Monday, December 18, 2017

Air Serbia to focus on merchandising

Air Serbia plans to put a greater emphasis on merchandising in the coming period in order to drive revenues. Speaking to "Amadeus", the airline's Chief Commercial Officer, Veljko Ristić, said, "Air Serbia provides premium and high-quality service, and in a few short years we have succeeded in building our reputation as the leading full service carrier in Southeast Europe. Our efforts have illuminated a new path to achieve the next phase of our growth with a focus on merchandising. Traditional commercial approaches are no longer sufficient in making an airline competitive enough to ensure its long term profitability. Passenger numbers are booming, competition has intensified, and LCCs have made the aviation industry even more dynamic and tougher than ever before. But most importantly, with flights more affordable than ever, travellers are paying more attention to factors outside of price that differentiate airlines". He added, "And this is where merchandising comes into place. It is a vital commercial tool for every airline looking to meet the needs of its passengers. What do I mean by this? Well, for us at Air Serbia, merchandising is all about offering our guests specific, tailor-made airline packages".

Only a few airlines have so far applied merchandising techniques in a comprehensive way, primarily low cost carriers. Several full service airlines are meeting the challenge of LCCs in their markets through ancillary offerings similar to budget carriers in areas such as baggage, seat assignment, packs of services, cabin upgrades, Wi-Fi with in-flight entertainment, as well as boarding privileges. Air Serbia itself has rolled out numerous measures over the past six months such as preferred seating, lounge passes and a Belgrade Airport check-in fee for the lowest subclasses (if not previously completed online). Its Slovenian counterpart, Adria, was the first in the region to begin focusing on merchandising and moving towards a hybrid business model back in 2014. On the other hand, Croatia Airlines has ruled out the strategy. "Many airlines have attempted to adopt a hybrid business model and failed. You have to define yourself in one niche instead of doing a bit of everything. The only real hybrid company in Europe at the moment is the Lufthansa Group. They, however, are big enough to allow themselves to operate different models within the same company. I think that Air Baltic's no-frills product for example, with so many selections available at an extra fee and even business class, is a bit too complex for such a small number of seats", the carrier's former CEO, Krešimir Kučko, said recently.

Mr Ristić noted however that Air Serbia will become more customer-centric, in line with the needs of the market where the national carrier faces strong competition for Wizz Air, and more recently, Ryanair, with airfares falling by almost 40% over the past two decades. "It’s all about unbundling the traditional airline product proposition, and allowing travellers to create or choose their own journey based on their travel styles and preferences. It’s all about making these packages simple and easy to understand for both the market and the sales network. And in short, merchandising is all about that first marketing lesson we are taught in business school: offering the right service proposal to the right passenger at the right price at the right time in the right sales channel. It’s as simple as that", Mr Ristić noted.

TUIfly to launch new Ohrid service


Leisure carrier TUIfly will introduce its second seasonal route to Ohrid next year, with flights from Eindhoven to run each Monday and Friday starting May 11. The return service to the Dutch city will operate via Tivat, however, the airline does not hold fifth freedom rights to sell tickets on this short sector. Flights will be maintained until September 14. TUI already operates seasonal services between Amsterdam and Ohrid. Some 28.000 Dutch tourists flew to Ohrid this year on flights from the Netherlands' largest city on TUIfly and Corendon Airlines. Further details for the new Eindhoven - Ohrid route can be found here.

Tuzla Airport's dream run continues


Tuzla Airport has recorded another month of strong passenger growth with 37.432 passengers handled in November, representing an increase of 58.5% on the same period last year. Over the past eleven months, the airport welcomed 494.846 travellers through its doors, up 74%. It has surpassed its 2016 end-of-year result which stood at 311.398 passengers and overtaken its target of handling 480.000 travellers in 2017. Wizz Air, as the only airline serving the airport, has fuelled the growth throughout the year.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Dubrovnik Airport starts €115 million expansion

Dubrovnik Airport has begun the second phase of its multi million euro development project, which will enhance its handling capacity to approximately 3.98 million passengers per year. Last week, the airport commenced work on overhauling its runway and taxiways, scheduled for completion by mid-March of next year. As a result, the runway has been temporarily shortened by 1.500 metres. Other airside improvements will include the construction of two new rapid exit taxiways, the expansion of the western apron, as well as the construction of a new commercial aviation apron on the western side, a new east apron for general aviation and the development of aircraft maintenance and operation facilities, in addition to hangars.

