London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 27 June 2022

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British Airways aircraft on the ground at London Heathrow Airport.
British Airways Aircraft At Sunset, London Heathrow

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 27 June 2022.

The Summer Of Discontent

It was not long that ago summers at London Heathrow were known for strike action.

Back in 2003, the start of the school holiday summer getaway was thrown into chaos when BA ground staff staged wildcat industrial action. This was ostensibly over plans to introduce electronic swipe cards to clock on & off duty.

A year later, the airline had to issue a grovelling apology for short notice cancellations ahead of the August bank holiday weekend due to unexpectedly high levels of staff sickness.

And then in August 2005, BA ground staff walked out in support of workers sacked by its catering supplier Gate Gourmet.

After a period of relative stability, the prospect of summer strike action has reared its head again. Both GMB & Unite have secured strike mandates from BA ground staff over pay.

Compared to some former industrial disputes where BA has got caught up in intra-union politics or there are fundamental differences on points of principle, this is not a difficult one to resolve.

The GMB & Unite have held off announcing strike dates for now. Some BA unions have in the past made the mistake of overplaying their hand. The airline would be wise to solve this as quickly as possible and not – as it’s found to its cost in the past – allow the issue to fester and erupt at the worst possible time.

On the theme of strikes, SAS pilots based in Denmark, Norway and Sweden may take industrial action from this Wednesday, 29 June. The latest details are available from SAS.

This is likely to a theme across Europe over the summer. According to the Irish Independent officials from the SIPTU union will meet this week with Aer Lingus and daa (formerly the Dublin Airports Authority) this week to discuss wage demands.

Vueling Check In Close Change

A quick note if you are flying on Vueling from Friday 1 July.

It’s check-in close time for flights to or from outside the Schengen area will change from 40 minutes to 1 hour before scheduled departure.

Also of interest this week:

An investigation by the ABC claims to have uncovered dozens of mid-air incidents involving the Boeing 737 MAX from the Federal Aviation Administrations’ Service Difficulty Reporting System and NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System. (ABC News)

Staying with Boeing, Jasper Jolly visits its factory in Seattle as it seeks to recover from the grounding of the 737 MAX. (The Guardian)

TAP Air Portugal, once a target of IAG that reverted to state ownership during COVID-19, seeks a new investor. (Bloomberg)

A baggage handler writes: “And if people think the delays are bad now, it is nothing compared to what is going to happen when children break up from school at the end of July and beginning of August.” (The Sunday Times)

News from London Air Travel you may have missed:

Airlines at UK airports are given more flexibility to cancel flights over the summer. (London Air Travel)

Air Canada launches London Heathrow – Mumbai. (London Air Travel)

Oman Air to join Oneworld in 2024. (London Air Travel)

Virgin Atlantic and other airlines gain slots at London Heathrow. (London Air Travel)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

Lufthansa has confirmed the Airbus A380 aircraft will return to service in the summer of 2023. The airline has yet to confirm exactly how many and on which routes they will operate.

Aviation executive Carlos Gomez has been appointed a director of BA EuroFlyer Ltd which is expected to take over BA short haul operations at Gatwick later this year.

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