Monday Briefing – 11 June 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.

London Air Travel

Her Majesty The Queen officially opens Gatwick on 9 June 1958; the North Terminal on 18 March 2018; Gatwick check-in area 1958
Her Majesty The Queen officially opens Gatwick on 9 June 1958; the North Terminal on 18 March 1988; Gatwick check-in area 1958 (Image Credit: London Gatwick)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 11 June 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

Qatar Airways now operating for BA

Qatar Airways is now operating selected long-haul flights for BA.

It is operating all BA flights to Kuwait until 30 June / 1 July, Muscat until 20 / 21 August, as well as one of its two daily flights to Dehli, also until 20 / 21 August.

All flights are being operated by Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two class configuration. Qatar has sent three aircraft to Heathrow for these flights.

It is worth noting that since BA first published rebooking guidance for passengers, this has been updated.

Passengers in Club World can also fly to Kuwait and Muscat via Abu Dhabi on Etihad by connecting from a BA flight from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi. Club World passengers due to fly to Delhi can also fly on Air India by connecting from one of BA’s own services from London Heathrow to India.

According to publicly available flight data, two out of ten BA Boeing 787-8 aircraft have been out of service for some weeks (Registrations G-ZBJD & G-ZBJE). At the time of writing, four out of eighteen BA Boeing 787-9 aircraft have not flown since at least Friday 8 June 2018 (Registrations G-ZBKC, G-ZBKJ, G-ZBJK & G-ZBKO).

The following flights also remain cancelled:

– BA280 / BA281 London Heathrow – Los Angeles until Thursday 5 July 2018
– BA278 / BA279 London Heathrow – San Jose until Sunday 17 June 2018
– BA5 / BA6 London Heathrow – Tokyo Narita until Tuesday 26 June 2018

Update: Rolls-Royce has this morning issued an update advising that a similar component issue to the one in “Package C” Trent 1000 engines has been found in some “Package B” engines. Therefore, precautionary checks will be carried out on these engines. This is likely to lead to further disruption.

IAG CEO Willie Walsh speaks at the IATA AGM

IATA held its Annual General Meeting together with the World Air Transport Summit in Sydney last week. It did of course generate a lot of headlines for the wrong reasons.

Although many airline CEOs were in attendance, as most of them lead public companies, they can’t actually say much beyond what they have already told their investors. IAG CEO Willie Walsh is always good value at a conference, expressing incredulity at Alitalia spending €7m on new uniforms whilst in administration.

The Centre For Aviation has published an interview with Willie Walsh as part of its daily publications during the event.

A couple of quotes of note on IAG’s bid for Norwegian and the Airbus A321 long range at Aer Lingus, which may ultimately be ordered by other IAG airlines such as BA:
Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 11 June 2018”

60 Years Of London Gatwick

To mark the 60th anniversary of the official opening of London Gatwick airport on 9 June 1958, we take look at key moments in its history.

London Air Travel

London Gatwick Check In Area 1958
London Gatwick Check In Area 1958 (Image Credit: Gatwick Airport)

Saturday 9 June 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of London Gatwick airport in its current form.

The airport first started operations on 6 June 1936. Her Majesty The Queen officially opened what is now known as the South Terminal on 9 June 1958.

In its 60 year history Gatwick has been the birthplace of Freddie Lakers’ “SkyTrain” service from London to New York in 1977 and Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight to Newark in 1984. It has seen easyJet grow from next to nothing to operating nearly half of all flights at the airport within the space of 20 years.

It has seen a near complete exodus of North American routes to Heathrow after EU-US Open Skies in 2008, only for Norwegian to launch routes many key American gateways. It has seen BA slash capacity at the airport by almost half at the start of this century, and to rebound in recent years.

Gatwick has also been home to many former airlines including British Caledonian, Dan-Air, GB Airways, Monarch, XL airways and Zoom.

Gatwick has also welcomed Heads of State to the UK including French President Charles de Gaulle in 1961 and US President John F Kennedy in 1963.

So let’s take a look back at the airport’s history over the past sixty years:
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BA and Fiji Airways Codeshare

British Airways is to codeshare with Fiji Airways from Singapore, San Francisco and Los Angeles to Fiji.

London Air Travel

Fiji Airways A330 (Image Credit: Oneworld Alliance)
Fiji Airways A330 (Image Credit: Oneworld Alliance)

British Airways is to codeshare with Fiji Airways from Singapore, San Francisco and Los Angeles to Fiji.

This follows an announcement that Fiji Airways is to join Oneworld under a new form of membership known as “Oneworld Select”.

Fiji Airways flies from Los Angeles daily, San Francisco on Thursdays and Saturdays, and Singapore on Mondays and Saturdays to Nadi International Airport.

