BA Unveils Its Retro Negus Boeing 747 Livery

British Airways has unveiled its fourth and final retrospective aircraft livery to mark its centenary year.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, Dublin
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has unveiled its fourth and final retrospective livery for its centenary year.

One of its Boeing 747 aircraft, registration G-CIVB, has been painted in the Negus & Negus livery.

The aircraft returned to London Heathrow this morning, Thursday 21 March 2019, having been repainted in Dublin over the past week.

“The new name in aviation”

The original livery was designed by the design agency Negus and Negus.

The livery was intended to combine elements of both BEA and BOAC’s identity. It featured BEA’s signature red and a quarter Union Jack on the tail fin to reflect BEA. The blue and white fuselage and the small Speedbird logo was intended to reflect BOAC. This was to appeal not only to the respective customers of BEA and BOAC, but also their staff.

At the same time, the design was intended to be bold enough to make the new (for BEA & BOAC passengers) British Airways name stand out.

British Airways post BEA & BOAC merger advertisement
British Airways pre BEA & BOAC merger advertisement, September 1973

The livery first came into effect in September 1973 when the British Airways name was adopted in advance of the formal merger of BEA and BOAC in April 1974. The first aircraft to bear the new livery was a BOAC Boeing 707. It took seven years to fully repaint all BEA and BOAC aircraft, with some aircraft carrying hybrid liveries for many years.

“British airways” was in June 1980 abbreviated to just “British”. However, this was considered outside of the UK to be overtly nationalistic in tone. The quarter Union Jack on the tail fin was of course retained for the Landor livery introduced in 1984.

This Boeing 747 aircraft will retain this livery until its retirement in 2022. It’s due to fly to Cape Town under flight BA43 today. There’s no way of predicting exactly on which routes this aircraft will operate. However, as a 52 Club World seat aircraft, it will also regularly operate from London Heathrow Terminals 3 & 5 primarily on routes such as Accra, Denver, Miami, Phoenix and Vancouver.

British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, Dublin
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, Dublin Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, Dublin Airport
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, Dublin Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways Launches Gatwick – Milan Bergamo

BA will fly from London Gatwick to Milan Bergamo six times weekly from 1 September 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Naviglio Grande Canal, Milan
Naviglio Grande Canal, Milan (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is to launch a new route from London Gatwick to Milan Bergamo.

BA will fly from Gatwick to Milan Bergamo (Orio al Serio International Airport) six times weekly, excluding Saturdays, from Sunday 1 September 2019. The airport is located approximately 60km away from Milan city centre.

Flights will operate year round. As tends to be par the course for BA at Gatwick flight times vary by day.

BA already flies from London City to Milan Linate and from London Heathrow to Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa. It is of course possible to “mix and match” airports if convenient. Milan Linate airport is due to close for three months from 27 July to 27 October 2019 for runway repair work.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

British Airways Returns To Dammam

British Airways will fly daily from London Heathrow to Dammam, via Bahrain, from Sunday 1 December 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Dammam, Saudi Arabia (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is to return to Dammam, Saudi Arabia, after a break of more than seven years.

BA will fly to Dammam daily from London Heathrow Terminal 5 from Sunday 1 December 2019.

The route will operate as a “tag on” to BA’s existing service to Bahrain. These have gone out of fashion in recent years in favour of direct flights or local codeshares. Readers may recall BA used to fly to Doha via Bahrain.

The route will be operated with a four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft and flights are on sale now at ba.com

BA previously flew to Dammam up until September 2012 after inheriting the route from bmi British Midland.

London Heathrow – Bahrain – Dammam

Flight BA125 Depart London Heathrow 11:30 – Arrive Bahrain 20:55
Flight BA125 Depart Bahrain 21:55 – Arrive Dammam 22:45

Flight BA124 Depart Dammam 00:30 – Arrive Bahrain 01:10
Flight BA124 Depart Bahrain 02:20 – Arrive London Heathrow 06:40

What Else Is Happening With Club World?

As British Airways unveils its new Club World Suite, here’s what else to expect from BA long-haul business class in the coming years.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Refurbished 52 Club World Seat Aircraft, November 2018
British Airways Refurbished 52 Club World Seat Aircraft, November 2018 (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways officially unveiled its new Club World Suite today, Monday 18 March 2019.

