London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 18 October 2021

Welcome to London Air Travel’s weekly briefing on air travel around the world, as published every Monday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

Provincetown, Cape Cod
Provincetown, Cape Cod (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 18 October 2021.

BA & Virgin Rebuild Transatlantic Networks

Following last week’s news that the US will reopen to fully vaccinated visitors from the UK on Monday 8 November, both BA and Virgin Atlantic are rebuilding their transatlantic schedules.

BA will return to Newark from Monday 1 November. Las Vegas and Orlando follow at Heathrow on Monday 15 November. As does Tampa at Gatwick. BA also reinstates Orlando at Gatwick from Friday 19 November.

BA is also expected to reinstate Baltimore, Nashville and New Orleans from Thursday 9 December. San Jose, California, is currently suspended until Sunday 27 March 2022. There are currently no plans to relaunch Charleston, Pittsburgh or Portland.

Virgin Atlantic will restart flights to Las Vegas and Orlando on 8 November. Seattle and Washington Dulles will restart on 1 March 2022. Virgin’s transatlantic partner Delta also restarts Detroit today.

United, which last week announced a number of new transatlantic routes for next summer, is yet confirm whether it will go ahead and launch Boston from Heathrow.

Outside of the North Atlantic, BA has pushed back plans to restart Bangkok until 10 January 2022 even though Thailand is reopening to visitors. Qantas confirmed last week it will restart scheduled flights from London Heathrow to Sydney via Darwin from 2 November 2021.

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BA Schedules A380 Flights to Frankfurt & Madrid

British Airways will operate the Airbus A380 on selected short haul fights from London Heathrow to Frankfurt and Madrid in November.

London Air Travel

A British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft takes off at London Heathrow airport.
British Airways Airbus A380 at take off, London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

British Airways has scheduled the Airbus A380 aircraft on selected flights from London Heathrow to Frankfurt and Madrid in November 2021.

This is in advance of the planned restart of the Airbus A380 on long haul flights to Dubai, Los Angeles and Miami December.

This is being done for the purposes of crew familiarisation as the aircraft is brought back into service having been grounded for more than 18 months.

Timetables indicate that the A380 will operate the following flights from Monday 8 November until Thursday 2 December:

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BA Adds “Vaccinated Travel Lanes” Flights To Singapore

From 19 October 2021, all British Airways services from London Heathrow to Singapore will operate as “Vaccinated Travel Lanes” flights.

London Air Travel

British Airways lounge at Singapore Changi Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways lounge at Singapore Changi Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

From Tuesday 19 October 2021, all British Airways flights from London Heathrow to Singapore Changi Airport will operate as dedicated “Vaccinated Travel Lanes” flights.

Passengers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will not need to quarantine on arrival in Singapore from these fights.

Any passenger who does not meet all eligibility requirements will not be able to travel.

This does not affect any passengers flying in the other direction from Singapore to London Heathrow.

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British Airways Reopens US Airport Lounges

BA has reopened its lounges at Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington Dulles airports.

London Air Travel

British Airways Lounge, Boston Logan International Airport
British Airways Lounge, Boston Logan International Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has reopened a number of lounges at airports in the United States ahead of the planned reopening of the US to fully vaccinated passengers from the UK in November.

Until this week only two BA lounges were open in the US. These were the Club lounge and Concorde Room at New York JFK Terminal 7.

BA has now reopened its lounges at these US airports:

Boston
Chicago O’Hare
Houston
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington Dulles

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London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 11 October 2021

Welcome to London Air Travel’s weekly briefing on air travel around the world, as published every Monday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

AMOR, Robert Indiana, Philadelphia
AMOR, Robert Indiana, Philadelphia (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 11 October 2021.

Singapore Airlines Adds “Vaccinated Travel Lanes” Flight At Heathrow

Singapore Airlines has added a dedicated “Vaccinated Travel Lanes” flight (SQ317) from London Heathrow with effect from Tuesday 19 October.

This means that fully vaccinated passengers, subject to pre-departure application & testing requirements, do not need to quarantine on arrival in Singapore.

They were first introduced in September for travel on designated flights from Brunei and Germany to Singapore.

On Saturday 9 October the Singapore government announced VTLs would be extended to the UK with effect from Tuesday 19 October. Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States were also added to the VTL programme.

The principal prerequisite is that vaccinated passengers must fly to Singapore on a designated VTL flight.

Passengers must still take a PCR test within 48 hours before departure to Singapore and another PCR test on arrival. No further PCR tests will be required in Singapore. Passengers must also have not visited a non-VTL country within 14 days of their flight to Singapore.

Passengers must also apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass through a dedicated portal.

Full details are available from Singapore Airlines. Guidance for all passengers to Singapore is available from the government SafeTravel website.

It is likely that BA will follow suit an introduce dedicated VTL flights. It should be added that BA does not have permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore to accept passengers flying on from Singapore to third countries, except for those connecting onto JetStar.

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BA Pilots Vote In Favour Of New Gatwick Short Haul Airline

British Airways pilots have voted in favour of proposals to establish a new airline company to operate short haul flights at London Gatwick.

