Ryanair wraps up five year pay deals for pilots and cabin crew
After holding a European Works Council meeting in Dublin, Ryanair has announced it has concluded five year pay agreements with all 76 of its pilot bases across Europe.
The airline has now commenced a similar process with its cabin crew, with over 90% of its two largest bases (Dublin and London Stansted airports) voting in a secret ballot to accept the proposed five year deals.
Details of the five year pay deal for cabin crew include guaranteed pay and allowance increases each year over the next 4 years, improved fixed rosters with 5 days on, 3 days off, improved sickness benefits, new cabin crew uniforms and more promotion opportunities as Ryanair embarks on an eight year, 400 aircraft acquisition programme.
New cabin crew negotiations will now commence at all of Ryanair’s other cabin crew bases.
Ryanair’s chief people officer, Eddie Wilson, averred, “The last 10 months has been an extremely busy period for Ryanair’s people. Not alone have we rolled out year 2 of our ‘Always Getting Better’ programme, while delivering increased load factors and industry leading traffic growth, but we have also been working hard behind the scenes to negotiate and conclude improved pay and condition deals for all our frontline teams.
“The fact that Ryanair is continuing to use our improving financial performance to improve the pay and conditions of our frontline people underlines the long standing success of Ryanair’s collective bargaining model, which continues to deliver improved pay and conditions as well as job security for our pilots and cabin crew at a time when their counterparts in other European airlines are facing job cuts, pay cuts or are engaged in industrial action.
“We are extremely proud that during the 30 year history of Ryanair, our customers have never been disrupted by a strike by Ryanair people. This is a record unmatched by any other European airline, and we trust that with these new improved 5 year pay deals, we can maintain that successful record until at least 2020,” Wilson concluded.
easyJet to base 8th aircraft in Edinburgh
From summer 2016, there will be an additional easyJet aircraft based at Edinburgh Airport, meaning the carrier will have a total of eight based aircraft operating on 36 routes.
easyJet flew 5.5 million passengers between Scotland and Europe in the rolling twelve months to September and says an extra aircraft will allow it to cater for extra passenger demand and the introduction of even more destinations from Edinburgh.
In 2015, easyJet launched services from Edinburgh to Stuttgart and Funchal and plans to begin operating flights from Edinburgh to Vienna and Venice in 2016. Next year the airline expects the number of passengers it carries between Scotland and Europe to increase by 10%.
The carrier employs 435 crew in Scotland, 276 of which are in Edinburgh. With the addition of the 8th aircraft, it expects to have over 300 employees based in Edinburgh including pilots, cabin crew and base management.
“Just over twenty years ago we launched the airline with services between London Luton and Glasgow. Twenty years on Scotland remains an important part of our strategy and we continue to see an opportunity for growth in Scotland,” declared Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s CEO. “In the past four years we have grown our capacity in Scotland by 20% and 2015 has been an impressive year for easyJet in Scotland - we now operate 62 routes from Scotland across Europe.”
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, added, “Improving Scotland’s connectivity is one of this Government’s top priorities, as it will help build strong business links and provide a real boost to our tourism industry. easyJet’s latest announcement of new routes and a new aircraft for Edinburgh, along with the new direct jobs this will create, is evidence of their continued investment in our airports and I remain keen to support their aspirations to expand in Scotland.”
Ryanair celebrates 10th anniversary of Liverpool base with 2016 summer schedule
Ryanair has announced its 2016 summer schedule from Liverpool, where it has had a base for ten years and from which it has carried over 24 million passengers since its first flight took off in 1988.
The carrier’s Liverpool summer 2016 schedule consists of 29 routes, which Ryanair estimates will deliver 1.8m passengers per year and support 1,350 on-site jobs at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA).
Notable highlights include the increased frequency of Dublin flights, which will take place four times daily, as well as a twice weekly service between Liverpool and Reus.
Ryanair’s Robin Kiely stated, “Our customers can look forward to further improvements in the coming months, including our personalised website, with exciting new digital features such as ‘hold the fare’ and real customer destination reviews, under our ‘Always Getting Better’ programme, as we continue to offer so much more than just lowest fares.
