United Airlines commences direct service between Edinburgh and Washington D.C

United Airlines has launched a direct service between the capital cities of Scotland and the United States of America for the first time, following the start of a new route between Edinburgh and Washington D.C.

The new daily service from Edinburgh to Washington Dulles will operate on a Boeing 757-200 and will depart Edinburgh at 1230, landing at 1530 local time. It will operate until October 4, 2018.

The service connects Edinburgh to 63 North American destinations via United’s Washington Dulles Airport hub, such as Orlando, Las Vegas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tampa and Denver. United Airlines presently operates a year-round flight to New York Newark and a summer service to Chicago.

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: ‘This fantastic addition to Edinburgh Airport will link our two capital cities for the first time and strengthen the already strong links between Scotland and America.

‘We know that Edinburgh and Scotland are a huge draw for inbound tourists and we look forward to welcoming and showing them the fantastic sights and history that we have, and the allure of a dynamic city like Washington D.C and all of its landmarks will prove to be a popular with those passengers looking to experience the best of America. Business on both sides of the Atlantic will also benefit from increased access.

‘We fly to more than 150 destinations worldwide and we’re always looking to establish new direct links to destinations across the globe and offer greater choice to the 13.4 million people who travel through Scotland’s busiest airport ever year.’

Bob Schumacher, United Managing Director Sales United Kingdom and Ireland, said: ‘We are excited to inaugurate our nonstop seasonal service between Edinburgh and our Washington, D.C. hub, connecting the two capital cities for the very first time.

‘Our new flight strengthens our international route network and provides our customers from Scotland with greater travel choice, with almost 70 nonstop connections from Washington, D.C. to other destinations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.’

Wizz Air announces new routes to Cyprus and Ukraine from London Luton

Wizz Air, a low-cost airline operating in Central and Eastern Europe, has announced the launch of two routes to Larnaca in Cyprus and Lviv in Ukraine from London Luton.

Wizz Air launched its service from London Luton to Lviv city earlier this month, and is the only direct route from Luton to the UNCESCO-listed city. Flights will operate Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Flights to the coastal city of Larnaca will begin on May 21 and will operate daily. Fares for both routes start from £55.99 one way including all taxes, non-optional charges and cabin bag. The new routes expand Wizz Air’s London Luton network, with more than 7.4 million seats on sale to 47 destinations in 23 countries.

In addition to the new routes, Wizz Air has also announced the allocation of two new Airbus aircraft to its London Luton fleet. The newly allocated Airbus A320s will be the sixth and seventh of eight aircraft to be deployed at Wizz Air’s London Luton base by June 2018.

Sorina Ratz, Acting Head of Corporate Communications at Wizz Air said: ‘Wizz Air’s continuing expansion at London Luton brings even more opportunities for our customers to travel to a diverse range of destinations at truly low prices. I encourage passengers to visit the fascinating cities of Larnaca and Lviv, whilst travelling on one of Europe’s youngest aircraft fleets. The arrival of a further two brand new aircraft at London Luton underlines our continued commitment to our UK operations, fulfilling our mission to provide great value flights and a unique and unforgettable travel experience.’

Currently the second largest operator at London Luton, Wizz Air carried over 5.5 million passengers from Luton in the past 12 months, representing 11% growth year on year, the airline noted.

Aer Lingus to commence new Dublin-Seattle direct service

Irish airlines Aer Lingus is launching a new four times weekly, year-round direct service to Seattle from Dublin Airport.

The new Seattle service will have onward connections from Dublin to 24 other cities including Berlin, Edinburgh, Brussels and Hamburg. Seattle will be Aer Lingus’ third city on the west coast of the US with direct flights from Dublin, the other direct services being to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Commenting on the new service, Dublin Airport Managing Director Vincent Harrison said, ‘This is Aer Lingus’ 13th transatlantic route from Dublin Airport and its tenth new transatlantic route in the past four years. I have no doubt Seattle will be a popular destination for both business and leisure passengers and will further boost trade and travel between Ireland and the US.’

‘Dublin Airport’s transatlantic traffic has doubled in the past five years and Dublin is now the fifth largest airport in Europe for North American connectivity after Heathrow, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam,’ added Harrison.

Passengers travelling on Aer Lingus’ new service to Seattle will use US Pre Clearance facilities at Dublin, enabling them to save time on arrival in the US by completing all the necessary immigration and customs checks prior to departure. A pre cleared passenger will be able skip all queues on arrival in the US airport.

