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United States outbound travel in 2003 dropped for the third straight year; yet travel to overseas destinations showed a strong rebound during the later part the year according to figures only just issued by the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, part of Washington's Department of Commerce. Mexico and Canada suffered the worst with the rest of the world up 5%. In 2003, 56.2m US residents traveled abroad for one night or longer. This was down 3% from 2002 and not that much less than the outbound record of 61m in 2000. Mexico was once again the lead destination with 17.6m travelers and Canada the number two at 14.2m. The top five overseas markets visited by US travelers in 2003 were the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Jamaica. Of these, the only markets to experience an increase over 2002 were the UK, which increased to 3.3m plus 1% and Jamaica to 1.5m. Other countries showed large percentage gains but the actual numbers were small. Other statistics issued by the travel and tourism office include top outbound cities, package tourism, decision times and spend. Dec 20, 2004

Airborne Internet problems. Now if there is one quandary that aircraft designers have not overcome is the use of the on board rest rooms (toilets to the English, or "lav" &endash; short for lavatory) as a place to quietly sit and read. With limited facilities on board overindulgence is just not fair. Smoking was banned (don't believe the stories about safety &endash; loo puffers were just taking up too much time) which eliminated some of the waiting period but now we have another problem. It seems that with the emergence of Connexion by Boeing and other airborne Internet systems passengers have been seen taking their laptops into that most private of rooms. New rules and regulations will now have to be organized and no doubt both Airbus and Boeing will come out with stickers (at $100 per sticker &endash; nothing is cheap on an aircraft &endash; and it has to be approved by the joint air worthiness board). "Surfing the Internet whilst in this area is banned! A [pounds sterling]500 fine will be levied and your domain name removed!" Japanese versions as well! Dec 13, 2004

Aer Lingus has announced an additional four new routes to Europe in its summer schedule for 2005. Since the end of 2001 the airline has more than trebled its network of routes, with the introduction of 42 new scheduled services. The new flights from Dublin to Seville, Naples, Marseilles and Hamburg will commence at the end of March 2005. Earlier this year the airline announced four new services from Cork to Munich, Rome, Nice and Faro due to commence at the end of April 2005. Readers may be interested to know that Willie Walsh, chief executive, who recently tendered his resignation together with two other senior members of the management, will be guest of honor at the London Aviation Club on 9 February. Expect a good turnout from the Irish. Dec 20, 2004

AeroMexico will add a fourth daily nonstop flight between Miami and Mexico City Jan. 10 2005 using an MD-80. Dec 16, 2004

AeroMexico will launch twice-weekly nonstop service between Puerto Vallarta and San Diego Jan. 13 2005. Dec 6, 2004

Afriqiyah Airways, the Tripoli-based Libyan airline just about to be privatized, celebrated its third birthday in a unique way by organizing a party in the Sheraton Park Lane London with a picture of Colonel Gaddafi staring down on the 200 guests. The event also celebrated the airline's upping of its recently introduced Gatwick &endash; Tripoli schedule to four times a week, the Libyan capital serving as a hub for various African destinations including Accra and Lagos. Both Paris and Geneva are on the Afriqiyah Airways schedule. The airline operates two class Airbus A320s on the London route and also the Airbus A300 for the longer routes to the south. Future plans include the Airbus A330. Dec 6, 2004

Air China, who operates a daily Boeing 747 service between Heathrow and Beijing, has gained regulatory approval to list its shares on the Hong Kong and London (LSE) Stock Exchanges, with trading scheduled to commence on 15 December. The company, China's largest international carrier, intends to raise an estimated $1bn in the dual listings. The number of overseas airlines on the LSE is very limited typically ANA joining in the early nineties and subsequently delisting. In another move the China Aviation Supplies Import & Export Group Corporation (CASGC) has announced its decision to acquire 23 Airbus A320 series aircraft, a mixture of A319 and A320, these said to be for the use of Air China. Dec 13, 2004

Air Finland will start a twice-weekly service from Helsinki to Rome Ciampino using 757-200s April 22 2005. Dec 21, 2004

Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines equity held by the French State is now down to 20% following a share sale as planned. This reduction in the government holding is in line with the arrangements agreed between the French and Dutch under the agreement to merge Air France and KLM. As agreed with the unions, present and former employees of Air France and its subsidiaries will be entitled to purchase Air France &endash; KLM shares at a discount under a rights issue in return for a wage cut. A statement from AF makes it clear that the French government plans to remain a major shareholder of the Air France &endash; KLM Group. Dec 13, 2004

Air Namibia is in final talks to add two former Sabena A340-300s to its fleet. Currently it has one ex-Swiss MD-11 in operation on its four weekly Windhoek-Frankfurt services. "With the A340-300s we are also looking to open London again," CEO and Technical Adviser Riedel Gernot said. The airline's aging fleet of three 737-200s will be flying until 2006 when their leases expire Dec 10, 2004

Polish startup Air Polonia halted operations Sunday, grounding its three 737s. The airline was headed by former LOT Polish Airlines CEO Jan Litwinski. According to wire service reports, Air Polonia said it reached agreement with Sky Europe of Slovakia to transport its passengers, while separately, Wizz Air, which operates from bases in Poland and Hungary, offered to transport stranded Air Polonia passengers. In a statement, Wizz Air said it was offering free tickets for all passengers holding valid reservations with Air Polonia, with only taxes and charges to be paid. The Associated Press reported that Air Polonia suspended operations after an investor canceled plans to inject $10 million into the airline. Dec 7, 2004

Air Polonia canceled all its flights indefinitely on Sunday December 5 2004 stranding passengers. Both SkyEurope and Wizz Air have rushed in with help offering free flights for stranded passengers subject to space availability when booking and the payment of taxes and airport fees. Air Polonia flew from Stansted to Bydgoszcz, Gdansk, Katowice, Poznan, Szczecin, and Warsaw. It is a Boeing 737 operator and was founded in 2001. Dec 6, 2004

AirBaltic will launch two weekly 737-500 flights to Istanbul from Riga March 1 2005, rising to three during the summer season. Dec 7, 2004

AirBaltic will launch flights between Riga and St. Petersburg using F50s. The four-times-weekly service will be operated in code share with Pulkovo Airlines. Dec 2, 2004

Airsea Lines has inaugurated their Corfu seaplane services. Using 19- seat DHC Twin Otter, float planes the airline is linking Corfu Gouvia marina (ten minutes drive north of Corfu airport) to Paxos, Kefalonia, Ioannina and Patras, plus Brindisi in Italy. A second hub at Athens Flisvos marina is due to open for the Christmas holiday season with a third center at Patros expected to open with the April 2005 summer airline program. We would like to compliment Airsea Lines for the TV media coverage clipping on its website. However it is all Greek to us! Dec 6, 2004

