London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 10 August 2020

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

British Airways, London Gatwick
British Airways, London Gatwick

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 10 August 2020.

Winter Is Coming

The UK is currently basking in a heatwave. Airlines are however preparing for a long cold winter.

There are early signs of what to expect. Initial indications suggest that BA will suspend many of its thinner long-haul routes such as Durban, Osaka and Pittsburgh for the winter season. Frequencies on long-established routes have been cut, some to less than daily.

At Gatwick, overlapping routes such as Cape Town, Las Vegas and New York JFK have been cut for the winter.

There has been speculation as to whether the move of BA Gatwick short-haul routes to Heathrow may become permanent.

This is of course not the first time there has been speculation about the future of BA at Gatwick. This has been in the case ever since BA abandoned the concept of a second hub operation in the late 1990s.

Keepings Gatwick short-haul routes at Heathrow would vastly improve connectivity at the airport to American Airlines and BA’s transatlantic route network. This is especially so at a time they will need to draw in as much feeder traffic as possible. However, it does leave Gatwick wide-open for easyJet and Wizz Air to expand in the medium term.

Other IAG brands would not be able to take up the slack. Neither Iberia nor Vueling have made any significant in-roads into the UK market under IAG and they could never match the brand recognition of BA in Gatwick’s catchment area. One weakness of IAG is the lack of cross-brand marketing in specific geographies. Aer Lingus did try to set-up a short-haul network at Gatwick in 2009. It did not last long.

Another issue is BA’s long-term exposure to Heathrow’s landing charges which are substantially higher than at Gatwick. IAG CEO Willie Walsh has never hidden his disdain for Heathrow management and their lack of commerciality. Gatwick airport management were praised by Willie Walsh at a recent Transport Select Committee hearing for their relative commercial nous.

In a speech in Dublin last year, Willie Walsh did say he approached Heathrow several years ago (presumably after BA merged with bmi) to move all of BA’s Gatwick long-haul routes to the airport.

Wille recalled when he asked for a deal on landing charges: “I may as well have had two heads. They just didn’t know how to respond to that.”

Heathrow’s recent results announcement also included the following statement:

Our current regulatory model is designed for a stable business with limited upside potential and unlimited downside risk. It is therefore failing to create a long-term balance between risk and reward given the asymmetric risks faced by Heathrow.

We will continue engaging with the CAA to ensure it creates a fair framework that drives the right incentives for investment for the benefit of consumers.

In recognition of the asymmetric risk in the regulatory model that has been exposed by the COVID-19 crisis, but was not allowed for in the allowed regulatory returns, Heathrow has requested that the CAA makes a policy statement setting out that it will amend Heathrow’s Regulated Asset Base to allow Heathrow to recover excess losses over an extended period of time.

Put another way, Heathrow wants to increase its landing charges further, which is likely to rile its airlines.

BA Long-Haul Routes Return

BA slowly adds more destinations to its long-haul network this week.

BA returns to Islamabad from Wednesday 12 August. Delhi and Mumbai follow on Sunday 16 August.

Elsewhere at Heathrow, Virgin Atlantic is postponing the return of many routes. Currently, Virgin is flying to Barbados, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York and Shanghai. Miami will follow next Tuesday 18 August. However, the return of many other routes has been pushed back.

Finnair Postpones Move To Terminal 5

In a previous article on the move by Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways to Terminal 5, it was stated that timetables indicated Finnair will move to Terminal 5 on Saturday 15 August. This now appears to have been postponed. Finnair will continue to operate from Terminal 2 for now.

Continue reading “London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 10 August 2020”

British Airways Winter Long-Haul Route Suspensions

British Airways has suspended a number of long-haul routes from London Gatwick and Heathrow for the winter 2020 season.

London Air Travel

BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff
BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has suspended a number of long-haul routes at both London Gatwick and Heathrow for the winter season as the airline expects to face significantly reduced demand well into 2021.

London Gatwick Suspensions

At London Gatwick, flights to Las Vegas and New York JFK have been suspended until Sunday 28 March 2021.

Passengers can seek a refund or rebook on to alternative services from London Heathrow. Any consequential costs such as ground transportation will be at passengers’ expense.

Winter seasonal flights from London Gatwick to Cape Town are still currently showing in BA’s online timetables but have been taken off sale.

