Monday Briefing – 10 June 2019

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British Airways Airbus A350-1000, Toulouse
British Airways Airbus A350-1000, Toulouse

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 10 June 2019.

Airbus Prepares A321XLR Aircraft

The Paris Air show gets underway next Monday.

Airbus is widely expected to unveil its Airbus A321XLR aircraft, the latest variant of its largest single range aircraft. Bloomberg reports that American Airlines is considering this as a replacement for the Boeing 757. It is claimed Airbus A321XLR would be capable of flying from American’s principal hub in Dallas Fort Worth to Central Europe – where its presence is weak due to the lack of Oneworld alliance partners.

In the UK, American currently uses the 757 aircraft to fly seasonally from Edinburgh to Philadelphia. American has cut its presence at UK regional airports, notably Manchester, and this may help it reinstate previously suspended routes.

IAG has also been cited as a potential purchaser, but is likely to want to see how the Airbus A321LR performs for Aer Lingus first.

On an Airbus related note, every month it publishes an updated list of aircraft orders and deliveries.

Based on the update for May published last week, BA has reduced its orders for Airbus A320neo aircraft from 25 to 22 aircraft and increased Airbus A321neo aircraft from 10 to 13 aircraft. Based at London Heathrow, the Airbus A321neo has a capacity for 220 passengers, compared to 180 for the Airbus A320neo.

Staying with BA and Airbus, BA’s first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft emerged in its full Chatham Dockyward livery in Toulouse last week. The airline has not yet confirmed the exact delivery date to London Heathrow and will do so when Airbus gives one months’ notice. You will be seeing more of BA’s Airbus A350-1000 in production as Title Role Productions (who produced “British Airways: 100 Years In The Sky” for Channel 5 last year) have been filming in Toulouse for a forthcoming TV series recently.

The Boeing 747 Centenary Flights That Weren’t

There was a blip last week in what has so far been a well choreographed year of BA centenary celebrations.

BA has removed from its schedules three Boeing 747 flights to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on the day of its centenary, Sunday 25 August 2019.

BA described as coverage of these flights as “speculation”, a common form of non-denial denial. What exactly has happened behind the scenes isn’t known. However, the airline may have been deterred by negative coverage – written by some who really should know better – of the environmental impact.

UK Bank Holidays

The Government has announced that the next early May Bank holiday will be moved from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Alas, Prime Minister Theresa May did not feel inclined to give the UK an extra public holiday as parting gift.

Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 10 June 2019”

BA Boeing 747 Centenary Flights Update

British Airways is offering passengers who have booked flights to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle that were scheduled with a Boeing 747 on Sunday 25 August a refund.

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British Airways Boeing 747 Centenary Tailfins
British Airways Boeing 747 Centenary Tailfins (Image Credit: British Airways)

Last week we reported that BA had scheduled Boeing 747 aircraft on selected UK domestic flights from London Heathrow to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on the day of its centenary, Sunday 25 August 2019.

This did come with the caveat that BA had made no official announcement about these flights. These flights have attracted a lot of interest and a week later BA has today, Friday 7 June 2019, issued the following statement to the travel trade:

We’ve been exploring a number of options to put our customers at the heart of our birthday weekend celebrations, but we still haven’t confirmed any plans.

We haven’t revealed any of the details of our birthday weekend so far. Some aviation websites made a guess at what we were planning, but we were very clear that this was speculation.

We are still considering our options for that weekend and will release details in due course.

Clearly, some passengers may have booked these flights (in some cases for the cost of a transatlantic flight) hoping for special celebrations on board.

BA is now offering passengers who booked a Boeing 747 flight from London Heathrow to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on Sunday 25 August between 30 May and 7 June 2019 and no longer wish to travel a refund.

Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.

Passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

Update: Many passengers are now receiving e-mails from BA advising that these flights will no longer be operated with a Boeing 747 aircraft. So the plan for special flights appears to have been cancelled entirely.

British Airways London Gatwick – New York JFK Cancellations

British Airways has cancelled its daily service from London Gatwick to New York JFK from Tuesday 14 January to Monday 10 February 2020.

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Manhattan at Sunrise
Manhattan at Sunrise (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

British Airways has cancelled its daily service from London Gatwick to New York JFK from Tuesday 14 January to Monday 10 February 2020.

The affected flight numbers are BA2273 from London Gatwick to New York JFK and BA2272 from New York JFK to London Gatwick.

No specific reason has been given for the cancellations other than “commercial reasons” which suggests low seasonal demand.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund. Passengers can also be re-accommodated on alternative American Airlines and BA services from London Heathrow. However, any additional costs such as ground transportation and hotels will be at passengers’ expense.

Passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 5 June 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST.

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Hudson River Park New York
Hudson River Park New York (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

TAP Air Portugal Begins Airbus A321 Long Range Transatlantic Flights

TAP Air Portugal has begun operating the Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft on transatlantic flights from Porto to Newark.

