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Blue Air to Bucharest and back

Travelling to Bucharest from London for Business, Blue Air was the best choice due to the timings of the flights and most importantly the low cost!
I live near Gatwick, so a direct train to Luton Airport Parkway made the journey to and from Luton Airport a lot easier then I first thought.
Unfortunately online check in is not offered, but it was not a problem as the check in staff at Luton airport were very efficient and helpful, hence the short queue moved quickly. With our seats allocated at check-in, there was no rush at the gate even though the flight was near enough full. Having ample space in the comfortable seat, the 3 or so hour flight flew past. I was lucky enough to have a window seat so I was able to put my headphones in and stare out of the window all the way - but that's just me!

Malev ceases all flights

As suggested as possible in yesterday's post, Malev, the national carrier of Hungary has ceased all flights as of this morning 03rd February 2012. With a historic timeline from 1946 to the present Malev was once a great carrier and it will be sorely missed.

SpiceJet gets new fleet and new second city routes

The dynamic Indian low cost carrier, SpiceJet is launching a new network of routes connecting secondary cities in India using Bombadier Dash 8 Q400 turbo-prop aircraft. This Canadian built 78 seater aircraft is the most technologically advanced turboprop currently being built.

In phase one of the new network launch, SpiceJet will be launching connections to a list of new cities including Vijayawada (VGA), Rajahmundry (RJA), Tirupati (TIR ), Aurangabad (IXU), Mangalore (IXE), Indore (IDR), and Bhopal (BHO) with a main base in  out of Hyderabad (HYD). Phase two will see flights between Hyderbad (HYD) to Madurai (HYD-IXM), Vizag to Tirupati (VTZ-TIR), Bangalore to Vizag (BLR-VTZ) Hyderabad to Goa (HYD-GOI) and Hyderabad to Nagpur (HYD-NAG).

This is a bold and innovative move by a low cost airline which had previously followed the industry model of keeping costs low by using a single manufacturer jet aircraft fleet.  In the fast growing but fiercely competitive world of Indian Air Travel, Spice Jet with its new for 2011 investors seems a good bet for success. This new venture is one which could radically increase the size of the market by grabbing passengers from the Indian Railways network.  SpiceJet is one of our favourite airlines, watch out for more announcements in the future !


Zombie Airlines a new term for airlines on the rack

We are seeing the emergence of a new industry term "Zombie Airlines" being used to describe airlines whose owners are refusing to continue to back them through this difficult European economic recession, thereby placing them at risk of ceasing to fly. It is being suggested that Spanair's demise  last week, after the withdrawal of support from its Provincial Government backing, will herald more collapses as difficult trading conditions and escalating costs continue to bite. HIgh on the lists being bandied around by journalists include EasternEuropean carriers, Malev and Czech airlines, whilst further afield the troubled, but once great, Air Zimbabwe is named. Even more worrying is when airlines like the mighty Scandinavian giant, SAS, gets the news from their Government shareholders that any  further aid is unlikely to be forthcoming, whilst also learning that  their major low cost competitor, Norwegian, has announced a record breaking order for 222 brand new aircraft... a squeeze is a squeeze in any industry but it becomes even more painful when the one being squeezed is also publicly linked with an "old planes and high costs" image by the newer upstart...

It is no exaggeration  to say that we are in the midst of an industry transformation, one which will ultimately provide passengers with lower ticket prices on more efficient aircraft operated by ruthlessly cost-centric organisations, but for many it will be a painful transformation where the old ways are swept aside by the aggressive use of new technologies and less customer centric policies. Alternative Airlines will continue to support lesser known airlines around the globe with our focus continuing to be one where we aim to offer our passengers a bigger, better informed choice of carrier - where ever and whenever they wish to fly.  Despite airline consolidations, mergers, acquisitions and failures choice will continue to grow as new airlines launch and established airlines with real competitive advantage thrive, Alternative Airlines will continue to keep abreast of the changes and help our passengers make sense of a turbulent industry.

Air Asia X joins Vietnam Airlines at Gatwick

Following hard on the heels of Vietnam Airlines announcement that it will start a new four times weekly service from London Gatwick to Vietnam in December 2011, Air Asia X has revealed its plans to switch its 3 year old service to Gatwick from London Stansted starting 24th October. The competition between London Gatwick and Stansted is intensifying and clearly Gatwick's recent strong marketing initiatives are paying off. Having been very impressed  recently on a behind the scenes tour of the airport with showed off some of the spectacular improvements being made at Gatwick, it will be interesting to see what other carriers follow the lead set by these two different -  but equally prestigious in their own way - airlines ! Watch this space......

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