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Old May 30th, 2006, 05:51 PM   #1281
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easyJet awaits cabin crew pay decision
By KEVIN DONE
30 May 2006
Financial Times

Easyjet, the low-cost carrier, will learn this week if its 2,000 cabin crew will accept a lower pay offer than its pilots or be balloted on industrial action.

The airline is due to receive the results of a consultative union ballot and an internal staff poll of its cabin crew on a two-year above- inflation pay deal.

The Transport and General Workers Union, which says it represents about 1,400 Easyjet cabin crew, has complained that the internal poll has bypassed the collective bargaining process.

Cabin crew have been offered a pay rise of 3.5 per cent backdated to October 1 for the current financial year to September 30 plus a bonus of 2 per cent. For the second year, it has offered a pay rise of 3 per cent and an "additional bonus opportunity" of 2 per cent, although this is not guaranteed.

The TGWU says the offer is inferior to a recent two-year pay deal agreed by the airline's 1,200 pilots, which includes increases of 6 per cent this year and 4 per cent in 2007. It said the result of its ballot of cabin crew was expected on Thursday.

The offer to pilots was made against the background of a tightening labour market and concerns about a shortage of pilots given surging demand for air travel and growing aircraft fleets especially in China, India and south-east Asia and among low-cost airlines.

Easyjet says it has had no problems hiring pilots for its fleet, which is planned to grow from 109 aircraft at the end of last September to 122 in September this year and to 154 by September 2008.

John Street, the TGWU negotiator for the cabin crew staff, said if the pay offer was rejected and no progress was made in any further talks, another ballot would be held on industrial action.

Any move to strike by cabin crew is unlikely before mid-July when the airline is moving into the busiest and most profitable period.

This month, the airline raised its profits forecast for the current financial year in a show of confidence that it was coping with the latest surge in the oil price.

Andrew Harrison, chief executive, said in early May the group was "disappointed that the TGWU has chosen to stir up unnecessary and damaging speculation on industrial action".
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Old May 31st, 2006, 02:13 AM   #1282
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Airline: Passenger carries ammunition on flight between Naples and London
By DAVID STRINGER
30 May 2006

LONDON (AP) - A passenger carried ammunition on board a flight bound for London from Naples on Tuesday before crew members removed him from the plane, a spokeswoman for British-based budget airline easyJet said.

The man -- an elderly Italian -- had mistakenly packed the rounds in his hand luggage, but had been able to pass unnoticed through airport security checks, easyJet spokeswoman Samantha Day said.

He did not have a weapon, but was carrying "several rounds of ammunition," which he produced when challenged by a member of the air crew, she said.

"Clearly we are asking questions of Naples airport and how this man was able to pass through airport security without raising alarm," Day said. "There are serious security issues to be raised."

The flight, bound for London's Stansted airport, was delayed for two hours as security checks were made. Day said the passenger and his wife were removed before the flight took off and questioned by airport security staff.

"The man appeared confused about what had happened. We believe that he simply didn't realize ammunition cannot be packed in hand luggage," Day said.

"But it was only as a result of our staff's actions that this was spotted, we are concerned that airport security checks didn't pick up the problem earlier," she said.

Day said a crew member had "reason to become suspicious" of the passenger and asked to examine his hand luggage shortly after he boarded the flight, while the aircraft remained on the ground.

All 120 passengers were then evacuated as employees made security sweeps, she said.

Easyjet only allows passengers to transport ammunition in an aircraft's hold, sealed in a metal or wooden box, Day said.

She said police had not been called in Italy, but that airport security staff were continuing their inquiry.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 03:54 PM   #1283
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Business Times - 01 Jun 2006

Jetstar Asia and Valuair get nod on collaboration


Tiger Airways alarmed at Aussie decision in favour of Qantas stable

By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) Jetstar Asia and Valuair have obtained approval from the Australian competition watchdog to collaborate on airfares, schedules and network routing with their parent Qantas and sister airline Jetstar.

As widely expected, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yesterday granted 'interim authorisation' for the cooperation agreement between the airlines in the Qantas stable.

