Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 24 April 2018

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in media and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

Two contrasting Wired Magazine covers on Facebook
Two contrasting Wired Magazine covers on Facebook (Image Credit: Wired)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

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Monday Briefing – 23 April 2018

Welcome to our weekly Monday Briefing on the main developments in air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday morning at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff
BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff (Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 23 April 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Woes

Following a recent Federal Aviation Administration Directive limiting the ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standard) of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with certain models of Rolls Royce engines, it is not known how many of BA’s 26 Dreamliners are affected.

However, in the absence of any official statement from the airline it is clear that it is beginning to have an impact on its operations.

There have been tactical cancellations of Boeing 787 flights to Baltimore, Los Angeles and San Jose (California). In addition, some flights traditionally operated with the Boeing 787-9 have been substituted with a Boeing 787-8.

As the Dreamliner represents about 20% of BA’s fleet it should have the capacity to absorb any additional maintenance requirements. However, this could continue for some time.

There’s more detail in this article which we will update over the next week.
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BA adjusts Boeing 787 schedules following FAA Directive

London Air Travel

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Image Credit: British Airways)
Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Image Credit: British Airways)

As has widely been reported, operators of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are required to comply with an Air Worthiness Directive issued by the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States.

The FAA Directive

The FAA Directive applies to operators of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with certain engine models manufactured by Rolls Royce.

It limits the scope of the ETOPS (“Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standard”). ETOPS allows twin-engined aircraft like the Boeing 787 to operate between 60 and 330 minutes’ away from the nearest airport that can handle a diversion of the aircraft. This Directive may be modified subject to remedial action by Rolls Royce.

Rolls Royce issued a statement on 13 April 2018 outlining which engines are affected. This has been acknowleged by Boeing.

The requirement for additional maintenance to Rolls Royce engines has been going on for some time and has impacted a number of airlines, notably Air New Zealand, Norwegian and Virgin Atlantic. All have leased in aircraft to cover some flights. BA has also cancelled its flight to Doha for an extended period of time to release aircraft for other routes.

BA has made no official statement on the impact of this directive on the airline. As such, it is not known how many of its aircraft are affected. However, as BA currently operates the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on a number of long-range routes to Asia and Latin America, it will inevitably have an impact on the airline’s operations.

BA may choose to substitute aircraft at short notice, or cancel flights as aircraft undergo maintenance.
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The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 18 April 2018

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

London Air Travel

Los Angeles Proposed People Mover (Image Credit: Los Angeles World Airports)
Los Angeles Proposed People Mover (Image Credit: Los Angeles World Airports)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 18 April 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

Southwest Airlines Incident

As has been widely reported, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft has been involved in an incident.

Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which was scheduled to operate from La Guardia New York to Dallas Love Field airport, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after crew reported issues with the number one engine. There was one fatality.

As investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is underway. Southwest Airlines is providing updates at its Newsroom.
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Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 17 April 2018

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in media and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

“Nothing to See Here” 27 February 2017; “Stormy” 23 April 2018. Illustrations by Tim O’Brien for TIME Magazine.

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

BBC Radio 1 Schedule Changes

Many listeners to BBC Radio 1 in the 1990s will recall Chris Evans’ tenure on the stations’ breakfast show from 1995 to 1997.

Radio 1 was reeling after the forced departure of high-profile DJs led to listening figures going into freefall. It turned to Chris Evans to turn the station’s fortunes around. It worked until Chris Evans’ ego got the better of him. He asked for Fridays off so he could concentrate on his Channel 4 TV show, TFI Friday. The Controller of Radio 1, Matthew Bannister, said no. Chris shortly departed the station.

The current Controller of Radio 1, Ben Cooper, clearly sees things differently. From June of this year, Radio 1’s weekday DJs Nick Grimshaw, Clara Amfo and Greg James will be given Fridays off. Instead, Radio 1 will run a three day weekend schedule from Friday to Sunday. (BBC Media Centre)

Qantas AVRO Accelerator Programme

Qantas is running its AVRO Accelerator programme for new technology start-ups for a second year.

