London Air Travel’s Atlantic Update – 8 August 2018

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

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Hudson River Park New York
Hudson River Park New York (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 8 August 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

Norwegian wet leases HiFly Airbus A380

As has been widely reported in aviation circles online, Norwegian has, since Friday 3 August 2018, wet-leased a second-hand HiFly Airbus A380 to cover one of its daily flights from London Gatwick to New York JFK (DI7015 / DI7016).

Few would ordinarily complain about travelling on a former Singapore Airlines Airbus A380. However, there is one big problem.

Due to the number of Airbus A380 flights scheduled to arrive at New York JFK Terminal 1 at the same time such as Air France AF10 from Paris Charles de Gaulle and Emirates EK205 from Dubai and Milan, its departure time from Gatwick has been changed from 17:05 to 21:05. This means arriving at JFK at around midnight, which clearly scuppers any chances of late night drinks in Manhattan.

Worse still, for passengers travelling from New York JFK to Gatwick the inbound flight is delayed until past 03:00, by which time many will have been without a hotel room for over 15 hours.

Affected passengers do have the option of rebooking to an alternative flight. However, do bear in mind the alternative flight (DI7013) departs Gatwick at around 05:30-06:30 in the morning. The timing is brutal in terms of both getting to Gatwick in the early hours of the morning and trying to stay up for the rest of the day on arrival in New York.

Third party databases are currently showing the wet lease in operation until Wednesday 15 August 2018 at the earliest.

Air Canada and Aimia battle over Aeroplan

Last year, Air Canada announced it was to launch a new frequent flyer programme from June 2020 to replace its existing programme Aeroplan.

This programme has a somewhat convoluted history. 15 years ago when Air Canada was grappling with a high debt burden it began to divest of its interest in the programme. It is now wholly owned by Aimia which used to own the Nectar loyalty programme in the UK. Having announced its intention to let its partnership with Aeroplan lapse when it expires in 2020, Air Canada has since tried to buy the programme back outright as part of a consortium of a number of Canadian financial institutions.

The attractions for Air Canada are clear in that it can simply transfer Aeroplan members and their mileage balances to its new programme. However, the bid has been rebuffed by Aimia.

Not only that Aeroplan has announced new partnerships with Canadian airlines Air Transat and Porter Airlines from July 2020. CBC reports that Aimia is in talks with the Oneworld alliance, which lacks a domestic partner in Canada, to join the programme.

Suspect this story has a lot longer to run.

IAG and BA upbeat on London Heathrow – Nashville

BA parent IAG released its half-year results last week. One comment of note that IAG CEO Willie Walsh was extremely upbeat about the performance of London Heathrow – Nashville which launched in May of this year.

The route currently operates five times weekly until the end of October when it falls to four times weekly. It is a safe assumption that if the route continues to perform well it will probably go daily from late March 2019 and may be upgraded from its current Boeing 787-8. It may also prompt other European airlines to launch flights to Nashville, as Norwegian did with Austin.

Aer Lingus to launch new transatlantic routes

Aer Lingus is expected to announce its first new transatlantic routes with the Airbus A321 Long Range imminently.

It is expected that around two routes will be launched. It is known there is a short-list of North American cities. These are likely to be close to the East Coast as Aer Lingus is unlikely to want to test the boundaries of the aircraft at launch.

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