Showing posts with label Tui. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tui. Show all posts

16 May, 2024

Ascend Airways starts first summer with two Boeing 737 jets flying on behalf of TUI Airways

One of the UK's newest additions to the aviation scene, Ascend Airways, is celebrating a new contract for the summer season operating flights for TUI Airways in the UK.

The Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance lease of the carrier's two Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft kicked off with the first flight on 1st May. The two jets will be based at London Gatwick for the summer and fly off to various key European and North African holiday destinations for the holiday giant TUI.   

Alastair Willson, CEO of Ascend Airways said "We are excited to commence operations for TUI Airways. We are extremely grateful for the confidence that they have shown in Ascend Airways and we are proud to have TUI Airways as our launch customer.  We will be fully focused on repaying the faith TUI"


The new TUI deal comes hot on the heels of the fledgling airline's first-ever commercial flight, which was flown on Friday 26th April from London Southend Airport. Ascend operated the charter flight on behalf of Chapman Freeborn Airchartering Limited, also part of the Avia Solutions Group.  

Tony Carder, Commercial Director at Ascend Airways said “We are so pleased to have commenced commercial operations with our first-ever charter, operated on behalf of Chapman Freeborn Airchartering. This is a landmark day for the company, the start of an exciting journey and we are ready for a busy summer with our damp lease operations commencing in May. Today’s achievement is something the entire team of dedicated professionals at Ascend Airways can be very proud of and is the fruition of a lot of hard work over the last 9 months. Everyone has played a huge part in making this a reality.”

Neil Smith from Chapman Freeborn Airchartering said “It was a great honour and privilege to work with Ascend Airways on their first-ever charter flight. Our client was very impressed with the service from start to finish and thanks must go to Alastair Willson and the entire team, and especially the crew, at Ascend Airways for a job well done. It’s great to have another UK operator gracing our skies and we wish them all the best for the future.”

16 February, 2024

Davina McCall suns herself on location in The Maldives with TUI BLUE

TV presenter Davina McCall enjoys a range of activities on a social media shoot in The Maldives.

From snorkelling to cooking on the beach she went behind the scenes with TUI’s global hotel brand TUI BLUE.

On a mission to find out what goes in to curating a perfect holiday, TV presenter Davina McCall embraced island life on her latest social media shoot for hotel brand TUI BLUE. 

Davina has been a brand ambassador since 2022, first exploring the restorative benefits of travel in Turkey and then the importance of reconnecting with friends in Cyprus.  Her latest shoot took her to the idyllic Indian Ocean setting of South Male Atoll in The Maldives where she went behind the scenes with staff to investigate the other side of holidays in paradise. 

Spending time with the BLUE Guides and island hosts at The TUI BLUE Olhuveli Resort, Davina helped curate personal experiences for some fellow guests and joined them to put them to the test.  She went snorkelling with one couple to discover the spectacular marine inhabitants of a deserted shipwreck, joined a pair of sisters to learn how to prepare Maldivian delicacies in a cooking class on the golden sands and teamed up with an adult family for an exercise session over the Indian Ocean. 

And she took everyone on an evening cruise to experience the stunning golden light of sunset on the ocean and enjoy a very special moment, witnessing bottlenose dolphins swimming in their natural habitat. 

15 February, 2024

Holiday giant TUI to start using Ryanair flights for package holidays.

The UK arm of the European holiday giant TUI is to start using Ryanair as part of its dynamic package holiday business for the first time.   This landmark deal will see the holiday firm sell more than a million packages using the low-fare-high-fees carrier’s flights. It's a move that will no doubt surprise a lot of people in the travel and aviation industries who wouldn't have thought these two entities were likely bedfellows.  But, in recent times, Ryanair has been trying to forge a way forward with holiday companies and recently signed a deal with other holiday firms.

David Schelp, CEO Markets & Airlines, at TUI Group, said: “More hotels, more flight connections, more excursions, and activities while travelling and at home – we are creating even more choice for our guests. The agreement we have now reached will create more travel options for our guests than ever before. In the UK in particular, our guests will be able to choose from an even wider range of flights in future – and furthermore to a strong program with TUI Airline’s own flights.”  

