London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 13 December 2021

Welcome to London Air Travel’s weekly briefing on air travel around the world, which returns on Monday 17 January 2022.

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Concorde and Santa Claus, Rovaniemi, Finland, 1997
Concorde and Santa Claus, Rovaniemi, Finland, 1997. Photo by Eric Chretien/Gamma-Rapho published under license from Getty Images. Unauthorised distribution and reproduction prohibited.

Welcome to London Air Travel’s final Monday Briefing for 2021.

This is our last bulletin before a break over Christmas and New Year. Thank you for reading in what has been another challenging and uncertain year. Our next bulletin will be on Monday 17 January 2022.

BA Prepares Summer 2022 Schedules

It’s normally at this time of year airlines have finalised their schedules for the summer season ahead of Christmas & New Year sales campaigns.

Whilst many Oneworld alliance airlines have confirmed new routes for next year, there’s a conspicuous silence so from BA. So far we only know of two new routes to The Azores for summer 2022. We don’t know of any new long haul routes, nor a firm start date for short haul flights at Gatwick.

It was only a few weeks ago that the airline was expected to operate the same level of capacity to North America in 2022 as 2019.

There are signs that these plans are being scaled back. Last week, BA processed a lot of long haul schedule updates for the summer season. Whilst the the Airbus A380 aircraft will return to Boston and Chicago O’Hare next summer, this will not be further into the season – 15 May & 1 June 2022 respectively.

The return of the A380 to San Francisco has also been pushed back to 1 May 2022. Double daily flights to Houston and Seattle have also been pushed back to 8 May 2022.

There is anecdotal evidence of passengers cancelling flights due to the uncertainty caused by increased testing and self-isolation requirements. Readers have no doubt heard of friends cancelling plans for Christmas overseas. Data provided by ForwardKeys to the Financial Times shows that transatlantic bookings between the UK and US have fallen back sharply since the Omicron variant was reported to the World Health Organisation.

BA Route Network Updates

A few small BA route network updates for this week:

BA returns to Turin, Verona, and Chambery (at London City) this coming Thursday 16, Friday 17 and Saturday 18 December respectively.

You can keep up to date with route network changes over the next few weeks with our dedicated long haul and short haul route network pages.

In case you missed it:

Qantas reopens its London Heathrow Terminal 3 lounge. Note the opening hours have changed and the lounge now closes at 14:00. (London Air Travel)

Also of note this week:

A year after Berlin Brandenburg’s much delayed opening the airport continues to experience operating problems with complaints about long queues for check in and security, leading to missed flights for some passengers. (CNN)

Qantas is reported to be closed to deciding on its preferred aircraft to replace its domestic fleet of Boeing 717 and 737 aircraft. Airbus A220 and Embraer E-Jet E2 aircraft are said to be in play to replace the 717. Airbus is also vying with Boeing’s 737MAX to replace 737 aircraft. There’s no mention of any timescale for a firm order of Airbus A350-1000 Ultra Long Haul range aircraft. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Direction Of Travel has published its third series of vintage airline route maps in newspaper format. This latest edition focuses on Alitalia and Swissair. (Direction Of Travel).

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

BA has continued to run a number of long haul schedule updates for the summer 2022 season. The operation of the Airbus A380 to Dallas / Fort Worth is postponed from 27 March to 1 July 2022. The return of San Jose California is postponed from 27 March to 13 June 2022.

The airline will also return to Pittsburgh and Portland from Friday 3 June 2022. BA will also add Airbus A380 services to Vancouver between 1 June & 25 September 2022.

At Gatwick, BA has cancelled its planned return to Las Vegas. Summer seasonal flights to New York JFK will return from Saturday 28 May 2022.

Delta and Virgin Group are to each invest a combined £400m of new funds in Virgin Atlantic. This will maintain their ownership shares at 49% and 51%.

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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