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Old May 19th, 2008, 05:59 AM   #121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Yes, those are BA prices, and I found them on the other major carriers such as AA as well. The other European ones such as LH were not that far away. Keep in mind it is not low season on the transatlantic route right now. Keep an eye on the papers and the websites around Christmas time.

In the US, taxes and fuel surcharges do not need to be included on base fares. The 99 dollar amount is the base fare. Even within the EU the concept of an all-inclusive fare is a contested subject that is not consistently implemented across the board.
These are just headline prices. They may be offered by some airlines, but only to a small proportion on specific flights, excluding the full costs, and do not reflect average prices which are very much higher.

Going back to the original point; airlines are reporting that the additional competition is already affecting the margins on their ticket prices into and out of Heathrow.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 06:09 AM   #122
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Opinion on consolidation by BA Chairman

When British Airways, the biggest carrier on the North Atlantic with a market share estimated at 35%, announced record profits last week, the airline said rocketing fuel prices and weakening demand could come close to wiping out its earnings in the current financial year. Willie Walsh, the airline's chief executive, said: ‘This will make it imperative for some in the industry to seek consolidation. All airlines are going to have to take serious action to restore profitability.'

Industry executives — and transport bankers — are now starting to think about what the result of the industry squeeze will be. The Times reports today that most, like Mr Walsh, expect long-awaited industry consolidation finally to kick off, with the weaker of the American airlines likely to be most under pressure.

The big American airlines are already huddling together for safety, with a merger agreed between Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines, and talks going on between Continental, American and US Airways about a range of possible mergers or marketing alliances. Last month, Continental called off merger talks with United Airlines, with Wall Street sources blaming fears over the latter’s finances and whether it had the cash to ride out a downturn.


More on BMI as well:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-180508d.htm
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Old May 19th, 2008, 01:59 PM   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magellan View Post
These are just headline prices. They may be offered by some airlines, but only to a small proportion on specific flights, excluding the full costs, and do not reflect average prices which are very much higher.

Going back to the original point; airlines are reporting that the additional competition is already affecting the margins on their ticket prices into and out of Heathrow.
I haven't had any problems finding these prices for the vast majority of fares I was searching for, meaning almost all flights of the days. Keep in mind booking a month in advance at least would be advantageous. Christmas and after is a very low season for transatlantic travel, and plenty of specials abound will surface around that time. These rock-bottom fares are not a rarity or a gimmick.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 02:06 PM   #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
I haven't had any problems finding these prices for the vast majority of fares I was searching for, meaning almost all flights of the days. Keep in mind booking a month in advance at least would be advantageous. Christmas and after is a very low season for transatlantic travel, and plenty of specials abound will surface around that time. These rock-bottom fares are not a rarity or a gimmick.
OK; I'm not going to argue with on this any more and will let it rest.

As far as I can tell, searching from the UK, these are only headline prices. I have checked several sites and looked at various periods of advanced booking but come out with ticket prices around the figures I quoted above.

Going back to the original point; airlines are reporting that the increased competition on routes into/out of Heathrow is reducing their margins on ticket prices.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 02:15 PM   #125
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I think the impact of open skies will be limited as it is very difficult to secure slots at Heathrow. Sure, airlines can add all sorts of routes now, but that has nothing to do with how many flights Heathrow can handle. The real price drops will occur when airlines realize they won't be able to use Heathrow, and go to alternates such as Stansted.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 02:53 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
I think the impact of open skies will be limited as it is very difficult to secure slots at Heathrow. Sure, airlines can add all sorts of routes now, but that has nothing to do with how many flights Heathrow can handle.
That is the kernel of the issue; and that is why the possible take over of BMI is so significant.

BMI is a small airline with routes in the short-, medium-, and long-haul sectors and holds 12% of the slots at Heathrow, which as you say is constrained by the limited capacity for growth. Pairs of slots have been changing hands at up to £30m per pair.

A take-over of BMI would enable the new owner to re-distribute its slots (valued at about £1billion) to more profitable, long-haul routes. BA and others have already been moving some of their short-haul routes out of Heathrow to accommodate more trans-Atlantic flights. The dissolution of the BMI network would therefore be of major significance.