London Heathrow Suspensions

Turning to London Heathrow, Abu Dhabi has been suspended for the winter season from Sunday 25 October 2020. Flights are currently showing as operating in October, but this is subject to change.

Other BA routes to the Middle East such as Bahrain, Doha and Muscat currently show as operating throughout the winter.

On transatlantic routes, Pittsburgh is suspended for the winter. Flights are showing as operating in October but as the airport is not one of the 15 US airports designated by the United States Department of Homeland Security for eligible international passengers to arrive into the US, these are unlikely to operate.

Many of BA’s “thin” transatlantic routes such as Nashville, New Orleans and San Jose California are currently showing as operating in the winter but these will depend on travel restrictions being lifted. This seems highly unlikely before the US election on 3 November 2020. BA has already cancelled plans to launch London Heathrow – Portland.

Elsewhere, routes from London Heathrow to Durban and Osaka have been taken off sale for the winter, whilst still showing in BA’s online timetables, which is a likely precursor to their suspension.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund or to be rebook onto alternative BA flights nearby with connections on its codeshare and franchise partners such as American Airlines, Comair South Africa, and Japan Airlines.

Passengers can check the status of your booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com and should contact BA if necessary

As ever in the current environment, everything is subject to change at short notice.

British Airways Suspends London City – New York JFK

British Airways has permanently suspended its all business class service to London City airport to New York JFK.

London Air Travel

British Airways Airbus A318 Aircraft, G-EUNA
British Airways Airbus A318 Aircraft, G-EUNA (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has permanently suspended its all business class service from London City to New York JFK.

This was expected following the announcement by BA’s parent company International Airlines Group that it plans to withdraw its Airbus A318 fleet.

The route was suspended in March 2020 and was due to return from late October 2020. It has now been withdrawn from BA’s timetables entirely.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund. Alternatively, passengers can be rebooked on alternative American Airlines and BA services to New York from London Heathrow.

BA has suspended flights from London Gatwick to New York JFK and these are provisionally due to return from late October 2020.

In light of market conditions and IAG’s decision to take into account environmental considerations when planning new routes it is unlikely that BA will launch a similar service again.

New York JFK was the only long-haul route from London City airport. Start-ups such as Odyssey Airlines have expressed a desire to launch all business class routes from London City. These are unlikely to succeed without guaranteed support from corporate customers and business travellers who can be lured away from frequent flyer programmes of rival airlines.

What happens to BA’s fleet of two Airbus A318 aircraft isn’t clear. One is leased to Titan Airways. Both aircraft have been provided as security for a $750 million loan which means BA can’t sell or scrap them until the loan is repaid in May 2021.

Continue reading “British Airways Suspends London City – New York JFK”

Eastern Airways Launches London Heathrow – Teesside

Eastern Airways will fly from London Heathrow to Teesside International Airport from Monday 14 September 2020.

London Air Travel

Teesside International Airport
Teesside International Airport (Image Credit: Teesside International Airport)

Eastern Airways is launch a new route from London Heathrow to Teesside International Airport.

The route launches on Monday 14 September 2020 and will progressively increase to daily throughout the autumn. Eastern Airways will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 2.

This is the first time London Heathrow has had a direct link to Teesside International Airport, formerly known as Durham Tees Valley airport, since bmi British Midland suspended the route in 2009.

Eastern has long held an ambition to launch flights from London Heathrow and clearly in the current environment slots are relatively easy to secure. The route will complement Eastern Airways’ existing service from London City which launched in July.

Flights are on sale now at Eastern Airways.

Continue reading “Eastern Airways Launches London Heathrow – Teesside”

London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 3 August 2020

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

British Airways Airbus A318 Aircraft, G-EUNA
British Airways Airbus A318 Aircraft, G-EUNA (Image Credit: British Airways)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 3 August 2020.

Cash Is King

Air France-KLM and IAG published their second quarter results on Friday.

The two groups reported operating losses of €1,553 million and €1,395 million respectively. Net debt stands at €7,973 million for Air France-KLM and €10,463 million for IAG. Lufthansa will publish its results on Wednesday.

For IAG CEO Willie Walsh it was his last results announcement before retirement. You can read a full summary of IAG’s update here. Announcing a rights issue of €2.75 billion was not how he had intended to leave IAG – which had set out to deliver sustainable financial returns over economic cycles and consistent returns to shareholders.

