A Decade Of Air Travel 2010-2019

The themes and trends from a decade of air travel between 2010 and 2019.

London Air Travel » Page 2

BA Boeing 747 at sunset
BA Boeing 747 at sunset (Image Credit: Heathrow)

In January 2010, BA was still reeling from the impact of the 2008 financial crash. The airline had just inked the terms of its merger with Iberia after calling off talks with Qantas. Norwegian was a largely short-haul airline based in the Nordics. Business travellers used devices known as Blackberrys to check work e-mails. Instagram did not exist.

The decade where everything changed is coming to an end. Here are some of the main themes and trends in air travel of the past ten years.

The Future Of Long-Haul Travel Has Two Engines

In January 2010, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, El Al, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Thai Airways, and Virgin Atlantic all operated the Boeing 747 at London Heathrow.

Today just one airline does, BA.

And on the subject of quad-engined aircraft…

The Hub-Busting Aircraft Won

Before the launch of the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, there were two competing narratives offered by Airbus and Boeing.

The future of air travel was passengers flying via major hubs, hence the demand for larger aircraft. Or it was smaller aircraft flying over hubs by opening up new routes that had not previously been financially viable.

There’s no doubt who won the argument. Whilst the Airbus A380 is much loved by passengers, it has only really worked for Emirates and, to an extent, BA. Airbus is to suspend production of the A380 in 2021. A number of airlines including Air France and Lufthansa are retiring the aircraft early with no evident second hand market. Others have cut A380 services from London.

Airlines clearly like smaller efficient aircraft as it enables them to be the exclusive operator of new routes from their hubs. Many more routes will follow in the next decade with the Airbus A321 XLR aircraft.

And on the subject of efficiency…

One Stop Long-Haul Flights Are On Their Way Out

10 years ago, Qantas operated up to five daily services between Europe and Australia via Asia.

BA also operated two daily services to Sydney via Bangkok and Singapore, and Virgin Atlantic served Sydney via Hong Kong.

Today, this has been reduced to one daily flight by both BA and Qantas to Sydney via Singapore.

Air New Zealand will also suspend London Heathrow to Auckland via Los Angeles in 2020 having already suspended its eastbound service to Auckland via Hong Kong.

With so many one-stop options between Europe and Australia/New Zealand on airlines with hubs in Asia and the Middle East, one-stop flights are simply not economic for European and Australian/New Zealand airlines. Qantas’ flight to Sydney via Singapore will in all likelihood be replaced by a non-stop flight from 2023.

Low Cost Long-Haul Is Here To Stay

Before Norwegian launched low cost long-haul flights at Gatwick, some senior industry figures had doubts it would work.

The Boeing 787 was the wrong aircraft and there was little point in charging customers for hot meals on long-haul flights.

Whilst the jury is still out on whether Norwegian can achieve long term profitability, IAG has launched its own low cost long-haul airline LEVEL and all major transatlantic airlines now offer “basic” unbundled long-haul economy fares.

And on the subject of basic economy…

The Decade Of Personalisation

Once upon a time, most airlines had economy and business class cabins and a Saturday night stay rule to distinguish between business and leisure passengers.

Now economy has been split into three cabins with the addition of basic economy and economy comfort at the front. Most major airlines have finally learned to embrace Premium Economy after years of resistance for fear of business class passengers trading down.

Thanks to new distribution channels and the easy ability to up-sell ancillary services via their websites and apps, airlines now target groups such as (in their words) “Frugal Fun”, “Efficiency Seeker”, “Global Getaway”, “Care Seeking Family” and “Leisure Indulgence”.

Airlines Adopted “Densification”

Put simply, this is squeezing in more seats.

Whether it’s ten abreast seating on the Boeing 777 or squeezing in as many seats as possible on Airbus short-haul aircraft with the aid of thinner seats, “densification” became a firm part of many airlines’ lexicon.

The Basic Rules Remain The Same (Part 1)

Sir Richard Branson and Willie Walsh may not agree on many things, but there is one thing they do agree on.

Both would say that new airlines need to pursue steady, cautious growth as new routes take years to establish and excess unprofitable capacity is destructive of value.

Norwegian did not do this. Nor did failed airlines such as Primera Air and WOW air. After a period of seemingly relentless expansion, Norwegian is now desperately backtracking having suspended many long-haul routes and forming a joint-venture to relieve itself of future aircraft financing obligations.

