UK airports group BAA has reluctantly abandoned any further legal challenges to the compulsory sale of London Stansted Airport mandated by anti-trust authorities. It is now open to offers for what is the UK’s fourth busiest airport, and low-cost carrier Ryanair has emerged as a leading figure among potential bidders. Ryanair confirmed on August 21 that it has been asked to join a consortium that would buy Stansted jointly, with its own stake not exceeding 25 percent.
Spanish and Irish authorities have asked Ryanair flight operations to explain why three of the airline’s Boeing 737s requested and received landing priority in July after running low on fuel approaching Valencia Airport in eastern Spain. The Ireland-based low-cost carrier says that thunderstorms forced all three aircraft to divert from Madrid and that each of them ran short of fuel after holding for more than an hour. Although no one was injured, Ryanair officials reported the incidents to Spanish and Irish aviation regulators, prompting the investigation.
Ancillary revenue collected by airlines for products and services ranging from checked bags and extra legroom to co-branded credit cards continues to grow in size and importance to the industry. Fifty world airlines that disclose proceeds from such activities reported $22 billion in ancillary revenue last year, marking a 66-percent increase over 2009 results, according to a new report.
The board of Irish airline Aer Lingus has urged shareholders to ignore the latest takeover bid mounted by low-cost rival Ryanair. Under Irish law, the board of the former government-owned flag carrier had until the end of July to respond to Ryanair’s July 17 bid to buy remaining stock at €1.30 ($1.60) per share, valuing the company at €694 million ($833 million).
Numerous U.S. and international airlines added fare surcharges to certain flights in the first half of January, apparently reacting to the European emissions trading scheme (ETS) that took effect on January 1.
Most major U.S. airlines stayed profitable in the second quarter despite dramatically higher fuel costs. Delta, United Continental, US Airways, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue all reported quarterly profit in earnings releases late last month. An exception was American Airlines, which reported a net loss of $286 million blamed in large part on fuel prices. The story sounded similar across the Atlantic.
In late April, scientists from Denmark’s University of Copenhagen and the University of Iceland in Reykjavik published the findings of an almost year-long study into last year’s eruption of the Eyjafjallajokul volcano.
The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced new airline passenger protections that will extend the ban on ramp delays to international flights and, crucially for regional airlines, require carriers to coordinate so-called ramp delay contingency plans with small and non-hub airports.
Ryanair, at its annual general meeting today, called on the European Commission to end the ability of Europe’s air traffic control providers to strike, primarily by exposing them to competition under a market-based system.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary is pushing for single-pilot commercial aircraft operations.