Flybe connects Cardiff with Rome for first time ever

Flybe, the UK-based European regional airline, has started its first ever service between Cardiff Airport and Rome, with the first flight taking off on March 28, 2017.

The service to the Italian capital is part of Flybe’s 2017 summer schedule from Cardiff, which features 15 routes, offering a total choice of up to 73 flights a week.

Flights to Rome will operate twice a week, with flights scheduled on Tuesdays and Saturdays into Leonardo de Vinci-Fiumicino airport. The service is currently available for travel through to October 28, 2017. Seats are available for booking at www.flybe.com, with fares starting from £24.99 one way including taxes and charges.

Vincent Hodder, Flybe’s chief revenue officer, commented: ‘We are delighted to include yet another new route from our Cardiff base this summer. Rome is an exciting new destination both for Flybe and for the airport. We are committed to connecting people and communities and offering the widest choice of destinations possible with time saving, punctual and affordable travel. We look forward to welcoming many more new passengers on board.’

Debra Barber, Chief Executive Officer of Cardiff Airport, added: ‘What an exciting start to Flybe’s summer season! We’re delighted that the airline has chosen Cardiff to launch its first ever service to Rome. This route has been in great demand by our customers for some time so this is a welcome addition to the airline’s growing network of services.’ 

Flybe’s summer schedule from Cardiff also includes flights to other country capitals including London City, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast City, Berlin and Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and scheduled for business and leisure travellers. Available for travel March 26 to October 28, 2017, Flybe’s 2017 Summer Schedule from Cardiff serves 15 destinations – including Belfast City, Berlin Tegel, Cork, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Faro, Glasgow, Jersey, London City, Milan, Munich, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Rome and Verona – with a choice of up to 73 flights a week.

Flybe to commence service from Heathrow with flights to Scotland

Flybe, the UK-based European regional airline, has become the first domestic carrier to begin operating at Heathrow Airport since 2013, according to a release by Aberdeen Airport.

The move comes after the UK’s hub announced a GBP10 reduction in domestic passenger charges in January in an attempt to enhance domestic connections at the airport. The move opens up a network of onward connections for travellers from Scotland globally and also enables inbound tourists and investors to visit Scotland’s capital and the Granite City. As per the plan, Flybe will operate up to four daily services to Edinburgh and three to Aberdeen, with fares starting from GBP29.99 and GBP34.99 one-way, respectively.

Flybe CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener, said: ‘We are so pleased to confirm further our commitment to Scotland by offering even more flights to London with our two new routes from Edinburgh and Aberdeen to Heathrow’s Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, giving passengers greater choice and also linking them with our range of codeshare partners through our ‘One Stop to the World’ approach.

‘Passengers can, for example, fly onwards with Virgin Atlantic to Los Angeles or New York, or fly east with Singapore Airlines – all on one ticket from Edinburgh or Aberdeen. Early bookings show this is an increasingly important part of the booking profile for these two new routes and we look forward to adding even more codeshare partners shortly.

‘Flybe is the UK’s leading regional airline, with more routes connecting local communities than any other carrier. Our new flights offer the best value for money for those flying between Scotland and Heathrow and mean we can now better serve our passengers in both Scotland and the South East.’

Heathrow Operations Director Derek Provan added: ‘Earlier this year, Heathrow reduced domestic passenger charges by GBP10 and it’s great to see the benefits of that coming through with Flybe’s new services to Aberdeen and Edinburgh boosting choice for our passengers.

‘More airlines flying routes to Scottish airports means more flights, more competition and choice for families, and more visitors to Scotland. With Flybe operating from the award-winning Terminal 2, Scottish passengers and businesses now have direct access from Heathrow to over 180 global destinations including some of the fastest growing export markets around the world. We’re delighted to welcome them to the Heathrow family.’

Flybe services will operate from Heathrow’s Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal, and will provide passengers with connections onto Star Alliance’s network of 44 global destinations served directly from Heathrow. Passengers will also have transfers onto flights from Flybe’s codeshare partners Emirates, Virgin, Etihad and Singapore Airlines from Terminal 3.

London’s visitor accommodation registers record overnight stays

London’s hotels and other accommodation recorded over 56 million overnight stays last year, more than any other city in Europe, London & Partners has reported citing new research by European Cities Marketing.

