Cardiff Airport secures new airline for Glasgow and Paris routes

Cardiff Airport has secured CityJet service to operate its Glasgow and Paris (Orly) routes, immediately filling the slot left by Flybe.

The move follows Flybe’s announcement on December 4 that it will be terminating these routes with effect from January 19 2014, on account of the reorganisation of its business.

CityJet, a part of the Air France airline group, offers over 680 flights a week to popular destinations in the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe.

CityJet is to start serving the routes on January 20, 2014, ensuring a seamless transition for the services from the Welsh capital. Initially, CityJet will deliver a twice daily weekday service to Glasgow with daily weekend flights. Paris will be served by a daily flight Monday to Friday and on Sundays.

Staring March 30, flights to Edinburgh and Jersey will be added. Edinburgh will be served three times a day Monday to Friday with one flight on Saturdays and two on Sundays. Jersey will be served with five weekly return flights. The summer schedule will also see a third daily flight added to the Glasgow route on Thursdays and Fridays, whilst Paris (Orly) will then be served daily.

By the middle of summer, CityJet will be operating more than 80 flights a week in and out of Cardiff Airport.

Christine Ourmieres, CityJet’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re very excited to be launching a dynamic new network from Cardiff, and are thrilled to introduce the CityJet service to Wales. We are confident that our network and schedule to these four new destinations will be a success – both for the Welsh community and for CityJet.

Cardiff Airport’s Chief Executive, Jon Horne, said: ‘We’re very pleased that there will be continuity in our services to Glasgow and Paris for the tens of thousands of passengers a year for whom these routes are vital.

‘It is always good to welcome a new airline to Cardiff; in CityJet’s case it’s really great, given the scale of the commitment they have made to the Airport and to Wales.’

Cardiff Airport’s Chairman, Lord Rowe-Beddoe, commented: ‘This is excellent news. We are delighted to welcome CityJet to Cardiff and to Wales. I am proud that the management team has succeeded in securing a new airline to fill the breach left by Flybe. The speed with which this has been achieved is testament to management’s commitment to ensuring the Airport’s success.’

Tickets will be available for sale from January 8, 2014 at www.cityjet.com.

easyJet adds 10 low-fare flight routes to summer 2014 schedule

easyJet has announced ten new routes that will launch as part of its summer 2014 schedule.

The new routes will operate from its London Gatwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Belfast bases to destinations across the UK and Europe. With the new routes, an additional 424,000 seats will be on sale for travel from March 30 2014.

With more than 21.6 million seats on sale in the UK, the winter schedule represents an increase of almost one million available seats compared to last year’s summer schedule.

The airline has added four new routes to London Gatwick’s schedule, with services to Jersey, Paris, and Newcastle, and fares starting from £33.49 to Jersey and £35.49 to Paris and Newcastle. London to Newcastle connections will be provided through new six per week services.

Adding to its range of leisure destinations for British holidaymakers, the airline will also introduce flights from Gatwick to Brittany, a popular tourist spot in France, again at fares starting from £35.49.

Additional services are also offered from Belfast International Airport with flights to Bordeaux and Jersey, at fares starting from £33.49 and £25.49 respectively.

The budget airline will also launch four new routes in Scotland, which will provide sun seekers with additional choice for travel to both Heraklion and Bodrum, at £37.49, from Edinburgh Airport or the option to fly to Split (starting from £35.49) and Kos (starting from £37.49) from Glasgow International Airport.

Cath Lynn, easyJet group commercial director, said: ‘Adding even further choice for passengers throughout the UK at affordable prices is always our aim at easyJet.

‘The new additions to the 2014 schedule will provide 36.6 million seats network wide on a greater choice of destinations spanning the UK, Europe and beyond. There is something for everyone on offer for summer 2014. The earlier passengers book the bigger the savings.

‘From Gatwick we have increased our already comprehensive range of destinations making even more business sense for corporate travellers to choose easyJet.’

