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Blue Air

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Blue Air
Blue-Air logo-01.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
0B BLA BLUE AIR
Founded2004
Commenced operations2004
Ceased operations6 September 2022 (suspended)[1][2][3]
Operating bases
HubsHenri Coandă International Airport
Frequent-flyer programMy Blue
Fleet size2[4]
Destinations75[3][5]
HeadquartersBucharest, Romania
Key peopleCristian Rada, CEO
RevenueDecrease €108 million (2020)
Net incomeDecrease €81.1 million (2020)
Employees806 (2020)
Websiteflyblueair.com

Blue Air is a Romanian low-cost airline headquartered in Bucharest,[6] with its hub at Henri Coandă International Airport. It is the largest Romanian airline by scheduled passengers flown.[7] In 2017, Blue Air carried over 5 million passengers, a 40% increase over the 3.6 million passengers flown the previous year.[8] As of September 2022, Blue Air served 75 scheduled destinations in 21 countries.[3][5]

Blue Air was forced to suspend all operations on 6 September 2022[1][2] and did not plan to resume any flights before late 2022.[9] As of November 2022, it's license had been suspended.[10]

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Romania

Romania

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeast Europe. It borders Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, Moldova to the east, and the Black Sea to the southeast. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate, and an area of 238,397 km2 (92,046 sq mi), with a population of around 19 million. Romania is the twelfth-largest country in Europe and the sixth-most populous member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, followed by Iași, Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Constanța, Craiova, Brașov, and Galați.

Low-cost carrier

Low-cost carrier

A low-cost carrier or low-cost airline is an airline that is operated with an especially high emphasis on minimizing operating costs and without some of the traditional services and amenities provided in the fare, resulting in lower fares and fewer comforts. To make up for revenue lost in decreased ticket prices, the airline may charge extra fees – such as for carry-on baggage. As of April 2020, the world's largest low-cost carrier is Southwest Airlines, which operates primarily in the United States, as well as in some surrounding areas.

Bucharest

Bucharest

Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km (37.3 mi) north of the Danube River and the Bulgarian border.

Henri Coandă International Airport

Henri Coandă International Airport

Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport is Romania's busiest international airport, located in Otopeni, 16.5 km (10.3 mi) north of Bucharest's city centre. It is currently one of the two airports serving the capital of Romania. The other is Aurel Vlaicu Airport, which no longer serves scheduled passenger traffic.

History

Foundation and early years

A former Blue Air Boeing 737-300 in 2010 showing an older livery.
A former Blue Air Boeing 737-300 in 2010 showing an older livery.

Founded by Nelu Iordache,[11] Blue Air started operating in December 2004. Blue Air initially operated domestic and international flights, although domestic services were soon discontinued due to low sales and competition from TAROM, as well as Căile Ferate Române, the Romanian rail company. Blue Air resumed domestic operations in 2015, starting with Bucharest to Iași flights.[12]

On 12 April 2013, Blue Air's management announced that the airline was for sale.[13] On 17 May 2013, the company was purchased by four Romanian shareholders, and BlueAir Transport Aerian SA's flight operations were transferred to Blue Air – Airline Management Solution SRL, a company that bailed the business out with EUR 30 million.[14] In 2015, Blue Air reported a net profit of EUR 6 million, contrasting to the company's loss of EUR 400,000 in 2014.[15]

The airline transported 1.5 million passengers in 2014, an increase from the 1.35 million passengers in 2013.[16] In 2015, the airline transported for the first time more than 2 million passengers.[17] With a total of 25 new routes announced for 2016, the airline forecasts carrying close to three million passengers in 2016.[18]

Blue Air became a full member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on 19 January 2016.[19] Furthermore, Blue Air received the IATA Operational Safety Audit certification in December 2015,[20] being a member of the IATA Clearing House).[21]

In March 2017, Blue Air started a base in Liverpool John Lennon Airport, operating to 8 destinations across Europe. Blue Air also created a 'welcome to Liverpool' Livery for their Boeing 737-800 Aircraft (YR-BMH).[22] This aircraft included slogans such as 'Cool city, Warm welcome' and 'Liverpool Music city' to help use the aircraft to promote its new base in Liverpool, England, by flying this logo jet across Europe. This aircraft is also the only full special livery aircraft within the Blue Air fleet.[23]

