Ryanair announces London schedule with 23 new routes

Ryanair, the Irish low fares airline, has launched its biggest ever London S 2019 schedule, with 23 new routes and over 180 routes in total, from Ryanair’s four London airports – Stansted, Luton, Southend and Gatwick.

As part of the London S19 schedule, Ryanair will introduce a new three-aircraft base at Southend and two more aircraft at Luton, adding to a total of six aircraft. The airline has also announced 23 new routes including three at Stansted, viz. Kiev, Lviv and Nantes; and six at Luton, viz. Alicante, Athens, Barcelona, Bologna, Cork and Malaga. At Southend, Ryanair introduced 14 routes including to Alicante, Bilbao, Brest, Copenhagen, Cluj, Corfu, Dublin, Faro, Kosice, Malaga, Milan, Palma, Reus and Venice.

In total, the London S19 Schedule will operate over 180 routes, expected to carry over 26 million customers per annum, up five percent over the previous year.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: ‘Ryanair is pleased to launch our biggest ever London S 2019 schedule with over 180 routes from our 4 London airports, including 1 new base at Southend and 23 new routes to exciting destinations such as Barcelona, Bilbao, Copenhagen and Kiev. Our S2019 schedule will deliver 26m customers p.a. through Stansted, Luton, Southend and Gatwick, all at the lowest fares, as we continue to grow London traffic, tourism and jobs.

We remain concerned at the increasing risk of a hard (no-deal) Brexit in March 2019. While we hope that a 21-month transition agreement from March 2019 will be agreed, recent events in the UK have added uncertainty, and we believe that the risk of a hard Brexit (which could lead to flights being grounded for a period of days or weeks) is being underestimated.’

Separately, Ryanair also announced a new route from Cardiff to Malta, with a twice-weekly service commencing in April 2019, which will be a part of Ryanair’s summer 2019 schedule.

Commenting on the new Maltese route, Deb Barber, CEO of Cardiff Airport, said, ‘Our customers have been asking for the return of flights to Malta for some time, so we’re absolutely thrilled with today’s announcement that Ryanair will operate regular, low-cost services to this popular Mediterranean destination from early 2019.

‘South Wales is home to a thriving Maltese community and so this service makes it easier to travel between both destinations, whilst also serving as another access point for European visitors seeking to explore Wales.’

British Airways announces more routes from London City

British Airways has announced an expansion plan at London City Airport saying that more aircraft, more routes and more frequencies will be added to the network this winter.

Starting November 11, a new year-round service will be launched to Rome from the Docklands airport, with one-way hand baggage only fares from GBP55. In addition, the airline will add a fifth daily service to the Zurich route on week days. Rome is the first of a number of new routes and extra flights to be announced for next year, the airline said.

Further, four additional Embraer E190 aircraft will join the BA CityFlyer fleet during 2019, bringing the total fleet number to 26 aircraft. These aircraft will add nearly 20 per cent more seats from London City Airport in 2019 and enable the launch of new destinations.

Tom Stoddart, managing director BA CityFlyer, said: ‘It is an exciting time for us at London City Airport. The four new aircraft shows our commitment to giving our customers an even bigger range of destinations and flight times. This growth will see the number of job opportunities in East London increase with direct employment opportunities for pilots, cabin crew and engineers, as well as indirect roles for our various suppliers in and around the airport.’

Luke Hayhoe, general manager commercial and customer, said: ‘It is very positive to continue the year-on year-expansion at London City Airport. We added 13 per cent more capacity in 2018 and will add nearly 20 per cent in 2019. The new route to Rome will increase the number of British Airways’ destinations from London City Airport to 33.’

Richard Hill, Chief Commercial Officer at London City Airport, said: ‘BA CityFlyer is London City Airport’s largest airline partner and this investment in four additional E-Jets demonstrates absolute commitment to its base at London’s most central airport, and continued growth as we enter 2019.

‘An enlarged fleet will mean more choice for tourists and business travellers alike, giving customers more flights to the destinations they love, under the British Airways brand. Introducing a Rome service and adding frequency to Zurich, already one of our busiest routes, keeps London connected to major European cities, and is a real endorsement of the London City proposition by our home-based carrier. We look forward to further new route announcements in the near future.’

British Airways is undertaking £4.5 billion investment for customers over the next five years, which includes the installation of WiFi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and the acquisition of 72 new aircraft.

London Gatwick announces new direct route to Shanghai

London Gatwick has announced a new long-haul connection to Shanghai – China’s largest city – as Gatwick recorded year-on-year long-haul growth of 20.8 percent in July.

The new service will be operated by China Eastern and will connect the UK to one of the world’s leading business centres, providing over 70,000 seats and more than 3,700 metric tonnes of new cargo capacity each year. The new China Eastern Airlines service to Shanghai will begin on December 7, 2018. The Airbus A330-200 will depart from Gatwick on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 12:00 and will fly to Shanghai Pudong Airport.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome China Eastern to Gatwick and look forward to the start of this vital new link to Shanghai which, like London, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important cities and business hubs. Starting from such a strong position gives this new route every chance of success, as it will be popular with business passengers travelling between the two economic centres, as well as leisure passengers keen to sample the excitement of China’s largest city.

