Airlines operating from London airports can continue to run with reduced schedules over the winter 2021 season without risk of forfeiting their take off and landing slots.
Over the course of COVID-19 pandemic airlines have been granted a waiver of the 80 / 20 “use it or lose it” slot rules.
To benefit from the waiver airlines have to hand back slots they don’t plan to use so other airlines have the opportunity to use them. Slots could be handed back either before the start of the season or up to a set number of weeks before they were to be used.
Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 1 November 2021.
Australia Reopens To International Travel
Today marks the resumption of many scheduled international passenger flights to Australia. Sydney and Melbourne have reopened their borders to international travel without mandatory quarantine.
The first international flight to land in Sydney this morning was Singapore Airlines flight SQ211 arriving early at 05:21 AEDT. This beat the first scheduled arrival, Qantas flight QF12 from Los Angeles at 06:04 AEDT.
Qantas’ first scheduled flight to London in more than 18 months, QF1, departs Sydney at 18:30 AEDT today. After a refuelling stop in Darwin, it will arrive at London Heathrow Terminal 3 at 06:50 GMT tomorrow.
Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 25 October 2021.
Air Passenger Duty Rise?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is due to announce his budget this coming Wednesday.
As is par the course, selected tidbits are leaked to newspapers in advance. On Friday night The Guardian reported that the Chancellor is due to announce an increase in Air Passenger Duty.
This will be done by introducing a new higher band for longer range flights of more than 6,000 miles.
Currently, the reduced and standard rate of APD for flights longer than 2,000 miles is £82 and £180 respectively. This is due to increase to £84 and £185 from 1 April 2022.
Whilst the new band will not affect most destinations from London, further increases to the cost of flying will infuriate the airline industry.
Longer range flights can have relatively high volumes of Visiting Friends & Relatives traffic and are rarely taken on whim. This also comes on top of plans for substantial increases in passenger charges for airlines at London Heathrow.
Conversely, the Chancellor is reported to be considering reductions in APD for domestic flights to fit with the government’s “levelling up” agenda.
Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 18 October 2021.
BA & Virgin Rebuild Transatlantic Networks
Following last week’s news that the US will reopen to fully vaccinated visitors from the UK on Monday 8 November, both BA and Virgin Atlantic are rebuilding their transatlantic schedules.
BA will return to Newark from Monday 1 November. Las Vegas and Orlando follow at Heathrow on Monday 15 November. As does Tampa at Gatwick. BA also reinstates Orlando at Gatwick from Friday 19 November.
BA is also expected to reinstate Baltimore, Nashville and New Orleans from Thursday 9 December. San Jose, California, is currently suspended until Sunday 27 March 2022. There are currently no plans to relaunch Charleston, Pittsburgh or Portland.
Virgin Atlantic will restart flights to Las Vegas and Orlando on 8 November. Seattle and Washington Dulles will restart on 1 March 2022. Virgin’s transatlantic partner Delta also restarts Detroit today.
United, which last week announced a number of new transatlantic routes for next summer, is yet confirm whether it will go ahead and launch Boston from Heathrow.
Outside of the North Atlantic, BA has pushed back plans to restart Bangkok until 10 January 2022 even though Thailand is reopening to visitors. Qantas confirmed last week it will restart scheduled flights from London Heathrow to Sydney via Darwin from 2 November 2021.
Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 11 October 2021.
Singapore Airlines Adds “Vaccinated Travel Lanes” Flight At Heathrow
Singapore Airlineshas added a dedicated “Vaccinated Travel Lanes” flight (SQ317) from London Heathrow with effect from Tuesday 19 October.
This means that fully vaccinated passengers, subject to pre-departure application & testing requirements, do not need to quarantine on arrival in Singapore.
They were first introduced in September for travel on designated flights from Brunei and Germany to Singapore.
On Saturday 9 October the Singapore government announced VTLs would be extended to the UK with effect from Tuesday 19 October. Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States were also added to the VTL programme.
The principal prerequisite is that vaccinated passengers must fly to Singapore on a designated VTL flight.
Passengers must still take a PCR test within 48 hours before departure to Singapore and another PCR test on arrival. No further PCR tests will be required in Singapore. Passengers must also have not visited a non-VTL country within 14 days of their flight to Singapore.
It is likely that BA will follow suit an introduce dedicated VTL flights. It should be added that BA does not have permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore to accept passengers flying on from Singapore to third countries, except for those connecting onto JetStar.