Since November 2017, with the entry into force of the Territorial Continuity in Sardinia, Blue Air connects the Alghero airport with the Rome-Fiumicino Airport, a route operated in the past by Alitalia. The airline, following a conference held at Alghero Airport in early November, announced that the Riviera del Corallo became his fourth international base of operations, after those in Torino, Liverpool and Larnaca. In January 2018, Blue Air planned to launch a new subsidiary in the Czech Republic, known as Blue Air Moravia,[24] however this never took place.

Developments since 2018

In 2018 the legal status of the company was changed, from a limited liability company to a joint-stock company; it also changed its legal name to Blue Air Aviation SA.[25] In that same year (2018), Civil Aviation Group (a joint venture between Moldovan investors and Blue Air) won the privatization process of Moldova's airline, Air Moldova, for the sum of 50 millions MDL (2.56 million EUR). Civil Aviation Group took over Air Moldova's debts, worth 1.2 billion Moldovan lei (61 million euro).[26]

On 6 July 2020, Blue Air filed for bankruptcy protection after a steep decrease in revenue which was only partially balanced by a 65 Million Euro loan received as state aid from the Romanian government.[27]

In November 2020, the airline announced the retirement of their Boeing 737-300s and -500s and replace them with additional leased Boeing 737-800 aircraft.[28]

Suspension of operations

On 6 September 2022, it was announced that Blue Air was forced to suspend all operations for at least six days, following the seizure of the airline's accounts by the Romanian authorities.[1][2] Prior to this event there had already been arguments between the airline and the state after a high-ranking official advised against buying tickets from the airline.[1][3]

On 7 September, the assets were released by the government with Blue Air planning to resume reduced operations with just five aircraft in the near future.[29] However, shortly after Blue Air announced the suspension of all flights until at least 10 October 2022 as the airline is currently not able to afford fuel and other services.[30] On 30 September 2022, the airline removed its entire route network from sale.[31] Shortly after, all five of the airline's Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft where relocated to LOT Polish Airlines by their lessor.[32] As of October 2022, Blue Air did not plan to resume operations earlier than late 2022.[9]

In November 2022 it has been announced that Blue Air will be nationalized with the Romanian state taking over 75 percent of shares as the currently dormant airline was unable to pay back a state loan.[33] During the same time, the airline's operational license has been suspended, but not revoked.[10]

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Căile Ferate Române

Căile Ferate Române

Căile Ferate Române is the state railway carrier of Romania. As of 2014, the railway network of Romania consists of 10,777 km (6,697 mi), of which 4,029 km (2,504 mi) (37.4%) are electrified. The total track length is 22,247 km (13,824 mi), of which 8,585 km (5,334 mi) (38.5%) are electrified. The CIA World Factbook lists Romania with the 23rd largest railway network in the world. The network is significantly interconnected with other European railway networks, providing pan-European passenger and freight services. CFR as an entity has been operating since 1880, even though the first railway on current Romanian territory was opened in 1854. CFR is divided into four autonomous companies:CFR Călători, responsible for passenger services; CFR Marfă, responsible for freight transport; CFR Infrastructură or CFR S.A., manages the infrastructure on the Romanian railway network; and Societatea Feroviară de Turism, or SFT, which manages scenic and tourist railways.

Bucharest

Bucharest

Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km (37.3 mi) north of the Danube River and the Bulgarian border.

Iași

Iași

Iași, also referred to mostly historically as Jassy, is the second largest city in Romania and the seat of Iași County. Located in the historical region of Moldavia, it has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Romanian social, cultural, academic and artistic life. The city was the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1564 to 1859, then of the United Principalities from 1859 to 1862, and the capital of Romania from 1916 to 1918.

