Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 4 April 2022.
The Easter Getaway Begins
Today, the first week of April, marks the official start of the Easter Holidays for schools in the UK.
It also marks the start of the second quarter of the year. This is supposed to be the time when airlines leave COVID-19 losses behind, return to profitability and take advantage of pent up demand for summer travel.
The signs are this will be, at best, a bumpy ride.
Both BA and easyJet made a large number of short notice flight cancellations over the weekend. This follows repeated disruption at BA, due to both staffing issues and IT failures, in previous weeks.
In an ominous warning BA is only selling fully flexible short haul economy fares at Heathrow for travel over the next two weeks. This is historically only done when the airline is expecting mass cancellations.
The long Easter weekend is next week. If airlines do not have the resources to meet their current Easter schedules, they would be well advised to take the pain of cancellations now. Otherwise, the EASTER TRAVEL CHAOS newspaper front pages will write themselves.
Michael O’Leary & Carsten Sphor Speak To CNN
Michael O’Leary and Carsten Sphor spoke to Richard Quest at CNN last week.
Ryanair is long known for its order of 100 Boeing 737 aircraft in the months after 11 September 2001 at “an exceptionally competitive price”. Or, as Richard Quest says “You absolutely took it [Boeing] to the cleaners”.
Perhaps with an eye on his own negotiations with Boeing, Michael O’Leary points to it losing an increasing number of customers in Europe. He also suggests that IAG’s Memorandum of Intent from 2019 to buy up to 200 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft has been reopened and is likely to go to Airbus.
Turning to Carsten Sphor, he reiterates Lufthansa’s interest in investing a restructured ITA Airways, citing Italy as its most important international market after the US.
Like Michael O’Leary, Carsten emphasise the importance of aviation maintaining connectivity between nations and enabling free movement of people, even at a time of operational challenges.
Also of interest this week:
The Bank branch of the Northern Line is closed between Kennington and Moorgate Station until May due to remodelling work at Bank. This station has long been known for the worst transfer experience on the Tube. The remodelling will include a new southbound platform on the Northern Line, better connections to the Central Line and improved access to DLR platforms. Transport for London has given access to the works. (Ian Visits)
An interview Jet2 CEO Steve Heapy “When you look at the actions of some of our competitors who either delayed or refused to pay back money — put another way, they stole money — well, I’m quite happy to put the boot into those rivals, because they acted very irresponsibly.” (The Sunday Times)
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority marks 50 years since its formation. (CAA)
As demand for private jet travel increases in the US, hangar space for parking aircraft is scarce. (New York Times)
Late post publication updates:
[Reserved for updates throughout the day]
The Competition & Markets Authority has deferred again its investigation into AA & BA’s transatlantic joint business.
Its final conclusions won’t be known until at least 2024 due to the unpredictable recovery of transatlantic travel.
The CMA’s interim measures, due to end March 2024, are extended by two years to the Winter 2025 / 26 season.
These require AA & BA to release to competitors two daily slot pairs for London – Boston and 1 daily slot pair for Dallas / Fort Worth & Miami.
These slots, currently used by Delta, United & Virgin Atlantic, will be re-advertised in 2023 for the four additional IATA seasons up to Winter 2025 / 26.
British Airways has extended the suspension of London Heathrow – Tokyo Haneda until Sunday 30 October 2022.
The route was showing on timetables as due to restart on 29 May, but had already been taken off sale beyond this date.