What To Expect From British Airways In 2020

Here’s what you can expect from British Airways in terms of aircraft, routes, and joint-ventures in 2020.

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British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft Wingtip
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Aircraft Wingtip (Image Credit: British Airways)

2019 was a busy year for BA with its centenary celebrations, the launch of its first new long-haul business class cabin in nearly 20 years, and the delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

The delivery of new long-haul aircraft and retrofitting the new Club Suite to its existing Heathrow fleet will be a continuing theme throughout 2020, as well as potentially significant changes to its relationships with alliance and codeshare partners.

Here are some of the major known changes to aircraft, routes and partnerships for 2020:

Long-Haul Fleet – New Aircraft Deliveries

In 2020, BA will take delivery of new Airbus A350-1000, Boeing 777-300 and Boeing 787-10 aircraft.

As at December 2019, BA has taken delivery of 4 of its order of 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. These will continue throughout 2020 and all aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2022.

BA will also take delivery of four new Boeing 777-300 aircraft and the first 6 of its order for 12 Boeing 787-10 aircraft.

The Boeing 787-10 aircraft will feature an 8 seat First Class cabin, 48 Club Suites, and 35 seats in World Traveller Plus and 165 seats in World Traveller. The first aircraft is due to arrive in January and the first confirmed route is Atlanta.

Long-Haul Fleet – Aircraft Refurbishments

BA has now completed the refurbishment of its Gatwick based Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

This has primarily involved “densifying” its World Traveller economy from 9 to 10 seats abreast as well as fitting new in-flight entertainment systems and new World Traveller Plus seats.

BA is now refurbishing its fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft at London Heathrow. As well as “densifying” its economy cabin, the airline is also retrofitting its new Club Suite to the aircraft and reducing the size of the First Class cabin to 8 seats. It also expected that some four class aircraft will also be converted to three class. Some of BA’s 12 Boeing 777-300 aircraft will also be refurbished in a similar fashion this year.

Long-Haul Fleet – Aircraft Retirements

BA will continue to retire aircraft from its Boeing 747 fleet, with the number of aircraft in service at Heathrow expected to reduce from 32 to 25 by the end of 2020.

The airline also plans to retire 3 Boeing 777-200 aircraft at London Heathrow. These are known as the “odd-ball” aircraft with registrations G-ZZZA, G-ZZZB, and G-ZZZC and 17 First Class seats which typically operate to the Middle East and US East Coast.

Short-Haul Aircraft

BA is expected to continue to take delivery of new Airbus A320neo and Airbus A321neo aircraft to replace its oldest Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft.

In June 2019, BA’s parent company IAG announced it had signed a Letter Of Intent with Boeing to acquire up to 200 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for delivery to BA at London Gatwick and Vueling from 2023.

This was in part intended to introduce competition between Airbus and Boeing for short-haul aircraft and mitigate the risk of delivery delays from Airbus. Given Boeing’s decision to suspend production of the Boeing 737 MAX and its well documented problems bringing the aircraft back to service, IAG will have to make a decision shortly whether to order alternative aircraft from Airbus.

Routes

2020 is a relatively quiet year for new routes.

BA is to introduce just one new long-haul route, from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Portland, Oregon from 1 June 2020.

Given the number of long-haul aircraft deliveries, refurbishments and retirements at Heathrow it is likely that there will be a significant reallocation of aircraft between routes during the course of the year.

BA will launch new summer seasonal short-haul routes from London Heathrow to Bodrum, Dalaman, Perugia, Podgrica, Pristina and Rhodes. BA’s summer seasonal service from London Heathrow to Nantes will not return in 2020.

At Gatwick, BA will launch a new summer seasonal route to Antalya. However, summer seasonal services to Gibraltar and Limoges will not return. It is noteworthy that, despite the acquisition of slots from Monarch, BA has not added new long-haul routes at Gatwick for some time.

To London City, BA will launch a new summer seasonal service to San Sebastian. However, summer seasonal service to Granada will not return in 2020.

In-Flight Products & Service

In 2019, BA announced new amenities for First Class and World Traveller Plus.

It’s highly unlikely there will be any radical changes to BA’s approach of targeted investment, focused on premium cabins.

Given the retirement of Boeing 747 aircraft and the planned conversion of some four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft to three class, it is inevitable that First Class will continue to be removed from some routes.

Taking into account planned aircraft deliveries and refurbishments above, it is estimated that the new Club Suite will be fitted to a third of long-haul aircraft at Heathrow by the end of 2020.

