easyJet announces four new routes from Belfast

easyJet, one of Europe’s leading airlines, has announced the launch of four new routes on its Belfast network, with flights to the Isle of Man and Venice launched on June 22, followed by flights to Naples and Valencia on June 23, 2018.

The new easyJet flights to the Isle of Man will operate twice a week throughout the year, with fares starting from £22.66; flights to Venice will operate twice a week throughout the year, with fares starting from £27.71; flights to Naples will operate twice a week throughout the summer season, with fares starting from £18.70; and the flights to Valencia will operate twice a week throughout the summer season, with fares starting from £26.70. The fares are all one-way, including taxes and based on two people on the same booking.

easyJet also announced the expansion at its Belfast base, with the addition of a third A320 aircraft – the sixth aircraft it has at its Northern Ireland base. The 186-seat aircraft will remain based in Belfast throughout the year and joins three 156-seat Airbus A319 and two 186-seat A320 aircraft. With the introduction of the new routes, easyJet now operates up to 624 flights a week across 32 routes, with eight percent more flights compared to summer 2017.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to be celebrating further expansion at Belfast Airport. The addition of another aircraft and even more routes will help us to deliver long term, sustainable growth at the base providing passengers with a greater range of destinations, all with low fares and great service.

‘Our ongoing growth demonstrates the airline’s long-term commitment to Northern Ireland, and with fares as low as GBP18.70*, that’s 37% cheaper than when we launched our first route for GBP29.99 from Belfast over 18 years ago. easyJet is the largest airline in Northern Ireland and we are proud to have carried over 55 million passengers in that time.’

Graham Keddie, Managing Director at Belfast International Airport, said: ‘Belfast International Airport welcomes the new easyJet routes to Naples, Venice, Valencia and the Isle of Man. The addition of a sixth easyJet aircraft to the five already based at the airport is a huge boost. In a year that we expect will be record-breaking for the airport, this enhances our route offering for passengers and also shows the value that easyJet places upon its operation at Belfast International Airport and the importance of the Northern Ireland market.’

Monarch announces new flights from Birmingham Airport for summer 2017

Budget airline and holiday company, Monarch has announced the addition of four new routes – Split in Croatia, Valencia in Spain, Naples in Italy and Rhodes in Greece – to its network from Birmingham Airport for summer 2017.

With the move, Monarch will be the only airline flying to both Split and Valencia from Birmingham Airport. While Split and Valencia are new destinations added to the Monarch network for summer 2017, Naples and Rhodes are already on the Monarch network but new to Birmingham Airport for summer 2017.

The Birmingham – Split route will operate twice weekly on Tuesday & Sundays, starting June 25, 2017 with fares starting from £39 one way. The Birmingham – Valencia route will operate twice weekly on Saturdays and Thursdays, starting June 22, 2017 with fares starting from £39 one way. The new Birmingham – Naples route will operate twice weekly on Mondays and Fridays, starting June 23, 2017, also with fares starting from £39 one way. And the Birmingham – Rhodes route will operate weekly once on Wednesdays with fares starting from £69 one way, starting June 21, 2017. Flights are available to book at www.monarch.co.uk .

Marjan Schoeke, Monarch’s head of Network Development, said ‘We are delighted to be announcing four new routes to the network from Birmingham Airport for this summer. With the introduction of these routes we now have 30 destinations on offer to customers flying from Birmingham Airport this summer. Monarch has more destinations to choose from than any other airline when flying out of Birmingham this summer.’

David Winstanley, Chief Operating Officer, at Birmingham Airport, said: ‘We continually monitor our route network and feel that these destinations will be a popular choice with our customers who fly from Birmingham and are looking for sun this summer.

‘It is fabulous news that Monarch will be adding these new routes for summer 2017 offering more choice of destinations from Birmingham Airport. Both Split, in Croatia and Valencia, in Spain are unserved from the Airport so passengers will have the chance to visit these beautiful cities. While the routes to Naples and Rhodes offers extra capacity to passengers travelling from their local airport. Monarch has been a partner airline for many years and provides an excellent service for both leisure and business passengers.’

Besides being the only airline to fly direct to Split and Valencia, Monarch is also the only airline to fly directly to seven other destinations from Birmingham Airport, including Lisbon, Nice, Stockholm, Preveza, Gibraltar, Venice and Rome. As previously announced, Monarch will be also commencing a new flight service to Stockholm on April 28, 2017 – the only airline flying directly to the Swedish capital from Birmingham.

Ryanair Not Yet Cleared of Safety Malpractice Charges by Irish and Spanish Government

Ryanair, the Ireland-based low cost airline, will be undergoing an investigation before it may be cleared of charges of noncompliance to safety standards while flying in France.

The airline, which has been reporting flight incidents quite frequently recently, had to make an emergency landing at Valencia, in Spain. European Union rules make it mandatory for commercial aircraft to carry plenty of fuel to cope with a range of emergency events.

On September 18, 2012 a delegation from the Spanish Ministry of Development, led by the Secretary General for Transport, met members of the Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, led by the Secretary General, as well as the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) in Dublin, Ireland, to discuss the incidents that led to the airline emergency stopover. The Irish authorities have assured their Spanish counterparts that in future all operations of the airline will be overseen by the Ireland government members so stop a repeat of the earlier incident.

A statement issued by Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport said, ‘As an example of this increased cooperation it was agreed that the circumstances of a specific incident in Madrid airport on 16th September would be jointly examined by IAA and AESA (the Spanish aviation authority).’

Ryanair has, on its part, issued an invite to the Spanish Ministry members to inspect their operational hub in Dublin to check if the airline has been faulting on the European aviation operating and maintenance standards.

The airline head of communications, Stephen McNamara, said, ‘We welcome this official report into the Valencia procedures on the 26th July last which confirms that all three Ryanair aircraft carried extra fuel and that all three complied fully with EU Ops procedures.

We also welcome this week’s joint statement of the Irish and Spanish Transport Ministries which confirms that Ryanair’s safety standards are on a par with the safest airlines in Europe. We hope that the Fomento will now accept Ryanair’s invitation to inspect our operations in Dublin in order to put an end to the false claims and misinformation in the Spanish media in recent weeks about Ryanair’s outstanding 28 year safety record.’


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.