London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 6 July 2020

Welcome to London Air Travel’s weekly briefing on air travel around the world, as published every Monday at 06:00 BST.

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British Airways Reinstated Routes July 2020
British Airways Reinstated Routes July 2020 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 6 July 2020.

BA Returns To Europe

The departures board at London Heathrow Terminal 5 is starting to look a little busier.

Whilst BA’s schedule is still a fraction of what it should be at the start of the summer getaway – at any one time there are around 20-40 BA aircraft in the air and many without any passengers at all – there are at least signs of what to expect over the coming months.

Many short-haul destinations that have not seen a Chatham Dockyard tail fin since the end of March have now returned, albeit with significantly reduced frequencies. These include Bologna, Toulouse and Valencia.

Summer seasonal routes such as Ibiza and Malaga have also restarted. Again, these will gradually increase during July.

They are joined by many short-haul routes transferred from Gatwick. Alicante and Jersey are now being served from Heathrow with more to follow.

Unsurprisingly, business heavy routes such as Frankfurt and Luxembourg are yet to return.

A small number of long-haul routes are also due to return to Gatwick and Heathrow from late next week. Here is a full summary of where BA is expected to fly in July.

Following the UK Government’s decision to exempt more than 50 countries from the mandatory 14 day quarantine regime for arriving passengers, IAG withdrew its legal action against the Government’s decision to impose a quarantine regime on Friday afternoon.

Airlines Lobby For London – New York Travel Corridor

Travel to the United States is unlikely to resume for many months. The country is at red on the UK government’s traffic light system for international travel.

There is a suggestion in yesterday’s Sunday Times that airlines have been lobbying the UK Government to create a travel corridor between London and New York.

The rationale for this is that the pattern of infection from COVID-19 is far from uniform in the US.

Infections are rising at an alarming rate in states such as Arizona and Florida. They have fallen and flatlined in many East Coast states such as Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. This is so much so that many states have imposed their own quarantine regimes for travellers within the US.

Whatever its merits, a London – New York travel corridor is unlikely to succeed because of politics. There is a visceral mutual loathing between the Trump Administration and New York. President Trump is unlikely to partially lift the US travel ban to help New York, let alone overseas interests.

The same article also suggests that Heathrow airport may, against the wishes of airlines, oppose moves to extend the waiver of “use it or lose it” airport slot rules beyond the end of October.

Self-interest is no doubt at play here. Airlines will have to use their slots, or lease them to other airlines, which secures revenue for Heathrow from landing charges. Airlines such as BA will have no choice but to protect their Heathrow slots at the expense of other London airports.

Sir Tim Clark – We Have Not Passed “Peak Travel”

Staying with The Sunday Times, yesterday it featured an interview with Sir Tim Clarke, president of Emirates.

On the immediate crisis facing the industry, Sir Tim says:

“I see things getting worse as government support schemes taper. But by next April, May and June it will really start coming back.”

But we have not passed “peak travel”:

“The thirst for knowledge, experience, business, leisure — that isn’t going to change. Air travel has been growing at 7% a year on four billion passengers a year. Do the maths. In the next 10 years, the number will double to eight billion. Give it a year or two and travel will come roaring back.”

And on the future of Airbus A380 at Emirates:

“As demand returns, and given the slot availability at prime hubs, there will be a place for it. I’m hoping by April 2022, all our A380s will be flying again.”

BA CityFlyer Restarts This Friday

Back to BA short-haul, BA CityFlyer is due to restart operations at London City airport this week.

Barring a last minute change of plan, BA CityFlyer will restart flights to Florence, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca this Friday. Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh resume from Monday 20 July.

Also of note this week:

Monocle 24 interviews Bernd Bauer, CEO of Edelweiss Air. (Monocle)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

BA is reported to have reached an agreement with BALPA on job losses and changes to terms and conditions. Members will be balloted this week. (Sky News)

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