This means Singapore-based Jetstar Asia and Valuair - which are both held under Qantas's 49 per cent-owned Orangestar - can share resources and interline to service what could possibly be one of the most comprehensive pan-Asian networks yet.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said the authorisation was conditional on the terms of collaboration of the Qantas-Orangestar partnership.

'The ACCC has granted interim authorisation to the arrangements, on condition that Qantas and Orangestar do not reach agreement on allocation of existing capacity or withdrawal of services on overlapping routes and do not reach agreement not to enter routes to and from Australia,' he ruled.

The development is welcome news for Jetstar Asia and Valuair, which have been struggling to stem the red ink at a time of cut-throat competition and a lack of sufficient high-yielding routes in the region. In the last two years, the pair have collectively burnt over $100 million, recently asking shareholders for $36 million more.

The ACCC ruling comes just ahead of the November start of Jetstar's planned international flights to Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, Japan and Hawaii. With the green light from the competition regulators, Jetstar can now link its operations and schedules with those of the Orangestar airlines.

The ruling comes barely six weeks after Qantas made its 34-page submission to the ACCC, in which it argued that its flying businesses - which include its Australian discount carrier Jetstar and the Orangestar carriers - required coordinated management.

While acknowledging that the Orangestar airlines were not subsidiaries (meaning that they could not collude to fix fares or share resources under existing competition laws), it nevertheless pointed out that Jetstar Asia and Valuair were integral parts of the Qantas group operations in Asia and would become more important as Jetstar grew its Australia-based international operations. 'The Australian public will benefit from cooperation between the Qantas and the Orangestar groups as cooperation will enable the parties to reduce operating costs and sustain low fares at the same time as offering combined itineraries and accelerating the opening of new destinations and frequencies,' it said in the submission.

'These outcomes are critical to ensuring Jetstar Asia and Valuair are able to remain competitive on their intra-Asian routes, where they continue to face strong competition from both full-service and other value-based carriers.'

The prospect of a collaboration between Jetstar, Jetstar Asia, Valuair and Qantas alarms competitors like Tiger Airways. The budget carrier, which is 49 per cent owned by Singapore Airlines, expressed disappointment at the ACCC decision but added that it was pleased with the several caveats added by the ACCC.

'Tiger Airways intends to ask the ACCC to give an assessment of the reasons why it has approved the application,' said CEO Tony Davis.

'At the same time, Tiger Airways has also made representations to the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) to register its objections to the coordination agreement, as the approval of the CCS is necessary for the agreement to be implemented.'

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 06:02 PM   #1284
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Ryanair profits rise despite fuel costs
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK
6 June 2006

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - Ryanair Holdings PLC, Europe's most rapidly expanding airline, reported a 12.5 percent gain in full-year profits Tuesday despite absorbing higher jet fuel costs.

For the year ended March 31, Ryanair said its net profit rose to 301.5 million euros ($389 million) from 268.1 million euros the year before. Sales rose 28 percent to 1.69 billion euros ($2.18 billion) from 1.32 billion euros. The company did not break out fourth-quarter results.

"This robust performance validates our lowest-fare, lowest-cost model, which continues to grow profitably in Europe even during adverse market conditions, when many of our competitors are reporting losses," Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said.

Fuel costs rose 74 percent to 462 million euros ($596 million), while the company's other operating costs fell 6 percent over the year. The company cited the efficiency of the airline's new Boeing 737-800 aircraft and better deals with airports.

Chief Financial Officer Howard Millar said Ryanair had locked in its fuel supplies from July to October at $70 a barrel, about $2 lower than current prices.

Millar said Ryanair had suffered "a massive jump in our cost base" because of soaring oil prices and wanted to guard against even higher prices. He said the dollar's weakness versus the euro, while oil internationally was priced in dollars, was helping Ryanair.

During the year, Ryanair carried 35 million passengers, up 26 percent, on 330 routes across Europe, while its average price of tickets sold increased 1 percent. The airline plans to open 46 more routes this year, including a new hub in Marseilles, France.

O'Leary forecast that passenger numbers would rise 20 percent to 42 million passengers in the coming fiscal year. He said profits were expected to grow 5 percent to 10 percent, presuming that oil prices stay near $70 a barrel.

