Mango Airlines has license suspended for two years

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Low-fare South African airline, Mango Airlines, has had its license suspended for two years, obliterating any immediate chance for its revival.

The decision came from the Air Services Licensing Council, and was reported in a local news statement. Whilst the airline has not been operating any flights for over a year now, being in business rescue since July last year, a recent report (reported on by CHAviation) at the time suggested a bidder had shown proof of funding to rescued the airline.

Administrator Sipho Sono, Managing Director for Ophis Advisory, said, “significant progress has been achieved with one of the bidders” and had until August 10th to meet conditions.

It was not to be, however.

The council stated the low-fare airline’s license would be suspended “for a period of two years, effective immediately, as Mango has not operated the licensed air services for an uninterrupted period exceeding 12 months”.

 

Bonza takes delivery of its first 737 MAX

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Bonza, Australia’s newest low-fare carrier, completed a major milestone as it took delivery of its first 737 MAX. Its the first of this aircraft type to be based in Australia, and will be initially used around Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast.

The new carrier will run 17 destinations on 27 routes.

“We are beyond excited to welcome our first aircraft to Sunshine Coast Airport and with so much buzz around the country for Bonza, we hope today is also exciting for the communities we’ll be flying to. Our team of legends have been working hard behind the scenes to reach this significant milestone and so it was important that we were all here to welcome flight AB 001 together,” said Tim Jordan, CEO of Bonza.

Additional aircraft will follow and ultimately support Bonza’s growth plans beyond its initial Sunshine Coast and Melbourne bases.

“This is an exciting time for Australian aviation and most importantly, the Aussie travelling public who will now enjoy more choice,” added Jordan. Ninety-three per cent of Bonza’s routes are currently not serviced by another airline (25 out of 27 routes) and 96 per cent are not currently served by a low-cost carrier.

ERA expresses concern at some LCC’s dumping of airfares

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The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has expressed concerns over the dumping of airfares by certain low-fare carriers, and the subsequent pressure it puts on regional carriers by impacting competition in the Single European Market.

When the aviation sector faces major operational challenges, coupled with increases in the prices of jet fuel and post-COVID recovery, for the ERA this lowering of flight costs to below operational prices is ‘irresponsible’.

Certain low-fare carriers lean on the practice of unbundling airfares, but the ERA believe this creates significant pressure and directly impacts fair competition. What’s more, the ERA believes this practice, particularly when carried out by airlines who have received State Aid, should be investigated as it is a total misuse of public funds.

Small-to-medium sized airlines support the regions of Europe by maximising the benefits of tourism with the creation of local jobs, the conservation of natural and cultural heritage and by providing improvements in infrastructure to benefit the regions. When flights are advertised at outrageously low prices, this action could be perceived as encouraging over tourism.

ERA Director General Montserrat Barriga said: “A healthy level of competition is important for our industry but eroding competitors’ margins by selling tickets at extremely low prices, even below taxes or direct costs, will gradually drive airlines out of business and ultimately reduce consumer choice and connectivity in Europe.”

“ERA will continue pushing for transparency on prices, and setting prices above taxes in the current discussions with the European Commission regarding the revision of the Air Services Regulation n.1008/2008. With the impact of the pandemic, our industry’s recovery is incredibly fragile, and it is vital that we attract new recruits to our stretched workforce. Increasing the pressure on the industry, and those working in it, is completely counterproductive.”

Vietjet announces seven new international routes

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Vietjet announces seven new international routes connecting Da Nang with Singapore, Busan (South Korea), New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Bangalore (India). The new services will operate from July 2022 with four to seven return flights per week.

The announcement was made at the Da Nang Investment Forum 2022 with the participation of Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. The event also marks Vietjet’s announcement to paint Da Nang’s tourism symbol on its fleet to promote the city’s images globally. Da Nang will join hands with the airline at its promotion and stimulus events in return.

Vietjet Vice President Nguyen Thanh Son said: “Da Nang is Vietnam’s one of the most attractive destinations for international tourists. Vietjet has transported nearly 22 million passengers from, to Da Nang so far and currently operates 8 domestic and 5 international routes from and to Da Nang. Vietjet believes that the new routes announced today will continue to contribute to opening more opportunities, promoting economic, trade and business investment between Da Nang and other Vietnamese cities and regional destinations.”