The new service to Seattle is one of five new long-haul routes being launched by Aer Lingus this year. The Irish airline has already launched a new direct service to Philadelphia in March, Air Canada will operate flights to Montreal, Cathay Pacific will launch a new direct route to Hong Kong and Hainan Airlines will start direct services to Beijing.

This summer season Dublin Airport will have flights to 195 destinations in 42 countries, operated by 56 airlines, the airport said. More than 8.7 million passengers have travelled through Dublin Airport in the first four months of this year.

Thomas Cook Airlines announces new flight from Norwich to Dalaman

Thomas Cook Airlines has announced the launch of a new weekly flight from Norwich Airport to Dalaman, Turkey.

The weekly flight will be operated on Wednesdays and commence services on May 23 using A320 aircraft. Thomas Cook Airlines operates it flight-only from Norwich to Dalaman, one-way in economy from £75, one-week return from £219. Tickets are available to book on www.thomascookairlines.com.

The new flight service is introduced as the Thomas Cook Holiday Report 2018 found that holidaymakers are returning to Turkey this summer with a rise in bookings compared to last year. Thomas Cook Airlines is one of the largest UK carriers serving Turkey and Thomas Cook’s holiday bookings to Turkey have registered an increase of 84% year-on-year, it said.

Henry Sunley, Commercial Director at Thomas Cook Airlines, commented: ‘Turkey is a really popular destination for our customers and we are very pleased to add Norwich airport to our growing number of UK airports. We now have more than 140 weekly departures to Turkey from fourteen airports across the UK.’

Richard Pace, Managing Director at Norwich Airport, said: ‘Dalaman is in the heart of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and is making a welcome return to our schedules in 2018. This new weekly flight gives the region’s holidaymakers even more choice from their local airport and we look forward to it starting next week.’

Thomas Cook offers seven nights in Dalaman, Turkey starting from £839 per person, based on two adults sharing. The stay will be arranged at the four star Sentido Orka Lotus Beach on an all-inclusive basis, flying from Norwich. The holidays are available to book on www.thomascook.com.

Thomas Cook promotes hotel portfolio with airline branding partnership

Thomas Cook, the UK-based holiday company, is planning to promote two of the company’s own-brand hotels through a branding tie-up with its airline from this summer, as part of efforts to raise awareness of its hotel portfolio.

Accordingly, Cook’s Club, the latest addition to Thomas Cook’s hotel portfolio launched earlier this month, will feature on one of its A321 aircraft. The first Cook’s Club is set to open in Hersonissos in Crete this June.

Starting May, one of Thomas Cook Airlines’ A321’s will fly with a livery of Sentido Hotels & Resorts – a collection of four- and five-star hotels and one of Thomas Cook’s eight own hotel brands. The hotels offer a wide choice of food for different tastes, relaxation and activities for couples, groups and small families.

Christoph Debus, Chief Airlines Officer, Thomas Cook Group said, ‘The two liveries look fantastic and we are very happy to support and promote two of the group’s own-brand hotels.

‘In our group airline we are looking forward to a busy summer programme, flying to new long-haul destinations like Seattle and Phoenix, and Dubrovnik, Thessaloniki and Madeira to name just a few joining our growing number of short and medium haul routes.’

Ingo Burmester, Chief Hotels Officer, Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts added, ‘Our own-brand hotels allow us to give our customers unforgettable holidays, whatever their preference and we want that to start the moment they board our aircraft.

‘Our strategy is to strengthen the quality of our own-brand portfolio which now comprises eight brands. In addition, growing our airline is a key part of our group strategy, as demonstrated by a capacity growth of 10% in the group airline this summer.

‘Our new flying ambassadors are a fantastic way to both collaborate and celebrate two key pillars within the Thomas Cook Group.’

Branded ‘I (Thomas Cook yellow sunny heart) Cook’s Club, the Cook’s Club A321 will fly for Thomas Cook Airlines in the UK. The aircraft will move to its permanent base at Manchester airport in May, and will fly to beach destinations across Europe this summer.

The ‘I (Thomas Cook yellow sunny heart) Sentido’ A321 will fly for Thomas Cook Aviation, based at Dusseldorf Airport, a release said.

British Airways adds nearly 200,000 UK airport seats for summer

British Airways is set to begin its summer 2018 service from the UK regions next week with the launch of new routes and additional flights from five regional airports.

The airline has added two new Embraer 190 jets to its fleet, offering nearly 200,000 seats to some of the most popular business and leisure destinations in Europe and the UK, representing an increase of 26 percent compared to last year.