A take-over of BMI would give BA a marked increase in competition on its main source of income, but would be detrimental to Heathrow in that it would probably lead to a further net reduction in connections to unique destinations to/from the airport.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
The real price drops will occur when airlines realize they won't be able to use Heathrow, ...
The reductions are already happening (over and above seasonal variations) with the number of airlines operating out of Heathrow on the trans-Atlantic flights having doubled since the start of Open-Skies. Runway operations are also to be changed in order to provide an increase in the number of available slots.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
... and go to alternates such as Stansted.
That possibility is more likely to happen if/when BAA is forced to sell one of its London airports (probably Gatwick), with the new owner possibly looking at options to attract one of the Alliances (Star Alliance may be a prime candidate given the wait to get into its own terminal at Heathrow). However, no such move is likely to happen until facilities at and to the other London airports are improved, with Heathrow being the preferred point of entry.

Last edited by Magellan; May 19th, 2008 at 02:59 PM.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 07:19 AM   #127
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BA OpenSkies gets go ahead

BA's OpenSkies airline has been given the go ahead to fly New York JFK to Paris Orly from June:

OpenSkies receives US approval


The intent of this start-up is to take premium passengers from its competitors so as to under mine their profitability on specific routes. More routes are planned.

It looks like BA will build the airline fleet, at least initially, with 757s cascaded from the main fleet as they are replaced.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 02:59 PM   #128
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BMI Profits halved

BMI still manages to make a small profit, while operational profit was up:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-230508d.htm

While it makes provisions in its company valuation for its Heathrow slots at £770 million:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-240508a.htm
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Old May 29th, 2008, 02:16 PM   #129
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Virgin Bullish

Virgin rejects a possible tie-up with Lufthansa over BMI, and is looking at its own plans for the company:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-270508a.htm
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Old June 18th, 2008, 04:21 AM   #130
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ANALYSIS-Smaller airlines unlikely to survive high oil prices

LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) -A host of smaller European airlines are likely to go bankrupt in coming months if the oil price does not drop significantly below current levels of $130 a barrel.

Faced with the unprecedentedly high cost of fuel, airlines will have to hedge against the oil price and cut unprofitable flights and routes to help them stay in the air.

Pressure on airline profit margins will be exacerbated by a slowdown in demand from consumers, as well.

Short-haul weekend breaks or second holidays are expected to be high up the list of cost cuts as household bills are inflated by rising petrol, utility and food prices.

Overall, 24 airlines have gone bust around the world this year and just under half were based in Europe, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The transatlantic business class-only airline model has been wiped out.

Britain's Silverjet was forced to call in the administrators at the end of last month due to a lack of funds, following the demise of rivals MAXjet and Eos Airlines.

Now the regular and low-cost airline models are also under threat as profits plunge.

"Airlines are facing their hardest time since 2001, and it would be normal to expect some bankruptcies across the industry," said Andy Clarke, director of air transport policy at the European Regions Airline Association (ERA).

"Certain low-budget airlines won't be able to compete effectively as margins tighten and fuel costs spiral upwards," added Mark Fennessy, restructuring lawyer at Orrick law firm in London.

"In my view, the majors (British Airways , Air France and Lufthansa ) and major low-budget airlines (Ryanair and easyJet <EZJ.L) will survive although they may have to drop some unprofitable routes," he said. Andrew Fitchie, airlines analyst at broker Collins Stewart agreed that changes would have to be made.

"In the short term, the only differentiating factor is whether (an airline) has fuel hedging or not ... Those who survive must substantially cut back on capacity -- they can cut out the loss-making services and focus on what makes money," he said.

CUTTING ROUTES

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair , spelt out the severity of the problem at the airline's annual results presentation last week.

He said that if oil remained at $130 a barrel, the group's profits of nearly 500 million euros ($780.4 million) would be wiped out in the year to end March 2009.

In what O'Leary admits was a mistake, Ryanair has not hedged at all on the assumption that oil would eventually fall -- meaning it pays the highest possible price for fuel.

In contrast, BA has 70 percent of its fuel hedged at $82 a barrel for the first quarter of this year, dropping to 55 percent at $90 in the fourth quarter.

However, if oil remains high the British carrier will bear the brunt eventually as the terms of its hedging deteriorate.

"Hedging is not really a solution. It doesn't allow you to escape the impact -- it just defers it," said Douglas O'Neill, transport analyst at Blue Oar Securities.

He added that cutting capacity was a better strategy, and a sign of good management rather than weakness. "It's a sensible reaction to the fact that some routes are not making money anymore," he said.

O'Leary said he was prepared to cut capacity on routes where there are several flights a day, rather than cutting out a route completely.

BA signalled last week that it would cut capacity later this year, with details still to be finalised.