With many positive activities and connections with Da Nang as well as the “Central heritage road”, Vietjet has constantly opened more routes, offering more flight options with diversified flight schedules and happy experience for passengers on its new and modern fleet.

Vietjet recently operated four services between Vietnam and India, including Hanoi-New Delhi/Mumbai and Ho Chi Minh City – New Delhi/Mumbai. It will launch two more routes connecting the island city of Phu Quoc with New Delhi and Mumbai in September 2022.

Vietnam has lifted the arrival regulations relating to Covid-19 and travelers can enjoy a complete pre-pandemic fashion arriving in Vietnam. The S-shaped country is more than ready to welcome international travelers to visit and explore its magnificent scenery.

Hans Airways appoints Martin Dunn as Chief Commercial Officer

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Hans Airways, the new UK airline which is gearing up to start scheduled services from Birmingham to India this year is pleased to confirm the promotion of Martin Dunn to Chief Commercial Officer.  Martin joined the business in November 2021 as Director Sales and Distribution from Etihad Airways, where he led commercial teams focused on pricing, revenue and route management for the Abu Dhabi-based carrier and its airline brands.

At Hans Airways Martin is working closely with CEO Satnam Saini in the executive leadership team and is responsible for overall sales, distribution, marketing, brand and product, e-commerce and digital retail functions, as the airline heads towards launch later this summer.

Martin brings a solid four decades’ airline experience in the UK and Middle East, having started his aviation career via the travel agency route. His first airline job was with British Midland in sales, where he was responsible for developing pricing strategy, and establishing the distribution process.  He was closely involved in the regional carrier’s move into Star Alliance, working alongside counterparts in Lufthansa, SAS and United Airlines.

After 16 years in Derbyshire,  Martin moved to the Middle East, initially working with Gulf Air in Bahrain, heading commercial route management and supervising country sales teams, before joining Etihad in 2007, initially as head of commercial route management, then head of strategic pricing, interline and digital retail.

“Martin’s experience in airline pricing and revenue management, plus his ability to lead and inspire teams was highly attractive to the Hans Airways’ Board as we determined an ideal commercial leader. Together with his extensive international airline experience and vast industry contacts, he is proving to be a terrific asset,” said Satnam.

“I have held many roles in the airline industry but the opportunity to be part of a start-up airline is very exciting,” said Martin.  “I met Satnam and quickly embraced his vision and mission for Hans Airways – to build a community airline for the people, by the people, while giving back to good causes.”

“After months working mainly by video calls it is great to be be able to get out and meet face-to-face again.  I’ll be drawing on my extensive experience to help develop an airline and product that customers want to experience – at a price they can afford.  We look forward to welcoming our first customers on-board soon.”

Akasa Air’s first aircraft arrives in India

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Akasa Air, India’s newest and most dependable airline, today, welcomed the arrival of the first of its 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, in the presence of its leadership team. The airline received the ceremonial keys for the aircraft at Seattle, USA on June 15 th , 2022. The delivery of Akasa Air’s first aircraft brings the airline closer to obtaining its Air Operator’s Permit (AOP), which is required for it to launch commercial operations in the country.

Commenting on the timely arrival of the aircraft, Vinay Dube, Founder, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Akasa Air said, The arrival of our first aircraft is a very happy moment for all of us and marks an important milestone, bringing us closer to our vision of building India’s greenest, most dependable, and most affordable airline.

Akasa Air is a prime example of the progress made by Indian aviation in recent years and is also a testimony to the country’s vibrant start-up ecosystem. This is not just a significant milestone for us and Indian aviation, but it’s the story of a new India”, added Dube.

“We are proud to partner with Akasa Air as they embark on their journey towards making air travel inclusive and affordable for all,” said Salil Gupte, president, Boeing India. “India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and offers enormous growth and productivity opportunities for the aviation industry. We are excited that the advanced 737 MAX will help Akasa Air drive efficiencies in business and operations while providing its customers with a superior flying experience,” he added.