This is the first radical redesign of the Club World cabin in nearly 20 years. It will make its debut this year on new deliveries of Airbus A350-1000 and refurbished Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Please see here for full details of the new suite.

However, it is going to take some time before it is retrofitted to the existing fleet and for new aircraft to be delivered with the new seat. If history is anything to go by, it will be aircraft on Heathrow routes with the some of the highest premium demand that will be retrofitted first. For the next 2-3 years at least, the majority of BA long-haul flights will operate with the existing seat.

Of course, there is also more to Club World than just the seat. There is a lot else happening to the existing BA fleet. Here’s a quick precis of what else to expect in terms of aircraft, lounges and in-flight service in the coming years.

52 Club World Seat Boeing 747 Refurbishment

Last year, BA began refurbishing its 16 remaining 52 Club World seat Boeing 747 aircraft.

These regularly operate on routes from London Heathrow to Accra, Cape Town, Denver, Nairobi, Phoenix and Vancouver. They have long been known for their relatively poor interior condition.

Some aircraft have received a modest refresh with new carpeting and seat covers. Others have received a more substantial refurbishment with a new in-flight entertainment system to bring the aircraft in line with the 86 Club World seat aircraft. As more 52 Club World seat are refurbished this year and others are retired, the chances of flying on a non-refurbished aircraft should diminish.

Gatwick Boeing 777-200 Refurbishment

BA is about half way through a two year project to refurbish its Gatwick based Boeing 777s.

As far as Club World is concerned the main changes are that the size of the cabin is being reduced from 48 to 32 seats on 3 class aircraft. The cabin interiors are being refreshed and a significantly improved in-flight entertainment system installed.

At the time of writing 7 Boeing 777-200 aircraft have been refurbished. They regularly operate on routes such as Antigua, Cancun, Fort Lauderdale, Kingston, New York JFK, and Tampa. An 8th aircraft is currently in Singapore for refurbishment.

Continue reading “What Else Is Happening With Club World?”

This Is British Airways New Club World Suite

British Airways has unveiled its new Club World Suite which will be fitted to new deliveries of Airbus A350-1000 aircaft this year.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has unveiled its first radical redesign of its long-haul Club World business class cabin in nearly 20 years.

It was in 1999 that details first emerged of BA’s plan to unveil its first fully flat bed in business class, with a “yin-yang” rear and forward facing configuration.

Whilst the seat has been progressively modified over time, the fundamental layout of the cabin has remained the same. It is a layout that has served the airline well financially due to its space efficiency. However, it has by BA’s own admission and in the view of many frequent flyers, fallen behind its competitors which all offer direct aisle access to all passengers. Please see here for a history of Club World over the past 40 years or so.

BA has now jettisoned the yin-yang layout with an entirely new seat and cabin layout.

This will debut on the Airbus A350-1000 which will operate select flights from London Heathrow to Madrid this summer and selected long-haul flights to Toronto from 1 October 2019 and Dubai from 8 October 2019. BA will confirm the exact start date for short-haul test flights in June. There will be 56 Club World seats on the Airbus A350-1000.

The New Club World Suite

Here are details of the new seat:

– All seats have direct access to the aisle

– All seats are forward facing, albeit at a slight angle

– The seat is 79″ long when fully flat

– All seats benefit from greater privacy with a partial door to the seat

– Personal storage is improved significantly, with 40% more storage than the existing Club World seat. Storage facilities include a personal storage drawer and vanity unit

– There is a much larger 17″ – 18.5″ TV screen. It is now possible to watch the in-flight entertainment “gate to gate” as it does not have to be stowed for take-off and landing.

British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)

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AA & BA Increase Heathrow – Miami To Five Times Daily

American Airlines and British Airways will operate five daily flights from London Heathrow to Miami from Sunday 27 October 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Ocean Drive, Miami Beach (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

American Airlines & British Airways will jointly operate up to five daily flights between London Heathrow and Miami from Sunday 27 October 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.

The increase has been achieved by American Airlines reinstating a second daily flight for the winter season and BA maintaining a third daily flight it added last year.

It’s a route where you can certainly adopt a “pick and mix” approach as far as aircraft are concerned.