Ryanair’s Dara Brady said:  “We are pleased to announce this partnership with TUI, which will enable TUI customers to now book Ryanair flights, seats, and bags as part of their holiday package with the guarantee that they will have full price transparency of Ryanair products, and that they will receive any information regarding their flight directly from Ryanair as well as having direct access to their booking through their myRyanair account."

It is unknown if TUI UK has taken on more customer service agents to cope with the expected increase in the number of complaints, however, a number of recently recruited cabin crew have expressed concern that their jobs are no longer secure. 


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24 October, 2023

TUI Group deepens partnership with IBS Software to optimise operations

TUI Group (TUI) has extended its decade-strong partnership with IBS Software, to optimise its Airline IT operations platform, allowing TUI to disrupt its existing business models, enhance scalability and accelerate speed to market, all while enhancing the customer experience.

IBS Software, a leading SaaS solutions provider to the travel industry globally, has a long-standing partnership with TUI to overhaul its IT processes to deliver transformational value. IBS Software currently maintains all 35+ airline backend systems at TUI, across legacy and modern technology stacks.

This renewed partnership will see IBS Software continue to own, operate and enhance TUI's Integrated Disposition Planning and Statistics product (IDPS), which manages flight planning and control, crewing and rostering, flight operations, maintenance planning, HR, and statistics and reporting across all five of TUI's airlines. The IDPS platform is a strategic priority for TUI in its mission to build a virtual airline and future-proofing its airlines by finding economies of scale that deliver growth.

Isabelle Droll, Chief Information Officer, Holiday Experience and Corporate & Sustainability, TUI, said, "IBS Software is passionate about developing a strategic approach to optimise our Airline IT operations platform, adapting constantly to our business model. Partnering with IBS Software and utilising its expertise in airline operations and business processes as well as technology has enabled us to realise the full potential of our IDPS system."

"Our long collaboration with TUI has been marked by mutual trust and exceptional service, resulting in the successful evolution of the IDPS platform to meet TUI's dynamic business requirements. With this renewed commitment, we look forward to playing a crucial role in enabling TUI's growth and success in the ever-evolving travel market," said Latha Rani, Vice President & Head of Service Delivery at IBS Software.

To explore how IBS Software enabled continuous digital transformation at TUI Group through collaborative technology partnership, download the case study here.

IBS Software is a leading SaaS solutions provider to the travel industry globally, managing mission-critical operations for customers in the aviation, tour & cruise, hospitality, and energy resources industries. IBS Software's solutions for the aviation industry cover fleet & crew operations, aircraft maintenance, passenger services, loyalty programs, staff travel and air cargo management. 

21 October, 2023

Leeds Bradford Airport reopens after runway excursion by Tui holiday jet

Leeds Bradford Airport has reopened after a Tui jet landing at the airport yesterday overshot the runway yesterday whilst landing during storm Babet.

The flight was bringing 195 passengers and crew back from Corfu and suffered a runway excursion after it was believed to have aquaplaned during heavy rain. All on board disembarked the aircraft and there were no injuries reported. 

More than twenty other flights have either been cancelled, delayed or diverted, with some aircraft going to Manchester, Liverpool and Teesside.  Whilst the airport said there would continue to be some disruption to services, many later flights will operate as normal. 

In a statement, the airport said: "We want to express our sincere gratitude to everyone involved in supporting the effort dealing with the incident, disruption and recovery of the aircraft in exceptionally difficult conditions.

"Once again, we would like to thank our passengers for their cooperation and understanding during this challenging period"

An investigation into the incident is now underway according to the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the Boeing 737 jet has been towed away from its temporary resting place with some damage reported to the left undercarriage and engine cowlings. 

24 July, 2023

Wildfires in Rhodes prompt evacuation flights for troubled tourists

The horrendous wildfires on the Greek islands have left scores and scores of tourists needing to be evacuated from the affected areas, with Rhodes being particularly badly hit.

