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10 most read stories in 2018

As we start a new year, here’s a chance to look back on the ten most read stories on Standby Nordic during 2018.

SAS’s issues with delayed and cancelled flights in spring and summer, Norwegian’s efforts to reduce its debt by selling new aircraft and the exploits of Iceland’s WOW air and Icelandair were among the topics of the most read stories on Standby Nordic during 2018.

As a new year begins, here is an opportunity to read or re-read the most popular news stories from the travel and tourism world with a Nordic twist, as reported by Standby Nordic in 2018. These are the top 10 most read stories of the year.

1. SAS Ireland pilots quit their jobs
SAS reported almost 700 flight cancellations during the April-June period, a problem that continued well into the summer. The airline’s issues reached a head when it was reported that around half of its pilots in Ireland had either quit or were planning to quit their jobs.

A group of 26 SAS Ireland pilots sent a letter to SAS complaining about allegedly poor working conditions and employment contracts by their employment agency.

Read the whole story here.

2. Icelandair to fly to India in 2019
Shortly after WOW air promised to introduce routes between Iceland and Asia, connecting India with North America via Iceland as it had already done with Europe, in May its rival Icelandair said it would do the same thing.

Icelandair said it expected to offer direct flights from Keflavik to Delhi or Mumbai from autumn 2019. At a presentation of its quarterly report, the airline appeared to suggest other possible Asia routes too, such as Dubai, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo.

Read the whole story here.

3. Cathay closes Copenhagen-Hong Kong
On October 1, we reported that Cathay Pacific’s ostensibly popular route between its Hong Kong base and Copenhagen, which had opened for the summer on May 2, would not be resumed for the 2019 summer season.

It appeared to be competition from SAS that prompted Cathay to shut it down, as SAS had announced that it would be moving its Hong Kong route from Stockholm Arlanda to Copenhagen and to fly it year-round.

Read the whole story here.

4. Norwegian tries to sell 60 new aircraft
In early September, it was revealed that of the 90 aircraft Norwegian had on order with Airbus, 60 were already up for resale so that the company could reduce its debt obligations.

When chief executive Bjørn Kjos stunned the aviation industry in January 2012 by announcing purchases of 222 new aircraft, he said: “If we are to go bankrupt, we may as well do it with new aircraft than with old.” With reports of high debt continuing into 2019, these words are coming back to haunt him.

Read the whole story here.

5. Norwegian wants to build Stockholm-hub
Norwegian gained an operating license in Sweden in November and said it hoped that Stockholm Arlanda could become a focal point for traffic between Asia and North America.

The carrier had submitted its application to the Swedish Transport Agency in mid-July, and now it had “a stronger foothold in Scandinavia”, CEO Bjørn Kjos enthused.

Read the whole story here.

6. Airlines with best and worst load factor
Low-cost giant Ryanair has load factor stats that are the envy of the world, 94.7% for the first seven months of 2017, rising to 96% for the period between April and December.

This dwarfs the global average, 81.4% for 2017, although this in itself was a big rise from the 70% that was the global average before 2000.

The load factor at easyJet is high too – contrasting with poor load factors at Flybe, Austrian and Emirates.

Read the whole story here.

7. Is it safe to visit the Maldives?
In early February, the Maldives, a holiday paradise prone to political turmoil, declared a state of emergency giving its security forces sweeping powers to arrest individuals suspected of being opposition members, stop public gatherings and impose travel restrictions. So is it safe to visit the Maldives?

Read the whole story here.

8. WOW air named worst airline in the world
In spring 2018, WOW still seemed like a highly promising young airline. But then negative media reports about it began to appear.

AirHelp, a flight compensation company, came up with a ranking of 72 airlines revealing the best and worst based on factors such as service quality, on-time performance and claims processing.

Of the 13 lowest scoring carriers, six were European. WOW found itself at the very bottom with a damning score of 5.04/10. It scored 75% for on-time performance, which is higher than some on the list, but just 1.68 points for claims processing and coming up short on quality of service.

Royal Jordanian, Pakistan International Airlines, easyJet, Air Mauritius and Ryanair didn’t do well either.

Read the whole story here.

9. Airline denies cabin crew orgy
In March, China Eastern Airlines, which was preparing to launch its first direct route between Stockholm and Shanghai, issued an emphatic denial that crew on one of its flights had indulged in some post-flight entertainment, and filmed it.

The videos, which circulated on social media, were reported to be more interesting than any safety video and earned millions of views in China before being taken down by censors.

Unsubstantiated rumours circulated that the individuals were flight attendants for China Eastern or its subsidiary Shanghai Airlines, and that the action had occurred in a Madrid hotel room.

Read the whole story here.

10. Goodbye Scandinavian Airlines, welcome SAS
In June, to mark the end of an era as Norway sold its remaining shares in SAS, our feature writer Hans Jørgen Elnæs looked back on the airline’s history since it was founded on August 1, 1946 as a consortium between the countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. SAS subsequently introduced many firsts in the industry – including being the first European airline to fly commercial routes to New York.

Read the whole story here.

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