Posts Tagged ‘airline’

Lufthansa grows profits but predicts tough year ahead

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Lufthansa, one of Europe’s largest airline groups, has confirmed operating profits for 2010 of €876 million. The company’s chief executive, Christoph Franz, said that although the results were encouraging, the year ahead was likely to throw up a number of challenges. He explained that revenues through 2012 would continue to grow as long as there was no adverse affect on business from unforeseeable events and the spiralling price of oil.

He added that no airline was immune to the rising cost of jet fuel and that a hike in air traffic tax was hitting travellers across Europe where it hurt. He went on to say that competition within Europe and on routes to and from Asia and the US was also becoming much tougher. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks and political unrest were also something to be factored in, Franz said.

Lufthansa managed to declare a profit which is five times the figure announced for 2009 despite losses at a number of subsidiaries. Bmi has declared a €145 million loss and Austrian Airlines a €66 million loss. Lufthansa has defended the performance by saying that both carriers are continuing to implement restructuring measures.

Germanwings was also down by €39 million. However, Lufthansa said the carrier was continuing to grow. One of the group’s successes was Swiss which announced a €298 million operating profit.

Lufthansa pointed to a number of improvements over the past year including the re-introduction of internet services, a brand new Europa cabin and a fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos.

Emirates pushes ahead with recruitment drive

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Emirates said it plans to increase the number of cabin crew it employs around the world by 4,000 between 2011 and 2012. The airline has announced that it already employs more than 12,000 stewardesses and stewards and that the most recent recruitment drive is part of wider expansion plans.

The carrier currently flies a fleet of 152 planes and has a further 200 aircraft on order with various manufacturers. Currently flying a fleet of 15 Airbus A380s, Emirates has announced orders for another 75 double-decker superjumbos. The aircraft is the largest passenger plane currently taking to the skies.

Emirates is looking to recruit more German speaking staff to its ranks while at the ITB in Berlin. It will be at the world’s largest travel fair until 13 March where it has its giant globe stand. Visitors to the fair will be able to experience what it is like to travel on an Emirates A380 because there are replicas of the Onboard Lounge and the airline’s new Onboard Shower and Spa.

Tim Clarke, Emirates’ president, said the rotating stand was now more impressive than ever. He added that it was something to be admired and that it brought some of the best of what the A380 had to offer passengers to the heart of Berlin.

Emirates fist started flying the superjumbo in 2008 and since then some four million passengers had experienced the ultra-quiet jet. The fleet is supported by a cabin crew staff of 2,000 and 300 pilots. The airline flies to 111 destinations around the world.

Passenger death blamed on airline

Friday, March 4th, 2011

An elderly woman has died on an Emirates Airlines flight and her family claim the carrier is responsible. Carol Wilson was travelling from Dubai to Houston when she suffered a heart attack. She was discovered unconscious in the plane’s toilet by her son who claims he was offered no immediate assistance by the airline’s staff.

Although Emirates claims it carries defibrillators on all flights, Ms Wilson’s family say that nothing more than an oxygen mask was provided to help revive her. As the plane was due to land, staff helped to strap Ms Wilson into a jump seat, according to reports. However, no announcement was made that there was a medical emergency and all other passengers were allowed to disembark before a team of medics was finally allowed on-board.

However, by this time it was too late and Ms Wilson was pronounced dead after she was transported to a nearby hospital. Her daughter, Tamala White, who was waiting to greet her mother in the arrivals hall, said she was receiving panicked phone calls from her brother but when she asked Emirates staff for more information she was offered little assistance.

Kerry Guidry, the lawyer representing the family, said there are specific procedures and policies which must be followed in the case of such a medical emergency. He added that Emirates had failed to do so and that this had resulted in the death of one of its passengers.

He went on to point out that all passengers entrust airline crew with their lives and that they should know what to do in such a situation.

British Airways plane because of bed bugs

Monday, February 28th, 2011

A Californian business executive has set up her own website after she was dissatisfied by British Airways’ response to complaints about bed bugs on their aircraft. Zane Selkirk, 28, claims she first saw the creatures when she was travelling from Los Angeles to London. She describes how there was a bug on the seat in front of her when the aircraft was taxiing for take-off and that she saw more of them on her shirt when she visited the toilet later on in the flight.

