Air India commences Birmingham-Amritsar direct service

Air India has commenced its new twice weekly non-stop service from Birmingham Airport to Amritsar, the Airport said in a release.

Flights will operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays, departing Birmingham at 1845 hours, reaching Amritsar early the next morning at 0745 hours. From Amritsar the flight departs at 1355 hours arriving into Birmingham at 1715 hours the same day. The service will be operated using a Boeing 787-8 series aircraft, with 256 seats in a split cabin, comprising 18 flat beds business class seats and 238 economy seats. Tickets are available to book at www.airindia.in.

William Pearson, Aviation Director, Birmingham Airport, commented: ‘We are proud to say we are offering a totally unique route, as Birmingham is the only UK airport offering a direct service to Amritsar.

‘The Midlands has the second largest Asian community in the UK and so it is great news that we are making more of India accessible to our passengers for business, leisure and to visit family and friends.’

Tara Naidu, Regional Manager – UK & Europe of Air India, said: ‘Amritsar is an important spiritual centre for the Sikh faith being home to the Golden Temple as well as being a major commercial and cultural centre in the heart of the Punjab.

‘The Sikh community has long awaited this direct route and so we are sure it will be as popular as our Delhi service from Birmingham.’

Vishwanath Panyam, Manager- Birmingham, Air India said: ‘The addition of Amritsar is great news for our passengers offering greater choice, flexibility and convenience.

‘The celebrations for the inaugural flight yesterday were fantastic and show the amount of excitement and support for this route.’

Air India also operates an established Delhi service from Birmingham Airport which started in August 2013. The service has carried more than 600,000 passengers in the four years it has operated using the popular Boeing 787-8 ‘Dreamliner’ aircraft.

Air India to commence UK’s only direct Amritsar service to Birmingham in February

Air India, the flag carrier airline of India, will commence a non-stop service to Amritsar from Birmingham Airport on February 20, 2018, the UK’s only direct service to Amritsar.

Amritsar, the home of the Golden Temple, offers direct access to the major commercial and cultural centre in the heart of the Punjab. This new route complements the airline’s Birmingham-Delhi service which started in August 2013.

The new twice-weekly flight will operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays, departing Birmingham at 1845 hours, reaching Amritsar early the next morning at 0745 hours. From Amritsar the flight will depart at 1355 hours arriving into Birmingham at 1715 hours the same day.

William Pearson, Aviation Director, Birmingham Airport, commented: ‘It is great news that we will have direct non-stop connections to two Indian cities from Birmingham Airport with Air India. With over 200,000 British-Indian people who travel to India each year to visit friends and relatives, and for tourism and business interests, this additional destination shows the large demand within the region for direct Amritsar services from the Midlands. Air India has been a successful partner for over four years and offers great connections to India with services operated by the new Boeing 787-8 ‘Dreamliner’ aircraft.’

Pankaj Srivastava, Director, Commercial and Board Member of Air India said: ‘We are delighted that we are commencing direct services between Birmingham and Amritsar twice weekly, starting in February, recognising the consumer demand from the Midlands’ region to Amritsar, Punjab. Air India is always very sensitive to the needs of the consumer and is pleased to be connecting the two important cities thereby adding a new city pairing for Air India’s expanding global network with the only non-stop UK Amritsar service.’

Vishwanath Panyam, Senior Assistant, General Manager, Air India said: ‘This service is in response to long standing demands between the Punjab and the UK Midlands. We expect this flight to be very popular and may lead to future growth.’

The flight will be operated on Boeing 787-8 series aircraft featuring 256 seats in a split cabin, with 18 lie flat business class seats and 238 economy seats.

Birmingham Airport announces experience improvement programme

Birmingham Airport has said that it has commenced a multi-million-pound programme of development works to improve the passenger journey through the airport terminal.

The development works include revamping the security processing area to provide more boarding card gates, a dedicated security preparation area and a refreshed waiting area with new flooring and lighting. Additional staff are also being recruited in key customer facing areas, including terminal operations, customer relations and security officers.

Commenting on the plan, David Winstanley, COO for Birmingham Airport, said, ‘This investment comes following record passenger growth and to ensure that we’re prepared for the coming summer period where the airport will welcome new long-haul services to New York, Boston and Toronto, as well as many new popular short haul destinations.

‘The service we give our customers is an absolute priority for us so we’re investing a great deal to improve the airport journey for them.’

The Airport is also expanding its retail and catering offer. It has recently opened The Factory restaurant as well as added Kurt Geiger to its airside shopping experience. In spring, a new Bottega prosecco bar will open as well as wrapchic – an Indian inspired burrito and sandwich outlet.

