News for Europe/MEA

Samoan PM: Samoa Airways budget set and tabled, carrier maintaining 12-Nov-2017 launch target

21 August, 2017

Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi confirmed an operating budget for Samoa Airways has been set and "tabled with the board" and it is maintaining a 12-Nov-2017 target for launch of service (Samoa Observer, 18-Aug-2017). The carrier has set Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane as initial routes, leased a Boeing 737 from IcelandAir and plans to expand to larger aircraft in the future.

Ryanair to review cabin baggage allowance if pax 'repeatedly flout' rules

21 August, 2017

Ryanair advised (18-Aug-2017) passengers to comply fully with its cabin bag rules, which the carrier said are "being repeatedly flouted", resulting in boarding delays during the peak summer season. Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs said: "Many customers are repeatedly exceeding our cabin baggage allowance and we will be left with no choice but to review our policy should this practice continue". [more - original PR] [more - original PR - French]

Delta Air Lines to launch New York JFK-Lagos service in 2018

20 August, 2017

Delta Air Lines announced (20-Aug-2017) plans to launch three times weekly New York JFK-Lagos service on 24-Mar-2018, complementing four times weekly Atlanta-Lagos service. The carrier will deploy A330-200 aircraft on the route. SVP for trans atlantic Dwight James noted: "Nigeria has been a strategically important market for Delta over the past 10 years and is a mainstay in our African network. As we look ahead to the next decade, we are improving the product offering with the A330 and increasing the number of seats from Lagos". Arik Air previously operated the route in early 2017, according to OAG. [more - original PR]

Kuwait Airways aims to increase market share, modernise fleet and expand network

18 August, 2017

Kuwait Airways chairman Sami Al-Rasheed said the airline aims to increase market share in Kuwait from 35% to 50%, modernise its fleet and expand its network over the next five years (, 16-Aug-2017). The airline expects to require government support until it breaks even in 2021. The carrier retired four aircraft in Aug-2017 and intends to take delivery of one Boeing 777-300ER, ending the month with 25 aircraft. The airline plans to commence Taif service in Nov-2017 and is considering destinations in East Asia, Europe and the US.

Royal Air Maroc to commence Casablanca-N'Djamena-Nairobi service in Oct-2017

18 August, 2017

Royal Air Maroc plans to commence three times weekly Casablanca-N'Djamena-Nairobi service with Boeing 737-800 equipment on 11-Oct-2017, replacing three times weekly nonstop Casablanca-Nairobi service operated with 767-300ER equipment (Airline Route, 17-Aug-2017). The airline does not hold local traffic rights between N'Djamena and Nairobi. The carrier also operates three times weekly Casablanca-N'Djamena service. The airline's Casablanca-Nairobi service is the only nonstop connection between Morocco and Kenya, according to OAG.

Armenia and China to sign new agreement on direct air services

18 August, 2017

Armenia's General Department of Civil Aviation (GDCA) director Sergey Avetisyan stated Armenia will meet with China in autumn 2017 to discuss the issue of organising direct services between the nations (Armenpress, 17-Aug-2017). He said: "In autumn I will visit China and expect to sign new inter-state agreement. I plan to have meetings with the representatives of Chinese airlines to discuss the possibility to operate Armenia-China flight. If we successfully pass this stage, we don't rule out anything".

Turkey to see seat capacity on Russia routes double in 2017

18 August, 2017

Counter Intelligence Retail reported (16-Aug-2017) scheduled operators on Russia-Turkey routes are looking to take advantage of demand with seat capacity to double year-on-year in 2017. Istanbul Ataturk is expected to remain the key destination for traffic from Russia while Antalya could see triple digit growth in seat capacity in 2017. Dalaman and Gazipasa airports will also see a return of traffic from Russia. [more - original PR]

German Transport Minister: 'Imperative' for Lufthansa to acquire lion's share of airberlin

18 August, 2017

Germany's Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Alexander Dobrindt stated it is "imperative" that Deutsche Lufthansa AG be "able to take over significant parts of airberlin" (Rheinische Post/ Zeitung, 17-Aug-2017). Mr Dobrindt said: "We need a German champion in international air transport... We are in... a European and international market environment, so monopoly can no longer be viewed by single regional sites". Lufthansa is reportedly aiming to acquire around 90 of airberlin Group's fleet of 140 aircraft, which would be allotted to Eurowings. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr reportedly presented the acquisition idea to the carrier's supervisory board, while the 90 aircraft would include the 38 aircraft Lufthansa is already leasing from airberlin and NIKI.

Garuda Indonesia and Saudia to expand codeshare network in 2H2017

18 August, 2017

Garuda Indonesia and Saudia plan to expand their codeshare network in 2H2017 to include Garuda's Jakarta-Makassar, Jakarta-Medan and Jakarta-Surabaya services and Saudia's Madinah-Riyadh-Jakarta, Jeddah-Bahrain, Jeddah-Cairo, Jeddah-Casablanca, Jeddah-Dammam, Jeddah-Madinah, Jeddah-Madrid, Jeddah-Qassim, Jeddah-Riyadh, Jeddah-Tabuk and Riyadh-Jakarta services (Airline Route, 17-Aug-2017). Garuda has 27 codeshare partners and Saudia has 11, according to OAG.

Parties interested in airberlin 'sufficiently large to offer airberlin a secure future': CEO

18 August, 2017

airberlin CEO Thomas Winkelmann commented on parties interested in acquiring parts of the carrier, stating all three potential investors are "reputable in terms of their finances, sufficiently large to offer airberlin a secure future and are interested in keeping Germany as a base of operation" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung/Reuters/, 17-Aug-2017). Mr Winkelmann reportedly stated discussions include assets of NIKI. As previously reported by CAPA, Lufthansa confirmed acquisition discussions with airberlin, Thomas Cook Group said it is "standing ready to play an active role in the future" of airberlin, while easyJet is reportedly interested. TUI Group is another reportedly interested party. Mr Winkelmann said the airberlin Group is aiming for an agreement with two investors by the end of Sep-2017.

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