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.
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 2 April 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
Rest assured, there are no April Fools stories in this update.
BA suspends London Gatwick – Oakland
Over the past 18 months or so, BA has had its sights set firmly on taking on Norwegian at Gatwick.
It reinstated London Gatwick – New York JFK and added Fort Lauderdale and Oakland at Gatwick to take on Norwegian head to head.
It has also begun to “densify” its Boeing 777 fleet so that, according to BA, it will have a lower seat cost than Norwegian’s fleet of Boeing 787s.
Last week it emerged that taking on Norwegian at Gatwick may not be as straightforward as first thought. BA has announced that Oakland is suspended from Monday 22 October 2018.
This is all BA has said so far. It is not clear whether the route may return on a summer seasonal basis in 2019. BA has also not issued any rebooking guidance to passengers.
Whilst Norwegian can claim a victory in this instance, its own financial and operational performance remains under scrutiny. Passengers flying from Gatwick to New York JFK in particular have been beset by cancellations and delays. The performance of recently launched routes from Gatwick to Austin and Chicago will also provide an indication of how much more scope there is to grow on North Atlantic routes. Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 2 April 2018”
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 26 March 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
Qantas completes inaugural non-stop Perth – London flight
There will no doubt be a great sense of relief at Qantas that its inaugural flight from Perth to London Heathrow, with a fuselage brimming with journalists and politicians, went without a hitch.
Alas, our invitation to the inaugural flight was lost in the post. However, you can read first hand accounts from Natalie Richards of The West Australian and this video report from Beau Pearson of Network Ten Australia:
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told the Sydney Morning Herald that non-stop flights to Paris are under consideration, subject to the performance of London – Perth.
Many UK journalists will be on board the inaugural London – Perth flight QF10 which left Heathrow at 13:09 Sunday afternoon and should arrive in Perth at around 06:00 BST / 13:00 AWST. They will no doubt be filing their own reports shortly after landing.
Qantas is naturally upbeat on forward bookings for the route. Whilst airlines never give away exact numbers on the performance of individual routes we should know in a couple of months from Civil Aviation Authority data how the route is performing in terms of passenger numbers.
Qantas has also opened a new international transit lounge in Perth dedicated to passengers transiting in Perth when travelling on QF9/Q10 services from/to Melbourne and passengers travelling from Perth to London. Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 26 March 2018”
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 19 March 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
Summer Schedule Changes
This coming Sunday, 25 March 2018, marks the beginning of the summer travel season (though the weather clearly thinks otherwise!).
The big headline is of course the launch of the first non-stop scheduled passenger service between London and Australia.
At 05:10 on Sunday 25 March, if all goes to plan, flight QF9 will arrive at London Heathrow Terminal 3 having completed a 17 hour and 20 minute journey from Perth. After eight hours rest, the aircraft will make its way back to Australia for a 16 hour and 45 minute flight back to Perth.
Qantas has made on secret of the fact it wants to launch more non-stop services to Australia and is actively inviting Airbus and Boeing to generate aircraft capable of doing so. As well as the technical capability of aircraft, the future of non-stop services to Australia will fundamentally depend on whether passengers are willing to pay a premium for a non-stop service when there are countless one-stop options.
At the same time, Qantas will also replace London – Dubai – Sydney with London – Singapore – Sydney. Qantas will continue to codeshare with Emirates on flights to Australia via Dubai, but will cease flying its own aircraft via Dubai. Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 19 March 2018”
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 5 March 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
UK & Ireland Weather
The big story over the past week has of course been the weather with very significant disruption across the UK and Ireland.
There has also been significant disruption on the US East Coast with Delta cancelling 900 flights on Friday.
Although it will be little comfort to those whose flights from Heathrow were cancelled, the airport’s preparedness and response to the snow was vastly better than in December 2010.
Consider that on Saturday 18 December 2010 there was the absurd sight of Heathrow’s then Head Of Media participating in a Day Today-esque interview on BBC News immediately after BA cancelled its entire schedule claiming that the airport was operating normally. That very same night no less than 9,500 passengers spent the night sleeping in Heathrow and some 4,000 flights were cancelled over five days. So credit to Heathrow as its investment in more equipment and resources has clearly paid off. (Heathrow’s Media Relations team was also completely overhauled shortly afterwards.) Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 5 March 2018”
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 19 February 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
Singapore Airlines Documentary
Did you see “The World’s Most Luxurious Airline” on Channel 4?
