Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 20 June 2022.
Heathrow Capacity Restrictions
Things are not getting any easier for passengers at London airports.
Following well publicised baggage system failures at the weekend at Terminals 2 & 3, Heathrow has imposed capacity restrictions on airlines at these terminals today.
Virgin Atlantic advised on Sunday evening it has cancelled these flights today:
VS7 London Heathrow – Los Angeles
VS45 London Heathrow – New York JFK
VS4 New York JFK – London Heathrow
On Sunday evening, Brussels Airport advised that no flights will depart the airport today due to a strike by security staff. Brussels Airlines had already cancelled 50% of its flights and now virtually all are cancelled.
Ahead of IATA’s Annual General Meeting, Director General Willie Walsh was keen to emphasise in media interviews that the vast majority of airports and flights are operating normally. But aviation is going to remain unpredictable for some time yet.
National Rail Strikes
Three days of rail strikes will disrupt transport to all London airports this week. To compound matters, London Underground will also be severely disrupted by strike action on Tuesday.
Full details of the expected impact of the strikes is here. Note this has been updated since publication as some train companies have changed their contingency plans.
In summary on Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 & Saturday 25 June:
The Heathrow Express will run every 30 minutes between Paddington and Heathrow, instead of every 15 minutes, from 07:30 onwards. No trains will run after 18:30.
On the Western section of the Elizabeth Line services from Paddington to Heathrow are not expected to start until after 07:40. Passengers are advised to complete journeys by 16:00 as services will end shortly afterwards.
The Gatwick Express will not run.
Southern Rail will run up to two trains an hour from London Victoria to Brighton, stopping at Gatwick.
Thameslink will run up to six trains an hour from London Bridge to Gatwick. Two will run to Gatwick, two will each run to Brighton and Three Bridges, stopping at Gatwick.
The Docklands Light Railway to London City should not be affected by strike action. Some DLR stations on London Undergound may close for safety reasons on the day of the Tube strike.
Negotiations between the RMT and Network Rail were said to be underway yesterday. Given the claim and counter claim at the weekend over who should actually be leading negotiations with the RMT, a last minute settlement seems unlikely.
When Concorde Came To Australia
Concorde landed in Australia for the first time 50 years ago last weekend.
Concorde flew to Sydney from Tokyo Haneda – where it was being assessed by Japan Airlines – via Manila and Darwin, as a part of a demonstration tour. It then did a number of test flights to Melbourne and over the Tasman sea.
Whilst Concorde’s arrival did attract some protests, principally over noise and pollution, many thousands gathered to watch the aircraft arrive in Australia.
You can read archive footage from the time from the Sydney Morning Herald.
Qantas had secured delivery slots for four aircraft and there was talk of “supersonic corridors” over Australia, but it did not ultimately convert these to firm orders.
A proposed BA service to Sydney, as an extension of its short lived Concorde flight to Singapore, never came close to fruition.
Concorde did operate occasional charters to Australia. In February 1985, Concorde flew from London to Sydney in 17 hours, 3 hours and 45 seconds for Cunard. The aircraft flew via Bahrain, Colombo and Perth for refuelling.
News you may have missed from London Air Travel:
British Airways changes its rebooking policy for flight schedule changes. (London Air Travel)
British Airways plans a phased transition from Terminal 7 to 8 at New York JFK. (London Air Travel)
Qantas reopens Singapore First Class lounge. (London Air Travel)
Late post publication updates:
[Reserved for updates throughout the day]
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