Ryanair and National Express agree partnership

Ireland-based low cost carrier Ryanair and Europe’s largest scheduled coach operator National Express have announced a partnership deal to provide travellers arriving at and departing from Manchester and London airports with direct and affordable coach links.

Passengers travelling to or from London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted and Manchester with Ryanair will be able to book online for direct National Express connections. This can be made via Ryanair’s own website, Ryanair.com, or by purchasing tickets onboard Ryanair flights in the UK. National Express has a strong focus on providing links to and from airports and other destinations in the UK, with around one-third of its services linking to an airport 24-7.

Commenting on the agreement, Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said, ‘Ryanair will carry over 80m passengers this year at the lowest fares, connecting 180 airports through over 1,500 routes. Now our passengers can go even further thanks to a new partnership with National Express, with coach tickets available to purchase both on the Ryanair.com website and onboard Ryanair flights operating to and from London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted and Manchester Airport.’

Tom Stables, National Express UK Coach Manager Director, added, ‘We operate millions of passenger journeys to UK airports each year and are pleased our new partnership with Ryanair makes it that bit easier for people to get their trip off to a flying start. It’s now even simpler for holidaymakers and business travellers to benefit from affordable airport travel.’

New Stansted routes announced by easyjet

UK-based budget airline, easyjet, has announced the launch of three new routes that will commence operation from this weekend.

The new routes, which will all operate out of Stansted Airport in the UK, are to Sharm el Sheikh on the Egyptian Red Sea, Marrakech in Morocco, and to the Bulgarian capital city, Sofia. Between them, the three routes will add 100,000 seats to easyjet’s capacity this year.

All three routes have been launched to coincide with UK schools’ half-term holidays, and the inaugural flights today, tomorrow and Sunday will be carrying almost 3,000 passengers, taking advantage of the new services for their holiday getaway.

Prices for all three of the new, year-round services start from £86.99 and £30.99, one way.

Hugh Aitken, the budget airline’s commercial manager said, ‘This latest expansion sees us adding two mid-haul routes, to Marrakech in Morocco and Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh from Stansted for the first time. We’re giving our customers from this region an easy and affordable way to explore the delights of two beautiful and culture rich cities in Northern Africa and the capital city of Bulgaria.’

With its headquarters at London Luton Airport in the UK, easyjet operates domestic and international scheduled services on over 600 routes across more than 60 countries. Having only been established in 1995, the company now employs over 8,000 staff across the UK and Europe, and carried over 59 million passengers in 2012, utilising its 23 European bases.

The company has grown through a combination of acquisitions and the opening of new bases, along with the growing customer appetite for budget travel.

London Stansted Airport Announces New Offerings

London Stansted Airport is now offering a number of new experiences for passengers this winter.

The airport departure lounge saw the opening of a new grab and go coffee shop, Joes Coffeehouse; and relocation of the luxury home and body cosmetics brand outlet of Rituals to a new location in the centre of the main departure lounge of the airport.

The rock style cafe, The Illustrious, is slated to open next to the international departure gates of Ryanair, while a new outlet of Cafe Piccolo will open in the main departure lounge before Christmas.

Zoe Farmer, the head of in-terminal commercial at the airport, said, ‘At Stansted, we’re not only committed to delivering our passengers with punctual flights to a wide range of destinations but also an excellent choice of shops, restaurants and other services.

Research shows that provision of good quality shopping and catering plays a pivotal role in the overall airport experience for many passengers so I am delighted to welcome the arrival of exciting brands such as Cafe Piccolo, Joes Coffeehouse and The Illustrious to Stansted.

It’s also wonderful to see Rituals expand into a prime location following the success of their mobile unit that only opened earlier this year.

I only wish I could unveil the other high street brands we are currently preparing to welcome as tax-free shopping options at Stansted but those announcements will come soon so watch this space.’

The airport has recently relaunched its interactive noise website, which allows local residents to track potential effects of aircraft noise in their communities. The newly redesigned www.stanstedairport.com/noise is now offering a number of new factsheets offering details of actions the airport takes to reduce noise pollution.

