TUI rebrands its airlines

German tour operator TUI Group has unveiled a new brand, TUIfly, for its seven in-house airlines. The new identity covers Hapagfly and Hapag-Lloyd Express, which TUI announced four months ago it would integrate, as well as Thomsonfly, Corsair, Arkefly, Jetair and TUIfly Nordic. Meanwhile, TUI has placed an order for 65 Boeing aircraft and revealed it is looking at establishing a leasing company.

BA buys BWIA slots

British West Indies Airways (BWIA) has sold all of its London Heathrow slots to British Airways as part of a codeshare deal. The Caribbean carrier is pulling off its loss-making daily service from Port of Spain in Trinidad to London Heathrow in March. The route will be served by BA from Gatwick in codeshare with BWIA successor Caribbean Airlines, which begins service in January. Caribbean Airlines will return its Airbus A340s to lessors.

New owners for Axis

French charter carrier Axis Airways has been taken over by a consortium that includes Israel's Arkia Airlines. The new owners have begun a restructuring programme which has already resulted in the shrinking of the Axis fleet from five to three aircraft.

Virgin boosts premium cabin

Virgin Atlantic Airways is investing £12 million ($23 million) in a redesign of its premium economy product. The revamp will include new 21in wide leather seats with 38in pitch. Virgin has already increased its premium economy sections by 33% in response to increasing demand.

Flybe adds Croatia

UK low-cost carrier Flybe is launching its first services to the Balkan region. Flights from Birmingham to Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia will begin in May. Flybe is also extending its network to Hamburg, with flights from Birmingham beginning in March.

XL adopts common name XL Leisure Group's three in-house carriers - Star Airlines, Star Europe and Excel Airways - are all taking on the name XL Airways. The rebranding follows a management buyout of the company from Iceland's Avion Group.

Source: Airline Business