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NEWS AVIATION


XMAS BONANZA FOR WIZZ AND RYANAIR


Two of the largest budget carriers operating in the UK saw passenger numbers soar over the festive period. Wizz Air passengers increased


24.7% year-on-year, from 2.66 million in December 2018 to 3.32 million in December 2019, on a stronger load factor of 89.4%, up 0.6 percentage points on the same month last year. Ryanair saw group-wide December passengers numbers increase 9%, from 10.3 million to 11.2 million, on a load factor of 95%. The group’s acquisition


of Lauda contributed an extra 200,000 passengers, with Ryanair itself carrying


700,000 passengers more – up 7% on December 2018.


Over the rolling 12-month period


to 31 December, Wizz Air’s passenger numbers increased 17.7%, from 33.8 million to 39.8 million. Ryanair posted 12-month rolling


passenger numbers for the same period of 152.4 million, up 9% from 140.2 million.


JET2.COM CROWNED ‘UK’S MOST PUNCTUAL AIRLINE’


Gary Noakes


Jet2.com was the sole UK airline to feature in a comprehensive list of the world’s top 20 most punctual carriers. Airline data specialist OAG found almost 83% of Jet2.com flights were on time last year, making it the world’s 19th most punctual carrier. Top of the list was Garuda Indonesia, with 95% on time; Panama’s Copa Airlines and Japan’s Skymark came in second and third place. The only other major European carrier


to make the list was Iberia, in 11th place, with 84% on time. In 2019, Etihad replaced Qatar Airways as the only Middle East airline in the top 20, while only two North American carriers, Delta and Hawaiian Airlines, made it. OAG uses the standard industry definition of on time – operating to within 15 minutes of schedule. Among other carriers, British Airways reported 76% punctuality and easyJet 73%. Among mega airports with more than 30 million passengers, Heathrow


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TURN TO P36 FOR THE LATEST NEWS FROM TAMPA BAY


BANLGADESH ROUTE FIRST TO LAUNCH FROM UK IN 2020


Manchester airport can claim the first new UK air route in 2020 with the start of a service to Bangladesh. The new flight, by Biman Bangladesh,


serves Sylhet before continuing to the capital city Dhaka (pictured). Sylhet, in the north-east of the country, is the region where most people of Bangladeshi origin living in the north of the UK originate. The flight, which operates from Manchester on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, is non-stop from Dhaka inbound to the UK. Biman is using new Boeing 787-9s on the Manchester route, with a flight time of 10 hours. The Dreamliners have 24 seats in business class and 247 in


20 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 13.01.2020


economy. Economy fares start from £580 return and business is from around £1,500. There are an estimated 70,000 people


of Bangladeshi origin in the north of England, with 300,000 in the area stretching from Birmingham to Scotland. Biman’s regional manager Debabrota Mallick said the first two weeks of flights were “completely sold out”, adding: “A direct flight from Manchester to Sylhet and Dhaka has been on our radar for some time to connect Manchester to these thriving parts of Bangladesh.”


Jet2.com’s inaugural flight to Izmir last year


managed 13th place, with 75% of flights on time, which OAG said was “a notable accomplishment”. The best was Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, with almost 87% punctuality. Sheremetyevo was followed by Tokyo Haneda (86.6%) and Singapore, with 84% on time. OAG tracked 57.7 million flight records of the world’s largest 250 airlines and included cancellations as late flights. “Our teams work tirelessly every day,” said Jet2 chief executive Steve Heapy.


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