Philippine Airlines announces cancellation of special PAL flight to/from London

Further to its announcement on April 1, Philippine Airlines has said that it has been compelled to cancel the one-off flight to/from London Heathrow that was planned for April 4.

‘We are presently working on an alternative arrangement for passengers who had planned on taking this flight, and are in coordination with the concerned authorities and the UK Embassy. Once arrangements are set and operational challenges resolved, we shall make the appropriate announcement,’ it said.

Flybe cancels Hamburg route due for Sunday launch

UK-based airline Flybe has announced cancellation of the new route from Southampton to Hamburg, which was previously set to launch on Sunday, October 26, the Daily Echo has reported.

Flybe said that the flights between Southampton and Hamburg have been cancelled following a recent review that the route will not be commercially viable in winter. The planned daily service to the German port city, due to take off on Sunday, has been grounded until further notice. The airline is yet to officially announce a new start date for the service, but flights were last night available to book via their website from March 29, the report said.

A spokeswoman for the airline said: ‘As part of a recent review, the route has been deemed commercially unsustainable for the moment and we have taken the decision to suspend our plans to operate flights between Southampton and Hamburg this winter.

‘Passengers who have booked to fly on this route will be contacted and offered an alternative flight or a full refund. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.’

Southampton Airport, which has removed Hamburg from the destinations map on their website, said that the route will be reinstated next summer.

Airport managing director Dave Lees said: ‘The route to Hamburg has been postponed until the start of summer 2015, which aligns more closely with leisure and business travel patterns.’

The new route was welcomed by business leaders as well as general tourists when it was announced in June.

County council leader Roy Perry said: ‘Southampton Airport is a very important facility and we are always pleased to see the development of connections with other European cities. It’s disappointing if this route is to be lost and we would hope that the airport would look at reinstating it.’

Stewart Dunn, chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘I understand that it’s merely been delayed but they hope to start it in the spring.’


French air traffic control strike disrupts UK flights

Strike action by an air traffic controllers’ union in France over budget cuts has caused five times as many flight cancellations as predicted, leaving hundreds of British air passengers stranded at airports, The Telegraph has reported.

Airlines including Ryanair, British Airways and easyJet have cancelled several more of their flights than predicted earlier, and said that they expected further cancellations today. As on Tuesday, Ryanair has cancelled 210 flights to and from France, while 52 affected British airports; British Airways cancelled 12 flights from Heathrow and easyJet cancelled 101 flights, half of which were to or from UK airports. Ryanair had earlier predicted that a total of only 26 would be cancelled, while easyJet predicted 28 cancellations.

British Airways said that it is expecting a further 14 flights from Nice, Zurich, Lyon, Barcelona, Marseille, Toulouse and Geneva to be cancelled tody – all scheduled to travel to Heathrow. Ryanair said that it expected another 250 flights to be cancelled, though it remains unclear as to how many would affect British airports.

The strike action is also expected to cause 14,000 hours of delays, and the airlines have warned of potentially worse delays to all flights crossing French airspace.

All three – British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair – said they would offer a full refund for passengers facing flight cancellation.

A spokesman for Ryanair said yesterday: ‘At this time, French ATC (Air Traffic Control) are predicting that slot delays will be ‘materially worse’ tomorrow (Wednesday).

‘The French Authorities (the DGAC) have requested Ryanair to cancel up to 20% of our flight program for Wednesday, in order to ease the pressure on French ATC services.

‘As we wish to minimise delays and disruptions for our customers we have decided to cancel approx 15% of our scheduled flights on Wednesday, which will principally effect flights operating to/from France and Spain.’

Originally, the two biggest air traffic controllers’ unions in France have voted for a six-day strike from Tuesday in protest over budget cuts. However, one of the unions withdrew from strike action. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has condemned the strike action, alleging that it targeted holidaymakers just at the peak of a busy summer season.


Strike causes Easyjet to cancel Milan flights

Easyjet, a no-frills airline based in Luton, UK, has been forced to cancel flights to Milan in Italy later this week due to strike action.

