Norwegian announces new route from Manchester to Bergen

Scandinavian airline Norwegian has said that it is expanding its network at Manchester Airport with the addition of a new non-stop service to Bergen.

A UNESCO World Heritage City, the Bergen region provides visitors with captivating views of the fjords, as well as its rich history and culture.

The new route will commence on October 28, 2019 for the winter season with two weekly flights on a Monday and Friday. Passengers in Manchester and the North West will now be able to explore the Norwegian city of Bergen this winter with fares from £43.90 one way.

Magnus Maursund, SVP commercial Short Haul at Norwegian, said: ‘Norwegian’s new flight to Bergen from Manchester will allow passengers in the North West to take advantage of our affordable fares all while enjoying our award-winning complimentary Wi-Fi and modern comfortable cabin on new state-of the-art aircraft.’

Julian Carr, Aviation Director at Manchester Airport, said: ‘It’s great to see Norwegian increase its destination choice from Manchester Airport to include Bergen. I am sure this route will prove incredibly popular with the 22 million passengers in our vast catchment area by giving more accessibility to this Scandinavian city.’

Norwegian started operating from Manchester Airport in 2011 with flights on the new 186 seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft, offering all passengers free onboard Wi-Fi and live TV.

Besides the new flight, Norwegian already operates three non-stop routes to Scandinavia from Manchester Airport with three weekly flights to Oslo, two weekly flights to Stavanger and two weekly flights to Stockholm. Along with the new route the airline will now offer nine weekly flights to Scandinavia from Manchester, Norwegian said.

Ryanair launches new Manchester route to Prague for winter 2019

Ryanair, the Ireland-based budget airline, has announced a new Manchester route to Prague, commencing in October, as part of Ryanair’s Manchester Winter 2019 schedule.

Ryanair’s full Manchester Winter 2019 schedule will be unveiled soon. As part of the Prague route announcement, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from £14.99, for travel in May, which must be booked by midnight Friday (15 Mar) on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: ‘Ryanair is pleased to announce a new Manchester route to Prague, commencing in October 2019 with nine weekly services, as part of our winter 2019 schedule. Customers in Manchester can now book flights to Prague as far out as March 2020, with our full schedule launching soon.

To celebrate, we are releasing seats for sale from just £14.99, for travel in May, which are available for booking until midnight Friday (15 Mar). Since these amazing low fares will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto www.ryanair.com and avoid missing out.’

Stephen Turner, Commercial Director at Manchester Airport, said: ‘We’re delighted to see Ryanair offering our passengers even more routes to choose from for Winter 2019. Prague is a fantastic city to explore and hugely popular with the 22 million people in our catchment area.’

Manchester travellers and visitors can now book their holidays until March 2020. Ryanair’s new customer care improvements include a guarantee as the airline pays back the difference plus EUR5.00 through MyRyanair credit if the customers find cheaper fare within three hours of booking. Further, customers are offered 48-hour free of charge grace period for changes to bookings.

The New Ryanair Choice is available for a EUR199 annual fee for free seats, fast-track and priority boarding for frequent guests. Digital improvements include new fare finder, sports tickets, bespoke travel guides and faster mobile.

Hotel Indigo opens in Manchester city centre

Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station has opened its door to guests, marking its presence in one of the UK’s largest cities.

The boutique hotel is located at the gateway to the Northern Quarter in Manchester, and is adjacent to Exchange Square, the city’s shopping district. Known for its bohemian bars, the Northern Quarter has a lively music scene, with a wide range of places to eat and drink.

Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station features 187 guest rooms. The three room designs blend Manchester’s industrial past with modern luxury. Double rooms are available from £119.

Nicholas Northam, Managing Director for the UK at Interstate Hotels & Resorts, commented: ‘We’re very proud to welcome the Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station to our growing UK portfolio. It is a truly stunning hotel that I’m sure is going to delight both leisure and business travellers alike.’

James McDevitt, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station, commented: ‘We are truly proud to launch Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station. The hotel is situated in a prime location for those visiting Manchester and who wish to see and appreciate the city’s artistic side. Working with local designers, the interiors reflect the creative personality of the area, whilst reinforcing this first-class hotel we have created.’

The hotel will feature a restaurant and bar, Mamucium, led by award-winning Mancunian chef Andrew Green. The 120-seat restaurant will serve a menu of classic and locally sourced food with a Northern flavour. The key attraction will be the silestone and brass bar area, as well a cafe, M Cafe, within the restored building.

There are currently 27 Hotel Indigo properties in Europe with another 17 due to open in the next 3-5 years, IHG said in its release.

Arriva offers affordable rail travel to passengers to and from Manchester Airport

Arriva Group train operators, CrossCountry and Northern, have announced plans to expand their range of mobile tickets (m-Tickets) and travel options to passengers travelling to and from Manchester Airport.