As far as ground services are concerned, automation and efficiency is likely to be a continuing theme. BA will even trial robots to guide passengers at London Heathrow Terminal 5.

A new BA uniform, designed by Ozwald Boateng OBE will also be introduced in 2020.

Continue reading “What To Expect From British Airways In 2020”

As Christmas is a time for repeats…

To mark British Airways’ centenary, here is a 100 part history of BA and its predecesor airlines, grouped by major themes such as advertsing and aircraft.

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British Airways, "The World's Favourite Airline", 1983.

As 2019 draws to a close, so does BA’s centenary year.

At the start of the year, there was always a suspicion that however well BA could try to choreograph its celebrations, they would inevitably be disrupted by “events”.

And so it proved to be. After an initially successful start with the launch of centenary liveries and special product launches an industrial dispute with its pilots which had been simmering for some time exploded on the exact weekend of its centenary. The dispute has since been settled but it has undoubtedly cast a shadow over the end of its centenary year.

To mark the occasion we published a 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines. If you want to read the full countdown in numerical order you can do so here.

Rather than simply repeat the whole list here, the 100 articles have been grouped by some of the major themes below:

A Primer

To begin, a brief history of BA and its predecessor airlines.

Advertising Campaigns

The Art Of The Poster. How Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA used the poster to great effect to sell the relatively new concept of civil aviation.

“Kiss Me Goodnight, Sergeant Major” A mildly unsettling BOAC TV advertisement from the 1960s.

Rosalind Hanby, was the face of British Airways during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Chutzpah & Chutzpah – One of the most famous advertising agency / client relationships in the world: BA and Charles & Maurice Saatchi.

“The World’s Favourite Airline” One of the most powerful airline advertising slogans of all time used by BA between 1983 and 2001.

“Manhattan” Saatchi & Saatchi’s first major work for British Airways, a big budget cinematic TV advertisement, signalling BA’s intention to be “The World’s Favourite Airline.”

“The Sun Never Sets On British Airways” From 1985 when BA starts to promote not just its global reach and network, but also its in-flight service.

BA’s 1989 advertising campaign, a period of self-confidence when BA sought to be a truly global airline.

One of the greatest airline TV advertisements of all time, and one of the most effective use of non-airline imagery by an airline, “The Face” from 1989.

“Arrive Home” An advertising campaign from the early 1990s highlighting one of the best aspects of business travel – getting back home.

“Surprise, Surprise” A viral cinema stunt conjured up Saatchi & Saatchi in 1991 to market BA Holidays.

When BA gave away every single seat on every international flight to and from the UK in 1991 in The World’s Biggest Offer.

“Where Is Everybody?” asks BA in a TV advertising campaign from 1994.

From 1996, not all BA advertisements age well with time.

Do you believe in Concorde? Could you really fly on Concorde to visit Santa Claus in Lapland?

A look at the work of the advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty for BA, which won the BA advertising account in 2005 and lives by the mantra “When the world zigs, Zag”.

“Opportunities” BA’s post Lehman Brothers collapse advertising campaign to encourage passengers to fly again.

“Don’t Fly” BA tells its customers to stay at home during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“Look Up” An interactive billboard advertisement that identified BA aircraft flying overhead to celebrate the magic of flying.

Aircraft

“Swift, silent, serene” the much loved BOAC VC10 aircraft operated in the 1960s and 1970s.

“Trident Over Europe” The short-haul aircraft serving BEA and BA from 1962 to 1986.

Concorde. The flagship aircraft, and never to be replaced brand halo, of BA for 27 supersonic years.

The Queen Of The Skies, the Boeing 747 which will remain in service at BA until 2024.

Known for its rocket like take-off the Boeing 757 was the workhorse of BA’s short-haul fleet in the 1980s and 1990s.

Probably one of the most frustrating yet endearing aircraft for both BA passengers and crew in recent decades, the Boeing 767.

The workhorse of BA’s short-haul operation today, the Airbus A320 family aircraft.

2 Engines 4 Long-Haul. An aircraft that is hard for passengers to love, but the twin-engine Boeing 777-200 became the mainstay of BA’s long-haul fleet from the mid 1990s.

One of BA’s most popular long-haul aircraft for passengers, the Airbus A380.

Aircraft Liveries

The Negus Livery The first BA livery following the merger of BEA and BOAC in 1974.

The livery designed by Landor Associates in the early 1980s to revamp BA’s image and prepare the airline for privatisation.