The new routes are from Manchester and Edinburgh to Florence and Manchester to Dublin. In addition to the new routes from Manchester, flights to Malaga and Palma have doubled and there is increased frequency to Nice and Ibiza. There are also extra flights to Florence and Palma from Birmingham, extra flights to Malaga, Ibiza and Palma from Bristol and extra flights to Milan, Nice and Florence from Stansted Airport.

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager customer and commercial, said: ‘We are growing our summer schedule from five regional airports to destinations that our customers tell us they want to fly to. Last year we almost doubled the number of routes we operated and this year we continue to add even more destinations and an additional 36,000 seats from the UK regions.’

The fares from Manchester to Dublin start from GBP26, Birmingham to Palma from GBP44 and Bristol to Malaga from GBP44, each way. All regional flights operate on modern Embraer jets with a choice of Club Europe and Euro Traveller cabins and two-abreast seating offering customers either a window or aisle seat. Tickets are available to book now on www.ba.com.

Besides the regional services, British Airways is also launching a twice-weekly summer service from Heathrow Terminal 5 to the Grecian island of Kefalonia on May 15. Flights will operate until October 6, the airline said.

Currently, British Airways is investing GBP4.5 billion over the next five years for improving customer experience, including the installation of the best quality WiFi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors as well as the addition of 72 new aircraft. The airline is also investing GBP600m specifically in Club World, offering best in class catering and luxurious bedding, and a new seat with direct aisle access from 2019, the airline said.

Air France and bmi announces partnership on Bristol-Paris route

Air France and bmi has announced a new codeshare partnership on bmi’s Bristol to Paris service.

Set to commence service on May 14, 2018, the partnership will provide business and leisure customers from Bristol Airport with access to 25 French cities via Air France’s top-class hub at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

The news comes after bmi announced its plans to increase the frequency of the Paris CDG service from its Bristol hub. The airline presently flies twice daily between Bristol and Paris but will be adding a further flight three times a week – on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as of May 14, 2018, it said.

Benedicte Duval, general manager for Air France KLM in UK & Ireland, said, ‘This new codeshare agreement is excellent news for our customers in the South West. Both business and leisure passengers will now benefit from the enhanced opportunity of connecting to a range of exciting destinations across France via our hub at Paris Charles de Gaulle. From the fashionable Cote d’Azur to the picturesque vineyards of Bordeaux, this new partnership improves connectivity and offers customers access to even more destinations from the convenience of their local airport’

Jochen Schnadt, chief commercial officer of bmi, added, ‘Our new codeshare enables customers from across the South West to book through-tickets with Air France to 25 cities across France. With up to three daily services to Paris Charles de Gaulle, bmi provides seamless and convenient access to France. This is yet another step for bmi in building a comprehensive network of strategic airline partnerships.’

‘This new partnership delivers additional connectivity for the South West and South Wales region, enabling even more people to fly straight from their local airport, as well as offering French corporate and leisure customers the advantage of superior access to Bristol, the South West of England and Wales.’

bmi offers flights from Bristol to Paris from £74 one way. All fares are inclusive of 23kg of hold luggage, allocated seating, complimentary in-flight drinks and snacks and 30 minute check-ins. Air France offers medium-haul travel in recently upgraded economy and business class cabins. Complimentary in-flight drinks and snacks are provided on all flights.

Travellers looking to fly from Bristol Airport to Air France destinations within France via Paris Charles de Gaulle will be able to book tickets at www.airfrance.co.uk.

InterContinental Hotels Group adds 13 luxury and upscale hotels in UK

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has said that it will expand its luxury and upscale estate, establishing itself as one of the leading luxury hotel operators in the UK.

Accordingly, IHG has entered into a conditional agreement with Fonciere des Regions (FdR), to rebrand and operate 12 high quality open hotels (2.2k rooms) and one pipeline hotel (185 rooms) into its portfolio across the UK. The move will expand the InterContinental brand, and enable IHG to launch its luxury boutique brand, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in the UK, adding multiple hotels for the brand in major city centres, including London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

The agreement is a major step as IHG plans to take the brand global, expanding on the first signings for Asia and China last year, and will act as a catalyst for Kimpton’s growth in Europe. This agreement aims to strengthen IHG’s position in the upscale segment in the UK, and will establish a presence for its new upscale brand. These hotels will represent the IHG brand in its largest market within the Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA) region, where it will initially be launched later this year.

