Italian airline passengers will now have an additional choice for journeys on particular spring and summer journeys this year. This is because it has been announced that Greek charter airline Lumiwings will commence scheduled services from Forlì in March. The news was published earlier this week by TAL Aviation Group, which will support the airline’s new program.
Waking up a quiet airport
As publicized by TAL Aviation Group on January 27th, Lumiwings has released details of its program of scheduled operations for summer 2021. This is a step in a new direction for the Greek airline, which previously specialized in charter services after its formation in 2015.
The summer program will operate from a base in northern Italy, namely Forlì Luigi Ridolfi International Airport (FRL). This small facility serves the Emilia-Romagna region, and is in the catchment area for the larger cities of Bologna and Rimini. Its only scheduled airline flights at present are services to and from Munich, Germany operated by regional carrier Air Dolomiti.
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A scheduled summer program
Lumiwings is one of two airlines to be commencing operations from Forlì this year. The other carrier is the regional private startup EGO Airways, which will serve domestic routes. However, Lumiwings is planning to look further afield with its new operations.
TAL Aviation states that its services will commence operations by the end of March, running on a twice-weekly basis. Lumiwings initially plans to operate the new schedule program until October. The flights will serve the following destinations from Forlì.
- Czech Republic – Prague.
- Poland – Katowice, Lodj. It will also serve Katowice from Perugia, and from June, the two destinations will also have a connecting service to Sicily’s Trapani–Birgi Airport via Forlì.
- Romania – Arad (also from Perugia, and Trapani via Forlì from June), Craiova.
- Ukraine – Odessa (from both Forlì and Perugia).
Later in the summer, Lumiwings also hopes to add Mediterranean destinations, including Kefalonia, Corfu, Santorini, Rhodes, and Heraklion.
TAL Aviation Group’s Chief Commercial Officer, Nissim Sagis, shows optimism towards the new program, stating the following, as per his company’s press release:
“We are excited at the launch of new services to the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine. Lumiwings is a young and dynamic airline, and our customers will find a friendly and professional approach when booking individual or group travel on Lumiwings flights, through us.”
A small and old fleet
For the time being, Lumiwings’ operations will be restricted by its fleet. Its website states that it currently operates just one Boeing 737-300, registered as SX-LWA. This aircraft has a degree of flexibility to its configuration, seating 139 passengers in an all-economy setup. However, it can also feature a two-class layout, with 30 business and 94 economy seats.
Despite this flexibility being a useful aspect, what might not help Lumiwings is its age. According to Planespotters.net, SX-LWA will turn 30 years old this summer. German flag carrier Lufthansa first took delivery of this aircraft (then registered as D-ABEE) back in June 1991, naming it Ulm. Having been with Lumiwings since March 2018, it now bears the name Zakynthos.
Bearing the age of its one aircraft in mind, Lumiwings will likely need to consider the sustainability of its operations in the longer-term. This will be particularly pressing if it wishes to expand its scheduled operations. It appears to have such plans in mind, as its website seems to imply that two more 737s are inbound (a -300 and a -400). For now, these pages simply read “More info will be added soon.”
The airline also previously operated another 737-300, which bore the registration SX-LWB. It operated this 23-year-old aircraft between March 2019 and June 2020, on a lease deal from Aeronautics Fund.
How successful do you think Lumiwings’ scheduled services from Italy will be? Have you ever flown, or would you fly, with the airline? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!