Air Belgium to operate Heathrow – Dubai for British Airways

Air Belgium is to operate one of British Airways’ daily flights from London Heathrow to Dubai from 1 November to 14 December 2018.

London Air Travel » Dubai

Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft
Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft (Image Credit: Air Belgium)

Air Belgium’s Airbus A340 aircraft is becoming something of a fixture at London Heathrow Terminal 5.

Having already wet-leased an Air Belgium aircraft to cover London Heathrow – Cairo and London Heathrow – Abu Dhabi, Air Belgium will cover one of BA’s three daily return flights from London Heathrow to Dubai from November to mid December 2018.

One outbound flight, BA105 from London Heathrow to Dubai, will be operated by Air Belgium from Thursday 1 November to Friday 14 December 2018. As will the inbound flight, BA104 from Dubai to London Heathrow, from Friday 2 November to Saturday 15 December 2018.

The flight will be operated by an Air Belgium A340-300 aircraft. The overall service standard should be similar to that of BA.

Rebooking Options

All passengers have the option of rebooking on to BA’s two alternative return flights to Dubai (BA107/B106, BA109/BA108) as close to your original date of travel as possible.

Full refunds are not available to any passenger, unless allowed by the original fare rules.

First Class Passengers

There is no First Class cabin on Air Belgium aircraft.

Unless passengers rebook on to an alternative BA service, they will be downgraded to business class and receive a partial refund of their fare. Passengers will still have a First Class baggage allowance, earn the Avios and Tier Points of the First Class fare, and have access to First Class ground facilities such as the Concorde Room at London Heathrow.

Alternatively, passengers can use the value of their ticket towards the purchase of a new ticket to an alternative destination.

Update: BA has since updated its guidance to advise that First Class passengers are entitled to a full refund.

Premium Economy Passengers

There is no premium economy cabin on Air Belgium aircraft.

Unless passengers rebook on to an alternative BA service, they will be downgraded to economy and receive a partial refund of their fare. Passengers will retain their original baggage allowance and Avios earning entitlement. Some passengers may also be upgraded to business class.

Alternatively, passengers can use the value of their ticket towards the purchase of a new ticket to an alternative destination.

Update: BA has since updated its guidance to advise that premium economy passengers are entitled to a full refund.

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.

Report: Emirates in talks to buy Etihad

Bloomberg is reporting that Emirates is in talks to buy loss-making airline Etihad. A deal could substantially increase Emirates’ presence at Heathrow.

London Air Travel » Dubai

Emirates Airbus A380 Heathrow
Emirates Airbus A380 Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

The financial woes of Etihad have been well documented.

It pursued what can only be described as an absolutely disastrous strategy of acquiring minority stakes in troubled European airlines that haemorrhaged cash. It has been heavily loss making, having reported a loss before exceptional items of USD$ 1.52 billion for 2017.

Etihad has abandoned its strategy of pursuing aggressive growth. It has been cutting routes such as Dallas Fort Worth, Entebbe, Jaipur, San Francisco, Tehran, and Venice.

It has also been reviewing its expansive aircraft order book which has included 21 Boeing 787-9, 30 Boeing 787-10, 25 Boeing 777X and 62 Airbus A350 wide body aircraft. It had also been seconding pilots to Emirates.

Bloomberg has reported today, Thursday 20 September 2018, that Emirates is in talks to acquire Etihad. It includes an official non-denial denial from Emirates and Etihad spokespersons that neither “comment on speculation”.

There are clear attractions to Emirates in not only eliminating a nearby rival but also having access to its aircraft order book. It could also substantially increase Emirates’ presence in London.

Given the close proximity of Abu Dhabi to Dubai it’s unlikely that Emirates would pursue a “dual hub” strategy (think BA’s unsuccessful dual “hub without the hubbub” strategy at Gatwick in the 1990s) and is likely to be more focused on point-to-point traffic for Abu Dhabi.

Emirates currently operates six Airbus A380 departures from London Heathrow with additional flights from Gatwick and Stansted.

With Etihad having three departures a day from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi and it also owning Alitalia’s slots, which currently operates six daily departures to Italy, a deal could more than double Emirates’ capacity at Heathrow. It goes without saying this would be a major competitive headache for many rival airlines.

Looking further afield, Etihad also owns a stake in Virgin Australia. Given Emirates’ partnership with Qantas, Etihad would have to dispose of its stake in Virgin Australia and its abandon its partnership for competitive reasons.

Virgin Atlantic suspends London Heathrow – Dubai

Virgin Atlantic has suspended its daily service from London Heathrow to Dubai from Sunday 31 March 2019.

London Air Travel » Dubai

Virgin Atlantic aircraft at London Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Virgin Atlantic has suspended its daily service from London Heathrow to Dubai from Sunday 31 March 2019.

