A look at the Boeing 787-10 aircraft

A look at the latest version of the Boeing 787 as airlines take delivery of the Boeing 787-10.

London Air Travel » New & Noteworthy

Singapore Airlines Boeing 787-10 Aircraft
Singapore Airlines Boeing 787-10 Aircraft (Image Credit: Singapore Airlines)

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is now a firm fixture in the fleets of many long-haul airlines from London.

The Boeing 787-8 has, with great success, opened up many new transatlantic routes such as Nashville and New Orleans and, from next year, Charleston and Pittsburgh. The Boeing 787-9 has established the first direct scheduled route between London and Australia, to Perth.

This year, airlines have begun to take delivery of the latest variant of the 787, the Boeing 787-10.

However, it’s not clear whether the 787-10 will be as revolutionary as its older siblings.

It’s a larger aircraft, with a length of 68m, compared to 57m for the 787-8 and 63m for the 787-9, but with the same height and wingspan. The most significant difference is that it has, based on official figures from Boeing, a shorter range of 6,430 nautical miles, compared to 7,355 nautical miles for the 787-8 and 7,635 for the 787-9. The total number of aircraft ordered is relatively small, 169 out of over 1,400 for the 787 in total.

Always one to pride itself on world firsts, Singapore Airlines took delivery of the first Boeing 787-10 in March of this year.

Singapore Airlines now has 7 aircraft, out of an order of 47. These operate in a two class configuration with 337 seats in total. It’s used on what the airline terms “regional” routes of less than eight hours from Singapore to Manila, Nagoya, Osaka, Perth and Tokyo Narita.

United Airlines has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787-10.

It has ordered 14 aircraft in total. It will operate on transcontinental flights from Newark to Los Angeles from Monday 7 January 2018. Next summer, it will progressively operate on transatlantic routes from Newark to Barcelona, Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Tel Aviv. United has yet to reveal interior images of the aircraft, but it will feature its “Polaris” business class seat as well as premium economy and economy cabins.

Etihad has very recently taken delivery of 2 out of 30 Boeing 787-10 aircraft. However, given its current financial situation, its fleet plans are likely to be reviewed.

British Airways plans to take delivery of 12 aircraft from 2020 to 2023, with the first six due to arrive in 2020. This will take its total number of 787s to 42, making it very close to the largest series of aircraft in its long-haul fleet.

BA is the only UK airline to have ordered the Boeing 787-10. Like the Airbus A350-1000, it is intended to replace the Boeing 747. The first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft to be delivered next year will not have First Class and will replace many 52 Club World seat Boeing 747s. As such, it is likely the Boeing 787-10 will have First Class and a higher Club World configuration to replace the 70 Club World seat Boeing 747s on routes such as New York JFK. It will of course feature BA’s new Club World seat.

Other airlines to take delivery of the Boeing 787-10 include Air France-KLM (though its new CEO has indicated that the fleet plans of Air France and KLM will be reviewed), ANA and Eva Air.

Airlines will be keen to showcase their latest cabins and advanced in-flight entertainment systems on the 787-10. However, with its larger size and relatively limited range, the Boeing 787-10 is likely to be a replacement for aircraft on many existing routes, rather than a gateway to new routes. The principal benefit seems to be its fuel efficiency and commonality with the 787-8 and 787-9.

For aircraft that will open up the next phase of new long-haul routes from London, we’ll have to turn to the Airbus A350 Ultra Long Range and the Boeing 777X which are currently under consideration by Qantas for non-stop flights to Sydney.

Supersonic – The Design And Lifestyle Of Concorde

“Supersonic – The Design And Lifestyle Of Concorde” looks at the design of Concorde by Air France & BA ahead of its 50th anniverary.

London Air Travel » New & Noteworthy

Supersonic, The Design and Lifestyle of Concorde, Lawrence Azerrad.
Supersonic, The Design and Lifestyle of Concorde, Lawrence Azerrad.

This week marked 15 years since Concorde completed its final commercial passenger flight.

On 24 October 2003, members of Concorde’s exclusive club of regular patrons such as the late Sir David Frost and Dame Joan Collins gathered in the Concorde Room at New York JFK. After a farewell speech from Concorde Captain Mike Bannister, they boarded BA2 for the final time, to land at Heathrow before the world’s media.