Fog forces delays at British airports

For the second consecutive day, fog has brought delays to the arrival and departure schedules of a number of British airports.

The poor visibility has caused further delays to schedules that have already been hit by the effects of a general strike in France.

At Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, in excess of 120 inbound and outbound flights were cancelled, while many more have suffered delays of various durations. Two other airports that serve the capital, London City airport and Stansted, have also suffered disruption to their schedules, while Newcastle in the northeast of England has also cancelled flights.

Easyjet was one of the operators hit by the poor conditions, with coaches being laid on to transfer the company’s passengers from Southend Airport to Stansted, after flights to Belfast and Amsterdam had to be relocated. The carrier warned travellers to expect disruption in a notification on its website.

Air traffic control delays due to disruption caused by striking French civil service workers was cited by Bristol Airport in the southwest of England, although passengers were still being advised to check-in on time and to access their airline’s website for updated flight information. Southampton airport, on the south coast, issued similar warnings to its passengers.

A spokesman at Heathrow, said, ‘there are delays and cancellations due to fog and industrial action in France.’

The delays look likely to continue as the met office predicted that the atmospheric conditions could last for some hours to come, not a promising start to a winter season that traditionally brings its fair share of weather associated delays to the UK’s transport system.

BAA Satisfied with Handling of Olympics Passengers at UK Airports

BAA Ltd, owner and operator of six British airports including London Heathrow, has expressed satisfaction at the way the airports operated by the company were able to handle increased passenger numbers during the recently completed 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Colin Matthews, the company chief executive officer, said, ‘We are proud of Heathrow’s performance during London 2012, and warmly thank the volunteers, our own staff and the many other organisations who planned and delivered a warm and efficient welcome to Great Britain.

We intend to combine the best of the games experience with Heathrow’s ongoing investment programme to steadily improve the airport for our passengers and airlines.’

In spite of the Olympic rush, London Heathrow Airport recorded a 1.9 percent drop, to 6.5 million passengers in august 2012, compared to the figure for August 2011. The traffic downturn was at its lowest for the first two weeks of August 2012, showing a fall of 4.6 percent compared to the same period in 2011. This is thought to be due to UK residents opting to stay in the UK to cheer Team GB’s efforts in the games, and foreign travellers deciding to avoid the UK because of the Olympic rush.

The company has also reported a 2 percent decrease in passenger traffic across its other five airports during August, when the total passenger traffic was 9.5 million. Aberdeen Airport recorded the biggest drop in passenger traffic for the month, at 9.2 percent, compared to August 2011.

However cargo movement have shown an improvement, with a 2.6 percent increase over the five airports during the month, compared to the same period last year.

Ryanair Reschedules Flights to Turin Airport Due to Airport Closure

Ryanair, the Ireland-based, low cost airline, has announced that it will be diverting its flights that are scheduled to arrive and depart from Turin airport in Italy, to neighbouring Cuneo Airport in Italy, during a period of disruption at Turin due to maintenance work.

Turin Airport will remain closed for three days in July 2012 (on July 7, 8 and 9) for crucial runway maintenance work, and all Ryanair services that were originally scheduled to operate from or to Turin will be operated from Cuneo Airport during this period.

While apologising for the inconvenience, the airline has reported that complimentary coach transfers to or from Cuneo Airport will be offered to passengers booked to travel through Turin Airport during the period of disruption.

The airline’s coach transfer service from Turinto Cuneo, will see coaches departing three hours before the scheduled flight departures, and an hour after flight arrivals.

The company head of communications, Stephen McNamara, said, ‘Ryanair is working closely with Turin and Cuneo airports to minimise the disruption caused by the 3 day closure of Turin Airport in July by transferring all flights to Cuneo which is just 65 kms away. Ryanair has contacted all passengers by email to inform them of the amendments to their itineraries and will be providing complimentary coach transfers between the two airports.’

The airline is currently operating from Turin Airport to 10 different routes, including London Stansted Airport. The flights from London Stansted to Turin are priced at GBP69.41 per person, one way.