British Airways New Aircraft Deliveries

British Airways has provided updated details of planned deliveries of new short and long-haul aircraft from this year.

London Air Travel

British Airways Airbus A380 Heathrow
British Airways Airbus A380 Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Every year the parent company of British Airways, International Airlines Group, publishes an annual fleet plan at its Capital Markets Day.

Here’s the latest fleet plan published last November:

International Airlines Group Capital Markets Day
International Airlines Group Capital Markets Day (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)

As this is published for the group as a whole, it’s not easy to distill which orders and future deliveries relate to BA, particularly for short-haul aircraft.

However, BA has just filed its own annual accounts. We read these things so you don’t have to, and here is BA’s plan for new aircraft deliveries as at 31 December 2018:

British Airways Fleet Plan at 31 December 2018
British Airways Fleet Plan at 31 December 2018

This does pre-date IAG’s decision to order 18 Boeing 777-9 aircraft for BA. Although it includes one wet-leased SAAB aircraft, it doesn’t include others such as Air Belgium’s Airbus A340. BA CityFlyer is also due to acquire an additional (presumably second hand) Embraer E190 aircraft for London City.

Taking this into account, planned deliveries of new aircraft are:

Short-haul

Airbus A320neo: 18, with options for 33. 3 have been delivered this year.
Airbus A321neo: 9, 2 have been delivered this year.

Long-haul

Airbus A350-1000: 18, with options for 36. 4 will be delivered this year.
Boeing 777-300: 4, to be delivered in 2020.
Boeing 777-900: 18, to be delivered from 2022 to 2025.
Boeing 787-9: options for 6.
Boeing 787-10: 12, to delivered from 2020 to 2023.

In total, that’s 52 new wide body aircraft over the next five years so, to replace at least 35 Boeing 747 and 3 Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

This does allow for a substantial amount of growth, but is of course subject to change depending on economic and geopolitical events.

On other point of note is that BA’s options to acquire a further 7 Airbus A380 aircraft have now either expired or been cancelled. Following the decision by Airbus to end production of the Airbus A380 it has been clear that BA would not be ordering any more new A380s. This is now beyond any doubt.

British Airways Doha Cancellations May 2019

British Airways has cancelled its daily flight from London Heathrow to Doha for much of May 2019.

London Air Travel

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways continues to put in place ad hoc blanket cancellations between London Heathrow and Doha.

BA123 is cancelled from London Heathrow to Doha from Thursday 9 May until Monday 27 May 2019.

BA122 is also cancelled from Doha to London Heathrow from Friday 10 May until Tuesday 28 2019.

No specific reason has been given for the cancellations other than “operational reasons”. The most likely reason is to release capacity in the Boeing 787 fleet. There have been ad hoc cancellations on a number of other routes. An aircraft has also been wet leased from Air Belgium to cover other routes.

If history is anything to go by, the cancellations could well be repeated.

Rebooking on Qatar Airways

BA has a rebooking agreement with its codeshare partner Qatar Airways.

If your flight is cancelled you have the option of rebooking on to Qatar Airways from London Heathrow to Doha. You can rebook up to three days before or after your original date of travel.

World Traveller Plus Premium Economy

Qatar Airways does not operate a premium economy cabin.

Therefore, you will be downgraded to economy. You will be entitled to claim compensation for the downgrade.

Qatar Airways London Heathrow Aircraft

Qatar Airways use a variety of different aircraft on the London Heathrow route.

This includes Boeing 777-300, Airbus A350 and Airbus A380 aircraft.

If you have a particular preference for one aircraft, it’s worth checking your specific flights on your day of travel.

It should also be noted the following Qatar Airways operated flights depart from London Heathrow Terminal 4.

Alternative Routing Options

If you are connecting from a flight in the UK to London Heathrow for onward travel to Doha (for example, Edinburgh) you have the option of rebooking on to a direct Qatar Airways flight to Doha, if available.

Refunds

If any of the rebooking options are not satisfactory, you will have the option of cancelling your booking and receiving a full refund.

Affected passengers should check the status of their booking at ba.com and contact either BA or their travel agent.

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 24 April 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

Business Class, WestJet Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Business Class, WestJet Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Image Credit: WestJet)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 24 April 2019.

WestJet London Announcement

WestJet has been steadily building its presence at London Gatwick over the past few years.

