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 size14[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 flies to 75 scheduled destinations in 21 countries.[3][5] Blue Air was forced to suspend all operations on 6 September 2022.[1][2]

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,[9] 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.[10]

On 12 April 2013, Blue Air's management announced that the airline was for sale.[11] 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.[12] In 2015, Blue Air reported a net profit of EUR 6 million, contrasting to the company's loss of EUR 400,000 in 2014.[13]

The airline transported 1.5 million passengers in 2014, an increase from the 1.35 million passengers in 2013.[14] In 2015, the airline transported for the first time more than 2 million passengers.[15] With a total of 25 new routes announced for 2016, the airline forecasts carrying close to three million passengers in 2016.[16]

Blue Air became a full member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on 19 January 2016.[17] Furthermore, Blue Air received the IATA Operational Safety Audit certification in December 2015,[18] being a member of the IATA Clearing House).[19]

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).[20] 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.[21]

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. The airline should have commenced operations in March 2018, however, this will likely not happen due to some[example needed] issues between the company and the Czech authorities.[22]

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.[23] 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).[24]

On 6 July 2020, Blue Air filed for bankruptcy protection after a step decrease in revenue which was only partially balanced by a 65 Million Euro loan received as state aid from the Romanian government.[25]

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.[26] However, shortly after Blue Air announced to suspend all flights until at least 10 October 2022 as the airline is currently not able to afford fuel and other services.[27]

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 [28][29] [28][29] [28] [28] [28] [28] [28] [28] [28][30] [28][31][32] [31][12][32] [33] [32][31] [32] [32] [32]

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.[34] 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[38][39] and February 2019. They also had a base at Alghero–Fertilia Airport which was inaugurated in 2017[40][41] and closed in April 2019.[42] The base at Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport, which was maintained since April 2017[43] closed in 2019 as well. The base at Larnaca International Airport closed in September 2020,[44] the one at Iași International Airport shut down in November 2020.[45] However, Iași is planned to be restablished as an operational base from 2023, inaugurating 14 routes.[46]

Destinations

Main article: List of Blue Air destinations

As of September 2022, prior to the suspension of operations, Blue Air offered flights to 75 scheduled destinations in 21 countries.[3][5] There are additional seasonal charters operated on behalf of tour operators.[citation needed]

Codeshare agreements

Blue Air codeshares with the following airlines:

Fleet

Blue Air Boeing 737-500
Blue Air Boeing 737-500
Blue Air Boeing 737-800 wearing the old livery
Blue Air Boeing 737-800 wearing the old livery

Current fleet

As of September 2022, prior to the suspension of operations, the Blue Air fleet consisted of the following Boeing aircraft:[48][4]

Blue Air Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
Boeing 737-500 2 120 To be retired.[49]
Boeing 737-700 1 148
Boeing 737-800 6 189
Boeing 737 MAX 8 5 1[4] 189
Total 14 1