The inaugural flight was last Saturday, 1 June 2019. TAP is the first airline to operate the aircraft on transatlantic routes. It has 14 of the aircraft on order and has cited the potential to launch more routes to the East Coast of the USA. TAP’s A321 Long Range aircraft is configured with 16 seats in business class in an alternating 2-2 / 1-1 configuration and 152 seats in economy.

Aer Lingus has 8 Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft on order. However, the routes on which they will operate is in a state of flux as deliveries have been delayed. Norwegian also has 22 of the aircraft on order, initially for delivery from 2020. However, this is likely to be delayed.

Also of note this week:

Air Canada expects to complete its due diligence on the purchase of Air Transat by the end of June. (Air Canada)

British Airways pilot Mark Vanhoenacker marks the 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic flight. (Financial Times)

Michelin has published its first dedicated guide to California. 90 restaurants in California have received stars, with 7 receiving three Michelin stars. (Michelin)

The Metropolitan Transport Authority New York Transit is to provide clearer service status guidance to passengers. Three vague labels “Delays”, “Service Change” and “Planned Work” have been replaced. There are now seven indicators including Part Suspended, Trains Rerouted and Local to Express. (Metropolitan Transit Authority)

“Why New York Can’t Have Nice Things?” Why is infrastructure is so expensive to build in New York? (New York Magazine)

Construction by Virgin Trains USA of a new high speed rail line between Las Vegas and Southern California is likely to be delayed by two years. (Las Vegas Review Journal)

Not actually transatlantic, but the US Department of Transportation has given tentative approval to the proposed transpacific joint-venture between American Airlines and Qantas. This is subject to consultation and a final decision. American and Qantas must also report annually on the progress of their joint-venture. Qantas has indicated it will launch new routes from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco following regulatory approval. (Department of Transportation)

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 4 June 2019

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in media and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST.

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Apple Maps, iOS13
Apple Maps, iOS13 (Image Credit: Apple)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

Apple Software Updates

Apple has previewed forthcoming software updates on the first day of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose.

The big story is new version of its mobile operating system iOS13.

This features a new “dark mode”, improved photo and video curation and editing capabilities, a new “Sign in with Apple” feature for apps and websites and an entirely new Apple Maps app. Other improvements include a new Reminders and Notes apps.

iOS will be available from this autumn but it will not be compatible will all iPhone models. Full details are available from Apple.

Apple is also releasing a new operating system for the iPad, now known as iPadOS.

This benefits from the improvements to iOS13 as well as a newly designed home screen, improved capabilities for Apple Pencil and improved multi-tasking and text editing facilities. More details are available from Apple.

Apple is also releasing a new operating system for the Apple Watch, watchOS6.

This includes new watch faces, enhanced Siri capabilities, a new dedicated App Store, a new noise app to enable users to understand the impact of their environment on their hearing, and new activity app. Again, more details are available from Apple.

Other announcements from Apple include a new operating system for the Mac desktop known as Catalina. As was widely reported over the weekend, iTunes will be replaced by separate desktop apps for music, TV and podcasts. A full preview is available from Apple.

On a separate Apple note, it has published a defence of the App Store, which is accused of anti-competitive practice.

Continue reading “Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 4 June 2019”

Special British Airways Club World Fares To Canada

BA is offering special Club World fares to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver from 1 July to 31 August 2019.

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Biosphere, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal
Biosphere, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

British Airways is offering special Club World fares to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver from Monday 1 July to Saturday 31 August 2019.

Return fares are available from £2,299 for Montreal, £2,229 for Toronto and £3,099 for Vancouver.

These fares are available when booking 50 days in advance. A Saturday night stay is also required.

Flight and holiday packages are available for £2,626 for Montreal (7 nights), £1,868 for Toronto (4 nights) and £3,454 for Vancouver (5 nights).

These are by no means the best Club World fares for these destinations but they are available at relatively short notice and best available fares ordinarily have to be booked at least six months in advance.

On Vancouver, you do have the benefit of flying on the Airbus A380. Last year, we reviewed Club World from Heathrow to Montreal and from Montreal to Heathrow.

Full details, including terms and conditions, are on the special fares page of ba.com

Flights must be booked by 23:59 GMT on Sunday 16 June 2019.

Monday Briefing – 3 June 2019

Welcome to our weekly briefing on air travel in London and around the world, published every Monday at 06:00 BST.

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Airbus A330neo aircraft
Airbus A330neo aircraft (Image credit: Airbus)

Welcome to our weekly Monday Briefing for the week beginning 3 June 2019.

Reuters: Virgin Atlantic in talks to order Airbus A330neo

Reuters reports that Virgin Atlantic is in talks with Airbus to order up to ten Airbus A330neo aircraft.

This report has emerged ahead of the Paris Air Show which is due to begin in two weeks’ time on Monday 17 June 2019.

