelona from Abu Dhabi on November 28 carrying a special delegation of dignitaries, media representatives, influencers and senior members of Etihad Airways’ management team.

Photo: Etihad Airways.

United to add summer seasonal fights from Newark and Washington Dulles to three international destinations

United Airlines (Chicago) is adding daily trans-Atlantic summer-season service next year between:

Newark and Athens, Greece, from May 25 through October 5, 2016
Washington/Dulles and Barcelona, Spain, from May 25 through September 6, 2016
Washington/Dulles and Lisbon, Portugal, May 25 through September 6, 2016

All services are subject to government approval.

Newark to Athens

United’s daily nonstop service between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Athens (ATH) will operate using Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

Flight times will be 9 hours 50 minutes eastbound and 11 hours westbound.

Washington/Dulles to Barcelona

The nonstop flights between Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Barcelona (BCN) will operate daily with Boeing 767-400 aircraft (above).

Flight times for the Barcelona service will be 8 hours 10 minutes eastbound and 9 hours 15 minutes westbound.

United has served Spain for more than 20 years, and this new service complements the airline’s existing year-round flights to both Barcelona and Madrid from Newark.

Washington/Dulles to Lisbon

The airline will use Boeing 757-200 aircraft for flights between Washington/Dulles and Lisbon (LIS).

Flight times will be 7 hours 25 minutes eastbound and 8 hours 20 minutes westbound.

These flights are in addition to United’s existing year-round service to Lisbon from Newark. In 2016, United will mark 19 years of Lisbon service.

 

United and United Express offer nearly 500 daily departures from the New York/Newark area to more than 150 destinations – the most in North America, the most across the Atlantic, the most across the Pacific and the most to and from Latin America.

 

United, together with United Express, operates nearly 225 flights daily from its Washington/Dulles hub to destinations throughout the United States and to Europe, Asia, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-424 ER N59053 (msn 29448) departs from London (Heathrow).

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Eurowings to add four new routes from Vienna

Eurowings (Dusseldorf) in February, through its parent (Lufthansa Group,) announced Vienna, Austria would be its first base outside of Germany:

Eurowings (2014) logo (large)

“Following close consultation with Austrian Airlines (Vienna) and at the carrier’s own request, two Airbus A320 aircraft are being stationed at VIE initially, offering point-to-point connections on European routes. The aircraft are to fly in the colors of the new Eurowings. The aircraft will be staffed with crews from Austrian. This partnership is possible as a result of Austrian’s new collective agreement, which was entered into in December 2014 and offers additional prospects to the 900 pilots and 2,300 flight attendants.

With the new Eurowings brand, the Lufthansa Group is entering new markets in the price-sensitive leisure travel sector, thereby safeguarding its leading position in its home markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium. By the end of 2015, Eurowings and Germanwings along with other European airlines are to be united on a joint platform and should acquire new customers by offering low-cost short and long-haul services.”

In October, Eurowings will be taking over 55 routes from Germanwings along with the appropriate amount of aircraft and crews to fly the newly assigned routes.

Eurowings has now announced a further expansion at VIE with four additional routes starting on  November 9 to Barcelona, London (Stansted), Palma de Mallorca and Rome (Fiumicino).

The new Eurowings will operate the Airbus A320s in Austria under a new Austrian AOC.

Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 D-AIZR (msn 5525) approaches the runway at Zurich.

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EasyJet to expand at Milan Malpensa, Naples and Venice and reduce operations at Rome Fiumicino

EasyJet (easyJet.com) (London-Luton) today announced a strengthening of its Italian strategy through expanding its bases in Italy at Milan Malpensa and Naples and the opening of a new base in Venice from April‎ 2016. The airline plans to support this expansion by redeploying aircraft and crew from Rome Fiumicino.

easyJet (UK) 2015 logo

EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall‎ outlined the airline’s plans:

“Italy is a key strategic country for easyJet and our plans for 2016 announced today will expand our presence at Milan, Naples and Venice, where there are more opportunities for long term sustainable and profitable growth, while ensuring we continue to connect Rome Fiumicino with Europe in a way that best reflects passenger demand.

“Milan, Naples and Venice are all centres of important Italian economic regions. Each has high levels of passenger demand from leisure as well as business passengers and all have demand for flights both into and out of Italy.

“Our expansion in these three airports will bring thousands of direct and indirect jobs in each region and will ensure easyJet remains the largest airline at each airport giving all three cities the best network connecting them with the rest of Europe.

“At a time when there are significant profitable growth opportunities for easyJet across Europe we are continuing to make a very significant investment in Italy. easyJet has grown steadily in Italy in recent years in terms of investment and jobs and will base 29 aircraft in the country next year, employing over 1000 pilots, cabin crew and other staff and supporting thousands more direct and indirect jobs.”

Barcelona

EasyJet also announced that it is to open a new base in Barcelona from February 2016, basing three Airbus aircraft there. Barcelona has always been a key network point for easyJet and the base opening consolidates easyJet’s strong position at Barcelona carrying almost three million passengers a year to and from 14 airports across Europe.

With aircraft based at the airport business travellers will be able to benefit from earlier departures as well as an increased number of flights on existing routes connecting to primary airports in Europe such as London, Paris, Geneva and Milan.

Venice

EasyJet will open a base at Venice Marco Polo Airport starting from April 2016. With four Airbus aircraft based at the airport, easyJet will increase its contribution to the local economy by providing 150 local jobs for pilots and cabin crew.

Venice has for some time been a key network point for EasyJet, having operated flights into and out of the city since 1998. The airline has increased the number of passengers carried by an average rate of 15% per year over the last five years. easyJet currently flies to Venice from 15 primary airports across Europe – such as London Gatwick, Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle – and is the largest airline at Marco Polo Airport.

As well as being a world famous tourist destination the region is Italy’s third largest economy and 28% of easyJet’s 1.6 million passengers on flights to and from Venice are travelling on business. This will be further enhanced when aircraft are based at the airport as business travellers will be able to benefit from early morning departures.

Milan Malpensa

Milan Malpensa is already easyJet’s second largest base with 18 aircraft and will receive three more from April 2016, providing over 100 new jobs for pilots and cabin crew. This will strengthen EasyJet’s existing status as the largest airline at Milan Malpensa and gives the airline a strong strategic position serving Italy’s richest metropolitan area of some 9 million people with one of the country’s highest GDP.

Naples

EasyJet opened its new base in Naples in 2014 and is now firmly established as the largest airline at the airport. Naples is southern Italy’s largest city and the third largest in the country.

EasyJet already bases three aircraft in Naples and will base one more plane there from April 2016 providing 35 more jobs for pilots and cabin crew. Naples is a top European destination both for tourism – the city being listed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO – and for business with a wide network of more than 260,000 companies and 2.6 million business travellers flying from Naples every year.

Rome Fiumicino

The Rome Fiumicino base is delivering lower returns than EasyJet’s other bases and the new services and routes which will be operated as a result of this redeployment will better match easyJet’s customers’ needs and deliver higher returns for the airline.‎

The worsening performance of the Rome Fiumicino base has been driven by high airport passenger charges, which have more than doubled since 2012, and will be burdened by further above inflation increases in the coming years. In addition, Rome Fiumicino airport provides a poor passenger experience which has led to low levels of punctuality and customer satisfaction which the recent capacity increases have exacerbated.

As a result of the redeployment EasyJet will cease basing crew and aircraft at Rome Fiumicino from April 2016. There will be no job losses as a result of this decision as easyJet will be offering Rome Fiumicino based crew a transfer to our other Italian bases. The airline will offer individual relocation plans and support for all employees. easyJet hopes that as many of its crew as possible take up this offer.

EasyJet remains committed to connecting Italy with the rest of Europe and will continue to fly around 2 million passengers to and from Rome Fiumicino next year out of its bases across its network. This decision does not reflect in any way on easyJet’s Rome Fiumicino based people or the commitment and effort they have made to deliver a friendly customer experience and high operational standards.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZDJ (msn 3544) painted in the new 2015 livery arrives at Southend near London.

