Gulf carrier Etihad Airways has welcomed the European Commission (EC) review of aviation policy as a chance to embrace “bold reforms” that put competition and passengers’ interests in the spotlight.
In its submission to the EC’s Strategic Aviation Package Etihad said its involvement in Europe—it has stakes of varying size in five European carriers—gives it a “unique perspective” on what is required to drive the industry forward.
The Strategic Aviation Package has a number of aims, including policies that will lay down Europe’s 10- to 15-year air transport strategy, give new powers to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and establish rules for drone use.
“The Strategic Aviation Package … represents a significant ‘window of opportunity’ to strengthen the European air transport sector as an economic and social enabler, and a key driver of growth,” the airline said in a statement.
Among its suggestions are to put competition and consumers at the forefront of policy development; to think globally, not locally; to ensure connectivity is at the heart of EU aviation and transport policy; and to support innovation in business models, not artificially constrain them.
The airline supported its submission with research from three consultancies, Oxford Economics, Edgeworth Economics and The Risk Advisory Group.
Among this research, the Risk Advisory Group prepared an analysis of the state support received by European flag carriers prior to and following their privatization. Etihad said that while it did not challenge the European system, it sought to demonstrate it had created a distorted playing field for new entrants.
“Aviation in 2015 is global, not local,” Etihad president and CEO James Hogan said of the European review. “By taking a strategic and holistic approach to aviation policymaking, the European Commission can deliver meaningful change, not just for Europe, but also for the benefit of air travelers and the airline industry worldwide, just as the US did with its visionary Open Skies Policy.
“The European Commission has declared that it wants to revive Europe as an economic powerhouse, and a hub for jobs, for growth and for investment. Air transport is essential for such a promising agenda and for international trade.
“Etihad recognizes the enormous growth achieved by liberalization of intra-European airline operations, and urges the European Commission to now be the catalyst for global air transport reforms by easing restrictions on non-European airline access to member states and global investment in airlines domiciled within the EU.”
China Eastern Airlines is working on the possibility of adding at least two weekly flights between China and Spain from next year. The Shanghai-based company is one of the largest Chinese airlines operating international, domestic and regional flights.
This was confirmed by the Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism, José Manuel Soria, who said that the current eight operations per week "are very limited" compared to other European countries.
At present, Spain has two routes to Beijing, operated by Air China, from the airports of Madrid-Barajas with five weekly frequencies and Barcelona-El Prat, with three flights a week, in this case, with a stopover in Vienna. Meanwhile, Germany has 50 weekly flights, France 60, and the UK up to 80 weekly frequencies, consolidating the hubs of Frankfurt, Paris Charles de Gaulle and London Heathrow.
China Eastern Spain is considering operating two flights per week from 2016
The CEOs of Europe’s five largest airline groups hosted a press briefing in Brussels earlier today (June 17) to outline their shared vision for a new EU Aviation Strategy.
The group outlined four main measures for the aviation industry to support the EU, agreeing that a common strategy and comprehensive plan was well overdue.
Several key principles included a commitment to safety, support for pro-competition policy and regulation within the EU, and an opposition to state-aid.
Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa CEO, highlighted the impact the aviation industry has on the EU as a whole: “Our industry doesn’t just create jobs in our own industry, but has a huge multiplying effect on any country we are representing. It is crucial for the economic strength of Europe to improve our aviation strategy,” she said.
The cost of EU airports is one of the greatest problems within Europe, and is one of the main issues which need to be addressed, according to the panel. Lowering the cost of the EU’s airports will be possible by ensuring the monopoly airports are effectively regulated, ensuring that passengers receive the full benefit of the commercial revenues which they create at airports.
According to Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM, regulations on monopoly airports would safe consumers 1.5 billion euros.
“We need to introduce one-stop security. There is an inadequate control on security costs in Europe which need to be put under a clear cap,” he said.
