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Old June 7th, 2005, 05:50 PM   #961
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EasyJet To Offer Access To Airport Lounges For A Fee
6 June 2005

LONDON (Dow Jones)--U.K. budget airline easyJet PLC (EZJ.LN) said Monday that it's to offer its passengers access to airport lounges for a fee under a partnership with Servisair/GlobeGround.

Owned by France's Penauille Polyservices SA (5338.FR), Servisair/Globeground is an aviation services company and independent operator of airport lounges.

Starting at GBP12, the so-called easyJetLounges can be booked over the Internet and will offer food and drink and access to business facilities. The lounges can now be booked at 33 airports in Europe, easyJet said.

The move is designed to provide an additional source of ancillary - or non-ticket - revenue for easyJet. Fares remain under pressure in the intensely competitive European budget airline market.
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Old June 7th, 2005, 06:56 PM   #962
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to April 2005:
EasyJet = 27,487,296
Ryanair = 28,108,233

Percentage increase in passengers since April 2004:
EasyJet = 25.2%
Ryanair = 24%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in April 2005:
EasyJet = 85.2%
Ryanair = 81%
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to May 2005:
EasyJet = 27,946,206
Ryanair = 28,842,791

Percentage increase in passengers since May 2004:
EasyJet = 24.8%
Ryanair = 34%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in May 2005:
EasyJet = 84.1%
Ryanair = 82%



OMG!! Ryanair grew by 34% since May 2004!!
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Old June 8th, 2005, 05:27 AM   #963
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UPDATE 2-Ryanair CEO O'Leary trims stake

LONDON/DUBLIN, June 7 (Reuters) - Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary has trimmed his holding in the company, selling 6 million shares at 6.5 euros each, Europe's largest no-frills airline said on Tuesday.

The sale, worth around 39 million euros ($47.85 million), was handled by Davy Stockbrokers, dealers said.

O'Leary used to sell down his holding about once a year in early summer but has not sold any shares in the company since 2003. The latest available company report showed O'Leary held 41 million shares as of March 31, 2004, which gave him a 5.4 percent stake in the group.

In November, when Ryanair shares were trading at around 5 euros a share, O'Leary said he was not willing to sell his stock "at these prices". He told reporters in London last month he had no plans to sell down his shares.

O'Leary also said he had no plans to leave the carrier.

Ryanair shares traded down 2 percent at 6.53 euros at 1024 GMT, having hit a 16-month peak of 6.75 euros on Monday.

Earlier this month, Ryanair posted a record full-year profit after tax of 268.9 million euros, up 44 percent on the year earlier.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 08:09 PM   #964
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Ryanair Celebrates 350,000 Passengers at Newcastle Airport

Ryanair, Europe's largest low fares airline, today (8 June 2005) celebrated reaching the 350,000 passenger milestone at Newcastle Airport by offering fares from just 49p.

Ryanair commenced operations at Newcastle in January 2003 with a service to Dublin (2 daily) and in February of this year a new route to Milan (1 daily) was launched.

Commenting today, Ryanair's Regional UK Sales Manager Cathy Timlin said: "We are delighted to celebrate reaching the 350,000 passenger milestone at Newcastle Airport with fares on offer to Dublin and Milan today from an amazing 49p*.

"We began operations at Newcastle in January 2003 with a twice-daily service to Dublin and earlier this year we added a second direct daily low fare route to Milan. Today's milestone is a clear indication that the local population are voting with their feet and taking advantage of Ryanair's lowest fares. Equally, the north-east is benefiting from the tourists we are bringing in from Ireland and Italy.

"Dublin is a hive of activity this June. On June 16 Joyceans from all over the world congregate in Dublin to celebrate the life and work of James Joyce with readings, performances, walks, conferences and visits to the literary pubs.

"Running from June 11 for the summer season Temple Bar will host a unique festival of contemporary arts. Diversions 2005 promises an international line-up of innovative stars in the worlds of dance, theatre, film and visual art.

"And there's something going on each day in the public spaces of the lively Temple Bar area in the heart of the city. The "Music in Great Irish Houses Festival" takes place June 9-18. Established for over 30 years, this early summer festival stages concerts by international musicians in some of Dublin's finest Georgian buildings and mansions.

