Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 5 March 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
UK & Ireland Weather
The big story over the past week has of course been the weather with very significant disruption across the UK and Ireland.
There has also been significant disruption on the US East Coast with Delta cancelling 900 flights on Friday.
Although it will be little comfort to those whose flights from Heathrow were cancelled, the airport’s preparedness and response to the snow was vastly better than in December 2010.
Consider that on Saturday 18 December 2010 there was the absurd sight of Heathrow’s then Head Of Media participating in a Day Today-esque interview on BBC News immediately after BA cancelled its entire schedule claiming that the airport was operating normally. That very same night no less than 9,500 passengers spent the night sleeping in Heathrow and some 4,000 flights were cancelled over five days. So credit to Heathrow as its investment in more equipment and resources has clearly paid off. (Heathrow’s Media Relations team was also completely overhauled shortly afterwards.) Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 5 March 2018”
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 19 February 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
Singapore Airlines Documentary
Did you see “The World’s Most Luxurious Airline” on Channel 4?
If not, it’s available on Channel 4’s on-demand service, 4OD.
As with any documentary of this type, the combined influence of planning and casting, the production team standing behind the camera, and editing should never be under-estimated. There were the predictable juxtaposition of the worlds of First Class and the everyday and pure Alan Partridge moments from carefully cast and edited contributors.
It was noteworthy how Twitter’s typically mocking live commentary took an abrupt turn when the programme turned to Singapore Airlines’ cabin crew recruitment processes. “Singapore Girl”, which is literally a creation from the 1970s and has barely changed since, felt very out of step with the times and almost tone-deaf. Social attitudes and the constituency of air passengers has changed enormously since the 1970s and it’s clearly time for a rethink. Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 19 February 2018”
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 12 February 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
London City Airport Closed
London City Airport is advising that, as at 00:00 GMT Monday 12 February, it is closed following the discovery of World War Two ordnance in King George V Dock which has resulted in the set up of an exclusion zone.
Lufthansa’s New Livery
Lufthansa officially unveiled its news livery last week.
Of course, its carefully choreographed tour of airports in Germany was upstaged by a leak of the new livery online. In comes a new shade of blue, a new corporate typeface and livery. The yellow has been removed from the tailfin and will be toned down across the airline.
At the moment, there is just one Boeing 747-8 (with flew to New York JFK on Friday) and Airbus A321 in the new livery.
Staff uniforms will be updated in April 2018. Frankfurt and Munich airports will be updated by December 2019. In-flight tableware and amenities will be updated between August 2018 and 2020. The actual rebranding of aircraft liveries will not be fully complete until March 2025.
The introduction of the new livery will be supported by a new brand advertising campaign. There’s more to explore on a dedicated Lufthansa microsite.
As it is Valentines Day this week, BA has released another BA Magic video
The release of a video is not surprising but what is noteworthy is ever more ambitious production values that move closer towards broadcast standards.
Norwegian will launch its new route from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires on Wednesday 14 February, its first route from London to Latin America.
It is also due to launch Austin three times weekly from Tuesday 27 March 2018 and Chicago O’Hare four times weekly from Sunday 25 March 2018.
Norwegian’s latest traffic figures show it has little difficulty filling its planes. However, its results for the quarter to 31 December 2017 will be released on Friday 16 February 2018 and will show how this translates to profitability.
Air Canada Winter Olympics Video
Air Canada has released a video to mark the participation of Canada’s athletes in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Narrated by Ryan Reynolds.
It takes a nation very at ease with itself to present to the world with both self-confidence and humility. Of course, there was a country that did that six and half years ago. Then B****t happened…
IAG and Virgin Atlantic trade barbs over London Heathrow
International Airlines Group’s CEO Willie Walsh fired another salvo in the direction of Heathrow airport last week.
Virgin Atlantic, never one to let BA and its parent have the last word, also issued a press release complaining about BA’s dominance at Heathrow, citing that more than 50 short-haul routes and many long-haul routes are operated exclusively BA this summer.
This is, to be generous, at bit disingenuous.
Many of these short-haul routes are summer seasonal flights which operate around twice a week and open up connectivity between many European destinations and the North Atlantic.
Virgin Atlantic also had the opportunity to operate remedy slots made available as a consequence of BA’s merger with bmi. However, Virgin decided to end its Little Red at Heathrow.
Many long-haul routes operated exclusively by BA are ones that Virgin suspended (Accra and Cape Town). It can also hardly be claimed that the UK economy would be better off without direct links to many “thin” destinations like San Jose or Santiago. Virgin is also 49% owned by Delta Air Lines which has dominant positions at many US airports including Atlanta.
