London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 3 June 2019

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Airbus A330neo aircraft
Airbus A330neo aircraft (Image credit: Airbus)

Welcome to our weekly Monday Briefing for the week beginning 3 June 2019.

Reuters: Virgin Atlantic in talks to order Airbus A330neo

Reuters reports that Virgin Atlantic is in talks with Airbus to order up to ten Airbus A330neo aircraft.

This report has emerged ahead of the Paris Air Show which is due to begin in two weeks’ time on Monday 17 June 2019.

There are two Airbus A330neo models, the A330-800 and A330-900. The Airbus A330-900 has a range of 7,200 nautical miles and is designed to accommodate 260-300 passengers.

Virgin Atlantic’s 49% shareholder Delta Air Lines has also ordered 35 of the aircraft, having increased its order from 25 aircraft in late 2018.

The aircraft is currently operated by TAP Air Portugal, which will have 19 of the aircraft in its fleet by the end of this year, and Air Mauritius. Other airlines to have placed significant orders for the aircraft include Air Asia X which will take delivery of its first aircraft later this month.

In terms of where this fits into Virgin’s fleet plan, the airline has 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft on order and is currently leasing three Airbus A330-200 aircraft to compensate for Boeing 787 issues. Virgin has taken delivery of all ten Airbus A330-300 aircraft and 17 Boeing 787-9 aircraft it has ordered. Its last remaining 5 Airbus A340-600 and 8 Boeing 747-400 aircraft are due to be retired in the coming years.

South African Airways CEO Resigns

The South African Broadcasting Corporation reports that its CEO Vuyani Jarana has resigned from the airline.

Vuyani Jarana will leave the airline at the end of August and the South African Airways board has started a search for a successor. A lack of progress in its turnaround strategy has been cited as the reason for his departure.

South African Airways has not reported a profit in eight years. It has significantly reduced its presence in London, having cut Cape Town and reduced Johannesburg to once daily.

Vuyani Jarana recently gave an interview to the Centre for Aviation for the IATA AGM on the challenges facing the aviation industry in Africa.

IATA holds its AGM

On the subject of the IATA AGM, the three day event draws to a close in Seoul today.

You can browse publications from the AGM here. These include daily newsletters from the Centre for Aviation and FlightGlobal which include interviews with the CEOs of Air Baltic, Air New Zealand, JetBlue and more.

The overall mood seems very subdued with concerns about the impact of a growing trade war between the US and China on cargo and passenger traffic as well as rising fuel costs.

It was at this event that Oneworld was supposed to announce the location of its first Oneworld branded joint airline lounge. However, this seems to have been delayed.

In case you missed it:

Air Belgium to operate Heathrow – Cairo for BA. (London Air Travel)

BA extends its codeshare agreement with Loganair to include Bergen and Stavanger. (London Air Travel)

BA’s lounge at Glasgow airport closes for refurbishment. (London Air Travel)

BA to operate Boeing 747 flights on UK domestic routes on the day of its centenary, Sunday 25 August 2019. (London Air Travel)

Also of note this week:

The Economist’s “Technology Quarterly” looks at aviation. (The Economist)

Monocle continues its series on the “golden age” of aviation with a look at Pan Am memorabilia, Canada’s Gander International Airport and Alitalia. (Monocle)

Qantas and American Airlines await imminent decision from US regulators on their revised transpacific joint-venture. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

Qantas expects Airbus and Boeing to make best and final offers for long range aircraft capable of flying London – Melbourne / Sydney non-stop by August for a decision by the end of the year. If ordered the aircraft will feature First Class but, unsurprising, other ideas such as bunk beds are unlikely to happen. (Sydney Morning Herald)

London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing is published every Monday at 06:00 BST. If you have any tips or stories please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news throughout the week.

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