Vueling announces Paris flights from Cardiff for a summer getaway

Vueling has announced its summer programme from Cardiff, increasing the number of flights to Paris to three per week, following positive news on the easing of travel restrictions between the UK and France.

Cardiff Airport announced the launch of the Paris route in November 2021, and flights will continue to operate through the summer season, increasing to three a week from March. Vueling’s summer schedule is now on sale online, and customers can take advantage of up to 25 percent off flights if booked before Sunday, January 23, using the code SUMMER2022- valid on flights between June 27 and September 23.

The flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with timings scheduled for those looking for a short break to the city of romance, to visit friends and relatives or for a family holiday to Disneyland. Passengers can also reach European cities such as Florence, Rome and Barcelona via a connection in Paris.

Spencer Birns, CEO at Cardiff Airport, said: ‘We are delighted that Vueling has increased the frequency on the Paris route for summer, enabling our customers to travel with ease from Wales to explore all that Paris has to offer. We’ve been working hard to re-instate key routes following the impact of the pandemic, and we’d like to thank Vueling for seeing the opportunity at Cardiff to operate more flights to one of our most in-demand destinations.

‘Vueling is a long-standing and valued partner of Cardiff Airport, and this year marks their 10th year of operations. We would like to thank the airline for their continued support and confidence in Cardiff Airport, and we look forward to welcoming more passengers to the airport this summer as the flying programme ramps up.’

The addition of Paris to Vueling’s summer schedule brings the number of direct routes on offer up to four. Customers can also book low-cost flights from Cardiff to Alicante, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca- all ideal destinations for those seeking a family holiday or a getaway to enjoy the Spanish sun.

Virgin Atlantic announces codeshare partnership with LATAM Airlines

Virgin Atlantic has announced a new codeshare agreement with LATAM Airlines offering customers the opportunity to fly directly to the South American country of Brazil.

Customers booking through Virgin Atlantic are now able to travel from Heathrow direct to Sao Paulo as well as connecting onwards onto 12 domestic airports in Brazil. The other domestic destinations in Brazil include Rio de Janeiro (GIG), Porto Alegre (POA), Belo Horizonte (CNF), Brasilia (BSB), Curitiba (CWB), Goiania (GYN), Recife (REC), Salvador (SSA), Florianopolis (FLN), Fortaleza (FOR), Vitoria (VIX) and Londrina (LDB).

Customers travelling from Sao Paulo to London Heathrow will also have the option to smoothly connect onto Virgin Atlantic’s rest of world destinations through Terminal 3 including Tel Aviv, Delhi and Hong Kong.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘We’re incredibly excited to launch this new codeshare partnership with LATAM Airlines.’

‘As we recover from the pandemic, partnerships are more important than ever, and we look forward to building on the incredibly successful interline relationship we have had in place for a number of years. We also see opportunities beyond Brazil and look forward to expanding our relationship even further to serve destinations throughout South America including Peru and Colombia.’

‘This new partnership aims to respond to the large, fast-growing demand for leisure travellers looking to enjoy new experiences after a challenging 20 months. We know there is pent up demand for long-haul travel and we look forward to welcoming customers onboard on their way to exploring these exciting and vibrant Brazilian cities.’

‘As global economies gradually recover from the impact of the pandemic, we also expect to capture demand from corporate travel heading to Sao Paulo, the commercial capital of Brazil as well as other key business hubs in South America.’

British Airways City Flyer offers new European routes for summer 2022

British Airways is launching four new routes across Europe for the coming summer season.

Operating from London City Airport, customers can now book to fly to Barcelona, Luxembourg, Milan and Thessaloniki – adding to BA CityFlyer’s network. Flights to all destinations will operate on BA CityFlyer’s Embraer E190 aircraft. Luxembourg and Milan will operate from March 27, every day of the week. On 18 June, Thessaloniki will launch, operating once a week on Saturday, while on 19 June, Barcelona will operate six times a week – every day apart from Saturday.

A limited number of tickets start from the below fares, based on a return ticket in Euro Traveller to Barcelona with fares from £82; to Luxembourg from £82; to Milan from £104 and to Thessaloniki from £126. Routes to Jersey and Guernsey are also returning following their launch in Summer 2021. Flights will operate on Monday and Friday from June 20 to September 2.

