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Avios Scheme Used by British Airways to Close Down

Posted on 18th April 2018

It has been announced that the Avios Travel Rewards Programme is to be shut down on 20th May this year.

The Avios scheme is used by British Airways, who have been quick to confirm that passengers’ points they have collected can still be used.

Customers were sent a reassuring email which said, “In the coming months, the UK Avios Travel Rewards Programme will close but Avios, the currency, will remain. We’re doing this to simplify the programme and further improve collection and spending opportunities. You’ll still be able to collect and spend Avios with many of the partners you do today, you’ll just have a new home to do it all from.”

Till now, the Avios scheme has ran separately from the British Airways Executive Club, now, passengers will have an Executive Club account set up for them and their balances transferred over. Those who already have an Executive Club account are able to transfer their balance over themselves before 20th May, or, they can choose to opt out altogether. If they choose to opt out any Avios must be used within six months, otherwise they will be lost.

The email also informed that passengers can collect and use their Avios in the meantime whilst the new accounts are created, and that they would be sent account details as soon as they were available.

Avios Group Limited stated that passengers will benefit from “added benefits” with this move, as they will be able “to collect and spend Avios with even more partners than at present.”

Head for Points’ Rob Burgess reiterated that there is nothing for passengers with Avios to worry about: “Their points are safe and will be transferred over to British Airways Executive Club […] The range of redemption options available via BAEC is broader than it is via Avios and no one will lose out. This move will also unravel some of the complexity in running two Avios-based loyalty schemes in the UK.”



Milington, Alison. ‘British Airways’ Avios Points Scheme is Closing Down – Here’s Everything You Need to Know.’ Evening Standard Online. https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/british-airways-avios-scheme-closing-what-happens-to-points-a3815786.html

New Rulings for Holiday Sickness Claims

Posted on 13th April 2018

There is set to be a clamp down on false holiday sickness claims under new rules as claim figures rocket, yet illness reports decline.

Legal costs for package holiday sickness cases will now be fixed as rules similar to those in place for other personal injury claims come into force.

Despite illness records declining, the travel industry has stated that holiday sickness claims have “mushroomed” in the past few years and travel agents are now seeking for the government to ban cold calls which encourage holiday makers to begin a claim.

During 2016, there was a 500% rise in the number of holidays sickness claims made from 2013. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said 2016 witnessed around 35,000 claims, though illnesses within holiday resorts have been declining. This leads to the questioning of the sincerity of some cases.

2016 cost the industry £240m and there is now a risk that holiday prices will have to be raised in order to keep up with cost, which could result in some families being unable to afford to get away for a summer break.

In order to prevent fake claims being made, the government requested that the Civil Procedure Rule Committee bring package holiday illness claims under the same regulations as personal injury claims, meaning legal costs will be limited and hotels will have the chance to challenge these claims in court without facing extortionate legal fees. This request has been accepted and a limit on legal costs will come in to effect shortly.

Justice Minister Rory Stewart stated that anyone who is claiming compensation from these claims, when they had not actually been sick on holiday, was committing fraud.

He said, “This damages the travel industry and risks driving up costs for holidaymakers. This behaviour also tarnishes the reputation of British people abroad. That is why we are introducing measures to crack down on those who engage in this dishonest practice.”

Chief Executive of the Association of Travel Agents, Mark Tanzer, said “Closing the legal loophole before the summer should lead to a reduction in the number of false claims. We encourage the government to keep this matter under review and continue to pursue a ban on cold calling […].”

Those caught making false sickness claims can find themselves facing hefty fines, or, even serving time in prison for fraud.


Peachey, Kevin. ‘Crackdown on False Holiday Illness Claims.” BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43741880

Bristol Airport Passengers Stranded by Parking Company

Posted on 10th April 2018

Passengers returning to Bristol Airport have found themselves stranded and without their vehicles.

the incident occurred after a meet-and-greet parking company – Absolutely Secure Airport Parking - did not return the cars to the passengers who had just landed at the airport last Friday and Saturday. Though the company has been asked to comment on the incident, they have not yet done this.

A spokesperson for the police confirmed that a “significant number of motorists had been unable to retrieve vehicles” and Bristol Airport stated that the parking company was not connected in any way with the airport.

It was reported in local paper, The Bristol Post, that some people discovered their cars in fields and lay-bys, and that the vehicles were “filthy.”

One set of customers contacted the police after their numerous calls to the parking company were unanswered. They informed that when the owner of the company did leave with the police to get the vehicles’ keys, they took ill.

The customers said, “People were getting more fractious but trying to stay calm because there were children waiting with us. Some people were returned their keys but had no idea where their cars were parked. Some found their cars in lay-bys near the airport.”

Another customer, who paid £35 for 24-hours of secure parking, found their Mercedes 9 hours after they landed back at the airport. They said, “The vehicles were stored in lay-bys, farmers’ fields, down dirt tracks. They were not in secure locations as advertised.”

A spokesperson on behalf of the airport said, “While we have no control nor influence over the services provided by Absolutely Secure Airport Parking Bristol, our ground transportation team and on-site police unit provided assistance to passengers affected to help locate their vehicles.”


BBC News. ‘Bristol Airport Parking Firm ‘Fails to Return Cars.’’ BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-43697408

Will Ryanair Ground Flights to Make Brexit Voters “Rethink?”

Posted on 7th March 2018

Ryanair’s Chief Executive, Michael O’Leary, has made threats to ground planes after Brexit, to make voters “rethink.”
The Irish based carriers Chief Executive said he wants people to understand that cheap holidays will no longer be an option.

Speaking in Brussels to an audience of other airline leaders, he said, “I think it’s in our interests – not for a long period of time – that the aircraft are grounded. It’s only when you get to that stage where you’re going to persuade the average British voter that you were lied to in the entire Brexit debate. You were promised you could leave the EU and everything would stay the same. The reality is you can leave the EU, yes that’s your choice, but everything will fundamentally change.”

Mr O’Leary believes that after Brexit there will be a “real crisis” for flights between the UK and the EU, as they are disrupted.

He added, “When you begin to realise that you’re no longer going to have cheap holidays in Portugal or Spain or Italy, you’ve got to drive to Scotland or get a ferry to Ireland as your only holiday options, maybe we’ll begin to rethink the whole Brexit debate. They were misled and I think we have to create an opportunity.”

However, Mr O’Leary’s words have been met with mixed reactions. Johan Lundgren, Chief of EasyJet interrupted his on-state speech with, “If you start grounding your planes, I’m flying.” Whereas boss of the German carrier Lufthansa, Carsten Spohr said, “In theory, if we could use this industry to prove to the British how wrong the decision was, that might be a good thing.”

The single market for aviation, which was created in the 1990s, currently means that there are no ‘commercial restrictions’ for airlines who are flying within the EU. However, Mr O’Leary has warned on numerous occasions that airlines will find themselves forced to cancel post-Brexit services after March 2019 if agreements are not reached during the Brexit negotiations before September, as schedules are usually planned by airlines six months in advance.

Despite opinions from airline Executives, Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, said back in January this year that he remains confident flights will “not be grounded,” as it remains in the best “interests of everyone to maintain the open market for aviation.”



The Telegraph. ‘Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary threatens to Ground Planes After Brexit to Make Voters ‘Rethink’ Withdrawal.’ The Telegraph Online. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/07/ryanairs-michael-oleary-threatens-ground-planes-brexit-make/

Passengers Grounded After Air France Strike

Posted on 24th February 2018

Yesterday, tens of thousands of Air France passengers found themselves stranded after staff - involving pilots, cabin crew and ground crew - held a one-day strike.

Staff have been offered a one percent pay increase by management, however, they have rejected this and unions are demanding an increase of six percent. There is also unhappiness amongst staff regarding their workloads and job losses.

Air France said, "Due to several Air France staff unions calling for strike on Thursday 22 February 2018, our flights schedule is disrupted."

The strikes caused half of the airlines long-haul schedule to be cancelled as well as a quarter of its medium-haul flights and 15% of short-haul ones.

The airline also expected to be forced to cap the number of passengers it let on its flights, as the shortage of cabin crew members did not make up the correct ratio of passengers per flight attendant.

Calder, Simon. "Air France Strike Grounds Dozens of UK Flights, Leaving Hundreds of Passengers Stranded." Independent Online. http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/air-france-strike-latest-uk-flights-cancelled-grounded-passengers-stranded-a8222766.html

Jet2 Celebrates 15 Years of Flying

Posted on 16th February 2018

This week Airline Jet2 celebrated the 15th anniversary of its first ever flight, which departed on February 12th 2003!

Steve Lee has been the Commercial Director of the airline since the beginning and has taken a look back on the journey Jet2 has taken so far...

The very beginning for the airline was in a portable cabin based at Leeds Bradford Airport: "Back then it was the low-cost airline revolution. Every regional airport in the country thought that it should have at least one low cost airline. Now, they think they should have six, which shows how much it has grown."

Jet2 has grown rapidly over the last fifteen years; starting out with only two aircraft flying to nine destinations, it now owns ninety planes and flies to fifty destinations.

"We were looking at what opportunities there were to launch a low-cost programme. Leeds Bradford was somewhere we could launch with a relatively low number of aircraft - and had a large catchment area (of around 7 million people living within 90-minutes' drive. At the time, British Midland [now more commonly known as BMI] was the only airline that flew out of Leeds Bradford, easyJet was in Liverpool and had just announced Newcastle and there was no low cost from Manchester, so there was a bit of a void in the north. It was an obvious gap in the market."

So, Jet2 began operations from a 'series of portable cabins' at Leeds Bradford, with around 25 staff. Today, the airline employs close to 9,000 individuals, so it is easy to see how much it has grown in just 15 years.

In 2007, Jet2holidays was introduced: "We saw there was a gap in the market, particularly in the north of England, for a tour operator offering great value package holidays. There were already low-cost airlines around but we felt we had to find something different to offer."