“It only seems like yesterday that Ryanair made Liverpool one of their major UK bases and over the past 10 years they have given passengers from across the region the opportunity to fly to a fantastic range of destinations and at some of the lowest fares, all with the added convenience and hassle free benefits of flying from Liverpool,” remarked Robin Tudor, head of PR at LJLA. “Ryanair’s continued commitment to Liverpool will mean another busy summer here next year and we look forward to working with Ryanair over the next 10 years.”
Bahamasair receives first 72-600 ATR aircraft
Bahamasair has become the newest ATR operator after taking delivery of the first of two 72-600s which are part of a wider order alongside three ATR 42-600s signed at this year’s Paris Air Show.
Following the partial replacement of the airlines’ former regional aircraft fleet with ATR 72-600s will provide Bahamasair with additional seat capacity on its main routes to and from Nassau.
“The strong commonality between the 50-seat ATR 42s and the 70-seat ATR 72s is an important asset, as it will enable us to propose flexible capacity and optimised operating costs. We are pleased to introduce an aircraft that has clearly proven worldwide that it perfectly fits the operational needs of airlines flying in island environments,” highlighted Valentine Grimes, chairman of Bahamasair. “The ability of the ATR aircraft to take-off and land on short runways and to operate at small airfields, coupled with their most modern technologies and passenger appeal, are among the main reasons of our choice. We are glad to welcome our first brand new ATR and become a member of the ATR family”.
Patrick de Castelbajac, ATR’s CEO, declared, “Indeed, the ATR aircraft have succeeded for years as the reference for inter-island regional flights. Our aircraft are particularly popular in the island environments where they are operated, as they are a necessary link to population and a key factor of tourism and business development. We are pleased to welcome Bahamasair among our list of customers.”
easyJet to operate four new routes from Bordeaux
easyJet has consolidated its position as the second largest operator at Bordeaux Airport with the announcement of four new routes due to begin in Spring 2016.
From 27 March, 2016, easyJet will fly from Bordeaux to Berlin four times per week and Marseille six times per week.
Furthermore, the airline will operate four flights a week to Barcelona from 15 April, 2016, followed by three flights a week to Venice from 17 April, 2016.
AirAsia X reports strongest quarter for two years
AirAsia X (AAX) has reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2015 (3Q15), including an EBITDAR of RM188 million – the strongest quarterly performance recorded by the company since 2013.
Revenue grew 13% year-on-year to RM793 million as the result of a 13% increase in scheduled flight revenue and a 155% increase in charter and wet leasing revenue. AAX has also recorded a 25% rise in yields as measured by revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK), attributing this to a rise in average base fare of 15% in comparison to the third quarter of 2014 (3Q14). Despite the sharp depreciation of the USD:MYR rate, the company managed to achieve a 2% decrease in operating cost resulting from the implementation of cost reduction initiatives during the first half of the year.
“The Group has remained focused on reshaping our operations as rapidly as possible for long-term sustainable growth amidst a challenging landscape,” Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, group CEO of AirAsia X, commented. “In 2Q15, we placed great emphasis on strengthening the Australia and China segment with aggressive marketing and brand campaigns focusing primarily on improving our yields. In 3Q15, the initiatives have borne fruit, with strong recovery in yields for both markets: Australia recorded an increase of 17% y-o-y and China improved 32% y-o-y.
“In 4Q15, we have seen recovery in Korea’s passenger traffic after it was declared MERS-free in July. AAX will be launching a number of multi-tier marketing campaigns in Korea and Japan in 4Q15 to increase brand awareness.
“Thailand AirAsia X (TAAX) has recorded a lower operating performance during 3Q15 resulting from ICAO-driven restrictions, but despite limitations, TAAX continued to pursue expansion plans to China with the first direct flight from Bangkok to Shanghai on 28 September 2015.
