Flybe has launched scheduled flights from London/Heathrow. The Exeter-based regional carrier introduced its first of 40 weekly connections from the capital to Aberdeen and Edinburgh on March 26, operated by its fleet of Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprops.
Flybe CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener said: “We are so pleased to confirm further our commitment to Scotland by offering even more flights to London with our two new routes from Edinburgh and Aberdeen to Heathrow’s Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, giving passengers greater choice and linking them with our range of codeshare partners through our ‘One Stop to the World’ approach.”
Flybe’s arrival at Heathrow comes just two months after the airport reduced its charges for domestic passengers in a bid to improve regional connectivity.
The carrier gained access into the capacity-constrained hub via slots surrendered by British Airways’ parent International Airlines Group (IAG) following its 2012 acquisition of British Midland International. Under the terms of the deal, the European Commission ordered IAG to release 14 daily slot pairs, seven of which were to facilitate new competition between Heathrow and Edinburgh and/or Aberdeen. As a result, Flybe was not required to pay for these slots.
International Airlines Group (IAG) has named its new low-cost long-haul carrier LEVEL. The airline will launch in June with flights from Barcelona to Los Angeles, Oakland, Buenos Aires and Punta Cana. It will fly two new Airbus A330s configured with 293 seats in Economy and 21 in Premium Economy. Initially the airline will operate with flight and cabin crew supplied by Iberia.
Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive, said: “LEVEL is an exciting new IAG airline brand which will bring a stylish and modern approach to flying at prices that are even more affordable. It will benefit from having the strength of one of the world’s largest airline groups behind it.
“LEVEL will become IAG’s fifth main airline brand alongside Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. It will complement our existing airline portfolio and further diversify our current customer base.
“Barcelona is Vueling’s home base and this will allow customers to connect from Vueling’s extensive European network onto LEVEL’s long-haul flights.
“This is just the start. We’re really excited about the opportunities for expansion and we plan to bring LEVEL to other European destinations”.
Customers flying in Premium Economy will enjoy complimentary checked luggage, meals and seat selection. Those travelling in Economy will be able to purchase these extra services while high speed internet will be offered to all passengers with prices starting at €8.99. Travellers will also be able to earn and redeem Avios – the loyalty currency for IAG’s airlines.
Flights to LA begin on June 1 operating twice weekly while Oakland will launch the following day and be flown three times per week. Services to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic will be flown twice weekly from June 10 with Buenos Aires coming online on June 17 with three flights per week.
Qatar Airways has upped its stake in International Airlines Group (IAG) from just under 12% to 15.01%. The Doha-based carrier announced the investment at a press conference in Atlanta, Georgia, celebrating its new services to the US city.
IAG is one of the world’s largest airline groups and is the holding company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said: “We have been very happy with our investment in IAG, from a financial, commercial and strategic perspective. We have decided to further deepen our relationship with IAG and the increased stake recognises the strengthening commercial ties between us.
“At Qatar Airways we fully support IAG’s ongoing strategy. IAG is very well positioned in Europe with attractive exposure to the transatlantic segment; leading positions at the London and Madrid hubs and the future benefits from the acquisition of Aer Lingus.”
Al Baker added that the airline may consider furthering its investment over time within the allowable limits on non-European Union ownership.
In other news, the airline celebrated its inaugural flight to Adelaide, South Australia, on May 3. The daily service is operated by an Airbus A350.