Despite its rapid growth, Lee has stated that both the mentality of the staff and the values of the airline have continued to stick together. "The values are pretty much the same now as they were then. It's about taking people on holiday and offering them friendly and attentive service. We've evolved, of course, but we've always tried to think big and act small. So we still have that intimacy about what we do."

The airline praises itself for its relationship with its staff; newly-trained cabin crew are still personally given their wings by Lee or another director. "We haven't got a stuffy, corporate mentality despite growing into a big business. Of course, we have professional corporate governance, but we will certainly try not to change our ethos. We can train our staff in being consistent, but we want their personalities to shine through. Our customers like the fact that they are going on holiday with people just like them."

As for the next fifteen years: "Looking back, I would pinch myself if I thought we would be where we are now in 15 years. we have long-term plans but we don't like to look too far ahead. [..] We've had a pretty rapid expansion, especially in the last five years. But as always we take each year as it comes."

Ireland, Ben. "A Look Back at 15 Years of Jet2.com." Travel Weekly. http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/297656/a-look-back-at-15-years-of-jet2com

Passengers Subjected to 'Illegal Fees' for Booking with Credit or Debit Cards

Posted on 15th February 2018

Last month, new rules were introduced which banned surcharges for UK holidaymakers paying by either debit or credit cards. However, it seems not all airlines have fully enforced these as of yet.

Two airlines - KLM and Air France - are facing accusations that they have illegally charged customers when they have paid with their debit or credit cards through the airlines' websites. The airlines, who together make Air France-KLM (AFKLM), said that a 'banking mix-up' was the reason for the issue, however, consumer group Which? found that the airlines were applying fees of two per cent for online payments made with some Mastercard's and for all online payments made by American Express.

The newly introduced EU rules banned retailers from applying fees to customers for paying with Visa or Mastercard debit or credit cards, unless these were corporate cards. These surcharge bans have been widely implemented by retailers, as well as government bodies, and include both travel companies and airlines. However, legislation within the UK has taken a step further than other EU states, as retailers found themselves banned from charging a surcharge fee on any 'payment instrument' such as American Express and platforms like PayPal. As KLM and Air France are based in Europe they do not have to adhere to these further rulings, though they have marketed this to customers on a UK website.

Investigators at Which? booked flights on the UK websites offered from Air France and KLM; when being offered the option to pay by credit card, the investigators were warned that there was the potential of a fee being applied. They were charged £2.13 from Air France for a London to Paris flight, and £16.27 by KLM for a London to Mauritius trip.

Which? discovered that both KLM and Air France were using a payment technology that mistakes personal cards for business ones, which are eligible for fees. A spokesperson from Which? said, "Consumers trust companies checking their cards can tell the difference between a personal and corporate card." However, it seems that in this instance this has not been the case.

AFKLM have reassured customers that if they have incorrectly been given a surcharge, then these will be refunded.

Newton, Jennifer. - KLM and Air France 'Illegally Charged Credit and Debit Card Fees' to British Passengers Booking via Their Website. - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-5381117/Airlines-illegally-charged-credit-debit-card-fees.html

Low-Cost Airline Norwegian Continues to Grow

Posted on 15th February 2018

Wednesday 14th February will witness the first ever budget flight depart from Gatwick Airport, London, and fly to South America.

The flight is with airline Norwegian and will take 14 hours to reach its destination, with one-way tickets sold from £259. Though the cabin seats are 'tightly packed,' with food and luggage being of extra cost, 'no-frills' flying is becoming increasingly popular. Usually more common on short-haul flights, this mode of flying is now being used more and more for intercontinental flights.

Low-cost airlines such as Norwegian, along with Wow and Primera are causing challenges for more expensive carriers like Air France-KLM (AFKLM) and British Airways (BA). A transatlantic flight in a subsonic aircraft of Norwegian's has just beaten British Airways' record, as its plane made it to London from JFK in New York in a mere five hours and 13 minutes.

Norwegian has been turned into the largest airline in Scandinavia by former pilot and paratrooper, Bjorn Kjos, and is now the third-biggest budget carrier throughout Europe. Starting out as a small regional airline in 1993, Norwegian has now significantly grown; in 2017 it launched over 15 new routes and flew 5.8 million passengers from Ireland and the UK.

The airline has just secured itself a further 28 weekly slots at Gatwick Airport and is hoping to keep building on existing routes. Mr Kjos said, "The UK will be at the heart of our continued global expansion and we remain fully committed to the market. With huge global ambitions, we're confident that the UK can offer Norwegian a springboard to further expansion."

After winning the 'Airline of the Year' award from the CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence, it appears other airlines are attempting to follow in Norwegian's footsteps, especially IAG, the parent company of British Airways. After copying some of Norwegian's routes, including Barcelona to Oakland, California, British Airways is now working to fit 52 additional seats into its Boeing 777 aircraft, with the aim of making its passenger costs cheaper than Norwegian's.

Norwegian keeps its prices low by using a 'young fleet of aircraft' such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which burns a smaller amount of fuel per passenger when compared to other long-haul planes. This allows the airline to offer its passengers a 'more upmarket experience' than what they would usually get from a budget airline including free wi-fi and modern interior.

For some transatlantic flights the airline has marketed fares for as little as £69, however, passengers are required to pay extra costs for any checked baggage, reserved seating and in-flight food.

With the competition increasing, airlines such as BA and Air France-KLM have introduced their own long-haul budget carriers; BA has launched Level, and AFKLM, Joon. However, despite other airlines imitating Norwegian, the airlines' quick growth has roused questions about its sustainability.

Norwegian's fleet of aircraft will have grown to 193 by the end of next year, however, the carrier has 'borrowed heavily' to fund these. John Strickland, Aviation Analyst said "They just haven't delivered the margins of profitability you'd want to see, especially when compared with British Airways or Ryanair. They will have to work harder to prove they have a sustainable model and can weather the many storms an airline can face, such as economic downturns or reduced passenger numbers after a terror attack."

Norwegian has faced criticism from its rivals, such as Ryanair's Michael O'Leary who last year said, "Both Monarch and Norwegian are in trouble." Shortly after, Monarch collapsed, however, so far Norwegian seems to be flying strong as well as continuing to expand.

In response to criticism, Bjorn Kjos said, "[...] it is tough but you have to ramp it up before you start flying. It takes time to build up a network. After a huge investment, you will not be able to pay it off after one month. People have to know you are flying all over. And when they do, then you are the winner."

Gibson, Chris. 'The Low Cost Airline Changing The Way We Fly.' BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43049554

Reasons for Celebration at easyJet

Posted on 31st January 2018

After what can only be described as a turbulent few months for the airline industry, it looks as though one carrier - easyJet - has cause for celebration.

The airline announced last week that it was experiencing a strong start to 2018 as sales increased more than 14% to £1.14billion. A spokesperson said, "easyJet has seen a positive trading environment based on the strength of its network and customer proposition, capacity reductions and lower growth in easyJet markets, in particular as a result of the bankruptcies of Monarch, Air Berlin and Alitalia, as well as the impact from Ryanair's flight cancellations."

The airline added, "easyJet is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that are available in the current market, and seems to be delivering a silent message of: through all the bluster and bust, we've been quietly getting on with our job."

Though easyJet still carries less passengers than rival Ryanair, it has been witnessing significant increases over the last decade. In 2008 the airline carried 44.6 million passengers, and, almost ten years later in 2017, it carried a much higher 81.6 million. The carrier has stated that this year it again expects to increase its numbers and fly around 90 million passengers.

These increases in figures place easyJet as the eighth largest carrier in the world and second largest within Europe- behind its Rival, Ryanair. Ryanair has experienced an extremely high increase in its passenger figures since 2014, however, it has recently been suggested that these significant increases contributed to its cancelling of 700,000 bookings last year.

Ryanair and easyJet, despite their obvious rivalry, have been described as 'soulmates' after they have both made a huge success out of a 'no-frills' approach to flying. Figures from 2016 show that easyJet is just one step behind Ryanair in the top ten airlines who earn the highest subsidiary revenue, or extra charges; Ryanair sits in sixth place with £1.52bn and easyJet in seventh with £1.04bn. Today, easyJet's passenger figures sit at approximately 50million less than its rival, however, as its figures are continuing to increase, the two could soon be running at even numbers.

During November last year, Johan Lundgren (former Chief Executive of Tui) joined easyJet as the new Chief Executive, replacing Carolyn McCall, who left the post to pursue a career with ITV. Within one month of being with the airline, Mr Lundgren had supervised the purchase of a considerably large portion of Bankrupt Airline Air Berlin, which in turn, made easyJet the biggest airline in the Capital of Germany.

Mr Lundgren said, "My aim is to help easyJet to go from strength to strength. We expect to reach a series of milestones in 2018 including the rollout of our full summer schedule at our newly established base at Berlin Tegel."

During 2018 the airline is planning to introduce 20 new routes to its flights from a variety of UK airports, which include four new destinations - Ancona, Nea Anchialos, Genoa and Reus. Like Ryanair, easyJet uses only one model of aircraft- the Airbus A320; the airline owns 104 of these, and a further 114 of the A319's, also part of the A320 family. The airline has some 130 'new generation' Airbus A320neos on order, which are the new upgraded version of the airlines favourite A320s.

Carolyn McCall, former Chief Executive, said at the time, "The A320neo is a major step change for our fleet efficiency and will provide a cost per seat saving of up to seven per cent over the current A320, which itself has a cost saving benefit of up to eight per cent over the A319 and this benefit will enable easyJet to continue to offer our famous low fares helping to connect people across Europe for work and play."

EasyJet has stated that its new aircraft will have many benefits for its passengers, one of which is upgraded galleys which allow for larger ovens meaning more food can be cooked simultaneously on board. There will also be a partition placed in front of row 1ABC which will provide more privacy and protection from the elements during the boarding process, along with a new fully wheelchair accessible toilet, and a new table design for passengers which provides them a secure place to stand their tablet devices. However, both seat width and leg room will remain the same on the new aircraft.

