Monday, November 20, 2017

Flydubai poised to launch Dubrovnik in 2018

Dubrovnik Airport has confirmed it is negotiating with the hybrid carrier Flydubai for the introduction of flights from its hub in the United Arab Emirates next year. It comes after the airline's Senior Vice President for Commercial Operations, Jeyhun Efendi, told EX-YU Aviation News last week that the carrier will unveil a number of new seasonal European routes for next summer within a month's time, one of which could include Dubrovnik. The service is expected to operate up to four times per week and will mark the first time the two cities have been linked with nonstop flights. Flydubai introduced its first seasonal routes this year by adding services from Dubai to Tivat, Batumi (Georgia) and Qabala (Azerbaijan), which have all proven successful. The decision to launch these seasonal routes was in direct response to customer feedback and demand for more leisure destinations within the Flydubai network.

In addition to carrying tourists from Dubai and other Gulf states to the Croatian coast, the new service will also cater for the growing number of travellers visiting Croatia from the Far East. Flydubai has a wide-ranging codeshare and partnership agreement with Emirates, allowing passengers to book their trip with both airlines via Dubai on a single ticket. The hybrid carrier would face no direct competition on the route, however, it would go up against Turkish Airlines which vies for the same passenger base on its Istanbul - Dubrovnik service. Furthermore, Emirates maintains flights to Zagreb and enables travellers to reach Dubrovnik, Split and Pula with a single ticket and baggage through-checked as part of an interline agreement with Croatia Airlines.

Flydubai was established in 2008 to create opportunities for travel, tourism and trade within the flying radius of its fleet of Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Last week it announced a commitment to a $27 billion order for 225 Boeing 737 MAX jets to support the growth of its fleet. Since launching its operations in 2009, Flydubai has created a network of more than 95 destinations in 44 countries and opened up 67 new routes that previously had no direct air links to Dubai or were not served by a UAE national carrier from the city. Dubrovnik Airport has already secured a number of new seasonal routes for next year which will be operated by airlines such as Edelweiss Air, Transavia, TUIfly, Thomas Cook Airlines, Volotea and Smartwings.

Qatar Airways hiring in Niš


Qatar Airways is seeking new Serbian cabin crew members and will hold a recruitment event in Niš, in the country's south-east. An open day will take place on December 16 at the New City Hotel & Restaurant (Vožda Karadjordja 12). Interested applicants are requested to drop off their CVs in formal business attire between 09.00 and 17.00 CET. Requirements include a minimum age of 21 years, an arm reach of 212 cm on tip toes, high school education with fluency in written and spoken English, as well as excellent health and fitness. Further details for the Niš recruitment event can be found here.

SkyWork Airlines to launch Brač flights


Switzerland's SkyWork Airlines will introduce a new one weekly seasonal summer service from Bern to Brač next year. Ticket sales for the new route will commence on November 23. SkyWork recently resumed operations after it managed to retain its flying license from the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation. Late last month it was grounded for several days after its financing was brought into question by the regulator. Brač Airport has secured a number of new airlines and flights for the coming summer season including Luxair from Luxembourg and TUIfly from Rotterdam. It is also in talks with Eurowings over the introduction of flights from Germany.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Montenegro Airlines not ruling out insolvency

Montenegro Airlines could declare itself insolvent in an attempt to rid itself of debt and losses. In a press release issued this week, the Montenegrin carrier noted there were two scenarios for its future, one which involves wide-ranging restructuring, and the other, less likelier option, insolvency proceedings. "The airline's management is undertaking analysis and calculations with the aim to either seek out a financial model for operational restructuring and long-term stability, or, the less likelier but still viable option of declaring insolvency, taking into account all the negative consequences that brings with it", Montenegro Airlines said. It added that one of the four largest audit firms is currently preparing a detailed report on the way forward, which will soon be submitted to the Montenegrin government.

The Montenegrin national carrier recorded a net loss of 11.4 million euros in 2016. The figure eclipsed its previous worst performance in 2015 when its net loss amounted to 10.4 million euros. According to the company's financial report, revenue declined 3.4% to 65.4 million euros, while operating costs grew 2.9% to 75.6 million. The airline also owes debt of over sixty million euros to various providers. If it were to declare itself insolvent, the government would appoint a special administrator to take formal charge and develop a rescue plan within a set period of time. The plan might entail asset sales, reduced operations and job cuts aimed at making the airline viable. Alternatively, the administrator may decide that a turnaround is not possible and order the carrier to be liquidated. However, the Montenegrin government has reaffirmed its commitment to the airline on numerous occasions, noting that the state would “initiate procedures to take responsibility for” and pay off Montenegro Airlines‘ obligations to creditors.

Montenegro Airlines said the company's management is drafting a five-year business plans, which includes a review of the carrier's fleet and finances. "The management of the company is preparing an analysis to find the most effective financial and operational solution for the fleet, and is formulating a detailed income and cost structure for five or more years. This approach involves purchasing aircraft through an operational lease, whereby it is possible to find favourable rates and financial arrangements on the market". Recently, the carrier's CEO, Živko Banjević, said the airline would replace its two Fokker 100 jets in 2019 and 2020 through an operational lease of either Boeing 737 MAX or New-Generation aircraft. In addition, the airline is considering becoming an all-Embraer operator by taking on additional jets from the Brazilian manufacturer.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Finnair sees EX-YU market potential

Finland's national carrier says it sees potential in the growing former Yugoslav market, particularly among leisure travellers coming from Asia. As a result, the airline will boost frequencies within its limited network in the region and plans to operate up to eight weekly flights from Helsinki to Dubrovnik, five weekly to  Split, as well as two weekly services to Pula next summer. Furthermore, the airline will maintain its four weekly seasonal service to Ljubljana but says it is “carefully following” potential destinations in other countries in the region as competition from rival airlines continues to grow. Norwegian Air Shuttle now serves Dubrovnik, Split, Pula and Pristina out of the Finnish capital over the summer, while Croatia Airlines commenced seasonal flights between Zagreb and Helsinki this year.

Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, Finnair Manager, Satu Haataja, said, "Slovenia and Croatia are very popular leisure destinations from Finland. A lot of the travel is point to point but we do see an increase in transfer traffic as well, those destinations are becoming increasingly popular among our Asian customers, particularly from Japan". The airline added, “The Croatian market serves as a great destination for Finnair customers both from Northern Europe and Asia. We have also seen increasing numbers of passengers from Croatia using Finnair on their trips. Demand for Croatian destinations has been growing year by year and we have increased our flights to the area consequently”.

Finnair’s Ljubljana service has also proven popular with travellers from Asia, with the Finnish carrier handling an average of over 30.000 passengers on the seasonal route each year. “Ljubljana is developing well and we hope that someday it will be feasible to operate there year round. We actively follow many markets where we could either increase frequencies or make them year round operations”, the airline said. The Oneworld alliance member, which has carved out a niche with direct flights to Asia, says future expansion in the former Yugoslavia will highly depend on demand from the Far East. “For the time being, the demand from our Asian units has been to Croatian coastal areas. However, when Asian tour operators create more products for the former Yugoslav area we want to be their first choice of airline and then it will be very important to have multiple entry and exit points such as Belgrade for example. At the same time we are following carefully the corporate travel market development to and from the area, because those travelling for work are one of our focus groups”.

Finnair flies between Asia, Europe and North America with an emphasis on fast connections via Helsinki, carrying more than ten million passengers annually. Its network connects nineteen cities in Asia and seven in North America with over 100 destinations in Europe.