Monday Briefing – 21 May 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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British Airways 100 Years Of Aviation Posters (Image Credit: Amberley Publishing)
British Airways 100 Years Of Aviation Posters (Image Credit: British Airways)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 21 May 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

IAG plays it cool with Norwegian

IAG CEO Willie Walsh spoke at the CAPA Airline Leader Summit last week.

Willie did speak to Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

Willie confirmed there has been no progress on IAG’s bid for Norwegian after two proposals were rejected by the airline. IAG would not enter into a bidding war for Norwegian, with Willie stating “This isn’t a deal I have to do.” That is true. However, there is a big prize, namely a strong brand with a significant presence in Northern Europe (where IAG is weak) and at Gatwick.

easyJet also confirmed last week it has no interest in bidding for Norwegian. There is no reason to question the veracity of that statement. However, should in any alternative scenario, easyJet acquire a substantial part of Norwegian’s slots at Gatwick, this would be very bad for IAG.

IAG has never given much away about possible acquisitions, so any further announcements are likely to come only through official announcements to the Stock Exchange.

Update: The Financial Times, citing Spanish newspaper Expansion, that IAG may be about to make a third bid. It has to be said that Expansion has not always been a reliable source on IAG matters in the past.

More BA Boeing 787 Cancellations

Willie Walsh also reiterated his dissatisfaction at Rolls-Royce over ongoing issues with engines on the Boeing 787.

BA could be forced to ground 5-6 Boeing 787s this summer, which could have a substantial impact on its operation. BA continues to cancel flights. This is the current state of play:

Having been cancelled for most of the year, BA123 London Heathrow to Doha is cancelled from until Friday 31 August 2018, and the return BA122 is also cancelled until Saturday 1 September 2018.

BA281 from London Heathrow to Los Angeles, and the return BA280, is now cancelled up to Thursday 5 July 2018 (excluding Friday 25 to Thursday 31 May 2018).

BA279 from London Heathrow to San Jose, and the return BA278, is cancelled for the periods Friday 1 to Sunday 3 June and Saturday 9 to Sunday 17 June 2018.

BA5 from London Heathrow to Tokyo Narita, and the return BA6, is cancelled for the period Saturday 9 June to Tuesday 26 June 2018.

BA tends to announce fresh cancellations every few days, so further cancellations are likely to be announced this week.

Industrial Action In France

Another complaint from IAG is the frequency of Air Traffic Control strikes in Europe and the lack of progress on a “Single European Sky”.

There will be disruption due to an Air Traffic Control strike as part of a national day of industrial action in France on Tuesday 22 May 2018. Flights to Lyon, Marseille and Paris Orly are most likely to be disrupted, as well as Barcelona and Madrid.

Air France has already proactively cancelled some flights and implemented a flexible rebooking policy.

British Airways has implemented a flexible rebooking policy in anticipation of cancellations.

easyJet has acknowledged the potential for disruption, but not offered anything beyond that.

Late May Bank Holiday Travel

It’s another Bank Holiday this weekend in the UK, which also coincides with Memorial Day in the US.

There was supposed to be little planned disruption to rail services to UK airports. However, the introduction of new timetables from yesterday, 20 May 2018, has put paid to that.

As per guidance from National Rail Enquiries, services on Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink are subject to disruption until Friday 8 June.

A certain airline will also be hoping that this Bank Holiday weekend goes a lot more smoothly than last year…

BA Gatwick Cancellations

BA has proactively cancelled a number of return flights at Gatwick between Friday 25 May and Thursday 31 May 2018.

Typically, up to three return flights a day have been cancelled. Destinations targeted include Algiers, Faro, Genoa, Gibraltar, Glasgow, Nice, Palma, Pisa and Venice.

Whilst no reason has been given for the cancellations, it is likely that shortages of aircraft are the likely cause.

British Airways: 100 Years Of Aviation Posters

Last week, we took delivery of our copy of “British Airways: 100 Years Of Aviation Posters”.

It’s a book worthy of a full review, which we’ll post in due course. Long before TV advertising, let alone digital marketing, posters were the main means by which airlines marketed their brands, aircraft and route networks.

This book features 200 posters from BA and its predecessor airlines Imperial Airways, BEA and BOAC. Whilst it largely focuses on posters before the formation of BA as we know it in 1974, there is some recent work including illustrations by Carla Lucena for the launch of London Gatwick – Lima in 2016. Paul Jarvis, its author, has also spoken to CNN Travel about the book.

Housekeeping

Finally, some housekeeping.

In five days’ time we will all be free from tyranny of e-mails about the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation.

If e-mails from practically every organisation you’ve ever come into contact with were anything to go by, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was all about securing consent for e-mail lists. This post on Medium is a good primer on what is actually going on.

We have also published our own Privacy Policy. This simply formalises how this site has always operated. If you do receive our posts by e-mail, you should only be receiving them having actively subscribed. You can of course unsubscribe at any time by following the link at the foot of any e-mail.

Also of note this week:

BA opens its new lounge in Aberdeen. (London Air Travel)

Flybe confirms its plans to downsize its fleet with larger Embraer E190 aircraft to leave. (Flybe)

Monocle takes a ride through trains, planes and automobiles in its annual transport survey. (Monocle)

Singapore Airlines to refurbish the fleet of its regional subsidiary Silk Air and ultimately merge it into its parent. (Singapore Airlines)

Late Post Publication Updates:

Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo has resigned after accepting an offer from Metso Corporation. A search for a successor has begun. (Finnair)

Ryanair reports its annual results with a 10% increase in profit after tax to €1.45bn. (Ryanair)

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