The route was taken off sale today, Wednesday 27 June 2018. Virgin Atlantic has been flying to Dubai since March 2006. Its suspension follows the the cancellation of a number of routes outside of North America from London Heathrow including Accra, Cape Town, Mumbai, Nairobi, Sydney, Tokyo Narita, and Vancouver.

There will be of course continue to be substantial capacity between London and Dubai with Emirates operating six A380s a day from London Heathrow alone, as well as three times daily flights from Gatwick and daily flights from Stansted. BA will also continue to fly to Dubai up to three times daily from London Heathrow.

Virgin has not yet announced any re-accommodation arrangements for displaced passengers. However, if your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund.

Qantas replaces London – Dubai – Sydney with Singapore stopover

Qantas will cease flying from London to Australia via Dubai next year.

London Air Travel » Dubai

Qantas Airbus A380 Sydney Harbour (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)
Qantas Airbus A380 Sydney Harbour (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Qantas today announced another milestone in the evolution of the “Kangaroo route” between London and Australia.

From Sunday 25 March 2018, Qantas will return to flying from London to Sydney via Singapore, replacing its existing service to Sydney via Dubai.  This, together with Qantas replacing London – Dubai – Melbourne with London – Perth – Melbourne means that Qantas will no longer fly from London to Dubai.

The changes were announced today as Qantas and Emirates are to extend their partnership for a further five years.  However, due to regulatory reasons Emirates will not be able to codeshare on Qantas operated services from London to Singapore and London to Perth.

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Eurowings launches low cost long-haul flights

London Air Travel » Dubai

Eurowings Airbus A330 tailfin
Eurowings Airbus A330 tailfin (Image Credit: Eurowings)

We have to admit to have always been sceptical about the concept of low cost long-haul travel. Whilst the concept has been much talked about and there have been a number of low cost long-haul carriers in Asia Pacific (such as Qantas offshoot JetStar), it has not gained traction in Europe.

That is until now. Norwegian has established a small base at London Gatwick, albeit this has not translated into financial success. And now Lufthansa has launched a low cost long-haul carrier under the name Eurowings.

It will be based in Cologne and initially offer flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Dubai, Varadero and Punta Cana. Flights will launch from late October 2015 and connections are available from London Heathrow and other UK cities.

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Qantas re-times QF9 & QF10 London – Dubai – Melbourne from 20 July 2014

London Air Travel » Dubai

Qantas Airbus A380 at London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Image Credit: Heathrow)
Qantas Airbus A380 at London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

A familiar sight for anyone passing through Heathrow during the day is a pair of Qantas A380s parked at a remote stand near Terminal 3.

Whilst providing those on a mundane business trip to Frankfurt or Geneva the opportunity to dream about going somewhere else, it serves as an illustration of the hard economics for Qantas of competing against Middle Eastern and Asian airlines in the London to Australia market.

Currently, Qantas’ twice daily flights to Australia depart late in the evening and arrive in the morning at London Heathrow meaning hugely expensive assets are left on the ground all day doing nothing.

From 20 July 2014, as part of a broader restructuring of Qantas’ network in response to a deteriorating financial performance, Qantas flights to Melbourne will be retimed from a late evening departure to an early afternoon departure.

Continue reading “Qantas re-times QF9 & QF10 London – Dubai – Melbourne from 20 July 2014”

Qantas to maintain twice-daily London services; Melbourne retimed

London Air Travel » Dubai

Qantas Airbus A380 at London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Image Credit: Heathrow)
Qantas Airbus A380 at London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Qantas has just published its half year results. In the past week there has been a frenzy of speculation in the Australian media following prior warnings from Qantas that it would incur heavy losses resulting in a significant restructuring of the airline and possibly drastic changes to its route network.

The losses themselves are as feared with Qantas reporting a loss before tax of AUD$252 million. Qantas has announced significant job cuts and disposals of aircraft and deferrals of aircraft deliveries.

There has been much speculation about the future of Qantas daily Airbus A380 services from London Heathrow to Sydney and Melbourne, following anecdotal reports of weak demand on the London Heathrow – Dubai sectors of the London – Melbourne routes.

Qantas has today confirmed that the two daily London Heathrow services will remain. However, the London – Melbourne route (currently a late night departure from London and early morning arrival, resulting in significant downtime of nearly 17 hours for the aircraft) will be retimed from November 2014.

We do not yet know what the new times are. One possible option is to retime the departure to late morning, as Qantas used to have to Sydney and Melbourne when it had four daily services from London Heathrow.

End of an era for the Kangaroo Route as Qantas calls Dubai home

London Air Travel » Dubai

Emirates & Qantas Partnership (Image Credit: Emirates)
Emirates & Qantas Partnership (Image Credit: Emirates)

There probably isn’t an airline route in the world where travellers have more choice of airlines routings than London to Australia. As non-stop routes between London and Australia remain a technical impossibility and fuel prices mean that is likely to remain the case, a stop en route has always been required.

Continue reading “End of an era for the Kangaroo Route as Qantas calls Dubai home”