Air Canada Rouge to launch seasonal London Gatwick – Vancouver

Air Canada Rouge will fly from London Gatwick to Vancouver three times on a summer seasonal basis from June 2017.

London Air Travel » Page 73

Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300 aircraft
Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300 aircraft (Image Credit: Air Canada)

Over the past couple of years there has been significant growth in routes between London and Canada, notably with the launch of flights by Canadian airline WestJet this summer from London Gatwick to a number of cities in Canada.

Although WestJet’s entry into the long-haul market was far from smooth with significant technical problems with its fleet of 2nd hand aircraft, it is pressing ahead with its long-haul operation at London Gatwick.

Air Canada responded by launching flights operated by its budget airline Air Canada Rouge from London Gatwick to Toronto last year.

In the summer of 2017, Air Canada Rouge will expand its routes further, launching a direct route from London Gatwick to Vancouver.
Continue reading “Air Canada Rouge to launch seasonal London Gatwick – Vancouver”

What is the status of the integration of Aer Lingus into IAG?

London Air Travel » Page 73

International Airlines Group - Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia, Vueling
International Airlines Group – Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia, Vueling

More than a year has passed since International Airlines Group (“IAG”) acquired Aer Lingus and it joined British Airways, Iberia and Vueling under the umbrella of IAG.

The merger is of particular interest particularly because of both the proximity of Dublin to London Heathrow and the fact that Dublin airport offers US Customs & Immigration pre-clearance.

Whilst much has been done to align Aer Lingus to their IAG siblings, there is still a lot to be done, with many announcements yet to be made.

Here’s a quick run through of what has and hasn’t happened, with some added speculation on our part.
Continue reading “What is the status of the integration of Aer Lingus into IAG?”

A summary of BA news at IAG’s 2016 Capital Markets Day

London Air Travel » Page 73

International Airlines Group - Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia, Vueling
International Airlines Group – Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia, Vueling

International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling, held its annual Capital Markets Day on Friday 4 November 2016.

Whilst the event is very much aimed at investors with industrial quantities of Powerpoint, there are number of announcements of interests to passengers. You can view the full side deck here.

Here is quick race through some of the announcements and general themes of the day, and some things that were not announced:
Continue reading “A summary of BA news at IAG’s 2016 Capital Markets Day”

BA promises major investment in Club World

British Airways has outlined its initial plans to invest in its long-haul business class cabin, Club World. These include radical changes to food & beverage, new bedding and new service routines designed to maximise the available time for sleeping on flights.

London Air Travel » Page 73

British Airways Investment Plan for Club World (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)

BA has announced today (4 November 2016) at the Capital Markets Day of its parent company, International Airlines group, a significant investment in its Club World long-haul business class cabin.

At the outset, we should say this is unlikely to involve BA removing its “yin-yang” 2-4-2 Club World seating configuration from existing long-haul aircraft.

A new Club World seat is planned for the Airbus A350 aircraft which is not due to enter service for some time. However, this is expected to maintain the 2-4-2 configuration, but with modifications to provide direct aisle access for all.

Whilst this is uncompetitive against many airlines which have introduced business class seats with all aisle access, BA favours the density of seating afforded by this configuration.

What BA does promise is a significant improvement in food & beverage through, for example, the ability to pre-order a wider range of meals online in advance of a flight and a complete redesign of the in-flight service.

BA also promises investment in cabin crew training and an improvements to cabin ambience to provide a better environment for sleeping (we’re not quite sure what that will be).

In the interests of expectations management, this investment is unlikely to involve increases in cabin crew numbers in the cabin nor changes to the size of the galleys on the aircraft, so we would not expect anything truly radical.  BA is also not likely to introduce anything that adds significant weight to aircraft or could result in high levels of wastage.

No date has been set for the changes. However, when they are implemented it is likely they will be introduced gradually across the route network.

You can view the full slide deck from the Capital Markets Day here.

More to read on BA Club World:

BA to increase economy seat density on selected Boeing 777s

London Air Travel » Page 73

British Airways has confirmed at the Capital Markets Day of its parent company, International Airlines Group, that it is to increase the density of seating on selected long-haul Boeing 777 aircraft from 9 to 10 seats a row in its World Traveller economy cabin.

