You can now fly on a Boeing 777 from London Heathrow to Madrid

BA is now operating a long-haul Boeing 777 daily between London Heathrow and Madrid.

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British Airways Boeing 777 at London Heathrow
British Airways Boeing 777 at London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

This weekend sees the start of the new summer timetable at London Heathrow. There are a few changes including the launch of scheduled services by BA to New Orleans, Virgin Atlantic taking over Seattle from Delta, Flybe launching Aberdeen and Edinburgh and BA launching summer seasonal routes to Murcia, Nantes and Tallin with many more routes to follow later in the summer.

One other change is that BA is now flying a Boeing 777 daily between London Heathrow and Madrid, a route exclusively operated by BA and Iberia.

Shortly after the merger of BA and Iberia under the umbrella of International Airlines Group in 2011 the two airlines put wide body aircraft on the route. BA operates a Boeing 767 on flights BA456 and BA457. Iberia operates its Airbus A340 on flights BA522 and IB3166/BA7058. The principal reason for this is not necessarily passenger demand, but the cargo capacity in the belly of the aircraft.

From today, Sunday 26 March 2017, BA will also operate a Boeing 777 on this route. Flight BA458 which departs London Heathrow at 07:20 and flight BA459 which departs Madrid at 12:20 will be operated by a Boeing 777.

Update January 2018: It is now the early afternoon departure from London Heathrow BA460 and early evening return from Madrid BA461 that is operated by either a Boeing 777 or Boeing 787.
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Flybe launches new routes from Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh

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Flybe Bombardier Dash 8 Aircraft
Flybe Bombardier Dash 8 Aircraft (Image Credit: Heathrow Airport)

Flybe today, Sunday 26 March 2017, launches new direct flights from London Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

The first Flybe flight to depart London will be BE2122 to Aberdeen at 09:45.

Flybe will fly to Aberdeen & Edinburgh up to 3 & 4 times daily on weekdays. Flights will operate with reduced frequencies on Saturdays and Sundays. Flights will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 2.  

At launch, Flybe will codeshare with Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. Flybe also has interline agreements in place with United Airlines, Delta, Qantas, and TAP.

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BA suspends London Gatwick – Lima from Sunday 29 October 2017

BA has suspended its direct route to Lima from Sunday 29 October 2017. It resumes on Sunday 25 March 2018.

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London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

British Airways is to suspend its London Gatwick – Lima route for the winter season from Sunday 29 October 2017. The route is expected to resume from late March 2018.

BA launched its route from London Gatwick to Lima in May 2016. No specific reason has been given for the seasonal cancellation. However, it is assumed the cause of cancellation is unsatisfactory commercial performance. The affected BA flight numbers are BA2239 and BA2238.

If your flight is cancelled you will be reaccommodated on Iberia’s daily service to Lima via Madrid from either London Gatwick or London Heathrow. However, do note that Iberia does not always operate its premium economy cabin between Madrid and Lima. Therefore, if you have booked to fly in World Traveller Plus on BA you may be downgraded to economy on Iberia. Iberia’s daily flight from Madrid to Lima (Flight IB6651 departs Madrid at 12:50pm and arrives in Lima at 17:35. Therefore, connections at Madrid should not be onerous.

Alternatively, you can be accommodated on American Airlines’ services to Lima via either Dallas Fort Worth or Miami.

Further options with partner airlines may become available in the coming weeks.

If you prefer you should be able to move your flight to a date when BA is operating the route. Alternatively, you are entitled to a refund.

Affected passengers should contact either BA or their travel agent.

Update: The route is scheduled to resume on Sunday 25 March 2018, operating three times weekly on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Air Traffic Controllers strike in Italy on Monday 20 March 2017

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Air Traffic Controllers in Italy are due to take industrial action over a period of four hours from 12:00 to 16:00 GMT on Monday 20 March 2017.

This is likely to cause disruption with delays and cancellations.  As a consequence the following airlines have issued guidance for affected passengers.

It is also understand the certain unions represent airport workers are also taking industrial action on Monday. As such, there may be disruption to some airport ground services.

Please note that this page does not provide live flight information so any cancellations listed are proactive cancellations made in advance, and do not necessarily include any delays/cancellations made on the day.

You can check live flight information on the websites of Gatwick, Heathrow and London City airports.
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IAG to launch new low cost long-haul airline “Level”

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After months of speculation, International Airlines Group (“IAG”) which is the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, has today confirmed is to launch a new low cost long-haul airline.

The airline is called “Level”.  This is the first new airline launched by IAG in its six year history.

The airline will initially be based in Barcelona.  It will launch on 1 June 2017 and its inaugural route will be Barcelona – Los Angeles which operate twice weekly.

Routes from Barcelona to Oakland California (three times weekly) will follow on 2 June 2017.  Barcelona – Punta Cana (twice weeky) on 10 June 2017.  Barcelona – Buenos Aires on 17 June 2017 (three times weekly).

The airline will intially operate with two brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 239 seats in economy in a 2-4-2 configuration and 21 seats across three rows in premium economy in a 2-3-2 configuration.

In economy a seat pitch of 30″ will be offered with a 9″ personal entertainment screen.  Checked baggage, extra leg room seats and hot meals can be purchased in advance.  Food and drink, duty free goods, in flight comfort amenities such as blankets and pillows can be purchased on board.

In premium economy, a seat pitch of 37″ will be offered with a 12″ personal entertainment screen and noise-cancelling headphones.

Checked luggage (in addition to a free cabin bag), hot meals drinks and snacks, priority boarding, and in flight entertainment will be complimentary for customers flying in premium economy.

High speed internet connectivity will also be available for a charge for all passengers.

The availability of refunds and flight changes and seat selection will depend on the type of fare purchase in both cabins.

