Thomas Cook Airlines announces European destinations from Cardiff Airport for Easter 2019

Thomas Cook Airlines has said that it will introduce Easter 2019 flights from Cardiff airport for the first time.

As per the plan, Thomas Cook Airlines has added over 15,000 seats to destinations including Turkey, Majorca, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Cyprus and a new route to Enfidha in Tunisia. The airlines will operate 11 flights a week starting from April 3, 2019 until the end of that month.

With the new routes, Thomas Cook Airlines now flies to 12 sun and beach destinations from Cardiff and has over 120,000 seats on sale throughout 2019 (Easter and Summer). Tickets are now on sale via www.thomascookairlines.com.

Henry Sunley, Commercial Director at Thomas Cook Airlines, said, ‘This is a brand new Easter programme from Cardiff with our season traditionally beginning on May 1. It’s great to be able to reward our customers who fly with us from Cardiff airport with even more choice.’

Spencer Birns, Commercial Director, Cardiff Airport, added: ‘It’s excellent to see one of our valued airline partners adding even more choice for our passengers for Spring and Summer next year.

‘Cardiff Airport now welcomes more than 1.5 million passengers annually who are often in search of warmer weather and holiday packages that offer value for money, so Thomas Cook Airlines’ announcement of more seats and a new route to Tunisia for next year is great news for customers who choose to fly from their local airport.’

For Easter 2019, the Thomas Cook Airlines’ flight-only services from Cardiff airport are priced, one-way in economy, with fares starting from £201.99 for Dalaman, Turkey; from £59.99 for Palma de Majorca; from £141.99 for Tunisia; from £118.99 for Cyprus and from £146.99 for Tenerife.

The Thomas Cook package holiday from Cardiff airport, flying with Thomas Cook Airlines one-way in economy, includes seven nights in Turkey from £2,150 for a family of four – £537 per person including discounted price for children. The flight will depart from Cardiff on April 10, 2019, with stay arranged at the five-star SENTIDO Perissia in Side on an all-inclusive basis, Cardiff Airport said in a release.

Flybe offers up to 20% discount on limited time seat sale; refreshes onboard menu for summer 2018

Flybe, the UK-based European regional airline, is offering a limited time seat sale on a range of routes for summer 2018, with discounts of up to 20 percent on half a million seats.

The 2018 summer sale includes flights to Europen destinations such as Amsterdam, Biarritz, Milan, Paris and Rome. The seat sale features routes departing from 28 UK airports covering Newquay to Inverness, as well as the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The routes on offer include Birmingham to Milan Malpensa, Exeter to Alicante, Edinburgh to Cardiff, Liverpool to Belfast City, Southampton to Verona and more.

Booking is available through to midnight on April 25 at www.flybe.com/sale, effective for travel from May 8 through to July 19, 2018. The Flybe sale also includes a selection of routes operated by two of Flybe’s franchise partners, Stobart Air and Blue Islands.

In addition, Flybe has also refreshed its on board Cafe Flybe menu for summer 2018 to include a variety of healthy snacks and new additions to its Connoisseurs’ Gin Bar. The airline will now offer a new Breakfast Box including a croissant filled with cocoa cream, a bag of mixed dried fruit, a Nutri-Grain breakfast bar and Tic Tacs.

Customers can also purchase snacks from Graze that include a Veggie Protein Power pack and a vegan friendly Lively Lemon Flapjack. Another healthy snack on offer for summer 2018 is Joe & Sephs Coconut and Chia Popcorn, a blend of caramel with desiccated coconut and chia seeds. British biscuit classics, McVitie’s Shortbread and Milk Chocolate Digestives also feature on the Cafe Flybe menu. The Connoisseurs’ Gin Bar features an assortment of regional gins including Brecon from Penderyn in Wales, Tarquin’s from Cornwall and Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger gin.

Flybe’s chief commercial officer, Roy Kinnear, commented, ‘We want to provide our passengers with the best possible choice when they travel with us. The new healthy additions to Cafe Flybe mean that whether they are flying to an early morning meeting or heading home late in the evening, there is always something enticing to choose from.’

Jet2 announces offer for ski carriage from London Stansted, expands other winter services

As the 2017 ski season is set to begin, British low-cost airline Jet2 has announced an offer for ski carriage on its popular ski routes in Europe – Geneva, Grenoble, Salzburg and Lyon – from its newest UK base, London Stansted.