Operated in partnership with Slingshot, successful applicants will receive funding and mentoring from the Qantas Group. Qantas is specifically for looking for applicant start-ups who are developing technology around themes such as the personalised, seamless customer journey; customer engagement; and smarter and safer airline and airport operations.

In Europe, International Airlines Group operates a similar programme called Hangar 51.

There’s more information available from Qantas.
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BA reveals its new lounge concept at Rome Fiumicino airport

British Airways has opened its new lounge at Terminal 3 of Rome Fiumicino airport, showcasing a new design concept for the airline.

London Air Travel

British Airways Lounge, Rome Fiumicino Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge, Rome Fiumicino Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has today, Monday 16 April 2018, opened its new lounge at Terminal 3 of Rome Fiumicino airport.

The lounge is 460m2 in size with capacity for nearly 140 customers.

The lounge features a granite topped bar as its centre piece. In peak times, the bar will be staffed by a mixologist. At other times, it will operate as a self-pour bar.

Whilst there is clearly ample table seating in the lounge it’s not clear from the BA press images and release what is on offer in terms of food.

The lounge also features artwork from artist Patrick Caulfield and a number of pieces from his series of 22 screen prints from 1973 entitled “Some Poems of Jules Laforgue”.

This lounge is a radical departure from recent BA lounge developments such as London Gatwick and the “Galleries” lounges developed by both Davies & Baron and Graven. Indeed, with its relatively muted tones and clean lines, at first sight you would be forgiven for thinking this lounge belonged to SAS Scandinavian Airlines or SWISS. This lounge would certainly not look out of place on the pages of Wallpaper* magazine.

The lounge may also provide some clues to what to expect for future BA lounge developments. BA is also due to open refurbished lounges in Aberdeen and New York JFK Terminal 7. Please see here for BA’s lounge refurbishment plans for the coming years.

BA flies to Rome from London Gatwick and Heathrow. Passengers travelling in Club Europe and British Airways Silver and Gold Executive Club cardholders (and Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald equivalents) are eligible to use the lounge.
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Your children can fly free on BA domestic flights this summer

Your children can fly for free on selected BA flights between London and Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds-Bradford & Newcastle this summer.

London Air Travel

British Airways “Kids Fly Free” Summer Promotion

Your children can fly for free on BA between London Heathrow and select UK domestic short-haul this summer.

BA is once again running its summer “Kids Fly Free” promotion. Children up to the age of twelve can fly for free with at least one adult on flights between London Heathrow and Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds-Bradford and Newcastle. Unlike previous years, no destinations in mainland Europe are included in the promotion.

The promotion only applies to flights to/from London Heathrow and bookings in EuroTraveller economy. It does not apply to flights to/from London Gatwick or London City.

The offer is valid for travel from Friday 1 June 2018 to Monday 5 November 2018. with no blackout dates.

Flights must be booked by Sunday 13 May 2018, as per the attached PDF issued by BA.

It is also worth noting that children can travel for free on the Heathrow Express.

Flights can be booked now on ba.com

Monday Briefing – 16 April 2018

Welcome to our weekly Monday Briefing on the main developments in air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday morning at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

IAG & Norwegian
IAG & Norwegian

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 16 April 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

IAG confirms interest in Norwegian

The big story this week has of course IAG’s expression interest in Norwegian.

As reported last week, there is very little that is known at the moment, beyond the fact that IAG has acquired a 4.61% stake in Norwegian. However, that will not stop us indulging in speculation and guesswork.

According to The Sunday Times IAG had been quietly building up its stake over a period of time. Both IAG and Norwegian were clearly caught by surprise when Bloomberg first broke the story.

If IAG does ultimate acquire Norwegian, it would be the fourth airline to join IAG since its original formation after Aer Lingus, bmi and Vueling.