At the moment it’s operating year-round routes to Toronto and Calgary. Later this summer it will resume seasonal routes to Vancouver and Winnipeg. At the end of April, WestJet will also launch a new route to Halifax, Nova Scotia. This was to be operated by the Boeing 737-800 MAX, but due to its grounding, will be operated by the Boeing 737 instead.

WestJet is also due to operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on London Gatwick – Calgary from the end of this month, replacing a Boeing 767. This will substantially increase its competitiveness on this route, with aircraft having its first international business class cabin and a substantially improved economy and premium economy cabin.

WestJet has been teasing an imminent announcement about London on its social media channels. It is also holding a press event at its Boeing 787 Dreamliner hangar in Calgary today at 10:45 MT / 17:45 BST.

The TWA Hotel New York JFK

The much anticipated TWA Hotel at New York JFK opens its doors on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

It has now published on its website CGI images of its rooftop pool bar and observation deck.

The 63ft by 20ft infinity pool is open year-round and offers views of runway 4L/22R at New York JFK. It is questionable whether this is the best environment for swimming, but the hotel does promise that the water is purified every 30 minutes. Non-hotel guests can also make reservations from Wednesday 5 June 2019. It will also be used for private events.

Also of note this week:

Andy Byford may leave his role as President of the New York City Transit Authority over clashes with New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. (New York Times)

Delta starts work on its project to modernise Terminal 2 and 3 at Los Angeles International Airport. (Delta)

Renderings have been released of a controversial makeover of the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art. (Urbanize.LA)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 23 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday 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.

WIRED on Facebook

WIRED magazine has an extensive essay on “15 months of fresh hell inside Facebook” as the company stumbled as it sought to confound its critics and reform itself.

It includes the detail that following the magazine cover on the right, an ad targeted at WIRED readers was mistakenly categorised as “engagement bait” which led to a 90% drop in referral traffic from Facebook.

As the UK Government plans measures to make technology companies responsible for harmful online content, the New York Times reports on tensions between the views of Governments outside the US and conservative / free speech forces in the US on regulating freedom of speech on the internet.

The power of television

For all the talk of Netflix, and its many forthcoming rivals, the vast majority of television viewing is still with linear broadcasting channels.

As part of its “More Than TV” brand advertising campaign, ITV has released a new film narrated by Sir Trevor McDonald OBE highlighting some of the powerful stories told across its drama, entertainment and factual programming over the past 60 years.

Also of note this week:

Amazon and Google introduce free music streaming to their respective smart speaker devices. (Rolling Stone)

Beyonce is reported to have signed a three project deal with Netflix worth no less than $60m. This includes the recent “Homecoming” documentary now streaming on the platform. (Variety)

James Murdoch plans to invest $1bn in media companies. (Financial Times)

The National Cyber Security Centre publishes the most hacked passwords. (NCSC)

The New Yorker publishes its latest travel issue, which includes an extensive report on the impact of AirBnb in Barcelona. (New Yorker)

Major social media channels in Sri Lanka have been blocked following the bombing of churches and hotels on Sunday. (Netblocks)

Monday Briefing – 22 April 2019

Welcome to our weekly briefing on air travel in London and around the world, published every Monday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 22 April 2019.

Sri Lanka

Following yesterday’s events in Sri Lanka, additional security measures have been put in place at Bandaranaike International Airport.

The airport has advised passengers to arrive four hours before scheduled departure. Sri Lankan Airlines is also providing additional assistance to its customers at its ticket offices and call centres.

Should a curfew imposed yesterday be extended further passengers will still be able to travel to the airport by presenting their passports and tickets to security officers.

A number airlines that serve Sri Lanka, including Cathay Pacific and Emirates have implemented flexible rebooking policies for all passengers.

Norwegian Financial Results

Norwegian publishes its first quarter financial results this coming Thursday 25 April.

These will be keenly awaited to see how Norwegian has survived what is traditionally the toughest quarter and whether measures such as switching some routes to seasonal have been effective.

Norwegian has already advised that it has reached an agreement with Airbus to defer planned deliveries of Airbus A320neo and Airbus A321 long range aircraft. This will reduce capital expenditure by $570m over the next two years.

BA Adds Mumbai Flights

Following the collapse of Jet Airways which, despite being claimed to be a temporary suspension, is unlikely to ever return to the skies, BA has scheduled additional flights between London Heathrow and Mumbai.