At the time of writing, American Airlines timetables are showing a Boeing 777-300 on both of its outbound flights from London Heathrow, but a Boeing 777-200 and 777-300 on the inbound flights. However, this may change. We have recently reviewed American Airlines Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 777-300 business class.

BA will operate the Boeing 747 on two flights and one flight with the Airbus A380.

Flights are on sale now at aa.com and ba.com

Continue reading “AA & BA Increase Heathrow – Miami To Five Times Daily”

The Evolution of British Airways Club World

As BA introduces its new Club World seat, how the concept of “Club” long-haul business class has evolved in 40 years.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Club World Outdoor Advertisement 2000
British Airways Club World Outdoor Advertisement 2000

British Airways is about to officially launch its new Club World seat. This is the first radical redesign of its long-haul business cabin in 20 years.

It is by some margin the most important cabin for the airline. The financial performance of BA is inextricably linked to the volume of long-haul business class traffic. Here’s how it has evolved, both in terms of cabin design and marketing, since the very first origins of “Club” 40 years ago.

The Origins Of “Club”

Which airline deserves credit for the introduction of long-haul business class depends on who you ask.

Qantas claims to be the first airline to introduce a dedicated long-haul business class cabin in 1979.

However, it was in May 1977 that British Airways introduced an “Executive Club” cabin on its Boeing 747 flights to New York. The relatively large size of the aircraft allowed for the introduction of new cabins. This was a separate cabin for economy passengers paying the full fare, divided by a not particularly attractive curtain.

A year later this became known as Club, a word which has become synonymous with business class. The Club cabin was soon extended to all transatlantic routes, and then worldwide.

Super Club

In March 1981, BA launched “Super Club” on transatlantic routes

These were expanding seats in a 2-2-2 configuration with a folding table in the middle of each seat pair. BA promised it was the widest airline seat available with 24 inches between arm rests.

The “Super Club” seat was extended to all long-haul routes worldwide, as illustrated by the 1984 advert below where the aircraft had to be opened up to fit the seat in it. This was one of Saatchi & Saatchi’s earliest TV adverts for BA and you can see the cinematic influence.

This is one iteration of the “Super Club” seat. Before personal TV screens were introduced in the 1990s, personal at seat in-flight entertainment amounted to in-flight audio only.

British Airways Super Club Seat
British Airways Super Club Seat

Club World

British Airways Club World Ticket Wallet
British Airways Club World Ticket Wallet

It was in January 1988 that BA introduced the “Club World” brand.

Club on short-haul flights was also rebranded as Club Europe. For the first time Club World had a dedicated cabin crew as well as new a “slumberseat”.

The launch was marked with this TV advert. A group of colleagues in London think they have set up a colleague seconded to New York to fail by despatching him on a red rye flight to London in business class. “Like a lamb to the slaughter, gentleman”.

Whilst the advert emphasised how the Club World cabin addresses the needs of the business traveller, such naked male one-upmanship is not something we would see in airline advertising today.

Continue reading “The Evolution of British Airways Club World”

British Airways Mumbai & New Delhi Cancellations

British Airways has put in place blanket cancellations from London Heathrow to Mumbai and New Delhi from April to June 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways

BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff

British Airways has put in place blanket cancellations from London Heathrow to Mumbai and New Delhi from April to June 2019.

BA143 from London Heathrow to New Delhi is cancelled from Sunday 31 March to Monday 15 April 2019.

BA142 from New Delhi to London Heathrow is cancelled from Monday 1 April to Tuesday 16 April 2019.

BA139 from London Heathrow to Mumbai is cancelled from Friday 14 June to Sunday 30 June 2019.

BA138 from Mumbai to London Heathrow is cancelled from Saturday 15 June to Monday 1 July 2019.

No specific reason has been given for the cancellation other than “operational reasons”. It is likely that aircraft availability due to ongoing maintenance issues with the Boeing 787 fleet is the cause.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund. Passengers should also be able to rebooked on alternative BA flights between London Heathrow and Mumbai (BA199/BA198) and New Delhi (BA257/BA256).

Affected passengers can check the status of their booking on ba.com and should contact BA or their travel agent.

Air Belgium to operate Heathrow – Toronto for British Airways

Air Belgium is to operate one of British Airways’ daily flights from London Heathrow to Toronto from 9 June to 17 August 2019.