Further, the Airport is building a covered walkway to the terminal from the free drop off car park, and a new 178-guestroom Hilton Garden Inn hotel will open in the summer. New digital wayfinding and signage will also be introduced before the summer season.

In addition, the airport said that a job fair will be held at the airport. Details are available at: www.birminghamairport.co.uk/careers, it added.

Emirates commences second daily A380 service from Birmingham to Dubai

Emirates has said that it has commenced its second daily A380 service to Dubai from Birmingham Airport.

The second daily service comes following increased demand from customers and after nearly two years of its inaugural A380 flight from the city. Emirates’ second flight EK39 departs from Dubai at 07:25 hours and arrives in Birmingham at 11:25 hours. The outbound flight, EK40, departs from Birmingham at 13:30 hours and arrives in Dubai at 00:35 hours the following day.

Laurie Berryman, Emirates Vice President, UK, said: ‘The launch of the second daily A380 service shows our continued commitment to this important route, allowing more passengers travelling from Birmingham to take advantage of our A380 to A380 connectivity via Dubai.

‘Thanks to its strategic position in the Midlands, the route allows both visitors and businesses to travel to Dubai and beyond from the heart of the UK. Now in its seventeenth year, we have seen a pronounced growth in the popularity of our Birmingham service and look forward to a bright future with our twice daily A380 service.’

William Pearson, Aviation Director commented: ‘We are delighted that Emirates has launched a second A380 service from Birmingham to Dubai with this iconic aircraft. Emirates’ hub in Dubai offers connections to 154 destinations, over six continents, giving our region’s travellers global connectivity with an award-winning airline.

‘Having this additional capacity on the lunchtime service to Dubai and onwards ensures flexibility and choice for passengers and also shows the commitment that Emirates has in the Midlands region.’

Since the launch of the first A380 service on March 27, 2016, the airline has flown nearly 500,000 passengers on the aircraft between the two cities. Passengers travelling in Business Class are offered a dedicated lounge at Birmingham Airport as well as Emirates’ Chauffeur-drive service to and from the airport within a 70-mile radius.

Emirates started flying between Birmingham and Dubai on December 18, 2000, operated by a 278-seat Airbus A330. Since then, the airline has carried over 5.2 million passengers between Dubai and Birmingham, the Airport noted.

Primera Air announces new route to Toronto from London Stansted, Birmingham

Danish airline Primera Air has announced plans to launch a new transatlantic route from its new bases at London Stansted Airport and Birmingham with direct flights to Toronto, starting next summer, reports said online.

Starting June 2018, the Danish airline will offer three flights a week all year round from Stansted to Toronto, Canada’s top destination. Primera Air has also announced a direct flight to Toronto from its new base in Birmingham. The new Birmingham-Toronto route will also be served three times per week on a year-round basis and will commence in May 2018.

The Toronto service is in addition to Primera Air’s recently announced daily services to New York’s Newark Airport, which will begin in April 2018, and the four departures a week to Boston Logan Airport from May next year.

Andri M. Ingolfsson, Primera Air president and chairman, said: ‘Yet again, we are very proud to announce our new direct routes from our European bases to Canada.

‘With our brand new Airbus321NEO aircraft, we are opening routes previously traditionally served only by wide-body aircraft. With unmatched efficiency of these new-generation aircraft, we will be able to offer unprecedented prices to our passengers from the UK to USA and Canada. At the same time, we are very proud to be offering a low-fare/high quality product and service concept, that will be perfect both for leisure and business travellers.’

Ken O’ Toole, London Stansted’s chief executive, said: ‘The announcement of Primera Air’s new service to Toronto is yet another fantastic addition to Stansted’s rapidly growing route network and comes hot on the heels of the airline’s exciting news it will launch direct flights to both New York and Boston next year.’

William Pearson, aviation director at Birmingham Airport, said: ‘It is welcome news that Primera Air is expanding its choice of popular Transatlantic destinations from Birmingham by adding a new route to Toronto.

‘Demand for travel to US and Canadian destinations from the West Midlands is high and Primera Air is offering fantastic seat prices meaning it is likely Toronto will be very popular.’

The new Toronto flights will be operated using Primera Air’s new Airbus A321NEO aircraft that offers a choice of two cabins – full-service premium and low-fare economy – along with free Wi-Fi and onboard charging points.

Primera Air to start transatlantic flights from Birmingham

Primera Air, an Iceland-based low cost airline, is set to start transatlantic flights from Birmingham Airport to New York and Boston in May 2018.

