Whitbread secures two Travelodge sites for Premier Inn

Whitbread, the owner of the UK’s Premier Inn, has signed contracts to secure two trading Travelodge hotels for Premier Inn.

The agreements with separate private property owners will see the Travelodge Bury St Edmunds hotel and Travelodge London Uxbridge hotel convert into Premier Inns. The conversions will meet Premier Inn’s demand for additional bedrooms in the two prime locations.

Mark Anderson, Managing Director for Property and International at Whitbread, said: ‘Securing new Premier Inn hotels in Bury St Edmunds and Uxbridge is a strategic investment by Whitbread in popular markets for business and leisure travel. It’s part of our ongoing strategy of growing market share, through Whitbread’s strong balance sheet and financial flexibility and resilience, in locations where we are underrepresented and where we see opportunities to create long-term value for our shareholders and guests.’

The Travelodge Bury St Edmunds hotel, which opened in 2018, is located to the north of the town centre, close to transport connections and leading local employers such as British Sugar. Premier Inn’s existing hotel is located to the south, within Bury St Edmunds town centre.

The Travelodge Uxbridge hotel is located on Bakers Road adjacent to Uxbridge underground station. Premier Inn has been actively pursuing a site in Uxbridge town centre to complement its existing 80-bedroom Premier Inn hotel on Riverside Way, west of the town centre, which opened in February 2016.

The time schedule for the conversion of the hotels into Premier Inns is yet to been confirmed.

Whitbread PLC is the owner of Premier Inn with over 800 hotels comprising over 78,000 rooms and restaurant brands including Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table, Bar + Block, Whitbread Inns and Cookhouse + Pub. Whitbread currently operates a 75-bedroom Premier Inn hotel on Reingate Street in Bury St Edmunds Town Centre which opened in 2015. The Travelodge Bury St Edmunds hotel is located on Etna Road in the town.

Wizz Air commences new flight service from Bacau to London Luton

Wizz Air, the European low-cost airline, has said that it has commenced its first flight between London Luton and Bacau, on October 19.

The new Bacau – London Luton route will be operated on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday until 15 November 2020, and daily from 15 November 2020, with fares starting from £12.99. The price is one-way, including administration fee including one carry-on bag (max: 40x30x20cm). Trolley bag and each piece of checked-in baggage is subject to additional fees. The price applies only to bookings made on wizzair.com and the WIZZ mobile app.

Paulina Gosk, Corporate Communications Manager at Wizz Air, said: ‘We are happy to start the route from Bacau to London Luton. This new service truly marks the democratization of flying in Bacau, as passengers will be able to access affordable fares and safe and comfortable travel. We have dedicated ourselves to keeping the highest standards of our sanitizing protocols for passengers and crew on board so travelling with Wizz Air remains a swift and pleasant experience. Our friendly and highly skilled crew looks forward to welcoming each WIZZ passenger on board of our young and modern aircraft.’

As of October 29, Wizz Air will open its seventh base in Romania to operate 13 routes in total to Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Cyprus. Tickets for all new routes can be booked on wizzair.com or on the airline’s app.

Ryanair announces new route to Oradea, Romania from London Stansted

Ryanair, the Irish low fares airline, has announced a new London Stansted route to Oradea in Romania, with a twice weekly service commencing in December 2020, as part of Ryanair’s London Stansted Winter 2020 and Summer 2021 schedules.

British consumers and visitors can now book a getaway to Oradea until October 2021.

Alongside the announcement, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from £14.99, for travel until the end of January, which must be booked by midnight Thursday (October 1) on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Director of Commercial Jason Mc Guinness said: ‘Ryanair is pleased to launch a new London Stansted route to Oradea (Romania), commencing in December, which will operate twice weekly as part of our London Stansted Winter 2020 and Summer 2021 schedules. Customers in London can now book flights to Oradea as far out as October 2021.

‘To celebrate this new Oradea route, we are launching a seat sale with fares available from just £14.99, for travel until the end of January 2021, which must be booked by midnight Thursday (1 Oct). Since these amazing low fares will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto www.ryanair.com and avoid missing out.’

