2019/2020 Christmas & Winter Ski Routes From London

A look at seasonal winter routes from London for visits to Europe’s Christmas markets, Lapland and popular ski resorts.

London Air Travel

Image Credit: Scandinavian Mountains Airport

Many are now planning their annual ski trip or a Christmas trip to Lapland or mainland Europe’s markets, so here’s a quick run through of direct winter seasonal routes from London which operate in addition to scheduled year round services.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com, easyJet, Finnair, SAS and SWISS.

Austria

BA’s winter seasonal service from London Heathrow to Innsbruck resumes three times weekly from Friday 13 December 2019 to Sunday 19 April 2020. Innsbruck also returns at Gatwick from Sunday 8 December 2019 to Friday 24 April 2020, with a decreased frequency of 4 flights a week.

easyJet operates a twice weekly seasonal service from London Gatwick to Klagenfurt on Wednesday and Saturday from Saturday 14 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.

BA’s winter seasonal flight from London Heathrow to Salzburg resume, initially four times weekly, from Friday 13 December 2019 until Saturday 28 March 2020. This will complement year round services from Gatwick.

easyJet also operates a four times weekly service from London Gatwick to Salzburg from Friday 6 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.

BA’s seasonal service from London Gatwick to Vienna returns from Sunday 27 October 2019 to Sunday 12 January 2020.

Finland

Finnair is operating a twice weekly winter seasonal service from London Gatwick to Ivalo on from Thursday 12 December 2019 to Sunday 22 March 2020 

Finnair is also operating a weekly seasonal service from London Gatwick to Kittilä from Sunday 22 December 2019 to Sunday 8 March 2020. 

Both of these routes can be booked as codeshares through BA.

easyJet also flying to Rovaniemi on Wednesdays and Sunday from Sunday 17 November 2019 to Wednesday 25 March 2020. Norwegian also flies to Rovaniemi on Monday and Friday until Friday 27 March 2020.

France

BA is operating a twice weekly winter seasonal flight from London City to Chambery on Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 14 December 2019 up to Saturday 18 April 2020. There are also four additional weekly flights between Monday 16 December 2019 and Tuesday 24 December 2019.

BA is operating a twice weekly winter seasonal flight from London Stansted to Chambery on Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 14 December 2019 up to Sunday 19 April 2020.

BA will fly to Grenoble Alpes Isère airport from London Gatwick from Saturday 14 December 2019 to Sunday 19 April 2020 with increased frequency of 4 flights a week. and from London Heathrow on Saturdays from Saturday 14 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.

easyJet will also fly to Grenoble Alpes Isère airport five times weekly from Friday 13 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2019.

Germany

BA’s winter seasonal service from Gatwick to Cologne returns from Friday 1 November 2019 to Friday 27 March 2020.

easyJet also operates a seasonal service to Friedrichshafen on Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 14 December 2019 to Saturday March 2020. BA’s winter seasonal service from Gatwick to Friedrichshafen does not return this year.

BA’s winter seasonal service from Gatwick to Nuremberg returns from Friday 29 November 2019 to Monday 6 January 2020.

Iceland

BA’s winter seasonal route from London City to Reykjavik does not return this year.

Italy

easyJet will operate a seasonal service from London Gatwick to Turin up to six times weekly from Friday 6 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.

Continue reading “2019/2020 Christmas & Winter Ski Routes From London”

Qantas Completes Non-Stop London – Sydney Flight

A Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has flown non-stop from London Heathrow to Sydney.

London Air Travel

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Arrival, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, Friday 15 November 2019
Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Arrival, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, Friday 15 November 2019 (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Qantas has completed a non-stop flight from London Heathrow to Sydney Kingsford Smith airport.

A Qantas Boeing 787-9 aircraft departed London Heathrow at 06:09 GMT / 17:09 AEDT on Thursday 14 November 2019 and arrived in Sydney at 01:28 GMT / 12:28 AEDT on Friday 15 November 2019. The total flight time was 19 hours and 19 minutes. This compares to around 22 hours and 35 minutes for Qantas’ one-stop service from London Heathrow via Singapore.

The Boeing 787, registration VH-ZNJ, named Longreach – a town in Queensland where Qantas traces its origins – bears a special livery to mark the forthcoming Qantas Centenary.

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Pre Departure, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019
Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Pre Departure, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019 (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

This flight departed with 52 passengers and crew including four operating pilots and six operating cabin crew.