Some analysts cautioned that Ryanair profits would suffer if the cost of oil heads higher after October.

"There's a lot of earnings uncertainty, as we don't know what oil prices will be like in the winter, when Ryanair will be unhedged," said Robert Brisbourne of Merrion Stockbrokers in Dublin.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #1285
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Business Times - 07 Jun 2006

Getting the basics right pays off for Tiger

Focus on low costs, wider network,and higher traffic and utilisation


By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) A determined focus on keeping costs down to the bare bones, growing the network quickly and filling as many seats as possible has kept Tiger Airways flying high, even as its competitors struggle to stay the course.

The budget carrier, which took to the skies in September 2004, has not turned in a profit yet.

But CEO Tony Davis emphasises that it is cashflow-positive, has not had to make additional cash calls, and enjoys strong lines of credit with its bankers.

'We don't expect to ask shareholders for cash unless we need money to fund new expansion plans,' Mr Davis said, in an obvious reference to rival carriers Jetstar Asia and Valuair, which recently asked shareholders for an additional $36 million.

Tiger's shareholders - Singapore Airlines (49 per cent), Indigo Partners (24 per cent), Irelandia Investments (16 per cent), and Temasek Holdings (11 per cent) - initially invested $12 million to start up in 2004. They injected additional funds, said to be less than the original $12 million, several months later.

But Tiger has had a smoother ride than rivals Jetstar Asia and Valuair, which have burnt well over $100 million in almost two years and recently asked shareholders - namely Qantas and Temasek Holdings - for more funds. The two Orangestar carriers are now headed towards collaboration with Qantas and Sydney-based Jetstar - something which Mr Davis argues would pose unfair competition for go-it-alone players like Tiger.

So is Tiger doing well where others seem to be struggling?

Mr Davis credits this to Tiger's determination to quickly grow its routes at a frenetic pace over the past two years. 'We have launched more routes in a year than AirAsia did in five years,' he said. 'Today, we have permission to fly to almost every country in South-east Asia.'

Except two of the region's biggest markets, Indonesia and Malaysia, he might add. But Tiger could soon be in Indonesia. 'We are now in negotiations with potential partners to set up a second base in the country,' he revealed, without naming the parties.

If so, Tiger would be following the example set by Malaysia's AirAsia, which has 49 per cent-owned units in Thailand and Indonesia. Asia's largest budget carrier has shown that in an industry which is as notoriously protective and deeply wrapped in national pride, cross-border stakeholding alliances are the only way to get into closed markets.

Meanwhile, Tiger is pumping up traffic on the routes to its current destinations. 'We needed to grow our route network quickly, and we have been doing that,' said Mr Davis, who was the first managing director of Bmibaby, the low-cost offshoot of Britain's British Midland Airlines. 'Getting the routes is always the toughest part. Now we have the easy job of increasing the frequencies and the traffic.'

Indeed, it should prove relatively easy, given that in this region of some 550 million people, only about 15 per cent have been in an airplane. While Tiger Airways does not reveal detailed operating figures, the airline is believed to be enjoying system-wide passenger load of over 75 per cent.

Nevertheless, more routes will be unveiled in the next few weeks, according to Mr Davis.

So when will Tiger make a profit? 'Today! If fuel price was US$45 per barrel,' Mr Davis quipped, before adding that even with fuel hovering at well over US$75, Tiger is well positioned with its razor-sharp focus on keeping costs down and boosting traffic.

'Our strategy is to increase the utilisation rate of planes to 14 hours a day,' Mr Davis said. 'We are already the second-lowest-cost airline in the world, after AirAsia. So all we have to do is sell more seats.'

The airline moved to the Budget Terminal two months ago, does not allocate numbered seats, charges for food onboard, allows only 15kg baggage allowance and charges $20 for bulky items like golf bags, bicycles and surfboards.

Besides astute cost management, Tiger has avoided competing directly with heavyweights like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. For example, its routes like Singapore Macau, Singapore-Clarke Air Base, Clarke-Macau and Singapore-Darwin enjoy strong loads.

Tiger is preparing to take delivery of three more A320 jets this year, bringing its fleet size to nine planes. Three more A320s arrive next year, doubling its fleet to 12 planes by end-2007. The planes will be financed entirely with pre-arranged credit.

