Hello and welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 20 November 2017.
Is BA going to order more Airbus A380s?
Interest in the future of the Airbus A380 was piqued this week following a claim in FlightGlobal that BA, as well as other airlines, were in talks about acquiring Airbus A380s that Singapore Airlines has returned to its lessor.
IAG CEO Willie Walsh is a fan of the Airbus A380: “It’s a great aircraft when you can fill it.” It clearly serves BA well on trunk routes such as Johannesburg and major US gateways such as Los Angeles and Miami. BA currently has 12 Airbus A380s in service, with options to acquire a further 7 from Airbus. However, Willie Walsh has declared the cost buying new aircraft as too expensive. Willie has expressed an interest in leasing second-hand Airbus A380s so the story, whatever the intentions of the source, is at least plausible. However, technical differences between BA and Singapore Airlines aircraft may prohibit a deal, unless it is at a very good price.
BA and IAG (which ultimately controls the purse strings) is clearly looking for a solution that gives flexibility to adjust capacity in a downturn. BA does not want to have to park 20+ A380s in the desert during the next recession.
The airline most closely associated with the Airbus A380 is of course Emirates which currently has some 100 of them in service. The airline was expected to announce a deal to acquire more at the Dubai Air Show, but it failed to materialise. Bloomberg has the story.
BA adopts group boarding
BA will adopt group boarding from Tuesday 12 December following its alliance partner American Airlines. Judging by the way some in the press reported this (who really should know better) you’d think no airline had offered priority boarding before. When it has bedded in, it should be a much better experience than at present.
Aer Lingus launches Dublin-Seattle
Aer Lingus adds the Pacific North West to its portfolio of US destinations with the launch of Seattle.
Aer Lingus now has a very credible US network and is becoming a very attractive option for UK based fliers. Indeed, next summer it will serve two US destinations, Chicago and Philadelphia, that are not served by the Delta/Virgin alliance.
There was less positive news about Aer Lingus and Oneworld. Whilst the airline is due to join the transatlantic joint-business with American Airlines, BA, Finnair and Iberia, there are no plans for it to join the Oneworld alliance. Given the problems with the launch of AerClub, we would surmise that IT costs are a likely explanation. This decision will clearly frustrate a lot of frequent flyers that expect harmonisation between IAG airlines and Oneworld.
Another growing transatlantic hub is Reykjavik and American Airlines has announced a summer seasonal service from its hub at Dallas Fort Worth. There’s less positive news for American Airlines in Manchester as its Chicago O’Hare service will go summer seasonal.
Delta prepares to say adieu to the Boeing 747
Delta is the next, and final, US airline to say farewell to the Boeing 747. It will be retired from service by the end of the year. It will complete its last international flight on 17 December 2017, arriving at Detroit from Seoul. The aircraft will then complete a domestic tour encompassing Detroit, Seattle, Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul before ceasing scheduled flights on 20 December. More details at Delta.com
This coming Friday, 24 November, is Black Friday. A concept imported from the US that has no commercial logic in the UK and most retailers participate in grudgingly. Expect inboxes on Friday morning to be full of offers from airlines and hotels that most of its recipients won’t have time to deal with because they are at work.
Also of note this week:
WizzAir announced an order for a combined 146 Airbus A320neo and AirbusA321neo aircraft.
WizzAir has also today announced an expansion at London Luton adding more aircraft. It will also launch new routes to Larnaca in Cyprus, Bratislava in Slovakia, Tallinn, in Estonia, Tirana in Albania and Lviv in Ukraine through the course of next summer. In addition, frequencies will be increased to Tel Aviv, Sucheava and Prishtina.
Monocle praises all things Japanese and Swiss in its annual Travel Top 50 (subscribers only).
The New York Times looks at the exponential growth of travel podcasts.
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