Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Airlines Cancel Flights, Issue Advisory for UK Public Sector Strike

Travellers with scheduled flight to London today (Wednesday, 30 Nov) would do well to check out their flight status as airlines around the globe are cancelling services in the wake of nationwide industrial unrest in the United Kingdom.

Many public sector unions, including the UK border agency staff and those representing immigration have joined the protest that erupted over planned changes to public-sector pensions. Chaos and long waiting queues are expected at different airports around the country, especially London Heathrow.

While almost every airline that operates to and from the UK has issued travel advisory for the passengers, few airlines have gone ahead and cancelled flights to London to avoid any sort of inconvenience at the airports.

British Airways, UK’s flag carrier, has plans to run a normal flight schedule on the day of strike. BA is the largest operator at Heathrow and is offering free of charge flight changes to travellers who are willing.

Hong Kong’s flag carrier, Cathay Pacific has confirmed on its website that it will be operating normal schedule. However, the carrier advised passengers to avoid non essential travel on the day. Travellers will not be charged anything for flight tickets changes if they opt to do so, the website said.

Delta Air Lines has cancelled few flights to and from the UK. The airline posted a travel advisory on its website warning customers to expect delays of up to eight hours. Passengers who are planning for a ticket reissue must do so on or before Dec. 2 for a travel no later than Dec. 7.

Singapore Airlines’ flight SQ308 (Singapore-London) and SQ319 (London-Singapore) have been cancelled for 30 November due to the strike. The airline’s website said that alternative travel arrangements will be made for the impacted passengers.

Air India, India’s national carrier, has also decided to cancel four flights to London. Amritsar-Delhi-London (AI-115), London-Delhi (AI-116), Delhi-London (AI-111) and London-Delhi (AI-112) will be grounded and arrangements for travellers have been made on other flights.

Ryanair, an Irish airline popular for cheap flights, is operating a normal flight program for 30 November. However, the budget carrier has made it clear that travellers may face delays at passport controls/immigration. Another airline popular in Europe for doling out cheap flight tickets, EasyJet is also operating a full schedule of flights.

Emirates, the Dubai based carrier, has cancelled flights to the UK on the day of walkout to avoid any sort of disruptions. Emirates grounded EK029 from Dubai to London Heathrow and EK030 from London Heathrow to Dubai.

Virgin Atlantic’s flight program is unaltered by the industrial action. However, the airline has suggested travellers to mull over flight changes so as to avoid inconveniences.


Monday, November 28, 2011

UK Strike: Crowds & Chaos Expected on Wednesday at Airports

Come Wednesday and the airports all over the UK just might bear pictures of utmost frenzy as travellers may face a waiting period of up to 12 hours to clear immigration as fewer than half the immigration desks will be manned.

Mass flight cancellations are on the cards due to next week’s public sector strike that is set to engulf UK international airports.

London Heathrow is expected to be most affected airport as it is the busiest one in the entire European continent. Add to it the flight pattern of the airport and the problem augments for the travellers. Almost 100 long-haul flights are scheduled to land at Heathrow before 9am on Wednesday.

“Modelling of the impacts of strike action on passenger flows show that there are likely to be very long delays of up to 12 hours to arriving passengers,” Normand Boivin, Chief Operating Officer of Heathrow wrote in a letter posted on the airport's website.

Mr Boivin also urged that carriers with flight operations to Heathrow on 30 November to half the passenger load to reduce delays.

“We will plan for a normal flight schedule, but we are requesting all carriers to reduce load factors on each international flight arriving into Heathrow on 30 November to 50 per cent of normal levels,” he wrote.

Gatwick has also warned of “significant disruption” on Wednesday if the unions opt for the strike.

Scott Stanley, Gatwick's Chief Operating Officer, warned: “Unfortunately, airport staff can not man the desks at the Border Zone but we will provide all necessary assistance to the Border Agency and we are determined to make sure that the needs and welfare of all our passengers will be met on the day.”

The row is over planned alterations to public sector pensions.

Almost every airline with flight operations to the UK has issued travel warnings to its passengers for Wednesday. Most of them are offering flight changes free of cost to reduce troubles for passengers who were lucky enough to grab cheap flight tickets. So far, very few carriers like Etihad have announced flight cancellation for the day.

