New & Noteworthy: BA’s A380; Singapore Airlines & Virgin Australia, Willie Walsh on alliances

London Air Travel

Here are a few new & noteworthy items for today, Wednesday 24 April 2013:

British Airways plans twice daily A380 services from London Heathrow to Los Angeles in summer 2014 (Airline Route)

Singapore Airlines increases its stake in Virgin Australia from 9.9% to 19.9% (Singapore Airlines)

International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh on the merit of alliances and industry consolidation (Centre For Aviation)

Etihad acquires a 24% stake in India’s Jet Airways (Bloomberg)

Delta purchases of two Heathrow slot pairs for $47m

London Air Travel

Virgin Atlantic & Delta Air Lines Aircraft (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)

Delta continues its focus on growing its presence at London Heathrow having today, 23 April 2013, announced that it has purchased two pairs of take off and landing slots at Heathrow for $47m.

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International Airlines Group gains control of Vueling

London Air Travel

Vueling Airbus A320 (Image Credit: Vueling)

International Airlines Group (“IAG”) confirmed today that its offer to acquire the 54% of Vueling’s shares that it does not already own has been accepted by the majority of Vueling’s shareholders. 

This means that IAG will control just under 91% of Vueling, effectively giving it control of the airline.  Vueling will officially become part of IAG from Friday 26 April 2013.

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What does International Airlines Group have planned for Vueling?

London Air Travel

Vueling Airbus A320 (Image Credit: Vueling)

The offer by International Airlines Group (“IAG”) to acquire the 54% of Vueling’s shares that it does not already own expired on Friday 19 April 2013.

The airline group initially made an offer priced at €7.00 per share which Vueling management chose not to recommend. IAG subsequently increased its offer to €9.25 per share. However, the minimum acceptance level was reduced to just 4.16% of Vueling’s capital to leave IAG with at least overall control of Vueling, if not 100% ownership.

Assuming the transaction completes this will be the second airline acquired by IAG since its formation in 2011 and the third member airline of the group (the first acquisition, bmi, being subsumed into British Airways).

Why is IAG so interested in Vueling and what does it have planned?

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IAG orders 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft for BA

London Air Travel

International Airlines Group has just announced that it has ordered 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft for British Airways for delivery between 2017 and 2023 and has secured a further 18 options. The group has also secured delivery slots for Iberia, in anticipation of a future order for Iberia, subject to a satisfactory restructuring of the airline.

This follows the recent exercise of 18 Boeing 787 options for BA and acquisition of 787 delivery slots for Iberia and both airlines are moving towards a common long-haul fleet.

Whilst this is not the first long-haul order for Airbus by either BA or IAG, for Airbus this is still a significant long-haul order by BA as the A350-1000 aircraft is likely to form a major part of BA’s long haul fleet as a replacement for the Boeing 747-400.

New & Noteworthy: Lufthansa, Qantas, Iberia, Israel Open Skies, Alitalia

London Air Travel

Here are a few new & noteworthy items for today, Sunday 21 April 2013:

Lufthansa flights next week are to be disrupted by industrial action by staff (Lufthansa)

Qantas’ retreat from Europe concludes with the end of its service from Sydney to Frankfurt (Plane Talking)

Iberia imposes further pay cuts on staff under the terms of arbitration as productivity talks with the unions fail to conclude (the pilots union SEPLA did not attend the talks) but has offered to reverse the cuts if talks successfully resume.

An Open Skies agreement between the EU and Israel has prompted industrial action by El Al staff (Bloomberg)

Alitalia still in a parlous financial condition (Financial Times)

So how are BA’s routes to Leeds-Bradford & Rotterdam performing?

London Air Travel

British Airbus A319 aircraft London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airbus A319 aircraft London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

When BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group, bought bmi last year much was made of how the extra slots would enable BA to expand its long-haul network. So it was something of a surprise when last May BA announced it would launch new routes to Leeds-Bradford (initially 4 daily) and Rotterdam (3 daily) from 9 December 2012.

Neither are the most exciting destinations on the BA route network but both seem like a clear move to capture traffic from KLM.

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BA9 to Bangkok: A new Heathrow terminal, aircraft and timing

London Air Travel

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

British Airways has confirmed today that its (near) daily flight to Bangkok, BA9, will undergo a change of departure terminal at Heathrow, aircraft type and timing from the start of the Winter 2013 season on Sunday 27 October 2013.

The flight which currently departs from Heathrow Terminal 3 at 22:05 to arrive in Bangkok at 15:20 will transfer to Terminal 5 from 27 October 2013.

The operating aircraft will also a change from a four class Boeing 747 to a three class Boeing 777.

Furthermore, the departure time will change to 15:05, arriving in Bangkok at 09:20 and returning from Bangkok at 10:55 to arrive at Heathrow at 16:55. This is also the last BA operated long-haul flight to transfer from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5.

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BA launches “Ungrounded” – An innovation lab in the sky

London Air Travel

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

An 11 hour transatlantic flight from San Francisco to London in a passenger configured BA aircraft may not seem the most conducive environment for 100 thinkers to come up with solutions to the world’s problems, but BA thinks otherwise with the launch of Ungrounded.

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New & Noteworthy: CityJet, BA, Qantas, Virgin Australia & America

London Air Travel

Here are a few new & noteworthy items for today, Monday 15 April 2013:

Air France-KLM has lined up two potential bidders (ASL Aviation and Intro Aviation) for its London City short-haul airline CityJet (Irish Times)

The Centre for Aviation looks at British Airways’ long-haul fleet replacement plans (Centre for Aviation)

CAPA also compares the virtual networks of Qantas and Virgin Australia (Centre for Aviation)

Sir Richard Branson complains about the “Big Three” US airlines and the competitive activity by United against Virgin America. This is the same Richard Branson that owns 51% of Virgin Atlantic, with the remaining 49% owned by its forthcoming joint-venture partner Delta.

Finally, Qantas unveils its new uniforms today (Qantas Newsroom)