Under the offer, skiers and boarders can take 22kg of ski carriage for £1 return on featured flights from London Stansted, subject to certain terms and conditions. As part of its winter 2017-18 programme, Jet2 will operate flights to the four ski destinations in Europe from London Stansted. The offer applies to new bookings on the four routes, it said.

Tickets are available to book until Thursday November 30, 2017, and available for travel between Thursday November 30, 2017 and Monday, April 30, 2018, Jet2 noted.

Jet2 earlier this month announced an expansion to its winter schedule for 2018-19, with over 450,000 seats on sale from London Stansted to 18 destinations, including a new weekly winter service to Antalya. In addition, Jet2 will operate winter services to Nice, offering holidaymakers an opportunity to enjoy the winter sun on the French Riviera. The airline also announced a major expansion of its winter programme to Canary Islands with more services to Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Anzarote and Tenerife. A total of 180,000 seats are on sale to the Canaries next winter, it said.

The airline also announced a new winter service for 2018-19 from London Stansted to Larnaca, and a year round service to Paphos as part of an expansion of its programme to Cyrus.

In addition, Jet2 has also announced an expansion of its ski programme to European ski resorts for winter 2018-2019 with more capacity to Geneva, Grenoble and Salzburg, in addition to Lyon services. The schedule of the ski flights is available at www.jet2.com/ski.

easyJet announces spring and early summer flights on sale across Europe

easyJet, the UK-based budget airline, has announced the sale of its flight services for spring and early summer 2018, offering flights across Europe for booking until June 24, 2018.

The European budget airline is offering a number of routes from across UK airports to destinations including Bristol to Faro from £28.49, Bristol to Cyprus Paphos from £58.49, Bristol to Barcelona from £24.99, London Gatwick to Barcelona from £24.99, Liverpool to Alicante from £17.99, Newcastle to Malaga from £17.99, Bristol to Naples from £30.49, and London Stansted to Naples from £26.99. Fares are per person, one way, based on two people travelling on the same booking. Tickets are available for booking at www.easyjet.com, the airline said.

Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s UK Director, said: ‘We’re really pleased to be putting our flights for spring 2018 on sale today. Passengers can look forward to even more low fares to Europe’s best beach and city destinations.’

‘For those who are looking for inspiration on where to go on their break, our Inspire Me app available on our website helps travellers to find flights tailored to their budget and travel dates.’

easyJet Holidays have also launched holidays up until June 24, 2017 with an offer of up to £120 off per booking, including peak season times such as Christmas and New Year, when booked by November 2, 2017.

easyJet has bases across 11 UK airports and flies to more than 800 routes on its network across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

British Airways offering return flights to European destinations for £35

British Airways has announced return flights to several European destinations for a price of £35, plus 9,000 Avios as part of its Reward Flight Saver scheme.

The airline is offering a return price of £35 plus 9,000 Avios to destinations including Nice, Amsterdam, Zurich, Paris, Dublin, Brussels, Munich and Geneva. In addition, it is offering a return of £35 plus 15,000 Avios to customers choosing to travel to Oslo, Rome, Berlin and Stockholm.

James Hillier, The Executive Club manager, said: ‘We know our Executive Club members love to have a range of ways to collect and spend Avios so we are delighted to be able to offer return flights from just £35 plus 9,000 Avios, including all taxes, fees and charges, to a host of popular European destinations like Paris, Nice and Amsterdam to name a few, so there is plenty of choice for everyone.’

Lisa Harris, Customer Director at Avios, added: ‘It’s easy to collect Avios, not only through British Airways flights, hotel bookings and car hire, but also on day-to-day shopping via the British Airways Avios eStore where you will discover over 800 plus retail partners including some or your high street favourites. With so many easy ways to collect, that next travel adventure really is within touching distance.’

The flights are available for booking, enabling holidaymakers to plan a post-summer getaway. Travellers can book through British Airways’ app or website via the Reward Flight Saver page. To book using Reward Flight Saver, Executive Club members must have collected at least one Avios in the past 12 months.

Reward Flight Saver is available year round, the airline said.

British Airways adds seven new routes to summer schedule at London Heathrow

British Airways has announced the addition of seven new routes to its summer schedule at London Heathrow.

The airline has added Brindisi, Montpellier, Murcia, Nantes, Pula, Tallinn and Zakynthos, which will be available for booking effective immediately. The first services will commence from March 28, 2017. All destinations will be served by a mixture of A319 and A320 aircraft from Heathrow Terminal 3 and 5.

