Sunday, January 22, 2012

Latest news #2

Ryanair executives held a meeting with government officials last week in Athens. According to various sources the airline analyzed its future plans for Greece probably seeking for support and expressed its interest in opening bases at Rhodes, Kos and Thessaloniki.
As we have already stated in our fb page, Rhodes could be an excellent base initially for 7-8 months and why not later all year round. 2-4 aircrafts based here could actually more than double Ryan's existing connections around Europe.

There seems to be lots of confusion with Tor Air summer operations as the airline licence was revoked about a month ago by Swedish authorities. The airline itself answering at a travel weekly story about this issue stated that it expected to be back in business by March and that its UK summer schedule to greek destinations would remain unaffected.
In fact, till now their website lists normally all of its summer schedule out of the UK and bookings are still possible.
Here is the travel weekly story and below is Tor Air's official response:
To the editor of Travel Weekly.
In response to an article that appeared on Travel Weekly´s website today, TORAir would like to clarify the following details;
·         TOR Air is a Swedish Airline with its headquarters in Gothenburg.  This winter, the company has operated one aircraft which is currently undergoing heavy maintenance.   As a back up, TOR Air has been operating a wet-leased aircraft from an EU carrier to cover its flights during the scheduled maintenance period.
·         On December 8th, 2011 (with only a 24 hour notice) the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) cancelled TOR Air's wet-lease traffic permit which allows it to operate routes between Sweden and Iraq. This was in violation of the bi-lateral agreement between the two countries.   Consequently, the airline was left with no other alternative but to suspend flights until further notice.  All affected passengers have been fully refunded from the tickets they held.
·         TORAir and its stakeholders remain committed to the Iraq and leisure markets in UK and Scandinavia.  Planning is in place to re-start operations in March.
‘’ We are currently working to find a solution to what is seen by the Swedish Authorities as an unauthorized withdrawal of our traffic permit.  Our company has been affected with these actions and we will seek damages from those responsible.  As the Iraqi traffic represented most of our income during the winter months, this decision is safeguarding any further financial exposure. It should be noted that no passengers in the UK will be affected. ’’, said Torbjörn Winsell, CEO of TOR Air.‘’TORAir was encouraged by a very successful operation in the UK market last summer, which performed with good on-time performance.  We are totally committed to service our UK contracts again in the summer of 2012 and look forward to further growing TORAir in the UK leisure market.  ’’ Torbjörn said .

According to specialist holidaymaker Mark Warner, their latest addition of a Rhodes hotel to their portfolio will be supported by BA direct flights to Rhodes from London (Heathrow) and Manchester. Whether these flights will be open for individual bookings or not remains unclarified (they do not appear on BA's booking engine at the moment) but in any way if BA actually lands here (and does not subcontract the route) will be more than welcomed by the spotters community.

Cretan airline Sky Express have uploaded their revised winter schedule on their website. Of our interest are the changes on the Rhodes-Heraklion route in which second daily flights are dropped, Saturday service is teminated at all and Fridays service moves late at evening. (Sky Express schedule).

Aegean Airlines, Greece's largest carrier, announced their figures for 2011. A3 carried a total of 6.6 million passengers of whom 3.5 were through their international network and the rest through the domestic. These numbers marked  a shift in Aegean's operations as for the first time international passengers exceeded domestic.
Above numbers were pretty much expected as greek domestic market have shrinked the last years due to the continuing crisis and Aegean's decision to focus on international operations not only from Athnes but throughout of major greek regional airports proved to be correct if not lifesaving.
(Aegean's press release)

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