Monday Briefing – 11 November 2019

Welcome to our weekly briefing on air travel in London and around the world, as published every Monday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel » British Airways

"Can Flying Go Green?" BBC Panorama, 11 November 2019
“Can Flying Go Green?” BBC Panorama, 11 November 2019 (Image Credit: BBC)

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 11 November 2019.

BBC Panorama “Can Flying Go Green?”

There’s a phrase in American politics “If you’re explaining, you’re losing”.

And that’s where aviation finds itself in the climate change debate. As a percentage of global CO2 emissions, the contribution of aviation is very low. However, it is very visible (and, for some, audible) contributor. For many, flying is seen as a superfluous indulgence.

That is, of course, not the case. You can only understand a country if you’ve visited it many times. A lot of business and public affairs simply has to be done face to face. No organisation would award a contract to a supplier they have never met in person. As trends on routes from London to Brussels and Paris have shown, travellers will gladly take the train when it’s demonstrably a better option.

A BBC Panorama investigation “Can Flying Go Green?” presented by the BBC’s Chief Environment Correspondent Justin Rowlatt to be shown on BBC One (UK) tonight at 20:30 GMT is expected to criticise airlines for practices such as “fuel tankering”. This is where airlines carry fuel for the inbound flight on an outbound flight. This is often done for operational reasons, where the security of fuel supply at an airport cannot be guaranteed, or simply for cost reasons. IAG indicated last week that it may end such practices.

There are, however, signs that the industry is starting to coalesce around a single goal. Qantas has today announced that it will join IAG in aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Qantas will also take one step further and will cap its net emissions at 2020 levels. Qantas will offset all growth in emissions from domestic and international operations from next year.

IAG also indicated at its Capital Markets Day last Friday that it will review individual routes on the basis of their carbon emissions. It is hard see BA’s all business class route from London City to New York JFK surviving in the long term.

It’s also questionable whether airlines such as Virgin should continue to offer complimentary car transfers when public transport is a perfectly feasible option at many airports.

In case you missed it:

IAG reaches an agreement to acquire Air Europa. (London Air Travel)

BA publishes its plan to roll out its “Club Suite” at London Heathrow. (London Air Travel)

BA opens its refurbished lounge in Johannesburg. (London Air Travel)

IAG holds its annual Capital Markets Day event. (London Air Travel)

Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 11 November 2019”

British Airways Opens Refurbished Johannesburg Lounge

British Airways has opened its refurbished lounge at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Lounge Johannesburg
British Airways Lounge Johannesburg (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has reopened its lounge at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg following a six month refurbishment.

The lounge follows a similar design brief to recently refurbishment lounges at New York JFK and San Francisco.

As with the San Francisco lounge, the two former Club and First lounges have been combined into one, with a dedicated pre-flight dining area and a la carte menu for First Class passengers.

The lounge also features a centrepiece bar, a self-service food station with hot and cold food options. These include local specialities such as Indezi River cheese and Cape Malay curry. There is also a wide range of seating with at seat power.

Food options for First Class passengers in the dedicated pre-flight dining area include seasonal soups; ricotta and pea filled conchiglie; steak sandwich with mustard and basil relish; and chocolate brownies.

The lounge can be accessed by passengers travelling in Club World and First Class as well as Silver and Gold members of the Executive Club, and Oneworld alliance equivalents.

The last remaining lounge refurbishment project for this year is the Geneva lounge.

British Airways Lounge Johannesburg
British Airways Lounge Johannesburg (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge Johannesburg
British Airways Lounge Johannesburg (Image Credit: British Airways)
Continue reading “British Airways Opens Refurbished Johannesburg Lounge”

British Airways Club Suite Roll-Out Plans

British Airways has published its plans to retrofit its new long-haul business class Club Suite to Heathrow based aircraft by 2025.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Club Suite
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Club Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)

International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, is holding its annual Capital Markets Day today, Friday 8 November 2019.

As part its presentation, IAG has published its first complete plan for the roll-out of its “Club Suite” to existing long-haul aircraft at London Heathrow.

