Virgin Atlantic to fly London Heathrow – Seattle from 26 March 2017

Virgin Atlantic will fly from London Heathrow to Seattle from 26 March 2017, replacing Delta on this route.

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Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Upper Class Cabin (Credit: Virgin Atlantic)
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Upper Class Cabin (Credit: Virgin Atlantic)

Virgin Atlantic is to fly to Seattle from 26 March 2017.

Flights will be operated from London Heathrow Terminal 3 to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport using a Boeing 787-900 aircraft offering economy, premium economy and Upper Class cabins.

Strictly speaking, this is not a new route as Virgin is merely replacing its transatlantic joint-venture partner Delta on this route.

In turn, Delta will also replace Virgin Atlantic on one of the daily frequencies it operates from London Heathrow to Atlanta and Detroit.

Full details of the aircraft swaps, which also include changes to services from Manchester, are contained in this Delta press release.

Delta has also today announced that it is to fly from London Heathrow to Portland, Oregon from 26 May 2017.

London Heathrow – Seattle

Flight VS105 Depart London Heathrow 11:00 – Arrive Seattle 13:20

Seattle – London Heathrow

Flight VS106 Depart Seattle 19:10 – Arrive London Heathrow 13:00

Delta launches London Heathrow – Portland from 26 May 2017

Delta Air Lines has launched a four times weekly summer seasonal route from London Heathrow to Portland, Oregon from 26 May 2017.

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Delta at London Heathrow
Delta at London Heathrow (Image Credit: London Heathrow)

Delta Air Lines has announced it is to launch a new direct route from London Heathrow to Portland, Oregon from Friday 26 May 2017.

The route will operate four times a week on a summer seasonal basis to Portland International Airport using a Boeing 767-300 aircraft. The service will end in early October 2017, but will resume in May 2018.

Flights will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 3 (an earlier draft stated Terminal 4 before Delta consolidated all services at Terminal 3) and will be codeshared with Delta’s UK transatlantic joint-venture partner Virgin Atlantic.

This route will be the only direct flight between London and Portland.   Flights are on sale now at the websites of both Delta and Virgin Atlantic.

The flight time from London to Portland is approximately 11 hours.

This is also a route that had been a likely contender for a new direct service by British Airways with its Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Delta’s announcement may prompt a rethink on BA’s part.  BA may either launch this with a near daily year round service route, or choose another US city that is not already served from London.

London Heathrow – Portland

Flight DL37 / VS4002 Depart London Heathrow 12:30 – Arrive Portland 15:15 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday)

Portland – London Heathrow

Flight DL36 / VS4001 Depart Portland 17:13 – Arrive London Heathrow 11:10 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday)

Note that timings are approximate and precise timings may vary throughout the summer.

Update December 2017

This route is scheduled to resume on Friday 4 May 2018 until Saturday 6 October 2018.

Norwegian launches Gatwick – Las Vegas from Monday 31 October 2016

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Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Norwegian Air Shuttle continues its rapid expansion at London Gatwick with the launch of new direct flights to Las Vegas.

The airline will fly to Las Vegas twice weekly (Monday & Thursday) from Monday 31 October 2016.

This will be Norwegian’s 8th long-haul route from London Gatwick after New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco – Oakland, Boston, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Puerto Rico.

Norwegian will be competing against direct flights by Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick and British Airways from London Heathrow.

On that note, the very rapid growth by Norwegian is not going unnoticed by either British Airways nor Virgin Atlantic.  We have already seen British Airways reinstate its London Gatwick – New York JFK route as an apparent competitive response.  We would not be surprised to see further activity by either airlines which both depend very heavily on transatlantic traffic for profitability.

Flights are on sale now at Norwegian.com and an initial scan of fares shows return trips being available for less than £399.

London Gatwick – Las Vegas

Flight DY7107 Depart London Gatwick 12:10 – Arrive Las Vegas 16:00 (Monday, Thursday)

Las Vegas – London Gatwick

Flight DY7108 Depart Las Vegas 18:00 – Arrive London Gatwick 10:50

BA launches London Heathrow – Santiago, Chile from 3 January 2017

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British Airways Boeing 787-9 First Class (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 787-9 First Class (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is to launch a new direct route from London Heathrow to Santiago, Chile from Tuesday 3 January 2017.

The airline will fly to Santiago (Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport) four times a week from London Heathrow Terminal 5 using its Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner, offering four classes of travel (First Class, Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy, and World Traveller economy).

This route will be the longest direct flight on BA’s network with a flight time of 14 hours and 40 minutes.