The codeshare comes into effect from Wednesday 13 June 2018. The flight time is approximately 11 hours and 20 minutes from both Los Angeles and San Francisco and 10 hours from Singapore.

Flights are operated with Airbus A330 aircraft. Fiji Airways has a fleet of 3 Airbus A330-200 and 1 Airbus A330-300 aircraft in a two class, business and economy, configuration.

Fiji Airways and Fiji Link also have a fleet of Boeing 737 and ATR aircraft which serve a number of regional destinations such as Matei, Nausori and Savusavu.

Note these codeshares can only be booked when connecting from an international flight.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com
Continue reading “BA and Fiji Airways Codeshare”

BA suspends London Heathrow – Calgary for winter season

British Airways has suspended its daily service to Calgary for the winter from Sunday 28 October 2018 to Sunday 31 March 2019.

London Air Travel

British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (Image Credit: Heathrow)
British Airways has suspended its daily service from London Heathrow to Calgary for the winter season.

The last outbound and inbound flight operates on Saturday 27 October 2018. The service resumes on Sunday 31 March 2019. The affected flight numbers are BA102 and BA103.

No specific reason has been given for the cancellation. However, it is a reasonable assumption that unsatisfactory commercial performance is behind the decision.

BA started flying from London Heathrow to Calgary in December 2006, initially with a Boeing 767 aircraft. The route then changed to a Boeing 787 in July 2014.

Air Canada will continue to fly direct from London Heathrow to Calgary year-round.

Rebooking Options as at Wednesday 6 June 2018

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund.

Alternatively, passengers can also rebook to a date when BA is flying to Calgary.

Passengers can also rebook to an alternative BA destination in the US and Canada. However, any additional costs will be at your expense.

BA is in discussions with local airlines about rebooking arrangements. It is likely that further options will be announced in the next few days. Unless you would prefer a refund or to fly to another destination, we would recommend waiting until these have been confirmed before taking any action.

Passengers who need to change their booking should contact either BA or their travel agent.

Rebooking Options As At Tuesday 12 June 2018

BA has now secured a rebooking arrangement with United Airlines.

Passengers can rebook to Calgary by connecting to United Airlines from either Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston or San Francisco.

Clearly, unless you enjoy taking circuitous routings, Chicago O’Hare is the only logical option!

In all cases, passengers must connect from a British Airways flight from London Heathrow. As United Airlines does not offer premium economy, passengers booked in World Traveller Plus will be booked into economy on United Airlines.

Rebooking Options As At Tuesday 19 June 2018

BA has also secured a rebooking arrangement with Alaska Airlines.

Passengers can rebook to Calgary by connecting to Alaska Airlines from Seattle

Again, passengers must connect from a British Airways flight from London Heathrow. As Alaska Airlines does not offer premium economy, passengers booked in World Traveller Plus will be booked into economy on Alaska Airlines.

In theory, in addition to the options above, passengers should be also be able to be accommodated on American Airlines. However, its flights to Calgary from the US are relatively limited.

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 6 June 2018

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

London Air Travel

American Airlines, Jet Blue, United, Virgin Atlantic Pride Logos (Respective Image Credit)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 6 June 2018, 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.

BA takes London Heathrow – Calgary off sale for the winter

British Airways has taken its route from London Heathrow to Calgary off sale for the winter season from Sunday 28 October 2018 to Sunday 31 March 2019.

The airline has not officially confirmed the suspension. An official statement, with details for rebooking arrangements for affected passengers, should be released in the next couple of days.

The route launched in December 2006 with a Boeing 767 aircraft. It then switched to a Boeing 787 aircraft in July 2014.

BA does not have a local airline partner in Canada. Its codeshare partnership with WestJet ceased, for reasons never disclosed, in October 2016. In the absence of local codeshare partners, BA passengers would have to connect onto American Airlines’ services to Calgary from the US.

Primera Air cancels long-haul flights from Birmingham

Primera has cancelled its entire long-haul schedule from Birmingham International Airport for the summer.

Flights from Birmingham to Newark will be suspended from Thursday 21 June 2018. Toronto Pearson will not launch as originally planned on Tuesday 26 June 2018.

Whilst the finger of blame has been pointed squarley at Airbus for late deliveries of Airbus A321neo aircraft, this is indicative how hard long-haul operations are for relatively small airlines.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 6 June 2018”

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 5 June 2018

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

London Air Travel

BA First WiFi
(Image Credit: British Airways)

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 previews iOS12

Apple held its keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday, 4 June 2018.

There were no announcements regarding Apple hardware. The main announcement was a preview of Apple’s next mobile operating system iOS12.

It will include more features to manage time using mobile devices and minimise disturbances. Such features include an enhanced Do Not Disturb feature, new settings for notifications and a new “Screen Time” feature which measures time spent using specific apps.