Both Air France-KLM and IAG have similar medium-term goals – permanent restructuring and careful management of cash flow. Though Air France-KLM has the benefit of a bespoke aid package of €3.4 billion and €7 billion from the Dutch and French governments. IAG has no such benefit from any European government. It won’t be known for many years which airlines made the right call in 2020 and which airlines stored up problems for the future.

IAG now has significant debt which has to be repaid shortly. To give 3 examples of previously reported debt for BA:

In March, BA extended its US dollar Revolving Credit Facility from June 2020 to June 2021. At the time, the amount available under the facility was $1.38 billion. At 30 June, BA has drawn down $792 million of the facility, leaving $588 million undrawn.

In April, BA issued commercial paper of £300 million through the UK government’s Coronavirus Corporate Finance Facility which is repayable in April 2021.

In May, BA entered into a syndicated mortgage loan of $750 million secured on specific aircraft. The loan is repayable within 12 months and has now been fully drawn down.

It’s worth adding that, as has been widely reported, BA plans to retire the Airbus A318 fleet which operate London City – New York JFK. However, as these aircraft have been provided as security for this loan, BA cannot scrap or sell them yet.

Whilst Willie Walsh seems optimistic that BA’s core market to North America will rebound, like the events of 9/11, COVID-19 is going to shape BA’s strategy for much of this decade.

BA Route Additions

A number of BA routes have returned over the weekend.

Scheduled passenger flights have restarted from London Heathrow to Nairobi.

On short-haul, flights have restarted from London Heathrow to Luxembourg, Lyon, Moscow Domodedovo and Vienna. Frankfurt restarts today.

BA has also reinstated wide body flights to Madrid. Flights BA460 and BA461 will be operated with Boeing 777 aircraft on Saturday, Monday and Thursdays.

Summer seasonal routes to Bastia, Bodrum, Figari Kefalonia and Pula have returned. Gatwick short-haul routes to Bari, Bordeaux, Catania, Genoa, Lanzarote and Pafos have restarted at Heathrow. Malta follows today.

The restart of Marrakech, Milan Linate and Salzburg has been delayed until September at the earliest.

Also at Heathrow, China Southern Airlines will relocate from Terminal 2 to Terminal 5 from Wednesday 5 August.

At London City, BA CityFlyer has returned to Bergerac and Nice. The restart of Mahon is delayed to Friday 7 August. BA’s franchise partner SUN-AIR plans to resume flights from London City to Billund on 1 September 2020.

BA149 – The Last Flight To Kuwait

If BA chooses to mark the retirement of the Boeing 747, there is one event that will be erased from its history.

Just over thirty years ago today, flight BA149 departed London Heathrow for Kuwait, en route to Chennai and Kuala Lumpur.

It would prove to be the most controversial BA flight in history and the facts surrounding it remain unresolved today.

In spite of reports of escalating tensions between Kuwait and Iraq on the day of departure, BA had been advised the flight was safe to operate.

After landing in Kuwait in the early hours of the morning on 2 August 1990 following a delay at London Heathrow, the runway was attacked by Iraqi forces and the aircraft was evacuated.  BA passengers and employees were held hostage by Iraqis. Women and children were allowed to return home in late August. 

The remaining hostages were dispersed to various sites and some were used as “human shields”.  The hostages witnessed many atrocities by Iraqi soldiers. The last remaining passengers and employees were released in December 1990. The Boeing 747 aircraft was subsequently destroyed following the liberation of Kuwait.

A central allegation in a BBC2 drama documentary “The Last Flight To Kuwait” in 2007 was that the UK government allowed the flight to operate to enable intelligence operatives on board the aircraft to enter Kuwait. This is a claim the UK government has always denied. No passenger list for the flight has ever been released.

You read the full story behind flight BA149 here.

Continue reading “London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 3 August 2020”

IAG Sets Out Its Post COVID-19 Future

British Airways’ parent company IAG has set out its recovery plans post COVID-19.

London Air Travel

International Airlines Group Tailfins
International Airlines Group Tailfins

International Airlines Group, the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, LEVEL and Vueling has set out its plans to recover from the impact of COVID-19 as it presented its 2nd quarter results on Friday 31 July 2020.

IAG reported an operating loss of €1,395 million before exceptional items, compared to a profit of €960 million last year. BA lost £711m in the quarter and its average load factor was 27.6% as passengers fell by 98.6%.

Net debt at IAG increased to €10,463 million at 30 June 2020, compared to €7,508 million at 31 March 2020.