It will also be BA’s fifth direct destination in Latin America after Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Lima.

BA previously flew to Santiago between 1993 and 1999, initially via a stop in Sao Paulo and then Buenos Aires.

Santiago is a hub of BA’s Oneworld alliance partner LATAM.  The two airlines have recently applied to operate a joint-venture on flights between Europe and Latin America.  We expect that onward connections on LATAM flights from Santiago may become available in due course.

It will also be possible to “mix and match” direct flights between London Heathrow and Santiago and daily indirect flights via Madrid on Iberia which can be booked as a codeshare with BA.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com   BA has also produced a summary PDF document for the new route launch.

London Heathrow – Santiago

Flight BA251 Depart London Heathrow 22:00 – Arrive Santiago 09:45 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)

Flight BA250 Depart Santiago 17:30 – Arrive London Heathrow 10:50 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)

(Schedule is indicative and may vary by season.)

BA to fly non-stop to Doha & Muscat from Sunday 30 October 2016

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British Airways Boeing 787-9 First Class (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 787-9 First Class (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is to introduce direct non-stop flights from London Heathrow to Doha in Qatar and Muscat in Oman from Sunday 30 October 2016.

BA has long served both Doha and Muscat. However, a one hour stop-over in Bahrain for Doha and Abu Dhabi for Muscat has been required, adding approximately two hours each way to the journey time.

BA will now fly daily direct to Doha with a four class Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner. BA will fly five times a week to Muscat with a four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Flights are on sale now at ba.com.

Why has BA introduced this change?

Well, it now has more departure and arrival slots at London Heathrow. The flight times are more convenient for passengers. Airlines also prefer not to use long-haul aircraft for short flights for operational reasons.

The one significant change is that flights from London Heathrow to Doha will now arrive in Doha in the morning rather than late at night.

BA codeshares with Qatar Airways, a shareholder in BA’s parent company International Airlines Group, on a number of routes from Doha to Dar es Salaam, Peshawar, Karachi, Entebbe, Dhaka, Islamabad and Lahore. Passengers with existing bookings will need to review their itineraries to see if connections are valid or if accommodation is required in Doha.

It is also worth noting that BA does offer flights between Bahrain and Doha and between Abu Dhabi and Muscat for sale and these will clearly not be available from Sunday 30 October.

Flight schedules to Bahrain and Abu Dhabi have also been adjusted to account for the changes to these routes. All flights will also continue to operate from London Heathrow Terminal 5.
Continue reading “BA to fly non-stop to Doha & Muscat from Sunday 30 October 2016”

BA to roll out WiFi across its long-haul fleet

British Airways is to install high speed WiFi across the majority of its Airbus A380 and Boeing 747, 777 and 787 fleet of aircraft from 2017.

London Air Travel » Page 92

British Airways Boeing 747 G-BYGC featuring a radome encasing two satellite antenna for internet access (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BYGC featuring a radome encasing two satellite antenna for internet access (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)

British Airways has today announced that it is to install high speed in flight WiFi across its fleet of long-haul aircraft.

The system will be a satellite based GoGo 2ku WiFi network.

The installation will begin in early 2017.  BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group, has previously indicated that WiFi will be fitted to the majority of its long-haul fleet by 2019.

WiFi will be fitted on all Boeing 777, Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 aircraft.  18 of BA’s fleet of approximately 40 Boeing 747s will also be fitted with WiFi.

We surmise that these are the 18 aircraft which are mid-way through a refurbishment programme to upgrade aircraft interiors and in flight entertainment systems.  A Boeing 747 aircraft will also be the first to be fitted with the new WiFi system.

Continue reading “BA to roll out WiFi across its long-haul fleet”

Vueling’s Alex Cruz replaces Keith Williams as CEO of BA

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Alex Cruz, Chief Executive & Chairman of British Airways
Alex Cruz, Chief Executive & Chairman of British Airways (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways gains a new Chief Executive Officer and Chairman this week as its current CEO Keith Williams, who has occupied the role since January 2011, has retired.

Keith will be replaced by Alex Cruz. Alex was previously CEO of Vueling, the Low Cost Carrier with its principal hub in Barcelona and smaller hubs around mainline Europe.

Alex’s appointment is an internal move as both British Airways and Vueling are (along with Aer Lingus and Iberia) part of International Airlines Group (“IAG”). The two airlines do co-operate with codeshares on each other’s short-haul flights.

What are we to make of this move and what does it mean for the future of BA?