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Vueling Airlines outlines its expanded 2015 summer schedule

Vueling Airlines (Barcelona) will operate more than 60,000 flights between June and September, offering more than 11 million seats, a 13% percent increase over the same period in 2014.

Vueling now operates on 366 routes with a fleet of 100 aircraft and 3,000 flight personnel.

The fast-growing airline issued this outline for its summer schedule:

Vueling logo

Vueling, the busiest airline at its Barcelona base, will make more than 60,000 flights and 366 routes in the summer season beginning on 15 June, its eleventh. It will offer a total of more than 11 million seats, 13% more than in 2014.

In the busy summer travel season the company will take off and land more than 700 times each day –an average of once every two minutes– at the 155 airports it serves.

Vueling’s fleet numbers some 100 Airbus A319s, A320s, and A321s which will log more than 62 million kilometers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa this summer, with nearly 3,000 people making up its cockpit and cabin crews.

Vueing A320-200 EC-JTR cockpit (Vueling)(LR)

Photo Above: Vueling Airlines. The cockpit of Airbus A320-214 EC-JTR (msn 2798).

To meet the summer demand, Vueling will field flights crews totalling nearly 3,000 people, including 979 pilots and 1,974 cabin staff.

Vueling’s newest aircraft feature wingtip “sharklets” (above) and other features enhancing fuel efficiency and environmental protection.

The new Airbus A319s, A320s and A321s have been joining the fleet gradually since January, and are being named in the airline’s inimitable style: You’re the Vueling that I Want (EC-MEL); Keep Calm and Vueling (EC-MEQ); Vueling my best dream (EC-MER); Leonardo da Vueling (EC-MES); Vueling Topic (EC-MFK); Ich Bin Vuelinger (EC-MFL); Are you Vueling to me? (EC-MFM); In Vueling We Trust (EC-MFN); and #BuenVueling (EC-MGE).

366 Routes, from Cape Verde to Moscow

Vueling will operate on a total of 366 routes to 155 cities in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. New destinations this summer include Saragossa in Spain; Ancona and Trieste in Italy; the Algarve in Portugal; Manchester, Belfast and Birmingham in the UK; Rabat in Morocco; Accra in Ghana; and Moscow-Sheremetyevo in Russia.

Also noteworthy are the airline’s new direct routes to the islands of Lampedusa in Italy; Madeira in Portugal; Yerba in Tunisia; Sal in Cape Verde; and Corfu, Lemnos, Lesbos, Samos, Cephalonia and Zakynthos in Greece. Vueling flies to more islands than any other airline, reaching no fewer than 35 by direct flights from its hubs in Barcelona-El Prat and Rome-Fiumicino.

Copyright Photo: Ariel Shocron/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 EC-LZM (msn 5877) with Sharklets and painted in the special Coruna livery departs from Madrid.

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Ryanair full year profit jumps 66% to €867 million on renewed customer service, will lease in six aircraft

Ryanair logo-3

Ryanair (Dublin) announced a full year net profit of €867 million ($947.7 million) for the fiscal year ending on March 31.

The company issued this statement:

Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, said:

“We are pleased to celebrate Ryanair’s 30th Birthday by reporting this 66% increase in net profit which demonstrates the enduring strength of Ryanair’s lowest fare/lowest cost model which has been transformed by the success of our “Always Getting Better” (AGB) customer experience program. AGB has attracted millions of new customers to Ryanair.

Highlights of the past year include:

– Traffic up 11% to 90.6 million as load factors rose from 83% to 88%

– Unit costs ex fuel were flat (including fuel they fell 5%)

– Net profits rose 66% as net margin jumped from 10% to 15%

– Earlier loading of schedules led to materially stronger forward bookings

– AGB Year 1 program delivered, Year 2 improvements rolled out

– Ryanair Labs is transforming our digital and mobile platforms

– Lead customer order for 200 x Boeing 737 Max 200 aircraft

– 2nd Eurobond issue (€850m @ 1.125% coupon) lowers our finance costs.