Continue reading “A Decade Of Air Travel 2010-2019”

The Airlines We Lost From 2010-2019 (Part 2)

The airlines and brands that disappeared from 2010 to 2019 either due to financial collapse, mergers or rebranding.

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Virgin America Aircraft In-Flight
Virgin America Aircraft In-Flight (Image Credit: Virgin America)

Here’s the second part of our series detailing some of the airlines and brands that disappeared from 2010 to 2019. You can read the first part here.

Malév Hungarian Airlines

Malev Hunagarian Airlines suspended flights in March 2012 after some 66 years of operations.

Controlled by the Hungarian state, the airline was forced to stop flying after airports in Dublin and Tel Aviv refused to allow its aircraft to take-off because of unpaid debts. The European Commission had also ruled that it had to repay 100bn Hungarian Forint in state aid.

Malev was, by some margin, the largest airline in Budapest and the void was quickly filled by Ryanair and Wizz Air.


Mexicana suspended operations in August 2010 under the weight of debt and citing depressed visitor numbers to Mexico.

A plan to restart the airline’s operations with new investors and a slimmed down fleet and workforce never came to fruition.


The collapse of Monarch was one of the most high profile airline failures of 2017.

The airline’s owner, Greybull Capital, cited falling yields and volatility in markets such as Egypt and Turkey, as the reasons for its collapse. Rivals, such as easyJet and IAG, also failed to express an interest in the airline. Its collapse was, until the failure of Thomas Cook two years later, the UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation as the CAA had to bring 110,000 holidaymakers home.

Continue reading “The Airlines We Lost From 2010-2019 (Part 2)”

The Airlines We Lost From 2010-2019

The airlines and brands that disappeared from 2010 to 2019 either due to financial collapse, mergers or rebranding.

London Air Travel » Page 2

Air Berlin flying into the sunset (Image Credit: Air Berlin)
Air Berlin flying into the sunset (Image Credit: Air Berlin)

As a decade draws to a close, one over-riding theme has been consolidation in both Europe and the US.

Whilst there are still many independent European carriers such as Finnair, SAS and TAP Air Portugal, air travel in Europe is inexorably consolidating into either easyJet and Ryanair or Air France-KLM, IAG and Lufthansa.

A very large number of airlines in Europe have failed. According to figures from IAG, since 2000 154 short-haul airlines were launched in Europe and 107 failed.

Other airlines including CityJet also withdrew from scheduled passenger services. There were also some such as Odyssey Airlines which, to date, have not got off the ground.

Here are some of the airlines and brands around the world we lost from 2010 onwards. The list being so long, it has been published in two parts. Here is the second part.

Aigle Azur

Founded in 1946, French airline Aigle Azur suspended operations in September 2019 after failing to secure a buyer.

Its operations were based at Paris Orly Airport and it flew principally to destinations in Algeria as well as other destinations in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Air Berlin

Founded in 1979, Air Berlin was Germany’s second largest airline.

Having previously acquired airlines such as dba (formerly Deutsche BA) and LTU, it had all the structural and operational complexities to match.

In its later years, it was a member of the Oneworld alliance, but with relatively limited relations with its alliance partners. It never joined the transatlantic joint business with American Airlines and BA. Etihad was also a minority shareholder as it sought to use Air Berlin as a conduit to draw long-haul traffic from Germany to its hub in Abu Dhabi.

A near permanent state of restructuring could not turn the airline’s fortunes around and the delays to Berlin Brandenburg Airport meant it never fulfilled its ambition to become a major hub airline.

After suspending all long-haul operations, the final flight took place on Friday 27 October 2017 under flight AB6210 from Munich to Berlin Tegel. Most of its short-haul operations have been acquired by either easyJet or Lufthansa. Its sister airline Niki was acquired by Laudamotion, which is now part of Ryanair.

bmi British Midland

bmi British Midland Aircraft
bmi British Midland

bmi British Midland (“bmi”) and BA were once fierce rivals at Heathrow.

Although bmi’s history is almost as long as BA’s it was in the 1980s that BA and bmi started to compete head to head on domestic routes at Heathrow, initially to Glasgow to Edinburgh.  This was at a time when route authorities were granted by the Government.