The CEOs highlighted the issue surrounding air traffic control in the EU, including the number of strikes which affect EU airspace. With over 3,000 flights cancelled so far in 2015 due to air strikes, Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair spoke about the inefficient airspace provision.
“The EU needs to ensure that ATC strikes do not cause disruption for passengers by making use of the new technology tools available. We need to allow airlines to overfly countries where there are air traffic control strikes,”
“Only half of the planned efficiency gains from Single European Sky will be achieved by 2020,” he added.
With a better, more efficient use of EU funding, the CEOs are calling for action on flights, and a reform of legislation on the Single European Sky policy.
The group moved onto the issues of taxes on aviation within the EU, stating that several European countries continue to impose unreasonable taxes on aviation.
“There is clear evidence from independent research that passenger tax is counterproductive, it reduces economic output and therefore government revenue,” said Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group (IAG), parent of British Airways, Iberia and low-cost carrier, Vueling.
The IAG CEO also highlighted that experience from countries such as the Netherlands and Ireland show that when such taxes are removed, aviation and economic activity significantly increases.
According to the group, the EU needs to act to ensure that these taxes are lifted – leading to more travel, more investment, more trade and ultimately increased jobs and growth.
“Aviation is an enabler of European growth, we should support the industry to support growth,” added Walsh.
Concluding, Carolyn McCall confirmed the group’s support for several key principles: “We will take our proposed measures to the Commission – to increase competition, encourage efficiency and reduce costs in other parts of our industry,” she said.
Airlines have continuously delivered lower fares for consumers over the last two decades – now is the time to ensure these reductions are matched by other parts of the industry, noted McCall.
“We will continue to work together to promote the interests of our passengers. Our strategy will be open to all airlines in Europe, we need to work together closely, and more seriously,” she said.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways reported a net profit of $73 million for 2014, up 52.1% from the $48 million reported for 2013.
The UAE airline said the results were its fourth consecutive year of profit and its “strongest to date,” largely attributable to a 26.7% increase in total revenue driven by strong passenger and freight demand. Revenue for the year reached $7.6 billion, with growth in passenger traffic outstripping capacity increases.
Etihad president and CEO James Hogan said: “Our shareholder has set a clear commercial mandate for this business and we continue to deliver against that mandate. Our focus is on sustainable profitability and our fourth year of net profits, at a time when we continue to invest in the new routes, new aircraft, new product and new infrastructure needed to compete effectively, shows we are serious about that goal.”
Passenger numbers in 2014 increased 22.3% year-over-year to 14.8 million, with RPKs up 23.6% to 68.6 billion. ASKs were up 21.8% to 86.6 billion, and load factor up 1.2 percentage points to 79.2%. Cargo revenue was up 19.2% to $1.1 billion, with freight and mail volumes rising from 487,000 to 569,000 tonnes.
Hogan said that a key driver of Etihad’s growth in 2014 was its partnership strategy, including minority equity investments in strategically important airlines, which generated revenues of $1.1 billion in 2014, an increase of 37.7% year-on-year, accounting for 24% of Etihad’s total passenger revenues. The airline has equity stakes in Air Serbia, Alitalia, airberlin, Air Seychelles, Aer Lingus, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Swiss-based Etihad Regional, operated by Darwin Airline.
Hogan said that, “although our growth continued strictly to plan in 2014, we are currently faced with unprecedented external challenges. Of particular concern has been the rise in aggressive protectionist sentiment in Europe and the US, where both Etihad Airways and its partner airlines are being targeted. These attempts to limit competition are detrimental to consumer choice. They threaten to damage the significant progress that our airline has made in offering improved travel connections, product and service standards, and value for money.”
A report just published by global consultancy Oxford Economics suggested that Etihad will contribute $2.9 billion to the US economy and support 23,400 American jobs in 2015. Commissioned by the airline, the report—“The economic impact of Etihad Airways on the US economy—projects that by 2020, Etihad’s operating expenditure and capital investments in the US will almost double, to support 46,200 American jobs and deliver $6.2 billion a year.