Operating a Europe-based air transport network, easyJet flies over 200 aircraft on more than 600 routes between over 130 airports in 30 countries.

 

Cambridge Airport to launch new flights to Amsterdam and Paris

Cambridge Airport is set to launch new flights to four European destinations, including Amsterdam and Paris.

Under the plan, fifty new flights will be operational every week and all services will be run by Swiss carrier Darwin Airline. Amsterdam will be the key destination, with 24 weekly flights to and from Schiphol. In addition, there will also be 12 flights a week to and from Paris Charles de Gaulle, eight weekly flights to and from Milan’s Malpensa air hub and six weekly services to and from Geneva.

Established in 1937, Cambridge Airport has not operated international services much except offering charter flights to Verona and Naples, Italy and scheduled services to Jersey since 2012. Located three miles from the city centre, the airport will offer competition for the London airports – particularly Stansted and Norwich Airport. Norwich provides a daily service to Schiphol through KLM Cityhopper.

Cambridge Airport will also have a link with the tour operator Inghams. This will enable holidaymakers to book winter sports packages to 18 Alpine resorts, including eminent names such as Courchevel, Meribel and Val D’Isere. Set to begin in December, the winter sports package will also include Saturday flights to Geneva.

The international air travel boost was first announced in May 2013. At the time, chief commercial officer Christian Schneider said that the airline had chosen Cambridge as its UK base as the city was ‘a perfect fit.’ ‘Cambridge has the fastest growing economy in the UK, and a very interesting regional catchment area – a population of six million potential customers living within a 60 to 90 minute drive of the airport,’ Schneider said.

‘We expect to carry 80,000 people a year from Cambridge to these major European cities, both for pleasure and business,’ he added.

The scheduled flights, with fares starting from GBP119 per person each way and £159 return, are due to begin in September. More information about the new flights is available online at www.darwinairline.com.

Taxi drivers in Paris and Rome named the world’s rudest

British holidaymakers have voted taxi drivers in Paris and Rome as the rudest in the world.

According to the survey by airporttransfers.co.uk, cab drivers in the capital cities of France and Italy are seen as the most unhelpful. Their counterparts in holiday destinations such as San Antonio on the Spanish island of Ibiza, Dubai and Magaluf on the island of Majorca are also not polite with their customers, it said.

The survey ranked taxi drivers in Pefkos on the Greek island of Rhodes and the Turkish resort of Marmaris as some of the friendliest in the world. Cabbies in Playa de las Americas in Tenerife, New York and Palma Nova in Majorca are also polite and helpful, it said.

The survey was based on responses from 2,162 UK holidaymakers who had taken an overseas holiday in the last 12 months.

For the question on what they thought made a taxi driver ‘friendly’, 86 per cent of respondents said that it was a ‘talkative’ driver, while 42 per cent also said that a friendly taxi driver would give them advice or knowledge about the local area. When asked who they considered a ‘rude’ taxi driver, 51 per cent said it was someone who was ‘unhelpful.’

‘Taxi rides around the world can be totally different experiences, depending on the time and the place,’ comments Airporttransfers.co.uk managing director Chris Clarkson.

‘You could stumble upon the most helpful taxi driver in the world, who gives you a guided tour of the area you’re in on the way to your end destination, or you could have someone that just grunts in response to anything you say,’ he adds.

Off the beaten track: Unseen Paris on a budget

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but for those who like to stray from the tourist spots it can be a bit of a cliché. However, there are some great ways to head to the French capital and try out some of its more unusual delights – and keep costs low along the way.

How should I travel?

As I live in Gillingham, which is just an hour’s drive from Dover, it makes a lot of sense for me to drive to Paris. Last year, I had a look at what it would cost for me to fly against taking my campervan and the latter was by far the better option. I even managed to shave a bit of the cost of my insurance before I went by heading to MoneySupermarket to get a better deal on my van cover – adding an extra £112 to what I had available for my holiday budget.

