27 July, 2017

New - Birmingham to New York and Boston.....

United Airlines announced last week that its Birmingham to New York route would end in October this year, leaving England’s populous city without a direct route to the US for the first time in over 20 years.

However, like a bolt from the blue, a special new lifeline was offered when another airline announced it would fly not one, but two new routes from Birmingham across the pond.  This new aviation saviour  will fly a daily service to Newark and a four-times weekly service to Boston.

But who is this new entrant into the UK - America trans-Atlantic carrier club.  It's an airline you most probably have never heard of,   they are called  Primera Air,  a little-known low-cost carrier.  They will launch their routes from Birmingham in May 2018 and London Stansted in April 2018.   

Who are Primera Air?     Simple they are an Icelandic-owned airline which mainly operates in Scandinavia and has a rather modest fleet of just nine aircraft at the moment.  Which consists of  seven Boeing 737-800s and two Boeing 737-700s.

It's history dates back to 2003 when the airline was founded with the name JetX, however in 2008 it was taken over by Primera Travel - a rather sizeable Nordic travel group. Rather confusingly, it has a Danish operating licence, is Icelandic owned and its headquarters are in Riga, Latvia.

In the early days, Primera Air started by offering chartered flights for Scandinavian tour operators and then was soon started selling surplus seats to regular, independent travellers as flight-only tickets. This proved to be a rather successful venture for the airline which saw them offering more flights to more destinations and now most of its flights are operated as scheduled services. 

Currently There are at least 90 regular destinations on its route map, admittedly, some are seasonal and some are charter flights, but with just nine aircraft, the schedule is rather impressive.  The inner core of the airlines success is carrying Scandinavian holidaymakers to the hot spots of Europe, including Spain, Greece and Italy. 

Primera Air currently has six bases in Scandinavia, with a total catchment of 20 million people.  However Birmingham has a catchment of between 10 and 35 million people, therefore the potential for the airline at Brum is vast.  To operate these new flights the airline has already placed an order for 10 brand new Airbus aircraft, A321neo and A321LR.

Fares are expected to start at £149 each way, without bags or meals. (The same price as Norwegian charges from Gatwick to New York)