Qantas Boeing 787-9 VH-OJA London Sydney Operating Crew, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019.
Qantas Boeing 787-9 VH-OJA London Sydney Operating Crew, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019. (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

This flight is the second of three test flights Qantas is conducting as part of its research into “Ultra Long Range” flights to Australia.

Qantas has used these test flights, operated by factory fresh Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, to trial service routines and test the impact of ultra long-range flights on passengers and crew. On this particular flight, passengers ate supper shortly after departure from London.

Continue reading “Qantas Completes Non-Stop London – Sydney Flight”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 13 November 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel

Delta Premium Select, Boeing 767 aircraft
Delta Premium Select, Boeing 767 aircraft (Image Credit: Delta)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

Delta’s Boeing 767-400 at London Heathrow

Delta begins operating the Boeing 767-400 aircraft from London Heathrow today.

Although this is far from the most modern aircraft to cross the Atlantic, Delta is in the process of refurbishing its fleet of Boeing 767-400 aircraft to bring their interiors closer to the standard of Airbus A350-900 and refurbished Boeing 777 aircraft, neither of which are served with by Delta at London Heathrow.

The first refurbished aircraft should enter service this month. Delta’s refurbished Boeing 767-400 aircraft will benefit from a modified version its new “Delta One” business class suites. It promises more personal storage and significantly improved personal privacy with 34 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. 

These aircraft will also feature Delta’s 20 seat premium economy cabin, Delta Premium Select for the first time as well as improved in-flight entertainment..

The Boeing 767-400 aircraft will operate from London Heathrow on the following routes this year:

London Heathrow – Atlanta (Flight DL31/DL30) from Wednesday 13 November 2019

London Heathrow – New York JFK (Flight DL2/DL1) from Sunday 17 November 2019

London Heathrow – Boston (Flight DL59/DL58) from Thursday 21 November 2019

Selected flights from Heathrow to Detroit, Minneapolis and Portland will operate with the Boeing 767-400 from as yet unconfirmed dates in the second quarter of 2020. The one exception is Salt Lake City.

Note this does not guarantee that you will be on a refurbished aircraft. If you are booking flights online at Delta you will see these flights with refurbished aircraft specifically flagged on the booking page with “New Interior”.

Severe Weather

Large parts of North America are currently experiencing severe weather.

In Canada, Montreal and Toronto are no strangers to winter snow, but have experienced snow much earlier this year. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

The National Weather Service has advised that much of Central & Eastern US will experience record low temperatures today. (New York Times)

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 13 November 2019”

Monday Briefing – 11 November 2019

Welcome to our weekly briefing on air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel

"Can Flying Go Green?" BBC Panorama, 11 November 2019
“Can Flying Go Green?” BBC Panorama, 11 November 2019 (Image Credit: BBC)

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 11 November 2019.

BBC Panorama “Can Flying Go Green?”

There’s a phrase in American politics “If you’re explaining, you’re losing”.

And that’s where aviation finds itself in the climate change debate. As a percentage of global CO2 emissions, the contribution of aviation is very low. However, it is very visible (and, for some, audible) contributor. For many, flying is seen as a superfluous indulgence.

That is, of course, not the case. You can only understand a country if you’ve visited it many times. A lot of business and public affairs simply has to be done face to face. No organisation would award a contract to a supplier they have never met in person. As trends on routes from London to Brussels and Paris have shown, travellers will gladly take the train when it’s demonstrably a better option.

A BBC Panorama investigation “Can Flying Go Green?” presented by the BBC’s Chief Environment Correspondent Justin Rowlatt to be shown on BBC One (UK) tonight at 20:30 GMT is expected to criticise airlines for practices such as “fuel tankering”. This is where airlines carry fuel for the inbound flight on an outbound flight. This is often done for operational reasons, where the security of fuel supply at an airport cannot be guaranteed, or simply for cost reasons. IAG indicated last week that it may end such practices.

There are, however, signs that the industry is starting to coalesce around a single goal. Qantas has today announced that it will join IAG in aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Qantas will also take one step further and will cap its net emissions at 2020 levels. Qantas will offset all growth in emissions from domestic and international operations from next year.

IAG also indicated at its Capital Markets Day last Friday that it will review individual routes on the basis of their carbon emissions. It is hard see BA’s all business class route from London City to New York JFK surviving in the long term.

It’s also questionable whether airlines such as Virgin should continue to offer complimentary car transfers when public transport is a perfectly feasible option at many airports.