It says that, since 2004, Etihad has introduced or ordered almost 120 Boeing aircraft at a current list price of $36.5 billion, and has also chosen US suppliers for equipment ranging from cabin interiors to inflight entertainment systems.
The report also pointed out that, in 2014, Etihad delivered 182,000 connecting passengers onto US airlines, a figure that is forecast to increase 65% to reach approximately 300,000 this year.
Etihad VP-international and public affairs Vijay Poonoosamy said: “Put into perspective, that’s equivalent to five full Boeing 737-800 flights every day of the year.”
Oxford Economics valued the economic benefits of connectivity between the US and destinations in the Etihad network at $410 million this year, rising to an expected $850 million by 2020.
The proposal of the owner of Blue amounts to 354 million euros, minimum amount may increase depending on the activity of the company for 2015 and the addition to the fleet of 53 new aircraft adds.
El propietario de la aerolínea brasileña Azul, David Neeleman, ha ganado el concurso de privatización lanzado por el estado portugués para desprenderse de la compañía TAP, en el que competía con el magnate colombiano-brasileño Germán Efromovich. The owner of the Brazilian airline Azul, David Neeleman, won the privatization tender launched by the Portuguese government to divest the company TAP, which competed with the Colombian-Brazilian tycoon German Efromovich.
El gobierno portugués informó de esta decisión después de la reunión del consejo de ministros, que entregará el control al consorcio liderado por Neeleman en el que también participa el empresario luso Humberto Pedrosa, dueño de la firma de transportes Barraqueiro. The Portuguese government announced this decision after the meeting of the council of ministers, which will give control to the consortium led by Neeleman which also involved the Portuguese entrepreneur Humberto Pedrosa, owner of the transport firm Barraqueiro.
La propuesta del dueño de Azul asciende a 354 millones de euros, cantidad mínima que puede aumentar en función de la actividad de la compañía durante 2015 ya la que se suma la incorporación a la flota de 53 nuevos aviones. The proposal of the owner of Blue amounts to 354 million euros, minimum amount may increase depending on the activity of the company for 2015 and the addition to the fleet of 53 new aircraft adds.
La operación necesita, no obstante, del visto bueno de la Comisión Europea, ya que las reglas comunitarias impiden que compañías aéreas con sede en la UE sean controladas en más de un 50 por ciento por un propietario no europeo. The operation requires, however, the approval of the European Commission, as the Community rules prevent airlines based in the EU are controlled by more than 50 percent for non-European owner.
Precisamente por este motivo Neeleman se alió con Pedrosa para crear un consorcio en el que el empresario portugués representa el 50,1 %, con la intención de respetar la normativa de Bruselas, que ahora deberá pronunciarse. Precisely for this reason Neeleman allied with Pedrosa to create a consortium in which the Portuguese businessman represents 50.1%, with the intention of respecting the rules of Brussels, which now must decide.
La oferta perdedora -presentada por Germán Efromovich, dueño de la aerolínea Avianca- a priori no planteaba dudas en este sentido, debido a que el magnate tiene pasaporte polaco. The losing bid-presented by German Efromovich, owner of Avianca airline priori not raise doubts in this regard, because the tycoon has Polish passport.
De ser confirmada la compra, Neeleman adquirirá el 66 % de las acciones del grupo TAP, aunque un 5 % de este porcentaje está reservado a los trabajadores. If confirmed the purchase, Neeleman will acquire the 66% stake of the TAP group, but 5% of this percentage is reserved for workers.
Además de la aerolínea, TAP incluye una empresa especializada en manutención e ingeniería en Brasil y la firma de gestión de carga y equipajes Groundforce. In addition to the airline, TAP include specializing in maintenance and engineering company in Brazil and the management firm Groundforce cargo and baggage.