AirTran Airways initiated new daily nonstop service from Sarasota/Bradenton to Atlanta and Baltimore. Dec 21, 2004

Kuwait-based Al-Jazeera Airways placed an order with Airbus for four A320s with options for four more. Each will be outfitted with 165 seats in a single-class layout and deliveries are expected to begin in Oct. Engine choice has yet to be made. Al-Jazeera Airways expects to begin operations in Feb. with flights to key business and leisure destinations throughout the Middle East using two leased A320s. Initial destinations include Dubai, Bahrain, Amman, Damascus, Beirut and Egypt, with further expansion planned to include cities on the Indian subcontinent. The new entrant is the latest of a number of carriers who have placed orders for the A320. Recently, Air Deccan ordered 30 and last week AirAsia ordered 40 with 40 options and India's Kingfisher placed an order for 10 with 20 options. Dec 23, 2004

Al-Jazeera Airways, Kuwait's first private airline, has been approved by the Gulf state's government and will launch in February initially operating a pair of leased Airbus A320s. Al-Jazeera plans budget style regional flights to Bahrain and Dubai and Middle Eastern routes to Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt at its onset. Its primary expansion plan for the next five years is to fly to more Gulf and Middle Eastern states. Last year, the government of oil-rich Kuwait moved to open up its airline sector for competition by approving the establishment of private passenger and no frills carriers, as well as air freight companies. A public offering of shares was 12 times over subscribed. Al-Jazeera is the Arabic word for "the island", but it is also used to mean the Arabian peninsula, which includes Kuwait. http://www.kuwait- Dec 20, 2004

Alaska Airlines will begin a daily nonstop roundtrip between Anchorage and Phoenix from June 5. It launches daily service between Vancouver and San Diego Feb. 13 and will add two more weekly flights between Vancouver and Las Vegas, bringing the total to nine. Dec 1, 2004

America West Airlines launched Saturday-only service between Los Angeles and Acapulco and between Oakland and Los Cabos using 737s. The carrier also began daily nonstop service between Sioux Falls and Phoenix. America West Express, operated by Mesa Airlines, will provide the latter service using CRJ200s. Dec 21, 2004

America West Airlines will launch daily nonstop service from Las Vegas to Boise March 1. America West Express, operated by Mesa Airlines, will provide the new service using 86-seat CRJ900s. With the new flights, AWA will serve 56 nonstop destinations from Las Vegas. Dec 14, 2004

American Airlines is revamping its in-flight catering offerings and is expected to roll out the new arrangements on 1 February. At that time the airline will begin selling food on many flights that currently have only beverage service. According to the airline, 660 of its 1,900 domestic flights will have the food-purchase option &endash; about 300 more than currently offer food service. In addition to ending complimentary meals in coach, American said it would stop offering special dietary request meals, such as kosher or low-sodium meals during domestic flights. Three dollar snack boxes will be sold on more than 500 daily non-transcontinental flights of three hours or more, cash only (for the time being). First class passengers will still receive complimentary meals. American &endash; the nation's largest airline &endash; said the new food service is a direct result of tests conducted in September. Survey results from customers and feedback from employees supported the idea of selling food in-flight and, ultimately, helped design the new program. Dec 20, 2004

Continuing a minor boom for US airlines on the North Atlantic, American Airlines is to introduce nonstop services between Shannon and Boston and Dublin to Chicago starting 1 May 2005. American will fly the Boston service with 188-seat Boeing 757s and will serve Dublin &endash; Chicago with 211-seat Boeing 767-300 aircraft. The airline will operate both routes on a daily basis during the peak summer travel season and five days a week the rest of the year. These new services mark the return of American Airlines to direct scheduled services between the USA and Ireland after a gap of more than 50 years. On both routes the airline will compete with its erstwhile code share Oneworld partner Aer Lingus. American operates up to 40 transatlantic flights a day in each direction between the USA and Europe. Dec 20, 2004

American Airlines will begin selling food in the main cabin on all domestic flights of 3 hr. or longer from Feb. 1 2005 in a move the carrier said will save it $30 million annually. Buy-on-board also will replace the food service on approximately 120 transcontinental and 40 Hawaii flights. American will offer a morning and afternoon snack box on non transcontinental flights for $3. On the transcontinental and Hawaii flights it will offer a sandwich or wrap for $5 in addition to the snack box. First class meals and nonalcoholic drinks on all flights will remain complimentary. Dec 20, 2004

American Airlines will launch service between Chicago and Dublin and between Boston and Shannon May 1 2005. The Chicago-Dublin flight will be operated with 211 seat 767-300s while the Boston-Shannon route will be served using 188-seat 757s. American will operate both routes on a daily basis during the peak summer season and five days a week the rest of the year. Dec 7, 2004

ANA All Nippon Airways last week moved its main domestic hub operation at Tokyo Haneda Airport to the new Terminal 2 which uses the existing railway station connecting Haneda to central Tokyo in less than 30 minutes. A monorail station will open soon beneath the terminal offering an even quicker, 20 minute, connection. To speed the check-in process, the airline has installed 52 self-operating machines that allow passengers to print boarding passes via their mobile. This reduces check-in time to just eight seconds, compared with the manual system which takes two minutes on average. An interesting innovation for arriving passengers is the use of right-side departing bridges at some gates. ANA can now attach three boarding bridges &endash; two on the left and one on the right &endash; to a 747 (seating 569 passengers in a domestic configuration &endash; more than the suggested 550 for the Airbus A380). Dec 13, 2004

Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines will launch three daily flights from Atlanta to both Kinston and Hickory, N.C., on April 1 and May 1 2005 respectively. On March 2, Delta Connection carrier Chautauqua Airlines will begin two daily nonstop flights between Raleigh-Durham and New Orleans and increase service between Raleigh- Durham and Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater to three daily flights. Dec 10, 2004

Aurigny, in effect the state airline of Guernsey, is to consolidate its operations and phase out its Saab 340 and Shorts 360 aircraft. It will be left with a fleet of eight BN Trislanders and three ATR 72 with the possibility of adding a further ATR 42 next summer. As soon as the year end holiday period is over all UK regional services from Jersey will stop as well as the Guernsey to Bournemouth and East Midlands flights. Besides inter island services Aurigny will continue to operate from Guernsey to Bristol, Dinard, Gatwick, Manchester, Southampton and Stansted and Alderney to Southampton. Dec 6, 2004