The new services from Birmingham to US will commence in May 2018 and will be year-round operations. Primera Air tickets are now on sale, with fares starting from GBP149.00, one way, all taxes included. Tickets are available to book on www.primeraair.co.uk.

The new PrimeraAir service to New York will depart from Birmingham daily with Boston departing on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

William Pearson, Aviation Director, commented: ‘We are delighted to be entering in to a partnership with an additional transatlantic airline. Primera Air will offer daily flights to New York and give passengers the chance to visit Massachusetts’ capital and largest city – Boston. This is a brand new route from Birmingham so we are delighted that Primera Air will give people from the region the opportunity to visit this city direct from their local airport.

‘Primera is a low cost, low fares airline that will appeal to all. With its offering of premium economy and economy seats it really does mean that America is just across the pond. We look forward to working with Primera Air and are delighted that they will base these brand new Airbus321NEO’s here at the Airport.’

Andri M. Ingolfsson, the President and Chairman of Primera Air, said: ‘We are very proud to announce our new bases and routes to US. With our brand new Airbus321NEOs airplane, we are opening routes previously traditionally served only by wide-body aircrafts. With unmatched efficiency of these new-generation aircraft, we will be able to offer unprecedented prices to our passengers from Birmingham to the US. At the same time, we are very proud to be offering a low-fare/high quality product and service concept, that will be perfect both for leisure and business travellers.’

As part of the plan, the airline will base its brand new Airbus A321 Neos, configured with 16 premium economy seats and 182 economy seats, at Birmingham Airport. Passengers will be able to use Wi-Fi on board and the aircraft has full charging facilities for devices.

Hilton Group to open new hotel in Birmingham Airport in summer 2018

Hilton Group is planning to open its new Hilton Garden Inn hotel at Birmingham Airport in summer 2018.

Situated on Concorde Road, Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham Airport will be located next to the airport’s terminal building. The new hotel joins more than 100 Hilton Garden Inn properties operating or under development in Europe, and more than 20 Hilton airport hotels in the UK. 

According to a release by Birmingham Airport, Hilton has signed a franchise agreement with Castlebridge Hotels Birmingham Airport Limited for the construction of the hotel. The proposed 178-guestroom hotel will be built using modular build technology, working with CIMC Modular Building Systems. The construction technique will enable components of the new hotel building – including guest rooms and corridors – to be manufactured in China and transported to site for final assembly. The same concept was used on Hampton by Hilton airport hotels in Aberdeen and Bristol.

Jo Lloyd, commercial director, Birmingham Airport, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with both Castlebridge and Hilton to develop this new hotel, which is an exciting addition to our hotel offering at Birmingham Airport. We have been experiencing record passenger growth as more and more passengers and airlines realise the enormous benefits of travelling from Birmingham and we are delighted to provide our customers with more choice and a great hotel product which we look forward to opening in 2018. 

Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, EMEA, Hilton said: ‘Often cited as the best place to invest in the UK outside of London, demand in Birmingham is growing fast. Infrastructure projects will only boost that growth and Hilton Garden Inn Birmingham Airport is in a terrific location-we can’t wait for it to open next year.’

Jenna Dienn, commercial director, Castlebridge Group said: ‘We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Hilton and Birmingham Airport to develop the new Hilton Garden Inn. We feel that this is a great time to be developing the hotel and restaurant due to the increase in passenger numbers and the airport expansion. The hotel is going to be a huge success and we look forward to the opening in the summer of next year.’

Birmingham Airport launches new flight update service via Twitter

Birmingham Airport is planning to launch a new flight update service for departing passengers via Twitter starting this summer.

The new information service, named BizTweet, enables passengers to receive real-time updates via their Twitter feed along the course of their journey, from the opening of check-in to flight departure. Besides receiving flight information, customers will also receive other operational and commercial information and offers.

Commenting on the move, Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s chief executive said: ‘We want to deliver information to our customers in an innovative and instant way and BizTweet allows us to meet the demands of our passengers.

‘We’re confident that the new service will be welcomed by the growing number of Twitter users choosing to fly from Birmingham so they can enjoy the journey through the terminal while information is delivered direct to their mobile devices.’

Travellers will be able to sign up via the airport’s website or personal Twitter account. The new BizTweet service, offered in association with Cork based technology company TIC, is expected to be launched during the summer, the Airport said.

Founder and CEO of the BizTweet service, Paul Brugger, said: ‘Birmingham Airport is very special to me as it was my local airport prior to moving to Cork. It’s an airport I’ve used numerous times and one I know well as a passenger. I’m delighted Birmingham, our 3rd airport in the UK, has chosen BizTweet to provide passengers with real time personalised information direct to their mobile devices by social media.’

