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Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 29 January 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
BA sale ends Tuesday 30 January 2018
First, a quick reminder that BA’s New Year sale ends at midnight (GMT) on Tuesday 30 January 2018.
Flights are on sale across all travel classes. You can find the lowest price fares using the Low Fare Finder on ba.com
It’s also worth noting that it is possible to freeze bookings for 72 hours on ba.com if you’re still waiting to firm up future travel plans.
Alex Cruz interviewed by Mail on Sunday
BA CEO Alex Cruz gave a rare press interview to the Mail on Sunday.
In truth, there is little beyond what has been announced previously. As BA is part of a publicly owned group it is bound by City rules which mean significant announcements must be announced to all shareholders. Nevertheless, it is worth a read.
BA adds new Club World catering to more routes
British Airways is to extend its new Club World business class catering to an additional 10 routes from Thursday 1 February 2018.These are Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York Newark, Philadelphia, Washington Dulles, Montreal, Toronto, Dubai and Hong Kong.
Currently, the new catering is only available on London Heathrow – New York JFK. BA claims that new catering will be available on all long-haul routes (of which there are 70 at London Heathrow alone) by the end of the year.
Aer Lingus to operate BA flights to Dublin and Hamburg
The Aer Lingus livery will make its debut appearance at London Heathrow Terminal 5 next month.Aer Lingus is to operate select flights between London Heathrow Terminal 5 and Dublin and Hamburg from early February. Flight schedules have been updated accordingly. One point of note is that there appears to be no business class cabin available on these flights.
As the BA short-haul fleet is going to be stretched over the coming months as BA absorbs the additional slots it has acquired from Monarh at Gatwick, further wet-leases from other airlines are likely.
Cobalt Air launches London Heathrow – Larnaca
Cobalt Air is to fly direct from London Heathrow to Larnaca, Cyprus from Tuesday 27 March 2018.
Flights will operate daily from London Heathrow Terminal 3 with Airbus A320 aircraft.
Colbat Air are keen to emphasise their business class cabin has dedicating seating and a 40″ seat pitch. Currently, the London Heathrow – Larnaca route is the exclusive domain of BA which treats it as a short-haul route. It will be interesting to see whether there is a competitive response from BA in the coming months.
Air France opens new business class lounge at Paris Charles de Gaulle
Air France has opened the first part of a new business class lounge in Hall L of Paris Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2
Pictured above, the lounge will be fully complete in July 2018. Designed by Brandimage there is a strong emphasis on wellness with loungers, a “detox” bar, private saunas and showers. First impressions are that it looks very French (in a good way). (Air France)
Lufthansa to standardise configuration of new Airbus A320 aircraft
Lufthansa has announced that, from 2019, future deliveries of new Airbus A320 aircraft will all have a standard configuration across all airlines in the group. These airlines are Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa and SWISS.
This means that the aircraft will be virtually identical in terms of cabin layout, seating and galley and safety equipment, bar the external livery. The aim is to not only take advantage of economies of scale in purchasing but also allow aircraft to be moved between airlines in a matter of days.
International Airlines Group has started a similar initiative and claims it yields savings of €500,000 – €1m per aircraft. It was this that also prompted significant press coverage earlier this month about BA introducing non-reclining seats on new short-haul aircraft.
That’s said there’s one important difference between IAG and Lufthansa. So far Lufthansa and SWISS have not followed BA in introducing Buy-On-Board on short-haul flight. Yet. (Lufthansa Group)
IAG loses out on Niki
Late in 2017, we reported that IAG was to acquire the assets of Austrian Niki.. However, following a court case which established that administration process should have been conducted in Austria and not Germany, the sale process was restarted in Austria and IAG lost out to the Niki’s original founder Niki Lauder.
Also of note this week:
A large number of states in Africa including South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria have formed a Single African Air Transport Market to improve intra-African connectivity. (IATA)Lufthansa introduces automatic check-in for domestic flights in Germany and the Schengen area in Europe. (Lufthansa Newsroom)
Behind the scenes at Virgin Atlantic’s in-flight magazine “Vera” (Virgin Atlantic)
“Conscious Personalisation” in audio advertising by Virgin Atlantic. (A Million Ads)
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Our Monday Briefing is published every Monday at 06:00 GMT. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com