Flights to the sun-spot of Brindisi, located on the Adriatic Sea, will be operated on Tuesday and Saturday starting June 3, 2017, with fares starting from £85 return. Meanwhile, fares to Murcia, known for its golf courses, will start from £65 return, with flights operating on Tuesday and Saturday starting from March 28, 2017.

Flights to the French city of Nantes – gateway to Brittany and the Loire Valley and famous for Muscadet wines – will launch on March 29, 2017, with return fares starting from £71. The twice weekly flights will be operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

A twice weekly service to Montpellier will start operating from May 3, 2017, offering holidaymakers a break to the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of the Pyrenees, from just £78 return. The twice weekly flights will be operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For water sport lovers, British Airways has launched a two-per-week direct service to the Croatian coastal town of Pula starting July 4, 2017. Fares start from £76 per person, operating on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The Estonian capital of Tallinn, one of the best preserved European medieval cities and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, will also be added to the airline’s short-haul network from March 28. The flights will be operated on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with fares from £65 per person. The airline has also announced a twice weekly service to Zakynthos, operating on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting June 3, 2017, with fares starting from £81.00.

Neil Cottrell, British Airways’ head of planning, said: ‘We are thrilled to be launching seven new European routes this summer and we are confident these cities will be a big hit with holidaymakers, especially with return fares from just £65 per person.

‘More flights to more cities across Europe is fantastic news for families wanting to get away for summer sun or sightseeing and with so many new routes from London, extra services to Palermo, Mykonos and Reykjavik and convenient flight times our customers have more choice than ever before.’

bmi regional hikes capacity for summer 2015, adds 60,000 extra seats

British regional airline bmi regional has announced plans to increase capacity across its network by 16 percent in summer 2015 following increased demand for its UK and European services.

Key European cities like Frankfurt and Brussels will benefit from the multiple daily flights, convenient flight schedules and new weekend flights. The frequency increases on key routes come as the regional airline is preparing for a new phase of growth.

The move will provide an additional 10,000 seats per month starting March 29, 2015. Cities including Aberdeen, Bristol, Brussels, Frankfurt and Munich are expected to benefit from the enhanced connectivity created through the move to triple daily flights and additional weekend services.

Flights from Newcastle and East Midlands to Brussels will increase to thrice daily, Monday to Friday. Bristol to Frankfurt will operate three daily while Bristol to Aberdeen will also have three daily flights.

bmi regional has also announced an additional weekend service from Bristol to Frankfurt and Munich, with extra flights on Saturday mornings facilitating weekend trips as well as more connections via Lufthansa’s Frankfurt and Munich hubs.

bmi regional chief executive, Cathal O’Connell, said: ‘Increasing our frequency and providing new Saturday services will contribute to an exciting period of growth for the airline. Our investment in new scheduled capacity will increase the number of worldwide connections we offer with our partners Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines to provide additional flexibility and choice to our customers.’

While flights from Bristol to Frankfurt and Munich are codeshares with Lufthansa, those from Newcastle and East Midlands to Brussels operate as codeshares with Brussels Airlines. The codeshare agreement allows bmi regional customers to continue their journeys from their local airport to destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa and America.

bmi regional will continue to offer its USPs across all of its services, including free 20kg baggage allowance for all passengers; 30-minute check-in and allocated seating; complimentary in-flight catering and full drinks service, and a schedule to suit the needs of business travellers.

 

Cruise and Maritime Voyages to launch river cruises

Ocean cruise specialist Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) is planning to start river cruises in Europe due to rising interest by voyagers.

The planned river cruises on the Rhine and Danube will start in May 2014 using a chartered vessel. CMV will be issuing a 12-page standalone brochure to market the new venture, which will be available for sale through travel agents and will also be available online at www.cruiseandmaritime.com.

Chris Coates, Commercial Director, CMV, said ‘We are entering the European river cruise market next year chartering the stylish Vienna 1 river ship. This premium plus vessel has been operated by a number of luxury river cruise operators in 2013 offering a high level of comfort and decor with most cabins having French balconies.’

He added: ‘CMV are specialists in offering scenic ocean cruise holidays on board smaller sized classic ships providing a leisurely and friendly style of cruising with high levels of customer service. Our on board customer questionnaires indicate that over 80% of our passengers would consider taking a river cruise. We also know that our current cruise programme, that includes many European ports situated on rivers, is already popular. It is therefore a natural progression for CMV to add river cruises to our portfolio.’