The company has cancelled more than 60 flights that were scheduled for the Linate and Malpensa airports in Milan for tomorrow, Wednesday May 29, including flights to the UK airports Gatwick and Luton. The strike by airport staff at the two Italian airports will last for twenty-four hours, according to SEA Group, the airports’ operator. The company has said that it will provide live updates via its twitter feed regarding the impact that the strike is having.

Easyjet has issued a statement saying, ‘In order to minimise the disruption to passengers and to allow sufficient time to make alternative plans, Easyjet has taken the decision to proactively cancel some flights to and from both airports. All passengers travelling to or from the Milan airports on that day are strongly recommended to check the status of your flight before heading to the airport to avoid any unnecessary disruption.’

In some cases, Easyjet has arranged to reroute flights from Gatwick and Luton to Turin, from where it will provide a coach connection to Milan.

The company is also expecting disruption at Naples airport due to local industrial action, particularly with delays through security checkpoints. It will therefore be opening its bag drop three hours before the departure of flights from the airport to help ease congestion.

Full details of changes to the airline’s schedules for the affected airports can be obtained from Easyjet at


Flybe Terminates Service between Gatwick Airport and Aberdeen

Flybe, a UK-based airline company, has announced the cancellation of its service between London Gatwick Airport and Aberdeen Airport, in Scotland.

The airline is currently offering a three times-daily service between the two airports, operating an Embraer aircraft. The last service will be on October 27, 2012.

In a statement the airline said, ‘Flybe carefully reviews the viability of all our 180 plus routes on a regular basis looking not only at passenger numbers but also at external cost pressures,’ said the company in a statement.

This is done not only to monitor where we can offer increased regularity on a given route but also where passenger numbers make a flight environmentally, as well as economically, harder to justify.

Unfortunately, after much consideration Flybe can confirm it is cancelling its Aberdeen to Gatwick route from the end of the IATA summer season on Sunday October 28.’

With the withdrawal of Flybe’s service, Easyjet, another UK based airline, will be the only carrier to serve the route. Easyjet also serve Aberdeen airport from London Luton Airport, and Aberdeen Airport is served by British Airways from both London Heathrow Airport and London City Airport.

Flybe has also given its support to the campaign against Air Passenger Duty (APD), which is to be implemented by the UK government, and expressed its support for publication of a report on Inquiry into Aviation Policy and Air Passenger Duty by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

The government will charge APD to passengers flying out of the UK in an aircraft that has an authorised take-off weight of more than ten tonnes or more than twenty seats. Passengers have to pay the tax twice for a return journey, around an additional GBP26 for a return fare.


Ryanair Cuts Morocco Flights

Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, has announced the cancellation of weekly flights to Morocco, which took effect June 28, 2012.

Ryanair has reported that ONDA, the airports authority that is owned by the Moroccan government, has backed down on an agreement with the airline and will be working with a new handling company, which will increase the airline’s charges.

The airline has announced the cancellation of eight weekly flights to Nador, six weekly flights to Fez, eight weekly flights to Marrakech, four weekly flights to Tangier, and the closure of its operations at Oujda Airport.

The airline deputy chief executive, Michael Cawley, said, ‘Ryanair entered into long term agreements with the Moroccan Tourism Authority and ONDA, as part of the Moroccan governments 5-year plan to grow tourism.

Ryanair has spectacularly over-delivered on all its undertakings under these agreements, becoming Morocco’s second largest airline and ensuring the Moroccan government’s achieved its 5-year targets within an earlier timescale. It is regrettable that ONDA has now lost sight of the key to the success of our partnership, offering low fares based on low costs.

Ryanair cannot accept cost increases as it seeks to deliver more growth to Morocco. It is completely unacceptable for ONDA to increase the cost of Ryanair’s operation in Morocco and unrealistic for them to expect us to continue to grow our business in that context.

Consequently I regret to announce that we are making these substantial reductions which will result in up to 100,000 less tourists annually and an annual loss in tourism expenditure and job losses for the Moroccan economy of EUR50m.’