Airline News April 2005.


Service deteriorates at all but four major airlines, report says. Just four of the 14 major U.S. airlines improved their service in 2003 and 2004, according to a private study based on government records. The report attributed lower levels of service to understaffing; many airlines have cut jobs to lower their expenses. AirTran Airways, Atlantic Southeast, JetBlue and United improved service last year. Others had worse on-time performance, more complaints about service and more lost bags, the report said. Apr 4, 2005

Toast, that is fresh toast, is now available in first class on Cathay Pacific, Air France and Emirates, at least, following some innovations by Aerolux, the galley equipment specialist. Using the classic Dualit model the Blackpool (Lancashire) based company have reengineered the popular unit to satisfy the UK CAA and also airline cabin staff who will actually use the unit. The toaster has special stainless steel side-guards, simple controls, overheat protection and built-in safety features to comply with power supply regulations which apply to the new generation of aircraft. Apr 22, 2005

Air Namibia is to operate nonstop flights between Gatwick and Windhoek from July 3 2005, very much opening up Namibia for UK holiday makers. The airline already flies between Frankfurt and using a two class McDonnell Douglas MD-11 with a flight time of 9.5 hours. A similar aircraft will be used for the London operation which will be replaced by an Airbus A340-300 in 2006. Apr 22, 2005

Air Sahara, one of India's burgeoning domestic and regional airlines, now has representation in the UK. The long established Crawley-based Aviareps organization will be looking after the airline's interests in the UK plus France, Italy, Benelux, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland. Currently Air Sahara features 24 destinations within India plus Colombo providing more than 120 daily flights. The airline operates Boeing 737 series on its major trunk routes and the Bombardier CRJ 200 for regional service. The airline will add a Delhi to Singapore service on 11 May and Chennai - Kuala Lumpur flights from 14 May. Apr 18, 2005

Air Southwest, the successor to Brymon/British Airways based at Plymouth (and essentially using the same routes and aircraft), has now introduced services through its Bristol hub linking Newquay (Cornwall) to Dublin, Leeds Bradford and Manchester. The airline already has a successful Plymouth - Bristol - Manchester operation, the introduction of a fourth Dash 8-Q300 enabling the new Dublin and Leeds Bradford destinations to be added to the route network. Air Southwest, not to be confused with the somewhat larger US carrier of a similar name, is now 18 months old and owned by the Sutton Harbour Group, listed on the Stock Exchange alternative market. Apr 18, 2005

U.S. may take aircraft subsidy case to WTO. A U.S. official warned the EU that he is willing to bring the dispute about aircraft subsidies to the World Trade Organization, Dow Jones Newswires reports. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said the EU has reneged on promises of ending government loans, which the U.S. believes amounts to subsides. Officials in Washington said they are willing to talk beyond next Monday's deadline if the EU abides by principles decided in January. Apr 5, 2005

America West, US Airways may consider code-share if merger plans collapse. If America West and US Airways do not merge, they could at least form a beneficial code-sharing agreement, analysts say. High costs and labor unions make airline mergers difficult to complete. However, code-sharing agreements allow airlines to sell each other's seats and are considered an easier way for airlines to grow. Apr 25, 2005

American Airlines[sup.1] regional affiliates have announced a range of new routes from its gateway airports. Miami gains Embraer ERJ-140 regional jet services to Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Richmond, with Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville and Norfolk following from June 9. At Chicago O'Hare, AA is opening services to Colorado Springs and Jacksonville twice daily and Nassau and Pensacola daily, also from June 9. From Dallas/Fort Worth, AA is adding daily non-stops to Evansville (Indiana), Green Bay (Wisconsin) and Toledo (Ohio), from the same day, with new, and seasonal summer services to Traverse City (Michigan), with flights taking off to Fort Walton Beach (Florida) four times daily with the ERJ-145 from July 2. From New York, it will fly from JFK to Toronto from July 2 and Cleveland, while from LaGuardia it will serve Grand Rapids daily from June 9. Apr 30, 2005

American Airlines lifts fares, blames surging oil prices. American Airlines lifted round-trip domestic fares by $10 to counteract the soaring price of fuel, the Associated Press reports. It also increased fares on routes to Canada. Airlines have increased fares several times since the start of the year. Usually a fare increase needs all airlines to match for it to stick. Apr 29, 2005

Arkefly is the latest airline name to try and remember. Dutch offspring of the European holiday giant TUI AG and unlikely to be seen in the UK. Akefly has been created from the ashes of troubled Netherlands airline Exel, and will begin flying on April 21 operating four of Excel's Boeing 767-300 aircraft, mostly on long haul routes. The airline is expected to carry about half of TUI's Dutch passengers as well as operating for other travel companies. Apr 18, 2005

Australia is to amend its Trade Practices Act in relation to component pricing in a number of industries including travel. In a move that is seen as a quick confirmation of its support for the legislation, Qantas is to go to all-inclusive pricing for its airfare and package holiday advertising from Wednesday, May 11. The airline currently provides a breakdown of costs in its advertising, providing the base airfare with taxes and charges listed separately. Qantas, QantasLink, Australian Airlines and Jetstar will all use the new advertising style. And not to be outdone, Virgin Blue has quickly followed suit pointing out that it had in the past operated an 'all inclusive' policy, only dropping it when competitors failed to use the same guidelines. Apr 30, 2005

Birmingham Airport experienced a drop in passenger numbers for March, somewhat surprising considering the BAA figures in the story above. The airport handled 658,269 passengers, a slight fall of 1.2% in total but down 2.9% in scheduled. Europe seems to have suffered the most, which might be due to competition from the rapidly expanding Thomson operation at Coventry, less than 30 miles away. Growth was achieved on transatlantic routes which experienced a 34.1% rise, on domestic services which grew by 6.7%, and on flights to Asia which increased 4.9%. European routes which saw a rise in traffic over the month were, Prague (+127.8%), Larnaca (+93.7%), Milan (+71.5%), Bratislava (+19.7%), Edinburgh (+18.8%), Amsterdam (+18%), Munich (+9.5%) and Zurich (+7.7%). Apr 15, 2005

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