British Airways Club Suite Roll-Out Plans
British Airways Club Suite Roll-Out Plans (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)

This gives a flavour of when passengers can expect to see the Club Suite on Heathrow based long-haul aircraft.

Overall, BA plans to have the Club Suite on 100% of Heathrow long-haul aircraft by 2025. By this time, BA will have retired its last Boeing 747 aircraft.

More than 50% long-haul aircraft at London Heathrow should feature the Club Suite by the end of 2021. Nearly 80% of long-haul aircraft at London Heathrow should feature the Club Suite by the end of 2022.

The Club Suite On New Aircraft

As expected, the Club Suite will be available on new deliveries of long-haul aircraft.

This includes:

  • 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which are already under way
  • 4 new Boeing 777-300 aircraft, which will be delivered in 2020
  • 12 Boeing 787-10 aircraft, 6 of which will be delivered in 2020
  • 18 new Boeing 777-9 aircraft, 8 of which will be delivered in 2022

The Club Suite On Existing Aircraft

BA has already begun retrofitting the Club Suite to four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

From the slide, the priority is clearly to continue retrofitting the Club Suite to Boeing 777-200 aircraft throughout 2020 and 2021. It’s worth adding that at the same time BA will convert economy seats on these aircraft from 9 to 10 abreast.

BA will then retrofit the Club Suite to its 12 existing Boeing 777-300 aircraft from 2021.

It will also begin retrofitting the Club Suite to 12 Boeing 787-8 aircraft from 2021 and 18 Boeing 787-9 aircraft from 2022.

The last existing fleet type to be retrofitted with the Club Suite will be 12 Airbus A380 aircraft from 2023.

As expected, the Club Suite will not be retrofitted to Boeing 747 aircraft. The current plan remains to retire the last Boeing 747s by 2024. The current plan is to have 25, 20, and 12 aircraft in service by the end of 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively.

These plans are of course subject to change according to the availability of seats from manufacturers and the ability to withdraw aircraft from service for refurbishment.

Economic and geopolitical events may also require BA to slow down capital expenditure or review its fleet plans in terms of new deliveries and the retirement of aircraft.

The Club Suite at London Gatwick

It should also be noted that this presentation is silent on whether the Club Suite will be retrofitted at Gatwick.

At the moment there appear to be no plans to do so.

British Airways Boeing 787 Disruption Update

Disruption to British AIrways flights due to additional maintenance checks on the Rolls-Royce engines of Boeing 787 aircraft will continue into 2020.

London Air Travel » British Airways

BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff
BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff (Image Credit: British Airways)

Disruption to British Airways flights due to additional checks required to the Rolls-Royce engines of its Boeing 787 fleet is to now continue well into 2020.

This means the airline will have been grappling with two years of disruption. BA has addressed this issue through wet leases of aircraft and tactical cancellations. These will now continue into the first quarter of 2020.

The latest update from Rolls-Royce in late September 2019 was that the number of “Aircraft On Ground” across all affected airlines should reach single digits by the second quarter of 2020.

Wet Leases

BA has wet leased aircraft from airlines to cover certain routes.

Air Belgium is currently operating London Heathrow – Cairo for BA (BA155 / BA154) with an Airbus A340 aircraft. This will continue until Wednesday 6 November 2019.

Titan Airways will then operate London Heathrow – Cairo from Thursday 7 November 2019 to Wednesday 12 January 2020 with a two class Airbus A321 aircraft. There is no equivalent cabin to Club World on this aircraft and Club World passengers will be downgraded to premium economy, with an appropriate refund of their fare. Club World passengers are also entitled to a full refund.

Envelop Airlines is currently operating London Gatwick – New York JFK (BA2273 / BA2272) until Sunday 12 January 2020. This is a two class Airbus A330 aircraft, with no premium economy cabin. All passengers have the option of rebooking on alternative BA services between London Heathrow and New York JFK. Also note, that American Airlines does not have regulatory approval to codeshare on BA routes operated by other airline on behalf of BA. Passengers who have booked on this route through American Airlines will need to rebook on to alternative services operated by either American or BA.

