Ryanair looks to fly to new markets
Apr 1st, 2014 by elisa

Ryanair is looking to grow passenger numbers by extending its budget flights to new markets including Turkey, Israel and Russia.

It has ordered 175 new aircraft, the first of which will be delivered in September and be used to service the new routes.

New head of corporate travel and groups, Lesley Kane, said “We are talking to new airports, a lot of which are key business airports, some of which are in totally new markets which are actively looking to encourage Ryanair to fly there.”

The airline wants to attract more business travellers, groups and families to increase its passenger numbers from 81.5 million to 110 million by 2019.

Not always known for being easy for families, Kane said that it aims to launch more children-friendly products. Currently children are allowed to take a teddy and an extra bag on board, and the airline is looking into giveaways such as free allocated seating for children to sit next to their parents.

Next winter Ryanair will have aircraft based in Athens, Brussels, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon. Most of these will offer multiple flights to Stansted.

Etihad Regional launch Cambridge to Verona flights
Mar 28th, 2014 by elisa

Etihad Regional is launching a new route from Cambridge International Airport to Verona in Italy this May.

The service will fly to the city’s Villafranca ‘Valerio Catullo’ International Airport on Saturday afternoons between 17th May and 25th October.

Bookings are being taken now and lead-in fares start from £100 per person each way.

Look for holiday villas in Italy on the main site.

Lufthansa increases capacity from UK and Ireland
Mar 28th, 2014 by elisa

Lufthansa is increasing its capacity from the UK and Ireland as a result of customer demand and the general economic upturn.

It will introduce larger aircraft on some routes and increase the number of flights on others.

Increased services on Aberdeen and Frankfurt are up by 23%, with capacity also up at Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and London Heathrow.

Glasgow to Dusseldorf has gone from six to seven flights a week, while Dublin to Munich will increase from three to four flights a week from April, and then five flights a week in July and August.

Flights from Heathrow to Frankfurt will be operated by the larger Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, and Lufthansa are introducing some “subtle timetable adjustments” on the route from this Sunday (30th March) in order to create a better spread of flights in both directions.

Reduction in APD on long-haul flights
Mar 20th, 2014 by elisa

Chancellor George Osborne announced a reduction in air passenger duty (APD) on some long-haul flights in yesterday’s Budget.

In his Budget Report to the House of Commons, he said that he will reform APD to tax all long-haul flights at the same rate as those to the United States.

This is good news for the Caribbean, as passengers have had to pay the higher rate of APD to travel there than those that have gone to Hawaii, which is further away, but on a lesser APD band.

Osborne said: “I want to reform the crazy system whereby you pay less to travel to Hawaii than to fly to China or India.

“It hits exports, puts off tourists and creates a great sense of injustice in our Caribbean and southeast Asian communities in the UK.

“From next year, all long-haul flights will carry the same, lower Band B tax rate that you now pay to fly to the United States.”

The changes will mean that a family of four flying economy class to the Caribbean will save at least £64, and passengers flying economy to Australia will save around £27, and £108 in premium cabins.

Although hailed as a victory for the tourism industry, he also made clear that this was to help British businesses strengthen links to high growth business markets abroad and to make the UK an attractive option for business visitors as well as tourists.

The changes will be put in place on 1st April next year.

Planes without windows
Feb 24th, 2014 by elisa

The days of peeking out of the little aeroplane window on your journey could be coming to an end, thanks to a new aircraft design.

Spike Aerospace, the designers of a new supersonic jet, say windows add weight to an aircraft, so removing them from the design altogether will reduce drag and make the plane fly faster.

Instead, there will be display screens embedded in the wall. These will show the view from outside of the cabin, with footage fed from cameras mounted on the outside of the aircraft. Passengers will be able to dim the screens or change the images.

Spike Aerospace claims it will launch the first supersonic S-512 business jet in 2018, with the capability of reaching destinations in half the current journey time. For example, passengers will be able to fly from New York to London in three to four hours, and from Los Angeles to Tokyo in eight hours.

In a statement the company said: “We expect the first customers for the jet will be businesses and their management teams that need to manage global operations more efficiently.

“They will be able to reach destinations faster, evaluate more opportunities and have a bigger impact on their enterprises.

“In time, supersonic travel will be available to everyone so they can explore more of the world, faster.”

Virgin Galactic ready for lift off
Feb 17th, 2014 by elisa

Fancy jetting off into space? Well if $200,000 is pocket change to you, then join the other 700 people who have already booked Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flights.

Virgin boss, Sir Richard Branson, said that the flights will be ready for blast off ‘within months’.