Tom Stoddart, Managing Director of BA CityFlyer, which will operate the new services, said: ‘As customers start to plan their next summer getaway, we wanted to offer new routes to some of the most popular European destinations. Conveniently accessible from London City airport, they are a great addition to our extensive network.’

British Airways has introduced a flexible booking policy allowing customers to exchange their booking for a voucher or move their dates without incurring a change fee if their plans change. British Airways Holidays’ customers also have access to a range of additional flexible booking options, as part of the company’s Customer Promise, including securing a holiday with a deposit from £60pp.

Cunard brings Shakespearean theatre to onboard transatlantic stage

British cruise line Cunard is bringing Shakespeare and newer world class theatre to its transatlantic stage in 2022, following a first-of-its-kind partnership for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Available exclusively on board Queen Mary 2, guests will enjoy bespoke theatrical performances by the RSC from Shakespeare, his contemporaries and other literary legends. The performances will be available for all guests on board, including a unique blend of Shakespeare’s iconic love scenes in a brand-new piece called Boundless as the Sea, created by Owen Horsley.

Guests will also be able to access ‘Shakespeare Tales’, informal events where the actors will perform their personal favourite sonnets and speeches, and answer questions from the audience. Guests will also have the chance to see popular new work from the RSC with Miss Littlewood: a musical by Sam Kenyon exploring the life of one of theatre’s most playful and radical figures, making its transatlantic debut.

Vice President, Brand and Product at Cunard, Lee Powell, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome the Royal Shakespeare Company on board our flagship, Queen Mary 2. To be able to offer our guests access to unique performances by world leaders in both contemporary theatre and Shakespeare’s finest work, is an extraordinary opportunity which I know our guests will fully immerse themselves in.’

Erica Whyman, RSC Acting Artistic Director, said: ‘We are thrilled to be working with Cunard to bring our performances to the guests of Queen Mary 2 together with unique opportunities to get close to working theatre artists and learn more about our house playwright. The RSC ignites imaginations and expands horizons, and Shakespeare’s plays allow us to imagine new and remarkable worlds, so this partnership has a perfect synergy.’

In addition, Queen Mary 2 will host a touring exhibition, ‘Digital Diorama: An Augmented Journey Through Shakespeare’s Stratford’. RSC’s most popular productions in recent years including Hamlet, Henry V, The Merry Wives of Windsor and As You Like it will also be screened in Cunard’s on board cinema, Illuminations. Guests can use devices to experience the scenes from his plays.

The 3-year partnership will begin on May 29 until August 12, 2022 and then again from September 15 to November 13, 2022 exclusively to Cunard guests on Queen Mary 2 throughout these two periods. Guests will experience either Boundless as the Sea or Miss Littlewood on each featured voyage.

American Airlines and Aer Lingus increase flights to US

American Airlines and Ireland’s Aer Lingus launch their codeshare agreement this week offering customers more choices of flights to the United States.

With a view to enhancing connectivity between the U.S and Europe, American Airlines will place its code on Aer Lingus flights between London Heathrow (LHR) and Dublin (DUB). Customers can also book codeshare flights on Aer Lingus from DUB to Amsterdam (AMS); Birmingham, UK (BHX); London Gatwick (LGW) and Manchester, UK (MAN); and from LHR to Belfast City, Northern Ireland (BHD); Cork, Ireland (ORK) and Shannon, Ireland (SNN).

‘We are excited to extend our relationship with our newest joint business partner, Aer Lingus, with this codeshare agreement,’ said Anmol Bhargava, American’s vice president of Alliances. ‘Through our trans-Atlantic joint business, customers have more choices to key destinations in Europe and now, Ireland.’

Reid Moody, Aer Lingus’ Chief Strategy and Planning Officer, said: ‘After almost two years of restricted travel we know that demand for dream vacations, business travel, and reconnecting families and friends in 2022 and beyond will be stronger than ever. We are delighted that through the codeshare agreement with American Airlines, Aer Lingus customers will be able to avail of greater connectivity options and more seamless travel between the U.S. and Europe via our Dublin hub, which also has the added benefit of US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) pre-clearance located in Dublin. Last week’s decision by the Irish Government to remove pre-departure COVID-19 test requirements for double-vaccinated passengers is more welcome news for those planning to travel. We look forward to extending our warm Aer Lingus welcome to more and more customers in the months ahead.’