'We have 100 per cent of our pre-delivery lease financing on commercial terms with our bankers,' said Mr Davis. 'We have some US$60 million in pre-delivery financing lined up with The Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered and Norddeutsche Landesbank.'

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 04:23 PM   #1286
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EasyJet May passenger numbers up 15.2 pct

LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) - British low-cost airline easyJet Plc said on Wednesday it carried 2.94 million passengers in May, up 15.2 percent from a year earlier.

EasyJet said in a statement that its load factor, a measure of how efficiently it is filling seats, was 83.9 percent in May compared with 84.1 percent a year earlier.

The airline's total revenues for the 12 months to the end of May were up 21 percent to 1.5 billion pounds ($2.8 billion).

"Following strong April revenue results, which benefited from the timing of Easter, the positive performance has continued in May," the company said in a statement.

The airline said last month cost cuts and sales of in-flight drinks and online insurance were expected to offset a hefty fuel bill.

EasyJet, Europe's second-largest budget carrier after Ryanair, said it expected pretax profit growth of between 10 and 15 percent for the year.

Rivals Ryanair and British Airways all reported increased passenger traffic in May.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 05:36 PM   #1287
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to April 2006:
EasyJet = 31,331,115
Ryanair = 35,550,967

Percentage increase in passengers since April 2005:
EasyJet = 16.8%
Ryanair = 29%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in April 2006:
EasyJet = 86.4%
Ryanair = 85%
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to May 2006:
EasyJet = 31,718,857
Ryanair = 36,202,141

Percentage increase in passengers since May 2005:
EasyJet = 15.2%
Ryanair = 22%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in May 2006:
EasyJet = 84.2%
Ryanair = 82%
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Old June 9th, 2006, 05:08 PM   #1288
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EasyJet unveils Gatwick service
9 June 2006
The Herald

EASYJET has unveiled three new daily flights from Glasgow to Gatwick in a direct challenge to British Airways.

The airline, which launched its empire with budget flights from Scotland to Luton 10 years ago, will offer the first nofrills connections from Glasgow to what is London's biggest holiday airport.

The move will take easyJet's total number of flights between Glasgow and London to 28. The airline already serves Luton and Stansted.

It was given a warm welcome by airport officials yesterday. They have seen domestic traffic flatline in recent months amid increased options for direct international flights and a major improvement in cross-border train services, especially on the now faster West Coast main line.

Malcolm Robertson, a spokesman for BAA Scotland, which runs Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports, said: "There is no doubt the new connections launched by easyJet reflects the confidence the airlines have in domestic services out of Scotland.

"While there clearly is increased competition from the rail industry, we would hope services like these and existing services will make a difference to the domestic figures."

Andy Harrison, easyJet's chief executive, said: "This announcement will strengthen further our position at Glasgow and Gatwick."

Glasgow airport yesterday reported a drop of 0.7per cent, or roughly 30,000 passengers, on domestic routes in the 12 months through May 2006. British Airways has rejigged some of its domestic services during slack low-demand hours of the day.

There was also a dip for Edinburgh Airport, which saw a 3per cent drop in the number of passengers flying to UK destinations in May, to 523,000 from 539,000 in April.
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Old June 10th, 2006, 03:13 PM   #1289
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Business Times - 09 Jun 2006

Jetstar Asia voted best low-cost airline

By VEN SREENIVASAN

(SINGAPORE) Jetstar Asia has been voted the Best Low-cost Airline 2006 for both the Asia and South-east Asia categories in the Skytrax Airline of the Year survey.

A delighted Chong Phit Lian, CEO of Jetstar Asia, said she was happy and encouraged by the award. 'Recognition by our passengers and customers worldwide is important to us as it shows that we are doing the right things,' she said. 'We always try to understand the needs of our customers so that we can fulfil their needs better.'

The survey is a worldwide independent passenger study conducted at airports by Skytrax. The study polled over 13 million passengers, comprising more than 93 different nationalities. What lends the survey credibility, is that it is not tied to any sponsorship or external influence.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old June 14th, 2006, 12:55 PM   #1290
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14 June 2006

Tiger Airways calls for freer skies between Singapore and Malaysia
By Loh Kim Chin, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Tiger Airways is not targeting to fly to the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing for now.