London Air Travel » British Airways

Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft (Image Credit: Air Belgium)

Air Belgium’s Airbus A340 aircraft will soon become a firm fixture at London Heathrow Terminal 5 for almost a year.

It is covering selected flights from Heathrow – Dubai until the end of March, and Heathrow – Newark from April to early June. Air Belgium will now also cover one of BA’s twice daily return flights from Heathrow to Toronto Pearson.

One return flight, BA93 & BA92 from London Heathrow to Toronto, will be operated by Air Belgium from Sunday 9 June to Saturday 17 August 2019.

The flight will be operated by an Air Belgium A340-300 aircraft.

The overall service standard should be similar to that of BA.

Rebooking Options

All passengers have the option of rebooking on to BA’s alternative return flights from Gatwick or Heathrow to Toronto (BA2271/BA2270 BA99/BA98) as close to your original date of travel as possible.

Full refunds are not available to any passengers, except First Class and Club World passengers, unless allowed by the original fare rules.

First Class Passengers

There is no First Class cabin on Air Belgium aircraft.

Unless passengers rebook on to an alternative BA service, they will be downgraded to business class and receive a partial refund of their fare.

Passengers will still have a First Class baggage allowance, earn the Avios and Tier Points of the First Class fare, and have access to First Class ground facilities such as the Concorde Room at London Heathrow.

Alternatively, passengers can request a full refund.

Premium Economy Passengers

There is no premium economy cabin on Air Belgium aircraft.

Unless passengers rebook on to an alternative BA service, they will be downgraded to economy and receive a partial refund of their fare.

Passengers will retain their original baggage allowance and Avios earning entitlement. Some passengers may also be upgraded to business class.

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.

American Airlines Codeshare

This flight is codeshared with American Airlines under flight numbers AA6207 and AA6210.

As American Airlines does not have regulatory approval to codeshare on BA flights operated by other airlines, AA passengers will have to rebook onto an alternative BA operated service between London and Toronto.

Sir Colin Marshall on “Putting People First”

The late Sir Colin Marshall on providing value and differentiated service in a commoditised market.

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY “City Of Swansea”, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways unveiled its “Landor” retrospective livery yesterday.

Introduced in 1984, that period from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s which spanned privatisation and strong financial performance, is often referred to as BA’s golden age.

That is true to a point. Of course this era pre-dates the rise of low cost airlines following the deregulation of aviation in Europe, September 11 2001, rising fuel prices and taxes, and the internet which made for easy price comparisons between airlines.

BA’s aggressive expansion in the late 1990s also led to it emerging from 11 September 2001 heavily indebted and it took nearly a decade for the airline to recover.

With that out of the way, it remains the case that this 1995 interview with Sir Colin Marshall from Harvard Business Review on delivering consistent high quality service in a commoditised market should be mandatory reading for anyone with the slightest connection to air travel.

Sir Colin Marshall, like BA Chairman Lord King, joined the airline from outside the aviation industry having been CEO of Avis in the US. Sir Colin Marshall oversaw BA’s “Putting People First” training programme. Designed by Danish firm Time Manager Inc, this was introduced in the same year as the Landor livery and involved a two day workshop for virtually all BA employees.

The crux of the interview is that it doesn’t shy away from acknowledging that air travel is a tough price sensitive market. But where airlines ultimately fly the same aircraft on the same routes at the same speed, differentiation on branding and perception of value is critical.

Whilst almost every service industry is now falling over itself purporting to provide an “experience” (often very contrived and scripted in actuality), in 1995, this was not the case.

Comments towards the end of the interview on industry consolidation and technology also proved to be very prescient.

On providing value in a commoditised market

You’re always going to be faced with the fact that the great majority of people will buy on price. But even for a seeming commodity such as air travel, an element of the traveling public is willing to pay a slight premium for superior service. They are the people we’ve been trying to attract and retain as customers. We don’t just mean people who fly business class, first class, or the Concorde. Many service companies ignore the fact that there also are plenty of customers in the lower end of the market who are willing to pay a little more for superior service.

It all comes back in the end to value for money. If you can deliver something extra that others are not or cannot, some people will pay a slight premium for it.

Continue reading “Sir Colin Marshall on “Putting People First””