Austrian Airlines announced that it will add six more F100s to its fleet, bringing its total to 15 aircraft. Including nine F70s from AAG and subsidiary Austrian Arrows, AAG will be one of the biggest F70/F100 operators in Europe. Dec 10, 2004

Blue Air, a Romania-based startup, said it will launch services with two 737-300s Dec. 13. It plans to operate a twice-daily service from Bucharest Baneasa to Timisoara. Five weekly flights to Lyon, Rome or Milan also are planned, as well as four weekly flights to Reus. Dec 2, 2004

Blue1 will open a new route from Helsinki to Rovaniemi in Lapland Jan. 31 2005, offering six-times weekly service using Avro RJs. The carrier also announced new flights from Copenhagen to Vaasa and Oulu. Dec 21, 2004

British Airways has opened a flight connections center (FCC) at Heathrow specifically for Oneworld passengers. It should make life much easier for people changing airlines at Heathrow. The new FCC is located between terminals 1 and 2 and replaces separate units operated by each airline. Only Cathay Pacific, who uses a similar setup in T3, and Aer Lingus are not in the scheme. With EI the plan is to integrate the airline in time. Dec 20, 2004

British Airways with franchise partner GB Airways introducing a daily flight from 10 January 2005 in parallel with its Gatwick services to Gibraltar is again to be linked to Heathrow. All flights will be operated out of T1 by Airbus A320 aircraft offering a choice of Club Europe and Euro Traveler cabins, including complimentary in-flight food and drink and a minimum 31" seat pitch. GB Airways is also to introduce BA services to Dubrovnik from its new Manchester hub complimenting British Airways own daily flights from Gatwick. Dec 6, 2004

Centralwings is the final name for LOT's proposed low-cost subsidiary, which is expected to start operations Feb. 1 from Krakow and Warsaw to London Gatwick using a fleet of five 737 Classics. Previously it had been designated Polish Wings. Further destinations will follow later. Dec 20, 2004

Chautauqua Airlines launched daily Delta Connection service between Orlando and Panama City and between Orlando and Savannah. It also began two daily flights between Ft. Lauderdale and Pensacola. Dec 2, 2004

City Airline, a Swedish Regional carrier, will start a twice-daily service from Gotenburg to Zurich from Jan. 31 using ERJ-135s/-145s. Dec 24, 2004

South Africa's latest attempt to get off the ground with an alternative operation to the BA, SAA, Virgin monopoly on the route between the Republic and the UK seems to have failed. Civair, an established air taxi and charter company was supposed to have started a three times a week operation back in October, postponed until the beginning of December. That has never happened, according to the company due to the withdrawal of backers. However Civair says that all fares and deposits will be reimbursed. Dec 13, 2004

Vodafone and Boeing, acting through its business unit Connexion by Boeing, intend jointly to trial the delivery of high-speed in-flight Wi- Fi connectivity to passengers. The trial, set to start this month, will test the Vodafone customer experience with the Connexion by Boeing in- flight Internet service. Vodafone represents the first global mobile telecommunications operator to undergo trials with Connexion. Dec 14, 2004

Continental Airlines says it will add services to Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, making the airline the only US carrier to serve Africa directly. The new service marks the latest announcement of a new international destination for Continental, the airline recently announcing plans to fly to a number of secondary European gateways, including Berlin, Stockholm, Hamburg and Belfast. Continental says it also plans to fly to Moscow, although this will not happen until 2006. Dec 20, 2004

Continental Airlines launched daily nonstop service between Los Angeles and three Mexican destinations--Aguascalientes, Guanajuato and Morelia-- and between Laredo and Mexico City. The carrier also was expecting Friday to begin new four-times-weekly service between Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Huatulco. Continental Express will operate the flights with 50-seat Embraer jets. Dec 20, 2004

Continental Airlines received approval to launch nonstop flights between New York and Lagos. The airline said it expects the service to begin in the second quarter of 2005 but an exact launch date as well as further details of the service will be announced at a later date. Dec 10, 2004

Continental Airlines will inaugurate service between Del Rio, Tex., and Houston March 3. The twice-daily service will be operated by SkyWest Airlines under the Continental Connection code share using a Brasilia. Dec 1, 2004

CSA Czech Airlines will start a daily service from Rome to Riga March 3 2005 using 737 Classics. Dec 21, 2004

CSA Czech Airlines will introduce 13 additional weekly frequencies to the UK from Prague in 2005, bringing total weekly flights between the UK and Prague to 96. CSA's weekly flights to Birmingham will go from 10 to 13, Manchester will get four extra weekly flights for a total of 17 and two weekly flights will be added to Glasgow. Dec 7, 2004

Sky Team member CSA, essentially the Czech Republic national airline, says that in 2005 eight airlines will operate over 200 weekly flights from the UK continuing and expanding the tourist boom for the former communist state. CSA also says that in spite of the competition it is still holding 30% of the market and is the only airline to serve Prague from all three major London airports. For the future its sees Prague as a hub for eastern Europe and says that it will continue with its long haul operation and accepts that the Airbus A310 services to New York, Montreal and Toronto are due for an upgrade. Dec 6, 2004

Darwin Airlines, a Swiss Regional carrier based in Lugano, will start a new service from London City via Berne and Lugano to Rome using Saab 2000s by Feb. 2005. Dec 21, 2004

DBA introduced feeder services for Delta Air Lines from five German cities to Munich, Berlin and Stuttgart. Dec 13, 2004

Delta Air Lines clients soon will have more access to India following the announcement of a new service between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Chennai (Madras), with a stop at Paris Charles de Gaulle, beginning 9 May. Customers will benefit from the service and experience of the only US carrier serving two cities in India, Mumbai and Chennai. Expanding international service is a key element of Delta's transformation plan, which will provide customers more access to the world. Delta currently offers passengers daily New York &endash; Paris &endash; Mumbai flights and daily seasonal service from New York &endash; Frankfurt &endash; Mumbai. Dec 20, 2004

Delta Air Lines at the end of Nov. 2005 began interline e-ticketing with British Airways, America West, Aloha and Midwest Airlines. Delta aims to be 100% e-ticket by the end of 2005. Dec 2, 2004

Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines early next year will begin code sharing on select flights. Commencing Jan. 10 2005, Delta will place its code on Alaska flights from Seattle and Anchorage to five destinations while Alaska will start code sharing on Delta flights from Seattle, Anchorage and Portland (Ore.) to four destinations. The code sharing is part of a larger comprehensive marketing agreement the two signed earlier this year that also includes access to lounges and the ability to accrue and redeem miles in each other's frequent-flyer programs. Dec 15, 2004

