Monarch expands UK winter 2017/18 schedule, adds 430,000 more seats

Low cost airline and holiday company Monarch has said that it has added more routes to its winter schedule for 2017/18, with flights from all five of its UK bases: Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester.

Monarch has launched the sale to popular ski routes including Turin, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Lyon and Grenoble. In addition to ski destinations, the airline is also offering a service from London Luton to Ovda, the gateway to Eilat and the Red Sea, for the third successive winter season. The airline has also enhanced service to popular winter sun routes to the Canaries as well as Spanish destinations such as Malaga and Alicante.

The routes released for sale include Birmingham – Salzburg operating weekly, with fares starting at £39.00; Birmingham – Turin, also operating weekly, with fares from £47.00; services to Friedrichshafen, Lyon and Turin from London Gatwick all operating weekly with fares starting from £35.00; services to Grenoble and Innsbruck from London Gatwick, both operating four times weekly, and with fares starting from £35.00; a thrice weekly service to Geneva from London Gatwick with fares starting from £29.00; a weekly service to Ovda from London Luton with fares from £89.00; a weekly service to Turin from Manchester with fares from £39.00; twice weekly services to Grenoble and Innsbruck from Manchester with fares from £39.00; and a twice weekly service to Naples from Manchester with the first flight set to take off on March 30, 2018 at fares from £91.00.

Marjan Schoeke, Monarch’s Head of Network Development commented: ‘We are pleased to be putting the majority of our ski flights on sale, as well as providing more choice to our most popular winter destinations. In total another 430,000 seats are now available for winter 2017/18.

‘Customers now have a wide choice of popular ski, winter sun and city break destinations to choose from when booking their holidays.’

The airline said that it will also extend its flying programme from Manchester to Kittila in Finnish Lapland, with scheduled flights now available in January and February. The move comes after the success of Monarch’s Arctic Experience programme launched from London Gatwick last winter. There is now an extended range of Lapland holidays available through Monarch Holidays from both Gatwick and Manchester.

The winter schedule for 2017/18 has increased frequencies to some of the airline’s most popular leisure destinations, with more convenient flight times for customers looking to enjoy a short city break, ski holidays or an extended winter sun holiday. The remainder of the winter 2017/18 will be added soon, the airline said.

Eurowings announces new route to Salzburg from Birmingham

German low-cost carrier Eurowings has announced that it will launch another new route from Birmingham to Salzburg in December.

The announcement comes after the airline launched its inaugural Birmingham-Vienna service. Home of Mozart and the Sound of Music, the Austrian city of Salzburg is located on the Salzach River. The city offers visitors arts scene, a strong classical music tradition, beautiful parks and quiet side streets.

Eurowings already operates services to Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Vienna from Birminghan. The new Salzburg flight will operate twice weekly – Wednesday and Saturday – from December 9, serving the ski community and city breakers.

On Wednesdays, Eurowings Salzburg flight will arrive from Salzburg at 0900 hours and depart Birmingham at 0940 hours. On Saturdays, the flight will arrive from Salzburg at 1305 hours and depart Birmingham at 1345 hours. All services are planned with an A320 aircraft configured to 174 seats, and tickets can be booked at https://www.eurowings.com.

William Pearson, Aviation Director for Birmingham Airport, said: ‘It’s fantastic to see Eurowings expanding its list of routes from Birmingham Airport so rapidly.

‘Salzburg is a great ski destination but also a great city break city which we are sure will make this route very popular indeed with our passengers all year round.’

Ivan Orec, Network Development & Airport Relations Manager for Eurowings said: ‘We are pleased to add a new Salzburg route to our Birmingham schedule, which will operate twice weekly, every Wednesday and Saturday, starting from the beginning of December.

‘We are also looking forward to bringing more ski passengers to Salzburg and offer them free of charge transport of their ski equipment.’

London Heathrow gets new Sion service from SWISS, Egyptair restarts Luxor service

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is planning to launch a new seasonal service between London Heathrow and Sion in February 2017, according to an online report by ITCM.

 

As per the plan, SWISS will operate three round trip flights to Sion Airport to serve skiers during the busy holiday period in February. Sion Airport is located near the largest Swiss ski resorts of Verbier, Les 4 Vallees, Crans-Montana, Saas Fee and Zermatt, and SWISS offers a shorter transfer time to the resorts, between 1 and 1.5 hours.