Historical fleet

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

Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Boeing 737-300 2004 2021 [50]
Boeing 737-400 2006 2020 [50]
Saab 2000 2009 2009 Leased from Carpatair[51]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d ch-aviation.com - Romania's Blue Air suspends operations, blames the state 6 September 2022
  2. ^ a b c travelweekly.co.uk - Romanian carrier Blue Air grounded by government 6 September 2022
  3. ^ a b c d e aerotelegraph.com (German) 6 September 2022
  4. ^ a b c "Blue Air Fleet Details and History". www.planespotters.net. 6 September 2022.
  5. ^ a b c flyblueair.com - Map retrieved 6 September 2022
  6. ^ Concept, Openmind. "Contact | Blue Air". www.blueairweb.com. Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  7. ^ "Compania aeriană românească Blue Air a depăşit pragul de 5 milioane de pasageri | Ziarul Financiar". www.zf.ro. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  8. ^ Stefan, Teodor (21 January 2018). "Peste 5 milioane de pasageri au ales Blue Air in 2017". Aeronews.ro (in Romanian). Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Nelu Iordache își vrea Blue Air înapoi". Capital.ro. 25 May 2016.
  10. ^ routesonline.com - Blue Air Adds New Iasi Routes in W15 21 September 2015
  11. ^ "Compania aeriană Blue Air, scoasă la vânzare" (in Romanian).
  12. ^ a b "Afacerile Blue Air au depăşit pentru prima dată pragul de 200 de milioane de euro în 2015". 2 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Romanian low-cost airline posts record turnover". Romania Insider. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  14. ^ "Blue Air Estimează Că A Transportat 1,5 Milioane de Pasageri În 2014" (in Romanian). 6 January 2015. Archived from the original on 21 February 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  15. ^ "Peste 2 milioane de pasageri transportati de Blue Air in 2015". T2T.ro (in Romanian). 23 December 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  16. ^ dcnews (8 July 2016). "Blue Air "suflă" în ceafa TAROM" (in Romanian). Retrieved 2017-03-21.
  17. ^ "Blue Air joins IATA – Airlines International Blue Air joins IATA". IATA.org official. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Blue Air a primit certificarea IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)". T2T.ro (in Romanian). 3 December 2015.
  19. ^ IATA Clearing House Members List
  20. ^ "YR-BMH". www.jetphotos.com. 5 April 2017.
  21. ^ airlinegeeks.com - Blue Air Boosts Liverpool Partnership With Special Paint Scheme 4 March 2017
  22. ^ Blue Air Moravia
  23. ^ "Romania's largest airline Blue Air becomes joint venture, changes name to Blue Air Aviation". Business Review. 9 August 2018.
  24. ^ "Civil Aviation Group takes over Air Moldova for 50 mln Moldovan lei". Agerpres. 2 October 2018.
  25. ^ aerotelegraph.com (German) 7 July 2020
  26. ^ aerotelegraph.com (German) 9 September 2022
  27. ^ aerotelegraph.com - Blue Air delays restart to October (German) 12 September 2022
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "10 ani de Blue Air. Compania închide anul 2014 pe profit şi cu afaceri de 150 de milioane de euro". Economica.net (in Romanian). 10 December 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  29. ^ a b "Blue Air Fleet Details and History". www.planespotters.net. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  30. ^ "O companie aeriană din România e în top cinci mondial al operatorilor low-cost cu cele mai vechi avioane". 21 January 2014.
  31. ^ a b c Aproape 3.6 milioane pasageri au ales Blue Air in 2016 , Aeronews.ro, Retrieved on 27 January 2017
  32. ^ a b c d e f "Blue Air Aviation SA". Romanian Companies. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  33. ^ "Blue Air atacă ANPC după amendă cu acuzații șoc - Nu suntem dispuși să dăm nici ceasuri, nici procente din sumă!".
  34. ^ "Închiderea aeroportului Băneasa dezvăluie o comoară imobiliară de un miliard de euro" (in Romanian). Ziarul Financiar. 5 March 2012.
  35. ^ "Live Flight Tracker - Real-Time Flight Tracker Map".
  36. ^ boardingpass.ro - RUTE AERIENEBlue Air anunță 12 rute noi care vor fi operate din Cluj Napoca în 2021 (Romanian) 21 October 2020
  37. ^ seenews.com - Romania's Blue Air to station second aircraft at Turin base in Sept 11 August 2020
  38. ^ "LJLA to become Blue Air's latest European base bringing more flights, more international visitors and more jobs at LJLA". Liverpool Airport.
  39. ^ centreforaviation.com - Romania aviation Part 3: Blue Air opens Liverpool base and creates new markets; TAROM feels the heat 21 November 2016
  40. ^ "Compania aeriană românească Blue Air a depăşit pragul de 5 milioane de pasageri".
  41. ^ "Live Flight Tracker - Real-Time Flight Tracker Map".
  42. ^ "Cagliari, nuova continuità territoriale al via: In vendita i biglietti per Roma e Milano". 28 January 2019.
  43. ^ "Compania aeriană românească Blue Air a depăşit pragul de 5 milioane de pasageri" (in Romanian). Ziarul Financiar. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  44. ^ boardingpass.ro - RUTE AERIENEOficial: Blue Air închide în 15 septembrie 2020 baza din Larnaca (Romanian) 3 September 2020
  45. ^ ch-aviation.com - Romania's Blue Air axes Iasi base; to relocate Euro ops 17 November 2020
  46. ^ boardingpass.ro - Blue Air planifică 14 rute noi din Iași pentru vara anului 2023 (Romanian) 12 August 2022
  47. ^ newsroom.aviator.aero - Cyprus Airways and Blue Air Launch code-share partnership 28 November 2018
  48. ^ "Blue Air – Fleet". www.blueairweb.com. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  49. ^ "Blue Air adds one more Boeing 737-800ng to its fleet". boardingpass.ro. 6 November 2020.
  50. ^ a b "Blue Air Fleet Details and History". www.planespotters.net. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  51. ^ "Blue Air Fleet Details and History". www.planespotters.net. Retrieved 2019-07-14.

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