Last week, Ryanair announced that it will open a new base at Paris Beauvais, from December 3, 2020, with two based aircraft and 32 routes, including one from Manchester.

Wizz Air resumes flights between London and St. Petersburg

Wizz Air has said that it has resumed services from Pulkovo St. Petersburg Airport to London Luton Airport on August 19, 2020, as the only carrier offering a direct connection from the UK to the Russian city.

With the lifting of travel restrictions in Russia, UK passengers are now able to revisit the Russian city – the cultural capital of Russia, once dubbed the ‘window into Europe’. St Petersburg is today sought after by tourists for its iconic architecture, palaces and museums as well as stylish restaurant and bars.

The flights are being operated up to three times a week by Wizz Air UK. Tickets are available now on wizzair.com or on the airline’s mobile app, with fares from £19.99 one-way price, including administration fee. One carry-on bag is included. The price applies only to bookings made on wizzair.com and the WIZZ mobile app. Number of seats at indicated prices are limited, Wizz Air said.

Owain Jones, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK, said: ‘We are proud to be the sole British carrier connecting the UK to St Petersburg, providing a genuinely affordable and unique travel opportunity to our UK customers. St Petersburg is a fascinating destination, with its world-class cultural experiences which span museums, art galleries and concert halls. We look forward to welcoming back customers to experience our exceptional onboard service and our young, environmentally efficient aircraft.’

In 2019, Wizz Air UK served more than 29,000 passengers on flights between St. Petersburg and London. The carrier started to provide services from Pulkovo to Luton on October 1, 2019.

British Airways to resume year round services between Newquay and Heathrow

Cornwall Airport has said that its air links with London will resume on Friday July 24, with British Airways operating services between Newquay and Heathrow.

British Airways will initially begin operating three flights a week in July, increasing to five a week in August and daily from September. The service will operate under a Public Service Obligation, which provides financial support, if required, to ensure the route is maintained year-round. Tickets are available at www.ba.com.

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Geoff Brown, said: ‘I welcome the arrival of British Airways in Cornwall to operate our key route between Newquay and London. This PSO service not only protects Cornwall’s links with London, but will also offer excellent connectivity around the world into the future.

‘While it is vital for our residents and business community that direct flights between Newquay and London are reinstated, we are taking a measured approach at this time and I am pleased that British Airways has recognised the importance of a phased return of the London service.’

Pete Downes, Managing Director at Cornwall Airport Newquay said: ‘The London route forms the cornerstone of our recovery strategy at Cornwall Airport Newquay. In securing a British Airways service to Heathrow, I’m confident we have the fantastic airline partner and London gateway that Cornwall deserves.’

Separately, Cornwall Airport Newquay said that its newest airline partner, Eastern Airways, has commenced operation between Cornwall and Teesside International. The route will operate initially on Mondays and Fridays. Eastern Airways will also be operating flights between Cornwall and Leeds-Bradford, restoring the popular route later on this week. Flights are bookable now at easternairways.com

Commercial flights were set to resume at Cornwall Airport Newquay from July 4, as new measures have been put in place to ensure safety for passengers and staff. Temperature screening has been introduced at the terminal building and anyone over the age of 11 will have to wear a face covering. Passenger flow around the airport has been re-worked to support social distancing, and enhanced cleaning regimes have been introduced.

Norwegian to restart short haul flights from UK from July

Norwegian has said that following other European carriers, the airline will begin to operate flights between London Gatwick to Oslo, London Gatwick to Copenhagen, Edinburgh to Oslo and Edinburgh to Copenhagen from July 1.

The services from London to Oslo will be operated seven times a week, London to Copenhagen six times a week, and Edinburgh to Oslo and Copenhagen twice a week respectively.

Jacob Schram, Norwegian CEO said: ‘Feedback from our customers has shown that they are keen to get back in the air and resume their travels with Norwegian beyond the current domestic services that we have been operating. Norwegian is returning to European skies with the reintroduction of more aircraft to serve our key destinations which will ensure that we remain in line with competing carriers.

‘Safety remains our top priority and we have introduced a number of specific measures to further reduce the already low risk of infection on board.’