Speaking at a United Arab Emirates’ government summit, he said that US authorities are likely to grant a commercial aviation license within three months.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip 2 recently completed a third successful rocket-powered test over the Mojave Desert. Sir Richard said the “ultimate end-game for Virgin Galactic” is to run rocket-powered flights between London and Australia cutting flight times by over 80%.

“Obviously if we could fly to Australia in a couple of hours, that would give us a massive advantage over anybody else” he said, cautiously adding that the reality of point to point Virgin Galactic flights is well over a decade away.

For a pretty exciting promo video of how it works, go to the Virgin Galactic website (where you can also book tickets!).

Aircraft to land closer together at Heathrow
Feb 7th, 2014 by elisa

Heathrow has been given the go-ahead to let aircraft land closer together in windy conditions.

The airport will be the first in the world to implement the new system, which is hoped to halve delays for arriving passengers. It said it will cut disruption for passengers by more than 1,300 hours each year.

From spring 2015 air traffic controllers will start to manage arriving flights using the amount of time between aircraft, rather than distance. The move follows the recommendation from the Airports Commission, which has been investigating ways in which to create extra capacity out of existing airports in the notoriously busy airports in southeast England.

Heathrow has been operating at 98% of its runway capacity for a decade. In normal conditions a flight takes off or lands every 45 seconds. During strong headwind conditions, however, aircraft fly more slowly, resulting in extra time between each arrival. Maintaining a set distance between aircraft in such conditions, means landing rates are reduced and flights are delayed, sometimes causing cancellations as the airport has no spare slots to accommodate for the delays.

Traditionally, flights are separated by set distances determined by each aircraft’s size of spiralling turbulence – or wake vortex – created as they fly. NATS studied over 100,000 flights using special equipment to accurately measure the behaviour of these wake vortices in strong headwinds. The results show that they dissipate more quickly when it’s windy, therefore allowing aircraft to land closer together in these conditions, while maintaining safety.

Director of airside operations Derek Provan said: “We’re pleased that NATS have accelerated the roll-out of this new system at Heathrow.

“It will help us keep the flights landing safely and on time during strong headwinds – ultimately benefitting passengers and local communities.”

Flybe adds cheap flights from Birmingham
Feb 3rd, 2014 by elisa

Flybe is adding seven new routes from Birmingham from April and May 2014.

Flybe will offer flights from Birmingham to:

Florence six times a week

– daily flights to Cologne

Toulouse six times a week

Alicante five times a week

– Bordeaux, Palma Mallorca and Porto four times a week

Birmingham will become the airline’s biggest regional base when it adds three of its 2×2 seat Embraer 175 jets to the airport.

Seats are on sale now, with one-way fares from £34.99 including taxes and charges. Flights start on 10th April to Alicante, Cologne, Florence and Porto, and from 13th May for the rest.

Tips for when to book
Jan 28th, 2014 by elisa

Flight comparison website, Skyscanner, has revealed its top tips for when to book your flights.

According to its research, 80% of travellers wouldn’t know whether a fare offered good value for money or not. So, Skyscanner has launched a handy tool to show when it’s the best time to book. You can also set up an email price alert for any flights you’re searching.

Based on an analysis of thousands of flight and booking data, along with its expert knowledge and experience, Skyscanner has come up with these handy rules to follow when trying to get the best price for your flight:

1. Book smart – Lower costs by travelling at less popular times of the day. Also avoid peak season travel.

2. Be flexible – If you’re open to different destinations then run a search on ‘everywhere’ to find the countries with the best value flights at any time.

3. Compare and contrast – Using travel comparison websites can compare the widest range of airlines and online travel agents to help to get the best deal.

4. Track prices – Keeping an eye on prices a few months in advance is the best way to find a good value flight.

Skyscanner also has a table of average prices and best times to book at some of the most popular destinations for travellers from the UK.

Ryanair base in Lisbon
Jan 27th, 2014 by elisa

Ryanair will open a third base in Portugal in April. 

One aircraft will be based at Lisbon and operate four new routes to Manchester, Dole and Marseille in France, and Pisa.

Manchester flights will operate eight times a week and flights are now on sale.

Many of our Portugal properties are in the Algarve, so flights to Faro are the most appropriate/closest; however it’s only a couple of hours drive from Lisbon to the Algarve. You might want to consider this if flights work out cheaper to Lisbon and you are considering booking a hire car to see further afield anyway. We covered the benefits of booking flights further away from your destination in John’s insightful blog post late last year.


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