Some of the leading UK holiday airlines are adding extra services to the islands to bring people home early. 

Jet2 has cancelled all flights and holidays going to Rhodes for at least seven days. The company is operating five empty aircraft to the island over the next few hours to bring people back. 

Tui has cancelled all its flights to the island until Wednesday, however, it advises that customers currently in Rhodes will only be able to return on their intended flights home

easyJet has said it intends to operate two rescue flights today, with another tomorrow in addition to its normal nine scheduled flights between Rhodes and the UK

British Airways said its flights to Rhodes were running as normal, but passengers are able to postpone and / or change their flights free of charge. 

Thomas Cook has axed some holidays to affected areas and offered a refund to those customers. Customers with packages booked this week to other areas of Rhodes will be offered the option to either continue with plans or cancel and get a refund. 

Ryanair is operating flights as per normal schedule, yet is monitoring the situation carefully.

Corfu is beginning an evacuation, with almost 2500 people moved to safety overnight and more will be moved today according to local firefighters. 

Local news agency ANA-MPA has reported that parts of the island of Evia have also been or are in the process of being evacuated. Residents in Livadi, Potami, Pernaraki and Platanisto - have been told to evacuate for precautionary measures and move towards the area of Karystos.

24 April, 2023

TUI announces largest ever flying programme from East Midlands Airport for summer 2024

TUI has responded to East Midlands AirportA’s increased passenger demand and, next year, will add a sixth aircraft to its fleet based at the airport. This will allow them to fly 85 flights a week in the peak summer months of summer 2024 to 27 destinations in 10 different countries.

TUI’s increased capacity means 100,000 additional seats for passengers offering more choice and flexibility for those wanting either a short break or a longer holiday, including: 

31 flights per week to Spain

16 flights a week to the Balearics

9  flights a week to the Canaries

6  flights week to mainland Spain

25 flights a week to eight destinations in Greece

10 flights a week to Turkey

6 flights a week to support the Marella Cruise programme to Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik and Palma de Mallorca

More than 60,000 seats to Cyprus and 39,000 to Egypt

Flying exclusively from EMA to Enfidha and Hurghada (Turkey), and Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt)

As well as more flights to destinations already served by them, TUI will also introduce a new route to Sal, Cape Verde, an island off the coast of West Africa.

TUI’s continued investment and commitment to provide its largest ever offer at East Midlands Airport reflects the increasing confidence that passenger numbers are quickly returning to pre-Covid levels. This year EMA expects to welcome four million passengers whereas pre-Covid numbers peaked at around 4.8 million.

20 October, 2022

AerCap to lease deal with TUI for 3 Embraer E195-E2 aircraft

Image AerCap/Embraer/TUI

                        AerCap Holdings, one of the globes leading aircraft leasing specialists has confirmed a new deal signed with the TUI Group on three Embraer E195-E2 aircraft which are scheduled to begin delivery from March through to May 2023. The aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines, will be the first E195-E2 to enter TUI's fleet and will be taken on a long-term lease arrangement. 

AerCap was the launch lessor customer of Embraer's E-Jets E2 program in 2019 and has a total of 45 Embraer E190-E2s and E195-E2s owned and on order.

"We are very pleased to announce the lease placement of three E195-E2s with TUI. AerCap has a long history of working with TUI and we are excited to be a part of their fleet renewal plan," said Peter Anderson, Chief Commercial Officer of AerCap. "The E195-E2s are the perfect aircraft to support TUI's operations with greater versatility and improved efficiencies, enabling them to meet their sustainability commitments. We wish TUI every success with the E2-Jets, and we look forward to working with them as these aircraft deliver."  

"We are thrilled to add the E195-E2 to our Belgium fleet. Operating on short and medium-haul routes, the new aeroplane is the most efficient aircraft in the market. It uses less fuel, has a longer range, while at the same time is 50% quieter and emits up to a third less carbon dioxide. The aeroplanes will operate mostly out of Antwerp, from where they will fly to more distant airports, which will allow us to expand into new holiday destinations from Northern Belgium." said Marco Ciomperlik, Chief Airline Officer, TUI Group.