The project, valued at 115.2 million euros, also entails the construction of a multi-level car park, a housing area with its own maintenance and operations premises for domestic operators and a new aviation fuel tank, including an underground pit system for fuel filling, two internal gas stations, installation of solar systems and the reconstruction of the substation and facades to attain energy-efficiency. The project is scheduled for completion in 2020. It comes following the successful conclusion of the first phase which saw the construction of a new Terminal C building that was opened for commercial use earlier this year. The project is being funded by a grant from the Croatian government, the airport itself and funds provided by the European Commission's Juncker Plan investment scheme.

Dubrovnik Airport handled its two-millionth passenger in September, making 2017 its busiest year on record. It estimates handling some 2.3 million travellers by year's end. A number of airlines have already confirmed the launch of new services to the city in 2018 including Adria Airways, Flydubai, easyJet, Edelweiss Air, Transavia, TUIfly, Thomas Cook Airlines, Volotea and Smartwings. Furthermore, some carriers will boost frequencies and capacity on existing services. easyJet will increase operations by 30%, while Thomson Airways and Norwegian Air Shuttle will boost services by 20%. The airport expects to record a profit of some nine million euros this year. "Currently, Dubrovnik Airport has contracts with over seventy airlines. Next year we will go a step further. We will welcome new airlines. All major carriers flying from the UK, which is one of our most important markets, have increased their capacity by some 30%. The number of services from Scandinavia will grow by 20%, while we will have more scheduled services from Poland than ever before", the airport's General Manager, Roko Tolić, said.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

TUI unveils major Montenegro expansion

Tour operator TUI and its affiliated airlines will launch seven new routes from the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands to Montenegro next summer. Apart from the previously announced new seasonal summer flights from Birmingham, Manchester and London Gatwick to Podgorica, which will be operated by TUIfly starting mid-May 2018, the leisure company has now announced the introduction of flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon and Nantes to the Montenegrin capital. Furthermore, it will commence services from Eindhoven to Tivat. The development comes following recent talks between TUI Group executive Board Member, David Burling, and the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Duško Marković. “The arrival of TUI in Montenegro is an honour for us, but also a challenge. TUI is the global leader in tourism, which is a privilege for every country. It is up to us to make something out of it”, Mr Marković said.

TUIfly will commence flights from Paris to Podgorica on April 22, competing directly against Montenegro Airlines on the route. The leisure carrier will maintain one weekly flight between the two capitals with its Boeing 737-800 aircraft until October 14. Furthermore, it will launch a one weekly service from Lyon on May 12, which will be run with a B737-800 until October 13. Finally, the airline will introduce a one weekly flight from Nantes to Podgorica with the B737-700. The return service will be maintained via Dubrovnik, however, TUI does not hold fifth freedom rights between the two cities and will be unable to sell tickets on the sector. These services will operate until October 11.

The TUI Group has said it is planning on introducing even more routes to Montenegro in the foreseeable future, with new services from Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Russia and Poland. The TUIfly flights and tour packages to Podgorica and the coast mark the travel giant's first major expansion on the Montenegrin market since the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. Podgorica Airport, which has handled over one million passengers so far this year, anticipates for growth to continue in 2018. Apart from the TUI operations, several airlines have already announced new routes to and from the city next year, including Montenegro Airlines and Wizz Air, while others, such as Aegean Airlines, will boost frequencies on existing services.

RouteLaunch date
Paris - Podgorica22.04.2018
Eindhoven - Tivat11.05.2018
Lyon - Podgorica12.05.2018
Birmingham - Podgorica16.05.2018
Manchester - Podgorica20.05.2018
London Gatwick - Podgorica23.05.2018
Nantes - Podgorica24.05.2018

Adria hiring first officers


Adria Airways is seeking to recruit both male and female first officers for its Airbus A320-family fleet and its Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft. Minimum requirements for the A320 position includes a valid A320 type rating, a total of 1.000 hours on turbo jet or turbo prop aircraft and 250 hours on type A320 as first officer or 500 hours on type A320 as first officer. The non type rated first officer opening on the CRJ900 requires an EASA ME-IR (multi engine-instrumental flight rules) and multi crew cooperation with preference given to candidates with completed higher technical education. An EASA air transport pilot license, EU work permit and knowledge of English is required for both posts.

Interested candidates have until December 18 to submit their applications. Further details and the application forms can be found here.