"Meanwhile Milan is a cosmopolitan and sophisticated city best known for its iconic fashion status. Highlights of this pulsating city include luxury shopping in the 'Golden Quadrangle' around Via Montenapoleone, savouring delicious northern Italian food (saffron risotto, veal escalope), a visit to Il Duomo - the world's largest gothic cathedral - and a magical evening at La Scala, experiencing the best traditions of Italian opera.

"Key events this June include: June 19 the Cornetto Free Music Festival -a free outdoor concert with a guest performance by Duran Duran at Milan's famous Piazza Duomo. 15 June - 15 August 2005 the spirit of Latin America hits Milan with a bang, as thousands flock to the grounds of the city's Forum for the Festival Latino Americando. This outdoor cultural extravaganza creates a "South American village" with numerous internationally renowned musicians, literature, visual and performing arts, handicrafts, film, folklore and food from the region.

Press Release : http://www.ryanair.com/site/EN/news....=pro-en-080605
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Old June 9th, 2005, 09:09 AM   #965
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easyJet passenger statistics for May 2005
Corporate Press Release

Below are the easyJet passenger statistics for May 2005. This information is published on the fifth working day of every month.
Code:
Month ending	May 2005	May 2004	Change
Passengers1	2,551,619	2,092,709	+21.9%
Load Factor2	84.1%	81.1%	+3.0pp

Rolling 12 month ending	May 2005	May 2004	Change
Passengers1	27,946,206	22,388,318	+24.8%
Load Factor2	85.1%	83.9%	+1.2pp
Total Revenue3	1,239m	1,015m	+22.1%
Ray Webster, easyJet Chief Executive, said:

“May 2005 was yet another month of innovation and achievement for easyJet. We announced that we were, yet again, leveraging our proprietary reservation system to remove barriers to purchase and make life easier for our customers; this time by allowing up to 40 passengers to be booked in a single online booking - an increase from the previous eight.

“New services were announced from Basle, our fifth European base. We introduced Basle to the easyJet network following our withdrawal from high-cost Zurich and we expect to carry some 1.2m passengers on our 13 routes in the coming 12 months.

“A couple of weeks after celebrating the arrival of our 100th aircraft, we reached another important milestone when we welcomed our 100 millionth passenger - a grandmother on her way to Malaga with her family; and for the fourth year running, we were voted the favourite low-cost airline for business travellers in the Barclaycard Business Survey 2005.

“We have no change to the guidance issued to investors at the time of our interim financial results. Based on our current trading outlook, total revenue per seat for the year to September 2005 is likely to be unchanged compared to the same period last year. At prevailing fuel prices and exchanges rates, we continue to expect reported pre-tax profit to be below last year but in line with current expectations.”
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Old June 9th, 2005, 03:19 PM   #966
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09 June 2005

Lack of price difference keep low cost carriers on the sidelines

By Jeana Wong, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE: Low cost carriers may have kickstarted a price war within the airline industry.

But industry-watchers say full-service airlines appear to be heading off the attack.

For now, comparable pricing between the two types of carriers is preventing budget airlines from taking off in a big way.

Full-service airlines operating in Singapore have responded proactively to the surge of budget carriers here.

To protect their turf - some have given more attention to their branding and pricing strategies.

Sean Seah, Singapore Manager, Zuji Enterprises
"Some of them will invest in their branding to differentiate themselves from the low cost carriers. Others will get smarter about pricing in terms of to compete with the airlines. And others will, just look for new forms of distributions." said Sean Seah, Singapore manager for Zuiji Enterprises.

"We work closely with several airlines to distribute online to give them the fast speed-to-market that the budget carriers have in terms of their website distribution." he added.

These aggressive measures are driving down airfares across the board.

A flight from Singapore to Sydney which would have set the traveller back by about $850 dollars last year, only costs about $400 now.

Such steep price drops are erasing the edge that low cost carriers have over their full service counterparts in terms of pricing.

A local survey reveals that four out of five respondents will only consider flying with budget airlines if prices were at least 30% cheaper.

This means low cost carriers would have to work hard to attract Singapore travellers.