Despite the rough few months experienced by various airlines in the industry it looks as though easyJet's success is continuing to grow, as it further closes the gap between itself and its biggest rival, Irish carrier Ryanair.

Morris, Hugh. "How easyJet is Quietly Looking to Rise Above its Rivals." The Telegraph Online. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-truths/easyjet-quiet-rise-growth-ryanair/

Success for UK Ryanair Pilots as They Win Union Recognition

Posted on 31st January 2018

After previously refusing to recognise the British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa), Irish carrier Ryanair has now agreed to the union, which will represent its UK-based pilots.

Around a quarter of Ryanair's pilots and planes are held within the UK, with its largest base housed at Stanstead, and, for the first time ever, these 600 UK-based pilots will find they have union recognition.

Over the Christmas period, Ryanair received numerous threats from its pilots for strike action, as they were considerably unhappy with their working conditions and pay, and these threats came just months after airline dominated the news after cancelling 700,000 bookings due to errors with its pilots' rosters.

Brian Strutton, Balpa General Secretary stated that the agreement made by Ryanair was "historic [...] given Ryanair's previous hostility towards unions."

He added, "While we were initially sceptical about Ryanair's sincerity in offering recognition to us and other unions, our conversations and meetings with them have shown that they are genuine in wanting a constructive trade union relationship."

Eddie Wilson, who works as Ryanair's Chief People Officer, said "The fact that we have delivered pay rises of up to 20% and union recognition for our pilots in our largest market shows how serious Ryanair is about working constructively with unions that are willing to work constructively with us."

It is believed that five representatives will be selected from Balpa who will work to lead any future negotiations around issues such as hours, pay, rostering and holidays for the airline.

BBC News. "Ryanair Pilots Win UK Union Recognition." BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42870811

Ryanair Warns of 'Localised Disruptions'

Posted on 31st January 2018

Ryanair warns of the possibility of 'localised disruptions' as it begins to recognise unions for the first time.

After refusing to acknowledge employee representation for years, the Irish airline has now recognised a union for its 600 UK pilots. The airline has found themselves in the news frequently over the past few months after being forced to cancel over 700,000 bookings last year due to mess-ups with their pilots' rosters.

The airline stated that once the process was complete for its UK pilots, it will then be extending this recognition to its cabin crew staff. However, they have also stated that during this process they believe other airlines could cause trouble. A spokesperson said, "In certain jurisdictions, unions representing competitor airlines will wish to test our commitment to our low cost, high pay/high productivity to disrupt our operations."

However, remaining positive, they added "We are fully prepared to face down any such disruption if it means defending our cost base or our high productivity model."

Despite recent issues, Ryanair announced that its profits had increased 12% during the last three months of 2017 to £93.6m. It also stated its passenger numbers had increased to 30.4m, which is a 6% rise. The airline expects its fares to decrease 3% during 2018.

The airline is remaining positive about its profits as it forecasts those for 2018 to be between £1.4bn and £1.45bn, however this relies on the absence of union disruptions, unforeseen security events and the level of Easter bookings.

Unlike some of its competitors, Ryanair is not confident it will be able to increase ticket prices this summer, despite its own costs rising thanks to higher fuel bills and a further £100m in staffing costs after its pilots were issued a 20% pay rise.

The airline stated that at present, a 'lack of clarity' regarding Brexit was clouding its business and future outlook. It said this poses a 'worrying risk of serious disruption' to any flights operating between the UK and European Union from April 2019 unless an agreement is put in place before September 2018.

BBC News. 'Ryanair Warns of Further Staff Disruption.' BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42942918

Ryanair Passengers: Either Pay £5 or Luggage is in The Hold

Posted on 16th January 2018

It has been just over four years since Irish airline Ryanair allowed its passengers to carry on board a second bag. However, on Monday, passengers were informed of new rules which meant that they either paid a fee of £5 or agreed to put their wheelie suitcase in the hold of the aircraft.

Although the airline has stated that these new rules will decrease delays by speeding up boarding, passengers are being warned by consumer groups that they could be put at risk of being uninsured for losses. Some passengers are also questioning whether this is just another way for Ryanair to make money.

Passengers who do not wish to pay this £5 fee will find their cases on wheels taken from them at the gate, where they will be tagged with a yellow label and placed in the hold of the aircraft. This means Ryanair passengers will now to have to wait at their arrival airport to reclaim their luggage from the carousel.

The airline has warned that a maximum of 100 passengers will be permitted per flight who have paid for priority boarding to take their cases into the aircraft's cabin. Permitted cabin bags must now be of the correct size to fit under the seat in front.

In attempts to defend its new rules. Ryanair said that at present, due to fuller planes, not all hand luggage is able to fit in overhead lockers and that some passengers were already being asked to place their cases in the hold. The airline has now cut the cost of pre-booking hold luggage for passengers to £25 from £35, as well as increasing weight allowance to 20kg.

At Stansted, Ryanair's largest base within the UK, passengers seemed 'broadly unfazed' by the new rule, however, it appeared that many of them had not received the warning memo issued by the airline.

Rory Boland, Travel Editor, said "We would advise travellers to remove wallets, keys, laptops, and other important or expensive items from any bag the airline plans to put in the hold. If anything does go missing, you should claim against the airline as they should honor your rights under the Montreal Convention."

The airline stated that all of its customers had been sent an email which informed of the changes to baggage, and that boarding passes had also been changed to highlight whether a passenger would be entitled to bring their wheelie case into the cabin. Priority boarding can be purchased by passengers up to 30 minutes before departure.

Topham, Gwyn. "Ryanair Levies £5 charge to put Suitcase in Overhead Locker." The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/15/ryanair-5-pound-charge-wheelie-bag-in-overhead-locker

OAG Report Shows Japan Airlines is Top Performer for Punctuality

Posted on 9th January 2018

Research carried out by travel intelligence company, OAG, has shown Japan Airlines to be the leading airline for on-time performance.

Last year, out of all of Japan Airlines' flights, 85% of them arrived on time. The data collected by OAG showed Nippon Airways came a close second with 84%, who were then followed by Delta Air Lines with 83%.

The data, published from the OAG's Punctuality League 2018, presented UK-based easyJet and British Airways to be in the top 20 ranking for on-time performance of the world's largest airlines. These two UK based airlines took the 10th and 15th spot of the 20; BA came out with 79% and easyJet with 75%. easyJet also ranked in the top 20 for low-cost carriers' punctuality.

Senior Analyst of OAG, John Grant, said "BA and easyJet are certainly holding their own amongst their global counterparts. In a highly competitive environment, it's great to see the UK-based airlines reporting an impressive on-time performance."

The OAG's Punctuality League 2018 takes figures from around 57 million flight records and full year data from 2017 to show the top-ranking airlines in various categories.

Breaking Travel News. "OAG: Japan Airlines Leads World in Aviation Punctuality." Breaking Travel News Online. http://www.breakingtravelnews.com/news/article/oag-japan-airlines-leads-world-in-aviation-punctuality/

2017 Named Safest Year for Air Travel

Posted on 2nd January 2018

According to industry research, 2017 proved itself to be the safest year in history for commercial airlines.

Reports from The Aviation Safety Network and Dutch consultancy To70 highlighted that throughout the year there were no passenger jet plane crashes anywhere in the world; this information also comes as more flights were made last year than ever before. However, despite these positive figures, To70 stated that the accident rate was 'extraordinarily' low and it must be seen as 'good fortune.'

Though there were no passenger jet crashes, there were cargo plane crashes throughout 2017. In a report from the Airline Safety Network, it was stated that a total of ten fatal accidents occurred, which caused the deaths of 79 people. In 2016, there were 16 cargo plane crashes, causing 303 deaths.

The most serious accident reported last year was in January and resulted in 39 fatalities. 4 crew members and 35 civilians were killed in a village in Kyrgyzstan after a Turkish cargo plane crashed into it.

Sadly, the latest incident occurred just a few days ago on New Year's Eve in Western Costa Rica, which resulted in the deaths of 12 passengers and crew. The accident happened as a Nature Air single-propeller Cessna 208 Caravan Plane crashed.

However, neither of these above-mentioned reports included any counted details of helicopter or military accidents. This means that the actual worst air tragedy of the year, which happened when a Burmese Y-8 Military Transporter Plane crashed and killed all 122 people on board, wasn't in any statistics. As well as this, small plane accidents also did not appear in the data.

Over the past two decades safety has been improving within the aviation industry, as the death toll continues to decrease. The Aviation Safety Network stated that there were over 1,000 deaths in 2005 on commercial passenger flights worldwide. The Networked claimed that the accident rate was now one fatal passenger flight accident in every 7,360,000 flights.

Aviation Safety Network President Harro Ranter said, "Since 1997 the average number of airliner accidents has shown a steady and persistent decline, for a great deal thanks to the continuing safety-driven efforts by international aviation organisations such as ICA, IATA, Flight Safety Foundation and the aviation industry."

To70's Adrian Young said although '2017 was the safest year for aviation ever' the industry still had 'very large risks.' Mr Young highlighted new technology which includes fears such as lithium-ion batteries catching fire on-board. He also stated that had been 'several quite serious non-fatal accidents' such as the engine failure on an Air France A380.

BBC News. "2017 Safest Year for Air Travel as Fatalities Fall." BBC News Online. Accessed via - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42538053

Ryanair Announces Plans to Recognise Further Unions

Posted on 20th December 2017

After finally submitting to pilot demands and announcing it will begin to recognise unions, the airline has now stated it will hold meetings in the new year in acknowledgement of cabin crew unions.

There have been numerous strike threats from the airlines' pilots over the past few weeks, with some threatening to strike as close to Christmas as 20 December. In a bid to prevent these and future strikes, the airline announced last Friday that it will finally begin to recognise unions; something it has refused to do previously.