Qantas is offering to rebook on alternative flights between 28 November 2011 and 07 December 2011 for passengers who are scheduled to arrive at London Heathrow on Wednesday. British Airways is also offering free of cost flight changes for passengers.

Easyjet, a no frills airline known for doling out cheap flight tickets, has warned travellers to be prepared for hold-up and allow for delays while making further travel plans.

Airlines in the Gulf have also issued warnings to put the travellers on alert who have bookings on flights to UK on Wednesday. Gulf Air warned that flights to UK may face massive delays on the 30th.

News Reference

Qatar Airways stated flights to London Heathrow and Manchester will most likely be affected by the strike.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Qantas Labour Dispute to Be Settled By Arbitration

Australian airline Qantas Airways’ talks with the unions of pilots and ground-staff were unsuccessful in reaching any new agreement. Each party has concluded that the issue would now go to obligatory arbitration.

Qantas Airways has been involved in a bitter conflict with employee unions over pay and moving jobs to Asia for some time now. But it seems that the dispute will now come to an end as Fair Work Australia is set to interfere through binding arbitration with talks between the warring parties failing to reach any logical conclusion.

On Monday, negotiations between Qantas and the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA), the only holdout for a negotiated settlement, failed to crop up any sort of agreement. Now all parties must accept Australia's industrial umpire settlement.

“We haven't been able to reach a new agreement with the ALAEA, so will now let the independent umpire decide,” Qantas' Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said in a statement.

The development is seen as good news for Qantas Airways by industry insiders as no party can engage in any sort of industrial action while the arbitration is in process. The Flying Kangaroo would surely be relieved by the fact that there would be no more travel disruptions. Last month, the airline grounded all of its flights to force the Australia Government to interfere. As a result, an arbitration court ordered to put an end to flights grounding and offered the carrier and unions 21 days to arrive at an agreement.

Qantas Airways and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) failed to reach a fresh agreement on pay and conditions for more than 3,500 employees.

“Qantas is extremely disappointed that despite over six months of negotiations and a further three weeks of conciliation talks before Fair Work Australia the TWU has refused to remove its unreasonable demands,” Qantas said in a statement.

Alan Joyce also promised support to the government in case TWU launches a legal challenge.

Speaking about Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), Mr Joyce said: “We did make some progress in negotiations with movement on both sides however in the end we were unable to reach a new agreement for our 1,600 long-haul pilots.”

Customers Returning: Qantas

It seems Qantas is finally beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. As per the airline, customers have returned “in large numbers” since the carrier has resumed flying after its fleet grounding episode. Thousands of travellers with bookings on flights to and from Australia were affected by the action. Qantas has tried real hard to tempt travellers, offering them perks, cheap flight tickets and even free air tickets (to those who were affected by fleet grounding). With peak holiday travel season coming up, the airline has gone all out to woo frequent flyers by providing them more perks, offering them cheap flight tickets, etc.

Alan Joyce said that customers can carry on to book flights with total confidence that their flights will not be interrupted by industrial action.

News Reference

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Qatar Airways to Expand Wings Around the World

Qatar Airways is all set to expand its horizon in the year 2012. The airline made public its route expansion program for the next year at the Dubai Air Show held on Friday. With the new program, the airline hopes to make its presence stronger in regions like Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

The five-star airline is going to launch flight to Perth (Australia), Helsinki (Finnish capital), Zagreb (Croatia), Gassim (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Kigali (Rwanda) and Mombasa (Kenya).

While cheap tickets on flights is not exactly what people think when they hear of Qatar Airways, the rise in the competition on the seven routes will perhaps ensure that budget travellers have better chances of grabbing cheap flight tickets.

Each of the seven new routes will be operated from the Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha. As per the airline the routes will become functional over the next few months. These new flight routes will accompany flights to Baku and Tbilisi, the capital cities of Azerbaijan and Georgia, respectively that were announced earlier in the year.

Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker spoke about the company’s aggressive strategy.

