Hello and welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning 11 December 2017.
It was not a good day at London Heathrow yesterday. It is of course something of a fixture in the British Christmas calendar that there will be at least one “Christmas Travel Chaos” story somewhere on the transport network. Heathrow has long had plenty of form in this regard. The airport has got better in recent years in being proactive at requiring airlines to reduce their schedules in advance. However, it seems to have been caught by surprise by Sunday’s snow. BA’s schedules took the brunt of the cancellations with a very high number of short-haul cancellations and delays and an unusually high number of long-haul cancellations. Cancellations have continued into Monday morning.
BA has been keen to emphasise improving operational performance at London Heathrow and the use of digital tools to assist passengers during disruption. However, yesterday is something that clearly requires attention from its Chief Operating Officer Klaus Goersch.
If you have experienced disruption you can submit a claim for consequential expenses at ba.com
Welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 4 December 2017, as published every Monday at 07:00 GMT.
Hello and welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning 4 December 2017.
London Gatwick: The hub without hubbub.
IAG confirmed that it is to acquire Monarch’s portfolio of slots at London Gatwick from the start of the summer 2018 season. This is equivalent to approximately 20 daily slot pairs, and a very significant expansion. IAG has long had an ambition to expand at Gatwick. It bid for Flybe’s slots two years ago, but lost out to easyJet.
IAG has previously indicated that all of its group airlines would bid for Monarch’s slots. Currently, Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia and Vueling have a presence at the airport. In the case of Aer Lingus and Iberia this is very limited and unlikely to expand further. BA is likely to be the biggest beneficiary. However, it does not appear to have much by way of spare aircraft. London Heathrow – Doha and London Gatwick – New York JFK are regularly cancelled due to aircraft issues.
Whatever happens it is highly unlikely BA will return to its dual London hub “the hub without the hubbub” of the 1990s.
Welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 27 November 2017, as published every Monday at 07:00 GMT.
BA – The World’s Favourite Headline
Pity the pour soul at BA’s Waterside Headquarters who drafted the now widely publicised internal memo on planned changes to its boarding procedures that its frequent flyers had been pleading for in focus groups for years. Presumably he or she was under the blissful ignorance that it would become one of the most read (and poorly drafted) stories on BBC News Online last week.
Heathrow’s Christmas TV ad
What more can be said about this year’s Christmas TV ad from Heathrow Airport?
A perfect blend of concept, technical excellence and emotional appeal. Perhaps the greatest signficance is simply how much the airport’s reputation has improved that it can run such an ad in the first place. It was seven years ago this Christmas that a hapless PR officer appeared before TV cameras claiming everything at the airport was operating normally, just as the airport seized up for days due to snow. The airport was subsequently castigated for its lack of preparedness and care for passengers.
Welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 20 November 2017, as published every Monday at 07:00 GMT.
Hello and welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 20 November 2017.
Is BA going to order more Airbus A380s?
Interest in the future of the Airbus A380 was piqued this week following a claim in FlightGlobal that BA, as well as other airlines, were in talks about acquiring Airbus A380s that Singapore Airlines has returned to its lessor.
IAG CEO Willie Walsh is a fan of the Airbus A380: “It’s a great aircraft when you can fill it.” It clearly serves BA well on trunk routes such as Johannesburg and major US gateways such as Los Angeles and Miami. BA currently has 12 Airbus A380s in service, with options to acquire a further 7 from Airbus. However, Willie Walsh has declared the cost buying new aircraft as too expensive. Willie has expressed an interest in leasing second-hand Airbus A380s so the story, whatever the intentions of the source, is at least plausible. However, technical differences between BA and Singapore Airlines aircraft may prohibit a deal, unless it is at a very good price.
BA and IAG (which ultimately controls the purse strings) is clearly looking for a solution that gives flexibility to adjust capacity in a downturn. BA does not want to have to park 20+ A380s in the desert during the next recession.
Welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 13 November 2017, as published every Monday at 07:00 GMT.
Hello and welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 13 November 2017.
BA CEO Alex Cruz addresses the World Travel Market London
BA CEO Alex Cruz addressed the World Travel Market last week. Alex gave a 20 minute speech, followed by a 40 minute interview with aviation consultant John Strickland.
As BA is part of a publicly listed company (IAG) it is bound by Stock Exchange rules on the release of market sensitive information. This means that CEOs cannot give away too much in media interviews. This is why the vast majority of what was said was announced at IAG’s Capital Markets Day in early November.
One thing of note in Alex’s speech is the reference to BA as the UK’s national carrier. This is of course how many in the UK see it. But not its parent company which is, in its own words, “brand agnostic”. And herein lies the rub. Media commentators and large swathes of the travelling public see BA as having a special status, whereas as far as its parent company is concerned, it must compete with other airlines in the group all over Europe for investment, based on profitability alone.
Taking the opportunity to review again the presentations and compare notes to previous year what emerges is often these events are more interesting for what wasn’t said.
For BA, there was an underlying degree of contrition. Last year, there were plenty of suggestions that BA would trial an unbundled World Traveller fare as Aer Lingus has implemented and Alez Cruz has intimated BA would consider introducing a fare without free meals. However, there is now a promise of improved long-haul economy catering from next year and BA being “premium for everyone”. By IAG’s own admission, pitching a brand with four different classes of travel on long-haul isn’t easy, and introducing effectively a fifth class of travel is perhaps a step too far.