London Air Travel

British Airways Pilots pictured with the Red Arrows
British Airways Pilots (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways pilots have voted in favour of proposals for BA to establish a new airline company at London Gatwick to operate short haul flights.

Almost all BA short haul flights at Gatwick have been suspended since March 2020. BA had been in negotiations with the pilots union BALPA to establish a new airline company to operate short haul flights at the airport. BA’s parent company IAG had cited a need to be “flexible and competitive” at Gatwick.

The new airline company will operate under the BA name with a very similar on board service to short haul flights at present. It will have a lower cost base and a scheduled geared more towards summer seasonal flights with lower pay for pilots during the quieter winter months.

Talks between BA and BALPA broke down which prompted BA to publicly announce that it was suspending almost all short haul flights at the airport. Last week, almost all Gatwick short haul flights were moved to London Heathrow for the summer 2022 season. This left BA with almost no alternative but to lease or sell its Gatwick slots to rival airlines.

A revised proposal was agreed between BA and BALPA last Sunday. In a ballot held by BALPA, BA pilots have voted overwhelmingly in favour (82%) with a turnout of 75%.

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British Airways Reintroduces The Airbus A380

British Airways is to bring four Airbus A380 aircraft back into service at London Heathrow in November 2021.

London Air Travel

A British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft takes off at London Heathrow airport.
British Airways Airbus A380 at take off, London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

British Airways is to reintroduce the Airbus A380 aircraft into service at London Heathrow.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, BA’s fleet of 12 Airbus A380 aircraft have been grounded.

BA CEO Sean Doyle previously indicated that the aircraft would be reintroduced to the US in late 2021. Though, there were doubts this could happen due to uncertainty over when the US would lift travel restrictions.

BA has now confirmed that 4 aircraft will be brought back into service to operate long haul flights from early December.

Short Haul Flights

The Airbus A380 will operate short haul return flights from London Heathrow in November to allow for crew familiarisation.

BA has not officially confirmed on which routes these will operate though it is widely reported to be a morning return flight to Frankfurt and an afternoon return flight to Madrid.

The A380 is not currently appearing in online timetables and it may be they are only loaded shortly beforehand.

It is also likely that BA will limit the number of seats sold on these flights in case aircraft have to be substituted at the last minute.

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London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 4 October 2021

Welcome to London Air Travel’s weekly briefing on air travel around the world, as published every Monday at 06:00 BST.

London Air Travel

JetBlue Airbus A321LR N4022J Aircraft, London Gatwick Airport, 30 September 2021
JetBlue Airbus A321LR N4022J Aircraft, London Gatwick Airport, 30 September 2021 (Image Credit: JetBlue)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 4 October 2021.

International Air Transport Association AGM

The International Air Transport Association (“IATA”) is holding its Annual General Meeting this week.

IATA, naturally keen to point to a return of in person meetings and the value of face to face communication, is holding the event in Boston in conjunction with the World Air Transport Summit.

JetBlue, pictured above at London Gatwick last week, is the host airline.

IATA has cautiously welcomed moves by Australia and the United States to reopen their borders to international travel. IATA is likely to press that this is not enough. Existing government measures such as mandatory quarantine should be time limited. They should not stay in place any longer than is necessary. Whilst some countries and airlines only accept fully vaccinated passengers, alternative measures should be introduced to allow non-vaccinated passengers to fly.

On the subject of mandatory quarantine, yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph splashed with a claim that the UK government could cut the red list to just 9 countries. The list is due to be updated this Thursday. Such claims have not come true in the past. Very often these are leaked by factions in government to try and bounce others into action.

If you wish to follow the IATA AGM virtually you can view its dedicated media pages.

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BA & BALPA Restart Talks On Gatwick Short Haul Flights

British Airways and BALPA have reopened talks to set up a new airline company at London Gatwick.

London Air Travel

British Airways, London Gatwick
British Airways, London Gatwick

Thought you’d heard the last of negotiations between BA and BALPA to set up a new short haul airline company at Gatwick?

Not so.

It’s less than two weeks since talks between BA and BALPA broke down.

It’s less than one week since BA confirmed that just two routes from Gatwick to Glasgow and Manchester would operate in the summer 2022 season.

Former Gatwick short haul routes to mainland Europe have since been transferred to Heathrow for the summer 2022 season.

It has now emerged that talks between BA and BALPA have restarted. A new improved proposal from BA will be put to BALPA members for a ballot imminently.

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BA Transfers Gatwick Short Haul Flights To Heathrow For Summer 22

Former British Airways short haul routes at Gatwick will continue to operate at London Heathrow until at least October 2022.

London Air Travel

British Airways, London Gatwick
British Airways, London Gatwick

British Airways has once again extended the transfer of almost all short haul routes from London Gatwick to Heathrow until at least Sunday 30 October 2022.

BA originally transferred all Gatwick short haul routes to Heathrow in March 2020. The airline had planned to restart short haul flights at Gatwick from the start of the summer 2022 travel season on Sunday 27 March. Talks with the pilots union BALPA to set up a new subsidiary company to operate these flights under the BA name broke down.

BA has now confirmed that former Gatwick short haul routes will continue to operate at London Heathrow during the summer 2022 season. They will operate under their former Gatwick flight numbers, which are four digits long and begin with a 2.

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