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said: ‘The restart of regular Norwegian services from Gatwick is very welcome news and reflects the strength of the relationship and success the airline has had at Gatwick in recent years, as well as the fact that consumer demand is picking up as more people want to start flying again.

‘The wellbeing and safety of passengers and staff remains Gatwick’s top priority and – combined with the health measures announced by Norwegian -today’s news demonstrates that we are starting to see small green shoots of recovery.’

Since April Norwegian has only operated eight aircraft on domestic routes in Norway. From July Norwegian will operate 76 routes across Europe from the airline’s Scandinavian hubs compared to the 13 domestic Norway only flights served today. Other destinations include Spain, Greece and key European cities. Further destinations and frequency increases will be announced in due course subject to passenger demand and government travel restrictions, it said.

The airline has introduced new protective safety measures to minimise the risk of infection onboard its aircraft, including: compulsory facemask for travellers who are six years and older, as recommended by the European aviation authorities; maintaining physical distance during boarding and deboarding; minimise queuing in the cabin with hand luggages placed under the seat in front; seating passengers with as much distance as possible, while mid row seats will be the last to be occupied; no onboard catering so as to minimise the contact between customers and crew, as well as thorough disinfection of the aircraft.

Delta to restart London Heathrow passenger services from Detroit

Delta has recently announced plans to restart its passenger services from the United States to U.K as demand for air cargo is driving demand for passenger travel.

Beginning May 21, 2020, flights will operate three times weekly between Detroit and London. The flights will also be available for customer travel.

‘Keeping global supply chains open is more important now than ever and these new services will enable suppliers to meet the needs of their customers,’ said Shawn Cole, Vice President – Delta Cargo. ‘We’re receiving daily requests for shipments of medical supplies as well as goods that keep businesses in operation. By also opening these services to passengers, we can facilitate essential travel between the U.K., Europe and United States.’

With the COVID-19 pandemic still underway, Delta has implemented several measures to keep its customers safer on board and in airports. These include: sanitizing the aircraft before every flight; using advanced air circulation systems with HEPA filters that help extract viruses; capping capacity throughout the aircraft to ensure onboard customer spacing; adjusting the boarding process to encourage more space for safer travel by boarding all flights from back-to-front; providing supplies directly to customers when available, including hand sanitizers; and requiring employees and customers to wear a face mask or appropriate covering when travelling.

‘The safety of our customers is always our number one priority, and their wellbeing is the reason we have implemented these wide-ranging measures,’ said Roberto Ioriatti, Vice President – Transatlantic. ‘The advent of COVID-19 is changing the way we fly and that’s why our focus on cleanliness will remain in place always. We hope that these efforts will give our customers greater peace of mind when they step on board.’

Cargo will be transported between Chicago and London, via Detroit, increasing the shipping opportunities for cargo customers. The Heathrow service will be operated using a Boeing 767-300 with 26 tons of cargo capacity.

The flight will depart London Heathrow at 1255 on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, arriving into Detroit at 1630. On return, the flight will depart Detroit at 1800 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving into London Heathrow at 0855 the following day. The flights will operate to and from Heathrow Terminal 2, as Terminal 3 is currently closed. There are limited retail outlets open at both airports and all lounges are currently closed.

Ryanair launches new route to Rodez, France from London Southend

Ryanair, the Ireland-based European regional airline, has announced a new London Southend route to Rodez in France, as part of its Summer 2020 schedule from London Southend.

London Southend travellers and visitors can now book their holidays to Rodez until October 2020. The twice weekly service will commence in July 2020.

Alongside the announcement, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from £19.99, for travel until the end of June 2020, which must be booked by midnight Thursday, February 6, on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Eimear Ryan said: ‘Ryanair is pleased to launch a new London Southend route to Rodez in France, commencing in July, which will operate twice weekly as part of our London Southend Summer 2020 schedule. Customers in London Southend can now book flights to Rodez as far out as October 2020.

To celebrate this new London Southend route, we are launching a seat sale with fares available from just £19.99, for travel until the end of June 2020, which must be booked by midnight Thursday (6 Feb). Since these amazing low fares will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto www.ryanair.com and avoid missing out.’

