Wednesday, 14 February 2018

How to ensure Ryanair foots the bill for flight delays

Full article on

There is little doubt that Ryanair takes umbrage at EU261, the piece of European law that guarantees passengers compensation in the event of most flight delays and cancellations. Michael O’Leary, the airline’s boss, insists that he complies with the “ridiculous” piece of legislation. But many say otherwise. Last year, when a pilot rostering mishap grounded thousands of Ryanair flights, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) accused it of “persistently misleading” customers about their rights. Which?, a British consumer group, agreed that Ryanair fell “woefully short” of its obligations. Media reports exposing poor treatment of passengers abound. Yet, in the past five months, your correspondent has received two EU261 pay-outs from Ryanair. Claims that the company swindles its customers are exaggerated...

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Interview: Stefan Pichler, Royal Jordanian Airlines CEO

Full article in PDF format

When Royal Jordanian Airlines ran a series of advertisements mocking Donald Trump, the US President, and making light of his laptop ban for Middle Eastern flights, many of the people sharing its messages on social media had never even heard of the airline – let alone flown with it.

Despite flying its country’s flag for more than half a century, Royal Jordanian still lacks the scale and brand recognition of its Gulf competitors. It has also become a financial burden on the government of Jordan, its 26% shareholder, posting net losses in four of the six years since the Arab Spring.

New chief executive Stefan Pichler admits that regional instability has held the airline back. Neighbouring Syria used to be a major source of connecting traffic before civil war closed its skies, while routes to Iraq, Libya and Yemen were also abandoned when violence flared in their borders. Surrounded by conflict, Jordan’s own tourism sector has nosedived as Westerners steer clear of what they perceive to be a dangerous neighbourhood...

Interview: Ilyes Mnakbi, Tunisair CEO

Full article in PDF format

The European Union’s delegation to Tunisia could not have struck a more optimistic tone in December, when EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc met with officials in Tunis to conclude negotiations over the looming Open Skies treaty between the two sides.

Tunisia’s government has been inching towards the treaty for several years, emboldened by the success of Morocco’s deal with the EU in 2006. That landmark agreement saw tourist arrivals rocketing by 60% over five years, propelled by an influx of European low-cost carriers to the country’s popular holiday resorts. Tunisia’s treaty, Bulc predicted, will be no less transformative...

Bridging the Gulf

Full article in PDF format

When SaudiGulf Airlines applied for an operating licence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012, owners Al Qahtani Group believed that a winning bid would grant them access to a heavily under-served duopolistic market.

By the end of the year, it was clear that SaudiGulf would not be the only company emerging from the tender process with flying rights. Al Maha Airways, a subsidiary of Qatar Airways, was also approved to launch operations. And while its plans ultimately came to naught, two other market entrants were waiting in the wings: Nesma Airlines, a regional carrier formerly based in Egypt; and Flyadeal, a low-cost subsidiary of flag-carrier Saudia.

Together with privately-owned Flynas, five separate carriers now ply routes across the kingdom. Though fantastic for passengers, this explosion of competition has left SaudiGulf re-evaluating a business model that presupposed rapid growth and untapped demand...