Aigle Azur’s Reinvention

New aircraft, a new image, new routes & new products on-board

Founded in 1946, Aigle Azur is the second-largest airline company in France. It benefits from a long rich history and celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016. Every year, Aigle Azur transports almost 2 million passengers aboard its fleet exclusively composed of Airbus aircraft through nearly 300 scheduled weekly flights from its bases in Lyon, Marseille and Paris.

In August 2017, the airline instated Frantz Yvelin as their Chief Executive Officer – marking a change in leadership – and, simultaneously, another new chapter was opened with the arrival of a new shareholder, David Neeleman, from the parent company of Hainan Airlines – HNA.

Earlier this year, at a press conference in Paris, the airline announced its long-term reinvention with a host of developments, including new aircraft, a new image, new products onboard and new routes. Whilst Aigle Azur has long been prominent in its traditional Mediterranean markets, it is now expanding further afield. Last year, the airline launched new services to Beirut and Moscow and the airline will strengthen its position in the intra-Europe market this summer – with a new route between Orly and Milan and expansion of the existing Berlin connection.

Aigle Azur will embark on a new journey, with three new routes this year.

Building on this European expansion, the airline will launch new long-haul services from Orly to Beijing-Capital (beginning June 21st) and Sao Paulo-Campinas (beginning July 5th). Both services will operate on a three-weekly basis – although the latter will increase to five-weekly in September – with Aigle Azur’s new Airbus A330-200s.

France’s second largest carrier currently has twelve aircraft in its fleet (9x A320s and 1x A319) – but this is increasing to 12 with the arrival of two new A330-200s.

The refreshing yet classy identity of Aigle Azur

These new aircraft will operate the new services to Beijing and Sao Paulo and will reinforce current operations from Paris to Bamako, Algiers, Oran and Porto. In addition, these A330s will debut a new onboard product, divided into two classes, Business and Economy.

The new Economy class will feature VOD entertainment systems

The new Business Class will have fully-flat seats, a state-of-the-art on-board VOD-type entertainment system, mood lighting and access to Wi-Fi. Finally, the airline has unveiled a new visual identity, which includes a reimagined livery, which can only be described as refreshingly gorgeous. This is all part of Aigle Azur’s aim to compete with the best business class carriers and to ‘conquer new business opportunities’.

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As a growing carrier, the airline is also keen to form close  partnerships with airlines from around the world. Logically, Aigle Azur will codeshare with Brazilian carrier Azul – whose largest hub is in Sao Paulo-Campinas and will provide endless connections around Brazil for Aigle Azur’s customers – and the Chinese five-star carrier Hainan Airlines.

“This flight represents another milestone in the growth of Viracopos as a major hub of Azul. We are very excited about adding Paris to our ever growing domestic and international network. We will offer fast and convenient connections from all over Brazil to Paris.”

the chief revenue officer, Azul linhas aereas

Aigle Azur will also form a strategic and commercial partnership with Air Caraibes – a major client of Paris-Orly – and the Portugese flag carrier TAP.

Ultimately, seeing a regeneration of an airline is always interesting. Aigle Azur is sticking to its former markets faithfully but, also, expanding rapidly into unchartered territory for an airline of its size. Flying from Paris-Orly (an airport arguably more convenient for Business travellers travelling into Paris), with a variety of partners around the world and a globally competitive product, Aigle Azur is enjoying something of a renaissance.

 

EasyJet A320NEO Flight Review Gatwick – Lanzarote



I have had the EasyJet A320NEO on my radar for some time and now a whopping 5 aircraft are based around the UK and luckily for me 3 of those found themselves flying out of London Gatwick. I happen to have a few inside contacts at EasyJet and on a late Friday night, UZHA (EasyJet’s first NEO) was scheduled to flight to Lanzarote the following morning. The temptation to fly this beautiful bird was too overwhelming and I found myself booking seats for the early Lanzarote flight. Unfortunately, the flight was oversold so I used my connections to get on standby, although my chances were already not looking too great.

Although I was travelling on a standby staff ticket today, as a frequent flyer i suggest booking my tickets through SkyScanner (low fares) or Momondo (great business class fares)

Descending into ACE

EasyJet bought into the A320NEO back in 2013 in order to maintain a modern and efficient fleet with improved levels of passenger comfort. The new EastJet cabin was fitted to aircraft delivered from May 2016 and all existing A320s will be retrofitted by the end of Spring 2018.