15 years on Captain Mike Bannister gathered with guests in The Design Museum earlier this week to mark the launch of a limited edition timepiece with Bremont.

Designed in collaboration with BA in advance of the airline’s centenary and the 50th anniversary of Concorde’s maiden flight in 2019, each watch features aluminium from one of BA’s seven Concordes, G-BOAB – pictured here at Heathrow. There are three editions, limited to 500 in total, which are handsomely priced from “just” £9,495 to £17,995.

A more affordable means of remembering Concorde is a recently published book “Supersonic: The Design And Lifestyle Of Concorde”.

It is written by Lawrence Azerrad who founded Los Angeles based design studio LAD Design and has gathered hundreds of Concorde related artefacts. The book focuses less on the engineering and the politics behind the Concorde, and more on the evolution of its marketing and the design of its cabin interiors and branding by both Air France and BA.

It features a foreword by Sir Terence Conran who, in conjunction with factorydesign designed the last Concorde cabin interior for BA and the Concorde Room in New York JFK and the former Concorde Room in London Heathrow Terminal 4.

At a time when there are forces at work determined to take the Western world backwards, Concorde does reflect a spirit of international co-operation and optimism about the future. It is unlikely that supersonic transatlantic travel will return. But progress remains in other areas. There are more US cities that can be reached directly from London then ever before. This time next year, we should know whether direct flights from London to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney could be launched.

Back to the book, Lawrence Azerrad will be in conversation with designer Sebastian Conran at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington on Friday 8 February 2019. Tickets are on sale now.

“Supersonic – The Design And Lifestyle Of Concorde” is published by Prestel Publishing and is on sale now.

60 Years of the Transatlantic Jet Age

How BOAC beat Pan American World Airways in a race to begin the first scheduled transatlantic jet services between London and New York.

London Air Travel » New & Noteworthy

Passengers boarding a BOAC De Havilland DH106 Comet 4 at London Airport, 4 October 1958
Passengers boarding a BOAC De Havilland DH106 Comet 4 at London Airport, 4 October 1958 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Today, Thursday 4 October 2018, marks 60 years since the first passenger jet service from London to New York.

One of British Airways predecessor airlines, BOAC, flew two de Havilland Comet 4 aircraft between London and New York International Airport, Idlewild.

This was a mere 24 hours after the Port Authority of New York granted approval for passenger jet services following concerns over noise. It was also less than a month after the aircraft had been delivered to the airline and it had received its certificate or air worthiness.

The westbound flight left London at 09:55 local time and landed in New York at 15:15 local time after a refuelling stop for one hour and ten minutes in Gander, Newfoundland. The total journey time was 10 hours and 20 minutes

There were 31 passengers out of a capacity for 48 on the aircraft. They included Sir Gerald D’Erlanger, Chairman of the board of BOAC. He carried a letter from the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Denis Truscott to Mayor Wagner of New York. There were 12 paying passengers, many of whom had made reservations in anticipation of passenger jet services years ago and were only called to travel at very short notice. There were two classes of travel, First and Deluxe.

The aircraft carried 15 crew members, instead of the usual 8. One of the cabin crew members was Peggy Thorne who made a return visit to British Airways yesterday.
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VLM Airlines in liquidation; London City – Antwerp cancelled

VLM Airlines has entered into liquidation and it has immediately suspended all operations.

London Air Travel » New & Noteworthy

FlyVLM Fokker 50 turboprop (Image Credit: VLM Airlines)
FlyVLM Fokker 50 turboprop (Image Credit: VLM Airlines)

VLM Airlines has yesterday, Friday 31 August 2018, entered into liquidation.

The decision was made by the majority shareholder in the airline and has been confirmed on its website.

SHS Aviation B.V., the majority shareholder of the N.V. SHS Antwerp Aviation (VLM), today decided at an extraordinary general assembly to dissolve the Belgian airline and to liquidate it.

Earlier this month it was announced that VLM would discontinue the connections to Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cologne-Bonn, Maribor, Munich and Rostock and that VLM would henceforth focus on business charter flights and the Antwerp-London City Airport and Antwerp-Zurich routes. Also the scheduled flights from Antwerp to London City and Zurich are now cancelled.

