Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 1 August 2022.
Iberia Restores Latin America Route Network
Iberia, currently the star performer at IAG, has confirmed its route network for the winter season.
The airline will return to Rio de Janeiro and Caracas, both three times weekly. These are the last long haul routes Iberia intends to reinstate post COVID-19.
Together with Aer Lingus and BA this means IAG has largely restored is pre-COVID-19 route network to the Americas.
Routes benefiting from increased frequencies include Havana which goes to five times weekly. Frequency increases are also planned on Guatemala – El Salvador and Quito – Guayaquil.
Bogota, Buenos Aires and Mexico City will be served twice daily. Lima, Santiago and São Paulo will be served daily.
Montevideo, Panama City and Puerto Rico will also be served throughout the winer.
On North American routes, Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas / Fort Worth and Los Angeles will continue throughout the winter. As do New York JFK and Miami up to twice daily. San Francisco and Washington Dulles will end for the winter.
Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 25 July 2022.
BA Starts Work On Its Winter Schedules
We’re starting to get a picture of BA’s winter schedulesas it is running schedule updates for London Heathrow.
Headlines include Sydney being upgraded to a Boeing 777-300, as before the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no sign of BA’s A380 returning to Singapore yet, but it should revert to twice daily.
A number of routes are subject to frequency reductions including Los Angeles, New Orleans and Seattle. Planned frequency increases on routes such as Dubai and Mumbai are postponed.
Some changes are only applied to the start of season. It is not immediately clear whether rolling cancellations will continue throughout the winter or there’ll be a schedule BA knows it can stick to. The latter is crucial for passenger confidence.
Full details of known changes are here which is continually updated.
On a related note, last week American Airlines said Boeing may resume 787 deliveries as soon as August. On the flip side, Heathrow painted a pessimistic picture of ground staff recruitment which seems to barely keeping up with staff attrition.
Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 18 July 2022.
The impact of extreme heat in the UK this week on public health and infrastructure is likely to dominate the news over the coming days.
The Gatwick Express is suspended today and tomorrow. Other rail services are running at a reduced frequency and at revised times due to speed restrictions with strong advice not to travel.
The War Of Words Continues
The claim and counter-claim by airlines and Heathrow over travel disruption continues.
Last week Heathrow imposed a short notice cap on departing passenger numbers at the airport until 11 September. Ostensibly, Heathrow claimed it wanted to wait and see which airlines took advantage of the slot amnesty before issuing its demand.
The CAA and Department for Transport ordered Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye to provide an immediate explanation.
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.
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.
Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 20 June 2022.
Heathrow Capacity Restrictions
Things are not getting any easier for passengers at London airports.
Following well publicised baggage system failures at the weekend at Terminals 2 & 3, Heathrow has imposed capacity restrictions on airlines at these terminals today.
Virgin Atlantic advised on Sunday evening it has cancelled these flights today:
VS7 London Heathrow – Los Angeles VS45 London Heathrow – New York JFK VS4 New York JFK – London Heathrow
On Sunday evening, Brussels Airport advised that no flights will depart the airport today due to a strike by security staff. Brussels Airlines had already cancelled 50% of its flights and now virtually all are cancelled.
Ahead of IATA’s Annual General Meeting, Director General Willie Walsh was keen to emphasise in media interviews that the vast majority of airports and flights are operating normally. But aviation is going to remain unpredictable for some time yet.
Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 6 June 2022.
The Blame Game
Who is to blame for the crisis affecting UK airlines & airports?
The afternoon before the start of the four day Platinum Jubilee weekend, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – a master of politics – summoned various airlines, airports and ground handling agents to an urgent meeting.
How this helped anyone due to travel in the coming days is anyone’s guess. Quick to get out its side of the story the Department for Transport issued a press release admonishing airlines for their failures. They are threatened with enhanced consumer protection measures, such as automatic refunds for cancelled flights, akin to the “Delay Repay” scheme on the railways.
Over the weekend as short notice flight cancellations continued, a war of words has broken between all sides. And who is at fault?