International Air Transport Association

International Air Transport Association

The International Air Transport Association is a trade association of the world's airlines founded in 1945. IATA has been described as a cartel since, in addition to setting technical standards for airlines, IATA also organized tariff conferences that served as a forum for price fixing.

IATA Operational Safety Audit

IATA Operational Safety Audit

The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) programme is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses internationally recognised quality audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardised and consistent manner. It was created in 2003 by IATA. The companies are included in the IOSA registry for a period of 2 years following an audit carried out by an organization accredited by IATA. The auditing standards have been developed in collaboration with various regulatory authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Transport Canada and the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA). IATA oversees the accreditation of audit organisations, ensure the continuous development of IOSA standards and practices and manages the IOSA registry.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Liverpool John Lennon Airport is an international airport in Liverpool, England, on the estuary of the River Mersey 6.5 nautical miles south-east of Liverpool city centre. Scheduled domestic, European, North African and Middle Eastern services are operated from the airport. The airport comprises a single passenger terminal, three general use hangars, a FedEx Express courier service centre as well as a single runway measuring 7,500 ft (2,286 m) in length, with the control tower south of the runway.

Limited liability company

Limited liability company

A limited liability company is the US-specific form of a private limited company. It is a business structure that can combine the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation. An LLC is not a corporation under state law; it is a legal form of a company that provides limited liability to its owners in many jurisdictions. LLCs are well known for the flexibility that they provide to business owners; depending on the situation, an LLC may elect to use corporate tax rules instead of being treated as a partnership, and, under certain circumstances, LLCs may be organized as not-for-profit. In certain U.S. states, businesses that provide professional services requiring a state professional license, such as legal or medical services, may not be allowed to form an LLC but may be required to form a similar entity called a professional limited liability company (PLLC).

Joint-stock company

Joint-stock company

A joint-stock company is a business entity in which shares of the company's stock can be bought and sold by shareholders. Each shareholder owns company stock in proportion, evidenced by their shares. Shareholders are able to transfer their shares to others without any effects to the continued existence of the company.

Air Moldova

Air Moldova

Air Moldova is the national airline of Moldova headquartered in Chișinău. It mainly operates scheduled and charter services to destinations within Europe from its base at Chișinău International Airport.

Moldovan leu

Moldovan leu

The leu is the currency of Moldova. Like the Romanian leu, the Moldovan leu is subdivided into 100 bani. The name of the currency originates from a Romanian word which means "lion".

Euro

Euro

The euro is the official currency of 19 out of the 27 member states of the European Union (EU). This group of states is known as the eurozone or, officially, the euro area, and includes about 340 million citizens as of 2019. The euro is divided into 100 cents.

LOT Polish Airlines

LOT Polish Airlines

LOT Polish Airlines, legally incorporated as Polskie Linie Lotnicze LOT S.A., is the flag carrier of Poland. Established in 1928, LOT was a founding member of IATA and remains one of the world's oldest airlines in operation. With a fleet of 75 aircraft as of 2021, LOT Polish Airlines is the 18th largest operator in Europe with over 120 destinations across Europe, Asia and North America.

Business trends

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Turnover (€m) 24 50 95 124 140 150 149 137 135 148 199 291 412 495 458 108
Net profit (€m) - - - - - - - - - −0.3 5.9 −26 −32 −31 15 −81
Number of passengers (m) - - - 1.1 1.72 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.37 1.6 2.05 3.6 5.1 5.2 - 1.6
Number of aircraft (at year end) 3 4 5 6 10 8 8 8 8 11 15 24 29 25 23 14
Number of employees - - - - - - - - 437 504 585 921 1,240 1,121 1,145 806
Notes/sources [34][35] [34][35] [34] [34] [34] [34] [34] [34] [34][36] [34][37][38] [37][14][38] [39] [38][37] [38] [38] [38]

Operations

Bases

Blue Air has used Bucharest as its primary hub for most of its history. Initially, the airline's hub was located at the Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (Băneasa), until the airport became overcrowded and was increasingly surrounded by urban development. This fact led to the airport's closure for commercial airlines in 2012- the airport was not closed officially, but the operating taxes for airlines were suddenly increased until no airline could afford them.[40] As a result, all airlines moved their operations to Bucharest's largest airport, Henri Coandă International Airport. Blue Air now uses this airport as its primary hub.