Instead, its focus in China will remain on the southernmost cities where the flying time is within four to five hours from Singapore, to ensure a quick turnaround of its aircraft.

However, Malaysia is very much a destination on the budget carrier's sight.

And its CEO, Tony Davies, has called for a more open sky between Singapore and Malaysia and more access to the Malaysian market.

He was speaking on MediaCorp's Malay current affairs programme, Detik.

Tiger Airways is stepping up its services to the vast China market, barely two months after it started flights to the country in response to strong demand from Singaporeans and the Chinese.

But it also wants landing rights in another market closer to home - Malaysia.

The carrier's CEO is calling for a more liberalised market between Malaysia and Singapore.

He says by restricting access to other low cost carriers like Tiger Airways, Malaysian authorities are actually hurting the country's tourism, trade and aviation business.

"I think it's a great disappointment for many Singaporeans and many Malaysians who would love to fly more cost effectively between the two countries. I get letters all the time from people asking when we are going to start flying to KL and Penang," said Tony Davies, CEO of Tiger Airways.

Mr Davies believes the nationality of an airline should be irrelevant to consumers.

"In so many other industries, if you look at banking, or retail or manufacturing, the nationality of the owner is irrelevant. The question is if they produce a good product at the right price that you want to buy. And we have to start thinking of aviation in the same terms," said Davies.

He believes the catalyst for more liberalisation and change will come from hoteliers, tourism infrastructure and tourist attractions.

And Tiger Airways could probably offer air fares that are cheaper than the bus services between Singapore and Malaysia.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore is also negotiating with China for more air rights.

And Tiger Airways will soon have company at the Budget Terminal when Shanghai Airlines launches its cargo services between Singapore and Shanghai this month.

CAAS says it will continue to push for more air rights for Singapore carriers to fly to China and for their carriers to come here. - CNA /ls

Copyright © 2006 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old June 16th, 2006, 04:49 AM   #1291
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Star effort gets Jetstar reward

Airline staff get S'pore Sweep tickets as token of appreciation

Friday • June 16, 2006

Tor Ching Li
[email protected]

MERGED budget airlines Jetstar Asia and Valuair may have to wait until 2009 to turn a profit, but each of their 300 staff members will have the opportunity to become millionaires by next month.

This is not due to an extremely big bonus from their holding company, Orangestar, but because chief executive Chong Phit Lian, 53, will be giving each staff member a Singapore Sweep ticket today as a fun token of appreciation for their hard work and achievements.

Jetstar Asia recently won the Best Low Cost Airline Award (Asia and Southeast Asia) in the Skytrax World Airline Awards, based on a worldwide independent passenger study of 13 million passengers in more than 93 countries.

"It's a timely recognition of my colleagues' effort and a reflection of customer recognition, which I think is very important," said Ms Chong, who, next Friday, will have helmed the budget aviation firm for 100 days.

Part of the evaluation criteria for the award was the convenience and comfort of the check-in process.

Operating at Terminal 1 alongside full-fare airlines, Jetstar Asia and Valuair have an edge over their rival, the Singapore Airlines-owned Tiger Airways, in terms of passenger comfort factor because Tiger Airways operates out of the Budget Terminal.

Customer satisfaction comes at the cost of some $3 million more a year to use Terminal 1's facilities, but Ms Chong said the benefits outweigh the costs for the low-cost airline. "You don't have to worry if it rains, so it translates into better customer service. We do what our customer wants," said Ms Chong.

The former Singapore Mint chief executive is the merged airline's fourth chief executive in two years, albeit the first woman, industry outsider and Singaporean in the role.

Barely 10 days into her job, Ms Chong found the existence of the airline hanging in the balance as Orangestar had exhausted the $60 million that shareholders — such as Qantas and Temasek Holdings — had pumped into the merged entity last July.

Ms Chong had to chair an extraordinary general meeting with shareholders to raise $36 million in fresh funding, which she has managed to secure.

"We will be expanding our routes. Things are progressing as planned," said Ms Chong.