BA will add four weekly flights from Sunday 2 June 2019, which will take its flights from Heathrow to Mumbai up to three times daily. BA135 departs Heathrow at 17:50 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. BA134 departs Mumbai at 12:10 on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

As part of tactical cancellations announced in March BA139 from Heathrow to Mumbai is cancelled from Friday 14 June to Sunday 30 June 2019. BA138 from Mumbai to Heathrow is cancelled from Saturday 15 June to Monday 1 July 2019.

Monocle on the “Golden Era” of aviation

Monocle continues its audio series on the “golden era” of aviation.

The third episode looks at the former TWA flight centre at New York JFK (soon to be subject of a documentary by filmmaker Peter Rosen), the archives of Cathay Pacific and former Australian airline Ansett. On a related note, The Urbanist looks at the city centre airport.

Also of note this week:

Why failure is the rocket fuel of aviation. (Financial Times)

Canary Wharf is working on a proposal to extend the Docklands Light Railway from Bank to Euston (Ian Visits)

Lufthansa reports a sharp fall in its preliminary first quarter results from a profit of €52m to a loss of €336m, citing fuel prices and over-capacity in Europe. (Lufthansa)

Qantas announces a new winter seasonal route from Sydney to Sapporo from 16 December 2019 to 28 March 2020. (Qantas)

Thomas Cook is reported to be in discussions about the sale of parts, or all, of its business. Any acquisition of its airline would be subject to EU ownership rules. (Sky News)

Our Monday Briefing  is published every Monday at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com

British Airways vs The Financial Times

London Air Travel

British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY "City Of Swansea", Dublin (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY “City Of Swansea”, Dublin (Image Credit: British Airways)

Journalism and PR is a murky business.

Journalists depend on PRs for access to stories which, if denied, benefit rival publications. PRs also require the support of journalists for press coverage.

Much of what is written by journalists can be briefed “in background” by PRs. This even applies to stories that are officially denied with the statement “we do not comment on speculation”, but have been briefed off the record for one reason or another. Lines have also become blurred as many journalists, not always by choice, have moved into the world of PR.

There are rules of the game. Press embargoes must be respected. And a PR offered to comment on a journalist’s exclusive story must not try to take the sting out of it by leaking to a rival.

If rules are broken, it’s taken very personally and not forgotten. Scores will be settled.

That might be one reason why BA has withdrawn the Financial Times from its aircraft and lounges around the world. It has run a number of negative stories of late, such as questions over security at its call centre in Bremen. That said, it is hardly the only newspaper to have done so.

The FT has not taken to this quietly. It has taken out adverts on social media and its own paper encouraging readers to buy copies at airports, fly on other airlines, or take out a subscription.

Financial Times Tweet, April 2019
Financial Times Tweet, April 2019

Years ago, if a company was unhappy about its press coverage, rather than indulge in passive aggressive behaviour, its Chairman would simply call the editor or journalist in question and scream at them down the telephone.

As case in point is Lord King, former Chairman of BA. Lord King was notorious for having little patience with journalists. Once under questioning at a news conference, Lord King shouted across the room to a press officer “Hey! I pay you to talk to idiots like these.”

In the early 1990s, the Financial Times ran a series known as “My Office” in which Chairman and CEOs would give FT columnist Lucy Kellaway a tour of their private offices. Many regretted doing so.

Lord King guided Lucy Kellaway through his private picture collection in his office: “That’s me with the Pope…That’s me in the Oval Office with Bush, and me with Billy Graham. That’s me on holiday with Reagan.” 

Lucy Kellaway would, some years later, write: “Lord King was trying to tell me that he was important; but what he actually told me was that he was a shocking snob, name dropper and general pain in the backside.”

Lord King was reportedly so incensed at this portrayal of his pomposity he called the editor of the FT and threatened to withdraw all BA advertising from the paper.

Back to BA and newspapers today, in the past many papers would willingly provide free or deeply discounted copies to airlines and hotels to bulk up their circulation figures. These “bulks” are now separated from paid-for circulation figures and many newspapers have weaned themselves of the habit. However, according to the most recent figures, the FT still gives away 30,650 copies a month. Unless the FT is changing its policy on bulks, the reason for its removal is unlikely to be on cost grounds. Whatever the reason for the spat, the two will likely have to kiss and make up at some point.

Jet Airways Suspends Operations. All Flights Cancelled.

The Indian airline Jet Airways has suspended all remaining flights after it has failed to secure funding from new investors.

