London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 2 April 2018

Welcome to our weekly Monday Briefing on the main developments in air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday morning at 06:00 BST.

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British Airways 100 Years Of Aviation Posters (Image Credit: Amberley Publishing)
British Airways 100 Years Of Aviation Posters (Image Credit: Amberley Publishing)

Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 2 April 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.

Rest assured, there are no April Fools stories in this update.

BA suspends London Gatwick – Oakland

Over the past 18 months or so, BA has had its sights set firmly on taking on Norwegian at Gatwick.

It reinstated London Gatwick – New York JFK and added Fort Lauderdale and Oakland at Gatwick to take on Norwegian head to head.

It has also begun to “densify” its Boeing 777 fleet so that, according to BA, it will have a lower seat cost than Norwegian’s fleet of Boeing 787s.

Last week it emerged that taking on Norwegian at Gatwick may not be as straightforward as first thought. BA has announced that Oakland is suspended from Monday 22 October 2018.

This is all BA has said so far. It is not clear whether the route may return on a summer seasonal basis in 2019. BA has also not issued any rebooking guidance to passengers.

Whilst Norwegian can claim a victory in this instance, its own financial and operational performance remains under scrutiny. Passengers flying from Gatwick to New York JFK in particular have been beset by cancellations and delays. The performance of recently launched routes from Gatwick to Austin and Chicago will also provide an indication of how much more scope there is to grow on North Atlantic routes.

BA to retain in-house call centres

You may have read last year that BA was in discussions with Capita over the possible outsourcing of its call centres.

The main driver for this seems to be that BA’s current call centre technology is very dated. Indeed, there are recurring complaints during periods of high demand, such as disruption at London Heathrow, that the technology cannot cope with the volume of calls with some callers being cut off.

Unsurprisingly following the collapse of Carillion and questions over the sustainability of some outsource providers, BA has decided to keep its UK call centres and those in Bremen, Dehli and Hong Kong in house for now.

The review process has involved discussions with BA’s main UK trade union, Unite, over changes to working practices. The decision to keep BA’s UK call centres in house is subject to ballot by Unite members in favour of these changes.

Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience

Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert tries his hand at being cabin crew in Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience.

The programme will be shown at 21:30 on Thursday 5 April 2018 on BBC One Wales. It will not be shown outside of Wales. However, it will be available to view 30 days after broadcast on the BBC iPlayer.

With the BBC being the BBC the programme’s promotional material only refers to “an airline”. You would never guess from the preview clip the name of airline that is featured…

Air New Zealand launches Auckland-Chicago

Air New Zealand is to fly non-stop from Auckland to Chicago O’Hare from Friday 30 November 2018.

The flight will operate three times weekly and will be operated with the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Firmly in the category of “Ultra Long-Haul”, the flight will take just over 15 hours from Auckland and 16 hours and 20 minutes from Chicago.

British Airways Centenary

Next year will be the centenary of BA and its predecessor airlines.

You can expect a number of special events to mark the centenary. Title Role Productions are working on a TV documentary on 100 years of passenger air travel in the UK.

Paul Jarvis, who has written a number of books on BA, is also publishing a new book “Britain Airways: 100 Years of Aviation Posters”. It features more than 200 posters from BA and its predecessor airlines (Imperial Airways, BEA and BOAC) from the BA Heritage Collection.

The book will be published on 15 May 2018 and will be available from Amberley Publishing and Amazon.

Also of note this week:

On the theme of aviation nostalgia and posters, here is a stunning gallery by Getty Images of posters by Pan American World Airways from the 1930s and beyond.

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