International Airlines Group held its annual Capital Markets Day on Friday 15 November 2013. This is an event where a very large volume of financial and strategic material is presented to institutional investors and analysts. However, there are small items of news (more to follow) of interest to the public at large.
One concerns the London-Singapore-Sydney route. Ever since Qantas jettisoned its partnership with BA in favour of a joint-venture with Emirates there has been speculation as to whether BA would be able to continue to serve Australia directly.
Over the past few years, British Airways has operated summer seasonal weekend flights from its London Heathrow base to European holiday destinations.
Initially, these were charter flights for holiday companies and last year BA launched seasonal weekly flights to Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca. Both of these two destinations are to return to Heathrow next summer.
The use of Heathrow slots for summer seasonal flights ramps up a gear next summer as BA launches twice weekly flights to Faro (also operated from Gatwick), Malaga (also operated from Gatwick and London City), Mykonos, Porto and Santorini.
Flights to Oporto, Faro and Malaga operate from 30 March 2014. Flights to Mykonos operate from 3 May 2014 and flights to Santorini operate from 4 May 2014.
Although it may seem unusual BA is launching these routes from its main hub at Heathrow, instead of Gatwick which has served as BA’s main base for leisure flights over the past years, there is a logic in using Heathrow slots for such flights at weekends when business routes are relatively quiet. No doubt these routes are also supported by bookings from tour operators.
The issue had largely died down. That was until last Saturday a poster on FlyerTalk had identified that, following an inspection of two of the six lounges at Terminal 5 (The Galleries First lounge and Concorde Room), Hillingdon Council had awarded these lounges a food safety score of 2 out of a possible 5. This means an improvement is required.
To put this into context, almost all of the outlets at Terminal 5 achieved either a score of 4 or 5 with only Gordon Ramsay’s “Plane Food” restaurant and a branch of Caffe Nero achieving a score of 2.
On Monday 23 September 2013, the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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: