Monday Briefing – 26 February 2018

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British Airways & Aerobility Charter Flight to see the Northern Lights, Saturday 24 February 2018
British Airways & Aerobility Charter Flight to see the Northern Lights, Saturday 24 February 2018 (Image Credit: Stuart Bailey
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Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 26 February 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

Potential Severe Weather

The UK’s seemingly interminable winter continues.

Severe winter weather is forecast across the UK this week. The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for snow and very low temperatures for Tuesday 27 February 2017. At this stage it is not clear what the impact on London Heathrow will be. However, BA has already cancelled a number of short-haul flights from London Heathrow throughout the day on Monday.

You can check live flight information on the websites of Gatwick,Heathrow and London City.BA passengers can check the status of your booking with the “Manage My Booking” tool as well live arrivals and departures information and flight operations news on

Stobart Group expresses interest in Flybe

Stobart Group which owns, inter alia, London Southend airport and Stobart Air, has officially confirmed it is investigating a possible bid for Flybe.

The Stobart name may not be well known to many passengers. However, Stobart Air operates flights under the Aer Lingus Regional name and Flybe flights from London Southend.

Flybe has long been in the throes of a restructuring to turn around its financial performance. It sold a substantial number of slots at Gatwick to easyJet in 2013, launched routes from London City in 2014 and launched new flights from London Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh last year.

Stobart Group has not yet made a formal approach to Flybe.

International Airlines Group Annual Results

BA parent International Airlines Group released its financial results for the year to 31 December 2017.

The group reported an operating profit of €3,015m for the year, an increase of €480m. Whilst 2017 was not BA’s best year, it reported an increase in operating profit of £281m to £1,754m. All other IAG group airlines, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, also reported healthy increases in profits.

In spite of the positive result and plans to buy back €500m of shares this year, IAG’s share price actually fell as the increase in profits had been expected and institutional investors expressed concern about the pace of expansion for the year ahead.

IAG did not give much away regarding its long-term plans for London Gatwick. However, it has confirmed it is in talks with Airbus and Boeing for new aircraft for LEVEL which is expected to grow to at least 15 aircraft by 2022.

Qantas Sydney International Business Lounge Refurbishment

Qantas has announced that it is to refurbish its international business class lounge at Sydney airport from later this year.

The lounge will be designed by David Caon who has worked on a number of projects for Qantas, including its lounges at Hong Kong and Singapore and the cabin interior of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Unsurprisingly, the lounge design is expected to take its cues from Sydney’s lifestyle and geography. As with other Qantas lounges, it will feature dining menus designed by Neil Perry and will be operated by Sofitel.

It was also confirmed as part of its half- year results announcement, that Qantas low cost offshoot JetStar will take delivery of 18 Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft from 2020.

Also of note was that Qantas re-iterated its commitment to non-stop flights from London to Australia.

Iberia A350-900

Iberia is a step closer to taking delivery of the first of 16 Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

The first aircraft is in its final assembly stages in Toulouse. It is expected to enter into passenger service in June and it highly likely that it will operate crew familiarisation flights between London Heathrow and Madrid, where selected flights are already operated with widebody aircraft.

Malaysia Airlines ends Airbus A380 services from London Heathrow

Malaysia Airlines will end its daily Airbus A380 service from London Heathrow from Tuesday 6 March 2018.

From that date, both daily Malaysia Airlines services from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur will be operated with Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

Special Northern Lights Charter Flight

On the evening of Saturday 24 February 2018, BA operated a special charter flight from London Gatwick to the coast of the Shetland Isles under flight number BA8619. The flight was organised by Aerobility, a charity which gives people with a disability the chance to fly. On board the Airbus A320 was astronaut Tim Peake and BBC The Sky At Night presenter Pete Lawrence and 142 special guests.

Judging by the pictures released by BA, the flight was a success. You can learn more about the charity’s work at

Virgin Atlantic’s “Spirit Of The Clubhouse”

Virgin Atlantic has released the first edition of its new Clubhouse lounge inspired mixology magazine “Spirit Of The Clubhouse”

Judging by the amount of advertising, it seems like a financially sound move and this seems a good way of promoting Virgin’s Clubhouses which have long been a brand “halo”.

(Virgin Atlantic Download Link)

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