On a flight to London from Bangalore, Selkirk claims she was bitten some 90 times. On her site, the businesswoman describes how she was horrified not only by the bed bugs but also by the way she was treated by the airline’s staff.

According to Selkirk, BA offered its apologies after the media started to take an interest in her website. She also asserts that the carrier has offered her financial compensation for her ordeal, although she claims to have turned it down

A spokesman for BA has confirmed that the aircraft in question, a Boeing 747, has been removed from service so that the problem can be dealt with. He added that complaints about bed bugs on BA flights are extremely rare and that the airline took the problem very seriously when it did occur.

There has been a resurgence in complaints about bed bugs recently in New York clothing stores and hotels. There have also been complaints from guests staying in hotels in Paris and London.

British Airways celebrates growth in UAE

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

To celebrate regional growth in the United Arab Emirates, British Airways has announced discount fares on business class travel to Europe and the US. The UAE is one of the territories in which the airline industry is seeing rapid growth. BA is keen to tap into this by offering customers who book before the end of February a range of cut-price opportunities.

In January, BA saw an increase of 7.4 per cent in premium class travel on the same period in 2010. Middle East regional commercial manager, Paolo De Renzis, said BA is keen to sustain the increased activity, whether people are travelling for pleasure or for business, by rolling out some unbeatable offers on business class tickets. Those booking tickets before the end of the month will be able to use them in Club World until the end of September.

De Renzis said BA was determined to continue to offer competitive prices to customers flying to and from the UAE in order to maintain growth in the area. He added that BA was also striving to improve the services it offered. The airline is currently investing £100 million in introducing an upgraded first-class cabin on all Middle Eastern routes.

By the end of February, a newly refurbished premium class lounge is due to be unveiled to the public at Dubai International Airport.

Customers flying to the UAE in Club World are already able to experience seats which have been made 25 per cent wider and beds which are designed to lie fully flat.

Qantas looks to protect international business

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Qantas Airways is looking at a number of options for protecting its market share of international business both to and from the country. Recently, the flag-carrier has been faced with strong competition from rivals including Virgin Blue and Emirates. The airline’s boss, Alan Joyce, has assembled a team of around 20 experts to examine the situation.

Joyce said he was looking at a possible international tie-up with another airline similar to the alliance agreed between Virgin Blue and Etihad. He will also be underpinning new routes with more fuel efficient planes such as the superjumbo A380 from Airbus. From 2012, older aircraft will be replaced by the delivery of the first Dreamliners from Boeing. The carrier currently has an order for 50.

Managing director of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, Peter Harbison, admitted that the opportunities for Qantas within Australia were limited and that it will become a key aspect of its expansion programme to form an alliance with another large operator.

Qantas has dabbled in tie-ups before. A potential deal with Malaysian Airlines floundered and in December 2008 a possible deal with British Airways was abandoned. Joyce said that Qantas was currently being supported by other arms of the business and that this had to stop.

Last month, Qantas agreed a deal with American Airlines on routes to and from the US. Transpacific services were once the most profitable for the carrier. However, since 2008, Qantas has witnessed increasing competition from Delta and Virgin Blue which now share the route.

Record numbers of passengers pass through Dubai International

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

The world’s largest international airline, Emirates, helped Dubai International Airport celebrate yet another year of record passenger traffic. The airport recorded 47.2 million people passing through in 2010, an increase on 2009 figures of 15.3 per cent. The boost in numbers is also indicative of the hubs popularity with international carriers who are attracted to its open skies policy, its low rates and its tax-free status.

At present, 133 airlines are listed as using the airport from Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot through to Air Zimbabwe. However, it is the behemoth that is Emirates which really makes the difference. In 2010, the airline added eight brand new Airbus A380 superjumbos to its fleet, the largest airliner on the planet. It also boosted capacity by taking delivery of three of Boeing’s long-range 777-300ERs.

Emirates also added five new destinations to its schedule and is currently showing no indication that it will be slowing its expansion. In mid-2009, flydubai was launched and has also been aggressively adding routes to its itinerary. Through last year it added an average of one new destination ever three weeks.