“In 2013 easyJet confirmed an order for 100 new generation Airbus A320neo aircraft for delivery from 2017 to 2022 and has taken purchase rights on a further 100 aircraft. These aircraft, equipped with CFM LEAP-1A engines and wing ‘Sharklets’, will be 13% to 15% more fuel efficient than existing aircraft types.” – Easyjet

Back to the Flight

I had to arrive at Gatwick the following morning with plenty of time. First I got my security pass to get to the gate where I had to patiently and nervously wait while all the passengers boarded the aircraft as it is only after all the passengers have boarded that you find out if you have been successful or not.

In this case, I got on! I was going to be flying on the orange NEO! The huge downside of flying standby is that you don’t get a seat choice, you fit in where there is space and in this case, it was arguably the worst seat on the plane: an aisle seat right at the very back directly next to the toilet. The charming EasyJet crew came to the rescue, however and after a great chat with the flight crew during pre-flight checks, the lead cabin manager sourced me a free window seat right at the front, offering the best engine view around!

View from seat 4F

Push back from our remote stand was on-time and we were lining up perfectly on our STD. Gatwick was using 26 operations today and after a powerful and sporty take-off by the brand new CFM Leap 1A engines we banked left, heading south towards France.  The inflight service began soon after take-off, I had not yet had anything to eat today so I ordered the EasyJet meal deal, opting for the feta and rocket sandwich as the main.  The meal deal at EasyJet is reasonably priced at 7€/9£. This ended up satisfying me quite well, the sandwich is of reasonable size and quality and I couldn’t fault it!

Meal deal section of inflight Bistro magazine

For most of the flight my eyes were fixed on the gorgeous wing view, those huge engines really added something to the flight experience, not to mention the fact that the flight was super quiet, I could actually listen in on conversations seats in front of me, unheard of on CEO A320s. I recently flew to Gibraltar on the CEO A320 and any form of conversation is drowned out by the noise of the old CFM56 engines. I couldn’t talk to my neighbour without raising my voice, but on the NEO such conversation was now possible! After nearly 3 hours in the air we were staring our descent into sunny Lanzarote, it was gusting quite heavily on short final but the fantastic flight crew pulled off a greaser despite of the wind conditions.

Once again another successful and enjoyable flight on EasyJet and I still believe that they are up there as one of the best low cost airlines, with friendly crew willing to engage in conversation and inviting, chatty pilots.

While EasyJet may not be part of any alliances or have a points system, they truly are a great low-cost airline. While the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ may be true to some extent, the cheap prices make up for that.

 

Southwest 737 Suffers Catastrophic Engine Failure

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 jet made an emergency landing in Philadelphia today after suffering a catastrophic in flight engine failure.

Southwest Flight 1380, from New York to Dallas was cruising at 32,000 feet when the incident occurred. Shrapnel from the explosion collided with the aircraft’s fuselage causing a window to be broken and a nearby passenger to be partially sucked out of the aircraft. Fellow passengers saw the situation unfolding and managed to pull the woman back into the aircraft.

Damage sustained to the Boeing 737-700 (N772SW). (Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia)

With most passengers on board saying prayers and writing messages for loved ones, the crew ensured all 149 people attached their oxygen masks whilst the pilots executed an emergency descent into Philadelphia.

Upon landing in Philadelphia, a fuel leak caused by the damage ignited a small fire which was quickly extinguished by airport fire fighting services.

Kristopher Johnson, a passenger on board the flight told CNN that “Shrapnel hit the window causing a serious injury. No other details about that. Several medical personnel on the flight tended to the injured passenger”.

The broken window on that one passenger was almost ejected from. (Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia)

Whilst the exact nature of injuries suffered on board have not been made clear yet, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has confirmed that one person was killed during the incident.

Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) investigators have been dispatched to Pennsylvania to investigate the cause of the incident.

The remains of the CFM-56 Engine (Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia)

Our thoughts go out to all involved.

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A Compromise on Safety? Qantas adds seats on A380s, by deactivating Emergency Exits

The Australian national carrier, Qantas, has a remarkable safety record; no fatalities or hull losses in the jet era. This extraordinary record of pioneering safety achievements spans the airline’s 97 year history. In 2008, the Advertising Standards Agency challenged Qantas’ remarks that it was the world’s ‘most experienced’ airline. The carrier defended itself fiercely, listing 30 notable industry-leading achievements. I have a feeling that this latest development won’t go down as one of those symbolic actions.