Effective from September 3, a full range of connectional Advance Tickets will be available direct to Manchester Airport, with connections at Manchester Piccadilly using Northern services. The new fares offer customers a cheaper way to plan their journeys to and from the airport, using m-Tickets bought on their phone. With the new -ticket facility, customers will also not have to queue for tickets at the station.

Liam Sumpter, Regional Director at Northern, said: ‘The new m-Tickets are a fantastic way for customers to save time and money on their journeys to and from Manchester Airport. As well as providing cheap advance fares, they will help customers plan their journeys better, with the added benefit of having tickets on customers’ mobile phones. We are delighted to be working with CrossCountry on this initiative to help make travelling and buying tickets easier for customers.’

Ben Simkin, Commercial Director at CrossCountry, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to provide customers travelling to and from Manchester Airport with easier and cheaper travel. The new m-Tickets mean customers will no longer need to queue at ticket machines and will also offer a new range of Advance fares that are available to and from the airport to a wide range of destinations along our route.’

Britain’s most geographical-extensive passenger rail franchise, CrossCountry’s network stretches from Aberdeen to Penzance and from Stansted to Cardiff, and calls at over 100 stations. Arriva Rail North Limited operates the Northern franchise and will run regional and commuter services across the region until March 2025.

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.

British Airways commences new ski routes from Manchester

British Airways has announced the launch of ski flights from Manchester Airport to Salzburg and Chambery.

The two new winter-only flights from Manchester will operate every Saturday until April to Salzburg in Austria and Chambery in France. All flights will operate on Embraer 190 jet aircraft. Basic each way fares to both cities from £49 are available to book on www.ba.com.

Flights to Salzburg will operate every Saturday departing Manchester at 1305 hours, arriving in Salzburg at 1620 hours, with the return flight at 1710 hours, arriving in Manchester at 1730 hours. Flights to Chambery will operate every Saturday departing Manchester at 0007 hours arriving in Chambery at 1000 hours, with the return flight at 1055 hours, arriving in Manchester at 1200 hours.

In May, British Airways launched seven new summer-only routes from Manchester to holiday destinations in Europe as well as London City, offering more than 35,000 extra seats from the North West. The airline will start new services to Florence and Dublin from Manchester in May 2018.

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager customer and commercial, said: ‘We are delighted to follow our successful summer programme from Manchester with these new direct services to two of the most popular snow destinations in Austria and France. They are also brilliant winter break destinations even for those who don’t ski!’

Club Europe and eligible Executive Club customers will have access to the rooftop British Airways Terraces Lounge at Manchester Airport. Club customers will also receive complimentary food and drinks on board, free baggage allowance, free seat selection and on-line check-in, the airline said.

British Airways expands services at London City

British Airways has said that it is expanding its services at London City and regional operation with three new routes and increased frequencies.

The UK-based airline, which has recently announced plans to increase flights from Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol in summer 2018, said that it will double its weekday services between London City and Milan Linate and add a new weekday service to Frankfurt from January.

In addition, British Airways will operate new summer services from Manchester and Edinburgh to Florence and a weekly service between Manchester and Dublin.

According to the plan, London City to Milan Linate flights will be increased from 11 to 23 flights a week, Frankfurt from 20 to 24 flights a week and Dublin from 32 to 36 flights a week. The new weekly summer only flights from Manchester to Florence and Dublin and from Edinburgh to Florence will start in May 2018. Tickets are available to book on www.ba.com, with Manchester-Dublin at fares from £25 each way; and Manchester-Florence and Edinburgh-Florence at fares from £59.

The extra flights are introduced following the arrival of two new 98-seat Embraer 190 aircraft in January and April 2018, bringing the total fleet number to 22.

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager customer and commercial, said: ‘The new Embraer 190 jets will be a welcome addition to our fleet as we continue to grow our route network and frequencies both from our home base at London City and from other UK regional airports. It enables us to expand both our business and leisure routes, with much improved schedules and timings to Milan Linate and Frankfurt.

‘This year we have almost doubled the number of routes we operate compared to last year and the winter season brings a further five new routes, London City to Paris Orly, Prague and Reykjavik and Manchester to Chambery and Salzburg ahead of the new routes next summer.’

This year, British Airways has announced dozens of new flights from London City, Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol airports, the airline said.

Ryanair announces extra flights to Manchester and Liverpool for football fans

Irish low fares airline Ryanair has announced five extra flights from Dublin to Liverpool and Manchester, and also rescheduled two other flights to enable Liverpool and Manchester United fans to watch their clubs’ early Premier League fixtures.

Ryanair said that it has added an extra flight on match day, departing Dublin at 07.10 hours on Sunday, August 13, for the Manchester United v West Ham match, and an extra return flight, departing at 21.05 hours that evening. It has also scheduled an extra flight to Liverpool to depart Dublin at 06.05 hours on Saturday, August 19, for the Liverpool v Crystal Palace game at Anfield.