Passenger loads on its 12 routes have increased to an average of "below 70 per cent" due to a reduction in the size of their fleet from eight planes to six.

Coming from an industry that was all about churning out money to one that burns cash at a rate of up to $5 million a month, Ms Chong said: "There has been a lot of concern that I have no airline experience, but it's about organising resources, aligning people and streamlining processes."

Just last month, efforts were made to reach out to regional travellers who travel from point to point via Singapore.

Route arrivals and departures have been synchronised so that passengers can transit through Singapore from one Jetstar Asia and Valuair destination to another, such as from Bangkok to Jakarta.

Jetstar Asia has also been given "interim authorisation" by the Australian competition watchdog to fix fares and coordinate schedules with parent company Qantas Airways. This will allow Jetstar — the sister airline of Jetstar Asia — to link its operations with Orangestar.

When Jetstar International takes off in November with flights from Australia to Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, Japan and Hawaii, Ms Chong said there are plans for Jetstar Asia passengers to transit seamlessly between Jetstar Asia and Jetstar International flights on one single ticket and do away with the hassle of baggage transfer.

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old June 19th, 2006, 03:30 AM   #1292
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Has Calcutta been dropped from one of the Singaporean LLC route networks? I am sure that one of the airlines had flights to Calcutta a few months ago but no longer it seems....
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Old June 19th, 2006, 04:59 AM   #1293
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Easyjet scraps Irish routes
Dominic O'Connell
18 June 2006
The Sunday Times

THE low-cost airline Easyjet is set to axe flights on three key routes where it competes head-to-head with Ryanair.

Aviation industry sources say Easyjet is to drop its flights from Gatwick to Shannon, Knock and Cork in Ireland.

The services were started in January last year. Ryanair responded by launching competing services from Gatwick.

Easyjet's decision is significant because the two airlines, the largest low cost carriers in Europe, have to date largely avoided competing directly against each other.

The Irish routes were one of the few areas where both airlines offered services.

An Easyjet spokesman would not confirm the decision yesterday, saying that the future of the services was under review and that they would continue to operate until the end of September.

"We expect to be making an announcement on these services shortly," he said.

But the aviation sources said a recent announcement by Easyjet of other services from Gatwick -extra frequencies to Madrid, Milan, Cologne, Athens, Berlin and Amsterdam, and a new service to Glasgow -had masked the end of the Irish routes.

Meanwhile, Easyjet has been forced to suspend sales of a new flight from Luton to Istanbul. The service was to have started on June 29, but has been put on hold because the Turkish authorities have not granted permission.

Flights within the European Union -which includes most of Easyjet's route network -do not require approval by national governments. But Turkey is not a member of the EU.

The Easyjet spokesman confirmed that the launch of the service had been de- layed because of regulatory difficulties.

Easyjet's chief executive, Andy Harrison, is understood to have flown to Istanbul to press his case with the Turkish government.

The airline has recently enjoyed strong growth in passenger numbers and revenues.

Earlier this month it reported that it carried just short of 3m passengers in May, 15.2% up on the same month a year earlier.

The company has made several moves to attract more business travellers from full-service airlines such as British Airways, including the trial of a premium boarding service, internet check-in and increased cabin baggage allowances.

Gatwick is now the airline's biggest base, ahead of Luton, where it has its head office, and Stansted.

Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Easy-jet's founder, was yesterday knighted in the Queen's birthday honours for services to aviation.

He joins a select group of aviation knights, including Sir Michael Bishop, chairman of BMI British Midland, Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic, and Sir Rod Eddington, the former chief executive of British Airways.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 04:59 AM   #1294
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Budget terminal from the plane
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Old June 24th, 2006, 06:09 AM   #1295
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EU clears French subsidy for Ryanair to start Toulon-London route
23 June 2006

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - EU regulators cleared a French subsidy to low-fare airline Ryanair Holdings PLC on Friday to help it start flying from Toulon to London Stansted -- just weeks after the company complained about government funds paid to rival Air France-KLM.

The owner of Toulon Hyeres airport, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Var, can go ahead and pay 50 percent of the Irish airline's "additional costs" up to a euro500,000 (US$629,000) threshold per year for three years, the European Commission said. The aid may also be extended for an extra two years.