Qantas launched the first ever Aus-UK non-stop flight last month.

After receiving the Airbus A380 10 years ago, the aircraft has become the backbone of the airline’s long haul fleet. In 2012, the airline announced plans to increase the seat count on its aircraft from 450 to 484 seats, by removing toilets and squashing in more seats. Last week, the airline announced its intention to become the launch customer for Airbus’ new ‘Cabin Flex’ programme. The initiative will deliver up to 11 more Premium Economy seats or 7 more Business Class seats. However, there’s a catch. In order to accommodate the new seats, Qantas will be deactivating emergency exits on the upper deck. Here’s how Airbus describes the new line-fit or retrofit solution:

A380 Cabin Flex makes extra space for additional seats  by allowing the upper deck “Doors-3” to be deactivated. The programme can bring up to 11 more Premium Economy seats or 7 more Business Class seats.

The so-called ‘enhancement’ is clearly attractive for airlines. Airbus predicts that there will be a Return on Investment (RoI) in just one year. The cabin-flex option is available to be fitted on new aircraft on delivery or retrofitted onto existing aircraft.

Our author, James, reviewed Qantas’ A380 Economy product earlier this year

Qantas have no plans to receive any more A380s – instead continuing to operate the 12 double-deckers already in their fleet. We don’t know yet whether Qantas will simply install seats in front of the exit doors – which is bound to be confusing for passengers, especially in an emergency – or just cover them up.  Furthermore, the press release never mentions safety. It is widely known that the maximum evacuation time for an aircraft on fire is just 90 seconds. Does the removal of these exits have an affect on that?

Will the cabin-flex option have an adverse effect on safety?

Although the cabin-flex option is attractive for airlines, it certainly isn’t for passengers. With no reassuring message on safety in Airbus’ press release, Qantas need to clarify this immediately, instead of profiteering from extra seats.

SAS order 50 new Airbus A320NEOs with Options for Five More

It was announced a couple of days ago the SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System) has placed an order for a further 50 A320NEO aircraft to complement their standing order of 30. This order will allow SAS to operate a single type fleet by 2023, operating the most efficient aircraft which is flown on many short and medium haul routes from Scandinavia to the rest of Europe.

Credit Mark Djupenstrom

I was lucky enough to fly on-board one of SAS’ NEOs late last year, and here is a snippet from the article:

“NEO is short for New Engine Option, and the new engines are the CFM Leap 1A, the NEO also comes equipped with 2.4 meter-long Sharklets rising up from the wingtips, giving the NEO lower fuel consumption, and an almost 1000 kilometre longer range. Inside the cabin, SAS have chosen overhead compartments that are significantly larger than the CEO A320s. Another new feature is the placement of the AFT toilets. ‘Two toilets are placed next to each other towards the aft bulkhead, the lateral one is designed to be more accessible for people with reduced mobility. ’SAS currently have 12 NEOs out of the 30 they had on order alongside 12 CEO A320s. SAS are the largest operator of the A320NEO in Europe and it was about time I got on-board to see what it offered.”

Read the full review here.

Overall I found the NEO a very pleasant experience, the updated cabin added to the already positive user experience which combined with SAS’ exemplary on-time performance. The quiet NEO made for a very pleasant and relaxing flight.



Today, the Scandinavian airline is investing heavily in biofuels and has also been working for several years on increased production of biofuels to use for their operations. This upgrade in passenger experience and lower fuel consumption has contributed heavily towards SAS’ growth, enabling the Scandinavian airline to purchase these new aircraft, further pushing for a single-type fleet.

Back in 2012, SAS were operating six different aircraft types on short-haul but currently operate only two – the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 – however, SAS hope to phase out all remaining 737s by 2023 to pave way for one single aircraft type for their intra-Europe operations, thus leading to standardization and increased efficiency, as well as lower maintenance costs.

Over central London descending into Heathrow

The new order of NEOs are expected to be delivered from Spring 2019 through to 2021 (15 will be leased) and a further 35 direct from Airbus being delivered up untill 2023. It is said that this order includes an option for up to a further 5 A320NEOs and through leasing agents, SAS can tailor their growth based on their current circumstances. All the new A320NEOs will be equipped with SAS’ new high speed Wi-Fi.