However, it is not just pilots working for Ryanair that have expressed job dissatisfaction lately - their cabin crew members appear to be just as unhappy. Complaining about low paid posts and poor working conditions and benefits, cabin crew have found themselves threatened with disciplinary proceedings should they fail to hit sale targets on in-flight scratch-cards, as well as punishment if they were to join in with strike action.

Impact union, who has cabin crew members, stated that it would be 'delighted' to begin talks in due course with the airline, regarding the working conditions and pay of its cabin crew staff. A spokesperson for the union said that strike action planned for this week still had potential to go ahead should the airline fail to fully meet requests made for union representation.

Complaints of a 'toxic atmosphere' at Ryanair had been made by pilots, many of whom had been employed through third-parties for long periods of times. Last week Ryanair Executives informed Stanstead pilots that it had 'grown too fast' and, because of this, lost its staffs trust. Chief Operations Officer of the airline, Peter Bellew, said "Everywhere I turned, I could see that people were asking for small things to be done and they just weren't getting done."

Ryanair has already made improvements as it offered significant pay increases to keep its staff. It has also placed a large order for planes, so it looks as though it intends to continue growing in the future.

Topham, Gwyn. "First Pilots, Now Cabin Crew- Ryanair to Recognise Other Unions." https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/19/first-pilots-now-cabin-crew-ryanair-recognises-other-unions

Travellers to Prepare for Busy Airports Before Christmas

Posted on 20th December 2017

Friday 22nd December has been forecasted to be the 'busiest winter day in history' for travellers in the UK.

Research from The Independent has forecast that this Friday will be extremely busy for UK travellers, as major airports are expecting to experience their busiest Christmas and New Year ever. It is estimated that around 250,000 individuals will pass through Heathrow this Friday, with at least 130,000 departing. 67,000 passengers will depart from Gatwick on Friday, and 127,000 people will arrive back to Heathrow on 2nd January.

For Manchester airport, it is not only this Friday which is set to be busy but next too - 29th December - as passengers travel to popular destinations such as Dubai, Dublin and Amsterdam. However, though Manchester is rated as the third busiest airport in Britain, it has recently had passenger complaints regarding its security queues. One passenger said in a tweet earlier this week, "Unfortunately, I'm flying through the total chaos of T1 again, when will you open more lanes to get people through it's the week of Christmas!"

Manchester airport is trying to speed up its queues via a campaign it has launched on twitter, using slogans such as "Unzip, unfasten and unbutton your big winter coats whilst queueing up,- and -Take off the bling to avoid the ping." However, it did also add "If you want to come to the airport dressed as Father Christmas, that's Ok."

Stansted is set to experience its busiest day on Saturday 23rd, with Edinburgh expecting over one million passengers passing through its airport throughout December, meaning this will be its busiest ever winter month on record.

It is expected that Wednesday and Thursday will be very busy for Luton airport, reaching its peak on Friday, with 4-5pm being the busiest hour of the day.

So, if you are planning on travelling this Friday from one of the UKs major airports, you best prepare yourself for crowds and queues, but we are sure there will be plenty of festive cheer to get you through!

Calder, Simon. "The Busiest Winter Day for Travellers in UK History, Exclusively Revealed." http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/uk-travel-trains-latest-busiest-history-when-december-winter-christmas-updates-a8119256.html

Strike Plans 'Suspended' As Ryanair Recognises Unions

Posted on 18th December 2017

Pilots of Ryanair have suspended a strike which was set to take place on Wednesday 20th December, according to union bosses.

Ryanair continues to dominate aviation news as it has done for the past month, since a mess up with its pilots' rosters caused the airline to cancel over 20,000 flights, disrupting over 700,000 passengers' travel plans.

Following the airlines announcement last Friday to recognise unions, Impact union - representor of the airlines' Irish based pilots - will meet with Ryanair management on Tuesday, the day before the strike was due to take place.

On Sunday, the union released a statement which said, "Impact has this evening suspended a planned one-day strike of Ryanair pilots next Wednesday after company management agreed to recognise the union as the representative of Irish-based pilots. The union has agreed to meet management on Tuesday evening, but says it is available to meet sooner."

The statement also said, "The union asked management to release its Ryanair pilot representatives to prepare for and attend the meeting. The union acknowledged the principled determination of Ryanair pilots."

After stating in the news over the past few weeks that it had no intention to recognise trade unions, the airline has finally succumbed after some of its pilots in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal threatened strikes over the Christmas period.

The airline is also planning to meet on Wednesday with the German pilots' union. On Saturday, Peter Bellew, Ryanair's Chief Operations Officer, said "Let's keep talking in a social media post. Last Friday, the airline announced that it would recognise these unions as long as they establish committees of Ryanair pilots' as Ryanair will not engage with pilots who fly for competitor airlines."

In the full 32 years that the airline has been flying this is the first such instance where an invitation has been given to union leaders. On Saturday, British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) announced it had accepted the offer from Ryanair to represent its British-based pilots, however, on the condition that the TUC federation of British trade unions was able to attend any future talks.

The announcement to recognise unions from Ryanair caused Italian pilots' union Anpac and Portuguese union Spac to call off planned strike action which was due to happen next week. German pilots of the airline had also voted to take industrial action over the Christmas period, however, union Vereinigung Cockpit stated that it was now down to Ryanair to 'prove that this announcement is serious.'

Pilots in Spain had not planned any strikes; however, it is believed that ground staff unions have not yet ruled out action on 30 December 2017.

BBC News. "Ryanair Pilots in Ireland Suspend Strike Plans." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42386891

Ryanair Staff Set to Strike in Lead-Up to Christmas

Posted on 14th December 2017

It looks as though Ryanair's turbulence isn't over just yet, as their pilots and crew announce industrial action and striking in the lead up to Christmas.

79 of the airlines pilots based in Dublin have announced they will strike for one day before Christmas, which will take place on the 20 December 2017. This figure is believed to represent approximately 28% of its Dublin-based pilots. There will also be a four-hour strike between pilots and crew in Italy on 15 December 2017.

It is also thought that pilots who are based in both Germany and Portugal are planning to take industrial action. The purpose is to 'win union recognition' along with better working conditions, however, Ryanair has expressed it has no intention of being part of a union.

German pilots' union, Cockpit, have claimed that its Ryanair members would hold a strike in a bid to win better pay and conditions if the airline continued to refuse to begin negotiations with its staff, however, the union did 'vow' that flights would not be disrupted over Christmas. In response to this, Ryanair said that it will "not deal with or recognise" the German union, "regardless of what action - if any - takes place".

Ryanair said, "Ryanair will deal with any such disruptions if, or when they arise, and we apologise sincerely to customers for any upset or worry this threatened action may cause." Of its Dublin pilots planning to strike, it said they are "a small group of pilots who are working their notice and will shortly leave Ryanair, so they don't care how much upset they cause colleagues or customers."

It was only a few months ago that Ryanair announced the cancellation of 20,000 flights, disrupting over 700,000 of its passengers, after it encountered problems with its pilots' rosters. Though, at this time, Chief Executive Michael O'Leary wrote to the airlines 4,200 pilots apologising for the mistake and changes, and encouraging them to stay with the airline, this week pilots in Dublin were informed if they were to strike then they would lose any agreed benefits.

Many of its pilots have since joined unions, however, the airline commented that it could "legally decline to negotiate with them." Is this the best way for the airline to be dealing with its staffing issues? Only time will tell, but if you are flying with Ryanair over the next couple of weeks, make sure you check for any further strikes beforehand!

BBC News. "Ryanair Pilots to Strike Before Christmas." BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42320733.

15,000 American Airlines Flights Without Sufficient Crew at Christmas

Posted on 30th November 2017

Only a couple of months after Irish airline Ryanair cancelled over 20,000 flights as a result of messing up crew Rosters, another 'giant' airline appears to have done the same.

American Airlines is believed to be at risk of cancelling up to 15,000 flights, as these do not have enough crew members assigned to them to operate. The union that is currently representing American Airlines' pilots has said that the Christmas operation, at present, is at risk.

It is believed that a glitch in the system has allowed too many pilots to be off at the same time over the festive period.

In a statement, the Allied Pilots Association said, "On Friday, management disclosed a failure within the pilot schedule bidding system. As a result, thousands of flights currently do not have pilots assigned to fly them during the upcoming critical holiday period. Today, management issued an update detailing the 'significant holes' in the operation and unilaterally invoked a solution for crewing affected flights."

It is believed that the airline is offering to pay its pilots 50 percent higher than usual, in the hopes of persuading them to crew the flights.

The union has said that it is not happy that it was not involved in "developing collaborative solutions to this critical holiday scheduling failure" and that because "management unilaterally created their solution in violation of the contract, neither APA nor the contract can guarantee the promised payment of the premium being offered."

American Airlines said, "We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season. We have reserve pilots to help cover flying in December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain trips 150 percent of their hourly rate- as much as we are allowed to pay them per the contract. We will work with the APA to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays."

The airline also said it is "working intently to address the issue and intends to operate flights as normal."

Calder, Simon. "American Airlines Risks 15,000 Flights After It Accidentally Gives Pilots Too Much Christmas Holiday." http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/american-airlines-pilots-christmas-holiday-cancel-flights-schedule-glitch-union-a8083371.html

Drone Use to be Restricted Close to Airports

Posted on 27th November 2017

From next year those people who use drones are set to be facing new restrictions, as there have been 50 near misses reported with aircrafts throughout the past year.

New laws will restrict the use of drones close to airports and also hand police the power to land any drones they feel could be involved in criminal activities. Transport Minister, Baroness Sugg, stated that due to these near misses with aircraft, the chance of an incident occurring in the future is high, and that the government is 'clear on the need to act.'