“We are continuing what we started back in 1997 when Qatar Airways was launched with new routes and new aircraft being introduced at an unprecedented rate to further strengthen what is truly a global network airline,” Al Baker was quoted in the company’s press release.

“Our mission has been to operate to key business and leisure destinations around the world, but also to underserved markets where others dare not venture into. We take bold decisions to serve certain markets because we believe it makes strong business sense.

“Today’s announcement shows the confidence Qatar Airways has in such a diverse range of destinations. We look forward to offering even greater choice to the travelling public that they so deserve,” Al Baker continued.

Qatar Airways’ New Routes

Qatar Airways’ flights to Perth will be second air travel route in Australia after it launched operations to Melbourne couple of years ago.

The airline’s operations to Helsinki and Zagreb will give a boost to Qatar’s presence in Europe. In 2011, Qatar started seven routes to Europe.

If one talks about the African continent, then the launch of three new routes will surely bolster the carrier’s business in the area. Kenya’s Mombasa and Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean are considered popular holiday destinations while Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali is a mining hub and is sure to attract business travellers.

Much closer to home lies the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the airline is in the mood to keep it closer and covered. The carrier has added fifth destination to the country - Gassim.

News Reference

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kingfisher Airlines Crisis: More Flights Cancelled

Travellers suffer the most as India’s Kingfisher Airlines keeps on cancelling its flights. The airline grounded 30 flights on Thursday, the fourth consecutive day of flight cancellations. DGCA sends a show-cause notice to the carrier.

Kingfisher Airlines cancelled flights for fourth day in a row on Thursday to cause great inconvenience to passengers all over the country. More than 30 flights were grounded yesterday. This takes the total tally of flight cancelled in past few days to well over 100.

Chaos was the order of the day at various airports around the country as confusion ruled the roost with no clear information or guidelines coming out of the airline. Very few international flights have been cancelled so far but many foreign tourists on Indian holidays were concerned about their domestic travel within India.

Kingfisher Airlines is one of the biggest names in the India’s aviation industry and the company’s massive flight cancellations have left people in lurch. Those who made advance booking with Kingfisher Airlines in a bid to net cheap flight tickets were perhaps most disappointed with the grounding of flights.

Sources in the industry said that more than 30 pilots and crew members with Kingfisher have not reported for duty in the past few days on grounds of illness. There have been other unverified reports that say that some 100 pilots had quit the airline in past few weeks.

The airline’s flight schedule has also been affected with three oil companies - HPCL, IOC and BPCL – discontinuing the grant of credit to the carrier for lifting jet fuel. The oil companies have put Kingfisher on a cash-and-carry payment mode.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that Kingfisher has been sent show-cause notice as to why the airline had not taken the regulator's prior approval to limit its operations. The DGCA has also asked the Vijay Mallya-owned carrier to offer information regarding steps that have been taken by the airline to take care of the passengers with bookings on the flights that were cancelled.

Kingfisher is yet to reply to the DGCA’s notice.

Kingfisher Airlines had said in a statement: “For a limited period, these flights are either being cancelled or clubbed with other Kingfisher flights in a well-controlled and pre-determined manner.

“In continuation of our earlier announcement to focus on the full-service market, KFA has initiated reconfiguration of its aircraft,” it further said.

Chief Executive Officer of Kingfisher Airlines, Sanjay Aggarwal was quoted in news websites as stating, “We decided to reduce frequency in some of the routes where we had multiple flights like Delhi-Mumbai or low passenger load like Nanded-Mysore.”

Kingfisher Cancellations Cause Surge in Air Fares

Kingfisher Airlines’ cancellation of substantial number of flights over the period of four days means an increase in air fares for travellers. In the current scenario it has become extremely difficult for passengers to net cheap flight tickets for domestic travel.

Passengers at major airports in the country have complained of inconvenience. The have been forced to rebook on other airlines paying a premium of 20-40 per cent at the last moment.

News Reference

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Oneworld Alliance Members Geared Up For Lucrative Fare Sale

American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia are celebrating the first anniversary of their joint business. These oneworld alliance members have decided to offer cheap tickets with distinctive fare sale to amplify the Christmas festivities.