Según la información facilitada por el Ejecutivo portugués en el pliego de condiciones original, el Estado mantendrá en su poder el 34 % de los títulos del grupo, aunque podrá venderlo al mismo comprador “durante los dos años siguientes” a la firma del contrato, siempre que el ganador del concurso cumpla todas las condiciones… According to information provided by the Portuguese government in the original specification, the State remain in power for 34% of the shares of the group, but may sell to the same purchaser "for the next two years," the signing of the contract, provided that the winner meets all the conditions ...
This year 48 Spanish companies are attending the BIO International Convention, held in Philadelphia from 15 to 18 June, invited by ICEX.
BIO International Convention is the largest global event for the biotechnology industry. It takes place annually, with rotating headquarters. This year it will be held between 15th and 18th June in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States.
ICEX Spain Export and Investment is organising Spanish participation for the 12th time, this time made up of 48 companies, a number that has been experiencing a significant increase since 2004, when the Spanish pavilion was composed of nine exhibitors.
This evolution demonstrates both the strong commitment of ICEX to improving the country's image among American players in the industry, and the interest of Spanish companies in the largest biopharmaceutical market in the world and source of much of the biotech milestones of the past 30 years.
Exhibitors are physically divided into four areas: three of them representing the bioregions of Andalusia, Catalonia – more than half of the companies come from Barcelona – and the
Basque Country; and the fourth, called SpainBio, holds firms from other areas, as well as state-level institutions.
One of the keys to the success of this event lies in the unique opportunity afforded to companies by the partnering system that takes place during the fair, which enables contact with potential partners or customers through one to one meetings.
A small but highly specialized market
The Spanish industry is perceived in the US as a small market (compared to its own), but
with very high quality research, mainly in the areas of oncology, neurodegenerative and inflammatory, and rare, diseases both in basic and in applied research and in clinical diagnosis.
Spanish biotechnology is growing at above average rate in the EU, such that Spain has become the fifth country in the EU-15 in scientific production in biotechnology behind the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy, despite the fact that the sector is deficient in the development of products and technologies, and in its application in business (public research represents about 70% of the total).
Over recent years, Spanish biotechnology has gained confidence to develop commercial and research activities in the US, when in the past its natural market was essentially the European Union (Germany, the UK, France and Italy).
Interaction between Spanish and American companies is growing. Large companies from the United States (Amgen, Genentech Inc., Monsanto and Syngenta AG) recognise the value of small Spanish biotech companies, which are generally more specialised. This fact creates a favourable climate for the establishment of technological or commercial agreements, or even for financing cooperation projects. For Spanish biotechnology companies developing products with high added value – as in the case of drugs – and which require prior approval from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), association with a US company can help to develop new products, and to receive both financial and structural support to take all the necessary steps to achieve this approval.
Spanish participation in BIO will be enhanced with the third edition of the Spain Kicks off BIO day, to be held at the Independence Visitor Center of the city of Philadelphia on the morning of June 15.
This activity, organised from the Economic and Commercial Office of Spain in Chicago, is entitled "Winning Strategies to Move Forward" and will focus primarily on licensing, technology transfer, and access to external sources of financing.
More than 3.6 million users passed through the facilities.
As regards operations, 26,883 movements were carried out last month, representing an increase of 1.4% over 2014. From January to May, there have been a total of 109,329 landings and take-offs, 1.5% more than last year.
Finally, 9,666 tonnes of cargo were transported in May, a figure 10.2% higher than the same month in 2014, highlighting the increase in non-EU international market which grew 19.6% in this month. In the year to date, 45,592 tonnes of cargo have been reached, representing an increase of 9%.
Vueling is consolidating its routes to the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes and Kos, and adding more islands with departures from Rome to Karpathos, Lesbos, Lemnos, Samos, Cephalonia, Zakynthos and Lampedusa.
Vueling, the busiest airline at Barcelona-El Prat airport, will connect its entire network to 35 islands this summer, more than any other European carrier.