Denim Airways, Dutch, and a one time operator into London City Airport, is to expand its network of scheduled flights from Zurich International Airport with two new destinations: Bologna (twice daily) and Genoa (three times daily) from 17 January 2005. The move comes just six months after the successful launch flights from Zurich to Venice (three times daily) and Florence (daily). The airline, based in Eindhoven, also flies from Augsburg to both Berlin-Tegel and Dusseldorf. It operates 14 Fokker 50 and 5 DH8 aircraft. Dec 20, 2004

Disneyland may be having problems in Paris but that is not the case in the Far East. With Mickey Mouse's emporium now well established in Tokyo the Walt Disney Company has confirmed that a Hong Kong branch will open on 12 September 2005 on a site at Penny's Bay on Lantau Island, not far from the new Hong Kong International Airport. Disney predicts a massive 5.6m visitors for the first year, around one third from the mainland. With Hong Kong presently booming it looks like air seats to the Special Administrative Region will be at even more of a premium! The company is already advertising for cast members, no problem for Mickey but we will wait to see what a Chinese Tinkerbelle is like! Dec 20, 2004

Donbassaero Airlines in the Ukraine began code sharing on Lithuanian Airlines' three weekly flights on the Vilnius-Kiev route under a new agreement. Dec 16, 2004

EasyJet, like virtually all the so-called budget carriers, continues to expand at a prodigious rate, even to the extent that the staff cannot keep up with developments. Its latest offering is three new routes from Belfast (Geneva, Inverness and Palma) bringing the BFS total by the height of next summer to 84 daily services and 17 routes. easyJet is also expanding its Italian operations with four new routes connecting the UK and Germany with some of Italy's most attractive destinations. Gatwick to Olbia commences 27 May 2005, Luton to Cagliari commences 21 April whilst Berlin to Olbia and Pisa both commence 8 April. easyJet currently operates 16 routes to Italy: Stansted to Bologna; Gatwick and Paris to Milan; Berlin, Stansted and Paris to Naples; Bristol, Dortmund, Geneva, Gatwick, Newcastle, Nottingham East Midlands to Rome; Luton to Turin; Bristol, Gatwick, Nottingham to Venice. Readers are strongly advised to visit the easyJet website for up to the minute route information. Dec 6, 2004

Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, has been awarded "Best Foreign Airline" by the Jakarta regional government at a recent gala event held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Presented by the Governor of Jakarta province, the Adikarya Wisata award is considered to be the pinnacle of tourism awards locally. It is presented to organizations and service providers that have shown significant achievement, dedication and contribution to the development of tourism in Jakarta. Commenting on the achievement, Emirates' Area Manager for Indonesia John Rotikan said, "We are honored to win this award and deeply appreciate the administration's recognition of Emirates' contribution to Jakarta's tourism sector. "Emirates is committed to the Indonesian market. We will continue to contribute to the tourism industry, by actively promoting business and leisure travel traffic between Jakarta and the many other destinations which our airline serves." Emirates received its first Adikarya Wisata award in 1997, followed by a certificate in Karya Bhakti Adi Karya Wisata in 2001. This year, it beat fierce competition from other illustrious international carriers to win the "Best Foreign Transportation" award. Emirates operates ten flights a week from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to Dubai and destinations beyond. The fast-growing airline currently serves 77 major cities in 54 countries with a modern fleet of wide-bodied aircraft. In 2005, Emirates will introduce Seychelles, Seoul, Hamburg and Geneva to its expanding route network. About the awards Adikarya Wisata translated means "Extraordinary Performance in Tourism Industry". Initiated in 1991, this award is part of the regional government's vision and strategy to raise quality standards in tourism, and develop tourism industry products and services in Jakarta, Indonesia. It aims to motivate the tourism industry to greater achievements, and also to recognize industry players who have made significant contributions to tourism. The Karya Bhakti Adi Karya Wisata is awarded to companies and institutions that have supported the Jakarta regional government in providing excellent service to the Jakarta community. Dec 20, 2004

Emirates will launch a second daily flight between Dubai and Birmingham (UK) June 1 2005 using a 285 seat A330-200. Dec 10, 2004

EUjet's future seems assured for the next two years following an announcement by PlaneStation plc, the new owner of the Kent International (Manston) Airport, that it had raised a [pounds sterling]30m rescue package. Eight destinations are to be added and the airline says it expects to carry 800,000 passengers next year. Since its first flight in September 71,000 people have flown on EuJet according to managing director PJ McGoldrick. Dec 20, 2004

Eurofly will operate thrice-weekly seasonal scheduled flights from Bologna to New York JFK with A330-200s from June until Sept. The airline said it expects to sign an agreement with a US carrier for onward connections from JFK. The service could increase to daily from May 2006 if the seasonal trial proves profitable, it added. The privately held Italian leisure airline at present operates eight A320s and two A330s, plus a wet-leased A330 from Star Airlines of France. Dec 20, 2004

Fly First Class will begin five weekly flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau Feb. 11 2005 using 737s. Dec 21, 2004

FlyBe says that with the addition of the latest services which it announced last week the airline will operate a total of 31 new routes in summer 2005. The summer timetable sees the addition of both Leeds Bradford and Norwich airports to the airline's existing regional bases. Major expansion has also been phased in at Southampton (five new routes), Liverpool (six new routes), Southampton and Exeter (five new routes each) and Birmingham (nine new routes). The 16 news are Belfast City to Aberdeen and Norwich; Birmingham to Bergerac and La Rochelle; Edinburgh to Norwich; Exeter to Leeds, Liverpool and Palma; Glasgow to Norwich; Jersey to Norwich and Southend; Leeds to Exeter and Southampton; Norwich to Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Jersey; Southampton to Limoges, Leeds, Bordeaux, Liverpool and Rennes. FlyBe has announced half yearly profits of [pounds sterling]14m, in addition to a 24% overall growth in passenger traffic and a 34% overall increase in passenger revenue. Dec 6, 2004

Frontier Airlines received approval from the US Dept. of Transportation to begin nonstop service between St. Louis and Cancun. Pending approval from the government of Mexico, Frontier intends to launch three weekly flights on the route Feb. 25 2005. Dec 13, 2004

GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes launched daily flights between Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires this week, its first international service. The carrier also began daily service from Salvador to Aracaju. Dec 24, 2004

