Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 3 February 2020.
Storm Ciara has of course caused significant disruption over the weekend and there some residual cancellations this morning.
It is expected to cause disruption over Northern and Central Europe this week (where it’s called Storm Sabine!). Lufthansa has also given warning of very signifiant disruption at Munich airport this morning.
BA has also extended its flexible rebooking policy. Any short-haul passenger due to fly to / from London Gatwick and Heathrow today can rebook up to Thursday 13 February 2020.
South African Airways
South African Airways announced a significant restructuring of its route network last week.
Its route from London Heathrow to Johannesburg has been spared the axe. However, SAA’s restructuring is far from complete. The Business Rescue Practitioners are still to present a business plan for the airline for approval by its creditors.
The entire process is very political. Shortly after the route restructuring was announced the Department of Public Enterprises in South Africa issued a statement to the effect that it will be making representations to the Business Rescue Practitioners. As part of this, it will ask for the route network changes to be reviewed. Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance has called for the airline to be shut down. (SABC News)
It’s noteworthy there appears to have been no comment from Comair who operate the BA franchise in Africa and in which BA currently owns an 11% stake.
In case you missed it:
BA switches all Tokyo flights to Haneda airport from Saturday 28 March 2020. (London Air Travel)
BA and its predecessor airlines have served Japan since 1948. BOAC also used to operate a polar route to Osaka via Anchorage with a Boeing 707 aircraft. Here is a British Pathe film of the launch of the route from 1969:
BA introduces “Twilight” check-in at London Heathrow Terminal 5. (London Air Travel)
Also of note this week:
Eurostar is to operate direct trains to London St Pancras International from Amsterdam from Thursday 30 April 2020 and Rotterdam from Monday 18 May 2020. No change of trains will be needed in Brussels, as is currently the case on inbound journeys. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday 11 February 2020. (Eurostar)
One of the great frustrations of the Tube is the lack of mobile data and WiFi in its tunnels. Tube stations do of course have WiFi but this is borderline useless unless you are delayed at a station. There is a plan to introduce 4G data to the Jubilee Line later this year. WIRED Magazine takes a look at the complexities involved. (WIRED)
How do you “stress test” an airport? (The Globalist, Monocle)
Late post publication updates:
[Reserved for updates throughout the day]
British Airways has extended the cancellation of flights from London Heathrow to Beijing Daxing and Shanghai Pudong airports from Saturday 29 February to Tuesday 31 March 2020. BA has also extended its flexible rebooking policy for passengers booked on flights to Hong Kong to 31 March 2020.
Eastern Airways’ new route from London City to Teesside has now go on sale. (London Air Travel)
The UK Government is expected to give the go ahead to HS2. (BBC News)