O'Leary was characteristically blunt about which airlines were in trouble, naming Slovakia's SkyEurope as a possible casualty by the end of the summer. Small British airlines such as Jet2 , FlyGlobespan and Flybe were also on his list, prompting fierce denials from the parties involved.

Flybe said oil would have to reach $170 a barrel for its profits to be reduced to zero, while Jet2 was equally defiant.

"We are fully hedged for this summer, next winter and substantially for next summer," said Andrew Merrick, finance director of Jet2 parent Dart Group , although the firm did put out a profit warning on February due to a disappointing performance last winter.

Merrick said Jet2, which operates from airports in Northern England and Scotland, was happy with its volume of summer bookings, but Blue Oar's O'Neill said that the predicament of some airlines was being obscured by the high summer season.

He said that the onset of the quieter autumn and winter period could come alongside slowing demand from the consumer.

"At this time of year, airline cash flow is strong, but after the summer is over, you can't rule anything out," he said.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 02:35 PM   #131
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More Slot Trading at Heathrow

More slots are being traded at Heathrow. There is no net change in the number of destinations served, but the trend seems to be that the regional, low margin feeder routes are being squeezed out in favour of more long distance connections. Fine if you want to get to/from London, but is undermining Heathrow's hub status:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-230608e.htm
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Old July 11th, 2008, 09:42 AM   #132
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EU Parliament moves against misleading airline ads
9 July 2008

STRASBOURG, France (AP) - The European Parliament approved a bill Wednesday to prevent airlines posting advertisements for cheap flights that hide the true price by excluding additional charges such as taxes and booking fees.

The bill passed without a vote because none of the 785 members of the EU assembly raised any objections.

A European Union report in May claimed a third of people who shop for flights online are being cheated by misleading ads and price schemes. In said airlines and other travel companies often add airport taxes, handling fees, baggage and seating charges, and a variety of other costs, on top of the prices that first appear on Web sites.

Under the rules approved Wednesday, airlines will have to clearly show the total price customers will have to pay at the start of the booking process.

"The passenger has a right to know the actual price of the ticket, including taxes and extra charges," said Arunas Degutis, the Lithuanian liberal member who drafted the bill. "It is misleading to advertise a ticket at 1 or 2 euros, when the actual cost is actually much higher."

EU governments have already approved the rules which are expected to come into force by early next year.

About 700 million travelers fly on EU airlines each year and the sector draws more consumer complaints than any other, the EU says.

The European Low Fares Airline Association said it welcomed the EU measure, claiming its members had more open pricing than traditional flag carriers.

"Low fares airlines have the most transparent pricing policies," said the group which includes easyjet, Ryanair and Sky Europe.

Such no-frills airlines have dramatically increased their share of the short-haul flight market in Europe in recent years, leading the way in online reservations.

The European Low Fares Airline Association says budget airlines currently account for over 35 percent of scheduled air traffic within Europe, with its members expected to carry over 150 million passengers in 2008.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 01:14 AM   #133
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Heathrow top of the list again

"Heathrow has been ranked Europe's worst airport for delays again, as its performance continues to deteriorate, new figures show. According to the latest statistics published by the Association of European Airlines, nearly half of flights left or arrived at Heathrow at least 15 minutes late during the first three months of this year. Not only was Heathrow rated as the worst of the 27 airports in the survey, but this was the 16th quarter in succession that it was rated among the bottom 5 performers. ..."

http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-020708b.htm
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Old July 21st, 2008, 06:05 AM   #134
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Spain mulls changing airline routes to offset fuel costs
19 July 2008
Agence France Presse

Spain is considering changing commercial airline routes to make them shorter and more direct in order to offset high fuel prices, Public Works minister Magdalena Alvarez said Saturday.

Alvarez said she would ask the defence ministry to alter airspace currently reserved for military use in order to make this possible.

"If the problem is the rise in fuel prices, the best measure to support airlines is to study how to reduce fuel consumption," the minister told reporters in the southern port of Malaga.

Shorter routes would reduce flying time and allow for airlines to use their planes and crews on more flights each day in addition to cutting fuel costs, the ministry added in a statement.

Airlines around the world are struggling with the impact of rising fuel costs.

Spanair, Spain's second-largest airline, 100-percent owned by Scandinavian operator SAS, said Wednesday it is cutting about a quarter of its workforce as well as nine loss-making routes.

Last week Vueling and Clickair, two loss-making low-cost Spanish carriers, announced plans for a merger.