Stobart Aviation’s CEO Glyn Jones said: ‘We are delighted to welcome this new Ryanair route from London Southend Airport. People travelling to Rodez will now be able to enjoy a quick and easy start to their journey from our extremely accessible airport, with speedy queues and fast and hassle-free rail-links to the heart of London.’

Separately, Ryanair released its January customer service statistics, which showed that 93 per cent of its January flights arrived on-time, excluding ATC delays. Ryanair also released its January ‘Rate My Flight’ customer experience scores, which showed said 89 per cent of over 104,000 respondents rated their flight ‘Excellent/Very Good/Good’, with higher ratings for crew friendliness (93 per cent), onboard service (91 per cent), range of food & drink (85 per cent), and boarding (85 per cent).

Virgin Atlantic announces new route from London to Mumbai

Virgin Atlantic has announced the launch of its new route from London Heathrow to Mumbai.

The new daily service linking the two cities will operate onboard the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with complimentary food and drink and over 300 hours of entertainment. Customers can also stay connected throughout their flight as all of the airline’s Dreamliners are fully Wi-Fi enabled.

Travellers will also be able to make connections between India and the US via London Heathrow. Together with partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic offers customers a choice of U.S. destinations. Co-located at Terminal Three, both airlines offer over 28 daily flights between London and the USA.

Juha Jarvinen, executive vice president of commercial at Virgin Atlantic, said: ‘2019 marks a significant period of growth for Virgin Atlantic and I’m delighted that we’re expanding our route network by returning to Mumbai.

‘Along with our long-standing route to Delhi, we are now able to provide travellers with an increased offering to the thriving Indian market and an opportunity to experience our award winning service between the UK and India. Together with our partners at Delta, we offer an excellent choice of connections to the USA via Heathrow Airport.’

Dave Hodges, commercial manager for India at Virgin Atlantic said: ‘We are really excited to now have a daily flight serving Mumbai-London. Amidst the festive season in India, it is a special time to start the flight and we are confident that Mumbai is going to love the best of Bollywood entertainment and the best Indian food onboard our state of the art 787-9 Dreamliner.’

Virgin Atlantic is expanding its offering and Mumbai is the third new route announcement this year – following on from Tel Aviv and Sao Paulo. The new routes are available to book at https://www.virginatlantic.com/ .

Norwegian expands capacity on key UK – US routes for summer 2020

Norwegian has announced frequency increases between London Gatwick and key US destinations such as San Francisco, Austin, Denver and Tampa.

The capacity increases will be effective from March 29, 2020 and run throughout the summer 2020 schedule. Fares from Gatwick to the US for summer 2020 are available from £155 one way and are available to book now on www.norwegian.com.

The airline has increased the frequency of services on routes including: London Gatwick to San Francisco from five services weekly to daily service; while London Gatwick to Austin and London Gatwick to Denver services increased to four weekly services from thrice weekly currently; and London Gatwick to Tampa increased to a thrice weekly service from twice weekly currently.

With the expansion, the airline now offers travellers flying across the Atlantic more choice when choosing their departure dates by offering over 75,000 extra seats on these specific routes during the summer 2020 schedule.

Matthew Wood, SVP Commercial at Norwegian said: ‘In line with our business strategy of moving from growth to profitability we are ensuring that we concentrate on key routes across our network where we see strong demand. These frequency adjustments ensure that our customers can have more choice when choosing their flights to the US at fares that remain affordable to all.’

Voted Skytrax Best Low-Cost Long-Haul airline, Norwegian operates flights from London Gatwick to global destinations in Europe, the USA, Argentina and Brazil. As part of its long haul network adjustments, as of March 29, 2020 Norwegian will reduce frequency on certain routes – Gatwick to Buenos Aires will become a five weekly service, Gatwick to Miami a six weekly service, Gatwick to Orlando a five weekly service and Gatwick to Rio De Janeiro a three weekly service, the airline said.

Norwegian carries almost six million UK passengers each year from London Gatwick, Edinburgh and Manchester Airports to 30 destinations worldwide. Norwegian is the only airline to offer free inflight WiFi on UK flights to more than 30 European destinations and 14 long-haul destinations. The airline has one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the world with an average age of 3.8 years, including next-generation Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 737 MAX and Boeing 737-800s.