"If they've done their homework right, if they've got the cost-base right, they can offer substantially lower fares than the incumbent full-service airlines, who naturally have a higher cost base. So as a result, that's what's going to differentiate themselves and that's what's going to ensure their survivability." said Nicholas Ionides, regional managing editor for The Flight Group.

Industry watchers say it will be difficult for full service airlines to keep up with price war over the long term, but they expect prices to remain competitive. - CNA /dt

Copyright © 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old June 10th, 2005, 08:05 PM   #967
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Ryanair row with senior pilot 'entirely resolved'
9 June 2005
Irish Times

The legal dispute between Ryanair and one of its senior pilots, Captain John Goss, has been "entirely resolved", the High Court was told yesterday. The terms of settlement were not disclosed.

On the sixth day of the hearing of the proceedings yesterday, Mr Justice Declan Budd was told that the parties had agreed the terms of settlement, which were received by the court but not outlined.

It is thought that Ryanair has agreed to pay the legal costs of Capt Goss which, together with the airline's own legal costs, could amount to legal fees of as much as €800,000. It is also believed that the company's disciplinary proceedings against the pilot have been withdrawn and that he will be trained on new Ryanair aircraft at Dublin.

It is understood the pilot has been given a guarantee that he will be based in Dublin for the period ahead.

Mr Justice Budd was also told told that an application will be made to another High Court judge, Mr Justice Barry White, not to give his judgment in related proceedings brought by Capt Goss seeking to have Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary and two other company executives jailed for alleged contempt of a court order.

Mr Justice White heard the contempt proceedings last month but deferred his judgment until the outcome of the hearing before Mr Justice Budd.

In the case before Mr Justice Budd, Capt Goss claimed Ryanair made serious allegations in a letter of December 10th, 2004, that he intimidated other pilots at Stansted airport and had warned them not to accept positions on the company's new Boeing 737-800 based in Dublin. He denied making any such allegations and denied any intimidation. He claimed the company alleged he failed to co-operate and they had initiated disciplinary proceedings against him.

He was suspended by the company but reinstated after he brought the High Court proceedings heard by Mr Justice White.

After yesterday's settlement, Ryanair spokesman Capt David O'Brien, director of flight operations, said he looked forward to Capt Goss flying again with the company.

He said he was pleased the pilot had withdrawn and abandoned all his claims and was delighted with what was an "excellent settlement". Asked if the company would recognise Ialpa - the pilots' organisation - Capt O'Brien said it never had and was not expected to in the future.

Capt Goss told reporters that he was very pleased to be returning to flying duties and delighted that his good name had been vindicated. He regretted that his difficulties with Ryanair management had to be settled in the High Court.

Earlier, when announcing the settlement to Mr Justice Budd, Mr Roddy Horan SC, for Capt Goss, said they were not looking for an order from the court but asked for the matter to be adjourned to a later date when they would apply for the vacation of various orders and for abandonment of contempt of court applications as part of the settlement.

Mr Justice Budd said one of these applications had been adjourned for him to hear at the end of the proceedings brought by Capt Goss. The judge also asked counsel not to lose sight of the fact that one of the contempt motions was before Mr Justice White.

Mr Richard Nesbitt SC, for Ryanair, said that the latter issue was being dealt with in the settlement agreement. Counsel for both sides would need to mention it to Mr Justice White and would be asking him not to deliver his judgment. Mr Horan said the sides had devised a mechanism which they hoped would address the matter.

Mr Justice Budd adjourned the matter until June 29th. He said both parties were to be congratulated on the settlement and on taking a "cool look" at the matter.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 04:57 AM   #968
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June 13, 2005
Asian budget carrier war may claim casualty

KUALA LUMPUR - STIFF competition and rising fuel prices will force a shake-out among Asia's budget airlines, and some are likely to be permanently grounded, analysts say.

The success of Malaysia's AirAsia has brought forth a slew of other budget operators, including spin-offs from major airlines that scrambled to cash in on the phenomenon. 'Competition is tough. I foresee a dropout soon,' said OSK Research aviation analyst Chris Eng.

Singapore's low-cost carriers are considered the most vulnerable because the absence of a domestic market to fall back on means that they are forced to fight with the major airlines in the global market.

