Low Cost Airline News

Low Cost Airline News

For more airline news, data and analysis, please go to: http://www.airguideonline.com/professional.htm Aug 28, 2006

Future uncertain for airlines. Second-quarter profits were up for several airlines, but the industry still faces daunting challenges, Bloomberg’s Doron Levin writes. JetBlue Airways is scaling back growth plans as it faces higher costs, and Southwest Airlines says high ticket prices are discouraging some travelers from flying. One industry group expects the world’s airlines to lose $3 billion this year. Aug 27, 2006

Low cost carriers invest in future. Discount carriers are expanding into new markets and investing in new technology. JetBlue, for example, recently signed new agreements with global distribution systems after removing inventory in 2002 and 2005. AirTran recently negotiated new rates with reservation and seat inventory companies. Aug 21, 2006

Air Berlin

Air Berlin is evaluating using Munich International Airport as a new hub following its acquisition of dba, which is based there. According to Focus, the carriers are flying to some 60 destinations combined from the airport, which also is Lufthansa’s second hub after Frankfurt. AB is based mainly in Berlin and Nurnberg but also operates around 300 weekly summer flights from Palma de Mallorca, its most important base outside Germany. Aug 22, 2006

Air Berlin

Air Berlin partner Niki Lauda said that that AB has no plans to take over LTU, which like dba is controlled by Hans Rudolf Woehrl. “I don’t believe that makes sense, because [long-haul] is not the core business for Air Berlin,” Lauda said. He added that AB’s acquisition of dba will benefit his Niki LCC “because my partner Air Berlin gets stronger. And that’s good for us.” Aug 21, 2006

AirAsturias

AirAsturias of Spain expects to launch service in October, according to Spanish press reports. The startup will be based at Oviedo Airport and initially will fly four-times-weekly to Rome, Milan, Lisbon and either Frankfurt or Berlin aboard A320s. It also intends to serve Paris, London, Brussels and destinations in Mexico, Panama and Venezuela, where its main shareholder, the Celuisma hotel group, has interests. Long-haul flights will originate from Madrid Barajas. Aug 23, 2006

EasyJet

EasyJet to open Madrid Barajas base. EasyJet is launching a base at Madrid Barajas, its 17th, and said operations will start Feb. 16 with several new routes, details of which will be announced next month and will include domestic services. Aug 25, 2006

EasyJet

EasyJet issued a statement encouraging travelers to limit themselves to one piece of checked luggage in order to “speed up the handling of baggage at airports and minimize inconvenience to passengers.” A second piece of checked luggage will cost [pounds sterling]5 ($9.50) online and [pounds sterling]10 at the airport effective with bookings made from Sept. 1. Total weight must not exceed 20 kg. Passengers will continue to be charged [pounds sterling]5 per kg. above the limit. Aug 21, 2006

FlyMe

FlyMe abandoned its Gothenburg Landvetter-Amsterdam route, citing a lack of profitability. Aug 22, 2006

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines will launch Saturday Kansas City-Cabo San Lucas service on Dec. 16. Aug 25, 2006

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines flew 849.3 million RPMs in July, a 16.1% increase over the year-ago month. Capacity rose 11.6% to 996.4 million ASMs and load factor was up 3.3 points to 85.2%. Aug 23, 2006

Germanwings

Germanwings will add a fourth daily Cologne-Berlin Schoenefeld flight on Oct. 30. Aug 25, 2006

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, a startup slated to launch in October, yesterday selected PAM (Oasis) Ltd. to establish, operate and maintain its Hong Kong-based call center. Aug 25, 2006

Ryanair

Ryanair Seeks Compensation For Security Crackdown. Low-cost carrier Ryanair said on Friday it had submitted a claim for just over GBP3 million pounds (USD$5.7 million) in compensation from the UK government after stepped-up airport security forced it to cancel flights. Aug 25, 2006

Ryanair

Ryanair said it intends to operate a full schedule from London Stansted even if the Bank Holiday strikes against Swissport International occur next weekend. The carrier said it will allow all passengers to use Web check-in and may require them to travel without checked luggage. Aug 22, 2006

Ryanair

Ryanair throws down gauntlet to terrorists, UK government. Ryanair revealed its intention to take on both “terrorists and extremists” and the UK government in a single press release Friday.Its battle against evil will be waged with the week-long sale of 1 million seats across more than 100 routes for [pounds sterling]25 ($47.40) one way including taxes and fees. “Ryanair is releasing these cheap seats to get Britain flying again, which is the best way to defeat terrorists and extremists,” the combative airline said. Aug 21, 2006