“We are proud with this repeat commitment by SAS. The A320neo will complement SAS’s existing Airbus fleet, with unbeatable fuel efficiency and the lowest operating costs and environmental footprint. It is the perfect choice for SAS, for replacing its older generation aircraft. This means more of SAS’s passengers will keep enjoying the best comfort in the skies,” said Eric Schulz, Chief Commercial Officer, Airbus Commercial Aircraft.

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Spring 2018 Guest Review: Etihad A380 Economy Review

London Heathrow – Abu Dhabi | Etihad Airways Airbus A380

Having flown with Etihad on their A380 numerous times before, I was excited to see if their soft product had improved since the last time I’d flown with them.

Here at LondonSpotter we generally choose SkyScanner for booking economy tickets and Momondo for business class tickets as that is where you can usually find the best prices.

I arrived to the gate at the supposed boarding time (1 hour before departure) but the gate agents told us that our flight was delayed by 20 minutes. Boarding was called at exactly 14:20 and passengers were boarded using zone numbers via 3 different doors; two doors on the lower deck and 1 on the upper. Boarding was not chaotic in the slightest and quite efficient for such a large aircraft.

The economy cabin onboard the A380

I boarded through door 2L where I was warmly greeted by 1 of the 26 flight attendants operating this flight to Abu Dhabi. I was directed to my seat and to my surprise, it turned out I’d snagged one of the best wing-view seats on the plane!

What a view!

On paper, Etihad offers 17.5” of seat width and 31” seat pitch which felt very spacious and comfortable. My only criticism is that the recline is substandard and, when the person in front of you reclines, you have no space to put anything on the tray table. Regardless of the recline, the seat was fully equipped with everything; A USB charger, a 110V socket, a coat hanger, 2 screens including a 10” wide screen (which I find extremely impressive for an Economy class seat), and a fantastic entertainment system. They offer fast and reasonably priced WiFi, which is especially convenient for passengers travelling on business.

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When I arrived at my seat, I found a pair of headphones, a blanket, and a pillow waiting for me. The noise cancelling headphones were pretty nifty, complete with an adapter. The blanket smelt odd but, on the plus side, at least it was in a plastic bag…

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As I waited for boarding to be completed, I browsed the entertainment selection, which was excellent. Etihad’s entertainment system – E-Box –  has a huge variety of movies, and I also liked how many episodes they have of each sitcom in their library. There’s no shortage of good entertainment options on Etihad. I ended up watching the movie ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ which was really funny. Etihad’s A380s are equipped with 3 cameras (a tail, front and down viewing cameras) which other airlines like Singapore Airlines don’t have.

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We pushed back at 15:05 sharp and at 15:26 we were cleared for takeoff. Fifteen minutes later the seatbelt sign was turned off. Our climb was smooth and, soon enough, we broke out of the clouds at 20,000 feet.

1 hour into the flight, the flight attendants served drinks with a savoury snack and an hour later, the dinner service commenced. There were no menus as before. Instead, there was just an option between chicken or pasta but, oddly, the passengers behind me had a choice between beef or pasta. I chose the chicken which came with cold bread, a salad pasta and a chocolate butterscotch mousse. The pasta salad was amazing and the chocolate mouse was even better. The tray tables were cleared 30 minutes after and tea and coffee were offered which I declined.

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After the dinner service was taken, I went to the toilets and to my surprise, I wasn’t the only one with that idea. While I waited for 15 minutes for my turn, the flight attendant offered me any drink/snack I wanted. I took had the salad pasta again as it was just so good. In terms of amenities, there was just a hand sanitiser – on previous flights, they offered face mist.

An hour and a half out of Abu Dhabi, we were offered a light snack and a drink which I said no to as I wasn’t feeling too well but it consisted of chicken and spinach.

Half an hour out of Abu Dhabi, the captain came on the PA to inform us that we would be landing 25 minutes prior to our scheduled arrival, that the temperature was 26 degrees and the forecast for the next few days was pure sunshine; a stark contrast to London’s clouds.  The crew also started to complete their pre-landing checks and collected our headphones. The entertainment system was switched off to only the map view for the last few minutes of the flight.

We had a smooth touchdown at 00:56 and arrived at the gate 8 minutes later. As I was disembarking, I asked if I could visit the cockpit but I was not allowed as ‘it’s against company policy…’ I bid the crew farewell and headed home.