Tactical Cancellations

BA has also tactically cancelled some flights and routes. These are not flights necessarily operated with the 787 but have been cancelled to release aircraft for deployment elsewhere:

London Gatwick – New York JFK (BA2273 / BA2272) is cancelled from Tuesday 14 January 2020 to Monday 10 February 2020.

BA has also tactically cancelled selected return flights between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi, Boston, Hong Kong, Muscat, New York JFK, Toronto Pearson and Washington Dulles.

As at Thursday 31 October 2019 around 16 return flights have been cancelled between mid January 2020 and mid March 2020. Ordinarily, we would publish a full list but the list produced for the travel trade doesn’t quite tally up to what timetables are showing on ba.com

If you are due to travel on an affected route, the best advice is to check the status of your booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com. If your flight is cancelled you are entitled to a full refund or reaccomodation on alternative flights to, or near to, your intended destination.

British Airways Opens “Refreshed” Milan Linate Lounge

British Airways has reopened its lounge at Milan Linate airport following a light refurbishment.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Lounge Milan Linate Airport
British Airways Lounge Milan Linate Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

Flights to Milan Linate airport have resumed today, Sunday 27 October 2019, following a period of closure due to runway maintenance works.

BA has taken the opportunity to use the period of closure to undertake a “refresh” of its lounge airport.

The refreshed lounge has now reopened with new furnishings with at seat power and improved complimentary catering.

British Airways Lounge Milan Linate Airport
British Airways Lounge Milan Linate Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge Milan Linate Airport
British Airways Lounge Milan Linate Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Lounge Milan Linate Airport
British Airways Lounge Milan Linate Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
Continue reading “British Airways Opens “Refreshed” Milan Linate Lounge”

British Airways London Heathrow Winter 2019 Schedule

London Air Travel » British Airways

London Heathrow Terminal 5A
London Heathrow Terminal 5A (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Sunday 27 October 2019 marks the beginning of the Winter 2019 travel season for airlines. This runs until Saturday 28 March 2020. Here are the main known schedule changes for British Airways at London Heathrow.

These are for indicative guidance and are subject to change according to commercial and operational requirements. Flights from Heathrow can booked at ba.com

London Heathrow Terminal Changes

Billund, Hanover, San Diego and Zagreb move from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3.

Luxembourg, Lyon and Phoenix move from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5.

New Long-Haul Routes

BA will fly to Dammam as an extension to its existing service to Bahrain from 1 December 2019. As a consequence of this, BA’s ground transfer service from Bahrain to Dammam (Sold as flight numbers BA8499/BA8498) will cease.

Airbus A350-1000 Flights

BA’s Airbus A350-1000 aircraft are due to operate the following flights during the winter season:

Flights BA107/BA106 – London Heathrow – Dubai
Flights BA93/BA92 – London Heathrow – Toronto
Flights BA163/BA162 – London Heathrow – Tel Aviv (from Sunday 1 December 2019)
Flights BA119/BA118 – London Heathrow – Bengaluru (from Wednesday 1 January 2020)

Airbus A380 Flights

Here are seasonal changes to routes operated with Airbus A380 aircraft:

Daily A380 flights to Boston (BA213/BA212) end on Sunday 27 October 2019. It is currently scheduled to return on Sunday 29 March 2020.

Daily A380 flights to Chicago O’Hare (BA297/BA296) end on Friday 25 October 2019. It is currently scheduled to return on Sunday 29 March 2020.

On Saturday 26 October 2019, A380 flights to Hong Kong swap from BA31/BA32 to BA27/BA28.

BA switches to a twice daily A380 operation to Johannesburg (BA55 & BA54 / BA57 & BA56) from Sunday 27 October 2019.

BA resumes daily flights to Los Angeles on flights BA269/BA268 from Sunday 27 October 2019.

The A380 moves from a daily operation to San Francisco to Monday, Thursday & Saturday only on flights BA286 & BA287.

Daily A380 flights to Vancouver ended on Wednesday 30 September 2019. It is currently scheduled to return from 1 May 2020.

The A380 returns to Washington Dulles daily from Sunday 27 October 2019 on flights BA217 & BA216.