The new legislation is being backed by the British Airline Pilots' Association, which has recently carried out research along with the Military Aviation Authority to demonstrate just how vulnerable both airline and helicopter windscreens are to 'drone strikes.'

Lib Dem Lady Randerson, speaking in the House of Lords, said "There are hundreds of thousands of drones now in operation - and there were over 50 near misses reported this year alone on aircraft. The government needs to develop a much greater sense of urgency in dealing with this serious problem that will lead to an accident if it is not controlled."

An educational awareness campaign called 'drone code' has been launched by the government as well as a drone assist app in the attempt to increase the safety of using drones.

Lord Rosser of the Labour party, 'pressed' for an answer to the question: "Is the possibility of such a major incident becoming more or less likely as each day passes?" as he raised the possibility of a drone being involved in a fatal incident, which could result in death or serious injury.

In response, Lady Sugg informed that she was aware of the high expectations of an incident occurring involving a drone, and that as more and more drones are being sold on a daily basis, she is aware of the need for action in this area.

Questions were raised to Lady Sugg such as how would those involved in criminal drone activity be identified and what punishment would they face, as well as would the new legislation cover drones being used to transport illegal substances into prison grounds.

The response was that "It's sometimes a challenge to link an operator to a drone. We're trying to help address this by bringing forward a registration system and we're also investigation electronic identification. We're looking at powers for the police to require the production of registration ID and documents for drone users. Also, that they will be able to require a drone user to land their drone and also to search for and seize a drone when there's a reasonable belief that a crime has taken place."

BBC News. "New Law Set to Restrict Drone Use Near Airports." BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-42063901

Ryanair Still Under Pilot Pressure

Posted on 17th November 2017

The future for Ryanair could be beginning to look more expensive for both its passengers and itself, as its pilots push back.

Chief Executive of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, built the airline in to what it is today by simply being cheap, including charging its pilots for refreshments on their own flights. However, the airline has recently been a hot topic in the news after a Rota mess-up caused it to cancel over 20,000 flights and after its pilots began to voice their worries and dissatisfaction.

A group of unhappy pilots for the airline are now demanding higher pay along with better working conditions. Unfortunately for Ryanair, with these demands also came the demands from other airlines such as Norwegian for new pilots to join their expanding teams.

In response to this, O'Leary has offered pilots a pay-rise, which has been accepted at some of the airlines bases, whilst also 'vowing' that the airline will remain union-free. Barry Norris, overseer of approximately $500m at Argonaut Partners, London, which includes Ryanair shares, said "Frankly, most of the shareholders would rather Ryanair doesn't fly any planes for six months than the workforce becomes unionized."

Though at the majority of other airlines pilots enjoy a privileged position, those working for Ryanair have too been subjected to the airlines 'penny-punching.' A number of aviators who wished to remain anonymous stated that many of Ryanair's crew are hired on a monthly basis as contractors, and they are required to pay for their own uniform, ground transport, hotel costs and mobile phone usage. However, in response to this statement, a spokesperson for the airline said most of the pilots are actually employed directly by the airline, and they each receive an allowance of 6,000 euros per year to cover costs such as uniforms, medical checks, snacks, and badges. They also stated that should pilots be required to stay away from their home base overnight, then accommodation is provided and paid for.

Last week, a letter by 59 aviators informed that both their pay and working conditions fell short of the expected industry standard. One of their main concerns is that the majority of contracts issued by Ryanair require its staff to move to any base in Europe, without the providing of any notice or 'relocation payments.'

In the letter the pilots stated, "We simply want to be represented with one collective voice. [...] We seek direct negotiations with the company management." However, in response to this the airline said it "will not engage with either this or any other group fronting for the pilot unions of competitor airlines."

Ryanair has become immensely popular over the years for its low-cost, low-fare philosophy, however, it looks as though its extra cheap flights may soon be coming to an end, unless O'Leary can think of other ways to meet his pilots' demands.

Despite its recent Rota mess-up causing 700,000 passengers disruption, the airline is now winning people back with its low-offer flights, which it reduced even further in an attempt to bring its name back to popularity. Though the public are warming back to the airline, it appears some of its staff are not. The timing is not ideal for the airline either with the current high-demand for pilots as other carriers expand and grow in other areas.

What is even more dangerous to Ryanair, is that the 'skills and work ethic' of its pilots are 'prized' by rival airlines. Bjorn Kjos, Chief Executive Officer at Norwegian Air said, "Ryanair pilots are very good, they are very highly trained, highly skilled. If they come, then are super pilots." Norwegian has already brought on around 160 of Ryanair's pilots so far this year, as it expands its long-haul operations.

This competition from other airlines has encouraged Ryanair to attempt to meet its pilots' demands, as it has already increased pay and stepped up its internal recruitment to replace staff that have already left to go to other airlines. O'Leary said, "We will remain a non-union company by paying our people more and by fixing the broken elements of communication with pilots."

O'Leary proposed an annual raise to flight crew of 22 percent, however, this has only been accepted by the airlines crew at around 20 of its 86 bases; London Stanstead was one of the ones to reject the proposal. However, Ryanair is not giving up, as it has also committed to sign more of its staff on to full-time contracts, as well as employing a brand-new team whose job it is to oversee all of the airlines' rosters.

Peter Bellew, who was once Ryanair's Director of Operations, will also be returning to the airline after leaving just two years ago. O'Leary stated that Bellew will 'bring a face that the pilots will know.' Barry Norris said, "O'Leary's had a great track record over a number of years. The pilots are massively overplaying their hand."

It looks as though only time will tell for certain the way Ryanair's future is heading, but with passenger numbers still on the rise, it looks to potentially still be on the up.

Katz, D. Benjamin. "Ryanair's Low-Cost Soul at Stake as Pilots Gird for Fight." Bloomberg. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-14/ryanair-s-low-cost-soul-at-stake-as-pilots-gird-for-union-fight

Ryanair Expects Record Profits Despite Recent Issues

Posted on 3rd November 2017

Though Ryanair has recently been one of the main airlines talked about in aviation news after it cancelled approximately 20,000 flights, it still expects to make 'record annual profits' this year.

The airline has stated that during the six months leading to the end of September 2017, it made profits of £1.14bn; it has forecasted a total year profit of up to £1.45bn.

The recent cancellations, which reportedly affected over 700,000 passengers, were caused after pilots' rotas had to be changed in order to comply with new aviation rules. The cancellations were announced during September, meaning that they haven't really had much of an effect on the profits during these six months.

Though rival airlines of Ryanair have now reported they have had an increase in bookings after passengers were left 'afraid' of how the future looked for the Irish carrier, Neil Sorahan, Ryanair's Chief Financial Officer, said he is now 'absolutely confident' that the airline will have sufficient pilots, including standby pilots, to operate all of its flights next summer. Mr Sorahan clarified that the recent problems encountered by Ryanair, which led it to cancel so many flights, were caused by a human error, not a system error.

Flight cancellations have not been the only issue the airline has been dealing with recently, as they continue to engage in pay talks with many of their pilots. Mr Sorahan said out of its 86 bases, pilots at 10 of these have now 'approved' a new deal, within which they will receive a 'materially higher' pay. Mr Sorahan also added that this new level of service and pay to its staff from Ryanair had "better career prospects, superior rosters and much better job security than Norwegian"; an airline who has come to be one of Ryanair's biggest rivals for both passengers and staff over the past couple of months.

Pilots accepting the new level of pay offered, and who are based in Stansted or Dublin airports, will be receiving 20% more than they would if they were to move to rival Norwegian.

BBC News. "Ryanair Buoyant Despite Cancellations." BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41814040

Ryanair Pilots Demand Higher Pay Rise

Posted on 23rd October 2017

Despite its recent efforts, it seems Ryanair just can't win some of its pilots over, as they demand double the pay offered to them.

An ad hoc pilots group of Ryanair Holdings Plc has 'demanded' double the pay which was offered to its London Stansted crews by management, after just last week rejecting a 'peace offering' over the recent conflict from the cancelled flights catastrophe.

Last Friday, the London Stansted base of Ryanair took a vote which resulted in 60% to 40% against raises and bonuses, which have played a major part in the conflict between the airline and its crew. Though bonuses of up to £22,000 were offered, the group rejected these and instead demanded a basic pay rise for Captains throughout the airline to £150,000 from the current £64,000.

Ryanair was recently forced to cancel over 20,000 of its flights - reportedly affecting over 700,000 passengers - after a mix up of its rotas which left it short of flight crew to carry out all scheduled flights.

An unofficial European Employee Representative Council (EERC) was created last month on the back of the issues regarding staffing and flight cancellations, and is attempting to create a 'collective bargaining group' across all 86 of the carriers' bases.

The EERC wrote in a letter "While no pilot may wish to take industrial action, sometimes it is the only way to bring an intransigent employer to a satisfactory agreement. We have to consider this possibility to ensure we have an equal voice at the negotiating table."

The demands being made, which are also requested to be backdated to 1st September 2017, include various benefit changes to the airlines' staff such as free refreshments on board flights, uniforms and medicals to be paid for, training costs to be covered by the airline and transport and accommodation to be provided whilst working from a different base than usual. It is also being demanded that pilots receive permanent contracts and shares in the company based on seniority.

A spokesperson for the airline said Ryanair "will continue to engage with the London Stansted EERC to understand how it can address their remaining concerns." The pay offer that has been made by the management of the airline has been accepted at over 10 of its bases, and it raises their staffs pay higher than that of rivals Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA and Jet2.

In an attempt to manage its rotas and prevent further flight cancellations the airline is hiring more staff members, and has recently stated that Malaysia Airlines Bhd's Chief Executive Officer, Peter Bellew, will replace its former Chief Operations Officer - who left the airline only this month - on 1st December.

Katz, Benjamin D. "Ryanair Pilots Step Up Pressure with Demands to Double Pay Rise." Bloomberg.com. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-22/ryanair-pilots-to-set-pay-demands-as-biggest-base-rejects-deal

Ryanair Named as Fifth Biggest Airline on Planet

Posted on 13th October 2017

Despite what has quite possibly been the worst month in its history, airline Ryanair has now been named as the 'fifth largest airline on the planet.'

