- CAPA Analysis
- Schedule Analysis
- Cargo Analysis
- Market Share
- Low Cost Carriers
- Economics & Trade
- Fast Fact Report
- IATA Code
- International Airlines serving this country (excluding codeshares)
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island spans an archipelago including Great Britain, the northeastern part of the island of Ireland, and many small islands. Aviation is a major UK industry, carrying over 180 million passengers a year and over 2.1 million tonnes of freight. England’s domestic airlines include British Airways (the nation’s flag carrier), Virgin Atlantic, BMI Regional, Flybe, EasyJet and Ryanair. The British capital, London is a global transport hub. In recent years, the massive growth of LCCs has increased the number of routes and reduced the fares between the UK and continental Europe. London’s main airports for international flights are Heathrow and Gatwick. Luton and Stansted airports deal largely with charter and budget European flights, and London City Airport specialises in business flights.
The Civil Aviation Authority is the UK's independent specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include economic regulation, airspace policy, safety regulation and consumer protection. Unlike many countries, there is no direct Government funding of the CAA - its costs are met entirely from charges levied on those whom it regulates. Under the EU’s Single European Sky initiative the design, management and regulation of airspace will be coordinated throughout the European Union with the aim of using air traffic management that is more closely based on desired flight patterns leading to greater safety, efficiency and capacity.
Airports in United Kingdom
200 total articles
A little more than four years since CEO Craig Kreeger took the helm at Virgin Atlantic: it has refocused its network even more strongly on routes across the Atlantic, replaced around one third of its fleet with new and more efficient aircraft, successfully developed a joint venture on UK-US routes with its 49% shareholder Delta Air Lines, and improved its focus on financial performance. It has also launched and then closed its UK domestic operation, Little Red.
The publication of Virgin Atlantic's 2016 annual report in late Mar-2017 demonstrated that its profitability is improving, but remains very slim in margin terms.
This report takes the opportunity to assess Virgin Atlantic's progress since CAPA published a report analysing its business in Mar-2013, shortly after Mr Kreeger's arrival. Much has been achieved since then, but genuinely sustainable profitability remains to be achieved.
Norwegian Air: 10 new North Atlantic routes enabled by new narrowbody aircraft and price stimulation
Norwegian's long anticipated new trans Atlantic routes, to be launched in summer 2017, will add five airports in the UK and Ireland and three in the US to its existing long haul network. Norwegian already operates to eight US primary airports from London Gatwick. By using new narrowbody technology Norwegian is opening trans Atlantic travel to smaller cities that could not support widebody service.
The new trans Atlantic routes, the first to be operated by its Irish subsidiary NAI after receiving US rights late in 2016, will deploy new Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft with a longer range than existing narrowbodies, and Norwegian is the European launch customer of the type.
In total there will be 10 new routes, comprising 38 weekly flights from Edinburgh, Belfast International, Cork, Shannon and Dublin serving three secondary airports on the US east coast. These are Stewart International (SWF), Providence (PVD) and Hartford Bradley International (BDL). These US airports are small and relatively unknown in Europe, and Norwegian will have to rely on price stimulation more than it has done on existing long haul routes. Nevertheless, Norwegian is once more leading the market with this innovation.
Over seven months after the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, the longer term impact on aviation remains uncertain. The UK Prime Minister Theresa May will almost certainly gain parliamentary authority to trigger Article 50 by her planned deadline of the end of Mar-2017, taking the UK out of the EU by Mar-2019.
On 17-Jan-2017 Mrs May set out 12 principles which will guide the UK in its negotiations with the European Union over the terms of its exit. These principles formed the basis of a White Paper outlining the government's planned approach to the Brexit negotiations. Among other things, the UK does not plan continued membership of the EU Single Market and wishes to control immigration.
There is now a clear timeframe for the Brexit negotiations and a broad framework to guide the UK government in these talks, but still no clarity for aviation. There are obstacles to the UK's continued membership of the European Common Aviation Area, and a bilateral approach may now be more likely. The UK Transport Secretary wants the "best possible access to European aviation markets", but is not yet able to say how that can be achieved.
Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos hopes to have an interline agreement in place with Ryanair before the end of 2017. Discussions between the two airlines have been taking place for many months, and both have publicly talked about the benefits of facilitating connecting passengers with a single ticket for a trip involving both airlines at airports where Norwegian operates long haul.
Mr Kjos told CNN Money on 1-Feb-2017 that he also envisaged an alliance formed of Europe's four leading independent LCCs: Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian and Wizz Air. There is mileage in pursuing bilateral interlining, focusing on connections between Norwegian's long haul and the other three's short/medium haul.
However, the case for intra-Europe connections among the four LCCs, let alone for something as developed as an alliance, is less clear.
On 01-Feb-2017 SAS announced that it is to establish a new AOC in Ireland, with operational bases in London and Spain. It has yet to specify the airports that will become its first bases outside its three Scandinavian home countries. SAS is following a course established by Norwegian, apparently forgetting its previous objections to its LCC rival's approach.
Indeed, it seems that SAS' move is a pragmatic response to intense competition from LCCs, particularly from Norwegian. According to SAS' 2016 Annual Report, 65% of its ASKs compete with LCCs. Scandinavia's high labour costs are a significant handicap in competing with airlines that have bases outside the region.
Spain and UK are its two biggest markets outside Scandinavia, with London Heathrow its biggest non home airport. After years of cost reduction programmes – also years of initiatives aimed at enhancing the appeal of SAS' product and brand to its core target market of Scandinavia's frequent flyers – a bolder step is needed. SAS will be a very rare example of a European legacy airline with bases outside its home market, more than 20 years after market liberalisation presented the opportunity.
Ryanair's plans for nine new routes and increased frequency on 13 routes at London Stansted Airport in summer 2017 mark a further chapter in the relationship between the two. Stansted is Ryanair's biggest airport and Ryanair is Stansted's biggest airline customer. However, Ryanair dominates Stansted, while Stansted's importance to Ryanair is diminishing.
When Ryanair took exception to what it considered to be excessive airport charge increases it severely cut its capacity at Stansted, severely denting the airport's traffic base between 2007 and 2012. The subsequent growth in passenger numbers following Stansted's acquisition by Manchester Airports Group in 2013 is the direct result of a deal with Ryanair over reduced airport charges. In 2016, Stansted's traffic recovery was complete and it handled more passengers than at its 2007 peak.
Ryanair's summer 2017 expansion plans at Stansted point to further growth in the airport's passenger numbers. However, Ryanair has reduced its growth in the UK as a result of Brexit uncertainty, and this is likely to mean slower growth for Stansted. Ryanair is even modestly cutting its capacity at the airport this winter. Ryanair has consistently been a critic of Brexit, but it may have further increased its bargaining power over its biggest airport.