Hello, the Swiss charter airline established by Crossair founder Moritz Suter, will base one of its three MD-90s in Cyprus for the upcoming summer season. From March until May, the aircraft will operate two flights a day to Germany. Dec 24, 2004

Helvetic Airways will offer new services to Palermo, Catania, Brindisi and Lametia Terme from Zurich by spring. Dec 21, 2004

IATA (International Air Transport Association) Chief Economist Brian Pearce told a media symposium in Geneva earlier this week that modest net earnings are projected conditionally for 2005 but international airlines will post net losses of $4.8-$5 billion in 2004, owing mainly to soaring oil prices that will have hiked cumulative industry losses since 2001 to more than $35 billion. Should oil prices recede to about $34-$36 a barrel in 2005,as is forecast, the industry could generate a slim net profit of $1-$2 billion next year, Pearce said. Fuel cost IATA airlines $62 billion in 2004, he added, about $15 billion more than in 2003, and carriers have been unable to pass on the full burden to passengers. IATA DG and CEO Giovanni Bisignani termed the overall figures "terrible." Even if airlines were to make profits of some $1-$2 billion next year out of revenues of some $350 billion, "that is a long way from making us a good investment," he said. "Nevertheless, we still have the basis of a profitable industry." "With oil prices expected to decline only moderately in 2005," Pearce stated, "the small net profit that we forecast" hinges on "further successes by the airlines and by IATA on their behalf in taking costs out of the business." The bleak industry outlook came against the backdrop of a rise to 1.8 billion passengers that will have been carried by IATA's 270 member airlines by the end of this year, an increase from 1.6 billion travelers in 2003. "Profitability, as measured by the EBIT margin, has remained negative in 2004 purely as a result of the price of oil," Pearce declared. "If the price of oil had remained at $25, its 2002 average and still above the 10-year average of $21, then profitability at the operating EBIT level would have 'recovered' to 5%--the sort of profitability seen in the late 1990s." Dec 16, 2004

Independence Air, which has experienced growing pains during its transition from a Regional airline to a low-fare carrier, reached an agreement with Sabre to provide flight information and ticket sales. All flights will be listed on Sabre's GDS under the symbol DH. The move is designed to boost lagging ticket sales and offer easier booking access for travel agencies and corporations. Dec 21, 2004

Independence Air will launch three daily nonstop flights between Ft. Myers and Washington Dulles Feb. 17 2005 using an A319. Dec 14, 2004

India's Kingfisher Airlines signed a contract with Airbus to acquire 10 A320s with options for 20 additional aircraft in a deal valued at $1.8 billion. The low-cost carrier also inked a deal to lease four A320s from debis AirFinance that it will use to launch operations. Deliveries of the leased aircraft are expected to begin in April while the ordered aircraft will begin arriving in Sept. All will be powered by IAE V2500s. The airline is seeking to outsource its maintenance to Indian Airlines, which also operates A320s. Kingfisher, which is backed by United Breweries, plans to have a fleet of eight A320s by the end of 2005, building to 16 by 2006. "The orders and leases for Airbus A320s that we are announcing are just the start of what will soon be a fleet of more than 30 aircraft, allowing Kingfisher to expand its 'fly the good time' approach to all of the major cities in India," Chairman Vijay Mallya said in a statement. Dec 21, 2004

InterSky, which operates two Dash 8-300s, will add three more routes from its Friedrichshafen base in early Feb. It will introduce four weekly flights to Graz and Prague and three weekly services to Venice Treviso. It will close its Berne-Vienna and Berne-Berlin routes, which will taken over by German carrier Cirrus Air. Dec 2, 2004

Japan Airlines has become the first carrier to offer regular airborne Internet services in and out of Heathrow, the world's busiest international airport. Connexion by Boeing wireless installations are being installed on all JAL's long haul 747 and 777 equipment offering world wide web access, real time e-mail and the ability to establish a position on a private network. London is considered JAL's blue ribbon and ideal to introduce the service. Fierce rival ANA introduced Connexion by Boeing on the Tokyo &endash; Shanghai services several weeks ago but as ANA points out on board Internet really comes into its own on long haul services, the benefits for regional routes reduced. Wireless units can be used anywhere in the JAL cabin with power points limited in the economy section but fitted to all premium class seats. On Tuesday SAS (14 October) becomes the fourth member of the Interline airline club introducing the service on the Copenhagen &endash; Seattle route, this time on an Airbus A340. With only 11 long haul aircraft their fleet roll out is expected to be quick. & Dec 13, 2004

Japan Airlines launched its JAL SkyOnline onboard Internet service, which is powered by Connexion by Boeing, on a flight from London to Tokyo. Initially, the service will be available every other day in first, business and economy classes on flights between Tokyo and London. Going forward, it will be extended to other long-haul flights on routes between Japan and Europe and Japan and the Americas aboard 747-400s and 777s. Dec 13, 2004

Jetstar Asia Airways, backed by Qantas, has become the third budget carrier, and ninth airline, to launch operations from Singapore Changi Airport this year. Initial destinations are Hong Kong (3 hours 50 minutes) and Taipei (4 hours 35 minutes) nonstop, somewhat long flight sectors than the normal low cost European operations. By January next the airline expects to have four Airbus A320 in service. New destinations are due for imminent announcement. Dec 20, 2004

Jetstar Asia Airways took off from Singapore's Changi Airport yesterday on its maiden flight to Taipei. The Qantas-backed airline is the third Singapore-based low-cost carrier to launch operations this year from Changi. Minister of State for Finance and Transport Lim Hwee Hua said, "The birth of Jetstar Asia, as a Singapore-based carrier, is testimony to the close relations between Australia and Singapore." Qantas is the largest foreign carrier based at Changi, but relations with Singapore may be strained when the country presses for full open skies with Australia, which would enable Singapore Airlines to fly from Sydney to the US. Qantas so far has argued successfully that it will be impacted severely if SIA is given access to these flights, which are its most profitable. Dec 14, 2004

Jetstar Asia, a Singapore-based low-fare airline, announced yesterday that it will inaugurate service on Dec. 13, operating daily between Singapore and Hong Kong followed by Taipei on Dec. 16 and Pattaya on Dec. 20. More destinations including Shanghai, Jakarta, Surabaya and Manila will come on line "in rapid succession from January onwards," the airline stated. Jetstar Asia is a partnership between Qantas (49%), Singaporean businessmen Tony Chew (22%) and FF Wong (10%) and Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd., the government investment arm that also holds a controlling interest in Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport. Jetstar will operate A320s. Dec 7, 2004