Due to problems with pilot holidays, the airline was forced to cancel flights which affected around 700,000 of their passengers. Alongside this, it then encountered issues with both its pilots and cabin crew around pay and annual holidays.

However, it looks as though things are now back on the up, as over 90% of the cancellations made have been resolved with either alternative flights or refunds, and some of the airlines staff seem to be coming back around. Though some have recently doubted Ryanair's Chief Executive, Michael O'Leary, new figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have revealed that Ryanair is now not only the fifth largest airline on the planet, but the biggest in Europe.

During 2016, Ryanair flew over 112 million passengers and the airlines growth is still being recognised, despite its recent hiccups. Lufthansa comes in as Ryanair's closest rival within Europe, as last year this airline flew 110 million passengers.

Although some things are looking to be on the up for the airline, it is continuing to encounter one small problem: a group of pilots who are attempting to change the way the airline is currently organised, as well as its relationships with its staff.

The pilots want to create a 'central body' which will represent the airlines' pilots across all of its 80-plus bases, however, Ryanair prefers to liaise with its pilots' base by base, as it always has done in the past. This liaising is done now via Employee Representative Committees (ERCs); however, pilots are claiming that these committees very rarely negotiate on the pilots' behalf, and that instead they are given 'take-it-or-leave-it offers' by those in charge.

Despite their efforts, thus far the airline is sticking to its original way of liaising with its staff, and, just this week, it sent an internal message which showed salary increases which were on offer to pilots, arguing that these were better than any on offer from competitor airlines such as Jet2 and Norwegian.

Morris, Hugh. "Ryanair is Now the Fifth Largest Airline on the Planet (Despite All Those Cancelled Flights)." Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/ryanair-fifth-biggest-airline-world-rise-of-low-cost/

Thomas, Helen. "Ryanair: Why It Hasn't All Gone Quiet." BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41602875

Monarch Airline Enters into Administration

Posted on 3rd October 2017

Thousands of customers have been left disappointed after Monarch Airlines has ceased trading.

The airline has cancelled all future flights and holidays, meaning approximately 860,000 people have now had their bookings cancelled. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are sending over 30 planes overseas to bring home stranded holidaymakers whose flights have now been cancelled by Monarch.

Monarch is the country's largest airline to ever collapse after it was put into administration at 4am this morning. Passengers were then sent text messages to tell them that their flights had been cancelled shortly after, however, some passengers were already at airports waiting for departure.

The airline was employer to around 2,100 staff members, one of which said it was 'pretty crazy' to wake up and find out you no longer have a job.

Just last year the airline reported a loss of £291m, and it is believed to be this, terror attacks in Egypt and Tunisia, increased competition, and the recent weak pound that have led to its end.

The airline was also in 'last-ditch talks' with the regulator regarding the renewal of its licence to sell package holidays, however, a deal was not reached.

Official spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May said that the PM 'feels hugely sorry' for all those who have been affected by this 'very distressing situation.'

Any people due to travel from the UK with Monarch are being told by the CAA not to go to the airport.

Chris Grayling, Travel Secretary, said that Monarch had fallen victim to the 'price war in the Med.' However, Andrew Swaffield, Chief Executive of Monarch said that the 'root cause' of the airlines collapse was terrorism in both Egypt and Tunisia.

Mr Swaffield told employees of Monarch: "Hold your heads up high and be proud of what you have achieved."

The Travel Secretary said, "This is a hugely distressing situation for British holidaymakers abroad - and my first priority is to help them get back to the UK."

The CAA has stated that Monarch currently has 110,000 passengers overseas in at least 11 different countries. Flights are now being sourced and scheduled to get these passengers home from around 33 airports.

BBC News. "Monarch Flights Cancelled as Airline Ceases Trading." BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41464934

Cheap Flights from Ryanair to 'Win Back' Passengers

Posted on 2nd October 2017

After what has been described as 'the worst week in its history,' airline Ryanair is offering flights for under £5 in an attempt to get its bookings 'back on track.'

The airline is offering flights to France for under £5, as well as many to other parts of Europe for less than £10. After finding itself with a shortage of pilots due to changes to the holiday system, the airline is set to compensate thousands of passengers whose flights were 'abruptly' cancelled.

To try and resume its normal service, Ryanair is believed to be offering one million seats on the flight market for just £9.99 one way. These seats are on flights from October to February and the airline is offering a few seats at an even lower price of £4.99 for those passengers flying from Stansted to Lorient in Brittany and Grenoble in the Alps.

For each individual that takes up the cheap flight offer from Ryanair, the airline will be required to pay £13 in Air Passenger Duty, however, it is hoping that it will be able to make up the difference through selling extras such as baggage and seat selection.

The airline is offering these discounted flights on popular routes such as Manchester to Frankfurt and Gatwick to Alicante, giving off some serious competition for its competitors. With competitor airlines Monarch and EasyJet, passengers can't get to Alicante on 1st November for less than £35, whereas with Ryanair they can get there for under £10. Passengers can even book seats on longer flights with the airline for below £10, such as Birmingham to Corfu and Newcastle to Malaga.

Ryanair boss, Michael O'Leary, seven years ago, said that he was not interested in 'plaudits' from passengers with regards to how Ryanair has transformed aviation within Europe as he said, "We don't particularly want their appreciation, we just want their bums on our seats."

Calder, Simon. "Ryanair: After Worst Week Ever, Airline Slashes Fares for the Winter to Win Back Passengers." The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/ryanair-pilot-shortage-airline-slashes-fares-winter-win-back-passengers-a7964771.html

CAA Threatens Ryanair with Legal Action

Posted on 2nd October 2017

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has threatened airline Ryanair with legal action.

The threat comes as the CAA accuses the airline of 'persistently misleading' passengers with regards to their rights after thousands of flights were cancelled due to the 'messing up of pilot holiday rosters.'

The regulator has stated that it is has launched 'enforcement action,' which is the first step in the process towards taking the airline to court. The CAA claimed that Ryanair was wrong to state the it was not required to re-route its passengers on to rival airlines.

Chief Executive of the CAA, Andrew Haines, stated he was 'furious' with Ryanair, who appeared to show 'disregard for consumers and for the law.'

After already cancelling 50 flights a day till the end of October, the airline has now cancelled a second wave of scheduled flights between November and March, meaning that now over 700,000 passengers will be affected. The CAA has said that upon these waves of cancellations, the airline has failed in providing its passengers with 'necessary and accurate' information about their rights to amenities such as hotels, meals and transfers.

Ryanair is accused of failing to clearly inform its passengers that it is responsible for refunding all expenses they incurred after having their flights cancelled. The CAA believes that the airline is not currently doing enough to inform of passenger rights under EU law.

In total, 34 routes are to be suspended by the airline this winter, including popular ones such as Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Newcastle to Faro and Gatwick to Belfast.

The regulator will be taking views for the next week before it decides whether to go ahead with legal action or not.

Mr Haines said. "There are clear laws in place, which are intended to assist passengers in the event of a cancellation, helping minimise both the frustration and inconvenience caused by circumstances completely out of their control. We have made this crystal clear to Ryanair."

In response to this, Michael O'Leary, boss of Ryanair, stated that the airline was "in correspondence with the CAA and have requested an early meeting to address their concerns."

Ryanair has stated that its passengers who have been affected will be offered either alternative flights or full refunds. It has also claimed that passengers will be offered vouchers towards alternative flights on top of refunds of 40 euros one way or 80 euros return.

Sillars, James. "Ryanair Feels Wrath of 'Furious' Air Regulator Over Cancelled Flights." Sky News. http://news.sky.com/story/ryanair-promises-taken-with-pinch-of-salt-regulator-11057036

BBC News. "Ryanair Threatened with Legal Action by UK Regulator." BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41422571

CAA Gives Ryanair Deadline for Compensation Rules

Posted on 2nd October 2017

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has told airline Ryanair that it has till Friday afternoon to 'correct its compensation policy' for its passengers who have been affected by their flight cancellations.

The regulator has accused the airline of not being clear with its passengers regarding their rights to be re-routed with an alternative airline should their flight be one that has been cancelled. The CAA claims that Ryanair has misled its passengers, which at times has caused them to choose 'unsuitable' alternative options.

Ryanair is now required to publicly state how it plans to re-route those passengers who require it, as well as how it plans to reimburse expenses incurred by its passengers as a result of flight cancellations.

The CAA already began 'enforcement action' on Wednesday this week and have said that if their demands are not met by 5pm today, then it will carry on with this legal action against the airline. Should Ryanair not comply, it could find itself being taken to court and facing the possibility of an 'unlimited fine.'

The demands that have been made by the CAA cover all passengers due to fly to and from the UK before having their flights cancelled by the airline. In total, more than 700,000 passengers are set to be affected by the cancellations, which run from now until March 2018.

Ryanair has been asked to make the details on its website clearer for its passengers by the CAA, which must be done by today's deadline: "There is still no information here about how expenses will be treated where passengers are re-routed to and/or from other airports or where they otherwise incur additional out-of-pocket expenses as a result of the cancellations. Further changes are therefore required to make it clear that any such expense will be reimbursed by Ryanair."

The CAA stated that Ryanair has at present still not provided information with regards to its refund and rerouting policy, which it was requested to do a week ago; this has left the regulator 'especially interested' in how the Call Centre staff of the airline have been dealing with its passengers.

Ryanair has claimed that on Wednesday it reminded its Call Centre staff of its formal policy which explains that passengers are able to be re-booked on to an alternative airline providing the cost is not over three times that of the original fare charged with Ryanair.

