In 2017 Monarch Airlines ceased trading and Air Berlin entered insolvency procedures. There were cancellations galore because of a mix of strikes and weather conditions and stories about mishaps and a particularly shocking video of a man being thrown off a flight.
Yet despite what seems like a troubled year for aviation, things are looking up for British travellers with new flights – some of them with low cost carriers – to various exciting destinations in 2018.
Early next year – Amritsar
Following its success with its direct flight from Birmingham to Delhi, Air India will also be flying non-stop from Birmingham to Amritsar (famous for its Golden Temple) on its Boeing 787-8 series airplane twice a week.
February – Buenos Aires
From February low cost airline Norwegian will be transporting passengers on its 787 Dreamliner from Gatwick Airport in London to Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. The city is much loved for its European flair and Latin passion and travellers will no doubt be happy with the lead in price of £279.90 (316.65 Euro) one-way.
March – Seychelles, Genoa, Rimini, Perth, Las Vegas
The biggest news this month is that after 14 years, British Airways are relaunching a twice-weekly service to the Indian Ocean archipelago. They last flew there in 2004 from London to Nairobi to the Seychelles. This time, it will be the only direct flight to the pristine beaches and topaz waters of the Seychelles located 5,074 miles from Britain. The flight takes 10 hour and 24 minutes without having to make a connection in the Middle East (at the moment the airline flies there but stops over at Doha and takes 13 hours).
British Airways will also be adding Las Vegas to its summer schedule with three flights a week.
Easyjet will be flying twice a week from Manchester airport to perhaps the most underrated city in Italy, Genoa.
Ryanair will be operating a twice weekly flight to Rimini from London Stansted airport and will be the only direct flight from the UK to this pretty Italian seaside resort.
From 25 March Qantas is launching the first ever direct flight from the UK to Perth, Australia. This will be a momentous occasion that will see passengers travel across the world from London to Perth on the quickest route to date. It is a long way but made possible by the fuel efficiency of the 787 Dreamliner, which boasts a range of up to 15,750km (9,786 miles).Tickets are already available and start at $2,270 (£1,680) return in economy, $4,250 (£3,147) for premium economy, and $9,725 (£7,203) for business class.
April – New York, Boston, Denver
Primera Air, an Icelandic-owned airline, will fly from London Stansted to New York’s Newark Liberty airport every day on its Airbus A321neos. Fares start at £149. The airline will also be flying to Boston in Massachusetts, US, from Birmingham airport four times a week.
United Airlines will offer a new nonstop service between Heathrow Airport and Denver airport in the summer season, March 8 with daily flights until 26 October 2018. The seasonal service will operate using a 219-seat Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
May – Nashville, Seattle, Doha, La Rochelle, Fort Worth, Cleveland, Dublin, Florence, Larnaca, Tirana
This month sees the most activity in new routes with Wizz Air expanding its portfolio from its Luton base thanks to an allocation of four more Airbus A320 aircraft. They are now offering daily flights from Luton to Larnaca in Cyprus and three times a week from Luton to Tirana in Albania.
British Airways will be offering new services to Florence and Dublin from Manchester airport. Further afield, British Airways will be the only airline offer five flights a week to Nashville, Tennessee, USA so you can hit the Honky Tonk Highway direct from Heathrow Airport on the 787 Dreamliner.
Thomas Cook will be flying to Seattle in Washington, USA twice a week from Manchester Airport. The route will be serviced by Thomas Cook’s Airbus A330s.
Bizarrely, Qatar Airways will be flying from Cardiff airport in Wales to Doha, Qatar every day. It seems an odd decision as there seems to be no particular resonance for the rugby mad Welsh and the business minded Qataris. However it may be a good stop off point to connect to onward travel to Australasia, Africa and Asia. The route will be serviced by a 787 Dreamliner.
The popular French town of La Rochelle will receive once-a-week direct flights from Leeds Bradford with Jet2 airways giving those in the north of England an easy ride to the west coast of France and Ile de re.
Icelandair has announced two new routes launching in May to Dallas Fort Worth and Cleveland. Both will run four times a week via Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport with connections from the existing seven UK gateways served by the airline.
June – Bratislava, Talinn, Dubai
High flyers Wizz Air are offering daily flights from Luton to Bratislava in Slovakia at the ridiculously low price of £26.00 (29.99 euros) each way. There’s also a route to Talinn in Estonia four times a week for the same price.
Emirates will be the first Middle Eastern carrier to operate out of Stansted when it launches a daily route to Dubai next June. The airplane will be a three-class Boeing 777-300ER. This will increase its daily flights between Dubai and three different London Airports to 10.
August – Kristlansand
Norwegian airline Wideroe is due to start a the first flights to Kristiansand in southern Norway from Stansted. This is Norway’s fifth-largest city and a gateway to a popular coastal area. The largest underwater restaurant in the world is set to open in 2019.
September – Lviv
September will see Wizz Air flying from Luton to Lviv, UNESCO–listed city in the Ukraine, three times a week. Wizz Air were quick to pick up where Ryanair decided not to go.