Various aircraft models from many airlines are available to buy here.

12 August, 2022

Manchester Airport hits out at media reports over Tui's battle for compensation.

Tui will not seek compensation from Manchester Airport
Reading recent newspaper reports in the UK, you might believe one of the leading holiday companies, Tui was currently engaging in legal action to get compensation from Manchester Airport for the mass disruption over recent months. 

However, a statement from the airport operator indicates this isn't the case!  An airport spokesperson confirmed the holiday firm wasn't asking for compensation.   “The operational issues experienced by TUI at Manchester Airport in early June were the result of issues with TUI’s own operation, including the ground handling services that are contracted directly by the airline. 

 “As such, we welcome TUI’s confirmation that it will not seek compensation from Manchester Airport for the disruption its passengers experienced, contrary to some recent reports in the media.

 “Manchester Airport has not enforced flight cancellations on any carrier, and we have been working closely with all our airlines to support them in operating their planned schedules.

Tui on the hunt for profits before the end of the year

The TUI Group expect a return to significantly positive underlying profits for the full year! 

Tui on the hunt for profits before the end of the year

After nine months of the financial year, TUI continues to expect a significantly positive underlying EBIT for 2022, TUI CEO Fritz Joussen and his successor, now CFO Sebastian Ebel, confirmed at the presentation of the Q3 results. "The figures after nine months confirm the trends and our expectations for 2022. We are experiencing a strong travel summer. TUI is secured and economically and operationally back on track when I hand over the chairmanship to Sebastian Ebel on 30 September. All growth areas expanded in recent years are back on track after Corona: Hotels, Cruises and the Tours & Activities field with our digital subsidiary TUI Musement. 

TUI was strong and profitable before Corona and will continue to be so after the crisis of the century. I would like to thank our customers for their trust during these difficult times and our employees for their enormous commitment. After two years of crisis management, they can now focus on growth again. Sebastian Ebel knows the company and the industry. With him, TUI is in the best hands when it comes to new growth and dealing with the aftermath of Corona," said Fritz Joussen. A continued strong travel summer 2022 with unchanged high demand for holidays has secured a strongly improved Q3 2022 for the TUI Group with a near breakeven result. The core Holiday Experiences segment with Hotels, Cruises and Tours & Activities, as well as the Region with tour operators in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland returned to operating profit in the period under review. Excluding unplanned additional costs due to irregularities in European air traffic, the Group achieved a positive operating quarterly result for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic (48 million euros).

TUI almost breaks even in Q3 2022 despite additional costs of 75 million euros for disruptions in air traffic – without additional costs clearly in the profit zone: adjusted EBIT 48 million euros (with expenses for additional costs -27 million euros)

Growth segment Holiday Experiences with clear positive underlying EBIT of 122 million euros (previous year: -186 million euros): Cruises and TUI Musement with positive quarterly results for the first time since the start of the pandemic, Hotels & Resorts positive for the fourth quarter in a row
5.1 million guests travelled with TUI in the period under review – turnover in the third quarter almost sevenfold at 4.43 billion euros (previous year: 650 million euros)

90 per cent of Summer 2019 booking level achieved – Group confirms expectations to return to significantly positive EBIT in full- year 2022

Free cash flow increases to 1.2 billion euros, state credit lines further reduced, net debt falls to 3.3 billion euros

CFO and designated CEO Sebastian Ebel: "Our business performed well in the third quarter – despite the operational challenges in the European tourism sector. This shows the robustness of our integrated business model, the strength of the TUI brand and the continued high demand for holidays. We want to offer our guests TUI's high standards of quality and service, despite the difficult environment. We continue to expect a strong travel summer 2022 with capacity close to pre-crisis levels and significantly positive underlying EBIT for the full year."​

Sebastian Ebel, CFO and designated CEO of TUI Group: "People want to travel. Holidays continue to top the list of planned spending – this has not changed. Although the entire European airline sector continues to face challenges, we have successfully ramped up our business with a significant increase in demand and achieved a good third quarter. This shows once again: our integrated business model is robust. TUI is a strong brand, trusted by holidaymakers and our partners in the destinations. We are consistently tackling the operational challenges of the restart. We want to offer our guests the usual high TUI standards of quality and service. The topics of quality and customer experience are therefore at the top of my agenda. To this end, I will engage in intensive dialogues with the destinations, retail, but also with system partners such as airports and airlines. TUI's travel summer will be strong, with capacity almost at precrisis levels in 2019. We expect a significantly positive underlying EBIT for the full year."