Akasa Air’s brand new aircraft arrives at a time when India’s aviation market is finally witnessing a good recovery following a long slump because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As per credit ratings agency ICRA, the recovery in domestic passenger traffic has been strong post-Omicron and has reached 98% of pre-COVID levels in April and May 2022.

Fly Arna announces launch plans and receives first aircraft

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Fly Arna, Armenia’s national airline and a joint venture company between the Armenian National Interests Fund (ANIF) and Air Arabia Group, today held the launch ceremony of the airline at the Presidential Terminal in Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan.

The launch ceremony was attended by H.E. Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia, representatives of the Government of Armenia, along with senior leaders of the Armenian National Interests Fund, Air Arabia Group, Civil Aviation Committee, Zvartnots International Airport, members of the press and other delegates. The ceremony included the arrival of Fly Arna’s first Airbus A320 aircraft, which has departed from Sharjah International Airport carrying a delegation from Air Arabia Group and was received by a water cannon salute at Zvartnots International Airport.

During the ceremony, Fly Arna has also announced the launch date of its first commercial flight that will mark the launch of its flight operation. Inaugural flight G6501 will take off from Zvartnots International Airport to Hurghada International Airport in Egypt on July 3, 2022. Fly Arna launch destinations will also include direct flights connecting Armenia with Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt and Beirut in Lebanon (pending approval). Flights are now open for sale and customers can book their flights by visiting Fly Arna’s website, calling the call centre or through travel agencies.

During a speech at the ceremony, the Prime Minister, said: “Our political commitment was to enforce changes in the field of aviation, also to ensure that more planes had the Armenian flag colors on their board. And today I am glad that we have this opportunity, I congratulate all of us on this occasion, as the Government of Armenia, the Armenian National Interests Fund, with the participation of our partners of Air Arabia are launching this airline. I hope that Fly Arna will bring more people in and out of Armenia, and Armenia will become a crossroads from where people travel and return, where they come for tourism and take with them a part of Armenia, and a positive attitude towards our country.”

Tigran Avinyan, Chairman of the Board of ANIF, said: “We are proud to launch Fly Arna today after months of hard work and dedication. The arrival of the first aircraft to its new home base at Zvartnots International Airport is considered another great landmark to celebrate and an important step on our journey towards starting our operations. We are looking forward to working in strategic partnership with our stakeholders to cater the growing aviation and tourism industries in Armenia and to providing an exceptional passenger experience to travellers”.

Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia, added: “Today’s milestone is the first step of marking the beginning of a new era for Armenia’s aviation sector.  We thank our partners, the Civil Aviation Committee, and all the teams whose hard work and commitment have led to achieve this milestone. Fly Arna will offer its customers value-added air travel services while contributing significant value to the economy by boosting the tourism, hospitality, and business sectors. We are looking forward to adding more destinations to Fly Arna’s network in the near future.”

Icelandic Airline PLAY Takes Off to New York with Tickets at £159

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Summer in New York just became much for affordable for Brits, as Iceland’s low-cost airline, PLAY, took off for the first time today (10 June 2022) to New York’s most cost-effective airport, Stewart Airport.

The airline’s new route between London Stansted and New York Stewart International Airport (SWF) via Reykjavik, took off at 11:47 with a total of 160 passengers on board.

Tickets can be purchased at www.flyplay.com, from as little as £159 one way (standard fare).

Though May saw mass disruption and delays across European airports, PLAY is also pleased to share that on-time performance in May was 88.9%, which is a strong performance for an airline that has recently become a hub and spoke model.

Birgir Jónsson, PLAY CEO, said:Almost one year after our very first flight took off from London Stansted to Reykjavik, we’re over the moon to have launched our third US destination from the UK. PLAY’s ticket sales sky-rocketed 338% in May 2022 when compared to January 2022, following the launch of our first flights to Baltimore/Washington and Boston, and the huge appetite for travel we’re experiencing across Europe.”

“We know Brits are looking for a bargain when it comes to summer breaks this year, and the low fares and flexibility that passengers experience at Stewart International Airport are exactly what passengers seek when they book their travel with PLAY; we’re confident that Brits will snap up this deal.”