SWISS’ Director for UK and Ireland, Felix Rodel, said: ‘We are delighted to be offering a new seasonal service in the Swiss Valais region that transports our passengers directly into the Swiss mountains and popular ski destinations. We hope the introduction of this service will provide our customers with a convenient and affordable way to visit the many beautiful regions of Switzerland during the peak winter season.’

Currently, SWISS operates up to 59 flights per week from London to Geneva during the winter period. The airline transports the first set of ski or snowboard equipment and boots free of charge in addition to the standard free baggage allowance for passengers. SWISS will likely add Sion to its UK to Switzerland network in the future, the report said.

Separately, Travel weekly has reported that Egyptair has restarted its direct air link between London Heathrow-Luxor, following a suspension since May this year.

Direct air links between the UK and the Red Sea resort have been suspended since the terrorist attack of a Russian charter flight killing all 224 people on board following its departure from the airport at Sharm el Sheikh. Following a travel advice by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office in November 2015, all UK airlines suspended their flights to Sharm el Sheikh.

Operated using a 144-seat Boeing 737-800 in a two class configuration, the Luxor service from Heathrow is available for booking with return fares starting at £380, the report noted.

easyJet carries record 1.3 million skiers- 90,000 more than in 2015

easyJet, the UK-based low-fares airline, has recorded the busiest ski season in its history this year as more people than ever chose the airline’s ski routes.

With a 40 percent share of the UK ski market, easyJet carried 1.3 million passengers to ski destinations across Europe this season – 90,000 more than last year. A host of new routes, good ski conditions and a strong consumer demand have fuelled the growth in customer numbers, the airline said.

Sophie Dekkers, UK Country Director, easyJet, said: ‘We are pleased to announce record levels of demand from our customers who want to experience the best ski resorts across Europe. The rising popularity of ski holidays has given first half revenues a lift. Ski breaks provide our customers with an alternative to a winter sun holiday and helps provide the airline with a strong revenue stream in the winter months.

‘2016 has been our best ski season ever, helped by plenty of snow and good ski conditions this year. High profile sporting events such as the winter Olympics coupled with the ever increasing quality of ski resorts across Europe are helping to inspire first time skiers and contributing to the rise in popularity we are seeing amongst our customers for ski breaks.’

In 2015, easyJet strengthened its position adding new routes between Belfast and Lyon, London Luton and Innsbruck, as well as a new connection to Lyon from London Southend.

easyJet operates ski flight-services to Lyon, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Grenoble, Friedrichshafen, Turin and its largest gateway Geneva. On any Saturday in January, easyJet will have up to 119 flights and carry over 15,000 customers throughout the day into Geneva alone, easyJet said.

The airline operates ski flights from 14 UK airports including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, London Luton, London Gatwick, London Southend, and Bournemouth. The services include 10 daily flights between London Luton and Geneva, and an additional 11 daily flights between London Gatwick and Geneva, its two largest UK airports operating ski flights.

Flybe announces new route and extra flights from Cardiff Airport for winter 2016/17

Flybe, one of the leading UK-based budget airlines, has released the first phase of its 2016/17 winter programme, featuring a brand new route to Berlin as well as extra flights to popular holiday destinations.

Starting November 2, 2016, the airline will operate new flights to Berlin Tegel, with a twice a week service on Wednesdays and Saturdays and fares available from GBP34.99 one way including taxes and charges. With the latest announcement Flybe’s Glasgow route will increase to 11 flights per week, offering Welsh passengers more day return options from Cardiff.

In addition, as ski flights become ever more popular, the airline has announced increased flights to Geneva for the winter 2016/17 ski season. This route – a convenient gateway to ski and snowboarding resorts in Switzerland, France and Italy – will now increase to three flights per week, departing on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The Flybe service from Cardiff to Paris Charles de Gaulle will continue to operate daily with earlier flight times, improving Air France connectivity for passengers travelling onward and to allow families longer trips in Disneyland Paris.

Debra Barber, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Cardiff Airport, commented: ‘Flybe’s two aircraft base is fast approaching its first anniversary at Cardiff Airport, and during this time we have seen the network go from strength to strength.

‘It is fantastic to see the airline responding to the demands of the Welsh market by adding additional capacity and another new route to its network. It is vital that our customers are offered a wide variety of destinations both for leisure and business travel – at the right price – and Flybe is doing just that. We look forward to another successful winter season and continued success for Flybe at Cardiff Airport.’