In case you missed it:

IAG reaches an agreement to acquire Air Europa. (London Air Travel)

BA publishes its plan to roll out its “Club Suite” at London Heathrow. (London Air Travel)

BA opens its refurbished lounge in Johannesburg. (London Air Travel)

IAG holds its annual Capital Markets Day event. (London Air Travel)

Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 11 November 2019”

International Airlines Group 2019 Capital Markets Day

A wrap up of the major themes and trends from International Airlines Group’s annual Capital Markets Day event.

London Air Travel

International Airlines Group
International Airlines Group

International Airlines Group, the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, LEVEL and Vueling, held its annual Capital Markets Day today, Friday 8 November 2019.

The event followed a different format to previous years in that there were no individual airline presentations, so there’s not much news on that front.

You can download the full slide deck here. If you want to compare notes to what was announced 12 months ago, here’s our wrap up of last year.

The one significant piece of BA related news was the first published plan for the roll-out of its Club Suite at London Heathrow, which you can view here.

The roll-out of the new seat is crucial to improving Net Promoter Scores across for Club World. Whilst improvements to amenities and catering have delivered higher NPS scores in other cabins, the impact in long-haul premium cabins has been quite limited.

British Airways Net Promoter Scores 2017-2019
British Airways Net Promoter Scores 2017-2019 (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)

In terms of over-arching themes and trends for the day.

IAG Is Slowing Down Planned Growth

As last year’s Capital Markets Day, IAG said that it would grow its Available Seat Kilometres by 6% on a compound basis by 2023.

This will now be at a rate of 3.4%. In 2020, Aer Lingus, BA and Iberia will grow at a rate of 2-3%. However, there will be no growth at all for Vueling, where demand is softening in Barcelona.

IAG Is Moving To Greater Centralisation

Since its formation in 2011, the basic structure of IAG has been to centralise back-office functions, with day-to-day operations left to individual airlines.

A theme from last year was that IAG is placing more emphasis on looking at the relative positioning of its airlines against rivals in certain “demand spaces”. By its own admission, in certain market segments designed by IAG, there is scope to improve against competitors:

IAG Airline Brand Positioning
IAG Airline Brand Positioning (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)

Many functions such as the design of aircraft cabins, in-flight service design and airline branding which have been hitherto left to individual airlines will come under central direction from IAG.

Other activities such as pricing, revenue management, sales and distribution, and loyalty will move entirely to IAG. This could, for example, result in IAG implementing a single booking engine across all of its airlines.

Group Loyalty – Avios

The Avios currency and the various frequent flyer programmes that adopt them are an extremely important part of IAG, both in terms of generating revenues in their own right and driving loyalty to IAG airlines.

IAG is also exploring implementing a single loyalty programme across all of its airlines, as hotel groups do. The big difference between IAG airlines and hotels is that separate hotel brands tend not to dominate specific geographic markets.

In the UK, the BA Executive Club has a very high profile and replacing it with a new IAG-wide name could result in significant brand dilution. (One way it might get around that is an interim partial rebrand of individual schemes based around a new name, before a wholesale transfer to one programme.)

Dynamism and greater personalisation is becoming a stronger theme (eg no e-mails offering redemptions you’re not interested in!), whilst maintaining some of the prominent fixed milestones that customers can easily identify (eg the tiers of the BA Executive Club).

IAG is also looking at more opportunities to redeem Avios. Options to reduce the amount of cash payable, such as short-haul redemptions with a £1 payment and part-pay with Avios which have proven very popular. This is even where, on a scientific basis, they are not the best value use of Avios. However, it does create an important perception that Avios are easy to redeem.

At some point all IAG frequent flyer programmes will move to a single platform with a single account balance as Aer Lingus and Vueling do at the moment. This will enable, for example, a member of the BA Executive Club to use their Avios when paying for food on Vueling.

IAG is also in active discussions to add new Avios partners, particularly in the financial services sector. As you can’t fail to notice when spending any time in London, a lot of new “fin tech” companies have to spend significant amounts of advertising to acquire new customers, and partnering with Avios is seen as a way of reducing the cost of customer acquisitions.

IAG’s Fleet Plans

Over the past few months, IAG airlines have announced orders for new aircraft, notably the Airbus A321 XLR for Aer Lingus and Iberia, the Boeing 737 MAX for BA at Gatwick and Vueling, and the Boeing 777-9 for BA.

