London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 21 January 2019

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Aer Lingus Airbus A320
Aer Lingus Airbus A320 aircraft (Image Credit: Aer Lingus)

Welcome to our Monday Briefing of the year for the week beginning 21 January 2019.

Flybe and Connect Airways

The more you read about the deal between Flybe and Connect Airways, the more you wonder if those in the consortium know what they have let themselves in for.

There was an unexpected twist last week when Flybe plc circumvented the requirement for shareholder approval for its sale by agreeing to sell the trading subsidiaries of Flybe plc to the consortium, leaving Flybe plc effectively a shell company.

Now one major Flybe shareholder, Hosking Partners, is threatening legal action to block the transaction, albeit legal proceedings have not yet been instigated. (Sky News)

Virgin has had its fingers burned before. In the late 1990s, Virgin acquired EuroBelgian Airlines to launch a new low cost airline, Virgin Express. A subsequent flotation was hugely unsuccessful and the airline merged with what was then SN Brussels, later to become Brussels Airlines.

Aeromexico’s “DNA Discounts”

By now you’ve no doubt seen the AeroMexico’s “DNA Discounts” ad where the airline dives head first into the US Border Wall debate.

Brands have normally adopted a conservative with a small c approach to geopolitical and social issues. However, Nike and Gillette have found that the amount of free social media coverage and distribution is a price worth paying for threats of a backlash and boycotts.

The agency behind AeroMexico’s ad is Ogilvy, who also work for BA. Would we ever see a similarly provocative ad from BA or Virgin on Brexit? Probably not. The safety net for AeroMexico is that the people mocked in the ad were unlikely to travel with the airline in any event.

Cathay Pacific “You Asked Us” Series

Cathay Pacific has launched a nicely animated “You Asked Us” video series.

This video covers Cathay Pacific’s fleet decisions, such as its preference to offer a higher frequency of five Boeing 777-300 flights on London Heathrow – Hong Kong, instead of operating three Airbus A380s carrying the same number of passengers.

Kuwait Airways Returns To Baker Street

One of the last vestiges of the pre internet travel era is the city centre airline ticket office.

In spite of high demand for commercial property and soaring prices, there are still a good number dotted around London.

On Baker Street, you’ll find offices for Air Algerie and China Eastern. Elsewhere, there’s Eva Air in Euston and Thai Airways in Mayfair. Many, such as Korean Air in Piccadilly, have closed.

An always busy Kuwait Airways office closed on Baker Street a couple of years ago and is now occupied by a boxing club. However, the airline is now due to return in a new unit across the street which is now being fitted out.

Who knows maybe one day an airline will follow Apple and Samsung and launch a fully fledged “experience” store on the high street.

Etihad Holidays At Paddington

Etihad Holidays is launching, to use marketing speak, an “activation” at Paddington station this week.

Designed to promote the new Etihad Holidays website, from Tuesday 22 to Wednesday 23 January, the “sci-fi, steampunk style” activation will feature Etihad’s “Holiday machine” with prizes, including a chance to win a free trip to Abu Dhabi.

The general rule with these type of events is it’s worth stopping by, if you have the time when passing through.

In case you missed it:

BA launches new catering in World Traveller Plus. Very often the response to these announcements is “And what about economy?”. There may be some news about that soon. (London Air Travel)

BA’s London Heathrow Summer Schedule. (London Air Travel)

The future is bright white and sans-serif. Aer Lingus launches its new livery. (London Air Travel)

Vueling launches London Gatwick – Alicante. (London Air Travel)

Also of note this week:

“In ‘Airports of the Future’ Everything New Is Old Again” (CityLab)

IATA criticises the European Union’s plans to cap the number of flights between the UK and EU in the event of a “no deal” Brexit. (Financial Times)

Qantas on the “new plane smell”. (Qantas)

Ryanair lowers its full year profit guidance citing lower fares. (Ryanair)

Stanfords Travel reopens a short distance from its former store, on Mercer Walk, Covent Garden. (Stanfords)

Late Post Publication Updates

British Airways has confirmed it will launch a series of retro-liveried aircraft to celebrate its centenary. The first, a Boeing 747 in a BOAC livery, will enter service on Monday 18 February 2019.

Flybe’s London Heathrow – Newquay route will receive a public subsidy of up to £3.2m per annum. (Financial Times)

[Reserved for updates during the day.]

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