Andy's Symi Travel Blog

Flights, ferries, and travel tips to help visitors to the Greek island of Symi

Symi Visitor Travel blog

Summer flights – what’s the delay?

So following on from the ferries post, here’s some detail on why flight times for summer 2018 are coming out somewhat later than those for previous years did.

Brussels Airlines have taken over the airline part of Thomas Cook Belgium. They will be flying from Brussels non stop to both Rhodes and Kos, but are still finalising details for release later this month.

Air Berlin/Niki/TUIfly Germany/easyJet/Eurowings/Lufthansa is a tangled mess waiting for competition authority approval, affecting flights to Rhodes and Kos from Germany and Austria. As most people know by now, Air Berlin has closed down due to insolvency. A large chunk of Air Berlin itself, plus the “leisure airline” subsidiary Niki that did the holiday flights this year, and German domestic airline LGW, have been bought by Lufthansa, and are to be folded into their Eurowings subsidiary. Some planes in Air Berlin colours are already flying for Eurowings or for Lufthansa itself, but full regulatory approval is required before the process is completed. As both Eurowings and Niki flew between Germany and Rhodes/Kos in 2017, there is bound to be some consolidation of routes/flights.

easyJet has bought another chunk of Air Berlin, mostly the planes (and their crews) based in Berlin itself, and requires regulatory approval before restarting operations. They already have some of their own planes and crews based in Berlin, and flights to Rhodes are on sale up to the end of August 2018. Again, expect some consolidation. Still on the easyJet front, right across Europe flights for September and October 2018 have yet to be released, but are promised for later this month.

TUIfly Germany, in a bizarre agreement, used to lease some Boeing 737 planes at an exceptionally expensive rate to Air Berlin, who operated them on TUI services, losing money in the process. With the bankruptcy, the leases have terminated and the planes have returned to TUI, who now need to hire crews to operate them, and decide if the routes are viable without what was effectively a subsidy per flight from Air Berlin.

In the UK the collapse of Monarch has freed up slots at Birmingham, London Gatwick, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, and London Luton. The liquidators have gone to court in an attempt to prove the slots are assets that can be sold. The court has ruled that an airline has to have a current Air Operations Certificate in order to trade slots. Monarch’s was suspended at the moment it stopped flying. The administrators plan to appeal, but in the meantime the court has allowed the slots at Birmingham, Leeds, and Luton to be returned to the unallocated pool, and other airlines can apply to use them for any destination they like. Reallocation of Gatwick and Manchester slots, which are in high demand, has been stayed pending a final decision on whether an appeal will be allowed and if so, the decision. A number of airlines will bid for Gatwick and/or Manchester slots, but are unlikely to use them for the same routes Monarch did.

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