Primera Air Suspends Operations

Primera Air has suspended operations from Monday 1 October 2018. The Civil Aviation Authority will not be arranging repatriation flights for UK passengers.

London Air Travel » Primera Air

Primera Air
Primera Air

Primera Air has today, Monday 1 October 2018, suspended all operations with immediate effect.

Its scheduled transatlantic flights today from London Stansted Flight PF41 to Newark and Flight PF47 to Washington Dulles have been cancelled.

Primera Air has been in operation since 2004. It only entered the consciousness of the UK travelling public over the past year with the launch of transatlantic flights.

By any measure, its transatlantic operations had got off to a difficult start. Flights from Birmingham were suspended shortly after launch. At Stansted, the airline had to lease aircraft to cover late deliveries of new Airbus A321 aircraft, with some flights carrying very substantial delays. Late aircraft substitutions also meant that some flights had to stop in Reykjavik for refuelling.

This had not deterred Primera Air’s ambitions. It had planned to launch transatlantic flights from Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt and Madrid next summer.

This year has proved to be a difficult one for small transatlantic airlines. Norwegian has cancelled all transatlantic flights from Belfast and Edinburgh. It has also had to wet lease aircraft to cover some flights from London Gatwick.

Whilst low cost long-haul airlines have proven that there is a market for an unbundled long-haul economy product, they have illustrated how difficult it is for small airlines to manage long-haul operations. They do not have the schedules and fleets, nor the alliance and joint-venture partners, to cover aircraft availability issues.

Repatriation Flights & Rescue Fares

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has issued the following guidance for passengers who have booked flights with Primera Air.

Put simply, as Primera Air is not regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority it will not be arranging any repatriation flights.

For passengers who have booked flights, the best advice is to contact your credit company. For passengers who need to return home, your travel insurer may be able to assist.

In the past when airlines have collapsed, other airlines have announced “rescue fares” where you can buy a ticket for the same price as your original fare. These may be announced in the coming days.

Update Tuesday 2 October 2018

A number of European airlines have offered special fares for routes matched by Primera Air. In some cases you will need to provide evidence of an existing reservation with Primera Air at the time of booking and possibly at check-in.

British Airways is offering special fares, but only for those who are stranded and need to return to London. These can only be booked by contacting BA directly.

Norwegian is offering a discounted fare for London Gatwick – New York JFK for travel up to 14 October 2018. This can only be booked by calling +47 210 16771.

Ryanair is offering special fares from London Stansted to Malaga, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. These are available up to midnight Thursday 4 October for travel up to March 2019. These can be booked through Ryanair

Virgin Atlantic is offering a distressed traveller fare. This is available by calling 0344 8747747. Bookings can be made up until 16 October 2018, for travel available to 31 October 2018.

Continue reading “Primera Air Suspends Operations”

Primera Air to launch Stansted – Boston & Newark

Primera Air is to launch direct flights from London Stansted to Boston and Newark in Spring 2018.

London Air Travel » Primera Air

Primera Air
Primera Air

Primera Air is to launch direct flights frowm London Stansted to Boston and Newark in the spring of 2018.

Flights from London Stansted to Boston will launch on Saturday 19 May 2018, operating four times weekly.

Flights to from London Stansted to Newark will launch on Thursday 19 April 2018, operating daily.

These flights will be the first transatlantic operations from London Stansted in many years.

What is also noteworthy is that Primera Air will be using the Airbus A321 aircraft, in a two class economy and premium economy configuration.

Primera Air will be the first airline to use this aircraft for transatlantic flights from the U.K.   It will be interesting to see if this aircraft facilitates more expansion and more new entrants into the market, in the same way the Boeing 787 facilitated the arrival of Norwegian at London Gatwick and the launch of many new routes by BA at London Heathrow.

The airline is a relatively unknown name in the UK.  Its operations are mainly based in Scandinavia, operating short-haul flights in Europe.

Primera Air is of course not the first airline to seek to enter the UK transatlantic market.  There is a long list of airlines that have tried and failed: eos, MaxJet, SilverJet and La Compagnie.

Given that its rivals offer very high levels of frequency on this route and many of its passengers are wielded to their frequent flyer cards, a strong marketing effort will also be required to generate traffic.

If Primera Air is to be successful in what is a very competitive market then it will need to instil confidence, before and after launch, that it will have reliable operations with sufficient contingency plans if things go wrong.

Flights are on sale now at Primera Air with promotional fares from £149 each way.

Update February 2018:. Primera Air has since announced it will launch three times weekly flights to Toronto Pearson from Saturday 19 May 2018 and four times weekly flights to Washington Dulles from Wednesday 22 August 2018.

London Stansted – Boston

Flight PF043 Depart London Stansted 17:00 – Arrive Boston 20:10 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)
Flight PF044 Depart Boston 21:40 – London Stansted 09:30 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)

London Stansted – Newark

Flight PF041 Depart London Stansted 17:55 – Arrive Newark 21:20
Flight PF042 Depart Newark 22:50 – Arrive London Stansted 11:00