The number of flights between Madrid and Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city, fell by 14.2 percent in the first half of 2008 as against the corresponding period in 2007 due to the inauguration of a high-speed rail service between the two cities in February, airport authority AENA said earlier Saturday.

Traffic through Spain's airports increased by 2.8 percent on the same comparison, it added.

Spain's air carriers association AECA on Thursday urged the goverment to come up with a package of "urgent and quick" measures to help the sector and ensure that other airlines do not follow Spanair's example.
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Old July 29th, 2008, 05:15 PM   #135
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BA and Iberia hold merger talks

BA has come clean on the subject of merger talks with Iberia:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7530819.stm

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=aWjkyAFW.KKU

The articles indicate that the talks are at an early stage, but on past experience, the chances are against the merger going ahead given that BA has pulled out of every other take-over/merger proposal over the last ten years or so. There is also opposition to the merger within Iberia and the Spanish business sector.

Things are bad in the industry if this particular merger does go ahead.
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Old July 30th, 2008, 10:09 PM   #136
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Next - Austrian Airlines

The Head of Austrian Airlines is reported to be seeking the sale of the state's 43% holding in the airline in a Government Cabinet meeting scheduled for the 12th August. This follows a report recommending the sale of Austrian Airlines to another airline, and the appointment of Merrill Lynch to find a partner.

Lufthansa will consider a potential tie-up with Austrian when the time comes:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=aZFa5.hjiJzc


... while Aeroflot has ruled itself out:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=a3rDrwUs4zAQ


Meanwhile a rumour has been started suggesting that Air China is possibly interested in a stake:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=a1RUft2mGBCQ


Austrian's troubles are also a concern to Wien Airport with the airline providing 48% of the latter's business. Wien is looking to approach a number of the airline's competitors to broaden it income:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=a0O3Qre9ChJQ


Other candidates declared and undeclared include Royal Jordanian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Air France KLM, Qatar, and Emirates.

The motivation for the sale has come about due to the airline's relatively high costs, continuing losses, the pull-out of a Saudi investor, and the lack of sufficient hedging of fuel prices rendering the business unviable in the current climate.

The sale to a foreign company may however prove controversial, and possibly become a key issue in the Austrian National elections due to take place on the 28th September, with echoes of the Italian election campaign.

The company is currently valued on the stock market at about 350 Million Euros meaning a potential buyer could gain control of company for about 160 - 180 Million Euros (on a straight cash for shares basis).

In my experience Austrian provides a high level of service and would probably be attractive to the premium airlines, such as those in the Asian market (Singapore Airlines, the Gulf airlines etc) or to airlines based in North American (if they can find the cash) looking to break into the European market.

No doubt Lufthansa may consider it strategically important not to let the company slip under the control of a major competitor (such as BA which would find it a more natural fit than Iberia - but switching airline alliance may risk customer loyalty), though it would have little to gain except from traffic consolidation. There is however opposition to a take-over by Lufthansa from within the Austrian Government Cabinet, and BMI is more prominent in Lufthansa's plans.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 08:41 AM   #137
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Next - Austrian Airlines II

The airline has now been put up for sale:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=aT1QYvFsFuk4

http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ews-130808.htm

Its fate should be known by the end of October, with Lufthansa being the preferred partner within the airline but perhaps not within the Government. See also previous post.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #138
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SAS - Where to from here?

SAS Group has recently announced further cuts in its fleet, operations and staff (the latter amounting to nearly 10% of teh workforce):

http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-140808a.htm

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=a3SI9pT0.uXU

"Cost cuts are the only way forward for SAS, but the question is whether this will be enough for them to continue as an independent airline in the long run.'', but line held within SAS is still to remain independent - "Our whole strategy is based on standing alone".

It seems to be getting dragged down by Spanair, with the main airline still in good condition. It plans to sell its share in BMI which should go around the end of this year to Lufthansa.

So where to from here? The group has a reasonable long-haul operation, but it is mainly a short-haul regional and domestic(s) operator. The quarterly losses it has just reported are at nearly twice the level of expectations so it has a lot of work to do. As well as grounding aircraft, it could perhaps make savings by rationalising its varied fleet with newer and smaller aircraft, and find a way of turning Spanair around or jettisoning it ASAP. The next steps get difficult. What about eliminating one or more of its three "international" hubs? In terms of consolidation, it is a little difficult to see a suitable partner which is not focused elsewhere with perhaps the exceptions being Air France KLM and Aeroflot.