Mr Eng said there would be a struggle for survival between privately owned Valuair; Qantas-backed Jetstar Asia; and Tiger Airways, which is 49-per cent owned by Singapore Airlines (SIA).

Mr Bryan Lim, an ECM Libra aviation analyst, said: 'In Singapore, there is a possibility one budget airline will fold. International flying rights are done on a government-to-government basis, so most of Singapore's flying or landing rights would naturally go to SIA.'

Singapore's investment company, Temasek Holdings, holds stakes in both Tiger and Jetstar, giving them more financial muscle, he said.

'But Valuair has its own strategy,' Mr Lim added, referring to its market position as a mid-range carrier between the ultra-cheap and premium airlines. -- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 05:01 AM   #969
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Ryanair Welcomes Today's High Court Finding That Ryanair Was Not in Contempt of Court
Corporate Press Release

Ryanair this morning (Friday, 10th June 2005) welcomed the finding of Mr. Justice White that it was not in contempt of a Court Order.

Mr. Justice White’s finding this morning confirmed that Ryanair and its Management were not in contempt of Court in standing Captain Goss down.

Welcoming this decision Ryanair’s Director of Flight and Ground Operations, David O’Brien, said:

“I am delighted with this mornings finding which follows this weeks excellent settlement of the dispute between Captain Goss and Ryanair. Captain Goss will shortly commence retraining on Ryanair’s new 737-800 series aircraft on the exact terms that were offered to him last November and which were opposed by IALPA, the Aer Lingus trade union*. This morning’s decision is another defeat for IALPA in its continuing effort to mislead Ryanair’s Dublin Pilots.

“I look forward to resuming direct negotiations with our Dublin Pilots without any further intermeddling by IALPA in this process”.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 11:19 PM   #970
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Blast at Spanish airport forces plane to divert
Reuters
11 June 2005

MADRID -- A rocket grenade exploded at the Zaragoza airport in Spain yesterday, forcing a Ryanair plane to divert to a nearby military base but causing no injuries.

Police found three rocket launchers outside the airport. Two were empty, presumably after firing their rockets. A third contained a grenade, a government spokesman in Zaragoza said.

Authorities evacuated the nearly empty airport before the blast, the spokesman said.

A flight by low-cost Ryanair, due in Zaragoza about an hour after the blast, was diverted to a nearby military base and landed safely, the spokesman said.

The Zaragoza airport is used by Ryanair and other airlines.

Witnesses reported hearing two whistling noises but there was only one explosion, the spokesman said.

The blast came after a warning call in the name of ETA to the Basque newspaper Gara an hour earlier, the newspaper said.

Zaragoza is 250 kilometres northeast of Madrid, about halfway to Barcelona.

The attack is the latest in a string linked to ETA, the Basque rebel group, since the Spanish government said last month it was open to negotiations if ETA laid down its arms and renounced violence.

None of the attacks, including a car bomb in Madrid, caused serious injury.

Spanish Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso condemned the attack.

“This is another manifestation of senseless violence which can only end in the complete disappearance of those who understand only the language of violence,” Mr. Alonso said.

“We must continue to fight against ETA with all the forces at the disposal of a democratic state.”

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has been forced to defend his offer since it won endorsement from parliament last month.

Many people and politicians on the right consider it a betrayal of ETA's victims and an unworthy concession to a group that has killed 850 people since 1968.

ETA has not killed anyone in more than two years amid a sustained police crackdown. Mr. Zapatero said 178 ETA suspects have been jailed since he took office 14 months ago.
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Old June 14th, 2005, 09:58 AM   #971
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Ryanair exercises options for five Boeing planes
13 June 2005

SEATTLE (AP) - European low-fare carrier Ryanair has exercised five options for Boeing 737-800 jetliners, The Boeing Co. announced Monday.

No price was given, but at list prices, the five planes would be worth between $307.5 million and $347.5 million. Large customers such as Ryanair, which currently has 230 Boeing 737s on order, typically negotiate discounts to the list price.

The new planes, which seat about 160 passengers in two classes, are to be delivered in spring 2007.
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Old June 14th, 2005, 07:25 PM   #972
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Airline's shares face more turbulence
Judgment Day: Should you buy shares in Easyjet?

