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Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:37 pm
by Qfsaviation
Hey guys, I'm a huge aviation geek an trip reporter, and recently stumbled on an airline called Primera Air. According to Wikipedia, they are a leisure airline owned by the Primera Travel Group, an Icelandic company that consists mainly of Nordic tour operators Solresor, Bravo Tours, Lomamatkat, Heimsferðir and Solia. This strikes me as odd, as their headquarters are Latvia, and they even fly there until April 29th.

Lets start with deliveries.

Primera Air has ordered 6 A321neo's. They are supposed to start commercial service at the end of April, but doing some research, only 1 A321neo has been built for Primera, registered OY-PAA. My guess is that they will not have the aircraft ready by then.

Now lets look at their cabin and services.

Primera Air has a staggering 4 seat types in the A321neo. This caught me by suprise, as low-cost carriers tend to have one major class, and maybe a premium option up front. The first class for Primera is Premium Economy. Their 16 premium economy seats looks something like a regional first class seat. I believe they are copying Spirit Airline's "Big Front Seat". Does it look comfortable? Not really. It seems a bit slimline if you ask me. But hey, the price for one seat from New York to Paris starts at $549! According to their website, you receive: A high quality buy-on-board selection of great items at great prices, A meal, A Comfort kit, An individual bottle of water, Electric and USB sockets to charge your computer and devices. Seems pretty basic.

The next class is Economy Flex. Economy flex is a standard slimline seat with a padded headrest.
After that comes Economy Comfort. Economy Comfort is the samne slimline seat, but without the padded headrest.
The last option is Economy Light. Looks terrible. You get an even smaller slimline seat with no padding whatsoever. Literally looks like the worst seat ever. Just imagine a plastic seat with an armrest the size of your pointer finger.

None of these Economy seats recline, but according to Primera's website, they are "of the highest industry standard". Lol, only if you are including Air India.

Next, lets look at their routes.

Currently, Primera Air operates scheduled service to 36 destinations, but I'm mainly focusing on their Trans-Atlantic operations.

New York/Newark (EWR) to Paris (CDG), London (STN), Birmingham (BHX)
Boston (BOS) to Paris (CDG), London (STN)
Washington (IAD) to London (STN)

These seem pretty normal for a low-cost carrier. I would have expected them to operate to Paris Orly, but I guess they know more than me. I was also kind of hoping London Luton (LTN) would get some Trans-Atlantic service, as that airport is probably a good gateway for an airline like Primera. Also with Delta pulling their PHL-LHR service, Primera could maybe fill that gap.

I would love to hear your guys comments about this. What do you think? Would you fly Primera in the last row in a middle seat for $200?

Also if you would like to check out my trip report channel, here it is!: YouTube.com/QFSAviation

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:35 pm
by stlgph
People seem to have zero problems flying Spirit, can't imagine Primera will be any different.

A few of us are planning a trip to London this fall. They're all wanting to go on Primera because it's $400 or so roundtrip.

Needless to say, they can have themselves a good time. I'll see them at the hotel.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:17 pm
by PatrickZ80
For now it works, but it's very fragile. They don't seem to push their cost savings to the limits, which is a risk because they'd lose competition from an airline that does. For now that competition doesn't exist so they can afford to spill cash but how long will that last?

As for their choice of airports, it seems like their main focus has been on the availability of slots and not on costs. There are cheaper airports available than the ones they've picked, but I got the feeling they didn't even look at them. That's a mistake they were able to get away with for now, but not for forever.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:43 pm
by KLMatSJC
Qfsaviation wrote:
None of these Economy seats recline, but according to Primera's website, they are "of the highest industry standard". Lol, only if you are including Air India.


Air India has a 34" pitch and 18" width in Y on their 777-200LRs. I'd choose a better example.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:32 pm
by Qfsaviation
KLMatSJC wrote:
Qfsaviation wrote:
None of these Economy seats recline, but according to Primera's website, they are "of the highest industry standard". Lol, only if you are including Air India.


Air India has a 34" pitch and 18" width in Y on their 777-200LRs. I'd choose a better example.


It was a stupid joke and a bad example. How about a seat on a couch bus

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:42 pm
by Qfsaviation
PatrickZ80 wrote:
For now it works, but it's very fragile. They don't seem to push their cost savings to the limits, which is a risk because they'd lose competition from an airline that does. For now that competition doesn't exist so they can afford to spill cash but how long will that last?

As for their choice of airports, it seems like their main focus has been on the availability of slots and not on costs. There are cheaper airports available than the ones they've picked, but I got the feeling they didn't even look at them. That's a mistake they were able to get away with for now, but not for forever.


Yeah I agree. I was going to mention something like that. Like I mentioned I’ve never heard of a Low Cost Carrier operate with 4 classes on a middle market aircraft. Second, I believe they serve meals to all classes, which they shouldn’t do for the lowest class. And third, I was on their website and saw they transport random items like wind surfboards and stuff. Weird

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:00 pm
by PatrickZ80
Qfsaviation wrote:
And third, I was on their website and saw they transport random items like wind surfboards and stuff. Weird


That's called odd size luggage. Most airlines do this, although the policy varies. Some airlines add up the weight of those items to the total baggage weight, some airlines charge per item. But if there's money to be made airlines would be crazy not to haul these items.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:12 am
by FGITD
Of course they'll haul it if they can charge. I've loaded kayaks, canoes, and all manner of bizarre items. If it can physically fit, and they can charge you, they'll take it.