27 June, 2022

TUI Airlines Netherlands to wet-lease two Airbus A320 aircraft from Global Crossing Airlines

Global Crossing Airlines Group has inked a ACMI wet-lease agreement to operate two Airbus A320 aircraft for TUI Airlines Netherlands as the TUI group struggles to cope with the increased travel demand.

GlobalX will provide the Aircraft and qualified crews to TUI fly Netherlands for peak season flying in July and August 2022. From a base of operation in Amsterdam, GlobalX will provide daily flights throughout Europe. TUI cabin crew will work alongside Global Crossing Airlines staff to assist with service and information.

“We are honoured to fly for TUI fly Netherlands, part of TUI, Europe’s largest travel company and one of the great airlines of Europe. We greatly appreciate their confidence in us to fly their valued customers to their vacations. We expect to grow as a company by watching and learning from the best practices of TUI fly Netherlands in their daily operations as well,” said Ed Wegel, Chair and CEO of GlobalX.

“Each year TUI and its airlines require extra aircraft capacity to match the high season demand in our European markets. GlobalX, as new operator with an experienced team, offers a perfect match with our demands and we are happy to welcome them to our network,” said Roel Martens, Head of Aviation Leases of TUI.

GlobalX is a US 121 domestic flag and supplemental Airline flying the Airbus A320 family aircraft. GlobalX flies as a passenger ACMI and charter airline serving the US, Caribbean, and Latin American markets. In 2022, GlobalX will enter ACMI cargo service flying the A321 freighter, subject to DOT and FAA approvals. 

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02 March, 2022

TUI groups boss writes open letter to staff regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The CEO of the holiday giant Tui, Fritz Joussen has written an open letter to staff regarding the situation in Ukraine.  In the correspondence he details that whilst Tui had no shareholdings in Russian firms,  they have made slight changes to flight routes and cruise ports of call because of the war. He also goes on to update staff regarding sanctions against major shareholder Alexey Mordashov.


Dear colleagues,

The attack on Ukraine and the fighting that has been going on for days now leave me, like everyone I have spoken to over the past few days, stunned. When I think of the people in Ukraine, the men and women who are defending their country, and the families who are now fleeing their homeland, I can hardly imagine the suffering.

A war of aggression in the middle of Europe, an attack on a sovereign country, on innocent Europeans – all this was hardly imaginable after the end of the Cold War and in the era of dialogue and cooperation. As Europeans, we have perhaps taken the right to live in peace and self-determination too much for granted. Although it gives us hope that the free world is showing unity, worries about further developments now predominate.

The question of how the war will affect our business is certainly not the first priority, but of course the question is legitimate and important for us. We are monitoring the developments intensively in order to assess possible consequences and to be able to put plans into place if necessary. Let me share some thoughts with you on this.

We ourselves are no longer represented with companies in Russia and Ukraine. As you know, we sold our shareholdings in the tour operators in Russia and Ukraine some time ago. However, in order to ensure the safety of our customers, we will make or have already made adjustments in some areas, such as flight routes and cruise destinations. We are in contact with the employees of service providers in Ukraine who work for us and are supporting them as best we can to keep themselves and their families safe. TUI Cruises is also intensively looking after crew members from Ukraine who are employed on board our fleet of ships.

Some of you have also asked me about our largest single shareholder Alexey Mordashov and our position with him. Mr Mordashov has been a TUI shareholder for around 15 years and has held about a third of our company since he propped it up during the Corona crisis. Two thirds of our shareholders are from Germany, the EU, the UK, the US or are funds. Mr Mordashov is also one of 20 representatives on the Supervisory Board elected by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. However, our company is run by the Executive Board, like any German public limited company, and not by the shareholders or the Supervisory Board. We therefore assume that any restrictions or sanctions against Mr Mordashov will not have any lasting negative consequences for us as a company.