As of February 2022, the other bases of Blue Air are located in Romania and Italy:

Blue Air also used to have additional base operations at other Romanian and European airports. A base was maintained at Liverpool John Lennon Airport between 2017[44][45] and February 2019. They also had a base at Alghero–Fertilia Airport which was inaugurated in 2017[46][47] and closed in April 2019.[48] The base at Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport, which was maintained since April 2017[49] closed in 2019 as well. The base at Larnaca International Airport closed in September 2020,[50] the one at Iași International Airport shut down in November 2020.[51] However, Iași is planned to be restablished as an operational base from 2023, inaugurating 14 routes.[52]

Destinations

As of September 2022, prior to the suspension of operations, Blue Air offered flights to 75 scheduled destinations in 21 countries.[3][5] The airline also operates ad-hoc and seasonal charters on behalf of other companies.[53]

Codeshare agreements

Blue Air codeshares with the following airlines:

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Bucharest

Bucharest

Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km (37.3 mi) north of the Danube River and the Bulgarian border.

Aurel Vlaicu International Airport

Aurel Vlaicu International Airport

Aurel Vlaicu International Airport is located in Băneasa district, Bucharest, Romania, 8.5 km (5.3 mi) north of the city center. Named after Aurel Vlaicu, a Romanian engineer, inventor, aeroplane constructor, and early pilot, it was Bucharest's only airport until 1969, when the Otopeni Airport was opened to civilian use.

Henri Coandă International Airport

Henri Coandă International Airport

Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport is Romania's busiest international airport, located in Otopeni, 16.5 km (10.3 mi) north of Bucharest's city centre. It is currently one of the two airports serving the capital of Romania. The other is Aurel Vlaicu Airport, which no longer serves scheduled passenger traffic.

Bacău

Bacău

Bacău is the main city in Bacău County, Romania. At the 2016 national estimation it had a population of 196,883, making it the 12th largest city in Romania. The city is situated in the historical region of Moldavia, at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, and on the Bistrița River. The Ghimeș Pass links Bacău to the region of Transylvania.

Cluj International Airport

Cluj International Airport

Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport is an airport serving the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Initially known as Someșeni Airport, it is located 9 km (5.6 mi) east of the city centre, in the Someșeni area, which is now within the Cluj-Napoca city limits. The airport is named in honour of Romanian revolutionary Avram Iancu.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Liverpool John Lennon Airport is an international airport in Liverpool, England, on the estuary of the River Mersey 6.5 nautical miles south-east of Liverpool city centre. Scheduled domestic, European, North African and Middle Eastern services are operated from the airport. The airport comprises a single passenger terminal, three general use hangars, a FedEx Express courier service centre as well as a single runway measuring 7,500 ft (2,286 m) in length, with the control tower south of the runway.

Alghero–Fertilia Airport

Alghero–Fertilia Airport

Alghero - Riviera del Corallo Airport is an international airport situated 4.3 NM north-northwest of the city of Alghero, in northern Sardinia, Italy. It is also known as Alghero–Fertilia Airport, named for the nearby village of Fertilia or Alghero Airport. It is one of the three main airports serving Sardinia, the other ones being Olbia in the northeast, and near Cagliari in the south. The airport is operated by SO.GE.A.AL.

Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport

Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport

Mihail Kogălniceanu Airport is situated in southeastern Romania, in the commune of Mihail Kogălniceanu, 26 kilometres (16 mi) north-northwest of Constanța. It is the main airport of the Northern Dobruja region and provides access to Constanța County, the Port of Constanța and the Black Sea resorts. The airport is named in honour of Mihail Kogălniceanu, the third Prime Minister of Romania.

Larnaca International Airport

Larnaca International Airport

Larnaca International Airport – Glafcos Clerides is an international airport located 4 km (2.5 mi) southwest of Larnaca, Cyprus. Larnaca International Airport is Cyprus' main international gateway and the larger of the two commercial airports in the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus, the other being Paphos International Airport on the island's southwestern coast. The airport was given its current name in July 2016, in honour of former President of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides.