Business Development:

Over the past year we have relentlessly improved our lowest fare/lowest cost model. We have expanded into primary airports, added business schedules and extended long term low cost growth deals at major bases including London (STN) and Dublin where the Irish Government has rebooted tourism by abolishing the travel tax.

Our AGB program is transforming our customer experience, our service, and the way we listen and respond to our customers. We have won substantial traffic and share gains in all markets. We are now the No. 1 or No. 2 airline in most EU countries except France and Germany (where we are a rapidly growing No. 3). Since our Year 1 AGB program has been so successful we have launched our Year 2 program as part of our strategy to make Ryanair Europe’s most customer friendly, as well as its lowest fare, airline.

This combination of lowest fares and improving customer experience has led to higher load factors and double digit traffic growth. To facilitate this growth we have ordered 183 Boeing 737-800’s for delivery from 2014-2018, and 200 Boeing 737 Max 200’s from 2019-2023 (including 100 option aircraft). These aircraft will deliver at lower US$ rates and much lower Eurobond finance rates which (with 8 extra seats and 18% more efficient engines) will transform our aircraft costs and enable us to lower fares, which underpins our traffic and market share growth, while maintaining and/or growing margins.

Operations:

Our summer 2015 fleet of 320 aircraft is insufficient to handle the demand for Ryanair’s low fares. We will lease-in 6 aircraft in the peak period (7 in 2014) to help meet this surging demand. We expect over half of our growth to occur at primary airports such as Brussels, Lisbon, Rome, Athens, Copenhagen, Berlin, Cologne, Dublin and London (STN). Much of this growth is being stimulated by our Business Plus and Family Extra services which have been key features of our AGB program and our successful entry/growth at these primary airports.

We continue to deliver industry leading punctuality despite the occasional and repeated damage inflicted on our operations by unjustified ATC strikes and airspace closures or by adverse weather in different European regions during the winter schedule as follows:-

Last year we set out a strategy to drive stronger forward bookings, encourage customers to book earlier to avail of lower prices and deliver higher load factors. These higher load factors have helped to reduce unit costs and boosted ancillary sales. I am pleased that forward bookings, as we enter the S15 peak (June to Sept), are on average 4% ahead of last year, and we expect this will lead to a 2% points rise in load factors from 88% to 90% in FY16 especially as customers enjoy our AGB service improvements.

Revenue and Costs:

We celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ryanair first bringing low fares to Europe ( July 8, 1985) by growing our traffic 11% to 90.6 million customers. This generated revenue growth of 12% which was a pleasing result given we had no new aircraft deliveriesin summer 2014. Ancillary revenues grew at a slightly faster rate than traffic so total revenue rose 12% to over €5.6 billion.

Unit costs which benefited from lower unhedged fuel prices (10% of volume) fell by 5%. Excluding fuel our unit costs were flat, which was an impressive performance in a year where we made a substantial move to more expensive primary airports without compromising our 25 minute turnarounds. The fact that we maintained flat unit costs (ex-fuel) while many competitors saw their unit costs rise means that our cost leadership over competitors has widened during the last year. This bodes well for our growth, especially as we move into airports and routes where our competitors are charging markedly higher fares. This price advantage has helped Ryanair win substantial market share from competitor airlines in Dublin and London (STN), in particular.

Hedging:

Over the last year we have taken advantage of currency and fuel price weakness where possible, to establish a very favourable hedge position as follows:

– oil is 90% hedged for FY16 at $92 pbl

– oil is 36% hedged for FY17 at $69 pbl

– US$ OpEx is 90% hedged for FY16 & FY17 at $1.33 & $1.19 respectively

– US$ CapEx is 100% hedged for FY16, FY17 & FY18 at $1.37, $1.34 & $1.23 respectively

This favorable US$ hedging will deliver significant aircraft, maintenance and fuel savings over the next 2 years, even before we engage in further oil hedging during periods of price weakness.

