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Canadian airline playing Santa for passengers goes viral

A video revealing how Canadian airline WestJet last month presented passenger with more than just their luggage has gone viral, gaining close to two million hits on YouTube.

Late last month, 250 people on two flights to Calgary told a virtual Santa Claus what they wanted for Christmas before boarding their flights.

As the passengers waited at the baggage carousel, they were surprised instead to receive hand-picked Christmas presents from underwear to tablets to TVs.

Lufthansa axes flights to and from UK due to strikes

German airline Lufthansa has cancelled dozens of flights to and from the UK and Ireland due to strike action.

German airline has cancelled dozens of flights to and from the UK and Ireland. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Around 100 flights - including departures and arrivals - have been cancelled at airports in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dublin.

The German airports affected by the strike are Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf and Hamburg. the one-day strike, which is due to pay dispute, will result in only about 20 of more than 1,650 scheduled short-haul flights operating. The airline said many long-haul flights will also be affected.

Passengers affected by the cancellations can re-book for free, Lufthansa said.

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Pilots' union: Frustrated and angry at bmibaby closure

Reacting to the news that low fare carrier bmibaby is set to close, pilots' union Balpa has hit out at the decision by Flybe (part owned by British Airways) to move into former bmibaby routes without consulting staff.

General secretary Jim McAuslan warned his union would "use whatever means we can" to protect jobs.

Bmibaby pilots are disappointed and frustrated that, even though there appears to be potential buyers, we are prevented from speaking with them to explore how we can contribute to developing a successful business plan.

The frustration has now turned to anger following the news that Flybe has moved onto many of these bmibaby routes without any opportunity for staff to look at options and alternatives.

Balpa's priority is to protect jobs; and we will use whatever means we can to do so."

– Jim McAuslan, general secretary of the pilots' union Balpa

Union: bmibaby closure puts 800 jobs at risk

bmibaby
bmibaby's closure puts 800 jobs at risk. Credit: East Midlands Airport/PA Wire

Colin Whyatt, of the GMB union, said: "This is absolutely devastating news which puts 800 jobs at risk, almost half in the East Midlands.

"bmibaby had been reorganised last year and GMB members hoped it would be sold. Two potential bidders have pulled out and unless a new bidder comes forward in the next 90 days, these jobs will go, on top of 1,200 jobs lost from the reorganisation of BMI."

Airline chief: bmibaby lost more than £100m in four years

We recognise that these are unsettling times for bmibaby employees, who have worked tirelessly during a long period of uncertainty.

bmibaby has delivered high levels of operational performance and customer service, but has continued to struggle financially, losing more than £100 million in the last four years. In the consultation process, we will need to be realistic about our options.

To help stem losses as quickly as possible and as a preliminary measure, we will be making reductions to bmibaby's flying programme from June. We sincerely apologise to all customers affected and will be providing full refunds and doing all we can with other airlines to mitigate the impact of these changes.

– Peter Simpson, bmi interim managing director

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bmibaby flights around Europe to cease on June 11

The changes mean that all bmibaby flights to and from Belfast will cease from June 11, although this will not affect bmi mainline's services to London Heathrow.

bmibaby
bmibaby is set to be closed in September. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

bmibaby services from East Midlands to Amsterdam, Paris, Geneva, Nice, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newquay, and from Birmingham to Knock and Amsterdam, will end on the same date.

IAG: Proposal to close bmibaby 'in September this year'

With bmi Regional, bmibaby transferred to International Airlines Group ownership on completion of the purchase from Lufthansa.

IAG has consistently said that bmibaby and bmi Regional are not part of its long-term plans.

Progress has been made with a potential buyer for bmi Regional, but so far this has not been possible for bmibaby, despite attempts over many months by both Lufthansa and IAG.

bmibaby has therefore started consultation to look at future options including, subject to that consultation, a proposal to close in September this year.

– IAG statement

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