Whilst bmi was by some distance the second airline at Heathrow and it had nowhere near the international presence of BA, it inspired tremendous loyalty from its frequent flyers. It had far more stable industrial relations than BA at Heathrow. Many domestic passengers also complained that BA would always cancel domestic flights first in the event of operational disruption.

For many years, bmi was deeply frustrated that it could not fulfil its ambition to launch transatlantic flights from Heathrow which, due to the Bermuda II treaty, BA and Virgin Atlantic were the only UK airlines that could do so. It had even acquired a fleet of long-haul Airbus A330 aircraft which were subsequently used to operate transtlantic routes from Manchester. As the UK member of Star Alliance it also had the financially and operationally thankless task of providing short-haul feed to Star Alliance airlines at Heathrow.

Facing increased competition from low cost airlines, bmi sought to reinvent as a medium / long-haul airline. Whilst the difficult launch of Mumbai proved to be short-lived, it did launch services to Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Cairo and Moscow. bmi also acquired former BA franchise partner British Mediterranean in 2007. Whilst this bolstered bmi’s portfolio of medium-haul routes, many of these were to areas very exposed to geopolitical events.

How bmi ultimately came to be acquired by BA dates back to 1999 when bmi’s controlling shareholder Sir Michael Bishop entered into a “put and call” agreement with Lufthansa. 

In 1999, Lufthansa acquired a 20% share of bmi for £91.4m, which valued the airline at £457m. Sir Michael also made a deal whereby he could exercise an option to sell his controlling stake in bmi of 50% plus one share to Lufthansa for £298m. 

In 2008, Sir Michael exercised his option. Lufthansa baulked at the price and reached an out of court settlement with Sir Michael. Lufthansa paid Sir Michael £175m to give up his option right, and £48m to acquire his share, valuing the airline at just £98m.

Although this was seen by commentators as a major opportunity for the dominant Star Alliance airline to gain a foothold at Heathrow, it did not turn out that way.

In 2011, faced with continued heavy losses, Lufthansa decided to entertain offers to buy bmi. In spite of Virgin Atlantic making a lot of noise, IAG emerged as the only credible bidder. IAG took control of bmi in 2012. BA wasted little time in suspending former bmi routes and very few now remain such as Amman, Beirut, Belfast, and Dublin.

As part of the deal, BA was required to make slots available to competitors on overlapping routes such as Aberdeen and Glasgow. These were initially taken up by Virgin Atlantic Little Red, and are now used by Flybe, which will be rebranded as Virgin Connect in 2020.

IAG also shut down bmi’s low cost off-shoot bmi baby. It’s regional operation bmi regional was sold to private investors. However, this collapsed in 2019.

Cobalt Air

Cobalt Air (Image Credit Cobalt Air)
Cobalt Air (Image Credit Cobalt Air)

Cobalt Air had a relatively short life.

It began operations in 2016 and flew from London Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted to Larnaca and from London Gatwick to Athens. It collapsed in October 2018.

Continue reading “The Airlines We Lost From 2010-2019”

What To Expect From Airlines & Airports in 2020

Some of the major developments from airlines and airports around the world in 2020.

London Air Travel » Page 2

Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal November 2019
Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal November 2019 (Image Credit: Berlin Brandenburg Airport)

After running through the major developments for London’s two main long-haul airlines British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, here’s what you can expect from other airlines and airports around the world in 2020.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand will, sadly, leave London in 2020.

Its last remaining route from London Heathrow to Auckland, via Los Angeles, will be suspended from Sunday 25 October 2020. Air New Zealand will continue to serve London indirectly via codeshare partners.

Alliances & Joint-Ventures

The three major airline alliances continue to prove to be fragile constructs with limited allegiances.

LATAM will leave the Oneworld alliance in 2020 following Delta’s acquisition of a 20% stake in the airline, and it has no plans to join SkyTeam. Air Europa should also leave SkyTeam should IAG’s purchase of the airline go ahead. Again, there are no plans for the airline to join Oneworld.

On a more positive note, Royal Air Maroc will join Oneworld this year. Interestingly, following the launch of a new tier of membership known as “Oneworld Connect” with Fiji Airways as the inaugural member, no further airlines have been announced as members.

Aer Lingus should also finally receive regulatory approval to join the AA/BA transatlantic joint-business this year.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport

After a delay of no less than 9 years, Berlin Brandenburg airport will finally open on Saturday 31 October 2020.