Among the innovations for July and August are twice-weekly services from Barcelona to the Portuguese island of Madeira, known as “the Pearl of the Atlantic”. In the same months Vueling will fly twice weekly to the island of Yerba, off the coast of Tunisia; once a week to the white beaches and crystalline waters of Sal, in Cape Verde –the airline’s longest route to date, at 3,900 km; and up to twice weekly to Corfu, the Greek island just of the Albania coast. The four new routes amount to an 8% increase in Vueling’s island-bound air seats available this summer.
The airline will also fly direct from Barcelona to another 24 popular island destinations this summer, including Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, and Kos in Greece; Palermo, Catania, Cagliari and Olbia in Italy; Larnaca in Cyprus; Bastia in Corsica, and Malta. Deserving especial mention are the Spanish Balearic Islands of Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza, with up to 10, 12 and 12 daily frequencies respectively; and to Tenerife (north and south), Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and La Palma in the Canary Islands.
On the www.vueling.com website, phone app, mobile platform, or from travel agencies you can now book flights to the islands, starting at these low prices: Barcelona-Mykonos, from 52,27£; Barcelona-Corfu, from 52,27£; Barcelona-Madeira, from 45,21£; Barcelona-Ibiza, from 27,54£;
Seven More Islands from Rome-Fiumicino
Meanwhile, from its second hub at Rome-Fiumicino, Vueling is offering exclusive weekly trips to the Carpathian Islands, Lesbos, Lemnos, and Samos in July and August; to Cephalonia and Zakynthos, with two weekly frequencies in the same period, and Lampedusa, also with three flights a week in July and August. Passengers departing from Barcelona can book their luggage through to their island destinations before making a quick change at Rome-Fiumicino.
Vueling, la aerolínea europea que ofrece más destinos en islas este verano
La compañía conectará Barcelona con un total de 28 islas, entre las que destacan Madeira, Yerba, Cabo Verde y Corfú como novedades para este año
Vueling consolida sus rutas a las islas griegas de Mykonos, Santorini, Creta, Rodas y Kos, y añade siete islas más desde Roma a Kárpatos, Lesbos, Lemnos, Samos, Cefalonia, Zákinthos y Lampedusa
Vueling, la aerolínea líder en el Aeropuerto de Barcelona-El Prat, conectará toda su red con un total de 35 islas, lo que la convierte en la aerolínea europea que más destinos en islas ofrecerá la próxima temporada de verano 2015.
Entre las novedades desde El Prat se incluyen cuatro rutas directas a Madeira, también conocida como ‘La Perla del Atlántico’, en Portugal, y que contará con dos frecuencias semanales en los meses de julio y agosto; Yerba, situada frente a la costa del noroeste de África, en Túnez, a la que se podrá volar dos veces por semana también en los dos meses de mayor demanda; Sal, en Cabo Verde, una isla de arena blanca y aguas cristalinas que contará con una frecuencia semanal durante los meses de julio y agosto –la ruta más larga operada por Vueling, con 3.900 kilómetros de distancia-; y Corfú, isla griega situada a tan solo 20 kilómetros de la costa albanesa y a la que se podrá volar hasta dos veces por semana en los meses centrales del verano. Con estas cuatro nuevas rutas la compañía incrementa su oferta de asientos desde Barcelona a destinos en islas un 8% este verano, conectando El Prat con un total de 28 islas.
Además de estas novedades, Vueling también conecta Barcelona con otros 24 destinos con una alta demanda durante el verano. Entre ellos destacan: Mykonos, Santorini, Creta, Rodas y Kos en Grecia; Palermo, Catania, Cagliari y Olbia en Italia; Lárnaca en Chipre; Bastia en Córcega (Francia) o Malta. Mención especial también para las islas nacionales, tan consolidadas en la red de destinos de la compañía: Palma de Mallorca, Menorca e Ibiza en las Islas Baleares –que contarán con hasta 10, 12 y 12 frecuencias diarias respectivamente-; Tenerife (norte y sur), Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura y La Palma en el archipiélago canario.