According to Dubai Airports’ chief executive, Paul Griffiths, there are no reasons for Dubai not to continue to grow its operations through 2011. He predicts that passenger numbers will increase by a further 11 per cent to more than 52 million.

The airport is planning to implement measures to handle the increase in numbers such as improve its infrastructure on the ground as well as better handle the management of its airspace.

British Airways faces fresh wave of strikes

Monday, January 24th, 2011

British Airways customers planning to go away with the airline over the school half-term or at Easter may have to rethink their plans as cabin crew once again vote in favour of industrial action. Although no dates have yet been confirmed, the union has not ruled out staging strikes over the holidays.

The latest ballot to strike was supported by 78.5 per cent of those who turned out. According to Len McCluskey, the general secretary elect of Unite, the vote proves that staff at BA are still unhappy with the way in which they are being treated.

In October last year it looked as if the long-running row between BA and the union had come to an end as the airline’s chief executive, Willie Walsh, and joint general secretary of Unite, Tony Woodley, finally agreed on a solution. However, more militant members of the union were not happy and called for the latest ballot.

According to a spokesman for BA the latest ballot was only supported by 43 per cent of crew members. He added that since the dispute started 2,500 members of the airline’s cabin crew have actually left the union. He went on to say that contrary to what union bosses claim, the percentage of those voting in favour of industrial action is falling every time a ballot is announced.

He urged Unite to look again at the deal which was agreed in October pointing out that it guaranteed pay rises for staff over the coming two years and secured conditions which are already the best in the British airline industry.

Hertz signs partnership deal with Etihad Airways

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Customers of both Hertz and Etihad Airways will now benefit from a new alliance signed between the two to provide passengers with more comprehensive travel solutions. The three-year deal, one of the biggest to be signed by and airline and a rental vehicle supplier, is being celebrated with the launch of a new competition.

It is being opened to all those flying with the airline who choose to take advantage of the car hire solutions also available. Etihad has agreed to supply a pair of return tickets to the lucky winner to a destination either somewhere in Europe or somewhere in Australia. Thrown in will be a five-night stay at a luxury Relais & Chateaux hotel and Hertz will supply a car from its Prestige range for the duration of the trip.

As well as the possibility of the holiday of a lifetime, Etihad customers choosing to pick up a Hertz vehicle at their destination will have the opportunity of taking advantage of some great deals. For all those who rent a car, 500 extra points will go onto their Etihad Guest Miles account.

Etihad has also updated its website so that all the vehicles available to customers through Hertz are easy to see and easy to book. Customers who book over the phone will also be offered the opportunity to sort out vehicle rental at the same time.

Michel Tirade, President of Hertz, said the new alliance was exciting for both companies who are leading names in the travel industry.

Discovery Channel and Singapore Airlines sign sponsorship tie up

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

A major new sponsorship deal has been signed by the Discovery Channel and one of the world’s largest carriers, Singapore Airlines. The tie-up will see Singapore products advertised across the Discovery Network as well as online. A brand-new microsite has been designed in conjunction with the channel which will promote the airline’s unique features, cabin offers and a variety of luxurious destinations around the planet.

Commercials will also be rolled out showing some of the carrier’s special features including world-class cuisine, private cabins and its on-board entertainment options. Visitors to the site and viewers of the Discovery Channel will also have the opportunity to get involved with quarterly competitions which could see then winning a trip to one of 61 exotic destinations around the globe currently served by Singapore Airlines.

Talking about the new deal, the UK and Ireland’s sales and marketing manager for Singapore Airlines, Tony Lusk, said it was very exciting to be involved with the new opportunities being offered by Discovery Network. He added that both saw the importance of developing new technologies so that they could offer the consumer the best possible service, and that this made them an ideal fit.

He went on to say that both the airline and the channel continued to strive to show people the world; whether by actually travelling or through quality television programmes.

Brand solutions manager at Discovery Network, Jane Reynolds, said she agreed that the two brands were complimentary to each other. She added that she believed the partnership would increase the value of the product currently being offered to Discovery Network customers.