Neither, BA, easyJet nor Lufthansa have yet to announce when they will move to the new airport. However, the latest update from Berlin Brandenburg says that Berlin Tegel will close for scheduled passenger operations on Sunday 8 November 2020.

As history has shown, new airport operations can be very difficult. Given the extensive delays and many design flaws identified at Berlin Brandenburg, there will be considerable scrutiny of its operational performance in the opening weeks.


One to file under “should have been announced in 2019.”

easyJet was due to relaunch its frequent flyer programmes in 2019. This was one of two major initiatives, alongside the launch of easyJet Holidays which went ahead as planned. However, easyJet has gone very quiet on the relaunch of its loyalty programmes.


Finnair continues its strategy of exploiting its geographic location to attract connecting traffic between Europe and Asia.

Its twice weekly service to Sapporo which launched on 15 December 2019 has now been extended to a year round service. Finnair will also launch a new summer seasonal service to Busan, South Korea from Monday 30 March 2020 and a new year-round daily service to Tokyo Haneda from Sunday 29 March 2020, in addition to its existing service to Tokyo Narita.


Flybe will be officially rebranded as Virgin Connect in Spring 2020.

The airline has already substantially cut its UK regional network with a large number of routes suspended as the airline prepares to reduce its fleet. However, due to the time it will take to repaint aircraft, it will be some time before the Flybe name disappears for good.

Heathrow’s Third Runway

The Civil Aviation Authority is currently consulting on Heathrow Airport’s costings for a third runway, specifically the expenditure it will incur in advance of seeking final approval by means of a Development Consent Order to construct the runway.

The consultation closes on Saturday 28 February 2020 and the CAA’s decision should be known in the Spring. The outcome of this could have an impact on when the third runway will enter into operation. Initial estimates of 2026 now seem “optimistic”.


In 2020, we should learn of the London airport from which JetBlue will launch services to Boston and New York JFK.

Of course, by giving its competitors so much advance notice of its plans to launch transatlantic services from London, some have already made pre-emptive moves with Delta and Virgin Atlantic launching Boston and New York JFK respectively at Gatwick.

Continue reading “What To Expect From Airlines & Airports in 2020”

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.

London Air Travel » Page 2

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.


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”

What To Expect From Virgin Atlantic In 2020

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

London Air Travel » Page 2

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1000 Upper Class Cabin
Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1000 Upper Class Cabin (Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic)

At 35 years of age, Virgin Atlantic is going through another period of reinvention.

For a time, under the guiding hand of Delta, it seemed that Virgin was destined to a return to its roots as a North American focused carrier.

Now, it has reignited its ambitions to be a second major player at London Heathrow with an eye on a substantial number of slots should a third runway ever be built at Heathrow. This is a long way off for a number of reasons. However, with Virgin having reinstated Mumbai and launched Tel Aviv at Heathrow this year, the airline has clearly returned to a growth trajectory.

Here’s what you can expect from Virgin Atlantic in terms of fleet, routes, joint-ventures and lounges in 2020.


Virgin Atlantic continues to transition towards a twin-engined long-haul fleet.

This year, it disposed of one Boeing 747-400 aircraft (G-VBIG) and four Airbus A340-600 aircraft (G-VBUG, G-VRED, G-VWEB, G-VYOU).

At present, just three Airbus A340-600 aircraft are left in service (G-VFIT, G-VNAP, G-VWIN).

Virgin Atlantic has taken delivery of four of its order of twelve Airbus A350-1000 aircraft (G-VJAM, G-VLUX, G-VPOP, G-VPRD) with all remaining aircraft due to be delivered by 2021.

Currently, the Airbus A350-1000 aircraft is operating exclusively from London Heathrow to New York JFK on the following flights: VS3 / VS4; VS9 / VS10; VS45 / VS46; and VS137 / VS138.

Virgin plans to operate the Airbus A350 from London Heathrow to Johannesburg from Sunday 29 March 2020 (Flights VS449 / VS450).

The A350 will also operate to Los Angeles from Sunday 19 April 2020 (Flights VS23 / VS24), San Francisco from Friday 15 May 2020 (Flights VS19 / VS20), and Lagos from Saturday 1 / Sunday 2 August 2020 (VS411 / VS412).

Virgin’s original plan was to have fully replaced its long-haul fleet by 2021, but given ongoing issues with Boeing 787 Dreamliner engines are to continue well into 2020, this may be delayed.