Balance Sheet and Shareholder Returns:

Our rising profits are generating significant free cash flows, which has enabled us to deliver substantial returns to shareholders. In Feb. 2015 we paid our 3rd special dividend of €520 million (€0.37 per share) and then launched our 6th share buyback under which we hope to buy and retire €400 million of ordinary shares by the end of August. This will bring the cash returned to shareholders over the past 8 years to almost €3 billion.

Despite these pay-outs we still finished the year with €364 million in net cash and a balance sheet rated BBB+ by both S&P and Fitch Ratings, the highest rating of any airline worldwide. We expect our Eurobond program, (under which we have raised €1.7 billion unsecured at blended rates of 1.50% p.a.) will lower our financing costs, boost profitability and continue to strengthen our balance sheet.

Regulation:

Europe’s airline industry continues to be blighted by over-regulation which frequently places producer monopoly protection above the interest of consumers, or growth in tourism and jobs. Examples such as Europe’s discredited ETS system, the shambles of our single sky project and the failure to prohibit ATC strikes (either by “no strike” legislation, or binding arbitration) allows the ATC Unions to regularly and repeatedly close Europe’s skies.

The UK CMA’s 2013 divestment ruling under which this UK regulator orders one Irish airline to reduce its minority stake in another, solely on the basis of “secret” evidence that no other airline would bid for Aer Lingus while Ryanair held a minority 29.8% shareholding, has now been hopelessly disproven by IAG’s offer. We have written to the CMA calling on them to reverse this ruling but have been amazed that they (in their provisional decision) have claimed that the IAG bid for Aer Lingus (which they predicted would not happen) is not a “change of circumstances”. We believe the CMA will be totally discredited if they do not reverse this manifestly erroneous ruling.

In the meantime our approach to the IAG offer remains unchanged. The Board of Ryanair will consider any offer (should we receive one) from IAG on its merits, if or when it is received.

Ryanair strongly supports the development of additional runway capacity in the London market. We believe that the market should be free to develop 3 new runways, one each at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted which is the only long term solution to the capacity crisis in the South East, and which will encourage all 3 airports to deliver additional capacity quickly and cost efficiently.

Outlook:

Thanks to our lowest fares, our growth into primary airports and the remarkable impact of our Year 1 AGB program, we continue to experience strong demand and forward booking momentum. Average load factors in the first 4 months of 2015 grew by 10%. While this will slow to 1% or 2% over the peak summer months (due to high p/y comparables) forward bookings are on average 4% ahead of this time last year, as our earlier schedules, lower prices and AGB customer program, particularly at primary airports attracts millions of new customers to Ryanair.

While our traffic growth this year will be strong, (up 10%), it would be foolish not to expect some irrational pricing response from competitors who cannot compete with our lowest costs and fares. Ryanair will remain vigorously “load factor active/price passive”. Therefore, even with the benefit of lower oil, aircraft and financing costs we may suffer periods of fare/yield weakness especially during the H2 winter season. This is why our yield guidance remains cautious at broadly flat in H1 but down 4% to 8% in H2 for a forecast FY yield decline of 2%. If this decline proves accurate then we believe that lower unit costs in FY16 will still provide a 10% improvement in profits, which should (subject to H2 yields over which we have no visibility) rise to a range of €940 million to €970 million for the full year to March 2016.”

Hannah Maundrell Editor in chief of money.co.uk comments:

“Who ever thought we’d see Ryanair’s customer focus heralded as exemplary? Their impressive profits should act as a clear lesson to any company that thinks low prices excuse poor standards. Consumers want value for money, and they want to be treated fairly. Ryanair is proof that it’s never too late to turn things around.”

Copyright Photo below: Guillaume Besnard/AirlinersGallery.com. Ryanair will have to lease in six aircraft this summer to meet demand. Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS WL EI-EKJ (msn 38497) with “Comunitat Valenciana” sub-titles departs from Barcelona.

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