“Britain’s Busiest Airport” premiers on ITV at 9pm on Thursday 4 June

“Britain’s Busiest Airport”, a three part behind the scenes documentary on London Heathrow will premier on ITV at 9pm on Thursday 4 June.

Here’s a précis of the first two episodes from the ITV Press Centre.

Episode 1 – Thursday 4 June

This episode follows Heathrow staff racing against the clock to process thousands of passengers arriving from 84 different countries. Airside Safety Officer Glenn and his colleagues work closely with Air Traffic Control to keep Heathrow’s two runways open and clear of debris. Meanwhile, staff from the Animal Reception Centre welcome a variety of weird and wonderful animals – from pet ferrets to a wild tiger. Inside the terminals, Heathrow staff deal with passengers including a man who is stuck living at the airport after being deported from Thailand, and a family whose young relatives have got lost in Arrivals.

Episode 2 – Thursday 11 June

This episode follows Heathrow staff trying to process 100,000 departing passengers a day, and get their flights away on time. Dispatcher Callie and Ramp Manager Steve have their plans thrown into chaos by a passenger who disappears after checking on to their flight. In Security, Sundeep and his team have to search an unusually dressed traveller, and deal with a man who is unhappy about having his bag searched. Meanwhile, Heathrow’s extradition team ensures police suspects are put on departing flights, while paparazzi photographer Kate is on the lookout for celebrities flying through the airport.

The series is produced for ITV for Raw TV.

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Irish Government approves sale of Aer Lingus to International Airlines Group – What we now know & don’t know

The Irish Government has today announced its support for International Airlines Group’s bid for Aer Lingus.

Full details of the bid can be viewed in the offer document. A more easily digestable summary of IAG’s bid for Aer Lingus can be viewed in this IAG presentation.

IAG is due to hold a conference call for analysts tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. The deal is also far from done yet as Ryanair (which holds 30% of the shares in Aer Lingus) has yet to show its hand. The transaction will also be subject to regulatory approval.

Here’s a summary of what we know (and don’t know) so far
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Air New Zealand offering special companion fare on London Heathrow – Los Angeles

Air New Zealand is offering a special “companion fare” for travel for two in business class on its London Heathrow – Los Angeles route. The fare of £1,797 is valid for travel from Tuesday 1 September 2015 to Friday 30 November 2015. The fare must be booked by Sunday 31 May.

Full details of the offer are on the Air New Zealand website.

This is a very good offer. It compares favourably to premium economy fares on rival airlines on this route and is better than “flash” business class sale fares we’ve seen on this route. It is also a good chance to experience Air New Zealand’s highly regarded business class product.
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Malaysia Airlines voluntarily enters administration; flights between London Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur currently operating normally

Malaysia Airlines has today announced that the company has voluntarily entered into administration.

Under this process the assets of the business will be transferred to a new company which will take over its operations. This is a common means of restructuring a company in financial distress.

There has been speculation about the future of Malaysia Airlines’ long-haul network, particularly in light of reports that its fleet of Airbus A380s (which are used to operate its twice daily London Heathrow – Kuala Lumpur services) are for sale.

However, Malaysia Airlines is at pains to announce that flights are open for booking and are operating normally.
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British Airways offering a 10% discount on flights from Australia to London

British Airways is marking 80 years of flying to Australia from London (albeit on routings far more convulted than today!) with a special 10% discount on return flights from Australia to the UK and Europe.

The discount is offered in conjunction with BBC First, the BBC’s recently launched commercial TV channel in Australia.

Note this only applies to flights from Australia and not flights originating in the UK or Europe.

British Airways, BBC First, Sydney - London Offer

British Airways, BBC First, Sydney – London Offer


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British Airways to upgrade London Heathrow – Austin to a Boeing 777, with first class, from Sunday 25 October 2015

British Airways has today announced it is to upgrade its recently launched London Heathrow – Austin route from a three class Boeing 787 to a four class Boeing 777 from Sunday 25 October 2015.

The announcement has been confirmed in a press release from the city of Austin.

This will increase capacity from 214 to 224 seats on each flight. This may seem a modest increase, but the difference is 14 first class seats, 13 additional business class seats (from 35 to 48) and 15 additional premium economy seats (from 25 to 40). The number of economy seats will actually fall from 154 to 122.

This continues the trend of very successful new transatlantic route launches by BA in recent years. At a recent investor update, IAG CEO Willie Walsh said he considered that there are three-five additional US cities BA could serve profitably, so we should expect to hear more new route announcements in the coming years.

Note at the time of writing, the change of aircraft is not showing on ba.com

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British Airways looks set to maintain its “yin-yang” Club World business class cabin on new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft

Some time ago we wrote about a patent application by British Airways in respect of a new business class seat which would afford all business class passengers direct aisle access.

With American Airlines, Air France, Cathay Pacific, Finnair and others introducing new business class seats which provide all passengers with direct aisle access, British Airways has maintained its typically eight across “yin-yang” business class cabin on all recent deliveries of new aircraft.

The reason for this is the efficiency of the cabin layout and that BA flies a number of routes with very high business class demand (such that some 747s are to have business class seating increased from 70 to 86 seats and its A380s have 97 business class seats).

The patent application did prompt speculation that BA would abandon the “ying yang” layout on future deliveries of Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

However, IAG CEO Willie Walsh was asked about whether there were any plans to introduce an entirely new seat at a recent investor update and this is what he had to say:
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