American Airlines recent news release promulgated the launch of a joint fare sale by the oneworld Airline Trio - American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia. This unique fare sale is set to lure budget travellers with cheap flights between the United States and European destinations.

The airline trio plans to offer round-trip economy class tickets as low as $224, each way. However, flyers would need to book the economy class tickets atleast seven days and business class tickets atleast 14 days prior to travel to enjoy the low fares; tickets must be booked not later than 11:59 p.m. Nov. 15th 2011 (Central Time).

As per the news release, special economy class fares to continental Europe will be lowest for travel, Sundays through Thursdays, while for UK, economy class travel fares will be cheapest Mondays through Wednesdays. However, special business class tickets would be valid throughout the week.

Tourists willing to partake in this scheme can log onto to find the schedules and book cheap flights.

Originating Dates

The originating travel dates for economy class to Europe run from Nov. 8 through Dec. 16, 2011 and Dec. 25, 2011 through April 1, 2012 with June 15, 2012 travel as conclusion date.

The originating travel dates for business class are from Nov. 15, 2011 through May 22, 2012 with June 15, 2012 as the travel conclusion date.

Embargo Dates

While the Embargo dates for economy class travel are from Dec. 17th through Dec. 24th 2011, there are no embargo dates for business class travel.

Ticket Validity

Economy class tickets will be valid for travel originating from Nov. 8th 2011 through Dec. 16th 2011 or from Dec. 25th 2011, through Apr 1st 2012, with return completed by midnight June 15th 2012.

Business Class fares will be valid for travel beginning Nov. 15th 2011, through May 22nd 2012, with return travel completed by midnight June 15th 2012.

Additionally, if the flights are cancelled before scheduled departure, partially used tickets would be valid for one year for from the travel date; unused tickets will be valid for one year from the issuing date. Conversely, if the tickets are not cancelled before scheduled departure, the ticket will have no value.

Fare Information

The tickets will be non-refundable and non-transferable and may not be available on all flights. Additionally, the change fee for economy class tickets to Europe will be $275 plus fare difference (if any) and for business class fares to Europe will be $500 plus fare difference.

The special fares will not include
  • A federal excise tax of $3.70 per U.S. domestic flight segment, defined as one takeoff and landing, of a passenger's itinerary
  • up to $18 per round trip in local airport charges
  • September 11th Security Fee of $2.50 per enplanement originating at a U.S. airport
  • government taxes and fees of up to $190 for Economy Class and $250 for Business Class, for international destinations, which may vary through destinations.
News Reference

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Virgin Atlantic to Serve Vancouver; to Add Second Flight to San Francisco

Virgin Atlantic will start operating flights between Vancouver and London Heathrow from May 2012. The services will go on till October and will be offered four times a week. Virgin Atlantic also announced a second London and San Francisco service.

Yesterday, Virgin Atlantic Airways made a significant announcement of launching a new seasonal route to between Vancouver and London Heathrow Airport.

The new flight service that will be offered four times a week from May 24th to Oct. 25th is expected to provide a boost of $54 million to Vancouver’s tourism revenue. Vancouver – London route is likely to be utilised by 40,000 travellers.

In a response to the airline’s announcement, the Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia was quoted as stating, “Today’s announcement by Virgin Atlantic, of four new weekly flights between London and Vancouver, is positive news for British Columbia’s tourism industry.”

She was also quoted as saying, “The United Kingdom is one of our key markets and also serves as a hub for other international travellers heading to our province. Virgin Atlantic is recognized around the world as a progressive airline and we look forward to welcoming their passengers to British Columbia when their service begins next summer.”

The launch of the new air travel route gains significance in the view of the Olympic Games 2012 that will be hosted by London. Then there is the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. Both these events are likely to attract tourists from all over the world to the UK capital.

Airbus A340-300s will be plied on the new route. Aircraft will have the configuration of Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy. Travellers with a preference for cheap tickets on flights to San Francisco will surely have much better chance of grabbing them as ample amount of premium economy and economy seats are available on the new route.

Virgin Atlantic also announced the launch of a second flight between London and San Francisco. It will start operating from March 2012 and will run until October 2012. It will be a three times a week service (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays).