Ryanair has expanded rapidly with its "no-frills" low-fare flights undercutting rivals. It usually flies to smaller regional airports that often offer low charges or subsidize its costs to attract new business.

Regulators said they approved the grant because it met EU guidelines designed to stop government money giving a company an unfair advantage over rivals. It said the French funds would help develop year-round tourism in the region.

Ryanair's rollout of new routes in France has led to a spat with France's flagship airline that has seen it file two antitrust complaints against Air France.

Air France-KLM, the world's largest airline by revenue, has also complained about lower airport fees offered to Ryanair by Marseilles airport to help it serve 13 routes and bring in up to 1 million extra passengers. It said it has appealed to the Council of State, France's highest administrative body, against discriminatory fees.

Ryanair said the French Civil Aviation Authority had cleared the fees, describing the complaint as "the latest in a long line of abuses by Air France to protect their stranglehold on the French market."

It filed a complaint to the European Commission last month regarding approximately euro1 billion (US$1.26 billion) worth of state aid it alleged Air France has received in the form of subsidized domestic landing and passenger fees.

Ryanair is still fighting an EU ruling that ordered it to pay back a euro4.5 million (US$5.66 million) Belgian subsidy to run flights out of Charleroi airport.

In February 2004, EU regulators ruled parts of Ryanair's contract with Charleroi were illegal and ordered the airline to make changes. Charleroi was granting the airline up to 90 percent of its costs over 15 years.

Ryanair is currently appealing the ruling at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
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Old July 3rd, 2006, 04:40 AM   #1296
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Tiger Airways to sell, lease back two aircraft

Monday • July 3, 2006

Tiger Airways, which counts Singapore Airlines as its biggest shareholder, said that it would sell two Airbus A320 planes to GATX Air and lease them back.

It will sell the two aircraft to GATX Air, a unit of United States-based GATX Corp, which leases airplanes and railroad cars, and lease them back for 12 years after delivery.

Tiger Airways will receive one of the planes in October this year and the other in November 2007, the company said. It did not disclose the terms of the agreement.

The deal "will provide long-term financing for our two new A320 aircraft", Mr Tony Davis, chief executive officer of Tiger Airways,said. "This agreement further reinforces our relationship with GATX as it is already providing financing for one of our original A320 aircraft."

Tiger has been seeking to trim costs to counter rising oil prices and as competition forces it to cut fares. The carrier competes with Malaysia's AirAsia and Singapore's Jetstar Asia and Valuair, which agreed to combine in July last year.

Meanwhile, the airline is in negotiations with Airbus to convert options for a further eight aircraft into orders. That will boost the size of its fleet to 20 planes, the airline said. — Bloomberg

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 03:53 PM   #1297
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Ryanair traffic stats stay solid, shares rise

DUBLIN, July 5 (Reuters) - Ryanair said on Wednesday its flights were 87 percent full in June -- unchanged on last year despite the addition of new routes -- helping boost shares in Europe's biggest budget airline by as much as 4.5 percent.

John Sheehan, analyst at NCB Stockbrokers, said that while the numbers were no great surprise given Ryanair's upbeat outlook for the summer months, they did give investors an excuse to buy a stock that has been little changed in recent weeks.

"The traffic numbers were good but they had been kind of indicated already," said Sheehan. "I think the passenger numbers have also reminded people of the growth story at Ryanair."

Ryanair said its load factor, a measure of how well it is filling planes, was steady in June at 87 percent compared to the same month last year and that it carried 3.67 million passengers in the month, up 23 percent from a year ago.

Shares in Ryanair got a lift following full-year results in early June but have traded in a narrow range around the 7-euro mark for the last three weeks. On Wednesday they were up 3.2 percent at 7.40 euros by 1336 GMT, having earlier hit 7.49 euros, their highest level since mid-April.

"The passenger figures seem to be the main driver," said one Dublin-based trader. "Despite them not being a hell of a lot different from what people expected, the stock price has been very flat of late."

Traders also pointed to an analysis in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that said a number of analysts believe the stock has been unfairly punished by worries over the high oil price and that Ryanair "has the fundamentals to outperform".