“Indonesia AirAsia X (IAAX) has seen notable improvement in operating performance with higher load factor and higher average base fare, mainly due to the recovery of the Melbourne service and the termination of its Taipei route at the end of 3Q15. In early October, IAAX announced it has complied with Indonesia’s Ministry of Transportation’s regulatory requirement of minimum 10 aircraft ownership. This brings the IAAX fleet size to 10 aircraft (eight A320s and two A330s). The additional fleet will operate from Bali, Surabaya and Jakarta, tapping on the existing frequency slots from Indonesia AirAsia. These major trunk routes will benefit the group with high volume feeder traffic and improve Fly-thru connectivity.”
Benyamin Ismail, CEO of AirAsia X, continued, “Throughout 2015, we focused on balancing the supply and demand of each market with strategic capacity management. We’ve adjusted our capacity, terminated routes that are less profit making and improved our network with new services to Sapporo and Delhi in 4Q15. The entry to Delhi shows great potential as we now have a much broader sales platform and strong feeder traffic from AirAsia India (AAI). We believe these additions will further enhance our Fly-thru product as it allows more connectivity in our extensive network. The Fly-thru product has achieved growth of 19% quarter-on-quarter to 56% in 3Q15 and is moving towards an upward trend.
“We’ve continued to work on a number of initiatives to achieve positive results moving into 2016. Ancillary income is part of our key revenue component and this quarter we collaborated with Master Chef Asia to introduce new meal selections in November. We have also appointed David Foster as AirAsia X Group and AirAsia Group’s ambassador to front our premium product, which will be introduced in 4Q15. Moving forward, we will be launching initiatives such as value bundle packs and dynamic pricing of baggage fees.
“During 3Q15, we’ve managed to narrow the company’s operating loss to RM31 million as compared to a RM133 million loss for the same period last year. The improvement was primarily driven by the increase of revenue and decrease in operating expenses, however further improvement was hindered by a sharp 36% depreciation of USD:MYR year-over-year, which has caused a substantial forex [foreign exchange] loss of RM241 million in 3Q15. Consequently, we have recorded a net loss of RM288 million in 3Q15. Currency translation remained a key concern moving forward and we have begun efforts to mitigate the increasing dollar denominated cost,” Ismail concluded.
Cebu Pacific to fly direct between Manila and Guam
From 15 March, 2016, Cebu Pacific Air will launch a four times weekly service between Manila and Guam, with the latter becoming the carrier’s first US destination.
Cebu Pacific will be the only low-fare airline flying directly between the two destinations, with recent data showing the route is underserved compared to other destinations with smaller Filipino populations (the Filipino community makes up 26% of the Guam’s population). There are approximately 5,900 weekly seats currently available between Manila and Guam, with Cebu Pacific’s entry into the market due to add 1,440 seats to this pool.
“Having Guam in our network sets us off on another expansion path across the Pacific. With the launch of Guam, we offer fares that are up to 83% lower than other airlines. Fares this low can only mean more tourists to both countries, more Filipinos visiting home, and more opportunities for everyone,” remarked Cebu Pacific’s president and CEO, Lance Gokongwei.
The carrier’s Manila–Guam route will operate every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday using Airbus A320 aircraft. Departing Manila at 03:45, the flights will arrive in Guam at 10:15, before the return leg takes off from Guam at 12:30 and lands in Manila at 14:55. From Manila, passengers can connect onwards to Cebu Pacific’s network in the Philippines.
Azul introduces TRMS from MINT Software Systems
Azul Brazilian Airlines has introduced MINT Software Systems’ training management solution (TRMS) for the training scheduling, e-grading and records management of all its cockpit and cabin personnel.
José Jovita Mello Filho, IT Manager at Azul, declared, “We were especially impressed by the extraordinary flexibility of the MINT product. The skills demonstrated by the MINT system when implemented into operative training branches at several large airlines seeking to replace their existing systems has driven our decision.”
“We are very happy to welcome Azul to the growing MINT user community,” announced Christian Hollmann, VP of MINT Software Systems. “Our partners at Azul have selected MINT to substitute their legacy systems, which were in many ways not capable to fulfil their continuously increasing training requirements. Our software experts went on-site right after the contract signature to immediately start the scheduler training and software implementation. Only a few days later our software went live into production and Azul are now building the required qualification structure and training curricula into the MINT database.”
