Blue Air slashes long-haul flights from Cluj amid fierce competition

The low-cost airline Blue Air said it would transfer to Sibiu its all long-haul flights it had been operating from Cluj-Napoca International Airport.
The carrier decided to cease its three times weekly flights from Cluj-Napoca International Airport to Rome and Paris.

“The falling load factor has been the crucial factor in our decision to cease flights from Cluj to Rome and Paris. The company recorded significant loss over the past few months due to these routes”, Blue Air representatives told Wall-Street.

The two routes, introduced in last year’s fall will be transferred to Sibiu airport, starting March 28.

On both destinations, Blue Air was facing stiff competition from rival Wizz Air, that currently flies top 11 destinations from Cluj, and as of June the number of destinations is expected to reach 15. “Cluj is a profitable destination for us, the second largest in Romania after Bucharest in terms of number of routes”, Natasa Kamer told Wall-Street.

However, Blue Air says the decision is only temporary. “We are conducting market research now to identify possible destinations for Blue Air to operate from Cluj, which is an important area for Blue Air’s strategy,” representatives of the company said.

In the summer timetable, Blue Air will operate only one flight from Cluj, to Bucharest, four times a day.

The low-fare airline carried revenues €140-150 million, up 20% from 2008 but below initial estimates of €170 million.

Blue Air carried 1.7 million passengers last year, and posted an average load factor of 75%.

The airline employs 830 persons, and said it plans to increase headcount by 30% this year.

Blue Air is a 100% Romanian capital company authorized to operate regular internal and international flights, charter and cargo flights.

The company’s fleet includes nine Boeing 737: three 737-300 series, two 737-400 series, one 737-500 and three 737-800 Next Generation.

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