"There's a Wall Street Journal article suggesting the strength of Ryanair's model," said one trader. "There's been buying interest on the back of that and people expect U.S. investors to come in on the back of it."
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Old July 7th, 2006, 04:18 PM   #1298
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Budget airline easyJet strongly upgrades full-year profit forecast; Shares soar
7 July 2006

LONDON (AP) - Shares in easyJet PLC soared nearly 10 percent Friday after the budget airline sharply upgraded its full-year profit forecast on strong performance across its network.

EasyJet now expects a gain of 40 percent to 50 percent in pretax profit for the year ending Sept. 30, a significant increase on its previous projection of a 10 percent to 15 percent gain.

Chief Executive Andy Harrison said the carrier's new forecast was support by an expected 3 percent to 4 percent rise in passenger revenue per seat over the year.

"To support our busy summer period and fulfill our schedule, we are sub-chartering a limited number of aircraft on a short-term basis," he said.

That decision would allow unit costs excluding fuel to fall by around 3 percent over the year, he added.

EasyJet shares were up 9.3 percent at 427.25 pence ($7.84) on the London Stock Exchange as the airline's stock was upgraded by analysts.

The revised full-year forecast came as easyJet posted a 15.6 percent rise in June passenger traffic to 2.99 million.

"We expected a slowdown from May's revenue growth of 28 percent, but easyJet has done well to stimulate travel during the World Cup," said investment house Dresdner Kleinwort.

EasyJet will release its third-quarter trading update on Aug. 7.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 07:03 PM   #1299
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Ryanair denies misstating tax and airport passenger fees

LONDON, July 10, 2006 (AFP) - Ireland's Ryanair on Monday dismissed a report which claimed that the Irish no-frills airline could face an EU probe into alleged misstating of taxes and airport passenger fees on European routes.

The Daily Telegraph had reported Monday that Ryanair "has been accused of systematically inflating charges added to ticket prices" from airports including Dublin, Treviso, Charleroi, Rome, Pisa and Alghero. It added that the practice may breach EU law.

The daily newspaper quoted Eva Lichtenberger -- an Austrian MEP on the European parliament's transport committee -- as saying that she would call for an inquiry by the European Commission.

"This is a very serious matter," The Daily Telegraph quotes Lichtenberger as saying. "The public are not being told the true cost of the airport fees, which I believe violates EU consumer protection rules."

Lichtenberger's comments followed claims of alleged mislabelling made by German television programme PlusMinus.

However, Ryanair said the Telegraph's report was based on "an inaccurate and untrue claim" made by PlusMinus -- and insisted that no Ryanair passenger has ever been over-charged.

"Before any passenger is allowed to confirm and pay for a booking on Ryanair, they are presented with a breakdown of their total fare including taxes, fees and charges and are asked to confirm their agreement to this total amount before they are allowed to proceed with their booking," it said in a statement.

"Every passenger agrees to these sums as part of the booking process."

The airline sector has under scrutiny in recent weeks.

British Airways had revealed late last month that it was under investigation by Britain's competition authority and the US Department of Justice as part of a probe into the possible fixing of fuel surcharges by airlines.

High oil prices have forced most major carriers like BA to levy a so-called fuel surcharge to cover the soaring cost of jet fuel, but low-cost airlines like Ryanair and Britain's easyJet have rejected such a move.

Dublin-based Ryanair, Europe's largest budget carrier, operates 301 low-fare routes across 22 European countries.
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Old July 12th, 2006, 02:08 AM   #1300
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to May 2006:
EasyJet = 31,718,857
Ryanair = 36,202,141

Percentage increase in passengers since May 2005:
EasyJet = 15.2%
Ryanair = 22%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in May 2006:
EasyJet = 84.2%
Ryanair = 82%
Rolling 12 month passenger totals to June 2006:
EasyJet = 32,122,137
Ryanair = 36,884,608

Percentage increase in passengers since June 2005:
EasyJet = 13.5%
Ryanair = 23%

Load factor (ie percentage bums on seats) in June 2006:
EasyJet = 87.6%
Ryanair = 87%
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