Separately, Birmingham Airport was recently named an Autism Friendly airport by the National Autistic Society.

The Autism Friendly Award recognises the success of Birmingham Airport and OCS Group, the largest provider of assistance to persons with reduced mobility (PRM) in the UK and Ireland, in providing assistance that improves the airport experience for passengers with autism, their families and caregivers. Birmingham Airport and OCS Group have worked together to ensure clear information about the airport is available for passengers with autism, on ways to plan their journey and access assistance at the terminal.

Emirates announces second daily A380 service from Dubai to Birmingham

Emirates has announced that it will introduce a second daily A380 service between Dubai and Birmingham, starting October 2017.

According to a release by the Birmingham Airport, Flight EK39/40 – currently operated by a Boeing 777 – will now be operated by the Emirates A380, adding to the existing daily A380 already operating on the route.

The addition of the new A380 follows the suspension of one of Emirates’ flights to Birmingham. The world’s largest passenger aircraft, A380 features 615 seats. With the new service, starting October 2017, the airline will operate a twice-daily, all-A380 service to the Midlands.

Emirates’ A380 service reportedly has had high demand from passengers. Since the first A380 service from Dubai to Birmingham commenced on March 27, 2016, over 300,000 passengers have already flown on the aircraft between the two cities.

Emirates’ flight EK39 departs from Dubai at 07:25 hours and arrives in Birmingham at 11:25 hours. The outbound flight, EK40, departs from Birmingham at 13:30 hours and arrives in Dubai at 00:35 hours the following day. Tickets are available to book at www.emirates.com.

The A380 features one of the widest individual in-seat Economy Class screens, measuring in at 13.3 inches and offering over 2,500 channels on the in-flight entertainment system. Similar to the current A380 used on the route, the aircraft will operate in a two class configuration, featuring 58 flat-bed seats in Business Class and 557 seats in Economy Class, as well as Emirates’ Onboard Lounge.

With Emirates offering A380 services to key destinations in the East such as Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Perth, Singapore and Sydney, passengers travelling beyond Dubai have an increased opportunity to fly on the A380 on both legs of their journey. As with the current service, travellers will also have connectivity to Emirates’ network of 31 destinations in the Indian Subcontinent and Africa. In addition, Emirates currently offers new passenger services to places including Cebu and Clark in the Philippines, Yinchuan and Zhengzhou in mainland China, Yangon in Myanmar and Hanoi in Vietnam. On July 1, 2017, Emirates will also start flying daily to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Flybe to operate only direct service to Hamburg from Birmingham

The UK-based European regional airline Flybe has said that it has added a new year-round route to Hamburg from Birmingham.

The new Flybe services are available for travel starting July 10, and offer a choice of up to four flights a week, with additional frequency being added for the 2017 winter programme. The airline will be the only direct operator on the route, with one way fares from £34.99 including taxes and charges. Flights are available for booking at www.flybe.com.

Often referred to as the ‘gateway to the world,’ Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city and is a key business and commercial destination. The new service is also expected to be popular for leisure travel, with Hamburg known for its contemporary museums, art galleries and famous fish market.

The new route to Hamburg from Birmingham will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. On Mondays, the flight will depart Birmingham at 1350 hours, arriving Hamburg at 1640 hours and on return departing Hamburg at 1710 hours and arriving Birmingham at 1815 hours. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the flight will depart Birmingham at 1435 hours and arrive Hamburg at 1725 hours, which on return the flight will depart Hamburg at 1750 hours and arrive Birmingham at 1900 hours. On Sundays, the flight will depart Birmingham at 0645 hours, arriving Hamburg at 0935 hours and on return, depart Hamburg at 1005 hours to arrive Birmingham at 1110 hours.

Flybe’s Chief Revenue Officer, Vincent Hodder, said: ‘We are pleased to add Hamburg as our sixth German destination to our already extensive schedule to and from Birmingham airport and to maintain this key route for existing customers. We look forward to welcoming many new customers on board this summer.’

William Pearson, Aviation Director at Birmingham Airport, commented: ‘Hamburg is a hugely welcome addition to Flybe’s growing list of routes from Birmingham for both our business and leisure passengers. It is Germany’s second largest city and has the country’s biggest port making it an important economic hub and a great city break destination too. Connecting Hamburg with Britain’s second largest city will be of huge benefit to trade and business relations.’

Flybe’s other German routes from Birmingham for summer include services to Dusseldorf, Hannover, Berlin Tegel, Stuttgart and Munich.