Vincent Hodder, Flybe’s Chief Revenue Officer, said: ‘Many of our customers have told us they want to plan ahead in order to take advantage of the lowest possible fares so we have ensured that this year we have put the majority of our 2016-17 Winter programme on sale extra early.

‘The diversity of our winter destinations is ideal for those wanting to book early, affordable business travel as well as those looking for short leisure breaks especially over the autumn half-term and Christmas/New Year period. To ensure the lowest possible fares, we would advise customers to book their travel for next winter now.’

The new and extra flights announced from Cardiff, including the new Berlin route, will be available for travel between October 30, 2016 and January 31, 2017 with further flights for next winter expected to be announced in the next weeks.

easyJet to launch three new routes for Scottish Airports

easyJet has announced plans for three brand new routes for Scottish Airports, and will carry nearly 34,000 holidaymakers this winter, the UK-based airline said.

From autumn 2014, easyJet will offer the only direct connections from Aberdeen to Geneva, as well as flights from Glasgow to Marrakech and Edinburgh to Funchal. The new routes – on sale at www.easyJet.com – will expand the range of  affordable winter sun and skiing destinations available to Scottish holidaymakers.

Of the new routes, Edinburgh to Funchal, Portugal is a year round service which will fly twice per week from February 3, with fares starting from £43.99 one way. Aberdeen to Geneva, Switzerland is a winter service operating weekly from December 13, with fares starting from £40.99 one way. And, Glasgow to Marrakech, Morocco is also a year round service operating twice weekly from October 29, with fares starting from £42.99 one way.

In total easyJet is now offering 33 destinations with over 2.3 million seats to and from the Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports this winter.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s Head of Scotland, said: ‘As Scotland’s largest airline we are pleased to further strengthen our network of easy and affordable destinations based on feedback from our passengers. We believe Marrakech and Funchal will prove popular winter sun destinations while Geneva offers access to the world class skiing resorts in France and Switzerland.

‘In total easyJet now serves 33 destinations from Scotland spanning the UK, Europe, Iceland and North Africa. The new routes will launch this winter and will complement our existing network of leisure and business flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.’

Scottish holidaymakers can also benefit from easyJet’s extensive Gatwick network more easily with ‘Gatwick Connect’, which allows customers to transfer their luggage from one easyJet flight to another before proceeding through security. easyJet now has 107 destinations on sale from Gatwick.

Separately, easyJet announced that over 700 routes – a milestone for the UK-based airline – are on sale now at easyJet.com, following the addition of 19 new routes, including nine new UK services.

Skiset launches holidays; Crystal Ski Holidays unveils offers for 2014

Skiset, a network of ski and snowboard rental shops, is expanding into the holiday market this season, a first for a hire company, according to a report by The Telegraph.

Skiset, a snowsports rental business with over 800 outlets across Europe and North America, is offering trips to more than 60 European resorts, including Courchevel, Soldeu and Chamonix. It offers nearly 200 accommodation options, including apartments, chalets and five-star boutique hotels. However, Skiset Holidays, the brand’s new holiday arm, only offers accommodation and not flights or transfers, which must be booked separately.

Skiset Holidays also offers a booking service for lift passes, equipment hire from a Skiset rental shop in resort and ski lessons for children, available through Ecole de Ski Francais and most independent ski schools.

‘Skiset Holidays is the direct result of our loyal customers asking us for assistance with accommodation options and our effort to meet consumer demand,’ said Philippe Koiransky, managing director of Skiset.

‘We are regarded as mountain experts and are now offering a selection of accommodation with the same Skiset promise of good value, quality and service in the finest ski resorts in Europe,’ he added.

In a separate report, The Telegraph said that Crystal Ski Holidays has revealed ski offerings for the next season, despite this year’s ski season having barely begun.

For the 2014/15 season Crystal is offering accommodation in more than 130 resorts in 13 countries. The company has also added chalets in Kitzbuhel, Austria, and Serre Chevalier and Les Deux Alpes, both in France.

Crystal also has a number of early bird offers, including two-for-one ski or snowboard hire for customers who book before the end of March 2014.

bmi regional set to start ski season, flights announced to European winter sport gateways

bmi regional, a UK-based budget airline, is set to launch the snow sports season with flights to European gateway airports that provide access to 300 snow resorts, from Bristol airport.