There are two Airbus A330neo models, the A330-800 and A330-900. The Airbus A330-900 has a range of 7,200 nautical miles and is designed to accommodate 260-300 passengers.

Virgin Atlantic’s 49% shareholder Delta Air Lines has also ordered 35 of the aircraft, having increased its order from 25 aircraft in late 2018.

The aircraft is currently operated by TAP Air Portugal, which will have 19 of the aircraft in its fleet by the end of this year, and Air Mauritius. Other airlines to have placed significant orders for the aircraft include Air Asia X which will take delivery of its first aircraft later this month.

In terms of where this fits into Virgin’s fleet plan, the airline has 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft on order and is currently leasing three Airbus A330-200 aircraft to compensate for Boeing 787 issues. Virgin has taken delivery of all ten Airbus A330-300 aircraft and 17 Boeing 787-9 aircraft it has ordered. Its last remaining 5 Airbus A340-600 and 8 Boeing 747-400 aircraft are due to be retired in the coming years.

South African Airways CEO Resigns

The South African Broadcasting Corporation reports that its CEO Vuyani Jarana has resigned from the airline.

Vuyani Jarana will leave the airline at the end of August and the South African Airways board has started a search for a successor. A lack of progress in its turnaround strategy has been cited as the reason for his departure.

South African Airways has not reported a profit in eight years. It has significantly reduced its presence in London, having cut Cape Town and reduced Johannesburg to once daily.

Vuyani Jarana recently gave an interview to the Centre for Aviation for the IATA AGM on the challenges facing the aviation industry in Africa.

Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 3 June 2019”

BA Glasgow Lounge Closes For Refurbishment

The BA lounge at Glasgow airport has closed for a light refurbishment and will reopen later in June 2019.

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British Airways lounge at Washington Dulles International Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

(Image Credit: British Airways)

The British Airways lounge at Glasgow airport has closed for refurbishment from today, Sunday 2 June 2019.

It’s a relatively light refurbishment as the 450 square metres lounge will reopen later this month – a full refurbishment can take up to six months.

BA say the updated lounge will have “a contemporary luxurious new look and feel” and take “inspiration” from recent lounge refurbishments in Aberdeen, New York JFK and Rome.

The existing lounge opened in 2013 and was an evolution of BA’s Galleries format. Designed by Glasgow based design agency Graven there was a strong emphasis on materials sourced from local suppliers.

There are no alternative lounge facilities during the closure. Eligible passengers will be offered a voucher which can be collected at the check-in desks or from the customer services desk near Gate 22.

Update Friday 14 June 2019: The refurbished lounge is due to reopen Sunday 16 June 2019.

British Airways Extends Loganair Codeshares

British Airways has extended its codeshare relationship with Loganair to include Edinburgh – Bergen & Stavanger.

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Loganair Embraer 135 Aircraft
Loganair Embraer 135 Aircraft (Image Credit: Loganair)

British Airways has a long-running codeshare with Loganair, which for the past two years has operated as an independent airline after previously being a Flybe and BA franchisee.

This has been largely limited to UK domestic flights from Scottish airports to the Highlands and Islands.

However, this has now been extended to two international routes from Edinburgh to Bergen and Stavanger in Norway. These two routes were suspended by BA from London Heathrow in October 2017.

Loganair flies to Bergen three times weekly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It flies to Stavanger four times weekly on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Both routes are operated with Embraer E135 aircraft with 37 seats in a single cabin configuration.

Continue reading “British Airways Extends Loganair Codeshares”

British Airways Centenary Boeing 747 Flights

British Airways will operate Boeing 747 aircraft on selected UK domestic flights on the day of its centenary.

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British Airways Boeing 747 Centenary Tailfins
British Airways Boeing 747 Centenary Tailfins (Image Credit: British Airways)

It has been known for some months that British Airways will be operating special flights to mark its centenary, which falls on Sunday 25 August 2019.

The airline has not yet made any official announcement. However, schedules are currently showing that Boeing 747 aircraft (most likely those in retro liveries) will operate three domestic return flights from London Heathrow Terminal 5 on Sunday 25 August 2019.

London Heathrow – Glasgow

Flight BA1482 Depart London Heathrow 12:00 – Arrive Glasgow 13:30
Flight BA1487 Depart Glasgow 15:00 – Arrive London Heathrow 16:25

These flights will be operated with an 86 Club World seat aircraft.

London Heathrow – Manchester

Flight BA1386 Depart London Heathrow 10:10 – Arrive Manchester 11:20
Flight BA1391 Depart Manchester 12:50 – Arrive London Heathrow 14:00

These flights will be operated with a 52 Club World seat aircraft.

London Heathrow – Newcastle

Flight BA1326 Depart London Heathrow 09:20 – Arrive Newcastle 10:35
Flight BA1327 Depart Newcastle 12:40 – Arrive London Heathrow 14:00

These flights will be operated with a 52 Club World seat aircraft.

Continue reading “British Airways Centenary Boeing 747 Flights”