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.
British Airways and Aer Lingus have taken their first steps to greater collaboration now that the two airlines are under the umbrella of International Airlines Group.
The two airlines have historically codeshared on certain routes between Ireland and the UK, but BA codeshares on Aer Lingus operated flights have typically only been available when transferring onto a long-haul flight.
Aer Lingus routes between London Heathrow and Dublin, Shannon and Cork and London Gatwick and Dublin, Belfast City and Cork can now be booked via ba.com when travelling direct between the UK and Ireland from Wednesday 11 November 2015.
In addition, Aer Lingus routes between London Gatwick and Knock and London Heathrow and Belfast City can now be booked as codeshares through ba.com when travelling from Wednesday 11 November 2015.
BA is also applying its flight codes to Aer Lingus flights from UK regional airports, with Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool being the first added.
A gentle reminder that when booking codeshares it is the operating airline’s procedures that apply regarding luggage and in-flight service. Also, Aer Lingus flights from London Heathrow depart from Terminal 2.
We should hear more in the coming weeks about greater co-operation between Aer Lingus, IAG and the Oneworld alliance specifically with regard to reciprocal frequent flyer recognition, codesharing and co-ordination of schedules.
Good news for air travellers in the Scottish Highlands. Inverness is to regain a direct link to London Heathrow as British Airways is to reinstate a direct link between the airport and Inverness (Inverness airport) from Tuesday 3 May 2016.
BA had suspended the route on 16 November 1997, having previously flown to Inverness since 19 November 1968.
A single daily flight will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 5 using an Airbus A319 aircraft. The flight will operate in a single class domestic configuration.
Flight BA1468 Depart London Heathrow 09:55 – Arrive Inverness 11:30
Flight BA1469 Depart Inverness 12:10 – Arrive London Heathrow 13:40
Although not explicitly stated by BA, it’s likely that the re-opening of this route has been facilitated by the return of slots formerly used by Virgin Atlantic Little Red to BA and favourable commercial terms/assurances from Inverness airport and local businesses.
It is also worth noting that Air Passenger Duty does not apply on flights from Inverness to London Heathrow as flights from this airport are exempt from the tax. It will, however, still apply to flights from London Heathrow to Inverness.
Launched in late 2009 when the airline was still reeling from the impact of the global financial crisis, British Airways’ daily service from London Heathrow to Las Vegas was an instant success with capacity quickly added through an aircraft upgrade and, more recently an additional three times weekly service from London Gatwick.
The service from London Gatwick has now been suspended, with the last return flight operating on Sunday 25 April 2016. BA will continue to fly to Vegas at least once a day from London Heathrow.
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
Just a couple of weeks after Qatar Airways announced that it is to fly from Doha to Sydney the airline continues its expansion in the Australia market, the with the launch of a daily flight from Doha to Adelaide from Monday 2 May 2016.
This is Qatar Airways’ fourth destination in Australia after (as mentioned above) Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
Qatar will fly to Adelaide using its latest Airbus A350 aircraft, operating in a two class (business and economy) configuration.
The aircraft comprises 36 seats in business class in a 1-2-1 configuration, featuring 80″ fully-flat beds and 17″ HD in-flight entertainment screens, and 247 seats in economy, each 18-inches wide in a 3-3-3 configuration, with up to a 32″ pitch. Each individual economy seat features a 10.6″ in-flight entertainment screen. Wi-Fi is also available in all classes.
Flight QR 914 Depart Doha 20:55 – Arrive Adelaide 16:20
Flight QR 915 Depart Adelaide 21:30 – Arrive Doha 04:50
As Qatar Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance, members of other Oneworld alliance frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles on this route.
British Airways is to relaunch a daily service from London Gatwick to New York JFK from Sunday 1 May 2016.
The airline last flew between the two airports for a short period in 2008-2009 and the service was then ostensibly a “slot-sitting” exercise pending the launch of BA’s London City – New York JFK service.
The route will be operated with a three class Boeing 777-200 aircraft with Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy and World Traveller economy cabins.
BA will be competing head on against Norwegian Air Shuttle which has a growing transatlantic network at London Gatwick including routes such as Boston, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.
The flight is being accommodated by the cancellation of BA’s thrice weekly London Gatwick – Las Vegas service and frequency adjustments on other routes.
The route will also be bookable as a codeshare with American Airlines, Iberia and Finnair.
Passsengers should also be aware that from January 2016 BA will have limited lounge facilities at Gatwick as its lounges will be closed pending its move to the South terminal in November 2016.
British Airways continues its successful strategy of summer seasonal routes from London Heathrow with the launch of there new routes from 2016: Biarritz in South West France, Mahon on the island of Menorca and Palermo, the capital of Sciliy.
The airline will fly two times a week to Biarritz from Sunday 1 May, four times a week to Menorca from Friday 29 April 2016 and two times a week to Palermo from Saturday 30 April 2016.
All flights will depart from London Heathrow Terminal 5. Flights are on sale now at ba.com
London Heathrow – Biarritz (Biarritz Pay-Basque airport)