Virgin will launch a new route from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo on Sunday 29 March 2020.

To support this, Virgin has also announced a new codeshare partnership with GOL. However, given Delta has recently acquired a 20% stake in LATAM, which is due to leave the Oneworld alliance, this may well be ultimately replaced by a partnership with LATAM which also serves Sao Paulo from London Heathrow.

Virgin will also add a second daily flight to Delhi from Sunday 29 March 2020 with an early morning departure (Flights VS302 / VS303) to complement its existing daily service.

Seattle will gain four weekly flights from Sunday 29 March 2020 (Flights VS167 / VS168) for the summer season, taking the total number of return flights to 11 a week. Los Angeles will also gain three weekly flights for the summer season (Flights VS143 / VS144), taking the total number of return flights to 17 a week.

Virgin will also, after a long hiatus, reinstate London Gatwick – New York JFK from Sunday 21 May 2020 (Flights VS193 / VS194). Virgin’s transatlantic joint-venture partner Delta will also add London Gatwick – Boston from Monday 8 June 2020.

Also at Gatwick, Virgin will suspend St Lucia from Monday 8 June 2020. Flights from Gatwick to Antigua will increase from 3 to 4 times weekly. Flights to Grenada and Tobago that are currently routed through St Lucia will be routed through Antigua.

Virgin will also transfer its twice weekly service to Havana from Gatwick to Heathrow, where it will operate from Tuesday 9 June 2020 under new flight numbers VS147 / VS148.

Transatlantic Joint-Venture

From an as yet unspecified date in early 2020, Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic are expected to launch a combined transatlantic joint-venture.

At present, Virgin only operates a transatlantic codeshare with Air France and KLM. When the new joint-venture launches Virgin will be able to co-ordinate schedules with Air France and KLM. Air France-KLM was also due to acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic, but this will now not go ahead and Virgin Group will retain control of the airline.

Air France-KLM and Virgin have previously indicated further co-operation such as co-location at London Heathrow and co-operation on other long-haul routes. Air France-KLM clearly have significantly more coverage of regions such as Africa and Asia than Virgin Atlantic. However, it is unclear whether this is affected by Air France-KLM not taking a stake in Virgin Atlantic.

Continue reading “What To Expect From Virgin Atlantic In 2020”

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all our readers and followers around the world.

London Air Travel » Page 2

Concorde and Santa Claus, Rovaniemi, Finland, 1997
Concorde and Santa Claus, Rovaniemi, Finland, 1997. Photo by Eric Chretien/Gamma-Rapho published under license from Getty Images. Unauthorised distribution and reproduction prohibited.

We would like to wish all our readers and followers around the world a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Whether you’re staying at home, travelling for leisure, or on duty, we do hope you get some well deserved rest at some point over the festive period.

The end of 2019 of course rounds off a decade of enormous change in the industry. Aviation continues to prove to be anything but predictable. 2020 is already shaping up to be another significant year of change.

We’re very much looking forward to covering it all and will be previewing the year ahead from Boxing Day.

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.

London Air Travel » Page 2

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.


“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.


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…”

Loganair Launches London City – Dundee

Loganair has transferred its service to Dundee from London Stansted to City airport with effect from Sunday 29 March 2020.

London Air Travel » Page 2

V&A Dundee, Scotland.
V&A Dundee, Scotland. (Image Credit: HuftonCrow)

Loganair has transferred its route from London Stansted to Dundee to London City Airport.

Currently, Loganair flies from London Stansted to Dundee up to twice daily. From Sunday 29 March 2020, this route will transfer to London City airport.

Flights will operate 11 times weekly, with twice daily return flights from Monday to Friday and a daily return flight on Sunday.

Flights will be operated with a 48 seat ATR42-500 aircraft. All passengers on Loganair benefit from a complimentary checked luggage allowance, as well as complimentary refreshments on board the aircraft.

This route is a “Public Service Obligation” route which receives Government funding in order to maintain connectivity from regions of the UK to London and to also support domestic tourism. The Government confirmed in October of this year that the route would continue to receive Government support in 2020.

This is also not the first time an airline has flown from London City to Dundee. CityJet used to serve this route, before suspending it many years ago.

Flights should are on sale now at Loganair.

Continue reading “Loganair Launches London City – Dundee”

British Airways Launches London City – San Sebastián

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

London Air Travel » Page 2

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)