London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 28 February 2022

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

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Iberia Airbus A350-900 Aircraft “Paco De Lucia” (Image Credit: Iberia)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 28 February 2022.

The attention of the world is of course focused on the very fast moving situation in Ukraine.

As has been extensively reported, a growing number of flight bans on Russian registered and controlled aircraft are in place. Many airlines are avoiding Russian airspace, regardless of whether they are allowed to use it.

Some airlines such as Finnair have been forced to temporarily suspend long haul routes. Others, such as Emirates, are looking at operating routes between Dubai and the US via Europe.

IAG Annual Results & Fleet Plans

IAG published its annual results last Friday. You can read our full write up here.

IAG confirmed its airlines will take delivery of 15 long haul and 10 short haul aircraft this year. It did not give a breakdown by airline.

Yesterday, Iberia confirmed it will receive 3 Airbus A350-900 and 6 Airbus A320neo aircraft this year. This leaves 12 long haul and 4 short haul aircraft for other airlines in the group.

Iberia will have another 8 Airbus A350-900 to be delivered by the end of 2024. These will feature new cabins in all travel classes.

Iberia also confirmed it will take delivery of its first Airbus A321XLR aircraft, ordered before the COVID-19 pandemic, from late 2023.

What If Sir Tim Clark Had Run BA?

Sir Tim Clark gave an interview to The Telegraph yesterday on his tenure at Emirates.

Aided by the Airbus A380, geography and a supportive operating environment, Sir Tim oversaw the airline’s meteoric rise to offer an unrivalled number of one stop connections in Dubai. This captured traffic from legacy carriers who in turn had to reshape their route networks in the process.

In the UK, Emirates was able to capture a lot of passenger traffic from both London and UK regional airports.

BA pursued a very different strategy. Having considered that it expanded too quickly ahead of revenue in the late 1990s and with a balance sheet in need of repair, the airline moved away from volume to focus on high yield point to point traffic at London Heathrow.

On short haul routes Boeing 757/767 aircraft were replaced with Airbus A319/A320 aircraft. Boeing 747 orders were cut in favour of the Boeing 777. The A380, when it eventually arrived, would play only a limited role.

Could it all have been done differently? Sir Tim thinks so. He would have pressed more strongly for a third runway at Heathrow and based the whole airline around the A380.

“If I could have done what I did with Emirates, with British Airways; I could have done it”

“At the time there was a degree of complacency, because they never thought the likes of Emirates would then enter the interdict their market and extract real value and grow the markets. By which time it’s a little bit too late. There is absolutely no question in my mind that that could have been done.”

Route Network Updates

BA, which was still experiencing disruption to short haul flights yesterday, reinstates a number of routes this week.

Today, BA is due to return to Hannover, Inverness, Luxembourg, Stuttgart and Zagreb. Krakow also returned yesterday. Pisa returns on Friday 4 March. Flights to Lahore have now ended.

At London City, BA CityFlyer returns to Nice on Thursday 3 March.

At Virgin Atlantic, it returns to Seattle and Washington Dulles from Wednesday 2 and Saturday 5 March respectively.

Also of interest this week:

The rise and rise of premium economy. The article also includes a quote from BA CEO Sean Doyle about a forthcoming new seat with “with additional privacy, and more storage for personal belongings”. (The Sunday Times)

News from London Air Travel you may have missed:

Air Canada to reinstate Heathrow – Halifax, with the Boeing 737 MAX. (London Air Travel)

Finnair to restart flights from Heathrow to Helsinki with long haul aircraft. (London Air Travel)

Heathrow Terminal 4 to reopen to passenger flights by July. (London Air Travel)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

Finnair is planning contingency measures for a prolonged closure of Russian airspace. This would render much of its route network to Asia economically unviable. Further updates are expected in the coming weeks.

Norwegian has agreed to lease 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 8 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft from AerCap. This will take Norwegian’s fleet to 80 by the summer of 2023.

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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