Taking into account the above orders, IAG’s fleet plan is largely unchanged. BA still plans to retire the Boeing 747 by 2024 and there have been some very slight changes to the planned pace of retirement.

BA will also begin retiring some Boeing 777-200 aircraft. This will begin next year with three “odd ball” aircraft being retired. 8 Boeing 777-200 aircraft will be left in service by 2029.

IAG still plans to order the Boeing 737 MAX, citing the need for competition between Airbus and Boeing though has yet to convert its Letter Of Intent into a firm order.

International Airlines Group Fleet Plan
International Airlines Group Fleet Plan (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)
International Airlines Group Short-Haul Fleet Plan To 2029
International Airlines Group Short-Haul Fleet Plan To 2029 (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)
International Airlines Group Long-Haul Fleet Plan To 2029
International Airlines Group Long-Haul Fleet Plan To 2029 (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)
Continue reading “International Airlines Group 2019 Capital Markets Day”

British Airways Opens Refurbished Johannesburg Lounge

British Airways has opened its refurbished lounge at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

London Air Travel

British Airways Lounge Johannesburg
British Airways Lounge Johannesburg (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has reopened its lounge at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg following a six month refurbishment.

The lounge follows a similar design brief to recently refurbishment lounges at New York JFK and San Francisco.

As with the San Francisco lounge, the two former Club and First lounges have been combined into one, with a dedicated pre-flight dining area and a la carte menu for First Class passengers.

The lounge also features a centrepiece bar, a self-service food station with hot and cold food options. These include local specialities such as Indezi River cheese and Cape Malay curry. There is also a wide range of seating with at seat power.

Food options for First Class passengers in the dedicated pre-flight dining area include seasonal soups; ricotta and pea filled conchiglie; steak sandwich with mustard and basil relish; and chocolate brownies.

The lounge can be accessed by passengers travelling in Club World and First Class as well as Silver and Gold members of the Executive Club, and Oneworld alliance equivalents.

The last remaining lounge refurbishment project for this year is the Geneva lounge.

British Airways Lounge Johannesburg
British Airways Lounge Johannesburg (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge Johannesburg
British Airways Lounge Johannesburg (Image Credit: British Airways)
Continue reading “British Airways Opens Refurbished Johannesburg Lounge”

British Airways Club Suite Roll-Out Plans

British Airways has published its plans to retrofit its new long-haul business class Club Suite to Heathrow based aircraft by 2025.

London Air Travel

British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Club Suite
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Club Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)

International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, is holding its annual Capital Markets Day today, Friday 8 November 2019.

As part its presentation, IAG has published its first complete plan for the roll-out of its “Club Suite” to existing long-haul aircraft at London Heathrow.

British Airways Club Suite Roll-Out Plans
British Airways Club Suite Roll-Out Plans (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)

This gives a flavour of when passengers can expect to see the Club Suite on Heathrow based long-haul aircraft.

Overall, BA plans to have the Club Suite on 100% of Heathrow long-haul aircraft by 2025. By this time, BA will have retired its last Boeing 747 aircraft.

More than 50% long-haul aircraft at London Heathrow should feature the Club Suite by the end of 2021. Nearly 80% of long-haul aircraft at London Heathrow should feature the Club Suite by the end of 2022.

The Club Suite On New Aircraft

As expected, the Club Suite will be available on new deliveries of long-haul aircraft.

This includes:

  • 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which are already under way
  • 4 new Boeing 777-300 aircraft, which will be delivered in 2020
  • 12 Boeing 787-10 aircraft, 6 of which will be delivered in 2020
  • 18 new Boeing 777-9 aircraft, 8 of which will be delivered in 2022

The Club Suite On Existing Aircraft

BA has already begun retrofitting the Club Suite to four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

From the slide, the priority is clearly to continue retrofitting the Club Suite to Boeing 777-200 aircraft throughout 2020 and 2021. It’s worth adding that at the same time BA will convert economy seats on these aircraft from 9 to 10 abreast.

BA will then retrofit the Club Suite to its 12 existing Boeing 777-300 aircraft from 2021.

It will also begin retrofitting the Club Suite to 12 Boeing 787-8 aircraft from 2021 and 18 Boeing 787-9 aircraft from 2022.

The last existing fleet type to be retrofitted with the Club Suite will be 12 Airbus A380 aircraft from 2023.