BOTTOM LINE: 
I couldn’t have had a better experience in economy. The crew all had the biggest smile on their faces and were extremely friendly, attentive, and caring. They were a real treat! Etihad has really improved since the last time I flew them. I would choose to fly them every time over any other airline that operates direct flight to Abu Dhabi.

Want to see more A380 Reviews?

Read our review of the terrible Qantas A380 economy class here.

Read our review of the luxurious Qatar Airways business class here.


This guest review is written by Wasim Zemerly. Four times a year, we give one person the opportunity to have their work featured on our platform. If you’d like to apply, email ethanegcc@gmail.com with a proposal. 

Economy to First! My 5* Experience with British Airways on the B777



Many of you have probably read my last flight review where I ended up in a pickle at Madrid Barajas Airport. My inbound flight from Lanzarote had been delayed due to a tech aircraft on the outbound Lanzarote flight. I was, therefore, stuck in the domestic terminal at Madrid and needed to somehow get across Barajas to the Satellite terminal in under 10minutes as my flight to London was already closing. You can see the awkwardness of my situation.

The problem I was faced with was to run for my life clinging onto the slim chance I may actually make it in time, or keep my dignity and walk, moving my flight to the later one. My current flight was scheduled on a Boeing 777-200, so the inner avgeek kicked in, I took the first option and ran for my life, although even that was trickier that I first thought. We were being taken by bus from my inbound aircraft to the terminal and after a painful 10minutes of sitting on the bus, I was let loose and proceeded straight to connections, through passport control and onto the train in seconds. To my annoyance the train moved along at a measly 10mph on the satellite terminal. Lots of painful waiting and fidgeting  followed but we did finally arrive at the Satellite terminal. A small handful of passengers were also running in the same direction as I was headed, so knew I was not alone.

FLIGHT CLOSED read the screen in front of my aircraft, however I was ushered forward and escorted onto the aircraft, they had obviously realised several passengers on my inbound Lanzarote flight were booked onto this 777 and had made the effort to hold the doors. The first of many great surprises I experienced with British Airways on this flight. While many would have been surprised that a large aircraft was on this route, I was not because I had checked Kayak before booking. Kayak is great as it shows you which aircraft will operate every flight! I then booked with the cheapest deal I could find.

I managed to sneak this shot in all the havoc

After my sweaty sticky body made it onto seat 35K we were already pushing back for our departure to London. One thing I noticed when I was going to sit down was the first officer talking to a little boy further up economy about flying, just the little things that make a young boys dream become more of a reality, not something you see nowadays anymore. The captain himself also made a friendly warm welcome brief to the passengers and a few minutes later we were in the air bound for London!

Taxiing onto the runway I only just landed on!

I have been on many wide body flights and the best spot on any large aircraft for wing view shots is by the 2nd main door in front of the engine. While snapping away on my camera I got talking to the cabin manager about why I was flying today, my Instagram page and the website! I then asked if I could sit in the first class cabin for the flight as it remains empty on these short haul flights. She thought the idea was great as I could take pictures of an empty first cabin and chat to the crew all the way to London but she just had to check with the Captain. I returned to my seat in Y class while awaiting the verdict. Funnily enough, 5 minutes later I was called to the front of the plane to await my first class seat. This was my first time in first and even though there was no first class dining, it was still a pretty awesome experience. I got some fantastic British Airways hospitality and was offered a free drink and some nuts.

The old first class cabin on the B777

The next great surprise on this flight to London was that the first officer came out and had a chat with me mid-flight! We sat in my little first class ‘suite’ and got talking about flight training, school and the next part of my journey to the flight deck which, again, is not something you get on many flights. The crew were happy to take pictures of me in the seat and generally chat about the flights I have taken, favourite aircraft and all the general avgeeky stuff. Flights are always more enjoyable when the crew actually try to engage with the customer and drum up a conversation rather than smile from a distance. To end a great flight with British Airways we descended into the most beautiful sunset, to an even more beautiful on-time arrival.

What a sunset we had on final approach

To wrap things up I will say that i had a very comfortable and enjoyable flight with British Airways on this occasion, the use of wide-bodies on their London-Madrid route does give that extra special feel to short haul travel. If you want to read our review on the inaugural London to Madrid flight on the larger 777-300ER click here.

