Monday Briefing – 9 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.

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Barbara Jane Harrison
BOAC Stewardess Barbara Jane Harrison (1945-1968)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 9 April 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

Etihad scales back

For a time it seemed that the world of air travel had pivoted permanently towards the Middle East, specifically the “Big Three” airlines Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways who were set on a path of exponential growth in perpetuity.

With a relatively favourable operating environment and Government support on their side, it seemed that all these airlines needed to do was announce headline grabbing aircraft orders at air shows, run celebrity endorsed ad campaigns highlighting their capacious and luxurious cabins and they would able to syphon off ever more passengers on to ever more routes to their respective hubs.

And one of the most successful indicators of this strategy in Europe has been the volume of passengers flying from UK regional airports, bypassing hubs in Europe.

However, proving that the world of air travel is anything but predictable, Etihad has experienced a considerable downturn in its fortunes. In part, this is due to its disastrous strategy of buying minority stakes in failing European airlines. Etihad has confirmed to the media (BBC News) that it will suspend flights from Edinburgh to Abu Dhabi from October of his year.

Etihad has also recently suspended Abu Dhabi – Dallas Fort Worth, in this case pointing the finger of blame at American Airlines for withdrawing a codeshare agreement.

Eastern Airways to operate London City – Aberdeen

Eastern Airways, a franchise partner of Flybe, is to operate the London City – Aberdeen route on behalf of Flybe from Monday 5 May 2018.

Eastern Airways will maintain the same frequency of two flights a day on weekdays and once a day on weekends. However, the operating aircraft with change from a Bombardier Q400 to a 50 seat Saab 2000 aircraft. Eastern Airways has ambitions to operate an Embraer E170 aircraft on the route.

Flybe will continue to fly from London Heathrow to Aberdeen, where it has recently celebrated one year of operations.

Eastern Airways has also operated a number of routes for BA at London City, including London City – Isle Of Man.

Air France Industrial Action

Air France continues to be affected by industrial action.

Several trade unions representing Air France staff have called for further industrial action on Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Tuesday 17, Wednesday 18, Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 April 2018. This also follows industrial action by some French Air Traffic control staff this weekend.

Air France is announcing strike schedules one day in advance. In the interim, passengers at risk of disruption can rebook their flights to an alternative date free of charge. There’s more detail on the Air France website.

Eurostar and SNCF are also disrupted by industrial action in France.

Unaccompanied Minors

Last month, BA announced a series of policy changes for children flying alone on the airline.

From Tuesday 1 May 2018, all children under the age of 16 travelling alone on BA must be in possession of a signed consent form from a parent or guardian. This form is required so that BA can provide assistance if ground transportation / hotel accommodation is required in the event of disruption.

The form, in downloadable PDF format, is now available on the BA website.

BOAC Flight 712

Yesterday, 8 April 2018, marked the 50th anniversary of BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) Flight 712.

The flight, a Boeing 707 bound for Sydney via Zurich and Singapore, experienced an engine failure after take off at London Heathrow. The engine caught fire and subsequently fell from the aircraft. The aircraft successfully made an emergency landing. However, the fuselage was engulfed by flames.

Of the 116 passengers and 11 crew, 5 people were killed including stewardess Barbara Jane Harrison who received a posthumous award of The George Cross for her bravery in assisting with the evacuation. (British Pathe)

Also of note this week:

The Sunday Times interviews Qantas CEO Alan Joyce on board the inaugural Perth – London non-stop flight. (The Sunday Times)

A daily in the life of Kathy Monplaisir, airport manager for Virgin Atlantic in St Lucia. (Virgin Atlantic Ruby Blog)

Air travel in Pakistan is a journey to the 1950s. (Financial Times)

Auction Firm CA Global Partners is to auction off the contents of Heathrow Terminal 1 in a live online auction on Saturday 21 April 2018. (CA Global Partners)

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