Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 7 March 2022.
The Return Of The Polar Route To Japan
Shortly after maintaining it was safe to continue to use Russian airspace and cancelling its codeshare with BA to protect itself, Japan Airlines has decided to reroute flights from London Heathrow to Tokyo.
Flights will now pass over Greenland and Alaska, rather than Russia. Readers may remember from the late 1960s BOAC and Japan Airlines launched “Polar flights” from London to Japan, with a stop in Anchorage, before they could secure access to Russian airspace.
You can see footage from the first BOAC Polar flight to Osaka in the Pathe film below.
Today, this leads to an extended journey time from around 11 hours to more than 15 hours.
For airlines, this means higher fuel costs at time of rising oil prices. Aircraft also cannot complete return trips within the space of 24 hours.
Finnair is due to relaunch flights from Helsinki to Tokyo Narita with a new routing later this week. The airline is also expected to confirm this week its plans for how it will serve the rest of its Asia network.
BA is due to return to Tokyo Haneda at the end of the month, but is yet to confirm its plans.
Aeroflot and S7 Airlines have suspended almost all international flights. Sanctions imposed by the EU and US mean they cannot secure spare parts, nor procure support services. Aircraft leasing contracts will be terminated. Access to insurance has also been denied by the UK government.
The Financial Times has a good analysis as to how Russian airlines may manage to keep flying in the domestic market by, for example, swapping parts between aircraft and developing their own replacements.
Interestingly, there’s been no statement yet from Oneworld on S7 Airlines’ continued membership of the alliance.
More Boeing 787-10s For BA?
IAG published its annual report last week. We read these things so you don’t have to.
A small detail from the scores of pages is that IAG now has options to acquire an additional 6 Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
BA originally ordered 42 Boeing 787 family aircraft. 10 Boeing 787-10 aircraft are to be delivered. Options to acquire an additional 9 Boeing 787-9 aircraft were allowed to lapse.
No detail or explanation is given so it’s not clear how the additional options have been acquired. This is possibly compensation for ongoing delivery delays.
Also of interest this week:
Michael O’Leary claims lobbyists in France & Germany are “gunning” for IAG to be forced to spin off BA. This comes as the European Union plans to reinstate rules that require airlines operating in the EU to be “owned and controlled” in Member Sates. These were suspended after the UK left the EU, subject to negotiation between the two sides. IAG maintains it complies with EU ownership & control regulations. (Telegraph)
20 years after the collapse of Ansett, a trip back to its last day of operations at Sydney airport. (Sydney Morning Herald)
News from London Air Travel you may have missed:
BA moves long haul routes to London Heathrow Terminal 3 for the summer 2022 season. (London Air Travel)
Late post publication updates:
[Reserved for updates throughout the day]
Finnair has advised it has suspended flights from Helsinki to Hong Kong and Osaka until the end of April 2022. Flights to Shanghai and Seoul will operate once and thrice weekly, avoiding Russian airspace. Flights to Bangkok, Delhi, Phuket and Singapore will also continue.
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