Andy Brough & Tim Steer
12 June 2005
The Sunday Times

THE low-cost airline Easyjet has expanded aggressively in the past year and now has 210 routes serving 63 European destinations. High fuel prices have been a problem but passenger numbers are up. It now carries 24.3m a year.

The airline was founded in 1995 by the entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou and was floated on the stock market in November 2000. Since then it has operated independently from Stelios's other Easy franchises but he is still the biggest shareholder and recently rejoined the board as a non-executive director.

The company is looking for a new chief executive since Ray Webster announced last month that he was stepping down. Sir Colin Chandler is the chairman.

The two experts below have been selected for their skill in several investment areas. They, or the funds they manage, may buy or sell shares in the companies or sectors that are discussed in this column.

Andy Brough, fund manager at Schroders:

Investors who boarded the Easyjet flotation at a price of 310p hopefully heeded captain Stelios's warning: "Please observe the remain-seated signs as you are likely to experience a large amount of turbulence in the share price as it moves between 120p and 400p over the next few years."

I am always amazed at the airline industry. Here is a sector where demand grows each year but the companies cannot produce a rising stream of profits. They either struggle because they are state-controlled and act as an employment bureau (count how many Alitalia staff check your passport before you get on the plane next time you fly with them), or they are budget airlines out to rule the skies and expand aggressively.

The internet has transformed the industry for the budget operators by taking out a huge amount of cost so they can charge low prices. Ryanair was the first to demonstrate this model and it has been swiftly followed by Easyjet and the others in flying to destinations you didn't know existed. But more planes means that both load factors and yields suffer (two key components for profitability).

With the large number of passengers, any small movement in revenue per passenger can have a significant effect on the results because airlines have high fixed costs. In the year to September 30, 2004 the charge for leasing planes at Easyjet was Pounds 96.4m compared with a pre-leasing operating profit of Pounds 150m, which shows how operationally geared it is. The shares have been volatile and when they dipped below 200p the Icelandics moved in and bought 10% of the company.

Earnings have fallen in 2004 and 2005 with brokers forecasting an improvement in the next two years. This will put the share price on 15 times earnings, falling to 11.4 times.

The sector is unloved by investors, but these companies do have periods when demand exceeds supply. We could now be entering one of these. Easyjet is not a share for the long haul, but one for a short-term trade. Look to buy below 200p and bale out above 300p.

Judgment: Hold.

Tim Steer, fund manager at New Star:

If there were investment analysts in outer space and they landed here, they would be entitled to think that Easyjet and Ryanair were very similar companies addressing the same markets and having the same financial characteristics. The investment analysts from outer space would be wrong because, surprisingly, these companies operate in two separate spaces with different financial attributes.

Take margins, for example. In its current year Easyjet is forecast to report profit margins of a mere 5%, but Ryanair is due to report margins of 20%. Easyjet is going backwards in terms of earnings whereas Ryanair is showing growth. Now is not the time to discuss how these two companies, that do essentially the same thing, differ so much, but perhaps in part it has something to do with the way they buy their planes.

So are Easyjet's shares worth owning? Probably not just yet. It is clear that, as far as revenue is concerned, the company is operating in a deflationary market.

Last week's May trading update showed that ticket prices were still falling down more than 2% year on year. This pressure may indicate that in Easyjet's market there is overcapacity, with British Airways getting its act together and barriers to new entrants almost non-existent.

Easyjet is certainly feeling inflationary pressure on the cost side. Going into the important second half we understand that fuel, the airline's biggest cost, is largely unhedged.

Because of Easyjet's thin margins, a small increase in fuel costs can have a much larger effect on earnings. A 5% increase in fuel could reduce earnings by more than 15%.

The management at Easyjet has said twice in the past three weeks that it expects profits for the current year to be below those reported last year.

Meanwhile, the shares are not cheap. They trade on 18 times this year's earnings and I believe that too much is priced in for falling fuel costs and more stable ticket prices, neither of which is guaranteed.

These shares are unlikely to take off unless Icelandair comes in with a bid.

Judgment: Sell.

