London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 4 July 2022

Welcome to London Air Travel’s weekly briefing on air travel around the world, as published every Monday at 06:00 BST.

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Collage of images of Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouse lounge at Boston Logan International Airport.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Boston (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 4 July 2022.

Security Vetting Checks

One of the biggest complaints by UK airlines against the government are excessive delays in security vetting checks for newly recruited employees.

On Sunday, The Department for Transport followed up its “22 point plan” for air travel with a release claiming that Accreditation Checks are completed in around 5 days on average. Counter Terrorist Checks are completed in under 10 days on average. This is said to be a reduction from 20 days.

As we are now in the first week of July with the start of the school holidays imminent, it remains to be seen what impact this has on the summer season.

Flybe at London Heathrow

For obvious reasons airlines do not say much about the performance of specific routes, beyond they are in line with or ahead of expectations.

Last week the CAA published domestic and international route data for May. Where an airline is the sole operator of a route, you can see how it is performing.

May was the “new” Flybe’s first full month at Heathrow. In the case of its route to Leeds Bradford, 990 passengers travelled in both directions. There were around 50 return flights in May, resulting a very low overall load factors.

This was the poorest performing domestic route at Heathrow. Flybe’s Heathrow slots are one of its main assets and when this summer’s slot waiver ends it will need a permanent use for them. If there is not an improvement soon – codeshares with other airlines would help – this is not sustainable.

BA Route Network Updates

Here are a few recent BA route network updates:

Flights to Newquay returned on Friday until 4 September. BA’s first route to The Azores Ponta Delgada launched on Saturday until 3 September. Terceira Island follows this Sunday 10 July until 28 August.

The Airbus A380 is now operating to Dallas / Fort Worth. Tel Aviv has increased to twice daily.

At London City, two years later than planned, BA CityFlyer launches San Sebastián this Friday 8 July.

A little further ahead, the restart of The Maldives at Heathrow for the winter season has been brought forward to 14 October.

Orlando will continue daily throughout the winter season at Gatwick. The route is suspended at Heathrow from 2 December until 26 March

On Friday afternoon, BA ran a number of long haul cancellations for August, including extending frequency reductions on Houston and New York JFK.

Following the transfer of American Airlines flights back to Heathrow Terminal 3 from 12 July, BA codeshare bookings were updated yesterday.

Virgin Atlantic Reopens Boston Clubhouse

Virgin Atlantic has reopened its Boston Clubhouse.

This is the last of Virgin’s Clubhouses expected to reopen after COVID-19. Virgin punches well above its weight in terms of lounges, but Boston is one airport where it is trounced by BA. The BA lounge does benefit from natural light and direct boarding from the lounge.

The designated lounge for Virgin passengers at Miami has changed from Delta’s SkyClub to the LATAM lounge, Terminal J.

Also of interest this week:

BA pilot Mark Vanhoenacker’s tips for dealing with jet lag – stay on home time on short trips or embrace it where you can. Otherwise it’s exercise, cold water, fresh air and a strict “sleep hygiene” regime. (Financial Times)

News from London Air Travel you may have missed:

Heathrow Airport forced to cut passenger charges. (London Air Travel)

London City Airport launches consultation to extend its operating hours. (London Air Travel)

BA’s parent company orders more Airbus aircraft. (London Air Travel)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

easyJet’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew has resigned from the airline to “pursue other business opportunities”. David Morgan, who has been with easyJet since 2016, will act as interim COO.

SAS has failed to reach an agreement through mediation with its pilot unions in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Its pilots are now on strike. Flights operated by SAS Connect, which include London Heathrow to Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, as well as SAS Link are not affected.

London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing is published every Monday at 06:00 BST. If you have any tips or stories please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news throughout the week.

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