International Airlines Group has today confirmed that WiFi will be rolled out across the short-haul and long-haul aircraft of its airlines: Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling.
To date, IAG airlines have adopted a piecemeal approach to WiFi. BA has WiFi on just one Boeing 747. Aer Lingus has WiFi on its transatlantic Airbus A330s. Iberia and Vueling also have WiFi on some aircraft.
On short-haul aircraft IAG is expected to adopt an Inmarsat “Air To Ground” system which should deliver fast internet access speeds. The first aircraft will be in service by 2017.
On long-haul aircraft, new deliveries of Airbus A330 (to Aer Lingus & Iberia), Airbus A350 (to British Airways and Iberia) and Boeing 787-10 (to British Airways) are expected to be fitted with WiFi.
IAG will also aim to retrofit 100 long-haul aircraft (primarily British Airways aircraft) with WiFi. IAG will target rolling out WiFi to 90% of long-haul aircraft by 2019.
The fit-out of WiFi on long-haul aircraft is likely to be subject to IAG being satisfied that the technology is sufficiently robust for the global long-haul networks of BA and Iberia and the cost of retrofitting aircraft makes the investment worthwhile
IAG has not yet indicated what pricing model it will adopt for WiFi, which is likely to vary by airline.
As well as providing passengers with in flight internet access and the opportunity for new In Flight Entertainment services, it will be interesting to see what customer service initiatives will arise as consequence of equipping cabin crews will in flight internet access.
As was widely tipped online, Aer Lingus has today announced it is to return to Los Angeles and Newark airports next year, and launch a new direct route from Dublin to Bradley International Airport in Hartford County, Connecticut. The latter route will be the sole transatlantic route from the airport.
Aer Lingus will fly five times a week to Los Angeles from Sunday 1 May 2016, and daily to Newark from Thursday 1 September 2016. Both routes will be operated by A330 aircraft. Flights for these routes are on sale now at AerLingus.com
Aer Lingus confirmed during the announcement of its half year results yesterday, Wednesday 29 July 2015, that it is to effectively re-introduce business class on selected short-haul routes, in the fourth quarter of this year.
The new “Aer Space” product will offer full ticket flexibility, lounge access, priority boarding and luggage handling and complimentary food & drink (we don’t know if this includes hot food or alcoholic drinks).
The seat itself will be the same as economy but the middle seat will be kept free.
There will also be no cabin divider between economy and “Aer Space” (this is so it doesn’t constitute a separate cabin for Air Passenger Duty purposes).
It is very similar to the “Excellence Fare” offered by Vueling and Germanwing’s “Best Fare”.
The routes on which it will be launched have yet to be announced but we expect that London Heathrow – Dublin will be one of the first.
We assume that passengers connecting to/from business class long-haul flights on Aer Lingus and its future IAG/Oneworld partners will be seated in the “Aer Space” seats.
This product has not, as of April 2018, not been implemented and seems to have been postponed indefinitely.
Following the news that the Irish Government has given its support for International Airlines Group’s bid for Aer Lingus and that Ryanair (which holds 30% of the shares in the airline) has also agreed to sell its stake, this means that, barring any last minute complications, it is now a near certainty that the bid will go ahead.
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.
Aer Lingus say the bid remains conditional on, amongst other things, confirmatory due diligence, the recommendation of the Board of Aer Lingus and the receipt of irrevocable commitments from Ryanair and the Minister for Finance of Ireland to accept the offer.
The key stumbling block to IAG acquiring Aer Lingus will be the Irish Government which holds a 25.1% stake in the airline. The Irish Government will need to be satisfied that links between London Heathrow and Ireland will be maintained and Aer Lingus will not loose its Heathrow slot-holdings.
Here are some thoughts we gathered before Christmas on what may happen of IAG is successful in acquiring Aer Lingus.
Aer Lingus has issued a statement on Tuesday recommending the bid. International Airlines Group has also statement confirming that if the acquisition goes ahead Aer Lingus will maintain its own brand and join the Oneworld alliance and transatlantic joint-venture with BA and American Airlines. IAG will also seek to assuage concerns about the maintenance of links between London Heathrow and Cork and Shannon by entering into discussions with the Irish Government.
When International Airlines Group (“IAG”) was formed a little under four years ago from the merger of British Airways and Iberia, it stated an ambition to acquire up to 12 additional airlines.
So far it has acquired two. These are bmi and Vueling. bmi has been integrated into British Airways (bmibaby was closed and bmi regional was sold). Vueling continues to operate on a standalone basis.
Today we learned of an approach by IAG to Aer Lingus. IAG confirmed in a statement to the Stock Exchange that it submitted a proposal to make an offer for Aer Lingus, which has been rejected by the Board of Aer Lingus.
Aer Lingus also formally acknowledged the approach, stating that the initial approach was preliminary, highly conditional and non-binding. Furthermore, in their view it under-valued the company.