IAG promises one way fares economy from €99 and one way premium economy fares from €599.

Direct flights are on sale now at Flylevel.com

Connections will be available from Vueling’s short-haul network at Barcelona which, of course, operates from London Gatwick and Heathrow and a number of UK regional airports.  However, flights with connections need to be booked via Iberia.com

Members of the Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn Avios on all flights operated by Level.

The launch of Level is a clear competitive response by IAG to Norwegian which is launching new routes from a number of IAG markets in Europe.  We have already seen a number of moves such as the launch by BA of routes from Gatwick to New York JFK, Fort Lauderdale and Oakland.  BA is also planning to “densify” (that’s add more seats) some of its Boeing 777s to compete against Norwegian. We are likely to see further moves such as the launch of “unbundled” long-haul economy fares by Aer Lingus and BA.

As IAG have adopted a trans-national brand name, the airline will no doubt explore more routes from other European cities where connections from Vueling are available, such as Rome and Paris.  Looking at the branding and marketing materials, IAG is actively pitching this airline at a younger market than many of its existing airlines.  It will of course be interesting to see how this develops and whether it launches any routes from the UK.

London Flight Cancellations due to “Storm Stella”

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Delta Air Lines - New York - January 2018
Delta Air Lines – New York

“Storm Stella” is expected to cause very severe disruption across the East Coast of the United States on Tuesday 14 March 2017.

As a consequence, a large number of transatlantic flights from London’s airports are cancelled on Tuesday 14 March.  Flights to New York, Boston and Philadelphia are most affected with widespread cancellations.  There are delays and cancellations to Baltimore and Washington as well.

Airlines have also implemented flexible rebooking policies for those who are due to travel to the East Coast of the USA this week.

If your flight is cancelled you should be entitled to a full refund or a rebooking to an alternative date.

Here is the latest information from airlines operating transatlantic flights from London on Tuesday 14 March.

As at 23:00 GMT Tuesday 14 March, transatlantic operations from London’s airports should return to normal on Wednesday 15 March.

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CityJet suspends London City – Rotterdam route from 1 May 2017

CityJet has suspended its route from London City to Rotterdam from Monday 1 May 2017.

London Air Travel » Page 77

CityJet
CityJet (Image Credit: CityJet)

CityJet is to reduce further its presence at London City airport with the suspension of its route to Rotterdam from 1 May 2017.

The route, which operated up to four times daily and was codeshared with Air France and KLM is suspended from Monday 1 May 2017.  The last flights will operate on Sunday 30 April 2017.

This follows a number of London City route suspensions by CityJet which include Nantes and Paris Orly from Sunday 27 March 2017.

CityJet will continue to fly to Amsterdam, Antwerp, Dublin, and Florence year round. It will also fly on a summer seasonal basis to Avignon (from 19 May 2017 to 8 September 2017) and Toulon (from 8 April 2017 to 26 October 2017).

British Airways will continue to fly from London City to Rotterdam up to five times daily on weekdays.

Affected passengers should contact either CityJet or their travel agent.

Air Traffic Controllers strike in France: Monday 6 – Friday 10 March 2017

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Air Traffic Controllers in certain regions of France are due to take industrial action at various times between Monday 6 March to Friday 10 March 2017.

The French Civil Aviation Authority has asked airlines to reduce their schedules accordingly.

This will cause delays and cancellations to flights to and from the UK that pass through French airspace, principally flights to and from France, Spain and North Africa.

Airlines are likely to minimise the impact of the strike by circumventing French airspace where possible.

The following airlines have issued guidance on rebooking options for passengers.

Please note that this page does not provide live flight information so any cancellations listed are proactive cancellations made in advance, and do not necessarily include any delays/cancellations made on the day.

You can check live flight information on the websites of Gatwick, Heathrow and London City airports.
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BA cabin crew strike schedules Friday 3 March – Thursday 9 March 2017

Here are BA’s schedules for the planned seven days of industrial action from Friday 3 March to Thursday 10 March 2017.

London Air Travel » Page 77

British Airways Tailfin (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)
British Airways Tailfin (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)

British Airways “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow plan to take industrial action over seven consecutive days from Friday 3 March to Thursday 9 March 2017.

BA has reviewed its schedules for all seven days of industrial action and has confirmed that:

  • All flights from London City, London Gatwick and London Stansted will operate as normal.
  • The majority of flights from London Heathrow will operate as normal with some flights merged and short-haul flights most at risk of cancellation.
  • However, there will also be a very large number of additional cancellations to short-haul services from London Heathrow to France, Spain and surrounding regions due to industrial action by Air Traffic Controllers in France

BA has not and will not publish a list of cancelled flights as it evidently keen to play down the impact of the industrial action.

Cancelled flights due to industrial action include the following (but this is not intended to be a complete list and does not include cancellations caused by strike action by Air Traffic Controllers in France):
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BA now selling “Club Europe” on UK domestic flights from Friday 31 March 2017

BA will operate its “Club Europe” short-haul business class on all UK domestic routes from Friday 31 March 2017.

London Air Travel » Page 77

British Airways Club Europe Cabin
British Airways Club Europe Cabin (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is to introduce its “Club Europe” business class cabin on all of its UK domestic routes from Friday 31 March 2017.

Currently, all UK domestic routes operate with a single class configuration on board. From Friday 31 March 2017, all UK domestic flights will operate in a two class, Club Europe business class and EuroTraveller economy configuration.

(Note, BA’s official guidance says that Club Europe launches on Saturday 1 April, but ba.com is showing it as available from Friday 31 March.)

This means passengers in Club Europe will benefit from seating in 2-2, rather than 3-3 configuration on all Airbus aircraft from London Gatwick and Heathrow as well as complimentary food & drink (though this is likely to be limited given the relatively short flying times).
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