The settlement takes effect immediately. Youri Steverlynck and Birgitta Van Itterbeek (Monard Law) were appointed as liquidators. They are responsible for the contacts with potential buyers.

SHS Antwerp Aviation N.V. is a subsidiary of the Dutch investment company SHS Aviation B.V., which is owned 60% by Dutch investors and 40% by Chinese investors. SHS Antwerp Aviation N.V. is developing airline activities under the trading name ‘VLM’. VLM employs 85 people.

The airline has therefore suspended operations and all future flights are cancelled. VLM flew from London City to Antwerp, a route it inherited from CityJet a little under 12 months ago.

If you do have a future booking with VLM, then the best advice is to contact your credit card company for refund.

Why I Ignore Hotel Loyalty Programmes

Why it is a relief to not to chase hotel loyalty scheme points and a mistake to choose a hotel on the basis of its loyalty programme.

London Air Travel » New & Noteworthy

Public Hotel New York City
Public Hotel New York City (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

There’s an interesting feature on the cover of the latest edition Bloomberg Businesweek.

It concerns Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels Group. It happened in 2016. However, it has taken nearly two years for Marriott to combine its frequent guest programme with that of Starwood. The new combined programme will launch later this month.

It seems that the thorniest issue behind the transaction was not both sides and their armies of lawyers agreeing the terms of the deal or combining reservation systems, but their respective frequent guest programmes. Every single development in this regard has been carefully scrutinised by members on tenterhooks that their beloved benefits may be lost.

Put simply, who should be entitled to a free breakfast under the new programme!?

The article gives a good understanding of the workings of hotel loyalty programmes and the sometimes absurd lengths, known as “mattress runs” (it’s nowhere near as interesting as it sounds..), some members will go to climb the ranks of the programmes.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a member of some frequent guest programmes and enjoyed their benefits, principally late check-outs. But none have compelled me to be slavishly devoted to one hotel programme and I have been happy to let membership lapse.

Airline and hotel loyalty programmes are not the same

When it comes to flying, there is a logic of choosing to align yourself with one of three airline alliances to accrue frequent flyer benefits.

There is an assurance of flying with an airline in an alliance that there isn’t with booking large hotel groups.

In air travel, there is much scope for things go wrong. As customers of Primera Air and Norwegian have learned, for small airlines there are little means to recover from aircraft availability issues. When flying on a large airline, there is the assurance of the back-up it has through the size of its fleet, its network and its joint-venture and alliance partners. This isn’t so much the case with hotels. The only time I could genuinely see a need to stick with a large chain is when staying in a destination where you need to be confident of hotel security and its support should you have problems.
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10 Years of EU – US Open Skies

As the 10th anniversary of the EU-US Open Skies agreement approaches, we take a look back at how it has reshaped transatlantic travel.

London Air Travel » New & Noteworthy

Delta, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic & British Airways aircraft at London Heathrow
Delta, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic & British Airways aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

Some ten years ago, air travel between London and the United States was governed by an archaic treaty known as Bermuda II.

Signed in 1977 as successor to an agreement signed after the Second World War, it placed restrictions on who could operate flights between the UK and the US, and from where.

Flghts from London Heathrow to the US were restricted to two US airlines. These were American Airlines and United Airlines, who had acquired traffic rights from Trans World Airlines and Pan American World Airways respectively. What were then Continental, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and US Airways were forced to fly from London Gatwick.

From the UK, only British Airways and, from 1991, Virgin Atlantic could fly to the US from London Heathrow. Not only that, certain routes could not operate from London Heathrow. So BA had to fly to Atlanta, Dallas Fort Worth and Houston from London Gatwick. bmi which, at the time, held approximately 15% of Heathrow’s slots sat in deep frustration at being unable to fulfil its ambitions to fly to the US from the airport.

Some 30 years later, with negotiations no longer between London and Washington, the EU negotiated an Open Skies agreement the US. It officially came into force on 30 March 2008. Heathrow was opened up to all US airlines. And EU airlines could fly to the US from any airport in the EU.

However, access of European airlines to the US market and US airline ownership rules were untouched. They were officially parked into Phase II and remain so today.