Continue reading “Vueling’s Alex Cruz replaces Keith Williams as CEO of BA”

BA launches seasonal London City – Alicante route

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BA CityFlyer Embraer at London City Airport

British Airways adds to its growing portfolio of summer seasonal routes with the launch of a new summer seasonal route from London City to Alicante.

The route will operate for some ten weeks from Monday 27 June 2016 to Monday 5 September 2016.

The route will be flown four times weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays. Flights will be operated using an Embraer E-190 aircraft in a two class, Club Europe business class and EuroTraveller economy class configuration. Flights can also be “mixed and matched” with BA’s daily services to Alicante from London Gatwick.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com.
Continue reading “BA launches seasonal London City – Alicante route”

Virgin Atlantic takes firsts steps to create Manchester hub

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Virgin Atlantic Logo (Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic)
Virgin Atlantic Logo (Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic)

Virgin Atlantic has today, 31 March 2016, announced that it is to launch new routes from Manchester to Boston & San Francisco from late March 2017.

Boston will initially operate twice weekly (Wednesdays & Saturdays) and San Francisco will initially operate thrice weekly (Tuesdays, Fridays, & Sundays).

Flights will be operated by Virgin Atlantic’s fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft with Upper Class (business), premium economy and economy seating.

Virgin Atlantic has of course long had a presence in Manchester. It flies to Orlando, Barbados, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. The latter being the hub of its transatlantic partner and minority shareholder, Delta Air Lines.

However, what is noteworthy about today’s announcement is that first these routes seemingly are geared to attracting business as well as leisure traffic.

Furthermore, Virgin will, for the first time we believe, offer a significant number of short-haul connections at Manchester with Flybe from a large number of airports in the UK and Europe such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Exeter, Southampton and Newquay.

As such, today’s announcement could presage the development of small, but growing, hub for Virgin Atlantic at Manchester.

It is also good to see Virgin Atlantic expanding after a period of contraction at London Heathrow with the closure of its “Little Red” domestic flights to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester, as well as the closure of a number of routes such as Cape Town, Mumbai, Tokyo and Vancouver.

It also points to a very growing and competitive transatlantic market in the UK. Indeed, Boston and San Francisco are two recently announced routes by Norwegian at London Gatwick.

In terms of competitive response from carriers in London, we don’t expect any immediate response from British Airways or its parent company IAG.

BA attracted considerable criticism many years ago for withdrawing its final non-London international route, Manchester – New York JFK. BA would no doubt point to its growing transatlantic network in London, its codeshare partner American Airlines flights from Manchester to New York JFK, Chicago and Philadelphia and its IAG sibling Aer Lingus flights to North America from Manchester via Dublin (with the benefit of pre-clearance). That said, we have no doubt today’s developments will be watched with interest.

Virgin’s flights from Manchester to Boston and San Francisco are on sale at Virgin Atlantic.

Brussels Airport Closure: BA launch temporary Heathrow – Liege service

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

Following the closure of Brussels Airport, British Airways has suspended all of its London Heathrow – Brussels services until Tuesday 29 March 2016. In addition, flight BA389 from Brussels to London Heathrow on Wednesday 30 March is cancelled.

Update Sunday 3 April: All BA flight to and from Brussels have been cancelled through to Thursday 7 April 2016.

The airline is running an alternative service to Liege Airport which is located approximately 90km from Brussels.

Flights will operate up to Thursday 7 April 2016 at the earliest.

Update Sunday 3 April: Flights to Liege will continue until Thursday 7 April 2016 at the earliest.

Flight BA406 Depart London Heathrow 08:55 – Arrive Liege 11:05
Flight BA407 Depart Liege 11:55 – Arrive London Heathrow 12:15

Flight BA410 Depart London Heathrow 13:55 – Arrive Liege 16:10 (28 & 29 March only)
Flight BA411 Depart Liege 17:00 – Arrive London Heathrow 17:15 (28 & 29 March only)

Flight BA408 Depart London Heathrow 15:15 – Arrive Liege 17:30
Flight BA409 Depart Liege 18:15 – Arrive London Heathrow 18:30

Note that if you are booked onto a flight to/from Brussels which has been cancelled you will not be automatically accommodated on these flights to/from Liege. You need to contact BA or your travel agent to be reboooked.

BA is also offering passengers booked to fly to Brussels up to Sunday 3 April 2016 to rebook onto alternative services to Brussels up to Sunday 17 April or to alternative airports such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf.

It should also be noted that BA will not meet any incidental expenses such as ground transportation as a consequence of the change in departure / arrival airport.