IAG to purchase Niki Air
International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, has announced that it is buying up the ‘Niki’ division of the now bankrupt Air Berlin. IAG is reportedly spending $24 million to purchase the Austrian-based budget carrier, as well as investing another $20 million in its operations. This news comes after German flag-carrier Lufthansa withdrew its bid for Niki earlier in the month; However, the scramble for Air Berlin’s assets continues, with Lufthansa still seeking EU approval to acquire other parts of the bankrupt carrier.
Emirates and Singapore Airlines revitalize First Class offerings
The luxury segment of the global airline market is growing increasingly competitive, with Emirates and Singapore now joining the long list of operators investing in their first-class offering to try and woo high-end business travelers their way. Both carriers have recently unveiled luxurious new suites on their flagship international routes with a host of extravagant comforts from private residences, double-beds and fine dining.
American Airlines adds Chicago to ‘Shuttle’ service
American Airlines has announced this month that its east-coast ‘Shuttle’ service will be expanded to include Chicago O’Hare. This is the fourth destination in the network, the others being Washington, New York and Boston. The service is geared towards commuters and business travelers, with an emphasis on flexibility, convenience and ease of use. Shuttle passengers will have access to dedicated check-in kiosks, boarding gates close to security, quick deplaning, complimentary snacks and extended check in and bag-check times. Hourly services are slated to begin between New York LaGuardia and Chicago O’Hare on April 4.
United announces new domestic routes
United Airlines has announced this month that it is launching several new domestic routes. The new services, beginning June 7, will link six of the airlines U.S. hubs and eight regional destinations in Ohio, South Dakota, North Dakota, Virginia, Wisconsin and California. As well as year-round routes, United is offering seasonal services such as between New York and Rapid City, South Dakota to coincide with peak seasonal demand.
Air India to be restructured ahead of possible sale
Troubled flag carrier Air India will be broken up into four separate companies as part of a restructuring program being undertaken by the Indian government. The airline has struggled to make a profit in the past and is now saddled with large debts. The plan calls for the sale of at least 51% of each of the resulting companies as part of the Indian governments attempt to reduce government involvement in the private sector. The Indian aviation sector is currently experiencing high levels of growth, and it is hoped that the restructure and sale of the carrier will allow the new companies to take advantage of that growing market alongside substantial government investments in airport infrastructure.
Iceland Air launches new seasonal service
Kansas City will be getting its first ever non-stop transatlantic service courtesy of Iceland Air. The seasonal flight will operate between the airline’s Reykjavik hub and Kansas City International and was announced earlier this month. Beginning in May and going until September, tickets are currently just shy of $500.
Virgin America fully absorbed into Alaskan Airlines
Following the takeover of California-based Virgin America, Alaskan Airlines will run the entirety of both fleets officially as one airline. Although some planes may still carry the Virgin livery, for the purpose of U.S. regulators Alaska and Virgin are now one. This is part of the continuing process of harmonizing and fully merging the operations of the newly acquired carrier with Alaskan’s existing fleet, with website and booking system consolidations to come later in the year.