Iași International Airport

Iași International Airport

Iași International Airport is an international airport located in Iași, Romania, 8 km (5 mi) east of the city centre. One of the oldest accredited airports in Romania and the most important airport in the historical region of Moldavia, Iași Airport was in 2019 the fourth-busiest airport in Romania in terms of passenger traffic.

List of Blue Air destinations

List of Blue Air destinations

This is a list of destinations that where served by Blue Air as of July 2022, depicting the state prior to the suspension of all operations in September 2022:

Codeshare agreement

Codeshare agreement

A codeshare agreement, also known simply as codeshare, is a business arrangement, common in the aviation industry, in which two or more airlines publish and market the same flight under their own airline designator and flight number as part of their published timetable or schedule. Typically, a flight is operated by one airline while seats are sold for the flight by all cooperating airlines using their own designator and flight number.

Fleet

Blue Air Boeing 737-500
A former Blue Air Boeing 737-800 wearing an older livery version.
A former Blue Air Boeing 737-800 wearing an older livery version.

Current fleet

As of November 2022, after significantly downsizing its numbers, the Blue Air fleet consists of the following aircraft:[55][4]

Blue Air Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
Boeing 737-500 2 120 both currently stored[4]
Total 2

Historical fleet

Since its inauguration, Blue Air formerly also operated the following types of aircraft:[4]

Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Boeing 737-300[4] 2004 2021
Boeing 737-400[4] 2006 2020
Boeing 737-700 2015 2022 Removed from service after the suspension of operations.[4]
Boeing 737-800 2008 2022 Removed from service after the suspension of operations.[4]
Boeing 737 MAX 8 2021 2022 Returned to lessor after the suspension of operations.[32]
Saab 340 2009 2013 operated by Direct Aero Services[4]
Saab 2000 2009 2009 leased from Carpatair[4]

Discover more about Fleet related topics

Boeing 737 Classic

Boeing 737 Classic

The Boeing 737 Classic is a series of narrow-body airliners produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the second generation of the Boeing 737 series of aircraft. Development began in 1979 and the first variant, the 737-300, first flew in February 1984 and entered service that December. The stretched 737-400 first flew in February 1988 and entered service later that year. The shortest variant, the 737-500, first flew in June 1989 and entered service in 1990.

Saab 340

Saab 340

The Saab 340 is a Swedish twin-engine turboprop aircraft designed and initially produced by Saab AB and Fairchild Aircraft. It is designed to seat 30-36 passengers and, as of July 2018, there were 240 operational aircraft used by 34 different operators.

Direct Aero Services

Direct Aero Services

Direct Aero Services was a charter airline based in Bucharest, Romania. Its main base was Aurel Vlaicu International Airport. In 2012, it changed its name to Romstrade Logistic Expres.

Saab 2000

Saab 2000

The Saab 2000 is a twin-engined high-speed turboprop airliner built by Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab. It is designed to carry 50–58 passengers and cruise at a speed of 665 km/h (413 mph). Production took place in Linköping in southern Sweden. The Saab 2000 first flew in March 1992 and was certified in 1994. The last aircraft was delivered in April 1999, a total of 63 aircraft being built. By October 2022, 27 Saab 2000s were in airline and military service.

Carpatair

Carpatair

Carpatair S.A. is a privately owned Romanian charter and former regional airline headquartered in Timișoara.

Source: "Blue Air", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Air.

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References
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  2. ^ a b c travelweekly.co.uk - Romanian carrier Blue Air grounded by government 6 September 2022
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  47. ^ "Live Flight Tracker - Real-Time Flight Tracker Map".
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  53. ^ flyblueair.com - Charters retrieved 1 October 2022
  54. ^ newsroom.aviator.aero - Cyprus Airways and Blue Air Launch code-share partnership 28 November 2018
  55. ^ "Blue Air – Fleet". www.blueairweb.com. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
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