Wizz Air signs deal with CCB Financial Leasing for 11 A321ceos
In Wizz Air’s largest lease agreement yet, the airline has announced its first contract with CCB Financial Leasing for 11 Airbus A321ceo aircraft, which are scheduled to be delivered throughout 2016 and 2017.
The agreement is in line with the Wizz Air business model of sale/leaseback where the company negotiates and contracts directly with Airbus for new aircraft, then executes a sale/leaseback agreement with a lessor.
“We are very excited to begin a relationship with CCB Financial Leasing, and to start the relationship with our largest leasing agreement in Wizz history,” commented Wizz Air’s CEO, József Váradi. “The agreement also continues an even larger relationship between Wizz Air and the Chinese financial community. We always evaluate the best method at the time to finance our new aircraft and for the time being, sale/leaseback works best for us and our shareholders. One big reason is it allows us to maintain the youngest fleet in Europe and that benefits the customer in a number of ways.”
“We are very pleased to have Wizz Air as an important customer and sign this significant transaction with them,” averred Wand Qiang, president of CCB Financial Leasing. “As part of the internationalisation strategy of China Construction Bank, CCB Financial Leasing will continue to expand its presence in the global aviation leasing market through its Irish platform.”
Wizz Air began adding larger-cabin Airbus A321ceo aircraft to its A320ceo fleet this month, with the first new aircraft beginning service on 20 November. In addition to the newly delivered A321, Wizz Air has 26 additional A321ceo aircraft set for delivery through 2018 (11 now financed by CCB). Nine will join the fleet in 2016 and be deployed first to high-frequency bases including Budapest, Bucharest and Warsaw.
Southwest appoints Tom Nealon EVP strategy and innovation
In January 2016, Tom Nealon will join Southwest Airlines as executive vice president of strategy and innovation, reporting to the carrier's chairman, president and, CEO Gary Kelly.
From 2010, Nealon served as a member of Southwest’s board of directors. During this time, he participated on the Audit, Nominating and Corporate Governance, and Safety and Compliance Oversight committees.
“As a board member, Tom was engaged and contributed at a high level,” Kelly noted. “Now, with his extensive knowledge in strategy, technology, and innovation, he will serve Southwest well in this leadership position.”
Previously, Nealon has worked for JCPenney Company, Inc., in a number of leadership positions. Before that, he was a partner with The Feld Group, where he served in a consultant capacity as chief information officer for Southwest from May 2002 to October 2006.
Nealon earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Villanova University in Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Dallas.
Vietjet signs technical service agreement with Lufthansa Technik AG
Under a new technical service agreement, Lufthansa Technik AG will supply Vietjet with maintenance services and technical maintenance solutions for its current A320-family aircraft engines.
The agreement will also see Lufthansa AG provide VietJet with consultation on key technical projects and technical training for staff, paving the way for both groups to construct a platform to develop facilities and technical expertise to top-rated domestic and international quality standards.
Furthermore, VietJet will support Lufthansa Technik AG to better access the large aviation markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
“We are delighted to accompany Vietjet in technical services and engine maintenance, which are expected to lay a solid foundation for the spectacular and long-term development of Vietjet,” remarked Bernhard Krüger-Sprengel, Lufthansa Technik AG’s SVP engines. “Lufthansa Technik AG is committed to providing its world leading technical management services for Vietjet, helping to improve the quality and safety of the flight in serving its passengers. We are also committed to supporting Vietjet in new technology training for safety and security assurance as well as researching opportunities for providing aircraft spare parts locally.”
interCaribbean to introduce Cuba flights
From 10 December, 2016, interCaribbean Airways will begin a twice weekly service between Santiago de Cuba (SCU) and Providenciales (PLS) on the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Flights will depart SCU on Mondays and Fridays at 09:10, landing in PLS for 11:20, while the PLS–SCU leg will leave PLS on Thursdays and Saturdays at 16:00, arriving in SCU at 16:10 (all local times).
interCaribbean Airways has also announced its will begin servicing a new route between Providenciales and Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) in Havana, Cuba, from early 2016. These new flights will grow the airline's total list of destinations to 18 Caribbean cities.
