In The Sky: September

Travel News 13 Sep 2017

FCM’s monthly industry update for all things air related from airport openings and refurbishments to new carrier routes and expansion plans.


Etihad and Aerolineas Argentinas launch codeshare agreement

Gulf carrier Etihad and Argentine airline Aerolineas Argentinas have announced a new codeshare partnership. This deal will see Etihad put its code on Aerolineas ARgentinas services from Rome and Madrid to Buenos Aires, while customers of the Argentine carrier will now have access to over 100 Etihad destinations departing from their Abu Dhabi hub. Etihad Vice President of Commercial Mohammad Al Bulooki said: This codeshare demonstrates the importance of Argentina as a vital travel market for Etihad Airways in Latin America given the growing tourism, cultural and business opportunities that exist between the UAE and Argentina’.


Qantas to add more premium seats to Airbus A380 Fleet

Qantas has announced plans to increase the number of premium economy seats by 27 percent as part of the refurbishment of its fleet of 12 Airbus A380s. Renovations to the aircraft cabins will occur in the next few years, with Qantas maintaining the 14 first class suites, increasing business class seats to 70 from 64 and adding another 25 Premium Economy seats to take the total to 60 and removing 30 standard economy places. Other changes taking place as part of the renovation program include installation of the latest Business Suites in business class with direct aisle access, as well as a redesigned lounge on the upper deck for first and business class passengers to provide more room. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: 'We’re seeing increased demand for premium economy and business class on the long-haul routes that the A380 operates, including from people using their Qantas points to upgrade. When more travelers experience these new seats, we expect that demand will keep rising’.


American Airlines considers ‘Few-Frills’ fares to Europe

American Airlines is considering changing its long-term transatlantic offering in the face of stiff competition from discount airlines such as Norwegian. American hopes that ‘unbundling’ services currently included in the base ticket price will allow them to maintain their market share against competitors that already charge extra for things like luggage, food and drink. This mirrors recent changes to American’s domestic fare structure, with the addition of ‘Basic Economy’ tickets, where customers pay a lower price than the standard economy rate in exchange for reduced amenities. With total east capacity in the transatlantic market increasing by 7-9 percent per quarter over the last year, it’s not surprising American is considering extending similar changes to their international as well as domestic services. 


Air Canada expands transatlantic service

Air Canada is set to increase the number of flights between London and Vancouver to two per day. The Star Alliance carrier will also be adding non-stop services from Vancouver to Paris and Zurich starting in June of next year. These new flights will go on sale in September.  This move is seen as part of an ongoing trend towards long-distance direct flights being caused by improved fuel efficiency and the low price of oil. Read more from us about the changing shape of the global air-travel network here.


Cathay Pacific Launches Three New European Routes

Hong-Kong based Cathay Pacific has announced non-stop routes to three destinations in Europe commencing in the summer of 2018. Services will commence to Dublin and Brussels, operating four times a week. A new seasonal summer service to Copenhagen will take place three times a week.  Cathay CEO Rupert Hogg said ‘These are all fantastic destinations and attract business and leisure travelers from the world over. We listened to our customers’ demands for more options and greater flexibility and have responded by building direct air links with these great cities’.