Keith Barr, chief executive officer, IHG commented: ‘We are focused on continuing to expand our leadership in luxury and upscale, which are both high-value segments with significant growth potential. Bringing Kimpton to such an important market as the UK is a key part of our plans, as is the introduction of our new upscale brand, which will provide an exciting, differentiated offering to both guests and owners. Together with the recent addition of Regent Hotels & Resorts to our portfolio, we are building real momentum behind our plans to deliver industry-leading net rooms growth.’

Following FdR’s acquisition of the hotel properties and operations, IHG will operate the hotels that currently operate under the Principal Hotels and De Vere Hotels brands under long-term ‘managed leases’ as part of its luxury and upscale portfolio. The hotels include The Principal London, The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square, The Principal Edinburgh George Street, The Principal Met Hotel (Leeds), The Principal York, De Vere Oxford Thames, The Grand Birmingham (pipeline), The Principal Manchester, The Principal Blythswood Square (Glasgow), The Principal Grand Central (Glasgow), The Principal St David’s (Cardiff), The Principal Oxford Spires and De Vere Wotton House.

Qatar Airways commences direct service from Doha to Cardiff

Qatar Airways has commenced its first ever service from Doha to Cardiff Airport, marking the start of a new direct route between Wales and the Middle East.

The inaugural flight took off on May 1, from Hamad International Airport, Doha, operated on the latest Airbus A350-900. The regular service will now operate on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which offers a two-class configuration including 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class. The new service to Qatar will link Wales and the South West of England to global markets across the world including Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Asia.

The Qatar Airways flight will depart, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from Doha at 07:25, arriving Cardiff at 12:50; and on return, depart from Cardiff at 15:55 arriving Doha at 00:45 (+1). On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, the flight will depart Doha at 01:15, arriving Cardiff at 06:40; and on return; departing Cardiff at 08:10 and arriving Doha at 17:00 hours.

Roger Lewis, Chairman of Cardiff Airport, said: ‘This is a pivotal moment for Cardiff Airport, for Wales and the South West of England. The far reaching consequences of this service for passengers and businesses will be transformational.

‘I sincerely thank H.E., Mr. Akbar Al Baker, for the trust he and Qatar Airways are placing in us. I am confident that the team at Cardiff Airport will deliver a world-class service with Qatar Airways for all of our passengers both visiting Wales and those travelling across the world.

‘The critically important relationship between Qatar, Wales and the United Kingdom is substantially strengthened today.’

The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, said: ‘I am delighted to welcome the first Qatar Airways flight from Doha to our capital city, Cardiff.

‘The new direct service between Cardiff and Doha is a huge boost for Wales. It will open up Wales’ links with the rest of the world and deliver new economic, leisure and travel opportunities for Welsh businesses and the people of Wales.

‘Providing a direct route into the world’s fastest growing hub airport, Hamad International, will also bring Wales closer to leading global markets such as India, China, Singapore and Australasia.’

Iberia Express to reintroduce Cardiff to Madrid service for summer 2018

Spanish airline Iberia Express is re-introducing direct flights between Cardiff and Madrid from June 14, 2018.

The addition of this route to Iberia Express’ 2018 summer programme comes after the demand last summer from both the Spanish and UK markets. The twice weekly flights will operate for the summer season on Thursday and Sunday, linking the capitals of Wales and Spain. Tickets for this seasonal route are now available at iberiaexpress.com as well as via other Iberia Group sales channels, with prices starting from GBP42 each way when purchasing a round trip.

Trevor Martin, Chief Commercial Officer of Iberia Express said: ‘We are very pleased to restart service on the Cardiff-Madrid route this summer season. Our aim is to consolidate its position within our growing list of destinations, while maintaining the great service and value for money our customers expect from us. The route clearly reflects our commitment to the United Kingdom, which is one of the main markets for tourists coming to Spain.’

Deb Barber, CEO of Cardiff Airport, added: ‘Iberia Express came to Cardiff as a new airline partner last summer with an exciting new route to a capital city airport which is also a busy hub for connecting passengers. After positive feedback we’re really pleased that the airline has returned for a second year of flying passengers from Wales to the Spanish capital, and onwards to key destinations across South America.’

The announcement builds on the airline’s operations in the United Kingdom, where flights operate between Madrid and London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh and from Asturias to London Heathrow. Additionally, Iberia – the parent company of Iberia Express – offers eight daily flights from London Heathrow to Madrid.

With the move, access to some popular destinations across South America from Wales’ national airport have also become closer, with connecting times of under three hours when flying via Madrid to Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Havana, Mexico City and others, Cardiff Airport said.