Heathrow Airport is offering members of its “Rewards” loyalty programme the opportunity to win a Plaza Premium lounge pass for 2 for a year.
You can enter via your Heathrow Rewards account. Plaza Premium has built up a very credible portfolio of departures and arrivals lounges at London Heathrow, so this is worth taking the time to enter.
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 5 February 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
Expected disruption due to forecast snow and ice
First of all, not a good start to the week as many flights have been cancelled on Monday morning in anticipation of snow and ice.
At the time of writing BA has cancelled approximately 30 short-haul flights throughout the morning and early afternoon from London Heathrow. As usual, UK domestic flights have borne the brunt of cancellations.
The situation may well change throughout the morning as the impact of the weather is known. You can check live flight information on the websites of Gatwick,Heathrow and London City.
In truth, there is little beyond what has been announced previously. As BA is part of a publicly owned group it is bound by City rules which mean significant announcements must be announced to all shareholders. Nevertheless, it is worth a read.
BA adds new Club World catering to more routes
British Airways is to extend its new Club World business class catering to an additional 10 routes from Thursday 1 February 2018.These are Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York Newark, Philadelphia, Washington Dulles, Montreal, Toronto, Dubai and Hong Kong.
Currently, the new catering is only available on London Heathrow – New York JFK. BA claims that new catering will be available on all long-haul routes (of which there are 70 at London Heathrow alone) by the end of the year.
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 22 January 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
Emirates’ Airbus A380 Order: Will IAG follow suit for BA?
After a protracted and very public stand-off between Airbus and Emirates over an order for more Airbus A380s which included threats by Airbus to end production of the A380 altogether, one side finally blinked last week.
Airbus and Emirates have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding for Emirates to acquire a further 20 aircraft and options to acquire a further 16 aircraft.
Emirates currently has some 101 Airbus A380s in service, with a further 41 to be delivered before last week’s order. Some of the latest order will be used as replacements for existing A380 aircraft. (Emirates)
Following this announcement, someone has been briefing Bloomberg off the record that BA is interested in buying more Airbus A380s.
The headline in the Bloomberg article is wrong as this decision can only be made by its parent company, IAG. Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, has long expressed an interest in buying more A380s to add to the 12 in BA’s fleet and has even mooted the possibility of A380s for Aer Lingus and Iberia (presumably on a seasonal basis).
However, Willie Walsh has insisted that the purchase price of new aircraft is too expensive. Expressions of interest in leasing second-hand A380s have not yet come to anything. There is clearly a case in adding more A380s to BA’s fleet. It’s clearly working well on many routes and given BA can send up to 3 Boeing 747s a day to Cape Town in the winter, there’s scope to add more A380 routes.
Airlines and aircraft manufacturers speak in private all the time and no-one gives comments to the press, either on or off the record, without reason, so there is probably something behind this.
Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 15 January 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
BA Upgrades World Traveller Catering (again)
BA announced a series of changes its catering in World Traveller economy from Wednesday 17 January 2018.
More details here. This was heralded as a major upgrade. In truth, it was largely a reinstatement of items that had previously been cut. Indeed, some items have been cut, added back, cut and now added back again.
It’s hard not wonder how much management time is consumed by constantly discussing whether a packet of pretzels should be offered with a passenger’s first drink, reviewing budgets and renegotiating with suppliers, as well as the complex logistics of making any changes to its catering operation at more than 70 airports around the world.
That said, this does suggest that BA has realised there are limits on how far it can, to use its own words, “stretch the brand”. There was talk 12 months ago of BA launching an “unbundled” long-haul fare and this latest move suggests this may be put on the back burner for now.
Hello and welcome to our first Monday Briefing of 2018 summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
US East Coast Weather
It has been utterly terrible few days on the East Coast of the United States with New York JFK bearing the brunt of delays and cancellations due to severe weather.
Both New York JFK and La Guardia airports were temporarily closed due to the severity of snow and ice. At New York JFK there have been very substantial delays to arrivals and departures due to frozen ground equipment and a lack of gates. (New York Times)Delta has cancelled in excess of 1,000 flights over the past week due to severe weather.
To top it all, on Sunday afternoon Eastern Time, a water main break at New York JFK Terminal 4 (home of Delta and Virgin Atlantic) caused the suspension of international flight arrivals (ABC7 New York) .
Two Delta and one British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Atlanta on Sunday were diverted. Flight DL285 diverted to Cincinnati. Flight DL31 diverted to New York JFK. BA227 diverted to Washington Dulles.
In other Delta news in a very busy week for the airline, the airline held its annual Investor Day last week. The slide deck is a mercifully short 56 slides. There are no specific London Heathrow announcements.