EASYJET AT A GLANCE

Share price: 248p

Market value: Pounds 990m

Year end: September 30 Consensus forecast for 2005 pre-tax profit: Pounds 70.5m Consensus forecast for final dividend: 0p

Between them, the Haji-Ioannou family own more than 40% of the shares in Easyjet. Icelandair Investments has a 10% stake.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 04:05 AM   #973
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Ryanair seeks to overturn new airport scheme
14 June 2005
Irish Times

Ryanair has brought High Court proceedings challenging a new scheme for the allocation of take-off and landing spots at Dublin Airport.

Bill Shipsey SC, for Ryanair, yesterday secured leave from Mr Justice Liam McKechnie to bring proceedings aimed at overturning a decision to the Commission for Aviation Regulation, made on April 21st last, to redesignate Dublin Airport as a "co-ordinated" rather than "schedules facilitated" airport in relation to the allocation of airport slots.

The regulator's decision, which does not come into operation until summer 2006, means slots will be allocated on a prescriptive basis by a schedules facilitator independent both of the airport authority and the airlines rather than by consensus between airlines.

Airlines generally prefer a "schedules facilitated" to a "co-ordinated" regime because it offers them greater flexibility in scheduling.

Ryanair argues redesignating the airport is outside the powers of the regulator under the relevant European regulation and under the Aviation Regulation Act 2001 and is an irrational and unreasonable decision.

It contends that the commission was required to carry out an up-to-date capacity analysis prior to sanctioning the redesignation and could not rely on an analysis carried out by a consultancy firm which had made a report in July 2004.

That report had concluded there were no grounds for altering the designation of the airport at that time but had said there could be grounds for such an alteration in certain circumstances, including a relaxation of the Shannon stopover or in relation to the scale of refusals of slots offered to airlines.

On the basis of that report, the commission in October 2004 decided not to alter the designation of the airport. However, on the basis of the second qualification in the report - related to the sale of refusals of slots - the commission redesignated the airport last April.

Mr Shipsey said Ryanair was arguing the commission was not entitled to rely on the July 2004 report to make that redesignation in circumstances where the 2004 report related to a through capacity analysis carried out last year.

There was no power to alter the designation on the basis of anticipating that efficiency might be compromised. Nor had the commission consulted with other airport users and carriers in reaching its decision.

After granting leave to bring the judicial review proceedings, the judge returned the matter to July 6th.

Ryanair will exercise options to acquire a further five new Boeing 737-800 aircraft, worth more than $286 million (€236 million), to continue expanding its European routes. The airline said yesterday the aircraft will be delivered from February 2007 onwards.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said the 737-800 had the lowest operating costs per seat of any aircraft and the new aircraft would enable Ryanair to develop more new routes.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 06:38 PM   #974
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15.06.05
Corporate Press Release
Global Aviation Magazine Ranks Ryanair No.1 for Performance

International Aviation Magazine Aviation Week’s study of the World’s top performing airlines has ranked Ryanair as No.1 “Top Performing Medium Airline” in a category which includes airlines such as Easyjet, Austrian Airlines and Finnair.

AirWatch Report’s Chief Analyst, Michael K. Lowry said Ryanair had “identified emerging regional opportunities, optimised its business strategy and executed it in a superior manner.”

The finding, based on rankings in categories such as operating performance, strategy, growth, financial health and revenue found Ryanair to be the world’s top performing medium airline.

Ryanair’s Chief Financial Officer, Howard Millar, said:

“That last year Aviation Week found Ryanair to be the ‘Worlds Top Performing Small Airline’ and this year to be the ‘Worlds Top Performing Medium Airline’, is testimony to our controlled growth over the past year and continued strong financial performance.

Ryanair is already Europe’s No. 1 low fares airline and No. 1 for customer service, and we are pleased that we have again been confirmed as No. 1 for financial performance too.”
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Old June 16th, 2005, 05:52 AM   #975
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June 16, 2005
Tiger to buy eight jets from Airbus

SINGAPORE - SINGAPORE-BASED regional budget carrier Tiger Airways will be acquiring eight Airbus A320 jets estimated to cost around US$500 million (S$830 million).

The deal marks the first time that Tiger Airways will be acquiring its own planes instead of leasing since it started flying in September last year.

Tiger Airways is 49 per cent owned by Singapore Airlines and currently has a fleet of four leased A320s. It flies to Indonesia, Macau, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

'We are delighted to be adding further Airbus A320 aircraft to our rapidly expanding fleet which will enable us to consolidate our position as Singapore's largest low-fare airline,' said Mr Tony Davis, the airline's chief executive.