“The North American market has always been at the core of our business. Our success here has been due to our investment in product innovation and our willingness to respond to customer demand,” Steve Ridgway, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Executive said.

“With almost 20,000 people flying from the UK to Canada each month in the peak season, the UK is the largest overseas market for passengers to British Columbia,” he was further quoted.

The increased competition among the carriers will also be beneficial for passengers as it will be much easier for them to net cheap flight tickets, something that Steve Ridgway emphasised on.

“Greater competition to both Vancouver and San Francisco will benefit passengers through improved choice and better value for money,” he was quoted in news reports.

News Reference

Monday, November 7, 2011

Qantas - Free Tickets to Affected Fliers, Resumes Talks with Union

Qantas Airways hopes to tempt disgruntled travellers by offering free flight tickets to them. Offers for overseas customers and frequent fliers will be announced soon. Also, the airline met union members on Monday to start off negotiation process.

Qantas Airways is pulling out all the stops to win back customers. One of the world’s largest airlines is offering free air tickets to the travellers who were hit by the airline’s decision to ground the entire fleet in the midst of an industrial dispute.

Qantas, an airline not known for offering very cheap flights, said that passengers whose journeys were affected by the fleet grounding will be offered a free return economy flight within Australia or to New Zealand over a two-year period from Dec. 14. It sure means that the airline is doing all it can to attract travellers.

“This ticket offer is one of a range of initiatives we will be launching as a way of saying sorry as we move forward into this period of stability,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas Chief Executive Officer in a statement.

“Throughout the long period of industrial activity we have been acutely aware of the impact on our customers,” Alan Joyce added. As per the CEO, this is the Qantas’ way to gain back customer loyalty. And if reports are to be believed then ‘customer loyalty’ might cost Qantas as much as A$20 million.

The recent past really has been a troubled time for Australia’s flag carrier. Stung by a string of strikes, the airline decided to halt its operations all over the world on Oct. 29. Around 80,000 passengers were impacted by this drastic measure of the carrier.

Operations resumed as Fair Work Australia intervened. The airline and unions were given 21 days to reach a new contract or face binding arbitration.

Loyalty to be Rewarded

All the passengers will be offered compensation for all reasonable losses resulting from the fleet grounding, said Qantas.

“Now that no more industrial action can take place and the cloud of further strike action has lifted, we are 100 percent focused on what matters to customers, getting them to their destinations, safely, on time and in comfort, and in rewarding their loyalty to Qantas,” Alan Joyce was quoted.

Qantas will be making announcements for its overseas customers and frequent fliers soon. It remains to be seen what the airline doles out for these two very important segments of travellers. Will it be cheap flight tickets, more travel privileges or some other incentive?

Qantas-Union Talks Resume

Even as Qantas Airways is trying to tempt travellers with free flights, the airline met the union members for negotiations. This was the first meeting of the parties after the Australian airline grounded its entire fleet.

Secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, Steve Purvinas stated that another negotiating session is slated for Thursday.

“By today (Monday), we’ll know whether Qantas are interested in negotiating an outcome or whether they’ll continue to stonewall — which has been the case up until now,” Purvinas was quoted as saying in news reports.

Singapore Airlines Ultimately Finds the Way to Scoot Around

Singapore Airlines has added yet another laurel to its flagship brand by launching a new long-haul budget carrier, Scoot. The airline has joined the bandwagon of Asia's growing no-frills air travel to lure budget travellers.

Singapore Airlines has launched a new long-haul budget carrier, Scoot. On Tuesday, the newly launched airline’s CEO Campbell Wilson put across information that ‘Scoot’ will start operating its flights by June 2012. Additionally he informed reporters that the airline contrives to operate four Boeing 777-200 jets by the end of next year.

As per the online sources, the airline plans to start serving destinations as far as five to ten hours from Singapore, the operational base for Scoot. To begin with, the airline may start flights to four or more cities in China and Australia.

Campbell Wilson said, “This new market segment is growing fast”. He hopes to tap on the emerging market. “We aim to bring new business to the SIA group.” he said.