Additionally, customers traveling with Aer Lingus will now be able to book codeshare travel on American Airlines flights from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Albuquerque, New Mexico, (ABQ); Nashville, Tennessee (BNA); Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW); Los Angeles (LAX); Seattle (SEA); San Francisco (SFO); San Jose, California (SJC) and Tucson, Arizona (TUS). Further expansion of the codeshare is also planned in the near future.

Aer Lingus joined the Atlantic Joint Business (AJB) between American, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair last year. In summer 2022, Aer Lingus will operate over 100 routes, flying to over 71 direct routes and to 62 destinations from Ireland to the UK and Europe. The airline will operate 16 transatlantic routes from Dublin and Manchester UK to North America and the Caribbean. Aer Lingus is a member of International Airlines Group (IAG), one of the world’s largest airline groups.

Virgin Atlantic launches new services to Austin, Texas from London

Virgin Atlantic is launching new direct services from London to Austin, the capital of the Lonestar state of Texas and the airline’s first new route to the US since 2015.

The four times a week service will launch on 25th May 2022 and will operate on the airline’s 787-9 aircraft boasting 31 Upper Class, 35 Premium and 192 Economy Delight, Classic and Light seats. Flights, which will operate Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, are on sale starting Wednesday, January 12 at www.virginatlantic.com. Flight number VS232 will depart Austin at 6:05 p.m. and arrive in London at 9:00 a.m. for a next-day arrival, with return flights departing London at 11:35 a.m. and arriving in Austin at 4:05 p.m. All times are local.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic said, ‘We are incredibly excited to launch this new service to Austin, Texas. With an impressive food, arts and music scene, we know it’s a destination our customers will love to explore.

‘The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years since our first flight to New York City in 1984. Since US borders opened to UK travellers on 8 November, it feels extra special to be launching new flying, especially to the fantastic city of Austin.

‘There are so many synergies between Virgin Atlantic and the city of Austin. We love their philosophy and desire to celebrate local brands, businesses and communities and we cannot wait to welcome customers, both existing and new onboard, flying them safely to explore this fabulously quirky city.’

Jacqueline Yaft , CEO, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport commented: ‘We are thrilled to welcome Virgin Atlantic to Austin and Central Texas. This exciting new partnership helps meet our goals of continued recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and furthers our commitment to being the Gateway of Central Texas for both leisure and business travellers alike.’

Flights are on sale from Monday 10th January at www.virginatlantic.com with return Economy fares starting from £409 per person. In addition to flying customers, Virgin Atlantic will offer 20 tonnes of cargo capacity on each flight.

Virgin Atlantic has extended its policy of unlimited free date and flight changes for new bookings, giving further flexibility to customers, for travel up to December 31, 2022.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport tops UK airports for flight punctuality

According to a report by Aviation analytics company Cirium, more flights depart on time from Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) than from any other airport in England.

According to the study conducted by Cirium during this past year, 90.23 percent of all flights from LJLA departed within 15 minutes of their scheduled time – accepted as being on time within the aviation industry.

Liverpool topped the performance table when compared with other airports in England and only just behind the UK’s best performing airports of Belfast International and George Best Belfast City.

Paul Staples, Liverpool John Lennon Airport’s Operations Director commented, ‘Despite the continued challenges due to Covid-19 on our operations over the past 12 months, we have continued to maintain the highest standards of operational performance and are particularly pleased to see that we lead the way in England when it comes to on time performance.

This is really important both for our airline partners and for our passengers who choose to travel from here and is recognition for all the hard work by staff from the Airport, airlines, handling agents and other companies working together to help flights operate on time.

Passengers from across the City Region, the North West and North Wales can continue to benefit from our Faster Easier Friendlier approach, knowing that more flights from Liverpool depart on time than from any other airport in England.’