This move will be implemented on 25 Boeing 777 aircraft which is understood to be all of BA’s Boeing 777s at London Gatwick and selected Boeing 777s at London Heathrow. It will add an additional 36 economy seats to the aircraft.

BA will also reduce the size of the Club World business class cabin from 40 to 32 seats and increase the size of the World Traveller Plus premium economy cabin from 24 to 42 seats on these aircraft.

The reconfigured aircraft are expected to enter service in 2018.

This is in fact not the first time BA has implemented  10-across seating in World Traveller economy as many Gatwick based Boeing 777 aircraft had this configuration in the 1990s.

There are no plans to increase the density on other long-haul aircraft. However, you can be confident that BA will be monitoring closely passenger feedback and the financial performance of routes with the increased seating density.

This is no doubt a competitive response to both the growth of Norwegian at London Gatwick and many other airlines which have similar configurations on Boeing 777 aircraft.

Whilst the airline will no doubt say this is a necessary competitive move, it will mean a more crowded cabin, less overhead baggage space, lower crew-passenger ratios, and more queues for the washrooms.

On a similar note, BA also hints that its long-haul economy product may be “unbundled” with separate charges for items such as checked bags for certain fates, as has happpend on short-haul. If this does happen, it is likely to operate on a trial basis, initially at London Gatwick.

You can view the full slide deck from the Capital Markets Day here.

Update February 2018: Here are details of the routes on which the densified Boeing 777s are expected to operate.

BA to introduce business class on UK domestic routes

London Air Travel » Page 73

British Airways parent company, International Airlines Group, is holding its annual Capital Markets Day today, Friday 25 November 2016.

Whilst the event is very much aimed at the group’s institutional investors, there are also a number of announcements of interest to passengers.

One of which is that BA is to introduce the equivalent of its European short-haul business class product Club Europe on U.K. Domestic routes from London to Belfast, Manchester, Leeds-Bradford, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness. Historically, aircraft on UK domestic routes have operated with a single class configuration.

This means passengers will benefit from seating in 2-2, rather than 3-3 configuration as well as complimentary food & drink (though this is likely to be limited given the relatively short flying times).

The exact timescale is to be revealed though it should be relatively easy to do given it doesn’t require any physical changes to aircraft.

This is no doubt a response to the decision to introduce buy-on-board catering in economy on all European and domestic short-haul flights and will ensure passengers in business and first class connecting from long-haul flights receive complimentary catering on their short-haul connections within the UK.

You can view the slide deck from the Capital Markets Day here.

Update: Club Europe will be available on UK domestic routes from Friday 31 March 2017. More details here.

KLM returns to London City from 6 February 2017

London Air Travel » Page 73

KLM Cityhopper Embraer E190 aircraft
KLM Cityhopper Embraer E190 aircraft (Image Credit: KLM)

Dutch airline KLM is to return to London City airport from Monday 6 February 2017 with direct flights to Amsterdam Schipol airport.

Flights with initially operate once a day on weekdays from Monday 6 February 2017. The schedule will progressively increase to four times a day on weekdays with daily flights on Saturdays and twice daily on Sundays from 28 March 2017.

A four times daily schedule will clearly allow for ample connections to and from KLM’s extensive international network at Amsterdam Schipol.

Flights will be operated by KLM CityHopper using 100 seat Embraer E-190 aircraft, which should afford good leg room.

Flights are on sale now at klm.com

The London City – Amsterdam route is currently served by both CityJet and BA CityFlyer so passengers will have an extensive schedule of flights to choose from in 2017.

KLM currently serves London City from Amsterdam via a codeshare arrangement with CityJet and it is assumed this will discontinue after KLM launches its own flights.

New BA routes to Brindisi, Montpellier, Murcia, Nantes, Pula, Tallinn & Zakynthos

British Airways is operating summer seasonal routes from London Heathrow to Brindisi, Montpellier, Murcia, Nantes, Pula, Tallinn & Zakynthos

London Air Travel » Page 73

British Airways Short Haul Economy Cabin
British Airways Short Haul Economy Cabin (Credit: British Airways)

Over the past few years British Airways has steadily built up a large portfolio of seasonal summer routes from London Heathrow to sunshine destinations in Europe.

BA has today announced another tranche of seven new seasonal routes for the summer of 2017.

