Could Gatwick airport ever persuade one of the “Big Three” airline alliances to defect from Heathrow?

Yesterday’s (Monday) Financial Times featured an interesting story where the Chief Executive of London Gatwick, Stewart Wingate, postulated (known in politics and the press as “kite flying”) that if a second runway for Gatwick was approved, one of the “Big Three” airline alliances could be persuaded to defect from Heathrow airport.

Is there any mileage in this?

Put simply, I don’t think so.

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Virgin Atlantic & Delta to operate a joint London Heathrow – New York “shuttle” service from 30 March 2014

Following the grant of anti-trust immunity by the US Department of Transportation, Virgin Atlantic and Delta have today confirmed they will co-ordinate their schedules to operate a nine times daily shuttle service on the London Heathrow – New York (Newark & JFK) route from 30 March 2014.

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BA introduces lifetime Gold card status for Executive Club members

If you are a member of the British Airways Executive Club, you may notice a small, but significant, change when you next log on to your account at ba.com

BA has, in addition to annual tier points which determine the level of status (Bronze, Silver, Gold) a member is entitled to for their membership year, introduced “lifetime tier points”.

Put simply, these are all the tier points a member has earned since joining the Executive Club.

At the moment, if a member has earned 35,000 lifetime tier points or more they are now entitled to gold membership for life.

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BA launches its latest TV advertising campaign “To Fly. To Serve. Today. Tomorrow.”

Last weekend, British Airways launched its first major UK TV advertising campaign in over a year with a return to the theme of “To Fly. To Serve.”

The advertisement, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, follows a single customer journey from the airport to on board a Boeing 787 aircraft. The advertisement, which is certainly very slick, uses a “micro to macro” style of filming, featuring close up shots of the details of flying, panning to wide shots of the aircraft in motion.

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Qatar Airways to join the Oneworld Alliance on 30 October 2013

Qatar Airways is to join the Oneworld alliance on Wednesday 30 October 2013, just over one year after announcing its original intention to join the alliance.

This means that from this date, members of fellow Oneworld alliance members frequent flyer programmes will be entitled to reciprocal frequent flyer benefits (such as mileage earning and airport lounge access) when flying on Qatar Airways.

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Was Hasan Syed’s Twitter campaign against British Airways justified?

I’m sure by know you have read the story of how Hasan Syed used Twitter to protest his dissatisfaction at the way British Airways responded to the loss of his father’s luggage on a trip from Chicago to Paris last weekend.

In the interests of accuracy and completeness, the passenger did not transit via Heathrow. He flew from Chicago to Newark on American Airlines, and from Newark to Paris on BA’s subsidiary OpenSkies.

Hasan spent close to $1,000 to promote a series of Tweets to alert users to his views on BA’s customer service failings:

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BA adds flights to Accra (Ghana) and Entebbe (Uganda) in Summer 2014

Quite a mixed picture for BA in Africa at the moment. Yesterday, BA announced that its route to Lusaka was being dropped and this followed the suspension of its route to Dar es Salaam earlier this year.

On a more positive note, BA is to increase flights to Accra from daily to 10 weekly from Sunday 27 October 2013. Furthermore, the daily flight will be upgaged from a Boeing 777 to a Boeing 747 from 30 March 2014. This is no doubt a competitive response to Virgin Atlantic withdrawing from this route.

London – Accra

Flight BA0081 Depart 14:50 Arrive 20:20 (Daily)
Flight BA0079 Depart 22:45 Arrive 05:00 (Sat, Mon, Wed)

Accra – London

Flight BA0080 Depart 06:55 Arrive 14:55 (Thu, Sun, Tue)
Flight BA0078 Depart 22:45 Arrive 06:20 (Daily)

Flights to Entebbe in Uganda also increase from three flights to four flights a week from 30 March 2014 and also benefit from being retimed.