Cirium’s 2021 On-Time Performance Review for Airlines and Airports can be viewed in full online at www.cirium.com

Bristol Airport to commence Aer Lingus Regional flights in March

Aer Lingus and Emerald Airlines have recently announced the launch of Aer Lingus Regional flights, increasing connectivity between the UK, Ireland and the US.

The flights operated under a franchise agreement by Emerald Airlines will commence on March 17, 2022 as Aer Lingus Regional. The move will result in Emerald Airlines flying over 340 flights per week across 11 routes with fares starting at £25.99, with further route announcements to be made in the coming weeks. High-frequency routes, including Dublin-Edinburgh and Dublin-Glasgow, will be served up to four times daily.

The announcement will see the re-establishment of services to regional points across the UK, including Newquay Cornwall, Exeter, and Isle of Man. Emerald Airlines will be the only airline offering these services from Ireland. The announcement adds over 60 UK – US routes on the Aer Lingus network connecting via Dublin including connections from UK regional airports to New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle.

Lynne Embleton, Aer Lingus CEO, said: ‘Today is about opportunities. Opportunities for our UK customers to connect with ease to Aer Lingus flights to North America and to take advantage of the US preclearance facility. Opportunities for customers across UK and Ireland as we develop the Aer Lingus regional network. And opportunities for the Irish economy and Irish aviation as we expand our hub at Dublin.

‘It has been a pleasure to work with the team at Emerald Airlines to accelerate this partnership and start operations 10 months ahead of the original schedule. ‘We are all looking forward to welcoming our customers on-board Aer Lingus Regional services, operated by Emerald Airlines.’

Dave Lees, CEO, Bristol Airport said: ‘We are delighted with the announcement and look forward to welcoming Emerald Airlines to Bristol Airport from Spring next year. This partnership further strengthens the air links between the South West of England and Ireland and in addition extends the opportunity of offering US transatlantic routes via Dublin Airport for customers in the region.

‘We look forward to working with Emerald Airlines in the future and continuing the joint partnership.’

Eurotunnel closed to Britons with EU homes

Following new COVID restrictions imposed by the French government, Eurotunnel has warned British citizens that live in the EU that they cannot travel by car through France to get to their homes.

The Eurotunnel ban on travel for EU-domiciled Brits was confirmed by the tunnel’s operator, Getlink, in an urgent warning on its website and Twitter page that first appeared on Wednesday evening. Appearing to confirm a change in travel rules by the French government, the statement read, ‘Following a French Government decision, on 28/12/2021, unless they hold French residency, British citizens are now considered 3rd country citizens and can no longer transit France by road to reach their country of residence in the EU.’

According to the previous French travel guidance that was introduced on December 18, which stated that travel from the UK was would only be allowed for ‘compelling reasons’, ‘nationals of the European Union or equivalent’, as well as their partners and children, ‘who have their main residence in France or who join, in transit through France, their main residence in a country of the European Union’, are considered to have a compelling reason for travelling from the UK through France.

The French government is yet to make an official announcement about the latest change to the rules. But the Eurotunnel statement said the ban did not apply to British people living in France, or people from the UK that also hold an EU passport through dual nationality.

Pandemic continues to cause thousands of flight cancellations

Airlines across the globe are having to cancel thousands of scheduled flights as the Covid pandemic continues to cause travel chaos at one of the industry’s busiest times of the year.

Monday and Tuesday of this week saw a combined total of 5,600 flights cancelled globally, with a further 19,000 flights delayed, CNN has reported, quoting figures from tracking website FlightAware.

Globally, airlines cancelled more than 6,000 flights on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, many of the cancellations due to airline staff and crew calling in sick.

In the United States, more than 1,200 flights were cancelled and more than 5,000 were delayed on Sunday alone due to staff absences.

Delta said it was working to get all stranded travellers home as quickly as possible, saying in a statement, ‘We apologise to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans. Delta people are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible on the next available flight.’

Though not to the same extent, European airlines are also experiencing cancellations. German airline Lufthansa has announced that it will cancel 10 percent of its winter flight schedule due to problems inflicted by the burgeoning effects of the pandemic. Its CEO Carsten Spohr spoke to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last week saying that that due to ‘a sharp drop in bookings’ the airline will have to cancel 33,000 flights from mid-January to February 2022, or 10 percent of the group’s winter flight schedule.