Air Madrid says adiós

Spanish carriers Air Madrid and Air Asturias have ceased operations. Long-haul operator Air Madrid voluntarily halted flights before the Spanish authorities revoked its operating certificate because of incompliance with safety regulations. Air Plus Comet has agreed to hire about half of Air Madrid's roughly 1,300 employees and take over Air Madrid's former Latin American routes. Air Asturias only launched last November with four routes from its base in northern Spain but says there was insufficient demand.

Meridiana buys Eurofly stake

Italy's Meridiana has acquired a 30% stake of Italian leisure carrier Eurofly from investment group Spinnaker Luxembourg for €16 million ($21 million). Meridiana chief executive Giovanni Rossi has taken over as chief executive of Eurofly.

New base for Vueling

Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling plans to select at the end of February its first overseas base. It says Amsterdam, Paris and Rome are the contenders.

Lauda brand retained

The Austrian Airlines Group decided at the end of December not to ditch the Lauda Air brand of its charter and holiday subsidiary. The company no longer has connections with founder Niki Lauda but concluded the Lauda Air brand has strong sales potential.

Bulgaria Air sale completed

Bulgarian carrier Hemus Air has completed the acquisition of Bulgaria Air. Hemus last year beat a bid by Italy's Air One and the Lev13 million ($8.3 million) deal was completed in January.

Silverjet nears launch

New UK all-premium carrier Silverjet plans to launch services at the end of January. The carrier will initially operate a daily flight from London Luton to Newark and aims to add a second frequency in July. It will offer a low-fare, all-business-class long-haul product. Late last year Silverjet acquired Flyjet and Skylease, which expedited its launch by providing it with an air operator's certificate and its first Boeing 767.

S7 stake for sale

The Russian government plans to hold an auction in mid-February to sell a 25.5% stake in S7 Airlines, Russia's second largest carrier. The Russian federal property fund has set a starting price of Rb289 billion ($110 million).

FaroeJet bows out

FaroeJet ceased operations in December after encountering financial difficulties. Privately-owned FaroeJet only launched in May 2005 and linked Vagar in the Faroe Islands with Copenhagen.

Source: Airline Business