The first departure – ‘Magical Rhine’ – will start on May 19 for seven nights from Nuremberg through to Amsterdam. On a ‘Grand European Discovery’ cruise departing May 26 for 14 nights the ship will sail from Amsterdam down to Budapest – cruising the Rhine and Danube.

On June 9, a reversed itinerary will operate between Budapest and Amsterdam. These 14 night itineraries are also available as seven night sectors to/from Nuremberg. Optional pre- and post- cruise city stays are also available in Amsterdam, Prague (from Nuremberg) and Budapest.

Prices start at £1,199 per person for seven nights including flights and transfers, full board cuisine, selected drinks with lunch and dinner, entertainment and a range of half-day excursions. Two week prices start from £1,999pp.

Global tourism registers five percent growth, helped by Europe

Global tourism has grown by five percent in the first eight months of the year, hitting a record 747 million international tourist arrivals, Travel Weekly has reported, citing the latest figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Helped by strong results in Europe, Asia/Pacific and the Middle East, the 2013 figures were 38 million more than in the same period of 2012. Europe, registered a 5 percent growth, with an estimated 20 million more arrivals in the region.

Speaking at the opening of the European Tourism Forum in Vilnius, UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai, said: ‘While global economic growth is in low gear, international tourism continues to produce above average results in most world regions, offering vital opportunities for employment and local economies.

‘This is particularly important for Europe, where unemployment is a major concern in many destinations and where the tourism sector has been a source of job growth in the last decade.

‘Furthermore, through its value chain, tourism creates businesses and jobs in many other sectors and produces significant export revenues which contribute favourably to the balance of payments in many countries.’

While the 100 million figure was exceeded for the first time in June, the peak summer months saw international arrivals exceed the 125 million mark in both July and August.

The largest international tourism earners saw receipts increase in double-digits, including Thailand at 27 percent, Hong Kong registering 25 percent, Turkey at 22 percent, Japan at 19 percent, the UK at 18 percent, Greece at 15 percent, India at 14 percent, Malaysia by 12 percent and the US by 11 percent.

Tourism spending was slower in the advanced economies, with Canada, the UK, France and the US registering less than 5 percent increase, Germany at zero percent increase, while Japan, Australia and Italy saw declines in expenditure.

The emerging economies are ahead in international tourism expenditure, with all BRIC countries except India, reporting double-digit growth, the report said.

 

EU MPs reject move to harmonise pilots’ working hours

EU MPs have rejected the move to harmonise pilots working hours across the EU, The Telegraph has reported.

The harmonisation move could have effectively increased the working hours for British pilots. The vote by the EU and Transport and Tourism Select Committee was hailed by pilots unions, including the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), which had warned that it could put passenger safety at risk. However, the vote was condemned by the aviation industry.

‘We are really surprised after two years of consultation it can be rejected,’ said a spokesman for the European Low Fares Airline Association, whose members include Ryanair and easyJet. ‘There were penalties for airlines, which we accepted because of the benefit of harmonising arrangements across Europe.’

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commissioner, said, ‘This vote puts at risk key measures to improve aviation safety. Safety is the first priority for the EU and the sole objective of this revision. Pilot fatigue is a very serious issue and that’s why there are already strong EU rules in place.”

The all-party Transport Select Committee at Westminster, which shared BALPA’s concerns, said that the proposed changes would have led to a lowering of standards in the UK.

Jim McAuslan, the general secretary of BALPA, welcomed the decision saying: ‘British pilots with 40 million hours of flying experience between them and by the public, 90 percent of whom are concerned that a pilot could be landing their aircraft having been awake for 22 hours.

‘The commission must now go back to the drawing board and work with pilots and scientists to develop rules on flying time and tiredness that are based on evidence and expert experience.’

The vote comes after a BALPA survey found that nearly half its members had fallen asleep in the cockpit, with one in three saying that they had woken up to find their co-pilot also asleep. BALPA has warned the proposed changes would lead to pilots being awake for 22 hours if standby hours are taken into account, which could risk passenger safety.

The EU had said the changes were essential to ensure airlines in all 27 member states operated on a level playing field. According to proposed rules, pilots could work a maximum of 110 hours in a two-week period, more than the 95-hour limit under British regulations. At nights the flight limit would be extended to 11 hours from the current 10-hour limit.

Though endorsed by ministers, euro-MPs have voted by 20 to 13 to reject the move. A final decision is expected at the full session of the European Parliament later this year. If approved, the new rules drawn up by the European Aviation Safety Agency would have come into force in 2015.