Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Primera Air is suspending one of its summer season routes from Toronto into England, blaming “severe delays” with the delivery of Airbus aircraft.
“Another delay by Airbus of Primera Air’s ordered A321neo fleet has resulted in the cancellation of this summer’s scheduled flights to New York and Toronto from Birmingham Airport,” says Primera.
The suspension will take effect from June 21.
Passengers travelling before this date will not be affected, says the low-cost carrier.
All passengers whose travel plans are impacted by the suspension have been informed of the news today, June 5. “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,” says Primera. “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.”
Primera Air CEO Andri Már Ingólfsson said plans for the transatlantic routes have been in the making for over a year. “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.”
He said the airline plans to return to Birmingham with long haul operations in 2019 when the fleet will be secured with Airbus aircraft.
Asked if the Airbus delivery delay will impact Primera’s Toronto-London (Stansted) or Toronto-Paris flights, a Primera Air spokesperson said: “This decision does not affect any of Primera Air’s transatlantic routes from London Stansted Airport as we have received both A321neo units that are already operating flights between London and Toronto. Also this doesn’t have an effect on flights between Paris and Toronto as the operations are covered with leased Boeing 767 and operated with euroAtlantic.
“Given the specifics that our transatlantic operations require – both U.S. and UK civil aviation authority approval, certain aircraft types as well as the high demand for charter services so close to the summer season – ACMI (e.g. a wet lease with aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) wasn’t an option anymore due to a lack of availability.”