'The A320 has proved popular with both passengers and crews of Tiger Airways and provides the airline with the economics and range necessary for our continued success,' he added in a statement issued by Airbus.

The 180-seater A320 accounts for 81 per cent of all aircraft ordered last year by discount airlines, Airbus says. -- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 06:15 AM   #976
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Old June 16th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #977
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Business Times - 16 Jun 2005

HK allows unlimited passenger flights from Singapore, Bahrain


(HONG KONG) Hong Kong has reached agreements with four countries, including Singapore and Germany, to increase the number of passenger flights to and from the city as the government seeks to liberalise its aviation market.

Airlines from Singapore, Bahrain and Mexico will be given unlimited passenger flights to Hong Kong, while Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd will be given reciprocal entitlements, Wilson Fung, Hong Kong's Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, told reporters. Hong Kong will increase flights to Germany to 17 from 15.

The Hong Kong government has been negotiating new air services agreements around the world to open its market and promote competition. The city also wants to encourage low-cost airlines to use Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airport as a base.

'We hope to make Hong Kong attractive to lost-cost carriers,' Mr Fung said. 'We are never worried about competition. The more the merrier and the market will adjust.'

Hong Kong will also allow unlimited cargo flights to and from Bahrain and Mexico and allow airlines from the two countries to sell tickets on each other's flights, Mr Fung said. Bahrain-based Gulf Air and other carriers from the Arab state will also be allowed to pick up passengers in Hong Kong and fly them to other destinations, so-called fifth-freedom rights, he said.

The number of cargo flights between Hong Kong and Singapore will remain unchanged for now, Mr Fung said.

Cargo flights between Hong Kong and Germany will be increased to 12 from 10 a week, Mr Fung said. - Bloomberg

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 06:43 AM   #978
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June 20, 2005

AIR TRAVEL
Falling fares fuel short getaways
Budget carriers and price war are changing the way that Singaporeans travel

By Arthur Poon and Krist Boo

AIR fares to nearby cities have come down sharply in the last 18 months, prompting Singaporean travellers to make more short getaways.

Ticket prices for some destinations within a five-hour flying radius have fallen by as much as 80 per cent, thanks to the arrival of low-cost carriers and fierce competition with full-service airlines.

Prices have come down most sharply for Hong Kong and Bangkok.

A return economy ticket - excluding taxes and surcharges - to Hong Kong on Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific was $325 to $450 in December 2003.

Now, a budget airline like Jetstar will get you there and back for just $156. Or even less, if you manage to grab one of the super-low-priced tickets that go on offer.

Similarly, a ticket to Bangkok on AirAsia starts from as low as $44 these days, a far cry from the $245 on Thai Airways 18 months ago.

Jetstar and AirAsia are among four low cost carriers that now fly out of Changi Airport. The others are Singaporean carriers Valuair and Tiger Airways.

Their arrival has forced the full-service airlines to bring down prices too.

A Valuair spokesman said: 'Those who used to travel once a year are now travelling much more frequently.

'The affordable air fares have made travelling easy and many now decide to fly on the spur of the moment.'

Cheering the change, human resources executive Wendy Law, 28, visited Hong Kong in January and Bangkok last month, taking a budget airline both times.

The money saved on fares went to shopping, she said.

From January to April, 166,000 Singaporean travellers went to Hong Kong, a 57 per cent increase over the same period last year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

The numbers visiting Bangkok are up too. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore figures show that 248,505 went in April, up from 230,468 during the same month last year.

Landmark Travel's Angela Tan said Bangkok's cheap beer, budget hotels and low-priced shopping are the main draws for her young and expatriate customers.

'They say it is cheaper to spend a weekend in Thailand than it is here. And they can buy duty free items when they return,' she said.

The sharp drop in ticket prices has changed the way people plan their trips too, agents say.

SA Tours' general manager Alicia Seah said: 'Previously, many Singaporeans saved - sometimes for years - to go on long-haul trips. Now, they take four or five short trips a year within the region.'