The overwhelming priority in the medium term is the preservation of cash, and improving liquidity whilst undertaking structural changes for what is expected to be a long period of reduced demand and permanent changes to certain markets.

Rights Issue

As expected, IAG is to undertake a rights issue to raise up to €2.7 billion.

This should complete in early September. The rights issue is supported by IAG’s largest shareholder Qatar Airways. In return, Qatar Airways will place two non-Executive Directors on IAG’s board, one of whom is the aviation executive Giles Agutter.

In addition to previously announced measures such as mortgaging BA aircraft and pre-selling up to $750m of Avios to American Express, (though this deal has not yet been finalised). IAG has also sold and leased back five aircraft in July. IAG does not plan to use its loyalty programmes as security for loans as some US airlines have done.

IAG 2nd Quarter Results Presentation, 31 July 2020
IAG 2nd Quarter Results Presentation, 31 July 2020

IAG’s approach is in sharp contrast to Air France-KLM and Lufthansa which have both secured loans of several billions from their respective governments.

In IAG’s presentation on the rights issue there are vague references to IAG being able to continue to take advantage of opportunities as demand returns, focus on “value levers” and continue to allocate capital in a disciplined manner. Put another way, IAG wants to be able to do as it pleases without the risk of government interference.

Willie Walsh did also have words of warning for European airlines that have received generous state bailouts.

You know liquidity is very important, but what you do with it is even more important. And quite honestly, without being too disrespectful to Air France we’ve seen little evidence of them restructuring their business to reflect what has historically happened never mind what we believe is going to happen in the future. Now I know Ben [Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM] is a very different leader. But, you know, our view is that the industry is structurally changed.

I gave some figures in relation to BA just to put it in to context in the media interviews I did. In Q4 2001 post the tragic events of 9/11 BA lost £187 million in the quarter. The first quarter of 2009 in the depth of the global financial crisis BA last £309 million. In the second quarter of this year in the depths of this crisis BA’s operating loss of £711 million.

Now nobody questioned the fact that 2001 and 2009 led to, you know, permanent structural change and required structural response. Anybody who believes that this is just a temporary crisis, and can be resolved through temporary measures you know is misguided so we are where we are focused on our liquidity, but more importantly we’re focused on restructuring the business to ensure that we’re in the right shape for the future.

I worry for some of the others in the industry who you know are looking at strong liquidity and are not responding to the structural change that will be necessary. And I think it will be interesting to see the rate at which some of those companies burn through their cash as we go through the rest of this year, and through 2021 and 2022.

Capacity Plans

IAG plans for capacity in the third quarter of 2020 to be reduced by 74% in the third quarter and 46% in the fourth quarter.

With load factors expected to remain depressed for some time, routes will be reinstated according to whether they are cash flow positive and this will depend on a large extent to underlying cargo demand.

Whilst Willie Walsh previously dismissed tools such as Microsoft Teams as “crap” he has accepted there is a structural change to the business travel market which cuts across both premium and non-premium cabins.

In terms of BA’s route network, Willie Walsh expects its long-haul route network to remain focused on North America due to long-standing trade links between the UK and the US. Travel restrictions between the UK and US are expected to be lifted gradually to certain airports and states and this will release pent-up demand. This suggests that some of the thinner BA routes in Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East may be cut in the coming months as aircraft are reallocated between routes.

Willie Walsh was very effusive about American Airlines’ planned partnership with JetBlue which may lead to further co-operation with IAG airlines beyond Aer Lingus.

IAG 2nd Quarter Results Presentation, 31 July 2020
IAG 2nd Quarter Results Presentation, 31 July 2020
IAG 2nd Quarter Results Presentation, 31 July 2020
IAG 2nd Quarter Results Presentation, 31 July 2020

Fleet Plans

As has been previously announced, BA has immediately retired its entire fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft.

Willie Walsh cited the cost of storing aircraft, bringing them back into service and long term maintenance requirements, as well as their relatively high premium configuration.

Although London City – New York JFK has not yet been officially suspended, BA plans to retire the Airbus A318 aircraft. 13 Airbus narrow body aircraft will also be retired early.

BA plans to ground 4 Airbus A380s and up to 6 Boeing 777 aircraft for up to three years. The good news that does mean that 8 Airbus A380s should return to service relatively shortly. Up to 18 narrow body aircraft will be grounded. BA CityFlyer will also reduce its fleet.