The CAA has also told Ryanair that it must send new emails to customers affected which gives them 'accurate and comprehensive information on their rights and options.' These passengers must be again offered a refund or the option of re-routing including with an alternative airline. It must also inform them of how to claim for any expenses they have incurred as a result of the cancellation. These new emails must be sent by 5pm on 4th October, after they have been firstly checked and approved by the regulator.

BBC News. "Ryanair Given Deadline to Obey Compensation Rules." BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41435013

CAA Claims Airlines Cheating Passengers of Compensation

Posted on 21st September 2017

Back in February this year, the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced enforcement measures against five airlines - American Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines - as it stated they failed to compensate their passengers for delayed European departures that affected second leg flights outside of Europe.

Regulation EC No. 261/2004, which relates to the compensation rights of passengers should their flights be cancelled, delayed, or should they be denied boarding, was disputed between the regulator and some of the accused airlines. Though the carriers strongly rejected the allegations made towards them from the CAA, the regulator remained adamant in its interpretation of the regulation and the law.

The CAA accused the airlines of not compensating their passengers who suffered delays of three hours or more to long-haul flights due to delays to their earlier connecting flights departing from Europe. The regulator stated that by refusing to pay this compensation, the airlines were breaching their passengers' rights in relation to regulations which cover flight disruption.

Director of Consumers and Markets at the CAA, Richard Moriarty, said "There are clear laws in place to make sure passengers that experience this type of disruption are looked after by their airline and compensated when the disruption was in the airline's control."

He added, "Airlines' first responsibility should be looking after their passengers, not finding ways in which they can prevent passengers upholding their rights. So, it's disappointing to see a small number of airlines continuing to let a number of their passengers down by refusing to pay them the compensation they are entitled to."

Though the airlines are disputing these allegations, the CAA made it clear in the footnotes at the bottom of a press release of what their interpretation of the current law is: "The CAA notes there is a pending legal case regarding Emirates that may be heard at the Court of Appeal, after passengers were refused compensation by the airline for disrupted flights. The CAA's position is that the European courts have already considered the issue of missed connections and European Commission guidance is clear when airlines should pay compensation." The regulator claimed that the law was already clear under EU 261/2004 for compensation payments to passengers.

At the time of the CAA's allegations, the airlines accused raised the question as to why the regulator was enforcing action when cases were due to be heard at the Court of Appeal in July.

Several of the accused airlines disagreed with the claims made by the regulator, and both American Airlines and Emirates openly disputed the allegations, with a spokesperson for Emirates saying, "The way in which the CAA has communicated this issue is both misleading and unprofessional. As the CAA is well aware, the recent EU guidelines on EC 261 are not intended to amend the law. The issue of EC 261's application to our flights from the UK involving a stopover in Dubai is currently pending before the Court of Appeal. We will rigorously defend our position, and challenge the blanket application of EC 261 to every situation, without consideration of context or the safety of our passengers."

In an emailed statement, American Airlines said, "American Airlines is aware of the connecting flight portion of the Civil Aviation Authority report, which relates to a discrete legal issue involving EC 261. We disagree with the CAA's interpretation of this legal issue and look forward to additional conversations on the matter."

The Gahan v Emirates case, which was due in court in July, is around a compensation claim for a flight from Manchester to Bangkok via Dubai, which reached a huge total delay of 14 hours. Due to the passenger arriving in to Dubai four hours later than scheduled, they missed their connecting flight, which added further delays to their travelling.

Though last May (2016) District Judge Benson ruled that the flights should have been considered as two distinct operations and therefore the second flight fell outside of the scope of EC 261/2004, the claimant was granted the right to appeal.

Mark Walker at Hughes Walker Solicitors who represented in the Gahan v Emirates case, also represented case - Air France v Folkerts. Mr Walker said that up till now, the CAA has been 'behind the curve' on these types of compensation claims, as, the ruling for Air France v Folkerts was that compensation for passengers should be calculated based on the time of arrival at the final destination.

He added, "A large number of passengers have brought claims for missed connections and been denied their rightful compensation despite the European Court ruling." Alongside him, the CAA also believe that European law is already clear on passenger rights.

Within its dispute, Emirates highlighted that an earlier decision made in the High Court - Sanghvi v Cathay Pacific - ruled that EC 261/2004 applies 'only to the individual components of a long-haul flight,' which is why the airline disagrees with the allegations made against it.

Several people, including lawyers, who wished to remain anonymous all expressed their surprise that the CAA had chosen to announce enforcement action at such a time when 'related litigation' was pending hearing in the Courts.

Though the hearing was held on the 26th and 27th July 2017, the Court 'reserved judgement' at the conclusion of the hearing, and it is expected that a decision will be handed down after its summer recess.

Madge-Wyld, Tom. "Emirates and UK Regulator Lock Horns Over EC 261/2004." Getting the Deal Through. https://gettingthedealthrough.com/article/5480/emirates-uk-regulator-lock-horns-ec-2612004

Madge-Wyld, Tom. "UK Court Hears Extra-Territorial Arguments in EC 261/2004 Appeal." Getting the Deal Through. https://gettingthedealthrough.com/article/5730/uk-court-hears-extra-territorial-arguments-ec-2612004-appeal

Ryanair 'Messes Up' Pilots' Holidays Affecting Thousands of Passengers

Posted on 18th September 2017

Yesterday saw the cancellation of 82 flights from airline Ryanair, as it admitted to 'messing up' staff holidays.

The airline, deemed as 'king of the low-cost carriers,' has encountered staffing problems due to the poor planning of its pilots' holidays, which is now causing severe disruption to both the airline and its passengers. It is expected that around 40-50 flights will be cancelled by Ryanair each day for up to the next six weeks.

Speaking on behalf of the airline, Marketing Office Kenny Jacobs said: "We have messed up in the planning of pilot holidays and we're working hard to fix that." Mr Jacobs stated that customers who will be affected by the cancellations with flights booked up to 20 September have been informed.

The airline said it is changing its holiday year from April to March to January to December instead, and that this shift has resulted in having to allocate holidays in September and October to its pilots.

Potentially, 285,000 passengers of Ryanair could be affected by the cancellations, each will be offered the choice of either alternative flights or a refund. Emails have been sent to customers affected and the airline is encouraging its passengers to check the inbox of the email address they used to make their original booking.

So far this week, the airline has cancelled 56 flights on Monday, 55 on Tuesday and 53 on Wednesday. Though Ryanair has stated that passengers will see less than 2% of its flights being cancelled, complaints have been raised regarding the 'resulting uncertainty.'

Lord Callanan, UK Aviation Minister, spoke of how he expected all airlines to fulfil their 'obligations to their customers.' Lord Callanan said, "In the event of any disruption or cancellation airlines must ensure customers are fully compensated and every effort is made to provide alternative travel arrangements."

Travel Editor of The Independent, Simon Calder, stated that under European Passenger Rights Legislation, if an airline does not have a suitable alternative flight for its passengers, then they must be booked on to a rival airline.

Though Ryanair is the biggest airline in Europe, it looks as though it may be set to experience some serious competition from the 'new kid on the block' airline, Norwegian.

Norwegian, also a no-frills airline has not only significantly grown over the past three years but has also 'boasted' of how they have so far this year recruited 140 Ryanair pilots. These pilots are taken on in a full-time job, unlike most new pilots to Ryanair who are taken on with a contractor status, and also receive a competitive salary.

Under EU compensation rules, airlines are required to offer full refunds which must be paid within seven days or rebooking's to passengers who have had a flight cancelled at short notice. Passengers are also entitled to compensation for both cancelled and late flights, which MyFlightDelayed.com can help with. If you have been, or are going to be, affected by the Ryanair flight cancellations then get in touch where we will be happy to assist you further.

BBC News. "Ryanair Cancels Flights After 'Messing Up' Pilot Holidays." BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41298931

Thomas Cook Pilots Plan More Strikes as Pay Dispute Continues

Posted on 11th September 2017

Pilots of Airline Thomas Cook took part in the first pilot strike since the 1970s last Friday, as they disputed pay, with three further strike days announced for Autumn.

The strike began at 3am on Friday morning, when members of the British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa) 'walked out.' However, Balpa stated that the decision to walk out had been made 'extremely reluctantly.'

Brian Strutton, General Secretary of Balpa, said that "Thomas Cook pilots have faced year-on-year, real term pay cuts, and cuts to terms and conditions, and our pilots have said enough is enough."

He did add, however, that the strike action was kept to a minimum - just 12 hours. Thomas Cook stated that all of its flight would be operating as normal during the strike hours.

Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, Peter Fankhauser said, "[any pay rise] needs to be reasonable and affordable," as the company continues to compete with lower cost airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair. Mr Fankhauser said that costs for the airline were going up, such as fuel and air traffic control costs, and that Balpa had asked for an annual salary increase of over 10%.

He said, "Obviously we work in an extremely tough environment. We have offered basically 4% over 2 years on top of normal annual pay increases of 1.8%. We have an offer which is clearly above inflation. We have moved 3 times. Balpa has not moved at all, so we really ask Balpa to come back to the table to negotiate with us."

Though last weeks' strike only lasted twelve hours, a further three days of striking have been planned, as Thomas Cook pilots who are members of Balpa are preparing to walk out again on both the 23rd and 29th September, and 6th October, as the pay dispute continues. However, the airline and Balpa are to meet at ACAS, conciliation service, on 12th September.

Mr Strutton said, "I'm pleased [Friday's] strike by Thomas Cook pilots has kick-started negotiations. We will now focus on trying to make progress at five days of ACAS talks over the next two weeks."

He added, "However, there is still a significant gap between us and Thomas Cook so we cannot assume that those talks will succeed. That's why we've set new strike dates. We urge Thomas Cook to come to the ACAS table with an acceptable offer so we won't need to use them."

91% of pilots from the strike ballot voted in favour of taking action in the dispute over their pay negotiations of 2017. However, Christopher Debus, Chief Executive of Thomas Cook Airlines, said, "In these times which are extremely challenging for the airline industry, it's a very reasonable offer. Balpa has a claim which, if you sum all the elements up, is about 10 per cent."