Apple also promises much faster performance, new tools to manage photographs and Group FaceTime chat. (Apple Newsroom)

Apple also previewed new software for Apple Watch (Apple Newsroom) and Apple TV. (Apple Newsroom)

iOS12 will be available for download this autumn.
Continue reading “Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 5 June 2018”

Qatar Airways to operate for BA to Delhi, Kuwait & Muscat

Qatar Airways is to operate BA flights between London Heathrow and Delhi, Kuwait and Muscat from early June to August 2018. There will be significant changes for all passengers.

London Air Travel

Qatar Airways Logo
Qatar Airways Logo (Credit: Qatar Airways)

Qatar Airways is to operate selected British Airways flights from London Heathrow to Delhi, Kuwait & Muscat between June and August 2018.

This is in response to additional maintenance requirements to the engines of BA’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet which has already resulted in extensive cancellations to Doha as well as Los Angeles, San Jose and Tokyo Narita.

Flights operated by Qatar Airways will be operated by Qatar Airways A330 aircraft and its pilots and cabin crew. The aircraft will not have a First Class or premium economy cabin. In addition, there will be differences to special meals and other aspects the in-flight service. All flights will continue to operate from London Heathrow Terminal 5.

Rebooking options are available to passengers, including on alternative routes and airlines. However, these depend on which cabin you are booked in.

Please note this guidance is based on BA’s advice first issued to the travel trade on Monday 4 June 2018. It has already been subject to change and will no doubt continue to be so.

Affected Routes & Flights

Delhi

Qatar Airways will operate BA’s daily Boeing 787-9 service to Delhi:

Flight BA143 London Heathrow – Delhi (Saturday 9 June – Monday 20 August 2018)
Flight BA142 Delhi – London Heathrow (Sunday 10 June – Tuesday 21 August 2018)

BA will continue to operate flights BA256 and BA257 between London and Delhi with a Boeing 777-200.

Kuwait

Qatar Airways will operate BA’s daily Boeing 777-200 service to Kuwait:

Flight BA157 London Heathrow to Kuwait (Saturday 9 June – Saturday 30 June 2018)
Flight BA156 Kuwait to London Heathrow (Sunday 10 June – Sunday 1 July 2018)

Muscat

Qatar Airways will operate BA’s daily Boeing 787-9 service to Muscat:

Flight BA79 London Heathrow to Muscat (Saturday 9 June – Monday 20 August 2018)
Flight BA80 Muscat to London Heathrow (Sunday 10 June – Tuesday 21 August 2018)
Continue reading “Qatar Airways to operate for BA to Delhi, Kuwait & Muscat”

Monday Briefing – 4 June 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.

London Air Travel

Fiji Airways & Oneworld Connect
Fiji Airways & Oneworld Connect (Image Credit: Oneworld Connect)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 4 June 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

Oneworld introduces “Oneworld Connect” membership

Ever since International Airlines Group acquired Aer Lingus there has been the perennial question as to when the airline would rejoin the alliance after it left in 2007.

In spite of early promises that Aer Lingus would rejoin the alliance, there appears to be no evidence of any imminent activity.

Perhaps we now have an answer. On Sunday 3 June 2018 at the IATA AGM in Sydney (fortuitously for the delegates timed to coincide with Vivid Sydney), Oneworld announced a new form of membership known as “Oneworld Connect”.

Oneworld Connect places significantly lower obligations on members. They only have to offer priority check-in and boarding to all Oneworld frequent flyers.

Other Oneworld benefits such as mileage earning and redemption and lounge access will only be offered to customers of “sponsoring airlines”, of which there must be at least three. More benefits can be offered by agreement with individual airlines.

This is clearly a tacit admission that Oneworld has gone as far as it can in securing new members. There are lots of airlines which with Oneworld members have varying levels of co-operation. Not just Aer Lingus. But also its fellow IAG subsidiary Vueling. Other potential candidates could include Air Italy, Alaska Airlines, Bangkok Airways and Royal Air Maroc.

It has also been confirmed that BA and Fiji Airways are to explore areas for co-operation. BA and Fiji Airways have already sought regulatory approval for BA to codeshare on Fiji Airways flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Fiji. An announcement about this could come as soon as this week.

IAG Negotiations with Airbus

When IAG released its first quarter results last month, Willie Walsh confirmed that the group was in discussions with aircraft and engine manufacturers on a new aircraft order.

It is expected that the order will be announced in the next 12 months. Talks with Boeing and General Electric were described as “particularly constructive”. And now we can see why.

Bloomberg reports that IAG has suspended talks with Airbus over an order for new Airbus A380s.

