Monday Briefing – 2 September 2019

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British Airways 2019 Logo
British Airways 2019 Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

Welcome to our Monday Briefing on its return from a summer break. It has of course been an eventful summer, particularly for BA and Cathay Pacific.

BA Pilot Strike

BA’s first pilot strike in decades looks set to go ahead next Monday 9 September 2019.

It could still be called off at any time up to 23:59 BST on Sunday, but there are no signs of any talks taking place between BA and BALPA. With BA having announced cancellations for the first two days of industrial action immediately following its announcement, the substantial financial impact has already been felt by BA.

BA has yet to announce cancellations for the 2nd strike on Friday 27 September 2019. BALPA has not yet announced any further strikes and must give 14 days’ notice before doing so.

Those who have seen industrial disputes before will know that a settlement can ultimately hinge on issues that were not originally the subject of the dispute. BA is likely to withdraw staff travel privileges from pilots taking part in the strike, and its reinstatement will probably be a condition of any settlement.

Inaugural BA A350-1000 Long-Haul Flight

BA’s Airbus A350-1000 aircraft makes will operate its first long-haul passenger flight from London Heathrow to Dubai today.

Flight BA107 from Heathrow to Dubai will be operated with the Airbus A350-1000 from today (with the return BA106 from tomorrow), save for Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September.

Route Changes & Heathrow Slot Trades

A number of Heathrow slot trades for the winter season have been announced in the past week, some of which dovetail with a number of route changes.

Etihad is leasing one of the three daily Heathrow slot pairs it took back from Jet Airways to BA.

Lufthansa is leasing six weekly slot pairs to United Airlines and one weekly slot pair to Austrian Airlines. These slots will enable United to make its summer seasonal route to Denver year-round. These were previously used by Eurowings which is suspending its twice daily service from London Heathrow to Berlin Tegel for the winter.

Asiana is to lease two weekly slot pairs to Kuwait Airways. As a consequence, Asiana will reduce its flights to Seoul Incheon from daily to five times weekly.

In other recent route news:

Flybe is to operate its route from London Heathrow to Guernsey year-round. It was initially planned to operate for the summer season.

TAP Air Portugal is to suspend London City – Lisbon and Porto from Saturday 26 October 2019.

Spot the difference

Notice something different about the logo at the top of this article?

This may help:

British Airways 1997 & 2019 Logos
British Airways 1997 & 2019 Logos (Image Credit: British Airways)

BA has quietly tweaked its logo, moving to a sans-serif font, no doubt in part because it displays more clearly on digital devices.

In case you missed it:

Air Antwerp launches its website ahead of its first flights from London City to Antwerp next Monday 9 September. (Air Antwerp)

“British Airways 24/7: Access All Areas” premieres in the UK on Channel 5 this coming Thursday 5 September. (London Air Travel)

The UK Government begins a “Get Ready For Brexit” public information campaign. (Gov.uk)

Qantas has set itself a deadline of December this year to decide whether to go ahead with “Project Sunrise” and order aircraft capable of flying from London to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney non-stop. Any order is conditional on agreeing productivity changes with Qantas pilots, which Qantas’ pilots union describes as “very ambitious”. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Virgin Australia has reported a loss before tax of AUD$71.2 million for the year to 30 June 2019. Its CEO Paul Scurrah has instituted a full review of the business’ network, fleet, structure and supply chains. It has already announced a reduction in head office roles and new reporting structures. Given Virgin’s international business and Tigerair are both loss making, this could result in radical changes. (Virgin Australia)

Late post publication updates:

Norwegian, citing a need for increased liquidity, is to ask its bondholders to delay the redemption of two bonds, worth a combined $350m, from 11 December 2019 and 7 August 2020 to November 2021 and February 2020 respectively. The delay would be secured by a package of Norwegian’s slots at London Gatwick. (Norwegian)

Etihad is to lease one of its daily slot pairs at London Heathrow to American Airlines for the winter season.

BA is to increase flights from London Heathrow to both Copenhagen and Paris Charles de Gaulle by 7 flights a day, increasing flights to 44 and 54 flights a week respectively.

BA has also made some small adjustments to its seasonal services from London Heathrow to Calgary and Muscat. Calgary will return next summer, but will end earlier on 2 October 2020. It will also operate four times weekly until early April. Muscat will be extended from the winter season to 11 April 2020.

[Reserved for updates during the day.]

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