These are:

Montpellier, France (from 3 May 2017 – 30 September 2017)
Nantes, France (from 28 March 2017 – 28 October 2017)
Murcia, Spain (from 28 March 2017 – 28 October 2017)
Tallinn, Estonia (from 28 March 2017 – 28 October 2017)
Pula, Croatia (from 1 July 2017 – 30 September 2017)
Brindisi, Southern Italy (from 3 June 2017 – 30 September 2017)
The Greek Island of Zakynthos (from 3 June 2017 – 30 September 2017)

All of these routes will operate twice weekly on Saturdays and either Tuesday or Wednesday.

All flights will operate to and from London Heathrow Terminal 5, with the exception of Pula which will operate from Terminal 3.

Additional weekly frequencies may be announced in the coming months, depending on commercial demand.

A large number of seasonal routes operated in previous years, such as Ibiza, Corfu, Mykonos, and Palermo will also return in 2017.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

BA has also produced a short PDF document highlighting these new routes.

BA launches London Gatwick – Oakland from 28 March 2017

London Air Travel » Page 73

British Airways Boeing 777 at London Gatwick
British Airways Boeing 777 at London Gatwick

British Airways has announced its third new transatlantic route in as many weeks with the launch of a four times weekly service from London Gatwick to Oakland California (Oakland International Airport) from 28 March 2017.

This follows the launch of Fort Lauderdale from London Gatwick and New Orleans from London Heathrow.

Flights will operate four times weekly (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) in the summer season and three times weekly in the winter season.

Flights will be operated with a three class Boeing 777 aircraft featuring Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy, and World Traveller economy.

Oakland is BA’s fifth destination in California after San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose.

Like Fort Lauderdale, this route is also served by Norwegian from London Gatwick and there can be no doubt this is a competitive response to Norwegian’s growing network of long-haul routes to the USA at London Gatwick.

BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group, clearly sees Norwegian as a major competitor that requires a strategic competitive response. Further announcements may be made by both BA and other IAG group airlines such as Iberia and Aer Lingus in the coming weeks.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

London Gatwick – Oakland

Flight BA2279 Depart London Gatwick 10:20 – Arrive Oakland International Airport 13:15 (Monday, Thursday, Saturday)
Flight BA2279 Depart London Gatwick 11:25 – Arrive Oakland International Airport 14:20 (Tuesday)

Flight BA2278 Depart Oakland International Airport 15:05 – Arrive London Gatwick 09:25 (Monday, Thursday, Saturday)
Flight BA2278 Depart Oakland International Airport 16:10 – Arrive London Gatwick 10:30 (Tuesday)

BA launches London Gatwick – Fort Lauderdale from 6 July 2017

London Air Travel » Page 73

Fort Lauderdale Beach (Image Credit: London Air Travel)
Fort Lauderdale Beach (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

British Airways is to launch a new route from London Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale (Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport) from 6 July 2017.

This is the second new transatlantic route announcement in as many weeks after BA announced a new route from London Heathrow to New Orleans last week.

It is also BA’s fourth destination in Florida after Miami, Orlando and Tampa.

Flights will operate three times weekly (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) with additional flight on Sunday in the peak summer season (16 July – 3 September 2017).

Flights will be operated using a three class Boeing 777-200 aircraft with Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy, and World Traveller economy.

BA is not for the first airline to fly to Fort Lauderdale from Gatwick as Norwegian have been flying the route for some time. Indeed, this is the second time BA has launched a new route to head-to-head with Norwegian at Gatwick, after reinstating flights from Gatwick to New York JFK.

This route will popular with tourists to South Florida and those taking cruises from the area.

It is also a potentially better gateway than Miami airport and should promise a smoother experience in US Customs & Immigration. 

That said, BA’s Airbus A380 operated flights from London Heathrow to Miami will offer the option of First Class, newer World Traveller Plus and World Traveller seating, a more advanced in flight entertainment system and a more pleasant cabin environment. It will of course be possible to “mix and match” flights between different airports. Flights will also be codeshared with Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Finnair and Iberia.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

Here are links to the press releases from BA and Broward County Aviation Department.

London Gatwick – Fort Lauderdale

Flight BA2169 Depart London Gatwick 09:25 – Arrive Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport 13:45 (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 16 July – 3 September 2017)

Flight BA2168 Depart Fort Lauderdale 17:00 – Arrive London Gatwick 06:30 (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 16 July – 3 September 2017)