Other Long-Haul Changes

Beijing moves from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) to Beijing Daxing Airport (PKX) from 27 October 2019.

Cairo will continue to be operated by an Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft until Wednesday 6 November 2019. It will be then operated by a Titan Airways A321 aircraft until Wednesday 12 January 2020.

Calgary is suspended for the winter from Friday 25 October 2019. It will resume, initially three times weekly only, from Sunday 29 March 2020.

Charleston ends on Thursday 24 October 2019 and is currently scheduled to resume on Sunday 29 March 2019.

Muscat resumes for the winter from Wednesday 30 October 2019 and will operate, initially four times weekly, until 11 April 2020.

A long-run of Boeing 747 operations to Phoenix comes to an end as the route switches to a Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Suspended Short-Haul Routes

Gran Canaria is suspended from Sunday 3 November 2019. The route will continue to operate from Gatwick.

Kyiv and St Petersburg have been suspended on Thursday 3 October 2019.

Returning Winter Seasonal Routes

Grenoble resumes, on Saturdays only, from Saturday 14 December 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.

Innsbruck resumes on Friday 13 December 2019.

Three times weekly services to Marrakech resumed on 3 October 2019 until Saturday 25 April 2020.

Services to Salzburg resume, initially four times weekly, from Friday 13 December 2019 until Saturday 28 March 2020.

Continue reading “British Airways London Heathrow Winter 2019 Schedule”

British Airways London Gatwick Winter 2019 Schedule

Here is British Airways’ London Gatwick winter schedule from Sunday 27 October 2019 with details of returning seasonal winter routes.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways, London Gatwick
British Airways, London Gatwick

Sunday 27 October 2019 marks the beginning of the Winter 2019 travel season for airlines. This runs until Saturday 28 March 2020. Here are the main known schedule changes for British Airways at London Gatwick.

These are for indicative guidance and are subject to change according to commercial and operational requirements. Flights from Gatwick can booked at ba.com

Long-Haul Changes

Cape Town resumes for the winter, three times weekly, from Monday 11 November 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.

Cancun increases to five times weekly.

Fort Lauderdale has been suspended since Saturday 7 September 2019.

Lima is suspended for the winter from Friday 25 October 2019 until Sunday 29 March 2020.

Male resumes for the winter from Sunday 27 October 2019 to Friday 27 March 2020.

New York JFK will be operated by an Envelop Airlines Airbus A330 aircraft from Sunday 27 October 2019 to Sunday 12 January 2020. This is a two class aircraft, with no premium economy cabin. All passengers have the option of rebooking on alternative BA services between London Heathrow and New York JFK. The route will also be cancelled from Tuesday 14 January 2020 to Monday 10 February 2020.

Toronto has been suspended for the winter since Tuesday 24 September 2019 and is scheduled to resume from Friday 1 May 2020.

New Short-Haul Routes

BA has transferred its service to Gran Canaria from London Heathrow to Gatwick. It will initially operate three times weekly in the winter season on Monday, Friday and Saturday.

BA launched a new year-round route from Gatwick to Milan Bergamo on Sunday 1 September 2019.

Suspended Short-Haul Routes

The following winter seasonal routes will not return this year:

Friedrichshafen, Lyon

Returning Short-Haul Winter Seasonal Routes

The following routes return for the winter season:

Cologne returns from Friday 1 November 2019 to Friday 27 March 2020.

Geneva returns from Friday 13 December 2019 until Friday 10 April 2020 with increased frequency of 26 flights a week.

Grenoble returns from Saturday 14 December 2019 to Sunday 19 April 2020 with increased frequency of 4 flights a week.

Innsbruck returns from Sunday 8 December 2019 to Friday 24 April 2020 with a decreased frequency of 4 flights a week.

Nuremberg returns from Friday 29 November 2019 to Monday 6 January 2020.

Vienna returns from Sunday 27 October 2019 to Sunday 12 January 2020.

Continue reading “British Airways London Gatwick Winter 2019 Schedule”

Titan Airways To Operate London Heathrow – Cairo For BA

Titan Airways is to operate London Heathrow – Cairo for British Airways from 7 November 2019 to 12 January 2020.

