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.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Iran Air to launch Belgrade service

Iran Air plans to launch flights from Tehran to Belgrade after filing for a permit with the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate. According to the "Aviatica" portal, the service will operate twice per week and will launch in the following months, during the 2017/18 winter season. The development comes after the two countries inked a bilateral Air Service Agreement this July and Serbia abolished visa requirements for Iranian passport holders in September, thus becoming the only European country to do so. Iran has also waived visas for Serbian nationals. Speaking in Belgrade last week, the head of the Trade Promotion Organisation of Iran, Mojtaba Khosro Taj, said, "The visa waiver for both countries’ nationals is a positive step in facilitating travel and trade between Iranian and Serbian people. The launch of direct flights will also boost tourism and commercial exchange".

Iran Air maintains services to a number of European cities, including Amsterdam, Cologne, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Istanbul, Milan, Moscow and Vienna. The carrier began a fleet renewal program last year after international sanctions imposed onto the country were lifted. It is in the process of taking delivery of new Airbus A320, A321 and ATR 72 aircraft. Prior to the lifting of sanctions, Iran Air used Belgrade as a refuelling stop on its flights from western Europe to Tehran, but never held commercial rights to sell tickets to and from the Serbian capital. More recently, in September, Iranian carrier Qeshm Air ran several charter services between Tehran and Belgrade, while Turkish Airlines has capitalised on the abolishment of visas between the two nations by offering promotional fares to Iranian travellers headed to the Serbian capital.

Iran Air's Belgrade launch will mark the resumption of scheduled commercial flights between the two countries after more than 25 years. JAT Yugoslav Airlines previously operated services between Belgrade and Tehran, launching flights on April 19, 1991. The airline also opened its representative office in the Iranian city. The route was popular with a considerable number of transfer passengers to the United States at the time. However, the service was short-lived with the collapse of Yugoslavia halting all international operations. Last year, Air Serbia said it was considering launching flights to Tehran in cooperation with Iran Air.

Croatia Airlines to end Rijeka - London route


Croatia Airlines will terminate its seasonal summer flights between Rijeka and London Heathrow Airport. The one weekly service will be suspended as a result of the carrier's sale of five weekly slot pairs at Heathrow earlier this year. During the 2018 summer season, Croatia Airlines will maintain three weekly flights from Zagreb to Heathrow, one weekly from Split, and two weekly services between Split and London Gatwick Airport. Croatia Airlines will close its offices at Heathrow by the end of next month.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

easyJet unveils major Croatia expansion

Low cost carrier easyJet has announced its expansion plans for the Croatian market in 2018. It involves the introduction of seven new seasonal summer routes and a considerable increase in capacity for next year with over one million seats on sale to and from Croatia. A number of new services will be added from the United Kingdom, in line with the airline's recent announcement. Pula forms the main focus of easyJet's expansion in Croatia in 2018 with new flights from London Southend, Liverpool, Basel and Milan. Services from London Southend and Venice will be added to Dubrovnik, while the budget carrier will also commence operations from Berlin to Zadar, complementing its existing services from London Luton and Milan.

easyJet will see some competition on its new routes. It will face off directly against Croatia Airlines and Volotea on flights between Venice and Dubrovnik, as well as Eurowings and Ryanair on services from Berlin to Zadar. In Pula, the airline faces no direct competition on its new routes but will offer flights from a fourth airport in London, with Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted already served from Pula by British Airways,, Ryanair, TUI Airways and easyJet itself. The low cost airline will operate a record 3.100 flights to Croatia during the peak travel months of July and August next year and offer some 540.000 seats for sale during this period.

Commenting on the airline's new flights to Croatia, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, Ali Gayward, said, "With more than 46 services operating in Croatia, easyJet is committed to providing Croatian clients with affordable trips, offering them a broad network of connections with major European cities". She added, "Pula is very trendy both with young people who want to go to the various festivals of Croatia, but also with more mature people as well, and we expect all our new routes to be especially popular with passengers". Sophie Dekkers, easyJet's UK Country Director noted, "This announcement of our expansion highlights our commitment to providing affordable routes to summer holiday destinations. We’re sure that they will prove extremely popular for those looking for a summer break or visiting friends and family".

RouteLaunch date
Milan - Pula25.06.2018
Basel - Pula26.06.2018
Venice - Dubrovnik26.06.2018
Berlin - Zadar27.06.2018
London Southend - Pula24.07.2018
London Southend - Dubrovnik28.07.2018
Liverpool - Pula29.07.2018

Pristina Airport registers November growth


Pristina Airport has seen its passenger numbers grow in November, with the airport handling 117.260 travellers during the month, representing an increase of 5% on last year. During the January - November period, it welcomed 1.736.761 passengers through its doors, an increase of 7.1% compared to 2016. The airport initially estimated it would handle 1.8 million travellers this year, which it will achieve this December. “There is huge potential on some routes and we are cooperating with different airlines to attract them for opening new services. We are willing to increase flight numbers and extend our network with additional routes”, General Manager, Haldun Firat Kokturk, previously said.