“Project Utopia”, BA’s ill-fated and much misunderstood World Images tailfins from 1997.

The Chatham Dockyard livery, first introduced on Concorde in 1997, and is now across all of BA’s fleet.

Airports

BA’s principal UK hub, London Heathrow Airport.

Originally known as the BOAC Terminal, Terminal 7 is the only terminal at New York JFK airport owned and operated by an international airline.

London Gatwick Airport, “The hub without the hubbub.” BA’s attempt at a dual London hub in the 1990s.

London City Airport, BA’s base in the Royal Docks, East London, which has grown significantly in the past decade.

“So calm, you’ll simply flow through”. BA’s promise for London Heathrow Terminal 5 which opened in chaotic fashion in March 2008.

A look at how British Airways lounges have evolved over the past 40 years.

Continue reading “As Christmas is a time for repeats…”

British Airways Launches London City – San Sebastián

British Airways has launched a new summer seasonal route from London City to San Sebastian.

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La Concha Bay, Monte Igueldo, San Sebastián
La Concha Bay, Monte Igueldo, San Sebastián (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has launched a new summer seasonal route from London City Airport to San Sebastián in the Basque Country region of Spain.

BA will fly from London City to San Sebastián twice weekly on Monday & Friday from Friday 10 July 2020 to Friday 4 September 2020.

Flights will be operated with Embraer E190 aircraft in a two class Club Europe business class and Euro Traveller economy configuration.

This will be the only direct service to San Sebastián from London. BA already serves San Sebastián indirectly through an onward codeshare from Madrid on Air Nostrum. It is of course possible to mix and match London airports, albeit with an element of backtracking. Bilbao airport (served by BA from Gatwick) is also around 100km from San Sebastián.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

London City – San Sebastián

Flight BA7335 Depart London City 09:15 – Arrive San Sebastián 12:10 (Monday)
Flight BA7335 Depart London City 09:10 – Arrive San Sebastián 12:10 (Friday)

Flight BA7334 Depart San Sebastián 13:30 – Arrive London City 14:25 (Monday, Friday)

British Airways Launches London Heathrow – Portland

British Airways has launched a new route from London Heathrow to Portland, Oregon.

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Portland International Airport
Portland International Airport

British Airways has launched a new long-haul route from London Heathrow to Portland, Oregon.

BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Portland International Airport five times weekly from Monday 1 June 2020. Flights will not operate on Tuesday and Thursday.

Flights will be operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft in a three class configuration with Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy and World Traveller economy cabins.

Known for its environmental consciousness and independent spirit, Portland is of course close to other BA North American gateways Seattle and Vancouver, and it is possible to “mix and match” arrival and departure airports in North America. BA also codeshares with Alaska Airlines from Portland to a number of airports on the US West Coast.

This is a relatively unusual route choice for BA in that Portland is already served on a summer seasonal basis by Delta. BA has historically launched new transatlantic routes from London Heathrow to airports that do not have any transatlantic services to London.

Flights are on sale now on ba.com

London Heathrow – Portland

Flight BA299 Depart London Heathrow 15:05 Arrive Portland International Airport 16:55 (Daily, except Tuesday & Thursday)
Flight BA298 Depart Portland International Airport 18:45 – Arrive London Heathrow 12:10 (Daily, except Tuesday & Thursday)

British Airways & China Southern To Launch Joint-Business

British Airways and China Southern Airlines are to launch a joint business in respect of flights between the UK and mainland China.

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British Airways & China Southern
British Airways & China Southern

British Airways and China Southern Airlines have announced plans to launch a joint business in respect of flights between the UK and mainland China.

Currently, BA and China Southern Airlines have a limited codeshare relationship with BA placing its code on China Southern Airlines operated flights from Shanghai when connecting to/from BA operated flights between London and Shanghai. China Southern Airlines also places its code on a number of BA short-haul flights from London Heathrow.

Under the joint-business the two airlines will offer full codesharing on each other’s routes between London and mainland China. They will also offer reciprocal benefits to each other’s frequent flyers.

Currently, BA flies from London Heathrow to Beijing Daxing and Shanghai airports. China Southern Airlines flies from London Heathrow Terminal 4 to Guangzhou, Sanya, Zhengzhou, and Wuhan.

The expanded codeshare relationship will take effect from Thursday 2 January 2020 and flights are on sale from today, Tuesday 17 December 2019. The two airlines are expected to explore further co-operation in 2020.