Singapore Airlines has been long relying on its top-notch onboard services to lead the long-haul first and business class market in the Asia to Europe routes and now the carrier has finally decided to plunge in the developing no-frills air travel market.

However, Singapore Airlines is likely to be rivalled by Air Asia X, under the flagship of Malaysia's AirAsia and JetStar, a unit of Qantas in the region's long-haul budget market. Online sources report analysts of believing that Scoot might introduce extra frills to outperform the opposition.

Scoot Strategies

Campbell Wilson said that Scoot will offer two cabin classes, with economy tickets approximately 40 percent cheaper than air tickets offered by other premium carriers. Additionally, customers will be able to put forth their preference for seats, meals and baggage options.

"We'll offer many other options so people can customize their experience," Wilson said.

Acquiring several Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, which can make a journey of up to 13 hours, is primary on the list of Scoot’s plan in order to start offering cheap flights to European and African destinations. Additionally, the airline plans to hire about 52 pilots, 250 flight attendants and 40 ground staff sometime next year.

Industry Outlook

It has been reported that Singapore Airlines spent approximately 283 million SGD to kick-start Scoot. While this wholly owned subsidiary is the latest addition under the well-regarded flagship brand of Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, a mid-cost regional carrier for popular Asian destinations, is already being operated by the group. SIA also possesses one third stakes of Tiger Airways, a budget carrier that offers cheap tickets.

As per online sources, Shukor Yusof, an aviation analyst with Standard and Poor’s informed that Scoot has joined this bandwagon to bring home the bacon from the lucrative low cost airline market. He further added that budget and cheap flights perked up Changi Airport’s traffic by approximately 25 percent this year.

"Budget airlines are not a fad. They're here to stay. The market certainly has shifted from legacy carriers to discount carriers," he was quoted.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lufthansa Adds Gatwick and Aberdeen Routes

Lufthansa, the German airline which is understood to be in advanced talks about selling BMI, has started off new flights to Gatwick and Aberdeen. Number of flights to Heathrow is also pushed up by the airline.

Lufthansa has considerably increased its flight services to the UK with the launch of its winter schedules. Taking advantage of the new fourth runway at Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Lufthansa has initiated new routes to London Gatwick and Aberdeen, Scotland.

Lufthansa will now offer a new double daily service from Gatwick and three-times-a-day service from Aberdeen. Moreover, the German based airline will be amplifying its current flight frequency to Heathrow. Lufthansa will now run six additional flights every week to the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the one of the busiest in the world.

Inundated with choices now, travellers would be hoping to net cheap flight tickets on the route much more easily.

Guy Stephenson, Gatwick Airport’s commercial director said: “It is great to welcome Lufthansa and strengthen the links between the financial and economic centres of London and Frankfurt.

“The new Gatwick-Frankfurt route isn’t just good news for the business traveller however.

“It will also benefit the leisure passenger who will be able to plug into Lufthansa’s global network and visit destinations such as Mumbai and Johannesburg.

“This is why the route is so exciting, as it helps make Gatwick one of the most globally connected airports in the world and gives passengers the largest choice of destinations to fly to,” Guy Stephenson further added.

Gatwick currently provides over 200 global connections to the travellers and by linking Gatwick to Frankfurt, Lufthansa has opened further travel avenues for the passengers. Not many days ago, AirAsia X (a Malaysian-based low-cost airline) and Vietnam Airlines (the national flag carrier of Vietnam) also started offering their services on the Gatwick route.

The schedule of the Lufthansa’s new routes is as follows:

Flights will take off from Gatwick at 0945 and 1740 and arrive at Frankfurt at 1220 and 2015, respectively. Flights will depart from Frankfurt at 0845 and 1625 and arrive at Gatwick at 0910 and 1650.

From Aberdeen, flights are scheduled to take off at 0605, 0955 and 1740 and to arrive in Frankfurt at 0900, 1250 and 2035, respectively. Flights from Frankfurt will depart at 0815, 1600 and 2135 and will land in Aberdeen at 0920, 1705 and 2240.

Lufthansa & British Airways Reach Agreement on BMI: Reports

It seems that Lufthansa and UK have much going on these days. Apart from new flight launches, Lufthansa is also making news because of the airline’s negotiations with different groups regarding the selling of BMI, a low-cost carrier known for doling out cheap flight tickets.

