Published on Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Transatlantic flights from Birmingham suspended


Primera Air has suspended all flights from Birmingham to New York and Toronto from June 21, blaming delays in the delivery of its A321neo fleet by Airbus.

In a statement issued this morning, the Latvia-based airline said passengers travelling before June 21 would not be affected.

"All affected passengers have been informed of this news today. Our priority is ensuring those affected passengers are compensated in compliance with EU261/2004, and alternative travel arrangements have been offered to them, as well as the option of a full refund," the airline added.

"We are committed to handling all passenger queries as quickly as possible and have increased our customer service team who are ready on standby to offer immediate assistance and information."

The airline said it plans to return to Birmingham with long haul operations in 2019 when the fleet will be secured with Airbus. Its service to New York's Newark airport only launched last month, and its service to Toronto was due to start later this month.

Primera CEO Andri Mar Ingolfsson said: "The plans for the transatlantic routes have been in the making for over a year and both Primera Air and Birmingham Airport have put a lot of effort into promoting the new routes which were welcomed by the region.

"Unfortunately we did not anticipate such severe Airbus delays and the hold-up has meant we are forced to make this difficult and disappointing decision."

Primera pledged that its transatlantic services from London Stansted will continue, having placed its first two A321neo aircraft at the airport.

"Our current short-haul flights to Malaga, Mallorca, Barcelona, Crete and our intention to launch new short-haul routes later this year as well as long term transatlantic plans from Birmingham Airport are not impacted by this decision," it said.

"We are committed to minimising any disruption and are deeply sorry for the inconvenience this may cause. We invite all affected passengers to contact Primera Air Customer Service via phone, email and website chat for assistance and more information."

In January, Primera announced that it was ditching plans for flights from Birmingham to Boston, which were due to start on June 22, due to poor booking levels. At the same time, it also reduced frequency on the Birmingham to Newark route from daily to four times a week from June 23. The launch of its Birmingham to Toronto service, which has now been suspended, had already been delayed from May to June 23.

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