KLM is the latest carrier to announce services introducing a daily, 0950, Fokker 70 KLM Cityhopper flight from Amsterdam starting 27 March 2005 to Tallinn, the capital of new EU recruit Estonia. The timing will allow connections from a number of UK airports. Tallinn becomes KLM's third destination in the Baltic countries which, in May of this year, joined the European Union. Since 31 May 2004, KLM operates twice daily round-trip services to Riga, Latvia's capital, also using a KLM cityhopper Fokker 70. Furthermore, KLM has a code-share agreement with Lithuanian Airlines, which offers transfer passengers a twice daily Lithuanian Boeing 737 service to and from the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. easyJet is also set to launch services from Stansted to Tallinn. Dec 6, 2004

KLM launched new daily weekday nonstop service between Rotterdam and London City using F50s. In addition, as a result of "growing interest in the business market," it will increase the frequency of its Amsterdam- London City flights on April 1. Meanwhile, effective Jan. 1 it will suspend flights between Rotterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle owing to "decreasing interest" in this route. Dec 23, 2004

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has issued some dramatic figures which show just how quickly self-service check-in (SSCI) is becoming the norm. Last week 54% of its passengers departing from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol used the electronic system compared with only 13% this time last year. Given the latest online check-in options now available, long waiting times at the desks are beginning to become a thing of the past. At the start of this year, specially installed baggage drop-off points were officially taken into operation in departure hall 2 at Schiphol and the number of SSCI machines increased significantly. Within a timeframe of 30 hours prior to departure, passengers traveling on an e-ticket also have the option of checking themselves online, selecting a seat and printing out their own boarding pass. Dec 13, 2004

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in Feb. 2005 will receive its first 777 offering SMS and e-mail service for passengers in World Business Class and economy. The service also will be available aboard the six A330s that will be joining the KLM fleet as of Aug. 2005. The new SMS and e- mail facility will be accessible via the interactive entertainment system at every seat. The fee for every sent and received message is $2.50, which can be paid with all major credit cards. KLM expects to introduce the service on all 10 of its 777s by May 2005. Dec 13, 2004

Korean Air has resumed flight services to Taiwan after a 12 year break. The airline will operate a 148 seat 737-800 on a daily service from Incheon to Taipei. Regular flights between Korea and Taiwan were discontinued after diplomatic ties were severed in 1992 following the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and China. Charter flights were started in Dec. 2002. Dec 2, 2004

LAN Airlines will add two new frequencies between Santiago and Bariloche Dec. 31 2004 for a total of four weekly flights on the route. Dec 20, 2004

Lufthansa will start a thrice-weekly service from Frankfurt to Port Harcourt using A330-200s. The flight continues to Abuja. The carrier also will increase frequencies to Accra to daily, routed via Lagos. Dec 10, 2004

Maersk Air is planning to start a twice-daily 737-700 service from Copenhagen to Vienna in Jan. 2005. Dec 3, 2004

Midwest Connect will operate its four weekly weekday Milwaukee- Indianapolis flights with 32-seat 328JETs from Jan. 6. In addition, from Jan. 31 2005 the airline will retime its schedules to provide Indianapolis passengers with an early morning departure. Dec 14, 2004

Monarch Airlines is to launch a new base at Birmingham International Airport, and at the same time add two new routes from Manchester. The expansion represents a 30% increase in the airline's capacity. Beginning in late April, the carrier will commence operations with daily flights from Birmingham to both Malaga and Tenerife and plans to rapidly expand the program in future, with the intention of becoming the market leader in the region. Long established as one of the UK's largest charter carrier Monarch now says that its business is split 50/50 charter/scheduled, with all the growth forecast in the low cost budget sector. Monarch Scheduled has already grown in size by 30% in the last year and plans to match that growth again in 2005. Today's expansion brings Monarch Scheduled network to 22 routes. Dec 20, 2004

Monarch Scheduled will launch a new base at Birmingham International Airport and commence daily flights to Malaga and Tenerife in late April 2005. It said it intends to "rapidly expand the program in future,

with the intention of becoming the market leader in the region." Additionally, it will launch flights to Madrid and Almeria and add a third daily flight to Malaga from its Manchester base. Last year, Monarch Scheduled started services to Barcelona and Gibraltar from Manchester. Dec 16, 2004

Northwest Airlines will start two daily flights between Minneapolis/St. Paul and El Paso April 4. The new service will be operated by Northwest Airlink partner Pinnacle Airlines with CRJs. Dec 24, 2004

Northwest Airlines is continuing its buildup at its Milwaukee mini hub, announcing it will launch twice-daily service to both Pittsburgh and Toronto Feb. 22 2005. Dec 6, 2004

Northwest Airlines continues to grow its presence at Indianapolis, announcing year-round service to Dallas/Ft. Worth (three daily nonstops) and Kansas City (two daily nonstops) from Feb. 16 2005 as well as seasonal weekend service to Sarasota and West Palm Beach. With the new additions, NWA's Indianapolis schedule will grow to as many as 51 flights a day to up to 20 destinations, up from 36 departures to 14 destinations today. The new services will be operated by Pinnacle Airlines using 44- and 50-seat CRJs. Dec 2, 2004

Norwegian teamed with Sterling of Denmark to cooperate on 13 European routes via a blocked-space arrangement. The deal goes into effect Feb. 19 and will be implemented fully by May 1 on routes from Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger. Dec 1, 2004

Qantas is expected to launch its thrice-weekly 737-800 Adelaide-Auckland service. Dec 14, 2004

Qantas commenced nonstop service between Sydney and Shanghai, operating three weekly roundtrips using A330-300 equipment. It is maintaining its code share on China Eastern services to Shanghai four times per week. Separately, Qantas and Air France started offering code share flights between France and Australia. Dec 3, 2004

Qatar Airways launched nonstop service between Doha and Mahe, Seychelles, operating four weekly flights using A320s. Dec 3, 2004

Qatar Airways launched thrice-weekly nonstop service between Doha and Beijing this week using an A330-200. It also started daily nonstop service between Doha and London Gatwick with A330-200s. Dec 1, 2004

Ryanair has yet again got itself into hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) who have come down in favor of easyJet and members of the public objecting to two national press advertisements for stating that both Girona and Reus were Barcelona when clearly they are not. The ASA said that the IATA names should be the ones used. A second advertisement headlined "Why Pay More to Arrive Later" was also considered misleading, the authority noting that two sets of punctuality statistics could not be compared unless it could be shown that both sets of data were compiled with identical methodologies. It told the advertisers not to misattribute statistics in future advertisements. In many ways a fine carrier that in recent years cut through much airline bad practice, 20 plus ASA complaints over the last four years does indicate that Ryanair is a serial misleader. Dec 20, 2004