With increased air services from the US and Canada and the recent addition of a second London frequency by British Airways to Providenciales, these new routes allow the opportunity for travellers to visit several islands during one visit.
Adria Airways Tehnika sold to Linetech Holding
Poland-based MRO company Linetech Holding has purchased Adria Airways Tehnika.
Owners of Adria Airways Tehnika, Slovenski državni holding (SDH) and Aerodrom Ljubljana, concluded a Share Purchase Agreement for the company after a competitive two-stage bidding process.
Linetech Holding has also concluded a contract with the sellers on the transfer and assumption of loan agreements which were approved by SDH and Aerodrom Ljubljana for Adria Airways Tehnika in 2012.
“We are proud to announce our acquisition of Adria Airways Technika. Subsequently, we aim to grow and develop the company by investing in people, new technologies and equipment,” explained Piotr Kaczor, president of the management board at Linetech Holding. “Thanks to this merger, our field of capabilities will become wider, enhancing support opportunities for the most popular aircraft types: Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer and ATR. The group will have 6 heavy maintenance hangars in total, which allows us to concurrently service 13 different aircraft with code C classification, making Linetech Holding one of the leading MRO companies in Europe.”
Marko Jazbec, president of SDH’s management board, remarked, “We are extremely satisfied with the outcome of the sale of Adria Airways Tehnika. We believe that the company has been given a new owner which will ensure its growth and further development, and will maintain good relations with all of the company stakeholders.”
JetBlue now offers unlimited Amazon Video streaming
From this week, JetBlue will offer unlimited streaming from Amazon Video on over 150 aircraft equipped with the carrier’s complementary Fly-Fi in-flight broadband service.
Amazon Prime members can sign-in or sign-up to instantly access tens of thousands of films and TV shows – including Amazon Originals – at no additional cost to their membership, while JetBlue passengers can rent or purchase titles in the Amazon Video store, including new release movies and day-after TV programming.
“Offering streaming movies and shows from Amazon Video over free Fly-Fi changes the game in in-flight entertainment, much like our seatback televisions did 15 years ago,” stated Jamie Perry, vice president of brand and product development, JetBlue. “And we're not stopping at video; our relationship with Amazon offers opportunities to delight our customers in ways that have never been done before.”
As part of the multiyear year agreement, Amazon on JetBlue has been integrated into The Hub, JetBlue's entertainment portal that passengers access via their personal electronic devices, but the collaboration will involve a broad array of benefits for customers. In 2016, TrueBlue loyalty programme members will be able to earn TrueBlue points for their purchases in more than 40 categories on Amazon while in-flight or on the ground through other JetBlue marketing channels.
“We're excited to bring our unlimited on-demand entertainment to JetBlue and offer it over a fast and free internet, just in time for the busiest travel season of the year,” added Michael Paull, Amazon’s VP digital video. “Customers can binge-watch their favourite series on Amazon Video, including the new critically acclaimed Amazon Original The Man in the High Castle, catch-up on the latest movies or stream top rated children's programming, instantly while in the sky.”
easyJet to launch Budapest–Lyon service
From 26 April, 2016, easyJet will operate a thrice-weekly service between Budapest Airport and its hub in Lyon, which is currently Budapest’s largest indirectly served destination in Europe.
Kam Jandu, chief commercial officer of Budapest Airport, commented, “We’ve realised so many of our expectations and targets this year. To bring our lobbying to fruition with the addition of easyJet’s new service is testament to hard work and commitment. We were missing the heart of France from the direct routes available from Budapest so Lyon fits perfectly into our destination network. It’s amazing to think of the numbers passing through our terminal, and we looking forward to welcoming easyJet’s new passengers next summer, in another year that is already promising extensive further development for us.”
The airport estimates the new Budapest–Lyon route will mean an extra 40,000 passengers passing through Budapest each year.
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