Friday, 15 January 2016

Huge jump in cheap flights

The inexorable rise of the low cost airline goes on with barely a pause for breath. Ryanair and easyJet together now attract 34% of the total number of international passengers carried by the world's ten largest international airlines. In the US, Southwest Airlines is the biggest carrier of domestic passengers. Since Christmas there has been yet more expansion of long haul budget operations, a trend that I have questioned at in an earlier posting. The Canadian carrier Westjet has announced it will continue operating its services from Gatwick Calgary and Toronto through the winter. Previously it was expected they would be suspended at the end of summer this year. The Calgary decision is good news for skiers. It will cut the cost of travel to resorts including Lake Louise, Banff and Kicking Horse. It would be even better news for snow seekers if the airline also extended its forthcoming Vancouver route through the winter months

Old Ironsides: USS Constitution in Boston dockyard. Get thee from Bristol
Meanwhile Icelandic airline WOW, which has been building a long haul network based on connections via its Reykjavik hub, will launch links between Bristol and Boston, Washington, Toronto and Montreal later this year. A combination of very competitive fares and the continuing, relative buying power of the £ in Canada should help boost demand for travel there, at least in the short term. As to the long term sustainable of the low cost, long haul surge, much will depend on the price of oil - and therefore aviation fuel - which remains very low. Prices have dropped some 70% in the past 18 months. And nest winter Thomas Cook Airlines is to provide British Airways with some competition on the London - Cape Town route. It will operate three round trips a week on the route from Gatwick with return fares in economy and premium class seats from £699 and £949 respectively.

Veiling - new flights from Luton

Budget carriers also continue to expand on short haul routes. For example - the following list is not intended to be comprehensive - the Spanish airline Vueling is set to start flying from Luton, with summer schedule services to Barcelona and Amsterdam. It will also start flying from Edinburgh to Rome, Paris and Alicante later this year. And it plans to start service to Alicante from Manchester and Birmingham. Romania's Blue Air will also launch flights from Luton, flying three times a week to Cyprus from late April. easyJet will launch new services to ten European destinations fro, UK airports. They include Bristol to Bilbao, Zakinthos and the Isle of Man, Newcastle to Rhodes and Corfu, Manchester to Kefalonia and Southend to einorca. It will also fly to Split, in Croatia, from Luton, Newcastle and Manchester. Ryanair is to server Newquay in Cornwall again and will fly from Belfast - starting in March with services to Gatwick. The central and eastern European airline Wizz will fly twice a week from Birmingham to the Polish city of Wroclaw - one of this year's European Capitals of Culture, starting in March. And Monarch will add Tel Aviv from Manchester April, Lisbon from Gatwick and Manchester in May and from Birmingham, in June, when it will also start operating from that airport to Madrid.

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