Ryanair, king of the Blarney, has issued a press release to the effect that it is investing $240m in Shannon in the next 12 months. This story is brought to you by the airline that flies to Girona (or as they say Barcelona) and to Torp (which according to the Dublin based carrier is really Oslo, some 60 miles away). The airline is expanding from SNN with three new destinations (not six as per the press release. FR has from time to time over the years served Gatwick, Luton and Stansted from Shannon) as well as eight airports in mainland Europe. How the airline manages to value the funding to the extent it has done has been challenged by authoritative voices. The airline says it is investing into Prestwick, also attracting money from various official Scottish sources. Dec 6, 2004

SAS Braathens will start a twice-weekly 737-700 service from Oslo Torp to Nice on Feb. 17 2005. Dec 2, 2004

SAS Scandinavian Airlines said that from March 2005 it will be the first airline to offer passengers the ability to connect to the Internet using wireless broadband on all of its long-haul aircraft. This possibility is already in place on two A340s and as of mid-Feb. it will be available on all flights to Asia and Seattle. SAS Net Access is available throughout the cabin and is provided by Connexion by Boeing. The cost is $29.95 for an entire flight or $9.95 for 30 min. plus $0.25 for each additional minute. Members of SAS EuroBonus can pay for the service using points. Dec 16, 2004

SAS Sweden will launch a twice-weekly service from Stockholm to Malta and a weekly flight to Split on March 27 2005. Dec 10, 2004

Skybus will celebrate its 21st year of operation in 2005. It has now consolidated into a two aircraft type operation, Trilander and Twin Otter and will serve England's most westerly point from Bristol, Exeter, Land's End, Newquay and Southampton next summer. Whilst from a practical point of view passengers from Gatwick and Stansted can connect via Newquay, also known as RAF St Mawgan, through bookings are not available. One thing about the Isles of Scillies flights is that they are not cheap, Southampton return [pounds sterling]270 and even a day trip from Land's End [pounds sterling]90. British International Helicopters operate a year round service from Penzance. Dec 20, 2004

Eastern European LCC SkyEurope Airlines plans to expand its fleet, which currently comprises six Brasilias and seven 737-500s. "I guess just one low-cost airline will survive in Eastern Europe and I hope that we are the one. But we need a critical mass of fleet for that. This could be around 30 aircraft," CEO Christian Mandl said. The carrier, which opened new bases in Warsaw and Krakow in 2004, also plans to increase frequencies on existing routes. Dec 13, 2004

Smartwings of the Czech Republic will lease five ex-United Airlines 737- 500s and return two 737-500s to Lufthansa next year. Smartwings is planning to launch four weekly services from Prague to Heraklion, Crete, Palma de Mallorca and Saloniki as well as three weekly flights to Larnaca from May 12 2005. Dec 2, 2004

Song launched its first international service, operating from New York JFK to Nassau. It initially will offer one daily nonstop roundtrip between the destinations. Dec 2, 2004

Southeast Airlines of Largo Florida (not to be confused with South East Asian Airlines of the Philippines is the latest of the so-called budget carriers to stop flying. The DC-9 (and derivatives) operator has suspended all operations. Originally founded as Sun Jet over a decade ago it first sought bankruptcy protection in the late 1990s reemerging under its present title in October 2003. Dec 13, 2004

Southeast Airlines, a tiny Florida-based low-fare public charter carrier, ceased operation Tuesday. A statement on the company's website said the action was "due in part to the unplanned and uncontrollably high cost of fuel combined with a low yield environment." Southeast operated a mixed fleet of DC-9s and MD-80s connecting a handful of secondary cities in the Northeast and Midwest to Florida. Dec 2, 2004

Southwest Airlines is continuing to boost its service at Chicago Midway with new daily nonstop flights to Portland, which are slated to begin April 3 2005. Dec 10, 2004

Star Alliance has now confirmed that Adria Airways and Croatia Airlines will both become regional members on 15 December 2004 as predicted in last week. Lufthansa will be the sponsoring airline in both cases, each operator transferring their respective frequent flyer programs to Lufthansa's Miles & More scheme. Adria Airways is focused on Ljubljana linking the Slovenian capital with more than 20 mainly European destinations. Croatia Airlines, based in Zagreb, currently serves 26 European destinations with 430 weekly flights. Dec 6, 2004

Styrian Spirit, the Seering (Austria) Bombardier CRJ operator on Jan 17 2005 is to inaugurate a twice daily service from the Slovenia city of Maribor (Slovenia) to Paris Charles de Gaulle via Salzburg. Established in 2002 the airline already operates from Zurich to Krakow, Graz and Salzburg, and also from Graz to Stuttgart. The flights ex-Salzburg will be flown in cooperation with Air France. Seeb here is chief executive Otmar Lenz close by an CRJ 200LR, one of three in the fleet. http:/ Dec 13, 2004

Swiss International Air Lines will start a twice-daily service from Zurich to Bologna and a thrice-daily service to Genoa operated by Denim Air F50s Jan 17 2005. Swiss is reducing its Geneva-New York service to six times per week during the winter season. It will start scheduled service using a BBJ configured for 56 passengers on wet-lease from PrivatAir, which provides similar services to Lufthansa. The BBJ will operate six times weekly from Jan. 16 2005 between Zurich and Newark. Dec 16, 2004

Transavia launched its new logo and brand,, as it prepares to reintegrate its LCC experience Basiq Air as of Jan. The airline announced in Sept. that it would shelve the Basiq Air brand, which sold low-fare scheduled flights operated by Transavia, and "absorb the experience" into the Transavia brand., now an independent division of Air France-KLM Group, is the Netherlands' largest leisure airline. Dec 16, 2004

United Airlines' new premium service for coast-to-coast travelers called p.s. is currently being introduced on the New York &endash; San Francisco route. Quietly launched between New York and Los Angeles at the end of October, p.s. is a three class operation and offers travelers more space and comfort, and a superior level of service on their five- to six-hour transcontinental flight. Once fully rolled out, the new p.s. service will operate seven daily roundtrip flights between LAX and JFK, and six between JFK and SFO. First class includes lie-flat seats, business more legroom and improved menus, whilst even economy offers power points to every seat for laptops and JetConnect access. Dec 20, 2004