As expected, the Club Suite will not be retrofitted to Boeing 747 aircraft. The current plan remains to retire the last Boeing 747s by 2024. The current plan is to have 25, 20, and 12 aircraft in service by the end of 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively.

These plans are of course subject to change according to the availability of seats from manufacturers and the ability to withdraw aircraft from service for refurbishment.

Economic and geopolitical events may also require BA to slow down capital expenditure or review its fleet plans in terms of new deliveries and the retirement of aircraft.

The Club Suite at London Gatwick

It should also be noted that this presentation is silent on whether the Club Suite will be retrofitted at Gatwick.

At the moment there appear to be no plans to do so.

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 6 November 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel

W Hotel Union Square
W Hotel Union Square (Image Credit: Marriott Hotels)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 GMT.

The W Hotel Brand Plans Its Reinvention In New York

Arguably, there is no hotel brand more marmite than the W Hotel chain.

Founded in New York in 1998, the W Hotel brand sought to be epitome of cool. Not merely a hotel, but a lifestyle brand in its own right.

Promising “Whatever / Whenever” service, W hotels did not have a lobby, they had a dimly lit “Living Room”. Suites were given faintly ludicrous titles such as “Wow” and “Extreme Wow”. Housekeeping would never do something so mundane as simply service your room, they would “style it”.

Many of its rivals sought to imitate and launch their own brands. This even resulted in Hilton having to pay what was then Starwood Hotels $75million to settle a legal action. Starwood had sued Hilton and two former Starwood executives employed by Hilton, accusing them of stealing more than 100,000 confidential documents from Starwood. Hilton also had to abandon plans to launch its own lifestyle brand “Denizen”.

To its enthusiasts, W was a break from the norm and many aficionados would actively seek out W properties around the world. To its detractors, it was a means to command room rates of 5 star properties, without commensurate levels of service. And putting a night club in a hotel, as is the case with some properties, is a sick joke.

The opening of the original W Hotel on Lexington Avenue in 1998 drew celebrities such as Cindy Crawford and, err, Donald Trump. It was rebranded as the Maxwell last year.

The irony is that New York is the city where the brand impresses the least. Partly because of the constraints of New York real estate, and the city’s occasionally brash manner does seep into hotel service. The best W hotels are actually outside the US, such as Barcelona and Montreal.

In its third decade, W is now planning a reinvention. Three W Hotel properties in New York remain. This includes the W Union Square, which Marriott is reported to have acquired and plans to use a test bed for the relaunch of the brand. Of course, there are now countless lifestyle hotel brands, all following the template of public spaces and destination bars. Many are much more humble and less self-aggrandising than the W.

And there is the old adage that if you set out to be cool, that immediately precludes you from being so.

Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 6 November 2019”

International Airlines Group To Acquire Air Europa

International Airlines Group has announced it is to acquire Air Europa for €1 billion in cash.

London Air Travel

Air Europa Boeing 787 Dreamliner Aircraft
Air Europa Boeing 787 Dreamliner Aircraft (Image Credit: Air Europa)

When International Airlines Group announced its third quarter results last Friday, 1 November 2019, Willie Walsh offered some warm words to one of its rival airlines Delta.

Willie praised Delta for its strategic move in acquiring 20% of LATAM airlines, thereby snatching it out of the Oneworld alliance. It also all but ended the prospect of further co-operation between LATAM and IAG airlines, which had been faltering due to regulators in Chile denying approval for a revenue-sharing joint-venture.

There was a hint that more details of IAG’s plans for Latin America were to come at its Capital Markets Day this Friday 8 November 2019, but no-one could have guessed that IAG had a plan up its sleeve.

Today, Monday 4 November 2019, IAG has announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Air Europa for €1 billion in cash.

This is what IAG would term a “transformational deal”. It significantly increases its presence at Madrid, by some 50%.

Whilst IAG making this move as revenge on Delta makes for a good story, this deal is likely to having been brewing for some time as it is highly unlikely that due diligence could be completed and terms agreed within a little over a month.

There are competition concerns. It is enviable that remedies will be demanded by regulators and there can be no certainty that these will be palatable to IAG.

About Air Europa

Readers in the UK will be forgiven for not knowing much about Air Europa.

It is the third largest airline in Spain after Iberia and Vueling, operating a fleet of 66 aircraft, principally to destinations in mainland Europe and Latin America. It has a relatively limited presence in the UK, flying from London Gatwick to Madrid.

