Aviation Business Briefing – Monday 27 November 2017

Welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 27 November 2017, as published every Monday at 07:00 GMT.

Heathrow Bears (Image Credit: Heathrow Airport)

BA – The World’s Favourite Headline

Pity the pour soul at BA’s Waterside Headquarters who drafted the now widely publicised internal memo on planned changes to its boarding procedures that its frequent flyers had been pleading for in focus groups for years. Presumably he or she was under the blissful ignorance that it would become one of the most read (and poorly drafted) stories on BBC News Online last week.

Heathrow’s Christmas TV ad

What more can be said about this year’s Christmas TV ad from Heathrow Airport?

A perfect blend of concept, technical excellence and emotional appeal. Perhaps the greatest signficance is simply how much the airport’s reputation has improved that it can run such an ad in the first place. It was seven years ago this Christmas that a hapless PR officer appeared before TV cameras claiming everything at the airport was operating normally, just as the airport seized up for days due to snow. The airport was subsequently castigated for its lack of preparedness and care for passengers.

We’ll be keeping on eye on this year’s Christmas videos from airlines and airports worldwide.

New Qantas London Heathrow lounge

Qantas’ new lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3 is expected to open imminently. We should at the very least hear of an official announcement from Qantas this week. With Terminal 3 also being home to lounges from Qantas’ Oneworld alliance partners American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific, the terminal is becoming something of a destination in its own right for Oneworld flyers seeking the maximise lounge access privileges.

Lufthansa previews its new long-haul business class

Lufthansa Boeing 777-9 Business Class Render (Image Credit: Lufthansa)
Lufthansa Boeing 777-9 Business Class Render (Image Credit: Lufthansa)

Lufthansa unveiled renders of its new business class seat that will feature on the Boeing 777-9, which will enter service in 2020. The seat appears to be based on the Recaro CL6710 model seat. It is somewhat unusual for an airline to give its competitors three years’ notice of its plans, but there you go.

There’s more details from Lufthansa.

Air Passenger Duty Increase

In his annual budget statement, The Chancellor announced an increase in Air Passenger Duty for premium cabins on long-haul flights of £16 from £156 to £172. The measure takes effect from 1 April 2019.

Monarch’s administrators win at the Court of Appeal

Proving that litigation before the courts is anything but predictable, the administrators for Monarch won their appeal to the Court of Appeal regarding their rights to Monarch’s slots at Gatwick, overturning the decision of the High Court. The other party to the case, Airport Coordination Ltd may seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, where the case should reach a final conclusion.

There are potentially long-term implications for airlines if they are able to retain their slots after ceasing trading. Many years ago bmi British Midland put the value of its Heathrow slot portfolio on its balance sheet, an accounting policy reversed by Lufthansa when it acquired the airline. In 2015, Virgin Atlantic issued a bond using its Heathrow slots as collateral. BA also attempted a similar exercise, setting up a new subsidiary BA Limited to operate London City – New York JFK flights, but the transaction was aborted.

Update: The Press Association is reporting on Monday afternoon that International Airlines Group has successfully bid for Monarch’s slots.

Carolyn McCall bows out at easyJet

Carolyn McCall officially steps down as Chief Executive of easyJet on Thursday 30 November, having posted a sold set of annual results last week. Eyebrows were certainly raised when it was announced that Carolyn McCall was joining easyJet from The Guardian but Carolyn has proved herself at dealing with a somewhat vocal minority shareholder and developing the appeal of the easyJet brand. Carolyn is to return to the media industry as Chief Executive of UK commercial broadcaster ITV.

Also of note this week:

Alitalia, still in its prolonged administration process, announces a loss of €31.3m for the five months from 1 June to 31 October 2017. (Alitalia Corporate)

BA releases another great “BA Magic” video. (BA MediaCentre)

BBC News marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of scheduled commercial Concorde services to New York JFK. (BBC News)

Delta extends its “Delta One” premium service to more select US domestic routes from next year (Delta)

Iberia has opened its refurbished Velázquez lounge at Terminal 4S at Madrid Barajas airport, which is used for long-haul flights and flights outside the Schengen zone in Europe. Take a virtual tour with Iberia. (Iberia Press Office)

Virgin Atlantic’s “Ruby” blog offers details of small enhancements on board and sleep guides by cabin. (Virgin Atlantic)

Our weekly aviation business briefing is published every Monday morning at 07:00 GMT / 08:00 CET. If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact us. And if you think it would be of interest to any colleagues or contacts, please share using the buttons below!

Leave a Reply