United Airlines and low-fare subsidiary Ted launched a number of new flights from hubs at Denver, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco to several Mexican destinations. Dec 20, 2004

Vietnam is again joined to the USA by direct air services 30 years since Pan Am flew its last scheduled flight from Saigon (immortalized by a Hollywood TV drama in 1990 "Last Flight Out". Last week United Airlines introduced a daily service to the same destination, now called Ho Chi Minh City, a ubiquitous Boeing 747 operating out of San Francisco via Hong Kong. For the future nonstop flights are planned. Dec 13, 2004

United Airlines began daily San Francisco-Hong Kong-Ho Chi Minh City service, the first scheduled flight by a US airline to Vietnam in almost 30 years. According to United, the main source of passengers is the 1.3 million Vietnamese who fled the country in 1975 and following years to live in the US and would like to return to visit friends and family. United said the Vietnam market is the fastest-growing in Asia, with a growth rate of 10.5% a year for the next 10 years. Vietnam Airlines expects to start flights to the US in 2005 with 777-200ERs. Dec 10, 2004

Virgin Atlantic has come up with a cabin service idea that is not new but has lacked highlighting by the world's airlines in the last few years. The Virgin move will now get them all scampering around for a similar in-flight offering. Essentially Upper Class passengers are to be offered a choice of cocktails on selected flights served by a skilled mixologist wearing a Bombay Sapphire uniform and therefore clearly distinguishable from the Virgin Atlantic cabin crew. Mixologists will receive extensive safety procedure training to enable them to work onboard an aircraft and will not perform any additional duties throughout the flight. The cocktail menu will feature Bombay Sapphire Martini, the Jade Garden, the Eastern Soul, Breakfast Martini, Hedgerow Sling and a signature cocktail 'The RedHead' which has been created especially for Virgin Atlantic &endash; a delicious blend of fresh raspberries and framboise shaken with Bombay Sapphire and lemon juice, served in a flute, topped with champagne and garnished with a signature twist. This new product was unveiled on Virgin's recent inaugural from London to Sydney. Dec 20, 2004

Virgin Atlantic Airways began daily flights between Hong Kong and Sydney yesterday as an extension of its existing London-Hong Kong service. The carrier is operating A340-600s configured for 45 Upper Class, 28 Premium Economy and 233 economy passengers. In Hong Kong for the launch, Chairman Richard Branson predicted that the new service, in conjunction with competing Qantas flights, will make Hong Kong "the most popular routing between the UK and Australia." It currently is fourth behind Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai. Branson said the addition of Sydney, Virgin Atlantic's 23rd destination, is in keeping with a strategy of growing the carrier 10%-15% per year. "We'll achieve growth in both leisure and business markets," he pledged. Noting that "other airlines have in the past disparaged economy travelers and sought to concentrate on the business traffic market," he declared: "That is a mistake that Virgin Atlantic has never made and will never make..."Having said that, I'll never forget Freddie Laker's advice not to build an airline solely on economy passengers." He cited Melbourne, Dubai, Bangkok, Chicago, Toronto, Jamaica, Nairobi and Rio de Janeiro as being on the carrier's wish list of new routes. Virgin also intends to pursue its policy of creating new airlines around the world, such as Virgin Blue in Australia and Virgin Nigeria, which aims to launch service next spring. Virgin America "is making great progress toward a launch in 2005" as well, he stated. Dec 8, 2004

Virgin Atlantic and its Australian 'cousin' Virgin Blue announced a code share, this coinciding with the arrival at Sydney of the first ever VS flight down under. The arrangement is expected to take effect by April 2005 and will initially be for passengers traveling to and from London via Hong Kong to Sydney and onward to Brisbane, Coolangatta and Melbourne with Virgin Blue. Virgin Blue currently serves 21 destinations across metropolitan and regional Australia, as well as four International destinations taking in New Zealand, Vanuatu and Fiji. Dec 13, 2004

Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Blue entered into a commercial alliance that comes into effect from April under which they will code share on the Sydney service as well as beyond sectors to Brisbane, Melbourne and Coolangatta. The airlines plan to extend the arrangement to other destinations as the relationship develops. Dec 8, 2004

Qantas budget offshoot Jetstar has upped the ante in its competitive battle with Virgin Blue in the Australian market by moving to introduce its own in-flight entertainment equipment and hot meals. Just weeks after Virgin Blue announced plans to install a satellite-based live TV system for passengers from June next year, Jetstar said it is examining options to provide portable video devices capable of holding up to 50 movies, TV shows and computer games. It also is testing hot meals for sale onboard its flights, matching its rival's transcontinental service. The product initiatives reflect a shift by the low-cost competitors from "no frills" to a more complex model aimed at business as well as leisure travelers. Price is still the chief weapon in their armory, with Jetstar recently offering A$19 ($14.53) one-way fares on interstate routes. Jetstar spokesperson Simon Westaway said the airline is considering expanding its distribution base through outlets other than the Internet, call centers and SMS. It takes delivery of its sixth A320 next month and will strengthen operations with the launch of daily Launceston-Brisbane and double-daily Newcastle-Brisbane flights. Dec 22, 2004

Welcome Air, an Austrian Regional carrier, will start a new five-times- weekly service from Innsbruck to Stavanger Feb. 14. From May 1 it will add a twice-weekly flight from Graz and Innsbruck to Nice as well a new service to Alghero. Welcome Air operates two Dornier 328s and one 328JET and is expecting 25,000 passengers for 2004. Dec 16, 2004

Wizz Air is to introduce services from Warsaw to Barcelona, Beauvais (for Paris), Hahn (for Frankfurt) and Skavsta (for Stockholm). The airline has also introduced what it calls "Wizz Bizz, a service for registered business users, the cost set at E100 per sector plus tax and airport charges. For your money you get unrestricted change of timings, personnel and routings (plus any difference of taxes). It is ideal for the small business where movements can change at the last moment and a quick mobile phone call can speedily change things around. Providing you call more than three hours prior to the published departure time travelers can cancel a flight and book another without any premium, and assuming it is some way off, rebook again once things have sorted themselves out. Dec 20, 2004

Wizz Air is launching four routes from Warsaw beginning March 27 2005 to Paris Beauvais, Frankfurt Hahn, Stockholm Skavsta and Barcelona Girona. "The Wizz network extension will cover the gap Air Polonia left in Warsaw," CEO Jozsef Varadi explained, adding, "At the same time this move will make Wizz Air the undisputed market leader in the Polish low- cost air travel sector." Dec 20, 2004
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Date:Dec 1, 2004
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