The coming days and weeks will show how relations between Russia and the EU will continue to develop – and how economic cooperation between Russia and the West will develop in the future. A solution is not in our hands. This is the time of the governments and the community of states.

One thing is clear: we will be true to our values and show our position. Like hardly any other sector, tourism stands for international understanding and peaceful exchange across borders and cultures – we feel particularly committed to this.

Thank you that so many of you show your attitude in your private and professional lives and support the people in Ukraine and those fleeing the country with aid and donations!

Let's all hope that humanity and reason will prevail and peace will return to Europe.

Fritz Joussen

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31 December, 2021

New 737 MAX for TUI

Aviation Capital Group LLC has delivered one new Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft on long-term lease to TUI Group. This Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft, powered by CFM International’s LEAP-1B engines, is part of a multi-aircraft transaction between ACG and the airline.

TUI Airways 737 MAX |

Aviation Capital Group was founded in 1989 and is one of the world’s premier full-service aircraft asset managers with approximately 400 owned, managed and committed aircraft as of September 30, 2021, which are leased to approximately 90 airlines in approximately 45 countries. ACG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tokyo Century Corporation.

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20 October, 2021

Morocco banning direct flights from UK, Germany and Netherlands

Authorities in Morocco issued notice this morning that from 23:59 tonight, it will ban direct flights from three key European cities as a result of increased coronavirus cases. 

The flight suspension is to last for an unspecified period applies to direct flights between Morocco and the UK, Germany and The Netherlands. The UK government said it was surprised by the announcement and has advised those affected by flight cancellations should contact their airline or tour operator for advice on alternative routes via third countries (eg France, Spain) where flights are still currently operating as normal.

To enter the country on an indirect flight via a third country, you will need to provide proof that you have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus COVID-19, with the second dose administered at least two weeks prior to travel, or a negative PCR test result before boarding your flight (or ferry) to Morocco. The result must show that the PCR test itself was undertaken no more than 48 hours before boarding. For travel by ferry, you will also need to take a COVID-19 test during the journey. 

15 October, 2021

TUi get another Boeing 737 MAX jet from Aviation Capital Group

The airline arm of TUI Travel has taken delivery of another new Boeing 737-MAX 8 aircraft, powered by CFM International’s LEAP-1B engines on a long term lease arrangement from Aviation Capital Group. This jet forms part of a multi-aircraft transaction between ACG and the airline and is another step forward in fleet modernization. 

“We are pleased to announce the delivery of this Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft to TUI Travel, and we look forward to continuing to grow our long-term relationship with the TUI Travel team,” said Tom Baker, CEO and president of ACG.

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18 August, 2021

Tui cuts summer holidays......

European holiday giant Tui has confirmed a large number of further cancellations in its current summer programme, hitting hundreds of vacations in key destinations such as Malta, Spain and Italy.

The travel trade newspaper, the TTG reported that Tui is axing its package holidays to Austria, Bulgaria, Sicily, Sardinia, Calabria, Slovenia, parts of mainland Spain, Malta and Montenegro until 31 October. Although the firm will still offer a few trips to Malta as long as they are flying with non-Tui operated flights. 

In a remarkable stance after the firm campaigned vigorously for travel restrictions to be lifted, Tui is also cutting its operations to Florida, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Abu Dhabi and the USA up to the end of August. 

Tui has also cancelled holidays to other destinations until 4th September, these include vacations to the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Aruba, Cape Verde, Costa Rica,  Canada, Tobago, Kenya, Seychelles, Cuba, Naples, Puerto Vallarta, Turkey and Tunisia, with non-Tui flights. 

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07 July, 2021

BOC Aviation delivers seventh Boeing 737 MAX 8 to TUI

Leasing firm BOC Aviation Limited has delivered the seventh of seven new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft powered by CFM LEAP-1B engines for lease to TUI Travel.

