Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 11 April 2022.
Travel To London’s Airports This Easter
“Why is air travel such a nightmare right now?” asked yesterday’s Sunday Times.
Passengers continue to contend with short notice cancellations, security queues and long waits for baggage at airports.
The situation will no doubt abate, but not in the short term. If you are heading to an airport this coming Easter weekend, there is also disruption to rail services.
No Gatwick Express services will run over the four day weekend. Nor any Southern rail services from London Victoria to Gatwick. Southern and Thameslink trains will continue to run between Gatwick and London Bridge.
On London Underground, no trains will run between Acton Town and Heathrow stations. If you’re heading to Paddington, the Hammersmith & City line is closed all weekend. Heathrow Express and TfL Rail services to Heathrow should operate normally.
There are also no direct trains between London and Stansted. Full guidance is available from National Rail.
JetBlue Targets Spirit
JetBlue launched its long-awaited routes from Gatwick & Heathrow to Boston last week.
The carefully choreographed press announcement was overshadowed by a leak to the New York Times that the airline had made an unsolicited bid for low cost US airline Spirit.
In a hastily organised call for analysts and journalists, there was scepticism as to the merits of this deal. Should it go ahead – Spirit is currently in merger talks with Frontier – Spirit aircraft will adopt JetBlue’s branding, aircraft cabin configuration and fare structure.
Specific concerns are the cost and time it will take to rebrand and reconfigure aircraft and how Spirit’s customer base will take to JetBlue’s more upmarket “value carrier” offering.
JetBlue has steadily pursued closer cooperation with Oneworld alliance member airlines. It has a “Northeast Alliance” with American Airlines in the US, which is being litigated by the US Department of Justice. Few expect regulators will allow both the merger and the Northeast Alliance.
Whilst this is no direct bearing on JetBlue’s transatlantic expansion plans, history has shown the risk of airline mergers in the US taking much longer to realise their benefits is very high.
Should this deal not go to plan, it could be a significant distraction and a drain on resources.
Alan Joyce & Johan Lundgren On Reaching Net Zero
The CEOs of easyJet and Qantas spoke separately last week on climate change and aviation’s efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions.
Europe’s fragmented system of Air Traffic Control has long been a frustration for airlines. Vueling faced significant disruption at its hub in Barcelona three years ago due to recurring industrial action by controllers in Marseille.
Johan Lundgren tells CNN’s Richard Quest that a single European sky, first proposed over 20 years ago, could immediately reduce easyJet’s carbon omissions by 15%.
Alan Joyce also spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald on Qantas’ efforts to adopt Sustainable Aviation Fuels and carbon offsetting schemes. When asked whether the solution is to simply fly less:
“Do we really want to… say that for the next generation: sorry guys, you really shouldn’t travel to Europe and see these amazing sights; you shouldn’t really go and see Uluru’,” he says. “You don’t have to make that tough decision if the airlines – and Qantas will be – do the right thing.”
Also of interest this week:
Virgin Atlantic published its headline financial results for 2021 last week. How do these compare to BA? (Gridpoint Consulting)
From the archives: Two passenger aircraft flying between London & Paris collide mid air in April 1922. (The Times)
Late post publication updates:
[Reserved for updates throughout the day]
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