Airlines of course have regular discussions with aircraft manufacturers and conversations are leaked for a reason.

The real story here is that BA/IAG do want more Airbus A380 aircraft, but clearly not at any price.

IAG has previously mooted leasing second hand Airbus A380s, but this has evidently not come to anything. So now it’s back to looking at new aircraft. IAG has options for a further seven aircraft. Whilst Willie Walsh has suggested Airbus A380s could be deployed at Aer Lingus and Iberia, this seems unlikely. Aer Lingus doesn’t even have plans to introduce the Airbus A350.

The A380 is clearly serving BA well on major trunk routes and there is scope to add more year round capacity to more routes.

On a related note, BA took delivery of its 18th Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (registration G-ZBKS) and its 27th Dreamliner aircraft in total on 31 May 2018. It is due to complete its inaugural scheduled passenger flight to New Orleans today. It will no doubt provide some welcome additional capacity as it addresses engine issues with the rest of is Dreamliner fleet.
Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 4 June 2018”

Fiji Airways joins “Oneworld Connect” alliance

Fiji Airways is to join Oneworld Connect, a new tier of alliance membership offering selected benefits to some members of Oneworld.

London Air Travel

Fiji Airways A330 (Image Credit: Oneworld Alliance)
Fiji Airways A330 (Image Credit: Oneworld Alliance)

Fiji Airways is to join the Oneworld alliance under a new tier of membership known as “Oneworld Connect”.

Fiji Airways is the first airline to join Oneworld connect. The exact joining date is yet to be confirmed.

Its membership will be sponsored by American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas.

Under this form of membership, many Oneworld benefits will only be offered by Fiji Airways to customers of these sponsoring airlines.

Oneworld Connect

Oneworld Connect is a new form of alliance membership where the member airline offers a relatively limited range of benefits.

Some benefits are only offered to passengers of certain member airlines.

Benefits offered by Oneworld Connect airlines to all Oneworld passengers

– Priority check-In for Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers
– Priority boarding for Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers

Benefits offered by Oneworld Connect airlines to passengers of sponsor airlines (eg BA)

– Through check-in of bags and passengers on the same ticket
– Earning and redemption of frequent flyer miles
– Earning of tier points / status credits
– Access to “select lounges at key airports for premium and top-tier customers” (this is not precisely defined)

Additional services may be offered on an airline-by-airline basis.

Joining an alliance is a significant commitment in terms of investment in IT and providing reciprocal frequent flyer benefits. This is clearly aimed at smaller airlines, including those that don’t have their own frequent flyer programmes.

Whilst is does allow more airlines to join the alliance and allow greater flexibility, it does introduce inconsistency in terms of membership benefits.

It’s also not clear what happens if a customer is travelling on a sponsoring airline but has Oneworld frequent flyer status through a programme of a non-sponsoring Oneworld member.
Continue reading “Fiji Airways joins “Oneworld Connect” alliance”

United reveals Newark Polaris Lounge

United has revealed details of its new Polaris lounge for premium international passengers at Newark Liberty International Airport which opens on Monday 4 June 2018.

London Air Travel

United Polaris Lounge Entrance Newark Liberty International Airport (Image Credit: United Airlines)
United Polaris Lounge Entrance Newark Liberty International Airport (Image Credit: United Airlines)

United has today, Thursday 31 May 2018, released press images of its latest international lounge under the “Polaris” brand at Terminal C of Newark Liberty International Airport.

At 27,000 sq ft in size, the lounge features:

– A light installation in the entrance by Richard Clarkson

– Seating for 455 passengers across 15 different types of seats including the Polaris seat which features a privacy divider, an integrated table and personal lamp

– No less than 570 power outlets and 450 USB ports

– 10 private day beds with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding

– 10 shower suites with Cowshed bath & body products

– A private dining area with table service for 48 guests

– Self-service buffet

– A staffed bar with a dedicated cocktail menu

The lounge officially opens to passengers on Monday 4 June 2018. It follows a recent Polaris lounge opening in San Francisco. New Polaris lounges are due to open in Houston and Los Angeles later this year. United will open a new Polaris lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 2 in the next couple of years.

Under United lounge access rules passengers must be travelling in business or first class on an international flight on United Airlines or a Star Alliance member airline to be eligible to access the lounge.

The lounge does make United a much stronger competitor on the London – New York route. It is relatively weak in terms of frequency with 5 flights a day versus 16 joint American Airlines & BA flights, and 9 joint Delta & Virgin Atlantic flights.

It certainly raises the bar for BA at New York JFK Terminal 7, where it is due to open new lounges later this year. Many readers may recall United once had a lounge at JFK Terminal 7 which was dimly lit with terrible coffee.

More general information on the Polaris airport and in-flight experience is available at United.
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