Whilst not broken down by aircraft type, new aircraft deliveries across IAG will be reduced by 11 long-haul and 57 short-haul aircraft over the next two years.

At present, BA does not plan to reconfigure any existing aircraft.

IAG 2nd Quarter Results Presentation, 31 July 2020
IAG 2nd Quarter Results Presentation, 31 July 2020
IAG 2nd Quarter Results Presentation, 31 July 2020
IAG 2nd Quarter Results Presentation, 31 July 2020
Continue reading “IAG Sets Out Its Post COVID-19 Future”

British Airways Pilots Vote To Accept Pay Cuts

British Airways pilots have voted to accept a package of measures to mitigate against compulsory redundancies at the airline.

London Air Travel

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

British Airways pilots have voted to accept a package of measures to mitigate against compulsory redundancies at the airline.

BA had proposed make up to 1,255 of its 4,300 pilots based at London Gatwick and Heathrow redundant with a threat in the formal Section 188 notice to “fire and rehire” pilots if an agreement could not be met.

Following negotiations between BA and its pilot union BALPA, a number of measures have been agreed to reduce the need for compulsory redundancies. However, it is expected there will be around 270 compulsory redundancies.

These have been accepted by BA pilots in a ballot by BALPA which closed today, Friday 31 July. The vote was 85% in favour based on an 87% turnout.

These measures include:

– Voluntary part time working, voluntary redundancy and voluntary secondments.

– A holding pool of the equivalent of 300 pilots who will continue to be employed on reduced pay and will resume flying as demand returns.

– These measures are funded by cuts to pilot pay which start at 20% and then reduce to 8% over the next two years. These cuts will further reduce towards zero over the longer term.

Whilst this situation is not what anyone would have wanted to see, it does seem like a reasonably pragmatic deal which softens the blow to BA pilots at risk of redundancy whilst giving BA some immediate relief to its staff costs.

It goes without saying that it hoped that compulsory redundancies will be minimised and those pilots not currently flying will be able to return to the skies very soon.

In terms of other BA workgroups, IAG confirmed this morning that up to 1,400 BA employees have left the company by way of voluntary redundancy.

Whilst BA and Unite remain some distance apart on negotiations to merge its three Heathrow cabin crew fleets into one, there has at least been movement by both sides and negotiations are underway.

BALPA issued the following statement on Friday evening:

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British Airways Sells Art Works For £2.2m

Selected works from British Airways’ art collection have sold for £2.2 million at Sotheby’s.

London Air Travel

BA London Heathrow Terminal 5 Arrivals Lounge Concorde Breakfast Room
“Colour Down The Side” by Sir Terry Frost, R.A BA London Heathrow Terminal 5 Arrivals Lounge (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Selected works from British Airways art collection have sold for a total of £2.2 million by Sotheby’s.

The standout sale from the collection was “Cool Edge” by Bridget Riley. This was estimated to sell for up to £1.2m. It ultimately sold for £1,875,000.

The other 16 items from the collection sold for considerably less at £326,875 in total. However, most works did sell for well in excess of their estimates in brackets below.

Whilst £2.2m (before Sotheby’s commission and other costs) is a drop in the ocean compared to IAG’s weekly cash burn, the sale is symbolic as BA and its parent company does everything it can to conserve cash. With no prospect of air travel returning to normal until well into 2021, it is going to need it.

Here is a breakdown of the remaining sales:

“Grasshopper Portfolio” by Peter Doig £56,250 (£10,000 – £15,000)

“Colour Down The Side” by Sir Terry Frost, R.A. (pictured above) £47,500 (£20,000 – £30,000) 

“Sunglow” by Sir Terry Frost, R.A. £30,000 (£10,000 – £15,000)

“Scarlet and Bordeaux in Cobalt” by Patrick Heron £32,500 (£10,000 – £15,000)

“Valium” by Damien Hirst £27,500 (£5,000 – £7,000)

Eight Landscapes by Julian Opie £13,750 (£10,000 – £15,000)

“Garden 2” by Marc Quinn £7,500 (£5,000 – £6,000)

Continue reading “British Airways Sells Art Works For £2.2m”

London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 27 July 2020

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

BA London Heathrow Terminal 5 Arrivals Lounge Concorde Breakfast Room
“Colour Down The Side” by Sir Terry Frost, R.A. BA London Heathrow Terminal 5 Arrivals Lounge (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 27 July 2020.