If reports are to be anything to go by then BMI is all set to be lapped up by British Airways’ parent company, IAG. Budget travellers who prefer to fly with BMI will surely be all ears for the official announcement, if and when it comes!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Etihad Adds Maldives and Seychelles on Its Global Network

Its time to rejoice for those who love Etihad Airways, those who wish to visit Maldives and the Seychelles and those (particularly) who hope to travel to these destinations with Etihad!


Abu Dhabi's flag carrier has launched flights to perhaps two of the most exotic holiday destinations in the world. While the flight service to Maldives kick started from Tuesday (1st November), maiden flight to Seychelles landed a day after on Wednesday.


There is no denying the fact that both these Indian Ocean destinations are highly placed when it comes to appeal and allure. Similarly, one cannot argue the fact these charming vacation spots are not cheap and generally cater to vacationers who are not exactly on shoe-string budget! But here is where Etihad airline comes to picture! Though Etihad itself is not known to dole out cheap flight tickets, with the increase in the number of options it just might get a little easy to land up cheap flight tickets to Maldives and the Seychelles.


Etihad flight EY278 landed for the first time in Maldives at the Malé International Airport on Tuesday. The flight was greeted with a water cannon salute, bodu-beru dancers, coconuts and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The carrier will operate a daily return service from Abu Dhabi to Malé.


The airline's first flight to Seychelles landed at the Seychelles International Airport in Mahé on Wednesday.


Traditional water cannon greeted the flight at the airport. Airbus A320 will be used to offer four return services per week from Abu Dhabi to Mahé.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Qantas Flights Back to Normal After Chaos

After two days of chaos that left thousands of travellers high and dry around the world, Qantas Airways says its flight schedule is back to normal on Tuesday morning. There are also reports of airline slashing down airfares.

Qantas Airways says its flights were back to normal on Tuesday after the airline grounded its entire fleet on Saturday to counter the continuing strikes that have been marring the company for past few months now.

Qantas said all of its flights were operating on time and as scheduled. The airline said that the backlog of travellers caused as a result of fleet grounding is likely to be cleared by Tuesday afternoon.

In a completely unexpected and startling move, Qantas Airways had grounded all its flights on Saturday to create a scene of chaos at airports all over the world. Australia’s flag carrier took the step as a response to a string of strikes by unions representing pilots, aircraft mechanics, baggage handlers and caterers.

Heaps of passengers - be it budget travellers with cheap flight tickets or passengers with first class tickets - were subjected to alarm and turmoil as every Qantas flight was off the schedule.

Confusion and panic ruled the roost for some 48 hours before an Australian court put an end to 48 hours of travel chaos. The arbitration court ordered to put an end to the strikes and also ordered to call off the staff lockout by the airline. The court has provided the warring parties 21 days to settle their differences and reach for an agreement. And if they fail to do so then they will be forced into a mandatory arbitration.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce advocated his move to ground the flights.

“I'll make whatever tough decisions are needed to be made in order to ensure the survival of this great company,” Alan Joyce was quoted as stating in various news portals.

Incessant union strikes have caused the cancellation of 600 Qantas flights in past few months. This has adversely impacted nearly 70,000 customers and has cost Qantas Airways 70 million Australian dollars ($75 million).

Qantas Airways is said to have infuriated union workers when it stated in August that it hopes to improve its unprofitable overseas business by starting an Asia-based airline with its own name and brand. The five-year restructure plan will cost 1,000 jobs.

Qantas Airways Will Reduce Airfares: Reports

Reports are doing the rounds that Qantas Airways, one of the world’s largest airlines, will start doling out promotional enticements to attract travellers. There is no denying the fact that the airline’s reputation and brand image has taken a grand beating during the last few months of unending industrial action which culminated with airline grounding all of its flights. If reports are to be believed then the airline will offer cheap flight tickets to entice travellers. Certain other plans are also being formulated to tempt passengers during the peak travel holiday season of Christmas.

It will surely require an effort to bring back the lost business for Qantas Airways.