‘July’s traffic figures demonstrate that Gatwick’s long-haul network is driving the airport’s growth. These connections to China and other non-European countries will take on extra significance in a post-Brexit Britain as we become more reliant on them to generate vital growth through trade and by exploiting the other business opportunities that they provide.’

A global financial centre like London, Shanghai is at the centre of China’s economic growth. It is also the leading city driving the Yangtze River Economic Zone – a region accounting for 20 percent of China’s GDP and responsible for a third of the country’s imports and exports, the airport said.

The launch of the new route follows one of the busiest Julys in Gatwick’s history, with cargo handled by the airport growing by 28.8 percent year-on-year. In October, the airport will also see the launch of new Norwegian flights from Gatwick to the Florida city of Tampa, it added.

Gulf Air commences new Dreamliner service from Bahrain to London

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, has announced the introduction of a new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner double daily service to and from London.

Gulf Air’s new twice daily nonstop flights connecting Bahrain and London Heathrow Terminal-4 will reportedly be suited to both business and leisure travellers. Regional passengers will be able to connect via Bahrain to London, while UK-based travellers can fly non-stop to Bahrain, with onward connections to key cities throughout the Middle East, Africa, India Subcontinent and the Far East.

Commenting on the new service, Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer Mr. KreSimir Kucko said, ‘Gulf Air has had strong ties with the United Kingdom since we commenced our operations to London in 1970. London is a key destination for our customers travelling for either business or leisure, and I am delighted to introduce our newest 787-9 Dreamliner double daily service on this route. I look forward to receiving passenger feedback on this exciting addition to our fleet, which allows our UK travellers to travel across Gulf Air’s expanding network in superior comfort. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our key industry partners in UK who are integral to the growth and success of our London operations.’

The new state-of-the-art aircraft offers 26 Falcon Gold Class seats and 256 Economy Class seats with improved onboard services and greater entertainment choices. It boasts large overhead bins, LED lighting, and technology that senses and counters turbulence.

In 2018, Gulf Air’s network will serve 49 cities in 26 countries. Gulf Air operates double daily flights or more to select destinations across the GCC, MENA region, Indian Subcontinent and Europe while its network spans the GCC, MENA region, Indian Subcontinent, Europe and the Far East.

easyJet commences Bordeaux service from London Southend Airport, announces new routes

easyJet, European regional airline, has launched its first flight from London Southend Airport to Bordeaux in South West France.

The new service is the first of four services to launch this summer. Operating three times a week, easyJet will operate the new Bordeaux route on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

easyJet will also launch new routes from Southend to summer holiday hotspots Prague, Pula and Dubrovnik this summer. The airline is expected to carry over one million annual passengers to and from the airport for the first time this year – a 25% year on year rise in passenger numbers. It is also planning expand its fleet with the addition of a new aircraft at the base.

Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s Director of UK Market, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to be celebrating further expansion at London Southend Airport and it’s great to announce the inaugural flight to Bordeaux – one that is expected to be popular with those looking for a short break, second home owners and as a region famed for its wine-growing, wine connoisseurs.

‘Having been at London Southend Airport for over six years, the addition of another aircraft this summer will help us to deliver long term, sustainable growth at the airport whilst providing passengers with a greater range of destinations, all with low fares and great service.’

Glyn Jones, CEO of London Southend Airport, said: ‘Our successful partnership with easyJet continues to go from strength to strength, and the addition of a new aircraft at London Southend will bring four exciting new routes – Bordeaux, Prague, Pula and Dubrovnik – and further choice to passengers using our airport. We are now London’s fastest growing airport, and it is great to see that easyJet expect to carry over one million annual passengers to and from the airport for the first time this year. We are expecting great demand for flights to Bordeaux, and wish the passengers on this inaugural flight bon voyage!’

easyJet now operates 20 destinations from London Southend. They can be booked at easyJet.com.

Marriot International opens Europe’s largest Residence Inn in London

Marriott International, Inc. has said that it has opened its new Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington, the largest property in the brand’s European portfolio.

The opening of Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington is the brand’s seventh property in Europe, with further expansion including the brand’s entry into new markets such as France due to the opening of Residence Inn Toulouse-Blagnac.

Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington provides one- and two-bedroom suites with separate living, working and sleeping areas designed for longer stays. Each of the seven suite categories has fully-functional kitchens besides the complimentary Wi-Fi, smart TVs, USB plug points and work space. Complimentary breakfast is served seven days a week, while the Grab’n Go market and Fitness Centre are both open 24/7. There is also a grocery delivery service available.