More comment on SAS:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...2&postcount=12

Last edited by Magellan; August 19th, 2008 at 03:48 AM.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 12:32 PM   #139
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AA, BA, Iberia tie-up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magellan View Post
BA has come clean on the subject of merger talks with Iberia:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7530819.stm

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=aWjkyAFW.KKU

The articles indicate that the talks are at an early stage, but on past experience, the chances are against the merger going ahead given that BA has pulled out of every other take-over/merger proposal over the last ten years or so. There is also opposition to the merger within Iberia and the Spanish business sector.

Things are bad in the industry if this particular merger does go ahead.
AA, BA, and Iberia have finally announce the tie-up that has been expected since Air France KLM Delta/NWA obtained Anti-Trust Immunity from the US Government earlier this year:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-140808b.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7560790.stm


If there are any objections to this tie-up, the three will obviously refer to the Air France KLM Open-Skies tie-up with Delta/NWA as setting a precedent.

Virgin as usual are determined to attack any move made by BA:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-100808b.htm
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-100808c.htm
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ews-160808.htm
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-170808a.htm


... but Branson has been told to 'shut-up' and focus on his own business for a change:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-120808c.htm

Virgin is however likely to disappear as an independent (but not as a brand) in any deal negotiated with certain Middle-Eastern investment groups.


The AA/BA/Iberia dominance at Heathrow has been the sticking point in the past with regulators requiring that the airlines give up landing slots in order to get approval. This was unacceptable to the airlines, and now has less significance given the way their competitors already dominate their own home hubs:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-170808b.htm


The proposed combined airline group is also in third place in terms of share of North-Atlantic traffic so this would also be in its favour:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ews-160808.htm


Meanwhile, backing for the BA-Iberia merger has come from the Spanish Government, which will help to over-come some of the opposition to the deal that has existed within Iberia:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-010808b.htm


... perhaps because the difficulties that Iberia is in at the moment:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ews-050808.htm


... and thus creating the world's third largest airline conglomerate (in terms of revenue):
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-010808a.htm


... with its head office and main stock listing in Madrid:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-300708b.htm
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Old August 21st, 2008, 03:54 PM   #140
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Europe's Worst Aviation Accidents

Europe's worst aviation accidents in the past 15 years
21 August 2008
Agence France Presse

The accident involving a Spanair aircraft which crashed at Madrid's airport on Wednesday killing at least 153, is one of the most deadly in Europe in the past 15 years.

It is the worst in Spain for 23 years, when a February 1985 crash at Bilbao claimed 148 lives.

The worst aviation accident ever in Europe, and indeed in the world, remains the ground collision between two Boeing 747s at Spain's Tenerife airport on March 27, 1977 with 583 victims.

According to international statistics, however, Europe remains the safest continent on which to fly.

- January 20, 1992: FRANCE - An Airbus belonging to French airline Air Inter crashes in the region of Mont Sainte-Odile near Strasbourg, killing 87.

- March 31, 1995: ROMANIA - An Airbus belonging to Romanian air carrier Tarom crashes after take off at Bucharest airport. Sixty people are killed.

- July 25, 2000: FRANCE - An Air France Concorde headed to New York crashes while taking off from Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris: 113 die.

- July 3, 2001: RUSSIA - 145 are killed when a Tupolev flight crashes near Irkutsk in Siberia.

- October 8, 2001: ITALY - 118 are killed in the collision of a MD-87 belonging to Scandinavian airline SAS and a private Cessna aircraft in the fog at Milan-Linate airport.

- July 1, 2002: GERMANY - A collision between a Russian Tupolev and a DHL cargo plane near Ueberlingen over Lake Constance near the Swiss frontier: 71 killed.

- January 8, 2003: TURKEY - A plane belonging to Turkish Airlines crashes on landing at Diyarbakir airport. 75 are killed.

- May 26, 2003: TURKEY - A Ukrainian Yak-42 crashes near Trabzon in the northeast of the country with 75 people on board, including 62 Spanish soldiers. No survivors.

- Aug 14, 2005: GREECE - 121 are killed when a Boeing belonging to Cypriot company Helios crashes near to Athens.

- May 3, 2006: RUSSIA - An Airbus belonging to Armenian company Armavia en route to Sochi crashes in the Black Sea: 113 die.

- July 9, 2006: RUSSIA - 124 are killed when a Russian Airbus crashes on landing at Irkutsk in Siberia.

- Aug 22, 2006: UKRAINE - 170 are killed when a Russian Tupolev plane crashes in the east of the country.
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