Primera's biggest concern should be aircraft. Even new airplanes break down. I know they've already leased a 757 due to fleet shortage. So what happens if the 321 or 757 goes tech? Flight cancelled and passengers left with no option indefinitely?

It's a problem every carrier faces, but it's a totally different world when BA, LH, AF, UA. or whoever can just roll out another 777 and be on their way vs hangering the airplane and just waiting.

It'll be very interesting to witness though

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:42 am
by A380MSN004
One thing that Im curious to see with them is the first TATL flights from Paris.
I saw some CDG - EWR for next June operated by A321LR but Airbus is stating certification of the 321LR Q4 2018.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:52 am
by A380MSN004
PatrickZ80 wrote:
For now it works, but it's very fragile. They don't seem to push their cost savings to the limits, which is a risk because they'd lose competition from an airline that does. For now that competition doesn't exist so they can afford to spill cash but how long will that last?

As for their choice of airports, it seems like their main focus has been on the availability of slots and not on costs. There are cheaper airports available than the ones they've picked, but I got the feeling they didn't even look at them. That's a mistake they were able to get away with for now, but not for forever.


True, but on TATL from the UK to US what are the alternatives for NYC for instance?
Stewart? A lot ppl here de Said it's not a real alternative as it's far away and far from the crossed area.

Same for LON area. Where would you go? Lutin? Southend?

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:47 pm
by PatrickZ80
A380MSN004 wrote:
True, but on TATL from the UK to US what are the alternatives for NYC for instance?
Stewart? A lot ppl here de Said it's not a real alternative as it's far away and far from the crossed area.

Same for LON area. Where would you go? Lutin? Southend?


With good ground connections distance doesn't matter much. Stewart can work perfect for the New York area as long as you got bus connections running between the airport and the city like Norwegian does. If those busses can work for Norwegian, why can't they work for Primera?

Same thing is true for the London area, or any area with an alternative airport for that matter. Take Paris for example, they're flying to Charles de Gaulle. I bet Beauvais would like to have them and no doubt much cheaper. There's a bus connection between Beauvais and Paris running for Ryanair and Wizzair, Primera can use that too.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:29 pm
by VSMUT
Qfsaviation wrote:
And third, I was on their website and saw they transport random items like wind surfboards and stuff. Weird


Primera is also a holiday charter operator. This is still a big part of their business, and that involves taking surfboards and skis with them. Other Scandinavian charter airlines also have special baggage options listed prominently on their websites.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:56 pm
by albertocsc
So flights from STN to EWR commenced yesterday. They are operated by National Airlines B752 N175CA until Primera's A321neo arrives.
Whenever it is possible I will share some pictures of the plane.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:03 am
by A380MSN004
albertocsc wrote:
So flights from STN to EWR commenced yesterday. They are operated by National Airlines B752 N175CA until Primera's A321neo arrives.
Whenever it is possible I will share some pictures of the plane.


Thanks.

In such situation. Who is paying the lease of this B752?
Primera?
Airbus bécasse of the délayed delivery (not sure it's delayed btw)
Both?

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:30 am
by debonair
albertocsc wrote:
So flights from STN to EWR commenced yesterday. They are operated by National Airlines B752 N175CA until Primera's A321neo arrives.


In other news I have heard, that they will lease a B767 from euroAtlantic Airways on top.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:06 pm
by albertocsc
Today I was flying to STN, and for my surprise, the flight was already operated by the A321neo. I was its 3rd or 4th day in operation, and actually it was quite nice.
So now, EWR flights are operated by B752 N175CA and ALC and AGP by A21N OY-PAA. The B738 has been sent to the Billund base.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:08 pm
by A380MSN004
albertocsc wrote:
Today I was flying to STN, and for my surprise, the flight was already operated by the A321neo. I was its 3rd or 4th day in operation, and actually it was quite nice.
So now, EWR flights are operated by B752 N175CA and ALC and AGP by A21N OY-PAA. The B738 has been sent to the Billund base.


Can you tell us how is the cabin? Pitch? Global expérience of the 321 NEO?

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:39 pm
by albertocsc
So it had 4 rows of business seating, with curtains separating it from economy. Pitch was good, and the experience of the plane was quite as in any A32x, but it was nice that it was so new. Also it includes USB charges.

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:06 pm
by A380MSN004
albertocsc wrote:
So it had 4 rows of business seating, with curtains separating it from economy. Pitch was good, and the experience of the plane was quite as in any A32x, but it was nice that it was so new. Also it includes USB charges.


Great, thanks.

The main question on long haul flight is people walking around the cabin or hanging at the back of the plane. As a narrow body cannot offer the same room, how is the situation nearby the lavatories?

Where there lavs in the middle of the cabin or just front lavs and back lavs?

Many thanks for sharing your experience

Re: Primera Air - Will it work?

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:59 am
by BENAir01
This is not Primera’s only routes. I bekiev they have a decent sized network in Europe of charters and scheduled flights with 737s and have had them for a while now. So this is just some new toutes operatied by a relatively established airline. They’re not just opening up shop for this, they’ve already been operating for a while.