Here’s the first of our weekly round-up of aviation business news, published every Monday at 07:00 UK time.
A major theme in European aviation this year has been another wave of consolidation in Europe. This time it has been forced by Air Berlin, Alitalia and Monarch entering into administration procedures. easyJet, International Airlines Group, Norwegian and WizzAir have all been identified as potential buyers for Monarch’s short-haul business. However, the main value to these airlines will be its slot portfolio at London Gatwick. Full details of the Civil Aviation Authority’s plans to bring stranded passengers back to the UK are on its website.
It’s been another bad week for Ryanair. The airline has announced the cancellation of some 18,000 flights over the winter season. These include the suspension of London Gatwick – Belfast and London Stansted – Edinburgh & Glasgow from Wednesday 1 November 2017 to Saturday 24 March 2018.
The press duly charged Ryanair with the cancellation of Christmas. The Civil Aviation Authority also announced enforcement action against Ryanair concerning its alleged failure to inform passengers of their rights to be re-routed on alternative airlines and their right to reimbursement of consequential expenses.
Routes Online held its World Routes conference in Barcelona this week. International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh was one of the headline guests last Sunday. Never short of an opinion, Willie outlined ambitious plans to grow its low cost long-haul airline Level. A second European city after Barcelona will be announced in the coming months, likely to be Paris or Rome and the airline will increase its fleet substantially in the next couple of years.
Willie Walsh was also somewhat dismissive about the prospects of Air France’s new airline Joon whose brand identity was unveiled this week. Joon will launch on 1 December 2017 and its initial routes which will include Paris Charles de Gualle to Barcelona, Berlin, Lisbon and Porto. Fortaleza in Brazil and Mahé in the Seychelles will follow in summer 2018.
KLM will also fly to Fortaleza from Amsterdam Schipol three times weekly from 2 July 2018.
On the subject of low cost long-haul, Canadian airline WestJet unveiled its new low cost long-haul brand Swoop. Details are relatively scant at the moment, other than it will be headquartered in Calgary, will launch in 2018 and will operate a fleet of Boeing 737-800 Max aircraft.
In London, Norwegian launched its four times weekly service from London Gatwick to Singapore. This is hot on the heals of the launch of Denver and Seattle two weeks ago. Buenos Aires, Austin and Chicago O’Hare will follow in 2018.
BA also marked the arrival of its 25th Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft has of course had a significant impact opening new routes to Austin, San Jose, New Orleans. Nashville and The Seychelles will follow in 2018. It is also extending its reach on BA’s existing network, flying to Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro from late October 2017 and Mexico City from 1 November 2017.
Feedback on the World Traveller cabin on the Boeing 787-800 is conspicuosly absent in this official video:
easyJet held its annual Capital Markets Day last week. The full deck of some 90 Powerpoint slides is available to view. A key theme is the use of data, mobile techology and automation.
American Airlines also held its annual Investor and Media Day last week. A couple of points of note from the 87 Powerpoint slides is that its new premium economy cabin should be retrofitted to its long-haul widebody fleet by the end of 2018 and new Flagship First dining experience at London Heathrow on an as yet unspecified date.