Monday Briefing: 16 October 2017

Here’s our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 16 October 2017.

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Air Berlin flying into the sunset (Image Credit: Air Berlin)
Air Berlin flying into the sunset (Image Credit: Air Berlin)
Welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 16 October 2017.

Air Berlin

Air Berlin confirmed last week that it is to suspend operations from Saturday 28 October 2017. The airline has already suspended long-haul operations. Its frequent flyer programme TopBonus, which operated as a separate legal entity, had also closed. Flights operated by NIKI will continue. easyJet announced late on Friday afternoon that negotiations are still underway for it to acquire a substantial part of Air Berlin’s operation at Berlin Tegel airport. Lufthansa is due to acquire a substantial number of Air Berlin aircraft and its subsidiaries Niki and LG Walter. It is now something of a given that the Air Berlin brand will not survive. Oneworld has yet to announce when Air Berlin will leave the alliance. For legal reasons, it may not officially leave the alliance until some time after it has suspended operations (this was the case with former member Mexicana).
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BA Executive Club Double Avios Promotion

Members of the British Airways Executive Club can earn double Avios on certain BA flights up to 31 December 2017.

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British Airways Executive Club Cards
British Airways Executive Club Cards

Members of the British Airways Executive Club can earn double Avios on up to eight flights booked and flown between now and Sunday 31 December 2017.

In order to qualify you must pre-register at ba.com before booking any flights.

The offer applies to all British Airways operated flights from the U.K. as well as flights booked under a BA code and operated by American Airlines, Finnair, and Iberia between Europe, Norway, Switzerland and North America, Mexico and Puerto Rico.  It also applies to services operated by BA subsidiary OpenSkies from Paris Orly and Newark and flights operated by BA franchise partner SUNAIR of Scandinavia.

It does not apply to flights operated by other BA franchises such as Comair in South Africa, nor flights operated by other IAG airlines, Oneworld alliance partners or other BA codeshare partners.

The offer is not open to members of the Executive Club in the USA, Canada, Mexico and South Africa.

If you are not a member of the Executive Club you can sign up at ba.com

BA suspends Biarritz and Montpellier

BA’s summer seasonal routes from London Heathrow to Biarritz and Montpellier will not resume in 2018. Here are rebooking options for passengers.

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British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

BA has suspended two of its summer seasonal routes from London Heathrow to Biarritz and Montpellier.

These routes launched last summer. They were scheduled to resume from early May to late September 2018, but have now been cancelled.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund. The following rebooking options are also available:

Biarritz

Passengers can rebook on to an alternative BA operated flight from London Heathrow to Bilbao or Toulouse or from London Gatwick to Bordeaux. However, any additional consequential costs such as ground transportation will be at your expense.

Alternatively, passengers can be re-accommodated via Madrid on Air Nostrum which flies to Biarritz daily. This obviously involves an element of back-tracking. Passengers must fly to Madrid on a BA operated flight for the connection to Air Nostrum and fly between Saturday 5 May 2018 and Saturday 29 September 2018.

Passengers can also be re-accommodated on Air France services from Paris Charles de Gualle and Paris Orly to Biarritz. However, note that Air France does not operate a business class cabin on this route. Passengers must fly to Paris on a BA operated flight for the connection to Air France and fly between Saturday 5 May 2018 and Sunday 30 September 2018.

Montpellier

Passengers can be re-accommodated via Amsterdam on KLM which flies to Montpellier daily. Passengers must fly to Amsterdam on a BA operated flight for the connection to KLM and fly between Saturday 5 May 2018 and Sunday 30 September 2018.

BA has not announced any re-accommdation arrangements on airlines that fly direct from London to either Biarritz or Montpellier.

Passengers can also be re-accommodated on Air France services from Paris Charles de Gualle and Paris Orly to Montpellier. However, note that Air France does not operate a business class cabin on this route. Passengers must fly to Paris on a BA operated flight for the connection to Air France and fly between Saturday 5 May 2018 and Sunday 30 September 2018.

Note that it is quite common for BA to announce more rebooking options in the weeks after a route is cancelled. Therefore, if the above options are not satisfactory it is worth waiting a week or so to see if any alternatives emerge.

Affected passengers should contact either BA or their travel agent.

Skywork Airlines exits London City; Fly VLM returns

Skywork Airlines is to suspend London City – Basel from Sunday 29 October 2017. VLM Airlines returns to London City – Antwerp from Monday 30 October.

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

The great merry go round of route changes at London City continues.

Skywork Airlines suspends Basel

Skywork Airlines is to withdraw from London City with the suspension of its route to Basel from Sunday 29 October 2017.

Any one with bookings after this date will be entitled to a full refund. Basel will continue to be served by BA from Heathrow, easyJet from Luton and Gatwick and Ryanair from Stansted. The news was confirmed in a press release last week.

VLM returns to London City

On a more positive note, VLM Airlines is to return to London City.

VLM will take over London City – Antwerp from CityJet from Monday 30 October 2017. VLM will fly to Antwerp three times daily Monday – Wednesday, four times daily Thursday – Friday and twice daily on Sundays.

Flights will be operated with a 50 seat Fokker 50 turboprop aircraft and are on sale at FlyVLM.com.

Monday Briefing: 9 October 2017

Here’s our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 9 October 2017.

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Monarch Notice
Monarch Notice
The big story last week was of course the collapse of Monarch (Financial Times) which now joins bmi British Midland, Flyglobespan, XL Airways, and Zoom in the great airline graveyard in the sky. The Civil Aviation Authority fielded an impressive rescue to operation to bring passengers back to the UK. As of Saturday 7 October 56,000 Monarch customers have returned to the UK.

It now falls on KPMG to complete the administrative process. As no buyer could be found, it is near certain that the Monarch brand will not take to the skies again.