Ryanair

Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said the security alert cost Ryanair at least [euro]2 million ($2.6 million) in lost revenue, according to press reports, rejecting some analysts’ predictions that the hit would be closer to [euro]10 million. Aug 21, 2006

Ryanair

Ryanair’s letter included a request to restore the hand baggage allowance and halve the number of passenger body searches and a threat: “If the government restores the security at British airports to these normal IATA levels within the next seven days, then [the carrier] will not make any claim for compensation, which it is entitled to under the provisions of Section 93 of the Transport Act 2000.” Aug 21, 2006

SkyEurope Airlines

SkyEurope Airlines said that passengers now can pre-select seats when booking flights on its website. Aug 25, 2006

SkyEurope Airlines

SkyEurope Airlines will begin Turin-Prague service from Dec. 26 and a four-times-weekly Rome Fiumicino-Bucharest service on Jan. 12. Aug 22, 2006

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines plans to launch daily Albany-Tampa service from Oct. 29 and daily Reno/Lake Tahoe-Chicago Midway flights from Dec. 4. It also announced frequency increases on 10 additional routes. Aug 23, 2006

Sun Country

Sun Country, the low-cost airline based in St. Paul, Minnesota, starting on September 1, 2006, will relocate to JFK Airport’s Terminal 4, the only privately-operated terminal with more than 50 airlines, announced JFK IAT, LLC, the company that manages Terminal 4. Sun Country, which serves Minneapolis-St. Paul and more than 30 destinations, will move from Terminal 3 at JFK and will initially offer two daily flights to Minneapolis. Flights will depart at 10:40 a.m. and 5:40 p.m. Aug 27, 2006

Virgin America

Virgin America responded with a DOT filing last week that reiterated it is 75% owned by US investors and managed by US citizens such as CEO Fred Reid, former president of Delta, who said he was confident the airline would meet with DOT approval. Continental pointed to the “shadow of foreign influence” in its DOT filing. Virgin said the objections are “not based on reality or fact, but are simply an attempt to preserve the status quo, delay competition, and inject irrelevant issues into the proceeding.” The legal fight could delay Virgin America’s launch for months as DOT considers the objections. It filed its initial application in December, 2005 and already has leased 34 A320s. It emphasized that stalled efforts to change US ownership and control rules should not affect its application, which it says complies fully with existing US laws. Aug 21, 2006

Virgin America

Virgin America, the proposed LCC startup that is 25% owned by Virgin Group, is being held up by objections over its US citizenship from legacy carriers urging the US Dept. of Transportation to reject its application for an operating certificate. Virgin America said last week that it has been forced to secure an additional $53 million in temporary financing to fight what it calls “dilatory legal tactics” by Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and US Airways, who argue that the upstart is effectively controlled by Virgin Group and therefore violates US rules limiting foreign control of US airlines. Aug 21, 2006

Virgin Blue

Virgin Blue announces profit increase, revamped fiscal calendar. Australia-based Virgin Blue announced a 12% lift in net profit to A$84.5 million ($64.4 million) for the nine-month fiscal year ended June 30 despite a 35% surge in fuel costs.The carrier changed its year-end accounting period to June 30 from Sept. 30 after Toll Holdings, Australia’s largest transport group, acquired the airline’s majority owner, Patrick Corp. Virgin Blue’s revenue rose 8.5% to A$1.39 billion as RPKs climbed 6.1% to 12.09 billion against a 3.9% increase in ASKs to 15.7 billion. It carried 10.4 million passengers, up 7.5% on the previous year. Aug 24, 2006

Virgin Blue

Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey attributed the result partly to a focus on the corporate market and suggested the best is yet to come. “It takes time for the full impact of these new initiatives to be felt. So far it has been trickling through,” he said. Virgin Blue’s yield up 2.6% and load factor ahead 1.9 points to 77.9%. Unit revenues rose 3.4% to A8.02 cents while CASK excluding fuel fell 3.4% to just A5.92 cents. The result was impacted by the 35% hike in fuel costs to A$70 million and A$7 million in one-off costs associated with the setup of the Velocity frequent-flier program. Virgin Blue also introduced Web check-in and lounges and restructured its schedules to focus on frequency during peak business periods. Aug 24, 2006

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