London Air Travel

Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft
Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft (Image Credit: Jet Airways)

Jet Airways has suspended all operations after it has failed to secure new funding from either the State Bank of India or new investors.

Jet Airways has been in financial distress for over six months due to heavy financial losses and an over indebted balance sheet. Its operations had been subject to very signifiant disruption due to aircraft being grounded. The airline has long been technically insolvent.

The airline has issued a statement to confirm that all flights have been suspended.

Mumbai, Wednesday, 17th April, 2019: Late last night, Jet Airways was informed by the State Bank of India (SBI), on behalf of the consortium of Indian Lenders, that they are unable to consider its request for critical interim funding.


Since no emergency funding from the lenders or any other source is forthcoming, the airline will not be able to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going. Consequently, with immediate effect, Jet Airways is compelled to cancel all its international and domestic flights. The last flight will operate today.
This decision has been taken after a painstaking evaluation of all alternatives that were made available to the Company and after receiving guidance and advice on the same from its Board of Directors. Jet Airways has informed the DGCA, and the Ministries of Civil Aviation and Finance and other relevant government institutions, of this course of action.

Over the last several weeks and months, the company has tried every means possible to seek both interim and long-term funding. Unfortunately, despite its very best efforts, the airline has been left with no other choice today but to go ahead with a temporary suspension of flight operations.

This has been a very difficult decision but without interim funding, the airline is simply unable to conduct flight operations in a manner that delivers to the very reasonable expectations of its guests, employees, partners and service providers.

After 25 years of sharing the Joy of Flying with Indian and international guests, Jet Airways has been forced to take this extreme measure as prolonged and sustained efforts with lenders and authorities did not yield the desired results.

Essential services needed to support guest services and the re-commencement of the flight operations will be kept onboard until further notice.

In truth, Jet Airways should have suspended operations some time ago, let alone continue selling flights it had no reasonable prospect of ever operating.

Whilst the suspension of operations has been described as temporary and there is a possibility of new investors coming forward to enable a restart of operations, given the financial state of the airline, this seems unlikely.

Flights from London Heathrow to Mumbai and New Delhi have been cancelled since Friday 12 April 2019. Its three daily slot pairs have also been transferred back to Etihad Airways. In recent days, only a very small number of domestic flights have operated, as its operation had progressively wound down.

Jet Airways was founded in 1993 and was once India’s largest airline by market share. It began flying from London Heathrow in 2005 following a relaxation of a bilateral treaty which allowed more flights between the UK and India.

Civil Aviation Authority Response

Jet Airways is not regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

However, it may provide general guidance shortly on its website shortly. For passengers with existing bookings, the best advice is contact your credit company for a refund or to check your travel insurance policy to see whether it covers airline failure.

Rescue Fares

When an airline suspends operations it is standard practice for rival airlines to offer “rescue fares” to passengers who are stranded.

As far as UK airlines are concerned, British Airways flies from London Heathrow to Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

Virgin Atlantic flies from London Heathrow to New Delhi.

Both airlines may announce rescue fares shortly for passengers who are mid-way through their journeys.

If made available, they will only be available by contacting the airlines’ respective call centres. Guidance may be available shortly on the British Airways and Virgin Atlantic websites. If rescue fares are offered, in both cases, proof of an existing booking will be required either at the time of booking or check-in.

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 17 April 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

Proper Hotel Santa Monica
Proper Hotel Santa Monica (Image Credit: Proper Hotels)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 17 April 2019.

Proper Hotel Santa Monica Opens 1 July 2019

The US “Proper Hotels & Residences” brand is due to open its second property in Santa Monica on Monday 1 July 2019.

The property, located at at 700 Wilshire Boulevard, is a renovated 1928 Spanish colonial style building originally designed by Arthur E Harvey. It will feature 271 rooms, 3 restaurant-bar “destinations”, and a roof-top pool. Like its first property in San Francisco, the interiors are designed by Kelly Wearstler. Special opening rates are available until Tuesday 30 April 2019.

Two further properties in Austin and Downtown Los Angeles are due to open this summer. Again, both hotels are period property renovations with roof-top pools. A property in Portland is due to follow in 2021.

The Proper Hospitality group also operates the Avalon hotels in Beverley Hills and Palm Springs and Custom Hotel in Los Angeles.