So what has been the impact of EU-US Open Skies?
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London’s new routes for 2018

Here are the new short-haul and long-haul flights launching from London City, Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports in 2018, which includes the launch of the world’s longest flight between London and Perth.

London Air Travel » New & Noteworthy

London's New Routes For 2018
London’s New Routes For 2018

A very Happy New Year to all our readers around the world.

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2018, so let’s start by taking a look at what new routes we can expect this year. No doubt many more announcements will follow in the coming months.

London Heathrow – Perth Non-Stop

This big headline is of course the launch of non-stop flights between London Heathrow and Perth from Sunday 25 March 2018.

With a flight time of nearly 17 hours, this route will test passengers’ appetite for “Ultra Long-Haul” travel. It may also presage, subject to aircraft technology, more direct flights between London and Australia in the 2020s.

Qantas has made much of the fact that it is looking to adapt in-flight service to the length of the flight so it will be interesting to see what emerges.

Ultimately, the success of the route will hinge on its technical reliability and financial profitability. The latter depends on sufficient year round demand from business class passengers who will be prepared to pay a premium for a non-stop flight.

This route will replace Qantas’ existing London Heathrow – Dubai – Melbourne flight. At the same time, Qantas will also replace London Heathrow – Dubai – Sydney with London Heathrow – Singapore – Sydney.
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2017 – The Year In Air Travel In Review

As 2017 draws to a close, we look back at the major trends and themes in world aviation over the past year with some predictions for the year ahead as well.

London Air Travel » New & Noteworthy

2017 In Air Travel
2017 In Air Travel

As we prepare to say farewell to 2017 and look forward to what will no doubt be a very eventful and exciting 2018, we take a customary look back at the year just gone. Here’s what we predicted might happen this time 12 months ago.

We should of course thank readers for your support over the past twelve months and hope you will continue reading over the next year.

1. The world of aviation is anything but predictable.

Who would have thought this time last year that a conciliatory Michael O’Leary would agree to recognise pilot unions in order to head off a Christmas strike at Ryanair?

Or that Qantas would reinstate London – Singapore – Sydney?

Or that someone could (allegedly) ground an airline by pulling out a plug?

Well, it all happened in 2017.
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What aviation trends & developments can we expect in London in 2017?

London Air Travel » New & Noteworthy

Airbus A380
The world of air travel is never dull.  For an industry in a near permanent state of revolution there is no shortage of new developments for passengers.

Here is a run through developments we can expect in 2017 in terms of routes, airlines, airports and in flight service.

It’s a bit of long one, but here we go:

2016: The year of “Low Cost Long Haul” at Gatwick

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The founders of Monocle debut the “Kioskafé” at London Paddington

London Air Travel » New & Noteworthy

Kioskafe, Paddington, London (Image Credit: London Air Travel)
Kioskafé, Paddington, London (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Readers of Tyler Brûlé’s column in the weekend edition of the Financial Times, which for the uninitiated documents the travails of a life spent jet-setting around the globe, will know that a frequent target is the poor state of newspaper and magazine retailing in the UK.

One target has long been WH Smith. Specifically, its poorly lit and understaffed shops, the ill-targeted special offers, the self-scan check-outs and, in the case of its Heathrow branches, its parochial selection of newspapers and magazines.

Tyler Brûlé is not someone who isn’t afraid to put his money where his mouth is, nor to challenge convention.

Having long argued that print media is not dead, in 2007 Tyler Brûlé founded the magazine Monocle. As well as being a commercial and editorial success it eschews social media, does not carry out any research, charges more than the magazine cover price for a subscription and double the cover price for back issues.

Monocle has since extended its reach to shops, a cafe at 18 Chiltern Street London, and a 24 hour radio station, Monocle 24.

Tyler Brûlé is also the founder of the design agency Winkreative which designed the original brand identity of Swiss International Airlines, Porter Airlines, the cabin interior of British Airways Club World on Boeing 747-400 and 777-200 aircraft and the recently launched Union Pearson Express in Toronto.

The Kioskafe

The latest venture from Winkreative’s parent company, is the Kioskafé which opened in the past week at 31 Norfolk Place, opposite the Frontline Club and a short walk from London Paddington railway and Underground stations.
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