Airline News - Europe.

 
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New York, Geneva (AirGuide - Airline News Europe) Jan 22, 2012

Aegean Airlines Aegean reports strong international passenger growth in 2011. Star AllianceOs Greek member Aegean Airlines (A3) reported a 4% growth in passengers carried last year to 6.5 million, owing to strong growth on its international network. International enplanements exceeded domestic passenger traffic for the first time. Passenger numbers on its international routes rose 15% to 3.5 million, whereas passengers carried on domestic routes fell 6% to 3 million (and by 15% in the last quarter of the year). The carrier said domestic boardings declined despite promotional offers that resulted in a 20% lower domestic average fare compared to 2007. OWe invest on strengthening our international presence and on supporting the Greek tourism both in Athens and in regional airports. Within the past six years, we have managed to triple the number of passengers traveled on our international network, despite the tough economic environment in Greece, the sharp rise in fuel prices and the significant high airport fees and taxes in Athens determined by the Greek state,O MD Dimitris Gerogiannis said. Aegean operated 102 international routes from six airports in GreeceNAthens, Heraklion, Rhodes, Kos, Thessaloniki and Corfu. In response to the worsening Greek economic crisis, A3 will operate more direct international flights to/from regional airports. The investment resulted in a growth in international passengers of 37% to/from Rhodes, 23% to/from Heraklion and 10% to/from Thessaloniki to a total of 1.1 million international passengers. A3 said UK, Belgium, France, Israel and Russia markets have registered particularly high growth rates. Jan 20, 2012

Aer Lingus Aer Lingus Announces Summer Sale. Aer Lingus, the leading low cost Irish airline, has announced its sale for summer 2012. With 20% off every seat on every flight each day to the UK and Europe this summer there's a total of six million seats available to customers at a discounted fare. Including flights to popular UK destinations such as London, Manchester and Edinburgh, the sale also covers trips to European cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona and Rome. The launch of the sale follows a continuing trend of good news for the airline company, which includes the announcement that passenger numbers for December 2011 increased by 13% compared to the same period in 2010, as well as the recent launch of a number of additional summer routes. New routes for passenger flights to Europe include destinations such as Stockholm, Verona, Nice or Naples for a week on the French or Italian Riviera, with old favourites such as Palma, Ibiza and Bilbao making a welcome return. The company will also be increasing flying frequency on 13 of its current routes such as Perpignan, Faro and Zurich throughout the summer. For passengers to take advantage of the sale, all cheap flights to Europe must be booked by Monday 23rd January, with travel to be arranged between 17th April and 25th October. With the staff of Aer Lingus taking care of customers every step of the way there will also be the added benefits of advance seat selection for passengers and centrally located airports so that there isn't a wasted moment of the holiday. For Aer Lingus customers choosing to fly to the US this summer, flight deals are currently available to destinations such as New York and Orlando, with the added bonus of full US Customs and Immigration pre-clearance before boarding included. To take advantage of the US offer passengers should book by the 3rd February with travel to be arranged between the 1st April and 30th June. Notes to Editor: 20% discount applies before taxes and charges (UK and Europe) Jan 19, 2012

Airbus, EASA, Qantas Airways, China Southern Airlines, Singapore Airlines,

More cracks found in Airbus A380 wings. Airbus said on Thursday it had discovered more cracks in the wings of two A380 superjumbo aircraft but insisted the world's largest jetliner remained safe to fly. The announcement comes two weeks after tiny cracks were first reported in the wings of the 525-seat, double-decker aircraft, which entered service just over four years ago. "Airbus confirms that some additional cracks have been found on a limited number of non-critical brackets ... inside the wings of some A380s," the planemaker said in a statement. "Airbus emphasizes that these cracks do not affect the safe operation of the aircraft." The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) confirmed it would issue a bulletin Friday mandating precautionary checks. The latest cracking problem was discovered in two aircraft during a routine two-year inspection, an Airbus spokeswoman said. She declined to name the operators of the aircraft. No superjumbos have been grounded but the most heavily used aircraft -- those subjected to at least 1,800 take-offs and landings that impose the most strain on an airframe -- must be examined within four days, authorities said. Airlines operating Airbus SAS (EAD)Os A380 superjumbo must ground 20 planes or almost one-third of the world fleet within the next six weeks to check for wing cracks. Carriers with A380s that have accumulated more than 1,300 takeoffs and landings must make the inspections, and any planes that have made more than 1,800 trips need to be checked within four days, the European Aviation Safety Agency said today. Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA), Air France and Emirates will need to take action soonest, based on flight figures, with the work likely to take up to 24 hours, according to the Asian carrier, which said six of its jets require scrutiny in the near term. EASA ordered the checks after the discovery of cracks in one wing led to detection of more serious fractures in other planes. OThis condition, if not detected and corrected, could potentially affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane,O the safety organization said in todayOs airworthiness directive. OThe new form of cracking is more significant.O The visual examinations donOt require special gear and should be completed in a matter of hours, according to Airbus. Singapore Air spokesman Nicholas Ionides said planes could be still be out for a service for as much as a day, though there shouldnOt be any impact on operations. Out of its fleet of 15 A380s, another four will need checks within the six-week period. OReasonably NormalO EASA issued its notice after Singapore Air and Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) found the additional cracks in A380 wing-rib feet. The fissures, while Oembarrassing,O pose no danger to passengers flying on the 68 A380s currently in service, Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said late yesterday. The European Aviation Safety Agency acted after European planemaker Airbus disclosed two sets of cracks on its A380s just two weeks apart, and barely four years after the 525-seat double-decker passenger jet entered service. The second type of cracks, which like the first appeared on a bracket joining the exterior to metal ribs inside the wings, was "more significant" and could develop on other aircraft if the problem is not addressed, the Cologne-based agency said. "This condition, if not detected and corrected, could potentially affect the structural integrity of the aeroplane," EASA said in an airworthiness directive issued on Friday. Inspectors ordered checks within six weeks for another category of aircraft with a history of 1,300 to 1,800 cycles. In total, the two-speed recommendations cover 20 aircraft including 10 from Singapore Airlines, seven from Emirates, one from Air France and two test planes, according to a published list of serial numbers at a380production.com. Experts say engineers must carry out visual checks by climbing inside the ribcage of each UK-built wing. The process is expected to take each jet out of service for about 24 hours. Airbus said the order demonstrated the "airworthiness process is working" and reiterated the aircraft is safe to fly. It has dismissed calls to ground the jets but the Australian engineering union which handles routine servicing and engine checks on superjumbos operated by Qantas Airways said it was concerned about the speed of the planemaker's response. "They have described these as tiny cracks, but every crack starts off as a tiny crack and they can grow very quickly," said Stephen Purvinas, federal secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association who has called for the grounding. The discovery comes 14 months after a Rolls-Royce engine blowout on a Qantas A380 triggered global headlines. It was during a USD130 million repair job on that same aircraft that hairline cracks in the wing first came to light. Industry sources said the second set of cracks appeared on aircraft operated by Dubai's Emirates, the largest A380 customer. Emirates declined comment but said on Thursday it continued to monitor its fleet and safety was its top priority. EADS subsidiary Airbus has so far delivered 68 superjumbos, starting with Singapore Airlines which took the first aircraft in December 2007, followed by Dubai's Emirates and Qantas Airways of Australia. Other operators include Air France, Germany's Lufthansa, Korean Air and China Southern. The latest problems were discovered in the same type of part as the earlier set of cracks, an L-shaped bracket which connects the wing's exterior to the internal "rib" structure. A380 wings are manufactured in...

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