London has a flourishing hotel sector with over 140,000 rooms, which is expected to grow over the next few years. According to European Cities Marketing (ECM), London’s visitor accommodation recorded over 41 million overnight stays from international tourists, revealing that the city remains open to visitors from all over the world. Overall London grew seven per cent year-on-year. Paris had the second most number of overnight stays followed by Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Prague, Vienna, Munich and Amsterdam.

For international overnight stays, the list of the cities is the same as compared to 2015. London (+1.3 percent) and Paris (-12.9 percent) are the top two cities with highest number of international bed-nights. The Spanish cities of Barcelona (+8.5 percent) and Madrid (+9.4 percent) had the highest growth in the top 10 list.

Visitors from the USA (11 percent), Germany (nine percent), and UK (nine percent) make up approximately 30 percent of the source markets to European cities. The ECM research reports that that overall European city tourism is growing, with the growth mostly coming from European markets.

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business, said: ‘These sensational figures show London’s enduring appeal as one of the most popular international destinations.

‘With our world-class sport, culture, art, history and architecture, it is not surprising that visitors continue to flock to the capital, proving that London is open to people from all four corners of the world.’

Ignasi de Delas, ECM President, explains: ‘We saw another exceptionally successful year for city tourism in Europe. London and Paris remain by far the two most popular cities in Europe, although there is very strong growth from many other cities. Europe offers tourists an unrivalled array of culture, history and food experiences which, coupled with a diverse accommodation sector, means cities across the continent are hosting more and more travellers.’

Ryanair announces winter 2017 schedule from Birmingham Airport

Ryanair, the Irish budget airline, has announced its winter 2017 schedule from Birmingham Airport, which will deliver 21 winter routes including Alicante (six times weekly), Barcelona (daily) and Malaga (5 times daily), operating 99 weekly flights and delivering over 2.2m customers per annum.

Ryanair connects Birmingham with major business and leisure centres on high frequency services including Dublin (five daily), Madrid (four weekly) and Alicante (six weekly).

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: ‘We are pleased to launch our 2017 Birmingham winter schedule, with 21 routes including Alicante, Barcelona and Dublin, which will help deliver 2.2m customers p.a. and support 1,650 jobs at Birmingham Airport. These routes are now on sale on the Ryanair.com website as we continue to grow our Birmingham traffic, tourism and jobs.

‘We are also pleased to report record bookings on our Birmingham summer 2017 schedule and UK customers and visitors can look forward to even lower fares so there’s never been a better time to book a low fare flight on Ryanair. We urge all customers who wish to book their holidays to do so now on the Ryanair.com website or mobile app, where they can avail of the lowest fare air travel to and from Birmingham.

‘To celebrate the launch of our Birmingham winter 2017 schedule we are releasing seats for sale across our European network from just GBP19.99 for travel in October and November which are available for booking until midnight Thursday (23 Mar). Since these amazing low prices will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto www.ryanair.com and avoid missing out.’

Ryanair added that its Birmingham summer 2017 schedule is attracting record bookings. The airline is offering increased frequencies to sun destinations for families, including three new routes to Chania (twice weekly), Girona (thrice weekly) and Porto (twice weekly), which commence at the end of March.

Birmingham Airport has recorded two years of continuous record monthly passenger growth as February became its busiest on record. In February, the Midlands’ biggest airport handled 807,733 passengers – 83,000 more than the same month in 2016 and an 11.5 per cent increase.

Flybe launches new weekend leisure hub via Southampton

Flybe, the UK-based regional airline, has recently announced the launch of a new weekend leisure hub operating via Southampton Airport, enabling holidaymakers and tourists to travel to 12 European destinations from eight departure points across the UK.

A part of its 2017 summer schedule, the seasonal flights will operate on weekends between May 27 and September 3, 2017, and are available to book at www.flybe.com.

The new schedule will offer 76 connections to regional France and Italy on Saturdays and Sundays, the majority of which are brand new services to some of Europe’s most popular summer holiday destinations. With the new service, Flybe claims that regional passengers can connect through Southampton to their final destination without a glitch, and with just one initial check-in at their originating airport.

The new summer routes on the new weekend leisure hub will operate from Aberdeen, Belfast, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle. The schedule will ensure that the connecting time at Southampton is kept to an absolute minimum so that passengers can reach attractive locations such Biarritz, Bordeaux or Verona in a few hours.

Vincent Hodder, Flybe’s chief revenue officer commented: ‘We are delighted to introduce the new Southampton leisure hub to our regional passengers this summer. It further enhances the ever growing number of connections available to our customers wanting to enjoy fast, convenient travel further afield from their local airport.’