London Air Travel » British Airways

BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff
BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is currently wet leasing an Airbus A340 aircraft from Air Belgium to cover the London Heathrow – Cairo route.

This was due to end on Thursday 31 October 2019 for the outbound flight from London Heathrow (flight BA155) and Friday 1 November 2019 for the inbound flight to London Heathrow (flight BA154).

The Air Belgium wet lease has now been extended to Wednesday 6 November 2019 and Thursday 7 November 2019 respectively.

Due to ongoing maintenance requirements to the Rolls-Royce engines of BA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, BA will then wet lease an Airbus A321-200 aircraft from Titan Airways to cover this route.

Titan Airways will operate flight BA155 from Thursday 7 November 2019 to Wednesday 12 January 2020 and BA154 from Friday 8 November 2019 to Thursday 13 January 2020.

Given it has, much to the frustration of BA, taken longer than expected to address the issues with the Boeing 787 fleet, there is every possibility that the wet lease may be extended.

Club World Passengers

The Titan Airways Airbus A321-200 aircraft has two cabins which, for BA, will operate as economy and premium economy.

There is no equivalent cabin to Club World on this aircraft and Club World passengers will be downgraded to premium economy, with an appropriate refund of their fare.

Club World passengers will retain their original baggage allowance, lounge access privileges and Avios/tier points earning entitlements. Club World passengers are also entitled to cancel their flights with a full refund.

Titan Airways has recently refurbished its fleet of Airbus A321 aircraft and you can see pictures of the interiors from Titan Airways. From the pictures available, there appears to be no seat-back in-flight entertainment system on this aircraft.

Affected passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool and should contact either BA or their travel agent.

British Airways Launches London Gatwick – Antalya

British Airways has launched a new summer seasonal route from London Gatwick to Antalya, Turkey.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Antalya, Turkey
Antalya, Turkey (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has launched a new summer seasonal route from London Gatwick to Antalya, Turkey.

The route launches on Thursday 30 April 2020. It initially operates three times weekly, before progressively increasing to six times weekly in the summer peak.

The flight times vary by day, but flights typically leave Gatwick at around lunch time and depart from Antalya in the evening.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

In other Gatwick related news, BA’s seasonal routes to Gibraltar and Limoges will not return this summer. These were due to return on 30 April and 22 May 2020 respectively.

BA will continue to serve Gibraltar year-round from Heathrow. Passengers whose flights from Gatwick to Gibraltar have been cancelled can be re-accommodated on BA services from Heathrow.

BA does not serve Limoges from any other London airport. Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund. Alternatively, passengers should be able to choose an alternative BA destination in France. However, any consequential costs will be at passengers’ expense.

Passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.

There has been relatively little news so far this year on BA’s schedules for summer 2020. Further route news is expected for all London airports in the coming weeks.

British Airways Launches Codeshare with Malaysia Airlines

British Airways has launched a new codeshare partnership with its Oneworld alliance partner Malaysia Airlines.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways and Malaysian Airlines, London Heathrow
British Airways and Malaysian Airlines, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has launched a new codeshare partnership with its Oneworld alliance partner Malaysia Airlines.

Currently, BA flies from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur daily with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft and Malaysia Airlines flies from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur twice daily with Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

BA will now place its code on Malaysia Airlines flights from Kuala Lumpur to the following destinations in the Asia-Pacific region, which are not served by direct BA flights:

Malaysia: Alor Setar, Kota Kinabalu, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Kuantan, Labuan, Langkawi, Miri, Penang, Sibu, Kuala Terengganu, Sandakan, Kota Bharu, Bintulu

Australia: Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth

Cambodia: Phnom Penh

Indonesia: Denpasar-Bali, Jakarta, Surabaya

New Zealand: Auckland

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City

Note that these can only be booked when connecting to/from a BA operated flight between London Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur. The two airlines will not codeshare on London Heathrow – Kuala Lumpur.

Continue reading “British Airways Launches Codeshare with Malaysia Airlines”