A través de la página web de Vueling (www.vueling.com), App, portal móvil y agencias de viajes pueden adquirirse ya los vuelos para este verano: Barcelona-Mykonos, desde 74,99€; Barcelona-Corfú, desde 74,99€; Barcelona-Madeira, desde 64,99€; o Barcelona-Ibiza, desde 39,99€.
Siete islas más desde Roma-Fiumicino
Por otro lado, Vueling añade también vuelos directos durante los meses de julio y agosto a las islas griegas de Kárpatos, Lesbos, Lemnos, Samos, Cefalonia y Zákinthos en exclusiva desde su segundo hub en el Aeropuerto de Roma-Fiumicino. La compañía operará también vuelos a Lampedusa, con tres frecuencias semanales también en julio y agosto. Los pasajeros con origen en distintos puntos de Europa podrán volar a estas islas haciendo escala en el aeropuerto romano y recogiendo la maleta directamente en el destino final.
Vueling incrementará también su operativa hacia islas desde toda Italia, ofreciendo 20 destinos directos desde seis aeropuertos del país transalpino: Catania, Génova, Turín, Florencia, Milán y además de la ya citada, Roma-Fiumicino.
Miami – The International Air Transport Association (IATA), announced a new initiative to optimize the accommodation of carry-on bags given differing carry-on bag sizes and airline policies.
Working with airline members of IATA and aircraft manufacturers, an optimum size guideline for carry-on bags has been agreed that will make the best use of cabin storage space. A size of 55 x 35 x 20 cm (or 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches) means that theoretically everyone should have a chance to store their carry-on bags on board aircraft of 120 seats or larger.
An “IATA Cabin OK” logo to signify to airline staff that a bag meets the agreed size guidelines has been developed. A number of major international airlines have signaled their interest to join the initiative and will soon be introducing the guidelines into their operations.
“The development of an agreed optimal cabin bag size will bring common sense and order to the problem of differing sizes for carry-on bags. We know the current situation can be frustrating for passengers. This work will help to iron out inconsistencies and lead to an improved passenger experience,” said Tom Windmuller, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.
IATA is working with baggage tracking solutions provider Okoban to manage the approval process of bag manufacturers. Each bag meeting the dimensions of the specifications will carry a special joint label featuring IATA and Okoban as well as a unique identification code that signals to airline staff that the bag complies with the optimum size guidelines.
Several major baggage manufacturers have developed products in line with the optimum size guidelines, and it is expected bags carrying the identifying label will start to reach retail shops later this year. Recognition of the IATA Cabin OK logo is expected to grow with time as more airlines opt-in to this IATA initiative.
A colourful light show accompanied by music and euphoric players caps a historic season for FC Barcelona.
By all measures, it was a proper party to cap a record season for FC Barcelona. The team arrived at Camp Nou after a majestic parade through the streets of Barcelona that brought together thousands of fans to celebrate the La Liga, Spanish Cup and Champions League titles attained after ten months of competition.
A fabulous intro with children going to bed and dreaming of Barça, videos showing the best goals of the season, and a colourful laser light show, set to music that wowed both the 70,000 attendees assembled at the stadium and the team out on the pitch.
One by one, public address announcer Manel Vich presented the members of the staff and the players, with Messi, Sergio, Iniesta and Xavi, the four captains, coming out last. The ceremony lacked only one player — the goalkeeper Claudio Bravo who, on Thursday, will begin the Copa América.
Down on the field, Luis Enrique was the first to address the fans, followed by Xavi, acting as emcee.
There were words to suit everyone: from Iniesta and Messi transmitting their satisfaction to the euphoria unleashed by Pique, the excitement of Alves, Pedro's perfect Catalan and Ter Stegen's Spanish.
Close to midnight, the team ended the celebration with a final victory lap and an impressive fireworks show.