British Airways Heathrow Staff Vote For Strike Action

BA ground staff at London Heathrow represented by GMB & Unite have voted for strike action in a dispute over pay.

London Air Travel

British Airways Coat Of Arms
British Airways Coat Of Arms (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways staff at London Heathrow represented by the GMB & Unite unions have voted in favour of strike action.

Around 700 GMB staff were balloted. They voted 95% in favour of strike action. The turnout was 81%.

A similar ballot of around 500 BA staff at Heathrow represented by the Unite union voted 94.7% in favour of strike action.

The dispute with BA is over pay. The unions claim that a 10% pay cut imposed on ground staff by the airline during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been reinstated. Check-in staff also not received a 10% bonus given to other BA staff.

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Virgin Atlantic Gains Heathrow Slots For Tampa, Florida

Virgin Atlantic has secured slots at London Heathrow for a new route to Tampa this winter.

London Air Travel

Tampa Cityscape
Tampa Cityscape (Image Credit: Visit Tampa Bay)

Airport Coordination Ltd, the body responsible for allocating slots at London airports, has published its first reports for the coming winter season.

Before going any further, these come with a number of health warnings:

  • They are not final, but do indicate which airlines want slots at Heathrow and for which routes.
  • Airlines may be allocated slots, but do not take them up. This can be for commercial reasons, or the slot timings are not suitable.
  • Airlines will make a number of route changes that do not feature in these reports.

All that said, here are some headlines:

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Airlines Given More Flexibility To Cancel Summer Flights

Airlines at UK airports will be given a waiver to cancel fights in advance without risk of forfeiting slots.

London Air Travel

London Heathrow Terminal 5A, May 2020
London Heathrow Terminal 5 (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Airlines flying from London’s airports have been given more flexibility to cancel flights due to staff shortages this summer.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic airlines were granted a waiver of “use it or lose it” airport slot rules. To benefit from the waiver airlines had to temporarily “hand back” any slots they don’t intend to use.

This summer season was meant to see the end of slot waivers.

Amid lobbying from some airports and airlines, there had been pressure to restore normal slot usage rules. This was to prevent airlines from hoarding slots and allow new entrants to secure new slots.

This summer airlines are required to use their slots for 70% of the season to avoid forfeiting them. There are special dispensations should new travel restrictions emerge.

As has been widely publicised, this summer has not turned out as planned. Many airlines have been forced to cut schedules due to staff shortages. Some, notably easyJet, have been criticised for short notice cancellations.

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Oman Air To Join Oneworld Alliance From 2024

Oman Air will become a full member of the Oneworld alliance from 2024.

London Air Travel

Air to air picture of Oman Air Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Oman Air Boeing 787 Aircraft (Image Credit: Oman Air)

Oman Air is to join the Oneworld alliance.

The airline is expected to become a full member of the alliance from 2024. The announcement was made today, Monday 20 June 2022, at IATA’s Annual General Meeting in Doha.

When Oman Air joins Oneworld members of the alliance’s airline frequent flyer programmes will benefit from full reciprocal recognition. This includes access to priority ground services, lounges and mileage earning and redemption.

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Air Canada Launches London Heathrow – Mumbai

Air Canada will fly from London Heathrow to Mumbai daily from Sunday 30 October 2022.

London Air Travel

Air to air picture of Air Canada Boeing 787-9 aircraft flying over Canadian Rockies.
Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Aircraft (Image Credit: Air Canada)

Air Canada will fly from London Heathrow to Mumbai daily from Sunday 30 October 2022.

The airline has launched a new winter seasonal route from Toronto to Mumbai, which will fly via Heathrow.

The flight between London and Mumbai will operate as a “fifth freedom” flight. This means passengers wishing to fly between London and Mumbai can book this as a standalone flight.

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London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 20 June 2022

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

Picture of Elizabeth Line roundel at platform level, London Paddington station.
Elizabeth Line Platform, London Paddington Station (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 20 June 2022.

Heathrow Capacity Restrictions

Things are not getting any easier for passengers at London airports.

Following well publicised baggage system failures at the weekend at Terminals 2 & 3, Heathrow has imposed capacity restrictions on airlines at these terminals today.

Virgin Atlantic advised on Sunday evening it has cancelled these flights today:

VS7 London Heathrow – Los Angeles
VS45 London Heathrow – New York JFK
VS4 New York JFK – London Heathrow

On Sunday evening, Brussels Airport advised that no flights will depart the airport today due to a strike by security staff. Brussels Airlines had already cancelled 50% of its flights and now virtually all are cancelled.

Ahead of IATA’s Annual General Meeting, Director General Willie Walsh was keen to emphasise in media interviews that the vast majority of airports and flights are operating normally. But aviation is going to remain unpredictable for some time yet.

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Qantas Reopens Singapore First Class Lounge

Qantas has reopened its First Class lounge at Singapore Changi airport as it restarts A380 flights between London & Sydney.

London Air Travel

Qantas First Lounge Singapore
Qantas First Lounge Singapore (Image Credit: Qantas)

Qantas has reopened its First Class lounge at Singapore Changi airport.

The lounge has reopened as Qantas restarts Airbus A380 flights between London Heathrow and Sydney, via Singapore.

This is a relatively new lounge. It opened in December 2019 before it closed due to COVID-19.

The lounge has capacity for 240 passengers. Facilities include a la carte dining with menus designed by Neil Perry, an open kitchen and a cocktail bar. There are 10 private shower suites with lighting through a faux sky light.

Qantas First Lounge Singapore
Qantas First Lounge Singapore (Image Credit: Qantas)
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BA Plans Phased Move To New York JFK Terminal 8

British Airways plans a phased transition of flights from Terminal 7 to 8 at New York JFK from mid-November 2022.

London Air Travel

Artist impression of co-branded American Airlines & BA premium check-in area, New York JFK Terminal 8 (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has updated its plans to co-locate with American Airlines at New York JFK Terminal 8.

Earlier this year, BA and AA confirmed long anticipated plans to co-locate all flights between London and New York JFK at Terminal 8 from December 2022.

BA’s current home at New York JFK Terminal 7 will close. Terminal 7 will be demolished to allow a new terminal to be constructed on its site.

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Travel To London’s Airports During Rail Strikes

Rail services to London airports between Tuesday 21 & Sunday 26 June are subject to disruption due to strike action.

London Air Travel

Airfield, London Heathrow Airport (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Rail services to London airports will be subject to disruption due to strike action by members of The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) over three separate days.

Strike action will take place on Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June. Industrial action will also affect London Underground services on Tuesday. There will also be residual disruption before and after these dates.

Full guidance is available from Network Rail and Transport for London. Online journey planners are now updated with the latest timetable changes. Note some operators have changed their plans since contingency plans were first announced.

It goes without saying that alternative forms of transport will be extremely busy. Advance planning is strongly recommended.

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BA Tightens Rebooking Policies On Flight Schedule Changes

British Airways has tightened its policy for rebooking passengers on to alternative flights where schedules have changed.

London Air Travel

British Airways Airbus A350-1000 G-XWBA Aircraft, London Heathrow
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 G-XWBA Aircraft, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has updated its policy for rebooking passengers in the event of flight schedule changes.

This change applies from today, Wednesday 15 June 2022. It is assumed it applies to all existing bookings, as well as new bookings made from today.

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