Southampton Airport’s managing director, Dave Lees, added; ‘It is great that Southampton Airport is now a weekend leisure hub for Flybe which allows the rest of the UK to enjoy a ‘breeze through’ experience en route to their holiday destination. The airport prides itself on being fast, easy and friendly and is delighted that it can now help even more passengers reach summer sun from their local airport.’

Bristol Airport introduces assistance card to help passengers with hidden disabilities

Bristol Airport has announced the introduction of a hidden disabilities assistance card as part of its efforts to improve the airport and travel experience of passengers with hidden disabilities.

Designed to be the size of a business card, the hidden disabilities assistance card serves as a discreet sign to airport staff to identify passengers in need of support and assistance as they travel through the airport. The card can be handed discreetly to airport staff along with the passenger’s boarding pass or passport.

The special assistance card, which will be introduced by March-end, advises airport staff on any additional needs of a passenger, such as needing more time to process information, or extra assistance in reading departure boards or flight information. The card also encourages airport staff to use clear language when giving instructions. Airport staff are also informed that passengers carrying a card may need to remain with a family member or companion at all times.

Bristol Airport has worked with OCS Group, the special assistance provider at the airport, and local Dementia, Autism and Alzheimer charities in developing the card in addition to the lanyard scheme. The OCS Group also worked with Thumbs Up World Limited to produce a small colour booklet containing useful information for passengers with hidden disabilities using Bristol Airport. The booklet provides a clear guide on what to expect at the airport with photographs of each area including check-in, security, retail and catering outlets, boarding, arrivals and baggage reclaim. The booklet also contains space for passengers to record their own specific needs or any questions they may have along with emergency medical and contact information.

Phil Holder, Bristol Airport, said: ‘We are delighted to work with OCS and listen to feedback from families and various charities in the development of the hidden disabilities special assistance card. For families it will remove and reduce some of the stress knowing that staff are aware and understand the challenges they may face.

‘The booklet will also be a great help to families and provides information in advance of their visit and allows the family to complete the booklet together not only before they visit, but during their time at the Airport also.’

All airport staff in customer-interface roles have been given a full training and awareness programme in preparation for the introduction of these new initiatives on March 31, 2017.

The hidden disabilities assistance card, lanyard or booklet are available on request at the OCS special assistance desk in the main terminal prior to check-in, the airport said.

Fly One to introduce new Chisinau route from Birmingham Airport in June 2017

Birmingham Airport has recently announced that a new carrier, Fly One, will commence operations from the airport in June 2017, offering a brand new route to Chisinau, the capital of Eastern Europe’s Republic of Moldova.

As previously announced by the airline, from June 6 to October 28 2017, the new scheduled airline will operate three times a week to Chisinau from Birmingham on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The flight will arrive into Birmingham from Chisinau at 12:25 and will depart at 13:20 hours. The service will be operated using an Airbus A319 with 144 seats. Seats on board can be booked via the Fly One website at https://flyone.aero/en/.

William Pearson, Birmingham Airport’s Aviation Director, said: ‘We are pleased that Fly One will be launching services in June and delivering a new destination from Birmingham to Moldova. We hope that the service will be also welcomed by the friends and relatives market wanting to gain direct access to this part of Eastern Europe as well as those looking for an alternative city break destination.’

Nicu Berla, General Manager at Fly One, commented: ‘We are honoured to operate our Airbus A319 connecting Birmingham to Chisinau. We wish that our three-times weekly scheduled flight that will connect Birmingham to Chisinau starting from June 6th, will be welcomed and fully utilized by both our territories to possibly foresee growth and durable collaboration. The Republic of Moldova is a wonderful destination offering many leisure and business opportunities to be explored by those who wish to broaden and grow their experiences.’

From Chisinau, Fly One also operates to Moscow, St Petersburg and Voronezh (Russia), Rome, Milan, Parma, Verona and Venice (Italy), Lisbon (Portugal), Barcelona, Valencia (Spain) Dublin and Paris. Formed in September 2015, Fly One operates a fleet of Airbus aircraft from its base in Chisinau.

Conservative Minister urges Heathrow night flight ban

Chelsea and Fulham MP and chief secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands, has urged transport chiefs to ban all night flights at Heathrow airport, LondonNewsOnline has reported.

Citing research from international health bodies, including the World Health Organisation and the British Medical Journal, regarding the damaging impact on people’s wellbeing of sustained sleep deprivation, the Conservative minister has called for a night-time flying ban between the hours of 11pm and 6am. He said that he was frequently woken up at night by noise from aircraft passing over west London, adding that people’s lives were being unfairly disrupted.

