The closure of a batch of airlines in Europe since the end of 2018 and this year has opened up opportunities in the marketplace, writes Justin Burns
The last eight months has seen much upheaval in Europe’s airline industry with the closure of the likes of flybmi, Primera Air, Germania, Small Planet Airlines, VLM Airlines, Sky Works, Cobalt Air and most recently Wow Air.
This has though created more opportunities for other airlines to expand their route networks to other corners of the continent.
Among those filling the vacuum is Scottish regional airline Loganair which is filling the void from the collapse of flybmi and will start Embraer E145 services from East Midlands Airport (EMA) to Brussels and Inverness this autumn.
From 2 September, the airline will begin an early morning and afternoon rotation to Brussels between Monday and Thursday as well as afternoon services on Friday and Sunday. It will also provide six flights a week between EMA and Inverness, in Scotland. Previously operated by flybmi, services between Brussels and EMA ceased on 16 February.
Jonathan Hinkles, Managing Director, Loganair, says: “Both of these convenient airlinks will benefit the East Midlands region, connecting with Belgium’s largest city – home to thousands of multinational businesses while Scotland’s highlands are now just over 90 minutes away.”
Loganair currently operates freight services from EMA but this move marks the first time it has provided passengers flights from the region.
Flybe and BA expand presence
Flybe has expanded its summer schedule and it now includes three new routes to Heathrow Airport from Guernsey, Isle of Man and Newquay and a total of 164 routes with a choice of up to 3,101 flights a week.
With the start of three brand new routes to Heathrow – from Guernsey (daily), Isle of Man (daily from 21 April) and Newquay (four daily), the airline’s presence there increases from operating seven to up to 15 flights a day, meaning that it is the fastest growing carrier at London Heathrow by frequency. In addition, Flybe operates multi-frequency daily services from both Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Roy Kinner, Chief Commercial Officer, Flybe, says: “Our expansion into the world’s second busiest international airport offers our regional customers unmatched connectivity to and from their local airport to any of the world’s five continents.”
Flybe has also increased the daily frequency on its popular Edinburgh to Heathrow route with the addition of a fifth and sixth daily flight. Flybe’s schedule now features a choice of 41 flights a week between Edinburgh and Heathrow.
From Exeter, Flybe will fly double-daily to and from Paris Charles de Gaulle and has added an extra three flights a week to Edinburgh and an extra Sunday service to Amsterdam. And from Manchester its schedule features four times weekly flights to Luxembourg; increased flights to Dusseldorf (to four flights a day Monday – Friday). Lastly from Southampton, Flybe’s network includes the addition of a fourth weekly flight to Palma de Mallorca, plus enhanced schedule to Amsterdam (four flights a day, Monday through Friday and three flights a day at weekends).
Meanwhile, British Airways has added a new six-weekly service from London Gatwick Airport to Milan Bergamo Airport – Italy’s third busiest gateway and will start the Airbus A320 new route on 1 September 2019.
Adam Carson, Managing Director Gatwick, British Airways, says: “Milan Bergamo adds another exciting destination to our Gatwick network and is perfectly located for a city break, a summer visit to the lakes or even a skiing holiday in the Alps.
“From Gatwick we fly to over 70 destinations as our network continues to expand we’re adding new routes designed to appeal to both leisure and business customers.”
European airlines are also expanding their long-haul networks to different corners of the globe including Lufthansa which continues to expand its services from Munich Airport. As of 2 December, 2019 it will be reinstating the connection to Sao Paulo in its flight schedule, when it starts a three-weekly Airbus A350-900 route to Brazil’s largest city.
Wilken Bormann, Chief Executive Officer, Lufthansa Hub Munich says the route offering “is further proof” of the positive development of Munich as a premium hub and the carrier will for the first time, operate the Airbus A350-900 to South America.
On 31 March, Lufthansa also launched a new daily service from Munich to Osaka. The German carrier has decided to extend this route from Frankfurt to Munich. Along with the established flights operated by Lufthansa and All Nippon Airways to Tokyo, Munich Airport is now offering a second Japanese destination for the first time. With three daily connections, Munich now ranks fifth in Europe in terms of flights to and from Japan.
From Europe, Japan’s third-largest city can be reached non-stop only from Amsterdam, Helsinki, London Heathrow, Paris Charles-de-Gaulle and now Munich. In 2018 a total of 200,000 passengers travelled in each direction between Munich and Japan.
Lufthansa is also adding a daily connection to Bangkok starting in June 2019, complementing the existing service operated by Thai Airways. Lufthansa is also bumping up the frequency of its flights to Seoul from six a week to daily. From June onward, Lufthansa will increase its service to Singapore from five flights a week to a daily connection.
Norwegian has continued its North America focus and on 31 March it started new directs route to Europe from three new North American airports – John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport; Miami International Airport; and San Francisco International Airport as well as adding an additional service from Boston Logan International Airport.
All new US routes will be served by the Boeing 787 Dreamliner while a Boeing 737-800 will operate Norwegian’s first transatlantic route from Canada.
The new Boston to Rome service will operate four times a week. Norwegian currently operates non-stop flights from Boston to London and Paris. On 2 May, the airline will also launch a non-stop route from Boston to Madrid.
Miami and San Francisco will officially be the new home of Norwegian’s non-stop route to London starting this weekend as the service was previously operated from Fort Lauderdale and Oakland airports, respectively. Miami to London begins as a daily service while San Francisco will offer flights five times a week.
The route from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport is the airline’s first-ever transatlantic route from Canada and will be summer seasonal offering, with flights operating four times weekly on a Boeing 737-800.