The airline has further rescheduled one flight to depart Manchester at 22.25 hours on Saturday, August 26, for fans to attend Manchester United v Leicester at Old Trafford, while an extra service has been added for Liverpool v Arsenal on Sunday August 27, departing Dublin at 07.25 hours, with an evening flight rescheduled to depart Liverpool at 22.35hours.

In addition, an extra evening flight has been added for Sunday, September 17, for the Manchester United v Everton match, departing Manchester at 21.05 hours. Liverpool and Manchester United fans can log on to www.ryanair.com to book the tickets for these football specials, the airline said.

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: ‘Excitement is building ahead of the start of the new Premier League season, with thousands of fans set to fly Ryanair once more this year. We’ve scheduled two additional flights from Dublin to Liverpool, and rescheduled another, to accommodate Liverpool fans travelling to see their side take on Crystal Palace and Arsenal. We’ve added three more flights from Dublin to Manchester, and rescheduled another, to accommodate Manchester United fans travelling to see the Red Devils play West Ham, Leicester and Everton in August and September. Seats are selling fast, so fans are urged to log on to the Ryanair.com website and book their match day getaway today.’

Separately, Ryanair said that it has cancelled its planned entry into Ukraine following Kiev airport’s failure to honour an agreement reached at the Ministry of Infrastructure with airport officials earlier this year, in March. Consequently, Ryanair has cancelled its four new Kiev routes and seven new Lviv routes, and will refund customers who have already booked low fare flights to and from the Ukraine, it said.

Thomas Cook Airlines commences direct service from Manchester to San Francisco

Thomas Cook Airlines, the airline division of the global travel company, has commenced a new nonstop service between San Francisco and Manchester, on May 14, according to a release by the San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

The airline plans to operate flights between San Francisco and Manchester twice each week, on Sundays and Thursdays. The flights will be operated using Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The new service will also allow travellers and tourists to connect with Thomas Cook destinations such as the Balearic and Canary Islands, Cyprus, and various destinations in Turkey.

‘I am proud that Thomas Cook Airlines has chosen SFO for its expansion in the United States,’ said San Francisco Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. ‘We both share a passion for creating an unforgettable travel experience, and our customers now have an exciting new way to get to England and beyond. 

‘This is an exciting time for Thomas Cook Group Airlines as we start this amazing new service and grow our U.S. footprint even more,’ said Christoph Debus, Chief Airlines Officer, Thomas Cook Group. ‘We work closely with partner airlines, allowing us to connect to 90 destinations within the USA, as well as to fantastic European cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Milan, allowing us to offer more destinations than ever before.’

Thomas Cook to launch new US route from Manchester

Thomas Cook Airlines, one of the world’s leading leisure travel groups, has announced direct flights from Manchester to San Francisco, as part of expanding its long-haul offering and its US network.

The San Francisco route joins flights to Los Angeles and Boston launched in 2016, and New York and Miami in 2015. In addition to the new route, the airline has increased frequencies to Los Angeles from two to three flights per week, while Boston services has been increased from two to four flights per week. Thomas Cook’s agreements with partner carriers also enable customers to connect to around 90 North American and Caribbean cities.

The new direct flights to San Francisco from Manchester Airport will start on May 14, 2017 with departures from Manchester on Thursdays and Sunday. Economy seats are available from £489.98 return for economy and £689.98 Premium class.

Thomas Cook’s chief airlines officer, Christoph Debus, said: ‘It’s never been so easy for our customers to reach top US destinations. With seven direct US routes from Manchester, five of which we have launched in the last 3 years, we’re making good progress with our strategy to grow our long-haul network.’

‘It’s also great news for the North of England as not only can passengers reach the stunning scenery of Northern California direct, they are also connected with the booming business hub of Silicon Valley.’

Ken O’Toole, CEO of Manchester Airport, said: ‘We are pleased that Thomas Cook Airlines continues to grow from Manchester Airport and look forward to working closely with them in future as they expand further.

‘The addition of a new San Francisco service and increased frequency on the existing Los Angeles and Boston routes means there will be more than 2.2m seats on sale between Manchester and the States in the coming year.

‘That represents growth of more than 25% over two years, with more seats added at Manchester than at any of the other top 25 airports in Europe, cementing our position as the global gateway for the North.’

The expansion in US services comes as passenger numbers to the US on Thomas Cook’s UK airline have more than trebled in the last two years. Almost one million Thomas Cook customers will have travelled to the US from across Europe during the winter and summer seasons this year – an increase of 40 per cent year-on-year, the airline said.

Thomas Cook Airlines will also launch London Gatwick-Cape Town flights in December 2016, while its sister airline, Condor, has expanded its direct flight to the US from Germany in the last two years to include Austin, Portland, New Orleans and San Diego, it added.