It can be said that confidence that IAG has been studying Norwegian for quite some time and this bid is the sort of “transformational” acquisition of a strong brand that leads a market segment that IAG seeks. IAG will also disregard what it would call “noise” in the press, online and from other quarters about any bid.

In terms of what happens next, it is worth recalling that IAG’s first approaches to Aer Lingus and Vueling were rebuffed. IAG’s negotiations with Lufthansa to buy bmi were punctuated by counter-bids and protests from Virgin. The original merger of BA and Iberia which led to the formation of IAG was also dogged by uncertainty as to whether it would go ahead.

What is unique about a possible Norwegian bid is the strength of the brand in both its home market and in the UK. Neither Iberia nor Vueling have made any significant in roads into the UK market under IAG. Indeed, both airlines have suspended some routes from London. There is no question that IAG would maintain the Norwegian brand given its strength in Northern Europe. The most significant question is what happens at Gatwick.

Norwegian has built up a significant operation at Gatwick with approximately 40 departures a day and whilst there would no doubt be a review of Norwegian’s operations at the airport, it is far from certain they would all be subsumed into BA. When IAG bought bmi in 2012, even though it seemed obvious that it would be merged into BA, some at IAG were pressing for it to remain separate and BA pilots offered productivity concessions for the two operations to be merged.

There has also long been the question as to whether a “twin brand” approach as per Qantas/Jetstar is a better approach for BA as opposed to trying to compete with low cost carriers whilst still trying to maintain its premium positioning. However, these decisions will ultimately be made by IAG, not BA.
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Why does International Airlines Group want to buy Norwegian?

London Air Travel

IAG & Norwegian
IAG & Norwegian

As has been widely reported today, Thursday 12 April 2018, International Airlines Group (“IAG”) has acquired a 4.61% stake in Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (“Norwegian”).

This was first reported by Bloomberg. IAG confirmed in a statement to the Stock Exchange that this was done to initiate discussions with Norwegian with a view to making a full offer for the airline. Norwegian was not aware of IAG’s activity and no discussions have taken place to date.

According to the Financial Times, Norwegian’s co-founders Bjørn Kjos and Bjørn H. Kise own a joint 27% stake in the airline. It is axiomatic that no takeover bid could go ahead without their consent.
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BA “Basic Economy” long-haul fares now on sale on selected routes

British Airways has started selling basic economy fares on selected dates on some long-haul routes.

London Air Travel

BA World Traveller Cabin, Boeing 777-300 aircraft (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has today, Tuesday 11 April 2018, started selling “basic economy” fares on selected long-haul routes on ba.com

These fares were first announced in March of this year. A basic economy fare does not entitle a passenger to a checked luggage allowance or free seat selection at check-in. However, these can be purchased at any time after booking for a fee. It is also possible to combine basic and standard fares in the same booking.

Once on board the aircraft, all economy passengers will be entitled to the same in-flight amenities and catering service.

BA’s IAG sibling Iberia and their transatlantic joint-venture partners, American Airlines and Finnair, have also introduced basic economy on selected routes.

At the outset, it’s important to note:

1. The implementation of basic economy currently varies by point of sale

For passengers travelling from the UK and the rest of the European Union, basic economy is currently available on the following routes:

London Heathrow to Austin, Boston, Denver, Philadelphia
London Heathrow to Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Lagos, Singapore
London Gatwick to Oakland
London Gatwick to Punta Cana

Helsinki to New York
Madrid to Boston, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth

All routes from France, Italy, The Netherlands and Malta to the United States & Canada

For passengers travelling from the United States, basic economy is currently available on the following routes:

Boston, Dallas Fort Worth, Philadelphia and Pheonix to London Heathrow
Oakland to London Gatwick

New York to Helsinki
Boston, Chicago and Dallas Fort Worth to Madrid

There are some surprising omissions, notably London to New York. Also, there are many other routes where BA competes directly against Norwegian and it has not yet launched basic economy fares. However, it is reasonable assumption that these fares will be available on many more routes in the coming months.
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