Monday Briefing – 14 May 2018

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Air France KLM
Air France KLM (Image Credit: Air France-KLM)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 14 May 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

How do you solve a problem like Air France-KLM?

Air France-KLM’s Chief Executive, Jean Marc-Janaillac, is to leave the airline group tomorrow.

As has been well documented, Jean Marc-Janaillac, tended his resignation after Air France staff rejected a pay offer.

Bloomberg and the Financial Times have extensive reports on the possible successor candidates. These include internal candidates from Air France and Pieter Elbers, Chief Executive of KLM.

Whilst the decision in theory rests with the company, as the French state owns 23% of the voting rights of Air France-KLM, there is a considerable political dimension.

The fact that the nationality of the Air France-KLM Chief Executive is considered significant is a sign of its divergence from IAG and Lufthansa Group.

All three groups began consolidation by bringing two de-facto national European airlines together: BA and Iberia in the case of IAG; and Lufthansa and SWISS in the case of Lufthansa Group.

IAG is no longer thought of as simply a marriage of two airlines from the UK and Spain. Whilst there were tensions and local political difficulties in its early years, IAG has a pan-European brand LEVEL and a Global Business Services centre in Poland. It has acquired a hub in Dublin through its purchase of Aer Lingus. BA’s CEO is Spanish, having previously had Australian and Irish CEOs.

Talk of the demise of Air France is premature. The local Paris market is simply too big to let it go. However, the rest of aviation in Europe has largely moved on and it’s time for the French state to let Air France-KLM go.

PriestmanGoode designs WestJet’s Boeing 787 cabins

WestJet unveiled the cabin interiors and livery of its Boeing 787 aircraft last week.

It was covered in full in our Wednesday Atlantic Update.

When the London aviation market is compared to the rest of the world, London with the expansion of its airports stymied by political indecision is often portrayed as a laggard. Amsterdam Schipol has its four runways. Munich has connection times a fraction of those of Heathrow. And Dubai, is well, Dubai.

However, there is one area where London is a clear leader.

PriestmanGoode, based on Great Portland Street, London has not only designed the cabin interiors for WestJet, but also the United Polaris cabin interior and lounges, South African Airways A330 cabins, and SWISS Boeing 777-300 cabins.

And it’s not the only London based agency that’s busy in the sector:

Acumen Design Associates created the United Polaris business class seat.

Studioilse designed Cathay Pacific’s much lauded “home away from home” lounge concept.

Tangerine, who designed the original BA Club World flat bed, has designed cabins for Asiana Airlines, Gulf Air and Virgin Australia.

Winkreative in London has designed liveries for Air Canada, Porter Airlines and SWISS.

Arguably, this is something that London should shout about a little louder.

Boeing 787 Cancellations

BA continues to cancel flights due to Boeing 787 Dreamliner engine issues.

One daily rotation to Los Angeles (BA281 / BA280) has been cancelled until Saturday 30 June 2018.

London Heathrow – San Jose has also been cancelled from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 June and Saturday 9 to Sunday 17 June 2018.

Airport Rail Changes

A few airport related rail updates, affecting both Gatwick and Heathrow:

From Sunday 20 May 2018, Tfl Rail (part of Transport for London) is to take over the operation of the Heathrow Connect stopping service from Paddington to Heathrow.

As part of this, ticket barriers are being installed at stations at Heathrow. In advance of this, Heathrow Express has introduced new terms and conditions on the use of its tickets. These concern, inter alia, travel direction and single/return ticket validity, as detailed on its website.

Also on Sunday 20 May 2018, there will be very substantial timetable changes to North-South services through London and to Gatwick airport as detailed on RailPlan20/20.

Separately, Network Rail has begun a consultation on a direct rail link from Reading and Slough to Heathrow. In the interests of expectations management, it is not known if funding has been allocated to this.

Also of note this week:

British Airways launches London Heathrow – Durban, three times weekly from Monday 29 October 2018. (London Air Travel)

You can now use Avios to pay for seat selection on BA. (London Air Travel)

A pilot’s perspective on Hotel Room Security – lots of things to think about. The 787DreamLife

Late Post Publication Updates:

[To follow during the day.]

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