London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 24 January 2022

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Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Pre Departure, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019
Qantas Boeing 787-9 Aircraft VH-OJA Pre Departure, London Heathrow Terminal 3, Thursday 14 November 2019 (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 24 January 2022.

How Ready Are Airlines For The Summer Season?

If you’ve browsed Instagram recently you may well have seen cabin crew recruitment campaigns for BA and Virgin Atlantic.

It’s now nearly two months until the start of the summer 2022 season. There are certainly signs airlines will be dealing with stretched resources.

There are unconfirmed reports that BA will wet lease aircraft from its fellow IAG airline Iberia Express to cover some Gatwick short haul flights. Last week, another IAG airline, Vueling, announced a string of new routes from Gatwick to Spain, at relatively short notice.

Airlines also do not yet know what airport slot usage rules will be in place as the UK government is yet to publish any guidance.

Edit: The Department for Transport has confirmed the threshold will be set at 70%, with a broader scope to claim dispensation for non-use of slots.

Hopes that next summer may be a return to “normal” may be a little premature.

Qantas Likely To Delay Non Stop Perth Flights

Qantas is expected to delay its planned restart of non stop flights from London Heathrow to Perth.

Currently, Qantas is flying from London to both Melbourne and Sydney via Darwin. The airline had planned to resume non-stop flights to Perth from Sunday 27 March.

Qantas confirmed on Friday this is subject to review. This follows a decision by the Premier of Western Australia Mark McGowan to delay the planned reopening of its international border on Saturday 5 February indefinitely.

As far as Sydney is concerned, Qantas is due to operate this route via Singapore from 27 March. BA will also provisionally restart services to Sydney via Singapore, after an absence of more than two years, from this date.

Airlines Cut Hong Kong Flights

Amid an extremely difficult operating environment for airlines flying to Hong Kong, even before imposed flight bans, both BA and Virgin Atlantic have extended the suspension of all passenger flights.

BA and Virgin Atlantic have suspended passenger flights in both directions until Monday 14 February and Saturday 26 March respectively.

Cathay Pacific will restart one way passenger flights to London Heathrow on Sunday 6 March.

Also of interest this week:

Lufthansa is reported to be in talks buy a stake in ITA Airways. (Reuters)

IATA Director General Willie Walsh calls for more flexibility on slot usage rules, particularly for network airlines with high volumes of connecting traffic. (IATA)

Gene Willson of charter airline Titan Airways on surviving the COVID-19 pandemic and handing the business to his son Alastair. (The Times)

The East Hampton Town Board has voted to “deactivate” East Hampton Airport on Long Island, New York following resident complaints about noise. The airport will cease commercial flight operations on 28 February, but will reopen a few days later for private use. (East Hampton Star)

News from London Air Travel you may have missed:

Virgin Atlantic launches a new codeshare partnership with LATAM. (London Air Travel)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

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