For BA, this does substantially improve its coverage of mainland China where it has been relatively weak compared to other European network airlines, partly due to the lack of a local alliance partner.

BA does also have a local codeshare relationship with China Eastern Airlines which does not appear to be disturbed by this news.

British Airways Pilots Accept Pay Offer

British Airways pilots have accepted a new pay offer, bringing a long-running industrial dispute to an end.

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British Airways Pilots pictured with the Red Arrows
British Airways Pilots (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways pilots have accepted a revised pay offer negotiated between the airline and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA).

This does bring to an end a long running dispute which has resulted in two days of industrial action and cast a shadow over BA’s centenary year.

BALPA has issued the following statement:

A ballot of British Airways pilots closed today following the dispute over pay and terms and conditions.

Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) employed by BA voted nearly 9 to 1 to accept the final agreement which was proposed by ACAS and recommended by BALPA and its BA reps.

British Airways' New London Heathrow Seasonal Routes

BA has launched new summer seasonal routes from London Heathrow to Bodrum, Dalaman, Perugia, Podgrica, Pristina and Rhodes.

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Pristina, Kosovo
Pristina, Kosovo (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has launched a string of new summer seasonal short-haul routes from London Heathrow.

BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Pristina, Kosovo on Saturdays from 4 July 2020 to 29 August 2020.

BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Podgorica, Montenegro on Saturdays from 4 July 2020 to 29 August 2020.

BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Perugia, Italy on Monday, Thursday and Saturdays from Thursday 2 July 2020 to Monday 31 August 2020.

BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to both Bodrum and Dalaman, Turkey on Saturday from 23 May 2020 to 24 October 2020. BA already flies to Dalaman from Gatwick and has previously flown to Bodrum from Gatwick. BA has also previously announced a new summer seasonal route from London Gatwick to Antalya.

BA will also fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Rhodes, Greece, complementing its existing service from London Gatwick. BA will also fly from London Gatwick to Corfu twice weekly from 1 May 2020 to 23 October 2020. This will complement BA’s existing summer seasonal service from Heathrow.

Flights will be operated with Airbus A320 aircraft in a two class configuration with Club Europe business class and Euro Traveller configuration.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

Here are the timings of the new Heathrow flights. Note there are differences between the official BA press release and BA’s online timetables. The times below are based on BA’s online timetables at the time of publication.

Also note that as these are new summer seasonal routes, the operating dates may be subject to change depending on their commercial performance.

Continue reading “British Airways' New London Heathrow Seasonal Routes”

British Airways & BALPA Agree Pilot Pay Deal

British Airways and BALPA have agreed a new pay deal for BA pilots at the conciliation service ACAS.

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

The Financial Times has reported that British Airways and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) have agreed a new pay deal for BA pilots at the conciliation service ACAS.

This follows an overwhelming rejection of previous pay offers and two days of industrial action by BA pilots in September of this year.

According to the FT, the new deal includes an improved pay offer and improvements to pilot working conditions on matters such as rostering.

As is expected, BA will also reinstate staff travel concessions removed from BA pilots who took part in industrial action.

However, there does not appear to have been any significant movement on one of the most contentious issues in the dispute which was profit sharing. One of the key reasons for the rejection of previous offers was that BA pilots wanted a much improved pay offer with more significant profit sharing following the dramatic improvement in BA’s financial profitability over the past ten years.

The new deal will be subject to a ballot of BALPA members which a recommendation from BALPA that it should be accepted. This normally takes about four weeks, so the outcome of the result should be known before Christmas. Whether it will be accepted by BA pilots will only be known when the result is announced. However, this does remove the prospect of any further industrial action in the short term.

British Airways Opens Refurbished Geneva Lounge

British Airways has reopened its lounge at Geneva airport following a refurbishment.

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British Airways lounge, Geneva airport
British Airways lounge, Geneva airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has today, Friday 22 November 2019, reopened its refurbished lounge at Geneva airport.

The newly designed and enlarged lounge follows a similar design concept to recently refurbished lounges in Aberdeen and Rome.

New features include a lobby bar and craft beer room, as well as improved seating and catering.

British Airways lounge, Geneva airport
British Airways lounge, Geneva airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways lounge, Geneva airport
British Airways lounge, Geneva airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways lounge, Geneva airport
British Airways lounge, Geneva airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways lounge, Geneva airport
British Airways lounge, Geneva airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways lounge, Geneva airport
British Airways lounge, Geneva airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
Continue reading “British Airways Opens Refurbished Geneva Lounge”

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.

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"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”