American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic to sell basic economy on international flights
Legacy carrier American Airlines has announced they will be rolling out their ‘basic economy’ offering on routes to Europe starting in April. Virgin Atlantic has also announced a new basic economy fare, aligning their fare structure with Delta as part of the their ongoing partnership. Widely seen as an effort to compete with low-cost airlines such as Norwegian and Wow Air, American now joins Delta in offering a more bare-bones transatlantic ticket for passengers. These travelers will sacrifice some amenities in exchange for the lowest available airfare at the time of booking. They will board last and be ineligible for upgrades, while also having to pay a fee to check a bag. They will, however, be permitted a full-sized carry-on bag for free, as well as another to fit under the seat, and will also have access to ticket changes and assigned seating for a fee.
New ‘Air Italy’ launches bid to become new Italian flag carrier
Italy’s second biggest airline, Sardinian-based Meridiana, is aiming to become the dominant carrier in the country in the wake of continuing uncertainty regarding the future of bankruptcy-stricken Alitalia. The new entity comes after Meridiana merged with its small North Italian subsidiary Air Italy, keeping the latter’s name. Qatar Airways owns 49% of the airline, and with its backing Air Italy is aiming for an aggressive expansion, doubling its fleet and attracting 10 million passengers by 2022. New connections are expected to domestic Italian centers, as well as a Milan to Miami and Milan to New York routes starting in June.
WOW begins flying out of JFK
Ultra-low-cost Icelandic carrier WOW Air will begin services out of New York JFK on April 27. Hoping to build on their success with routes departing out of Newark Liberty, WOW will offer flights to its Reykjavik hub connecting on to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin or other destinations.
Hawaiian Airlines expand California footprint
Honolulu based-carrier Hawaiian Airlines are opening a new daily service between their home-base to Long Beach, California. This will be in addition to the three daily services between Hawaii and LAX already operated by the carrier. Hawaiian hopes that the acquisition of the new fuel-efficient Airbus single-aisle A321neo will help make the route viable into the future.
American Airlines, Qantas submit application for joint venture
Australian flag-carrier Qantas and American Airlines have once again submitted a joint-venture application to the Department of Transportation, more than a year after another such application was rejected by the Obama administration. The two carriers are seeking anti-trust immunity that would enable them to schedule, operate and market flights between the U.S., Australia and New Zealand jointly. Previously, the Department of Trade believed the partnership to be too powerful in the Australia-U.S. marketplace, serving to reduce competition. The carriers hope that this application will be approved, unlocking in excess of $300 million in benefits to consumers annually.