London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 4 October 2021

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JetBlue Airbus A321LR N4022J Aircraft, London Gatwick Airport, 30 September 2021
JetBlue Airbus A321LR N4022J Aircraft, London Gatwick Airport, 30 September 2021 (Image Credit: JetBlue)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 4 October 2021.

International Air Transport Association AGM

The International Air Transport Association (“IATA”) is holding its Annual General Meeting this week.

IATA, naturally keen to point to a return of in person meetings and the value of face to face communication, is holding the event in Boston in conjunction with the World Air Transport Summit.

JetBlue, pictured above at London Gatwick last week, is the host airline.

IATA has cautiously welcomed moves by Australia and the United States to reopen their borders to international travel. IATA is likely to press that this is not enough. Existing government measures such as mandatory quarantine should be time limited. They should not stay in place any longer than is necessary. Whilst some countries and airlines only accept fully vaccinated passengers, alternative measures should be introduced to allow non-vaccinated passengers to fly.

On the subject of mandatory quarantine, yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph splashed with a claim that the UK government could cut the red list to just 9 countries. The list is due to be updated this Thursday. Such claims have not come true in the past. Very often these are leaked by factions in government to try and bounce others into action.

If you wish to follow the IATA AGM virtually you can view its dedicated media pages.

August Passenger Numbers

The Civil Aviation Authority has released passenger numbers for domestic and international routes at UK airports for August 2021.

There are positive signs. UK domestic routes are up substantially year on year. Many short haul routes, particularly summer seasonal routes to Greece and Spain, performed much more strongly this year. There are less clear trends on the trunk short haul routes where airlines will be hoping business travel begins to rebound this autumn.

Importantly for BA and Virgin transatlantic routes continue to recover month on month in advance of the lifting of travel restrictions.

Here are passenger numbers for June, July and August for some major transatlantic routes:

Los Angeles – 15,131 / 24,666 / 33,157
Miami – 9,095 / 13,071 / 15,974
New York JFK – 25,260 / 41,432 / 69,045
San Francisco – 5,680 / 12,814 / 17,637
Washington Dulles – 9,888 / 15,180 / 23,367

BA Route Network Updates

A few more BA route network updates for this week:

At Gatwick, BA returned to St Kitts, via Antigua, yesterday. Summer seasonal routes from Heathrow to Figari Sud-Corse, Palermo and Pula ended on Saturday. As does Mykonos at London City today.

Flights from London Heathrow to Phoenix increase to daily from this Sunday. Denver also increases to five time weekly from Monday 11 October.

BA’s codeshare partner Aer Lingus will also resume flights from London Gatwick to Knock from 18 December.

You can also see our dedicated BA short haul and long haul route network pages which are continuously updated.

Explore The Deserted BA Training Centre At Heathrow

Exploring deserted buildings and former infrastructure is a popular genre on YouTube.

The channel Urbandoned has produced a two part video exploring the sprawling former BA Flight Training Centre at Cranebrank near Heathrow.

As you can see the abandoned building has been left to decay. A large amount of equipment has been left in situ including a Boeing 737 simulator and mock cabins for the Boeing 747. The site is expected to be demolished.

These videos do come with a “Do not try this at home” warning as access to the site was not authorised.

In Case You Missed It:

Heathrow introduces £5 passenger drop off charge from 1 November 2021. (London Air Travel)

Last week, BA transferred Gatwick short haul routes to Heathrow for summer 2022 season, leaving just two routes to Glasgow and Manchester. (London Air Travel)

And last night it emerged that talks between BA and BALPA have resumed and a new proposal for a new airline company will be put to members in a ballot. (London Air Travel)

Also of note this week:

Air New Zealand is preparing to restart international flights and will mandate that all international passengers must be fully vaccinated from 1 February 2022. The airline had already planned to withdraw from London Heathrow before COVID-19. In the coming months we may hear how Air New Zealand plans to continue to serve London in conjunction with codeshare partners. (Air New Zealand)

Virgin Atlantic has postponed plans to raise funds through an Initial Public Offering to 2022. (Bloomberg)

From the archives: An Avro Vulcan bomber aircraft crashes on landing at London Airport after completing a record breaking flight from New Zealand and Australia. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

Qantas and Emirates are to renew their partnership for a further five years, from 2023 to 2028. The partnership, first launched in 2013, covers the co-ordination of flights and sales between Australia and New Zealand and Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This is subject to regulatory approval.

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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