Chan Brothers marketing communications manager Ivy Tan said: 'More are flying off on Friday evening, leaving from the office directly to the airport, and flying back on Sunday night.'

If fares keep sliding, the day may come when people do a day trip just for lunch and a massage in another country, said the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore.

The lower fares in Singapore are an exception in the Asia-Pacific region, where surging oil prices have pushed ticket prices up, according to a recent study by American Express.

The company's head of consulting services Robert Tedesco noted: 'Low cost carriers have been competing intensely for a bigger market share.'

The same trend is seen on Indian routes to cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai - both within six hours of Singapore.

Fares to these cities have fallen at least 10 per cent since the entry of Air Sahara and Jet Airways in May. The two carriers broke the long-standing grip on the sector by Singapore Airlines and subsidiary SilkAir, as well as Air India and Indian Airlines.

Cheaper fares to more destinations are in store.

Tiger Airways' chief executive Tony Davis predicted: 'With more countries subscribing to the open skies policy and the opening up of more destination choices, there will be increased competition in other sectors as well.'

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 06:49 AM   #979
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June 20, 2005
Deal struck on unlimited S'pore-HK flights
Move may spell more options, lower airfares for travellers

By Arthur Poon

SINGAPORE has reached a deal with Hong Kong to allow unlimited direct passenger flights between the two cities.

The decision is likely to result in more flight options and possibly cheaper flights for travellers, said one industry player.

'Consumers can benefit from the lifting of flight restrictions by having greater flexibility in flight schedules and a possibility of lower airfares,' said Mr Arthur Lim, senior executive vice-president of low-cost airline Valuair.

Valuair had no immediate plans to put on more flights but rival Jetstar Asia chief executive Ken Ryan said his airline would 'consider the option to build on the opportunities'.

The deal is short of an open-skies agreement, which would allow airlines to pick up passengers in Hong Kong and fly them to other destinations, but will nonetheless cement the strong air links between the regional air hubs.

The agreement will benefit six airlines: Singapore Airlines, Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific, as well as Jetstar, Valuair, China Airlines and United Airlines. The six carriers operate 238 weekly flights between the two cities.

The number of travellers flying to Hong Kong in April shot up by 25 per cent to 170,408, compared with the same month last year, according to figures from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

Announcing the deal on Thursday, the CAAS said 'both sides reached a provisional agreement to lift all restrictions on direct passenger flights between Hong Kong and Singapore'.

The Hong Kong government has been negotiating new air services agreements to liberalise its market and promote competition. It also wants to encourage low-cost airlines to use Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airport as a base.

'We hope to make Hong Kong attractive to low-cost carriers,' Mr Wilson Fung, Hong Kong's deputy secretary for economic development and labour, told reporters in Hong Kong last week.

'We are never worried about competition. The more the merrier and the market will adjust.'

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 06:40 PM   #980
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Lithuania strikes deal with Ryanair

VILNIUS, June 20, 2005 (AFP) - Lithuania's Kaunas airport said Monday it had concluded negotiations with Irish low-cost airline company Ryanair to begin flying in the Baltic state.

"The negotiations are finished, but all the details are to be announced by representatives of the Irish company," Kestutis Cucenas, head of Kaunas airport told AFP.

"Representatives of Ryanair will hold a briefing in Kaunas on Tuesday," he added.

In February, the Baltic state in February sent letters to eight low-cost European airlines inviting them to begin service to the Baltic state, but only received a reply from Ryanair.

Ryanair had expressed interest earlier in serving the Baltic state and had been in negotiations with Lithuanian officials.

But the talks failed because, according to Lithuanian officials, Ryanair was asking for a disguised fee to enter the Lithuanian market.

The transport ministry earlier said that it was ready to provide the necessary infrastructure for Kaunas airport and would organize public transport from Vilnius to the second-largest city, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) away.

Lithuania, which joined the European Union last last year saw a boost to airline passenger traffic this year.

Passenger numbers at Vilnius International Airport surged by 43 percent to 443,700 between January and May compared to the same period in 2004 and is expected to reach between 1.2 and 1.25 million for the whole of 2005.

The number of flights served by the airport in January to May soared by 47 percent to reach 11,700 compared to the same period a year ago.

Kaunas airport to date mainly served cargo flights.
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