Located on Warwick Road in Earls Court, the new hotel features 319 suites, many with private terraces. The hotel’s eighth floor terrace will be available to hire as an events space. Suites at the Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington are available from £90 plus tax.

‘Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington has been one of our most highly-anticipated launches in Europe; not only is it the largest Residence Inn in Europe, but it is the third largest in the world, and a flagship property for the brand,’ said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands Europe at Marriott International. ‘London is a key market for extended-stay travel and we are delighted to launch the city’s second Residence Inn following last year’s opening of Residence Inn by Marriott London Bridge.’

John Wagner, co-founder of Cycas Hospitality, said: ‘We know that guest expectations and travelling styles have evolved in recent years, creating a growing demand for centrally-located properties that bridge the gap between hotels and home. Opening London’s biggest aparthotel will therefore allow us to widen the accommodation options available to business travellers whilst also putting the capital’s most popular cultural attractions within easy reach of our long-stay leisure guests.’

Kensington Olympia Exhibition Centre and the city’s key cultural attractions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Royal Albert Hall, and the Natural History museum are within walking distance from the hotel. Guests also have access to transport links across London and to Heathrow Airport.

British Airways to launch new service to Morocco from Heathrow

British Airways is planning to launch a new direct service to Marrakech from Heathrow in autumn.

The airline has said that it will be adding a new four-per-week service from Terminal 5 to the Moroccan holiday destination starting October 28, 2018. During the winter season customers will be able to fly direct to Marrakech from British Airways’ London-hub, with services taking off on Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The return fares start from £132 in Euro Traveller and £332 in Club Europe, and customers may choose to cut the cost of flights by using Avios part payment. They can choose from a range of savings by destination and cabin while still collecting Avios and Tier Points on their bookings, the airline said.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances, said: ‘Marrakech adds another exciting destination to our leisure network at Heathrow and is a fantastic starting point to explore Morocco; from trekking in the Atlas Mountains to discovering the amazing deserts and beaches and soaking up the atmosphere of the many medinas. Marrakech is one of the key tourism destinations in north Africa, so we’re excited to serve it from two of our London airports.’

The airline already flies to Marrakech from Gatwick, operating eight times a week with different flight times.

British Airways is also increasing the number of flights that it operates to other city break destinations from Heathrow this winter, with more flights to Prague, increased from 27 to 34 per week; Budapest, increased from 20 to 23 per week and Barcelona increased from 46 to 53 per week, as well as increasing the frequency to winter sun destinations such as Gibraltar from 9 to 13 per week; Larnaca from seven to 10 per week and Malaga from four to six per week.

The airline has also added Nashville to its long-haul network from Heathrow and a connection onward to the South African city of Durban with the introduction of a direct service from Terminal 5, starting October 29.

Wizz Air introduces fours new winter routes from London Luton

Wizz Air, the Hungary-based airline group with a new base in the UK, has announced the launch of four new winter routes from its London Luton base.

The new services are to the Israeli seaside resort of Eilat, Ovda; Grenoble in France, Verona in Italy and Tromso in Norway, considered one of the best spots for viewing the Northern Lights.

The new flight service to Eilat (Ovda) will operate on Wednesdays and Sundays, commencing on October 28, with fares starting from £26.99; to Grenoble will operate on Tuesdays, Saturdays, commencing on December 15, 2018 with fares starting from £26.99; to Verona on Tuesdays and Saturdays commencing on December 15, 2018 with fares starting from £26.99; and service to Tromso on Mondays and Fridays commencing on December 14, 2018 with fares starting from £26.99. Seats on the new routes are now on sale and can be booked online at wizzair.com, with fares starting from £26.99. The fares are all one way including all taxes, non-optional charges and cabin bag.

Wizz Air Chief Corporate Officer, Owain Jones, said: ‘WIZZ continues to grow and invest in the UK. Our new winter destinations from London Luton to Eilat, Grenoble, Verona and Tromso takes our London Luton network to 51 destinations in 25 countries. The new routes will be welcomed by our UK customers looking for an exciting winter break, whether that’s winter sunshine, mountain sports or experiencing some of the finest sights that nature has to offer.

‘2018 has been a milestone year for WIZZ in the UK with the continued expansion of our London Luton operations and the launch of Wizz Air UK, the newest British airline, giving our UK customers even more opportunity to travel to some of Europe’s most exciting destinations at the lowest prices, enjoying the fantastic service on-board one of Europe’s youngest and most efficient aircraft fleets.’

For Wizz Air, the new winter routes mark the next phase of growth of its UK operations, following the launch of Wizz Air UK, which is now operating eight new Airbus aircraft from its London Luton base. The four new routes bring the total of new WIZZ destinations from London Luton launched this year to 12, including the services to Larnaca, Tirana, Tallinn, Bratislava, Lviv, Athens, Keflavik and Bari.

With the introduction of the new routes, Wizz Air now has 7.9 million seats already on sale for the next year, offering 51 destinations in 25 countries from London Luton, the airline said.

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.

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.