Where should I stay?

A great way to see some of the countryside just outside Paris is to camp – and as hotels in the city can be very costly, it will also free up some cash to spend elsewhere. Just 45 minutes away from the centre is a gorgeous area called the Chevreuse Valley, where you’ll find a wonderful national park and lots of nearby places to pitch up for the night. In summertime the area is an absolute delight and will offer some interesting places to take your camera, far from the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

What else can I see?

If you are interested in keeping things a little different, avoiding more expensive tourist traps like the Centre Pompidou and Le Louvre, why not think about taking a look at some of Paris’ darker history in the belly of the city. The Municipal Ossuary, also known as the Catacombs, was created to help the poorer members of the population bury their dead without the cost. As such, there are now around six million people beneath the ground in Paris, with the crypts and walls of skulls open for all to see.

There are plenty of places in Europe that you may want to see, but wherever you go, why not take the time to see if there is something in each of these famous places that may be just a little more unusual than the usual landmarks. You may even find they offer a more affordable way to spend your time and money.

New Airport Boarding Satellite Building to Open at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport

Aeroports de Paris, an airport authority in France, will be opening a new boarding satellite at Terminal 2E of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport in France.

The new S4 boarding satellite building will include a lounge as well as other facilities, and will be accessible to passengers flying with Air France and its SkyTeam partner airlines. The boarding satellite opens on June 28, 2012, and will provide 6,000 sq m of retail space, consisting of boutiques, bars and restaurants, and 25,000 sq m of dedicated area for boarding lounges.

Pierre Graff, the chairman of Aeroports de Paris, said, ‘By investing 580 million Euros in this new satellite, the airport has taken a major step in terms of quality of service and is taking Paris-Charles de Gaulle to a new dimension with one main objective: to become passengers’ preferred hub.’

Air France is to occupy a 3,000 sq m lounge space in the new facility for its Business class passengers, to provide everything from workspaces, to relaxation and leisure facilities.

Alexandre de Juniac, the chairman and chief executive officer of Air France, said, ‘The launch of satellite S4 and the largest ever Air France lounge marks a turning point in the history of our hub. In these times of transformation for our airline, we are reconfirming our ambition to offer our customers airport service, which is among the best in the world. We are continuing to invest to guarantee all our passengers even more efficiency, fluidity and quality of service.’

Westin Hotels Opens New Smoke-Free Hotel in Paris

Westin Hotels & Resorts, a hotel brand from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, has opened a new hotel, The Westin Paris – Vendome, in Paris, France.

The new hotel, which offers views of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, is part of the brand’s Breathe Westin portfolio of smoke-free hotels.

Brian Povinelli, the brand’s global brand leader, said, ‘Westin Hotels & Resorts is excited to further expand its portfolio of international smoke-free properties and we are proud to have The Westin Paris – Vendome as our latest addition. As a brand that continuously adapts its programming to better coincide with guest preferences, Westin’s smoke-free policy responds to consumer demand for healthy environments, and speaks to the brand’s promise of ensuring guests leave feeling better than when they arrived.’

The Westin Paris – Vendome has 428 rooms and suites, three restaurants, and 21,500 square feet of meeting space with a business centre. The hotel is also hosting a new spa, the Six Senses at Rue de Castiglione, Paris. The spa includes the WestinWORKOUT Gym, with complimentary equipment and facilities available year-round.

The new hotel is offering an introductory discount of 30 percent on room rates on all bookings made by August 3, 2012.

A customer survey report from Westin guests has highlighted that around 92 percent of guests favour smoke-free rooms, and 80 percent of the respondents desire non-smoking public spaces. The Breathe Westin portfolio was launched six years ago in North America, based on the brand’s guest feedback. Since then the initiative has been expanded to include Westin brand properties worldwide, and recently into Mexico, Peru, Spain and Italy.