Calder, Simon. "Thomas Cook: More Strike Dates Announced after First UK Pilots' Strike in Four Decades Fails to Ground Flights." Independent Online. http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/thomas-cook-pilots-strike-uk-flights-on-time-run-balpa-pay-dispute-airline-latest-a7935716.html

BBC News. "Thomas Cook Pilots Plan More Strikes." BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41198272

Worst Airports & Months for Delays in the UK

Posted on 24th August 2017

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the best summer month for passengers to avoid flight delays is August, with the months of June and July being labelled as the worst.

However, August did not follow on as the third worst month to fly after June and July, December did instead, which may not be all that much of a surprise as people travel to spend the festive season with family and weather conditions can have severe impacts on flying during the winter period.

Though other months do not experience delays as often or long as the three worst offenders - June, July & August - they do still all show delays, though much shorter and less frequent.

Data from all flights throughout 2016 showed that London's Gatwick Airport is the worst for delays, with delays recorded on over 30% of all flights. The data showed that delays from Gatwick ranged from 15 minutes to 360 minutes, meaning at times, passengers were delayed by up to 5 hours, and almost 8% of all delays lasted over an hour.

Data from 2016 showed that the busiest UK airports were Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Stansted; these airports had a combined total of 1.2million flights last year.

Figures show that within the UK's 25 main airports the number of both flights and passengers are increasing annually, as year-round holidays and city breaks become more and more popular, which could explain the high number of delays. Though there are many factors that can cause delays, such as bad weather conditions, IT failures, or back-logs from other flights or airports, the increase in number of both flights and passengers must be taken into account.

With budget airlines being the most commonly used amongst Britons, it is not a surprise that carrier EasyJet showed to be the most delayed airline. Budget airlines offer regular flight times and low prices to customers, which are the main attractions for people to book with them, however, these attractions are often outshone later by disruptions and delays.

The data from the CAA showed that the majority of the top ten airlines experienced delays averaging 10-20 minutes on each flight. A representative from a French Pilot's union said that should a plane be scheduled to make six flights in a day, it is almost certain that the last flight will be either delayed or cancelled.

Harding, Laura. "Revealed: UK's Worst Months and Airports for Delays." Telegraph Online. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/23/revealed-uks-worst-months-airports-delays/

Lufthansa Accused of Conspiracy by Ryanair

Posted on 18th August 2017

Lufthansa and the German government have been accused by Ryanair of conspiring to 'carve up' Air Berlin.

Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy earlier this week, and Lufthansa is believed to be negotiating buying the 'collapsed' airlines planes, which, after a loan of 150m euro from the German government, are still flying.

Airline Ryanair has stated there is an 'obvious conspiracy' going on between Lufthansa, Air Berlin and Germany to 'carve up the assets.' However, the accusation has been rejected by the German government, with it stating the support it has given Air Berlin does not breach anti-trust rules.

Throughout the past year, the airlines passenger numbers have decreased, and, after its largest shareholder - Etihad - withdrew its financial support, Air Berlin filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday this week.

Brigitte Zypries, Germany's Economy Minister, claimed that within the next few months a deal should be made where Lufthansa will take over part of Air Berlin. However, airline Ryanair has said "This manufactured insolvency is clearly being set up to allow Lufthansa to take over a debt-free Air Berlin which will be in breach of all known German and EU competition rules. Now even the German government is supporting this Lufthansa-led monopoly with 150m euros of state aid so that Lufthansa can acquire Air Berlin and drive domestic air fares in Germany even higher than they already are."

However, in response to this accusation from Ryanair, A German economy spokesperson said, "I reject the accusation by Ryanair today that it was a staged insolvency application." A complaint has been lodged with the German regulator, the Bundeskartellamt, and the European Commission by Ryanair.

Lufthansa has said that negotiations are already taking place with Air Berlin with regards to taking over parts of the company, which are expected to be concluded 'successfully in due time.'

This is not the first time that Ryanair has criticised the relationship between Air Berlin and Lufthansa, as in January this year, Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's Chief Executive described an existing deal between the two as a 'joke.' The deal was that Lufthansa would operate 38 of Air Berlin's Airbus jets on its behalf, something Mr O'Leary said was a 'takeover with the aim of dominating the market.'

He added, "Lufthansa controls the capacities of its most important competitor, sets the prices and decides where aircraft will start. The German authorities are doing nothing."

It was also reported on Tuesday that EasyJet were in talks regarding purchasing assets from Air Berlin, however, the airline refused to comment.

BBC News. "Ryanair Accuses Lufthansa of Air Berlin 'Conspiracy.'" BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-40949243

Drunk Passenger Arrests Increase

Posted on 15th August 2017

A BBC Panorama Investigation has suggested that there has been an increase of 50% over the past year in passenger arrests at UK airports and on flights for drunken behaviour.

Between February 2016 and February 2017 387 people were arrested at airports within the UK; a figure relatively higher than that of the previous year, which totalled 255.

The Home Office is 'considering' for tougher rules to be introduced regarding the consumption of alcohol at airports and on aircrafts. In a survey carried out with airline Cabin Crew, over half claimed that they had been witness to passengers being disruptive and drunk at a UK airport.

The figures for the arrests made were taken from 18 out of 20 police forces who have a major UK airport in their area, and trade body, Airlines UK, said that it should be made illegal for passengers to consume their own alcohol on board an aircraft.

19,000 Cabin Crew staff, who are members of the union, Unite, were asked to be surveyed; 4,000 of these individuals responded, with one in every five stating they been subject to physical abuse by passengers.

One former Cabin Crew worker stated, "People just see us as barmaids in the sky," and explained how often, crew members found themselves being inappropriately touched whilst working.

The aviation industry introduced a voluntary code of conduct regarding disruptive passengers during July 2016, with the majority of the 'big' airlines signing up to it. Advice within the code included requesting that retailers warn passengers upon purchase not to consume alcoholic products they have just bought on board the plane, and for staff to recognise if a passenger is drunk and not serve them alcohol if so.

In its findings, Panorama discovered that over a quarter of the Cabin Crew members it surveyed did not know about the code of practice, and that from those who were aware of it, only 23% thought that it was actually working. One Crew member said, "The code of conduct isn't working - We're seeing these incidents on a daily, a weekly, a monthly basis. It's the alcohol mainly in the duty free that is the significant problem."

There are laws in place regarding the consumption of alcohol when it comes to using flight travel: It is a criminal offence for a person to enter an aircraft when drunk or for a person to get drunk whilst on an aircraft, anyone who breaks this law could face a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment. It is totalled that on average, passengers spend around £300m on alcohol at airports within the UK each year. Between 2012 and 2016, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reported an increase of 600% in disruptive passenger behaviour, most of which involved alcohol.

Airlines UK, who represent airlines such as British Airways, Virgin and EasyJet, desire for the law to be changed making it a criminal offence for a passenger to consume their own alcohol on board an aircraft.

Airlines are able to manage the amount of alcohol that is sold to passengers, and Jet2 has banned sales of all alcohol before 08:00. Phil Ward, Jet2's Managing Director, said "I think they (airports) could do more. I think the retailers could do more as well. Two litre steins of beer in bars, mixers and miniatures in duty free shops, which can only be there for one reason - you know, they're items that are not sold on the high street. We can't allow it not to change."

A report from the House of Lords committee earlier this year also called for the introduction of tougher rules around the sale of alcohol to passengers at airports. Baroness McIntosh, Committee Chair, said "We didn't hear one shred of evidence to show the voluntary code was either working now or had any possible vestige of success in working any time soon."

The Home Office said that the report's recommendations are being considered.

BBC News. "Drunk Air Passenger Arrests Up 50%." BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40877229

US Airlines' Overbooked Passenger Bumping at 22 Year Low

Posted on 10th August 2017

There has been a significant decrease in the number of passengers being forced to take alternate flights, according to a US airlines report.

The US Department of Transportation said that the 'bumping' rate for the first half of 2017 is now at the lowest rate it has been since 1995. It is believed the decrease could be caused by videos of passengers being removed from planes earlier this year, which resulted in 'widespread outcry' amongst the general public.

The reaction from the public to these videos has led airlines to both pledge and deliver improvement when it comes to bumping passengers from their scheduled flights to an alternative.

During the first half of this year, over 213,000 passengers took a different flight as a result of their scheduled plane being overbooked. Though this figure may seem high, it is actually smaller than that reported during the first half of 2016.

This figure also includes those passengers who willingly gave up their seats under offers of compensation from the airlines, however, it also includes a lot of passengers who were forced to involuntarily give up their seats, even though they may not have received any compensation for this.

It has been reported that during the first half of this year, for every 19,100 passengers around 1 was denied boarding due to overbooking; an improvement from the 1 in every 16,000 during the same period last year. This is the lowest rate recorded in 12 years.

In the report, Delta Air Lines was shown to be the airline possessing the lowest rate of involuntary bumping out of the 12 airlines focused on; Spirit Airlines showed to be the worst.

The tally of passengers travelling in the first six months of this year rose by nearly 3% from the same time last year, with over 332 million people boarding planes from January to June.

It is believed that a video which went viral on the internet cased the biggest outcry from the public regarding passenger bumping. The video showed Dr David Dao suffering injury as he was physically removed from a flight with United Airlines. Though he later came to a settlement with the airline, the video was quick to spread around popular social media sites and attracted a lot of unwanted attention for the airline.

As a result of this video, US politicians warned airlines that should improvements not be made then they would consider 'regulatory action.'

Airlines did make immediate improvements after the United Airlines incident including allowing their staff to offer more money as means of compensation to encourage passengers to voluntary give up their seats and take an alternate flight, however, further improvements are expected to be ongoing.

BBC News. "US Airlines Bumping from Overbooked Flights is at 22 Year Low." BBC News Online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40881600