Air Europa serves a number of destinations in Latin America not already served by IAG airlines such as Cordoba in Argentina and Recife in Brazil.

Air Europa is currently a member of the SkyTeam and will leave the alliance after its acquisition by IAG.

IAG’s Acquisition Of Air Europa

IAG has confirmed the following details this morning:

IAG will initially retain the Air Europa brand and it will operate as subsidiary of Iberia. IAG views the airline as operating as a “value carrier” in the mould of Aer Lingus. This suggests that it won’t be fully integrated into Iberia. However, as Iberia has a stronger brand presence in Latin American markets, it is likely it will adopt a brand name closely associated with Iberia.

IAG Air Europa Brand Positioning
IAG Air Europa Brand Positioning (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)

Like Aer Lingus, Air Europa is unlikely to join the Oneworld alliance as a full member but may join as a “Oneworld Connect” partner.

IAG is keeping its cards close to its chest as to how its operations will be ultimately integrated into the group. When IAG acquired bmi in 2012 some in IAG pressed for the airline to be kept separate from BA and IAG secured productivity improvements from BA pilots as condition of its integration into BA. IAG may do the same here.

There’s also little fleet commonality with Iberia as Air Europa operates the Boeing 737 and Boeing 787, neither of which are used by Iberia.

IAG Air Europa Fleet
IAG Air Europa Fleet (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)
Continue reading “International Airlines Group To Acquire Air Europa”

Monday Briefing – 4 November 2019

Welcome to our weekly briefing on air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel

International Airlines Group
International Airlines Group

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 4 November 2019

International Airlines Group To Acquire Air Europa

IAG has announced to the stock exchange this morning that it has reached an agreement to acquire Air Europa for €1 billion.

IAG claims the acquisition will consolidate its position in the Europe – South America market and the competitiveness of its Madrid hub against European rivals. Last year, Air Europa carried 11.8 million passengers operating a fleet of 66 aircraft.

Air Europa will initially operate as a standalone airline in IAG but will co-operate with other IAG airlines through codesharing and adoption of the Avios frequent flyer currency. The transaction is expected to complete in the second half of 2020. This will be the first acquisition by IAG in nearly five years following the purchase of Aer Lingus.

The full press statement can be viewed at IAG and a full write up of the deal is here.

International Airlines Group Capital Markets Day

IAG holds its annual Capital Markets Day this coming Friday, 8 November 2019.

It’s at previous events we have learned of BA’s plans to “densify” its Boeing 777 aircraft and its investment plans for Club World.

Given IAG’s recent announcement to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, the group’s response to climate change is likely to feature prominently.

At a minimum, we should have an updated fleet plan for IAG airlines. Hopefully, there will be further details of planned BA lounge refurbishments, a firm timetable for the roll out of its Club Suite and plans for long-haul expansion at London Gatwick.

It is also often the case that developments you expect to be announced aren’t. We have been waiting some time for IAG to implement single Avios account balances across IAG frequent flyer programmes and dynamic pricing of Avios rewards.

You can read a recap of last year’s events here as well as the BA specific announcements from the day.

If there are any announcements of note, we will share them throughout the day on Twitter.

Air France-KLM is also holding its annual investor day tomorrow, 5 November 2019 and Finnair holds its event next Tuesday, 12 November 2019.

Norwegian’s Challenge

At IAG’s third quarter results announcement last week Willie Walsh said of Norwegian that it is “clearly not out of the woods yet” and “they still have a long way to go”.

The Financial Times documents the scale of the challenge for its new CEO Geir Karlsen.

The airline has a debt burden of $6.8 billion. Its credit card companies are holding back funds, depriving the airline of vital liquidity. Like many other airlines, it is also contending with the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX and some Boeing 787 aircraft.

It has obtained some breathing space by deferring the redemption of two bonds. Other measures to shore up liquidity are on the table such as selling off all or part of its frequent flyer programme.

Qantas “Project Sunrise” Update

Qantas has set itself a hard deadline of December of this year to make a decision whether to order capable of flying from London to Sydney non-stop.

This is subject not only economically viable offers from Airbus and Boeing, but also regulatory approval and agreement with Qantas trade unions.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce of course has form on not being afraid to play hard ball with Qantas trade unions. The Sydney Morning Herald reports of tensions emerging between Qantas and its trade unions, who are making it clear they will not be boxed in by an arbitrary deadline.

Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 4 November 2019”