Also of note this week:

JetBlue has announced that its first Airbus A321 Neo aircraft will enter this service this summer. The aircraft will be used to launch a new route between New York JFK and Guayaquil, Ecuador. (Jetblue)

“The City” a new independent non-profit news service for New York has launched. (The City)

“Congestion Pricing Is Coming to New York. New Jersey Wants Revenge.” More neighbourly love between New York and New Jersey. (New York Times)

Ontario Premier Doug Forward has unveiled a CAD$28.5bn plan for expansion to transport in the Greater Toronto area. (CBC)

United has sought regulatory approval to operate a new winter seasonal service from Newark to Cape Town from December 2019. (United)

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 16 April 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

Disney Plus
Disney Plus (Image Credit: Disney)

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.

Disney launches Disney+

Disney will launch its new streaming service Disney+ in the US on 12 November of this year.

Priced at $6.99 a month or $69 a year, it will feature content from Disney’s portfolio of studios including LucasFilm, Marvel, National Geographic and Pixar.

The service will include many films and series from Disney’s back catalogue, all new films released by Disney this year such as Star Wars: Episode IX shortly after release in cinemas, and many series and specials commissioned specifically for the platform.

The service will launch in Western Europe next year. The availability of archive content in individual territories is likely to be complicated by existing licensing deals until they expire.

Whilst the service is unlikely to every reach the scale of Netflix, it will have an unparalleled line-up of high quality content with significant brand equity. (The Walt Disney Company)

Also of note this week:

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pens his annual letter to shareholders. Essential reading for an insight into a phenomenally successful, if not universally loved, company that does make many of its legacy competitors look sclerotic by comparison. (Amazon)

Apple spends hundreds of millions of dollars on video games for its forthcoming “Apple Arcade” service (Financial Times)

Facebook spends $22.6m a year on Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security. (Reuters)

How will HBO survive after the “Game Of Thrones” series finale? (Los Angeles Times)

The New York Times launches “The Privacy Project”. (New York Times)

Can Snapchat, once the young upstart that deemed destined to keep younger users away from Facebook, survive? (Financial Times)

Uber files its “S-1” document with the US Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of is IPO. A very long document but worth searching through for the shopping list of issues facing the company. (SEC)

Monday Briefing – 15 April 2019

London Air Travel

Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft
Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft (Image Credit: Jet Airways)

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 15 April 2019.

Jet Airways

There is a book to be written about Etihad’s string of disastrous minority investments in airlines.

In near repeat of Swissair’s Qualiflyer alliance, almost every one has been an unmitigated failure: Air Berlin; Alitalia. And of course Jet Airways. It’s not as if there were no warning signs. Alitalia had been through numerous recapitalisations. Many European airlines that could have bought Air Berlin outright had declined to do so.

Jet Airways has long been insolvent and by any standard should have ceased trading some time ago, let alone continue to take forward bookings which after a brief pause over the weekend it is now continuing to do. Over the weekend, hundreds of Jet Airways employees have protested outside New Delhi and Mumbai airports against unpaid salaries – a reminder of the significant human cost of the airline’s troubles.

The one sensible thing Etihad did was take ownership Alitalia and Jet Airways’ Heathrow slots. Jet Airways’ three daily Heathrow slot pairs are to be returned to Etihad and its intentions should become clear in the next couple of weeks.

Virgin Atlantic wants to be loved

Virgin Atlantic launched its latest Upper Class cabin with typical fanfare last week.

There was less positive news when the airline revealed another financial loss. Worse still, the airline does not expect to return to profitability until 2021.

Virgin Atlantic’s ambition is now to be “the world’s most loved travel company”. It has a new three year business plan “Velocity” which runs until 2021. Green joins purple and red in its colour scheme to signify its commitment to sustainability. Virgin is also promising much greater integration between Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays.

As well as taking delivery of four Airbus A350-1000 aircraft this year, it will reduce the number of Airbus A340 aircraft from 7 to 3 this year. The remaining 3 have been taken under the airline’s ownership.

The Connect Airways consortium expects to secure regulatory approval for its purchase of Flybe in the third quarter of this year. It is at this point the consortium can exercise financial and operational control over Flybe. In the interim, the consortium has provided Flybe with £135m of funding to maintain the airline’s operations.

In case you missed it:

JetBlue publicly states its ambition to fly from London from 2021. (London Air Travel)

Also of note this week:

Qantas’ CEO of Qantas International Alison Webster abruptly departs the airline. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Qantas looks at the work of its in-house meteorologists. (Qantas)

UK domestic flights fall 20% in a decade. (Financial Times)