April 2018 Fare Finder: Summer Holiday Preview

Your Guide To The Best Value Air fares For The Month Ahead!

We all know that finding and booking flights to your favourite destinations without breaking the bank isn’t easy, so here is a guide that gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the best value air fares. This months edition is going to be a bit different; we’re going to be looking ahead at some of the best deals for the UK Summer School Holidays. Why? Because we know that getting the best price during the most expensive time of the year isn’t easy.

This month Fare Finder has been published a little differently to previous editions. We are listing our top picks by airline and not destination. Giving you more choice than ever before!



JET2:

Part of Jet2’s advertising campaign for this summer has been flights offered at £49. So it’s reassuring to see that you can still find these flights (and even cheaper ones) for August. For anyone who has never flown with TripAdvisor’s Most Loved UK Airline, you definitely need to. With an extensive route network and award winning customer service, what are you waiting for? Give them a try!

The following flights cover some of Spain’s untapped charms. Sitting on the Southern coast are Almeria and Murica. Together they offer an alternative to the more popular resorts of Costa Blanca and  the Costa del Sol. Along with Menorca, lying out in the Mediterranean Sea, Jet2’s offering of cheap flights offers travelers the opportunity to experience the culture and comfort of these Spanish delights.

  • Birmingham – Almeria, August 26th, £39 per person!
  • Edinburgh – Murcia, August 7th, £49 per person!
  • Manchester – Menorca, August 23rd, £50 per person.
  • Book you Jet2 flights here or for the cheapest options here.
Jet2 also offer a generous 22kgs baggage allowance for a reasonable price!
Primera Air:

Much of the focus for Primera’s flight offerings has been on their Transatlantic routes. The airline is also keen to expand their European operations, with the launch of short haul routes being flown on Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Flying to popular summer sun destinations, it appears that they are looking to challenge its competitors and establish themselves in an already crowded market.

Being based out of Birmingham and London Stansted, they will be battling it out with the likes of Jet2 and TUI. Destinations such as Malaga, Alicante and Crete are popular with British holidaymakers, so it is no surprise that Primera has identified them as their first destinations. With no explanation needed for these resorts, its time to see their flight prices!

  • London Stansted – Malaga, August 28th, £40 per person.
  • London Stansted – Alicante, August 29th, £35 per person.
  • Birmingham – Chania, August 20th, £62 per person.
  • Book Primera Air flights here or again for cheaper options here.
British airways:

When most people think of the nation’s flag carrier, they don’t automatically associate them with flying to your normal bucket and spade destinations. However, the reality is far from it. Gatwick plays host to the majority of it’s European holiday destinations, giving travelers the opportunity to experience first class hospitality at economy prices.

BA fly to arguably the hottest holiday destination in recent years, Majorca. Much loved for it’s easy going atmosphere, low prices and stunning beaches, it’s no wonder families flock here year on year. For people looking for something very different why not try Nice? This gem of a city found in the south of France flawlessly combines it’s world renowned appeal along with its traditional feel.

  • London Gatwick – Nice, August 30th, £35 per person.
  • London Gatwick – Ibiza, August 4th, £44 per person.
  • London Heathrow – Palma, August 31st, £48 per person.
  • Book your BA flights here! or over at SkyScanner where we found excellent deals.
Even British Airways fly the night Ibiza. It’s one of the only flights where the party truly does start as soon as you step on board!
Flybe:

Europe’s largest regional airline often incorporates summer sun destinations alongside its regular flying program. This gives people living in regional parts of the UK, the ease of flying abroad without having to drive for hours to reach their nearest major airport. Operating the majority of their European sun routes on Embraer ERJ aircraft, the Jungle Jet offers comfort with it’s 2-2 seating configuration.

Flybe fly from 26 UK Airports to all over Europe

Not always seen as a first choice airline when it comes to flying the family away for their holidays, Flybe offers destinations that are off the beaten track such as Corsica. Popular with hikers who are ken to experience it’s national parks or couples looking to unwind for a week, the island offers something for everyone. For people perhaps looking to stay within the UK and hope that we have something more than a weeks worth of sunshine, the airline offers flights to Newquay. Popular with surfers or families on a budget, Cornwall could be host to your next getaway.

  • Southampton – Corsica, August 26th, £45 per person.
  • Doncaster Sheffield – Palma, August 20th, £45 per person.
  • Birmingham – Newquay, August 19th, £30 per person.
  • Book your flights here!