The announcement comes as the Ski Club of Great Britain reported that its Consumer Research 2013, covering 21,000 respondents, found that 95 percent of people that skied last season intend to ski in 2013-2014.

bmi regional fares, which start from GBP79 per person one way, include in-flight menu and full bar service, in addition to 20kg checked baggage, ideal for travelling with winter clothing. For those flying with their own skis or snowboard, the airline charges £30 per flight per item (up to 20kg in weight).

bmi regional’s fare from Bristol to the ski gateway of Munich, which is just two hours from the Alps, starts from £79 per person one way.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a popular European ski destination, and its neighbour, Mittenwald, are claimed to offer a vibrant Bavarian ambience and are only 120km from Munich airport. Oberstdorf, another popular resort for skiers and snowboarders alike, is also easily reached by train or road from Munich.

For the Italian Alps and Dolomites, bmi regional offers flights from Bristol to Milan, also starting from £79 per person one way.

Dolomiti Superski, an area that features 1,200km of slopes, is suitable for both skiers and snowboarders and offers guaranteed snow from December until April. Alta Badia, a ski resort at the heart of the Dolomites, is within easy reach of Milan, while Val Gardena, an ideal resort for beginners, offers a diversity of pistes across 175km of ski runs.

Flybe to launch four new ski routes from Cardiff

British low-cost regional airline group, Flybe, will operate new ski routes to Chambery, Geneva, Grenoble and Lyon from Cardiff this winter, Travel Weekly has reported.

The flights will operate between December 21 and April 2014 with one-way fares starting at GBP34.99.

The airline will use 78-seat Q400 and 88-set Embraer 175 aircraft on the routes. Chambery will be served twice a week, while the other three destinations will be served with weekly flights on Saturdays.

The low-cost carrier currently operates flights from Cardiff to 16 destinations in the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and continental Europe, including Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

The airline’s marketing director, Simon Lilley, said: ‘Our four new direct ski routes from Cardiff offer a choice of affordable and particularly attractive ski destinations direct from Wales, saving people valuable time, money and especially the hassle of having to trek to England before they even start their journey.

‘We see these new routes as a natural addition to our network out of Cardiff airport and are confident that these attractive winter destinations can only be positive news for Wales.’

Mr. Lilley added: ‘Flybe will continue to explore all possibilities for expanding our services at Cardiff and we look forward to welcoming our first ‘Welsh snowbirds’ on board in December whether they want to hit the slopes or just simply enjoy a quiet winter getaway.’

Airport chief executive, Jon Horne, said: ‘We have been working closely with Flybe as part of our strategy to bring back a greater choice of flights and destinations to Cardiff Airport and we look forward to exploring further opportunities in this regard.’

The Welsh Government bought Cardiff Airport in March, and had pledged to make it profitable after passenger numbers declined in the recent years.

Monarch Airlines to start German ski routes

The UK’s Monarch Airlines is looking to introduce ski routes to Friedrichshafen airport in southern Germany for the coming winter.

Monarch Airlines is a UK-based scheduled leisure airline operating from six bases in the UK – Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford and Luton, where it is based. The airline operates flights to holiday destinations principally around the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands – including Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Madeira, Portugal, Spain and Turkey – and to ski destinations during the winter.

The newly introduced, six times weekly flights will run from Gatwick and Manchester from December until April 2014. Friedrichshafen is a 90-minute transfer by coach, car or train to ski resorts in Switzerland, Austria, Leichtenstein and Germany, including St Anton, Lech, Zurs and Flims-Laax.

Monarch managing director, Kevin George, said: ‘After successfully launching our new scheduled flights to ski destinations last winter 12/13, we are keen to highlight our products and services to ski and snowboard travellers who are beginning to think about their winter holiday for this year.

‘Working with a key ski destination airport such as Friedrichshafen provides our great ski offering to customers.’ More than 50,000 skiers used Friedrichshafen as their gateway to the Alps last winter.

Monarch is currently undertaking an expansion programme that will see its fleet grow in size from 32 aircraft in 2012, to 38 during this financial year to October 2013. The airline recently took delivery of two new Airbus A320 aircraft.

With the addition, Monarch became the first UK airline to operate aircraft fitted with Airbus Sharklets. The enhancements to the wingtips are claimed to save fuel, increase performance, lower carbon emissions and improve payload by up to 450kg. The Sharklets cut down on aerodynamic drag by helping to reduce the spiral shaped vortices that are formed at the wingtips of any aircraft during flight.