One asset that will be of interest to buyers will be Monarch’s slot portfolio at London Gatwick. easyJet will be keen to solidify its market leading position at the airport. BA parent company International Airlines Group will also be keen to stop this happening. Both bid for Flybe’s London Gatwick holding of 25 slot pairs in 2013. easyJet won and was able to significantly increase capacity at the airport as a consequence. However, according to the Financial Times doubts have been raised as to whether the administrator can sell the slots or has to forfeit them.
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Concorde: A Supersonic Story

BBC4 takes a look back at the much-loved Concorde at 9pm on Tuesday 10 October 2017.

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Concorde
British Airways Concorde, Pictured by LondonAirTravel at the BA Engineering Base, London Heathrow

It is almost 15 years that Concorde ceased commercial operations. However, the First Lady of aviation is still held in huge affection by passengers all over the world.

Concorde may sit stationary on the airfield at London Heathrow, but its delta wings and imposing needle nose still have the ability to turn heads.  Concorde more than holds its own against younger next generation aircraft in terms of presence on the tarmac.

In advance of the new Bristol Aerospace Museum opening on Tuesday 17 October which will house one of the Concorde aircraft, next week, BBC4 will take a look back at Concorde with Concorde: A Supersonic Story.

The BBC promises rare footage and a cast of engineers, frequent flyers and celebrities (including Dame Joan Collins naturally…) to tell the story of one of the most elegant and elusive aircraft ever made.

It premiers at 21:00 on Tuesday 10 October 2017. It will be also be available to stream / download for 30 days from the date of broadcast for viewers in the UK.

Also available on the BBC iPlayer’s “From The Archive” section is Perpetual Motion Concorde which was first shown on the BBC in 1994.

BA launches London Heathrow – Almeria

BA will fly from London Heathrow to Almeria on Tuesdays and Sundays for the summer season.

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Almeria (Image Credit: British Airways / Almeria Tourist Board)
Almeria (Image Credit: British Airways / Almeria Tourist Board)

BA is to launch a new summer seasonal route from London Heathrow to Almeria in Southeast Spain. The airline will fly to Almeria from London Heathrow Terminal 5, twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Flights will operate from Tuesday 27 March 2018 to Saturday 27 October 2018.

The new route is an addition to a growing portfolio of summer seasonal European routes for BA at London Heathrow which also includes Malaga and Murcia and a number of routes in France and the Greek islands. It is likely that more summer seasonal routes from all of BA’s London airports will be announced in the coming months. Please see here for our full guide to summer seasonal routes at London Heathrow.

Flights to Almeria will be operated using Airbus A320 aircraft, in a two class, Club Europe business and EuroTraveller economy configuration.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

easyJet and Ryanair also fly to Almeria from London Gatwick and Stansted respectively.

London Heathrow – Almeria

Flight BA420 Depart London Heathrow 13:15 – Arrive Almeria 17:00 (Tuesday, Saturday)
Flight BA421 Depart Almeria 17:50 – Arrive London Heathrow 19:35 (Tuesday, Saturday)

Update October 2018

This route will return in 2019, but from Gatwick. Flights will operate four times weekly on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday between Sunday 31 March and Saturday 26 October 2019. The new flight numbers are BA2790 and BA2791.

Aer Lingus launches Dublin – Philadelphia

Aer Lingus will fly direct from Dublin to Philadelphia four times weekly from Monday 26 March 2018.

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Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (Image Credit: C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®)
Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (Image Credit: C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®)
Aer Lingus is to fly direct from Dublin to Philadelphia from late March 2018. The airline will fly to Philadelphia International Airport four times weekly on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The route launches on Monday 26 March 2018.

This is the latest addition to a growing portfolio of transatlantic routes for Aer Lingus from Dublin. It has just launched Miami. It has also launched Los Angeles, Hartford, Newark and Washington Dulles in recent years.
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Dear BBC, Why oh why oh why…..

Why do the BBC and other news outlets always use the same contributors for big aviation stories?

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Simon Calder
Simon Calder (Image Credit: BBC Breakfast News)

It has been another big week for aviation news in the national media. Following the controversy surrounding Ryanair’s cancellations to its flying programme, today’s morning headlines led with the suspension of flight operations by Monarch.

Whenever there is an aviation story leading the national news a familiar question appears in our social media feeds. Namely, why do Simon Calder from The Independent and other contributors always appear on the BBC, Sky News and other media outlets!?

First, let’s get one thing clear. This is not intended to be a criticism of Simon Calder. He is a hard-working travel journalist with decades of experience who has survived a tumultuous time in print media. Simon is clearly used by broadcasters because he is reliable, can perform well on camera and is trusted by the audience.

Rather this is an attempt to explain how news media operates and why broadcasters in particular use a narrow pool of contributors.
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Monday Briefing: 2 October 2017

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Ryanair Press Coverage
Ryanair Press Coverage – UK Newspapers
Here’s the first of our weekly round-up of aviation business news, published every Monday at 07:00 UK time.

A major theme in European aviation this year has been another wave of consolidation in Europe. This time it has been forced by Air Berlin, Alitalia and Monarch entering into administration procedures.  easyJet, International Airlines Group, Norwegian and WizzAir have all been identified as potential buyers for Monarch’s short-haul business. However, the main value to these airlines will be its slot portfolio at London Gatwick.  Full details of the Civil Aviation Authority’s plans to bring stranded passengers back to the UK are on its website.

It’s been another bad week for Ryanair. The airline has announced the cancellation of some 18,000 flights over the winter season. These include the suspension of London Gatwick – Belfast and London Stansted – Edinburgh & Glasgow from Wednesday 1 November 2017 to Saturday 24 March 2018.
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