Want to find flight bargains for yourself? We recommend using SkyScanner and Momondo for the best deals.

In next months fare finder:

We’ll look ahead at the best flights for the May Bank Holidays!

Aegean Orders up to 42 A320neo aircraft, worth $5bn



In one of the largest investments by a private Greek company since the financial crisis in 2010, the Greek national flag carrier – Aegean Air – has selected its long-term fleet replacement. Valued at $5bn, the airline will proceed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus, for up to 42 aircraft within the A320neo family.

Aegean Air currently operates an all-Airbus fleet, so it should come as no surprise that the Greek carrier has opted to continue, in the interests of commonality. Specifically, the airline will order 30 members of the A320neo family (with at least 10 of these being placed for the larger A321neo, with options for further conversions). Of course, the MoU suggests the airline will eventually order 42 aircraft, so Aegean Air has options for twelve more planes.

Aegean currently operates 46 A320ceo aircraft – SX-DGZ is seen here in Manchester.

The final agreement with Airbus is estimated to be reached in June 2018 and will, of course, allow Aegean to increase capacity with new routes and more frequencies but also (in the longer term), replace their current fleet. In 2017, Aegean’s fleet consisted of 46 Airbus A320 family aircraft, along with 12 turboprops operating under the name of their subsidiary – Olympic Air, so this order could theoretically replace most of Aegean’s fleet in one swoop. Interestingly, however, Aegean has not named an engine supplier and has initiated negotiations with both engine manufacturers (CFM International or Pratt & Whitney).

“Today marks the beginning of new period of growth and development for AEGEAN. With the investment in new generation Airbus A320neo aircraft, we strengthen our competitiveness and provide a platform that empowers our people to further improve service to our passengers as well the, important, first impression we provide to visitors of our country.”

-mr eftichios vassilakis, vice chairman of Aegean air
Aegean Air’s current network, originating from Athens.

Aegean currently only operates flights within Europe and the Middle East, but clearly, the new aircraft, with increased range capabilities of additional 600 to 1,500 km (equivalent to 1 to 2 hours of extra flight hours), will enable the airline to expand further. Perhaps Aegean will be looking to emulate it’s neighbouring airlines such as Turkish, to create a hub in its Athens base. Traces of this approach can already be seen, as Athens acts as a connecting point for the Greek islands and Aegean now fly to destinations in the middle East such as Kuwait and Tehran. With aircraft such as the A321neo, the airline may be looking to launch flights to destinations such as Dubai, India and deeper Africa from it’s Athenian hub.

Ultimately, the order is important news for Aegean and Greece on the whole. The largest private investment in Greece will no doubt also bring benefit to the Greek population – with increased connectivity, comfort and tourism from their national carrier.

Sweden Introduces New Aviation Tax

On April 1st, Sweden introduced a new aviation tax to all passenger flights departing the country, with hopes that it will help to limit the effect that air travel has on the environment.

Anyone travelling with Swedish based carriers such as SAS Scandinavian will be affected.

All flights departing on an aircraft that carries 10 passengers or more, will now have an added charge of between 60 to 400 Swedish Krona on it. The exact charge will vary depending on the destination of the flight. There are exemptions to this tax; with Flight Crew, children under the age of 2 and any passengers that have not yet reached their final destination.

When speaking to journalists from the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Climate Minister Isabella Lovin stated, “The objective of the tax is to minimize the carbon footprint of flights following the sharp rise in air travel”. The same newspaper held a poll amongst it’s readers, to which 53% of Swedes said they support the governments ruling to introduce the tax.

Should we be more focused on Bio-Fuels instead of taxing carbon emissions? The Centre Party certainly think so…

The move has not been without criticism, with political organisation Centre Party strongly opposing the ruling. Instead they have called for airlines to be committed to using a set percentage of Bio-Fuels in their day to day operations. Surprisingly, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has also spoken out against the Tax. Mats Björsell, a spokesperson for the Agency has said that the tax isn’t expected to have a major impact on the amount of emissions produced. Speaking to a local radio station he said, “There’s no direct effect on the emissions, it’s there, but that’s not important, but you have to start somewhere to pay for the climate impact from our flights“.

What do you think of the Tax, Is it a good Idea? Let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #londonspotter on your posts!

 

Want more like this? Why not check out our March 2018 Route Review!