Robert Martin, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BOC Aviation, said: “We are delighted to work with our long-standing customer TUI, and to provide TUI with the most fuel-efficient, latest technology aircraft. Following the international recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, we delivered all seven aircraft to TUI in just four months, which reflects a high level of teamwork on both sides. We look forward to developing our relationship with TUI further and remain committed to providing our customers with large scale financing solutions as well as technologically advanced aircraft.” 

03 June, 2021

Portugal moved to UK's amber list....

The UK's Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Thursday evening that Portugal had been moved to the amber list in the first update to the government’s traffic light lists for international travel. The UK says it has taken the decision to safeguard public health against variants of concern and protect the vaccine rollout.

In addition to Portugal's downgrade,  seven countries Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago have been added to the red list with all changes coming into effect at 4am on Tuesday 8 June.

The decision to move Portugal - which includes Madeira and the Azores to the amber list follows increased official concern over the spread of variants of coronavirus, including a mutation of the Delta variant, which posed a risk of holidaymakers and visitors bringing it back into the UK if not required to quarantine.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:  "The public has always known travel will be different this year and we must continue to take a cautious approach to reopening international travel in a way that protects public health and the vaccine rollout.

While we are making great progress in the UK with the vaccine rollout, we continue to say that the public should not travel to destinations outside the green list."

The news has not been welcomed by airlines and holiday companies, budget carrier easyJet said it was shocked by the decision and would be a huge blow to those already on holiday in Portugal as well as those that had booked breaks away there in forthcoming weeks.

The airline's CEO Johan Lundgren said: "With Portuguese rates similar to those in the UK it simply isn’t justified by the science."

However, there has been an almost doubling in the COVID-19 test positivity rate in Portugal since the traffic light system was first introduced. Far exceeding the ONS estimated national positivity rate in the UK. More significantly, according to data published on GISAID, 68 cases of the Delta variant of concern have been identified in Portugal, including cases of the Delta variant with an additional, potentially detrimental, mutation.

31 January, 2021

UK's CAA clears 737 MAX to fly again in UK airspace

Significant changes to the aircraft and pilot training have been made
CAA decision follows similar approvals from European and US regulators
CAA will have full review of UK airline plans to return the aircraft to service
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced last week that it will allow UK airlines to operate passenger flights with the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft again after a grounding that lasted nearly two years, after poor design and substandard safety systems caused the two fatal crashed that claimed the lives of more than 300 people. First the Lion Air crash of Flight 610 on October 29, 2018, and then the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019.

The CAA has also lifted the ban on the 737 MAX from flying in UK airspace,  which could see the likes of Canadian airline's WestJet and Air Canada deploying the twin jet on transatlantic routes. Icelandair is currently evaluating whether to put its MAX jets back into service to European destinations.  

Lifting the ban on 737 MAX operations was largely out of the CAA's hands, and was to a large extent, just a rubber stamp exercise as they simply followed advice from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada.

The CAA confirmed it based its decision to the 737 MAX back in the air was down to detailed information from EASA, the FAA, and the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.  Despite the last two being in collusion to originally falsify records and self-certificate the safety and airworthiness of the type before the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air disasters. 

20 December, 2020

Tui cancels flights from Luton Airport

Holiday firm Tui has confirmed it has cancelled all its flights out of Luton Airport following the introduction of a 4th Tier of restrictions by the UK government over the weekend. 

The firm says it has cancelled flights from Luton because it is now in tier four restrictions, where travel is not allowed. It is cancelling al flights between 20 and 30 December. It has also confirmed that flights from Gatwick and Stansted would continue to fly as normal.

"We will be in direct contact with these customers to offer them a full refund or the option to amend their booking." the travel company advised. 

The spokesperson said: "Any customers that live in tier four and are due to depart in the next 14 days will be entitled to cancel and receive a full refund or amend for free to any holiday that's currently on sale."

A number of European countries have taken the unusual step of banning flights to and from the UK in light of the new strain or variant of the virus that has led to a massive increase in infections over recent days. 

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