Though Stewart airport is further away from Manhattan than JFK and Newark, it takes passengers approximately an hour less to get there thanks to the time saved getting through airport customs, compared to the much lengthier processes at JFK and Newark. In addtion, faster transport routes by taxi, bus, and train, including Metro North, Amtrak, or Newburgh-Beacon-Stewart Link, mean travelling from Stewart is faster and more convenient.

Stewart also gives passengers the chance to save money, with Coach USA operating rides to Manhattan, which are timed to coincide with the arrival and departure of PLAY’s flights, costing just $20, compared to $52 travelling via taxi from JFK.

Serving New York City, the growing Hudson Valley area, New Jersey, and Connecticut, New York Stewart airport is popular among families, with proximity to top attractions including Legoland NY Resort, Woodbury Commons.

Now, with three airports in the U.S., (Baltimore/Washington, and Boston Logan) PLAY is prepared to support a travel comeback in 2022, enabling travellers to enjoy spring and summer trips in the States. As travellers’ habits change from long-term planning to spontaneous last-minute bookings, passengers will choose PLAY for affordable, reliable, and the flexibility offered when booking their flights.

Vietjet launches first and only direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Mumbai

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Vietjet has officially inaugurated the direct flights connecting Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with Mumbai, India’s largest city.

The inaugural flight ceremony of the two direct routes jubilantly took place at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai with the attendance of the representatives of Consulate General of Vietnam in Mumbai, airport authorities, Vietjet’s management and hundreds of passengers onboard the debut flights.

Vietjet’s Vice President Do Xuan Quang, said, “Following our launch of New Delhi – Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi services, we are delighted to launch two more direct routes between Vietnam and Mumbai. We believe that the two services from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Mumbai as well as the coming Phu Quoc – Mumbai route will strengthen the on-going relationship of Vietnam’s two biggest cities with Mumbai. The services launched between Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi and Mumbai operate four and thrice weekly flights respectively and we expect to increase the frequency in coming time to meet customer’s demand.”

Speaking about Vietjet’s launching its network from Mumbai, CSMIA Spokesperson said, “CSMIA is pleased to partner with Vietjet and launch new direct flight connectivity between Mumbai and Vietnam. These services by Vietjet will offer diversified travel destinations and flight schedules, as well as add direct flight options to CSMIA’s route network from Mumbai to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to further boost travel opportunities between the two countries. CSMIA has been working extensively to provide connectivity to destinations across the world and creating new routes for consumers, while offering best-in-class facilities and services along with ensuring safety and comfort while travellers transit through the airport.”

Besides the Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi – Mumbai services, Vietjet’s direct routes between Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi and New Delhi currently operate thrice weekly flights on each route. From September 8, 2022, the Phu Quoc – Mumbai route will commence operation with four round trips per week while the Phu Quoc – New Delhi will operate with a frequency of three round trips per week.

Vietjet’s direct services between India and Vietnam are expected to ease people’s traveling to Vietnam and making connecting flights the country’s top tourist destinations such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hue, etc. and other regional destinations including Bali, Bangkok and Singapore, etc.

Travelers to Vietnam have enjoyed a completely pre-pandemic fashion as the country scrapped the Covid-19 testing requirements for all international arrivals from May 15, 2022 regardless of vaccination status. The new ruling makes Vietnam the first in Asia Pacific to fully open to international travelers.

Located in the heart of Southeast Asia and home to a rich culture, diverse natural landscapes, an extraordinarily delicious cuisine and friendly local people, famed for their warmth and hospitality, Vietnam has been a favorite tourist destination in recent years, drawing more and more world travelers, and routinely receiving praise from leading global travel magazines. Hanoi, the capital city with over a thousand years of history, is home to enchanting lakes, unique urban areas such as the bustling Old Quarter and an array of fascinating heritage buildings, while Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s leading economic, financial and tourism center, is a vibrant destination with incredible restaurants, shopping and nightlife.

Mumbai, previously known as Bombay, is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra and serves as the country’s key economic, social and cultural center. As India’s largest city, Mumbai, also called the “city of dreams”, is home to the Hindi-language film industry known as ‘Bollywood’, one of the world’s biggest film industries.