Year Zero

IAG is due to present its half-year results this Friday, 31 July 2020.

Investors have a preview of what to expect. IAG confirmed late Friday afternoon that it is planning a rights issue to raise up to €2.75 billion. According to Reuters which first broke the story, a cast of no doubt handsomely rewarded advisors are working on it, so it seems a near certainty.

IAG will of course report a heavy operating loss. When you are due to report a loss companies often “kitchen sink” the results and get as much bad news out of the way as possible.

When IAG last updated investors in early May, its cash operating costs were said to be €200 million a week and it had up to €10 billion of cash and undrawn credit facilities available.

IAG has since raised $750m by pre-selling Avios to American Express and $750m by mortgaging BA aircraft. This in addition to IAG securing a loan of £300m from the UK government’s Coronavirus Corporate Finance Facility (CCFF). Iberia and Vueling have secured loans totalling €1 billion with a guarantee by the Instituto de Crédito Oficial in Spain.

When American Airlines presented its second quarter results last week, CEO Doug Parker spoke of American’s intention to “shut it down and start from scratch”. American will only reinstate flights and routes where it makes sense. It’s hard not envisage similar sentiments from IAG.

IAG had planned an orderly return to service from July. Whilst this has happened to an extent, it is clear that neither long-haul nor higher yield business travel will return in any meaningful way until well into 2021. The decision by the UK government to impose a mandatory quarantine on passengers returning from Spain will shake confidence in the leisure sector, which has historically been relatively resilient.

Other things to look out for on Friday are changes to the delivery of new aircraft, specifically the Boeing 777-9 which was due to be delivered from 2022.

Also on Friday, we should learn of whether BA pilots have voted to accept a package of measures to mitigate against compulsory redundancies. If history is anything to go, an agreement with ground staff should follow with cabin crew the last by some distance.

BA Art Auction

Speaking of raising cash, BA should find out this week how much it has raised from auctioning selected works from its art collection.

The standout work is “Cool Edge” by Bridget Riley which is valued up to £1.2m. Other more modestly valued works up for auction include:

“Grasshopper Portfolio” by Peter Doig (£10,000 – £15,000)
“Colour Down The Side” by Sir Terry Frost, R.A. (pictured above in the BA arrivals lounge) (£20,000 – £30,000) 
“Scarlet and Bordeaux in Cobalt” by Patrick Heron (£10,000 – £15,000)
“Valium” by Damien Hirst (£5,000 – £7,000)
Eight Landscapes by Julian Opie (£10,000 – £15,000)
“Garden 2” by Marc Quinn (£5,000 – £6,000)
“Scenes From The Passion: (Ash Wednesday) by George Shaw (£10,000 – £15,000)

Continue reading “London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 27 July 2020”

IAG Considers €2.75 Billion Rights Issue

International Airlines Group is considering a rights issue to raise €2.75 billion from its shareholders.

London Air Travel

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

International Airlines Group, the parent company of Aer Lingus, BA, LEVEL, Iberia and Vueling, has confirmed that it is considering a rights issue to raise up to €2.75 billion from its shareholders.

IAG issued the statement following a report by Reuters earlier this afternoon. According to Reuters, IAG is assessing other options such as the issue of a convertible bond which has been used by BA in the past.

Under a rights issue existing shareholders are offered the opportunity to purchase new shares in a company at a discount.

A rights issue by IAG is potentially complicated as Qatar Airways owns a 25% stake in the group. If a rights issue was to increase Qatar Airways’ stake in the group above 29.9% it would be required to make a formal takeover offer.

Whilst IAG airlines have taken advantage of state payroll protection programmes and state guaranteed loans, IAG is not seeking a bespoke state support package. This is in contrast to Air France-KLM and Lufthansa who have both received support from European governments running to several billion Euros.

IAG has always been against state intervention in the airline industry and seems determined to avoid state support at any cost. State support could ultimately lead to governments taking shareholdings in IAG airlines. This could undermine IAG’s business model of making investment decisions based on rational investment criteria, and not to support specific aviation hubs.

Measures taken by IAG to raise funds include pre-selling Avios of up to $750m to American Express, BA raising $750m by mortgaging aircraft and BA auctioning some off its art collection.

A further update is likely from IAG when it publishes its half-year results on Friday 31 July.

Continue reading “IAG Considers €2.75 Billion Rights Issue”