His concerns were laid out in a letter to Lord Ahmed, the parliamentary undersecretary of state for transport, in which he stated that there should be a ‘comprehensive’ ban on night flights at Heathrow. He reportedly added: ‘For the past 27 years I have lived beneath the Heathrow flight path and, like many hundreds of thousands of Londoners, I am frequently woken up by aircraft noise. These Londoners have jobs to do and families to look after, for which they require a good night’s sleep. Accordingly, not only are people losing sleep because of being disturbed by aircraft noise during the night, but their daily lives are being indirectly affected by it.’

Mr Hands said that banning night flights for a seven-hour period each day would ‘lessen the detrimental impact on hundreds of thousands of Londoners living beneath the flight path’. He cited the example of Frankfurt airport, Europe’s fourth busiest airport, which has banned night flights between 11pm and 5am since 2012.

Hilton London Canary Wharf announces holiday offering for Easter

Hilton London Canary Wharf has announced weekend rates for families looking for a city break this Easter, with rates available from £144 including breakfast for double occupancy.

Located in the South Quay area of the Isle of Dogs, the four star hotel is just three miles from both the medieval Tower of London and Tower Bridge. An eight minute walk from Canary Wharf tube station, Hilton London Canary Wharf offers a good place to stay for a city break this spring, located well for sightseeing and shopping.

Holidaymakers can choose to travel to The O2 Arena, which is 11 minutes away, or shop at the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre accessible in 20 minutes, or Buckingham Palace 30 minutes away via Green Park on the Jubilee Line. For travellers looking to explore historic sites, the Greenwich; the Cutty Sark, the world’s sole surviving tea clipper; and the Museum of London Docklands are key attractions. Situated in a 200 year old warehouse the museum tells the rich history of the area and other London ports from the Roman settlement era to the development of modern day Canary Wharf.

For families looking for a relaxed weekend of fun, Mudchute Farm -the largest city farm in London – is the spot to be with its wide range of farmyard animals, horses and ponies. Sports enthusiasts may choose WakeUpDocklands to enjoy surface water-sport, including paddle-boarding – combining waterskiing, snowboarding and surfing techniques.

‘Riding the slide’, descending the world’s longest, fastest, tallest tunnel slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit, an iconic symbol of the London 2012 Games, is another attraction offering grand views of London city.

After a busy day out at Canary Wharf, guests can have a relaxing retreat at Hilton London Canary Wharf’s spacious guest rooms and suites. Guests benefit from free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs with on-demand movies. Other amenities at the hotel include a fitness centre offering a gym, sauna and steam room.

Guests can choose to dine at the hotels contemporary restaurant Cinnamon and lounge bar or may walk across to the shopping district which has a wide range of branded retail outlets, restaurants and wine bars, the hotel said.

British Airways to operate new services to Milan from London City and London Stansted

British Airways has recently announced the introduction of new year-round services to Milan, Italy from London City and London Stansted in April, 2017.

From London City Airport, the new routes to Milan’s Linate Airport will start on April 24 and from Stansted Airport on April 29. The airline will operate two flights a day on week days and one a day at weekends from London City and two a week from Stansted. Basic each way fares from London City and Stansted to Milan start from £45 and are available to book on www.ba.com.

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager customer and commercial, said: ‘Milan is a very exciting route for us as it will appeal to both business and leisure customers. The new services gives the choice of two alternative London airports with well-timed flights to Linate, which is Milan’s most convenient airport.’

In early February, British Airways announced new summer-only routes from London City to Skiathos, Greece and to Manchester. Including the new Milan route, British Airways will serve 30 destinations from the Docklands airport this summer.

At Stansted, British Airways will introduce flights to three new destinations, including a second Italian city Florence, and increasing frequency on some existing routes. The new service to Milan will be the airline’s ninth route this summer.

All services will operate on modern Embraer 190 jet aircraft, with large cabins and two abreast seating offering all customers the choice of an aisle or window seat. In addition to allocated seats, customers flying in Euro Traveller will earn loyalty points which can be used to buy food and drink on board flights or towards other trips. Meanwhile, Club Europe customers will receive complimentary food and drinks on board, free baggage allowance, free seat selection and on-line check-in.

British Airways also said that Italian airline Meridiana, which currently codeshares on the British Airways services between Linate and Heathrow, will also codeshare on the new services from London City and Stansted.