Europe’s Summer Festivals On Offer

For those holidaymakers who have yet to decide how to spend their summer vacation this year, consider spending it in Europe, and avoid the crowds that are expected to descend on the UK for the 2012 London Olympics Games.

In the summer Europe offers numerous events and activities for both local and international visitors, and here are just a few suggestions. The Paris Street Music Festival is held annually in Paris, France, on June 21, 2012. Also known as the ‘Fete de la Musique’, it is open to any amateur or professional musician who wishes to perform in it. The concerts are held on roadsides and public open spaces, as well as in cafes and bars. Launched in 1982 by the French Ministry for culture, the Fete de la Musique is currently held, not only in Paris, but in around a hundred other countries in Europe and across the world, celebrating the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere.

Italy is hosting its historic festival, the Sagra de San Giovanni, on the banks of Lake Como, during the last weekend of June. The festival includes the casting of hundreds of floating lamps on to the lake, a series of firework displays, performances of art and dancing, and an early morning parade of decorated boats.

For visitors to Spain, August is the month when the Valencia Tomato Fight Festival, La Tomatina, is held in the town of Bunol, where participants throw tomatoes at each other. Held on the last Wednesday of August, the festival sees hordes of tourists descend on Bunol to participate in the event. Around 40 metric tons of tomatoes are thrown during the festival every year.

Travel Trends Worldwide Showing Changes during 2012 London Olympics

The Olympic Games 2012 will boost travel to London by 31 percent in 2012, when compared to 2011, with most travellers visiting from the US and Germany, according to recent research carried out by Amadeus IT Group, a US-based company and technology provider for the travel industry.

The research, conducted in collaboration with Forward Data SL, a market research and consulting company, has cited that travel to London is likely to increase considerably during the Games duration, with a 143 percent increase on July 26, 2012, the day before the 2012 Olympic Games commence, compared to the same day in 2011. There will be around an 80 percent increase in US travellers to London during the Games, closely followed by an increase in German travellers, compared to the same period in 2011.

Apart from the US and Germany, most games fans are expected to arrive in London from Brussels, Amsterdam, and Paris, and in far greater numbers than in previous years.

Holger Taubmann, the senior vice president of distribution at Amadeus, said, ‘Increasingly, companies are relying on hard data to make business decisions. This data provides valuable insights to ensure all players in the travel industry are ready and able to maximise the opportunities come Games-time. For instance, it could help airlines make decisions on the benefits of increasing the capacity and frequency on a given route to meet travellers’ demands or consider targeting customers with air-rail combined trip offers.’

The travel data is based on definite air booking data available at present, for the period from July 23 to August 12, 2012. The research aims to translate how the London 2012 Olympics is impacting on travel trends worldwide.

Eurostar Sees Rise in Sales in 2012 First Quarter

Eurostar International, the UK-based high-speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has reported an increase in sales from leisure travel for the three months ended march 31, 2012.

Although there has been a growth of 4 percent in leisure travel, to 2.24 million passengers in the first three months of 2012, compared to 2.15 million in the first three months of last year, the company has reported stagnation in its business travel figures.

Sales revenue for Eurostar has grown by 7 percent to £211 million in the 2012 first quarter, compared to £197 million in the same quarter of 2011, predominantly due to the growth in leisure travel.

The company chief executive officer, Nicolas Petrovic, said, ‘The year got off to a strong start with sales revenues and passenger numbers on the up. Our core destinations continue to be a big draw for passengers but we have also seen particularly good take-up of our Amsterdam fares as passengers are increasingly keen to try out new leisure destinations by high speed rail.’

The railway company is also sponsoring the 2012 Olympic Games, and is hosting a one-day summer arts festival, Traction, in London on July 14, 2012, as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Petrovic said, ‘We are gearing up for an exciting summer, as the nation counts down to the London 2012 celebrations. Bookings for the June bank holiday weekend are looking strong with thousands of visitors coming to London to enjoy the unique pageantry of the Queen’s Jubilee.’