Eurowings Operates Flight To Nowhere After Olbia Airport Closed Down

Yesterday, a Eurowings flight was heading to Olbia, Sardinia from Düsseldorf, Germany. However, as the Airbus A320 approached…

Eurowings Operates Flight To Nowhere After Olbia Airport Closed Down

Yesterday, a Eurowings flight was heading to Olbia, Sardinia from Düsseldorf, Germany. However, as the Airbus A320 approached the Italian island, it had to divert back because the aircraft’s crew learned that Olbia Airport is still closed.

There was frustration on May 23rd as a Eurowings flight was denied entry into Sardinia. Photo: Getty Images

What happened?

Aviation24 reports that the Italian Ministry for Infrastructure and Transport did reopen the airport for commercial air travel. With the country entering phase two of its coronavirus emergency handling, certain measures are under review.

However, only a few hours after the announcement was made, this decision was reversed. Subsequently, the crew on flight EW9844 departed at 06:21 on Saturday, thinking that they have been cleared for entry.

The plane, with registration number D-AEWJ, entered a holding pattern northeast Sardinia. According to FlightRadar24.com, the jet remained at 1,720 meters above sea level, with an average speed of 430 kilometers per hour for forty minutes. After confirming that there won’t be any clearance, the crew turned back to Düsseldorf. Just over four hours after leaving the German airport, it returned at 10:25.

Lufthansa condor eurowings
Eurowings is one of the many operators that fall under the control of Lufthansa Group. Photo: Getty Images

There was notification

Altogether, Eurowings did not get permission to land at Olbia Airport due to the restrictions in place. According to a NOTAM issued on May 20th, carriers were informed that the hub will remain shut until June 2nd.

“Aerodrome closed to commercial aviation traffic in compliance with Regione Sardegna decree 23 of 17th May 2020,” part of the NOTAM said, as reported by Aviation24.

“General aviation activity and commercial aviation activity on demand (aerotaxi) with aircraft having maximum cabin configuration equal or less than 19 seats are approved in compliance with Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation decree 207/2020 and Regione Sardegna decree 23 of 17th May 2020.”

With the A320 holding 180 seats, it is way over this 19-seat limit. Subsequently, the return flight between Olbia and Dusseldorf did not go ahead.

Ever-changing situation

The global health crisis is continuing to evolve every single day, and governments keep updating their travel policies. This month, several European authorities have been sharing that they are relaxing restrictions. Ultimately, airlines may be struggling to keep up with the constant revisions.

Coronavirus Airport
There will be constant updates in the aviation industry over the next few months as countries adapt their strategies to tackle the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images

Additionally, it is hard for passengers to confirm what the most up to date guideline is as countries are continually changing their measures. Therefore, airlines must consult with officials at the destinations that they are flying to before any flight takes off.

Simple Flying reached out to Eurowings to confirm what happened during the service to Olbia Airport. A spokesperson for the airline said that investigations into the background of the flight are still ongoing. The carrier is expecting further information within the next days.

What are your thoughts on this diverted Airbus A320 flight? Could there soon be more incidents like this within the industry? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Why Air France Picked Slovenia As One Of Its First Restart Destinations

Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, is the smallest of all the European destinations to which Air France…

Why Air France Picked Slovenia As One Of Its First Restart Destinations

Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, is the smallest of all the European destinations to which Air France will resume flights in June. In fact, Ljubljana is a much smaller airport than many other ones to which Air France will only resume flights later. So why has Air France picked Ljubljana?

Flights from Ljubljana to Paris are operated by Air France Hop! Photo: Getty Images

Air France flight resumptions

A few days ago, Air France announced its timetable for June. The European destinations scheduled for resumption next month are:

Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Bari, Bergen, Berlin, Birmingham, Bologna, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Florence, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Hanover, Heraklion, Ibiza, Lisbon, Ljubljana, London, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Naples, Newcastle, Oslo, Palma de Mallorca, Porto, Prague, Rome, Stockholm, Warsaw, Venice, Vienna, Yerevan, and Zurich.

Almost all of these destinations are airports that recorded seven-digit passenger numbers last year. Some, like Frankfurt and Amsterdam, serve several dozen million passengers annually. Ljubljana Airport, on the other hand, served well under two million. By size, Slovenia is an aviation market that is a fraction of all of the others listed. This makes it an interesting pick by Air France.

Air france getty images
Ljubljana in Slovenia is an interesting choice for a fast resumption of Air France services. Photo: Getty Images

Why Slovenia?

Despite its size, Ljubljana Airport is a logical choice of destination for Air France. Since the bankruptcy of its former flag carrier Adria Airways, Slovenia has been an unsaturated market.

As Simple Flying reported in June, Air France anticipated the bankruptcy of Adria Airways. It abruptly canceled the code-share agreement with Adria for flights from Ljubljana to Paris CDG and doubled its own frequencies on the route to force Adria out of the market.

Adria Airways was a Star Alliance airline connecting Slovenia, Kosovo, and Albania to the world through its multiple daily connections to the major European hubs Frankfurt, Vienna, Zurich, Paris, Amsterdam, and Moscow. When Adria collapsed, numerous European flag carriers flocked to Ljubljana to replace the lost link between Slovenia and their hub airports. But only a fraction of the frequencies on these routes was replaced.

Adria Airways A319
Adria Airways left a large gap, and Air France is filling some of it. Photo: Getty Images

Air France battling for Slovenia

Even had there never been an outbreak of COVID-19, Slovenia would have very limited connectivity out of its sole airport in Ljubljana. Apart from Air France, there would have been daily Lufthansa Group flights to Frankfurt and Munich, Turkish Airlines flights to Istanbul, Aeroflot to Moscow, and LOT to Warsaw. So Air France naturally wants to establish itself as a transfer airline in Slovenia, while it still has the opportunity to do so.

Furthermore, with the COVID-19 outbreak causing an unprecedented slump in demand, Slovenia now does not have a single airline operating flights to Ljubljana. The country has no connectivity at all, and Air France has recognized this as an opportunity to be the first to start capturing the transfer market.

Do you think Air France will be using the current aviation turmoil to try to position itself as a leading airline in Slovenia? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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