If not, it’s available on Channel 4’s on-demand service, 4OD.
As with any documentary of this type, the combined influence of planning and casting, the production team standing behind the camera, and editing should never be under-estimated. There were the predictable juxtaposition of the worlds of First Class and the everyday and pure Alan Partridge moments from carefully cast and edited contributors.
It was noteworthy how Twitter’s typically mocking live commentary took an abrupt turn when the programme turned to Singapore Airlines’ cabin crew recruitment processes. “Singapore Girl”, which is literally a creation from the 1970s and has barely changed since, felt very out of step with the times and almost tone-deaf. Social attitudes and the constituency of air passengers has changed enormously since the 1970s and it’s clearly time for a rethink. Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 19 February 2018”
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 12 February 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
London City Airport Closed
London City Airport is advising that, as at 00:00 GMT Monday 12 February, it is closed following the discovery of World War Two ordnance in King George V Dock which has resulted in the set up of an exclusion zone.
Lufthansa’s New Livery
Lufthansa officially unveiled its news livery last week.
Of course, its carefully choreographed tour of airports in Germany was upstaged by a leak of the new livery online. In comes a new shade of blue, a new corporate typeface and livery. The yellow has been removed from the tailfin and will be toned down across the airline.
At the moment, there is just one Boeing 747-8 (with flew to New York JFK on Friday) and Airbus A321 in the new livery.
Staff uniforms will be updated in April 2018. Frankfurt and Munich airports will be updated by December 2019. In-flight tableware and amenities will be updated between August 2018 and 2020. The actual rebranding of aircraft liveries will not be fully complete until March 2025.
The introduction of the new livery will be supported by a new brand advertising campaign. There’s more to explore on a dedicated Lufthansa microsite.
As it is Valentines Day this week, BA has released another BA Magic video
The release of a video is not surprising but what is noteworthy is ever more ambitious production values that move closer towards broadcast standards.
Norwegian will launch its new route from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires on Wednesday 14 February, its first route from London to Latin America.
It is also due to launch Austin three times weekly from Tuesday 27 March 2018 and Chicago O’Hare four times weekly from Sunday 25 March 2018.
Norwegian’s latest traffic figures show it has little difficulty filling its planes. However, its results for the quarter to 31 December 2017 will be released on Friday 16 February 2018 and will show how this translates to profitability.
Air Canada Winter Olympics Video
Air Canada has released a video to mark the participation of Canada’s athletes in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Narrated by Ryan Reynolds.
It takes a nation very at ease with itself to present to the world with both self-confidence and humility. Of course, there was a country that did that six and half years ago. Then B****t happened…
IAG and Virgin Atlantic trade barbs over London Heathrow
International Airlines Group’s CEO Willie Walsh fired another salvo in the direction of Heathrow airport last week.
Virgin Atlantic, never one to let BA and its parent have the last word, also issued a press release complaining about BA’s dominance at Heathrow, citing that more than 50 short-haul routes and many long-haul routes are operated exclusively BA this summer.
This is, to be generous, at bit disingenuous.
Many of these short-haul routes are summer seasonal flights which operate around twice a week and open up connectivity between many European destinations and the North Atlantic.
Virgin Atlantic also had the opportunity to operate remedy slots made available as a consequence of BA’s merger with bmi. However, Virgin decided to end its Little Red at Heathrow.
Many long-haul routes operated exclusively by BA are ones that Virgin suspended (Accra and Cape Town). It can also hardly be claimed that the UK economy would be better off without direct links to many “thin” destinations like San Jose or Santiago. Virgin is also 49% owned by Delta Air Lines which has dominant positions at many US airports including Atlanta.
Heathrow Airport is offering members of its “Rewards” loyalty programme the opportunity to win a Plaza Premium lounge pass for 2 for a year.
You can enter via your Heathrow Rewards account. Plaza Premium has built up a very credible portfolio of departures and arrivals lounges at London Heathrow, so this is worth taking the time to enter.
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 5 February 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
Expected disruption due to forecast snow and ice
First of all, not a good start to the week as many flights have been cancelled on Monday morning in anticipation of snow and ice.
At the time of writing BA has cancelled approximately 30 short-haul flights throughout the morning and early afternoon from London Heathrow. As usual, UK domestic flights have borne the brunt of cancellations.
The situation may well change throughout the morning as the impact of the weather is known. You can check live flight information on the websites of Gatwick,Heathrow and London City.