Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 3 September 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look to the week ahead.
London City airport was once one of London’s better kept secrets.
It wasn’t the most accessible but, whilst passengers grappled with long security queues at a Heathrow once heavily prone to disruption, those in the know headed East for a much less stressful experience.
Its aficionados wanted the airport to stay that way. But, just like an up-and-coming neighbourhood on the cusp of gentrification, the big boys soon moved in.
BA CityFlyer has gone from almost next to nothing in ten years to by far the most dominant airline at the airport. With a degree of autonomy from its parent, it has been aided by a fleet of shiny new Embraers and a very strong frequent flyer base in the airport’s catchment.
BA has confirmed it is had to add four Embraer E190s to its fleet in 2019 – though from whom it is not known. It has already announced a new route to Rome and is expected to add more next year. The Embraer aircraft are one of the few reliable pleasures in short-haul travel in Europe. To cut a long story short, for industrial relations reasons, the seating capacity of these aircraft is capped at less than 100 seats. So they have been spared the “densification” that has befallen their larger Airbus cousins at Gatwick and Heathrow. Continue reading “London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 3 September 2018”
TAP Portugal is to launch a direct route from London City airport to Lisbon from Sunday 29 October 2017.
The route will operate twice daily on weekdays and once a day on weekends. This will be the third London airport served by TAP Portugal after London Heathrow and London City. It will also be the only direct route between London City and Lisbon.
TAP Portugal will also offer connections to the Azores and its extensive long-haul network in Brazil such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and many other cities.
British Airways is to launch a new route from London City to Manchester.
Interested? Well don’t get too excited. There’s just one return flight a week and it only operates from Sunday 21 May to Sunday 1 October 2017!
However, there is method behind the madness. Allow us to explain:
London City is closed from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. As this would leave BA’s fleet of Embraer aircraft otherwise sitting on the ground, last year it ran a successful experiment of summer weekend leisure flights from Stansted. BA is now looking to extend this to other UK airports and Manchester is the latest airport to gain weekend leisure routes.
BA will offer weekend leisure flights from Manchester to Alicante, Ibiza, Malaga, Mykonos, Nice and Palma from late May to October 2017.
As BA needs to move aircraft from London City to Manchester to operate the flights, it has also opened this flight for sale to passengers.
Flights from Manchester are on sale now at ba.com. The only exception are flights between Manchester and London City which go on sale on 21 February 2017.
Please note that the timetables below are indicative only. There may be changes to the schedule depending on the strength of forward bookings.
Whilst food & drink should initially be complementary in EuroTraveller, at some point in the summer BA is expected to extend its Marks & Spencer Buy-On-Board to all London City flights and London Stansted and Manchester weekend leisure flights.
With the exception of Alicante, all of these routes are also served by BA from Heathrow and it should be possible to “mix and match” direct flights with indirect flights via London Heathrow (or via Iberia in Madrid in some cases). If booking connections take care not to book connections from different London airports as any travel between London airports will be at your own expense and not recommended. Continue reading “BAs launches London City – Manchester (sort of..)”
British Airways is to suspend its twice daily London City – Madrid route permanently from Sunday 29 January 2017. The airline is to also not proceed with its planned seasonal London City – Alicante service this summer. This was planned to operate from Monday 26 June to Monday 4 September 2017.
No specific reasons have been given for the cancellation. However, it’s a reasonable assumption that poor commercial performance is the cause. BA has yet to announce which routes will operate in their replacement.
Affected passengers have the option of a refund or being accommodated on alternative BA flights to Madrid from London Heathrow (served by some 13 return flights a day) or Alicante from London Gatwick respectively (which operates up to twice daily at various times).
If you have not already been contacted you should contact either BA or your traval agent.
Flybe is to suspend its London City – Dublin route from 31 May 2015, a little over six months after Flybe opened a base at the airport.
Passengers have been offered either a refund or an alternative flight on Flybe. The London City – Dublin route is also served by CityJet and British Airways. The amount of capacity on the route is a likely factor behind Flybe’s decision.
The London City – Dublin route is going to become significantly more competitive from 26 October 2014 when British Airways launches a five daily service between the two airports.
This route has traditionally been a mainstay of CityJet which operates the route up to 7 times a day. BA will also be completing against Flybe, a new entrant to the airport, which also launches this route at the time as BA.
There are two points of note from this announcement:
1. It shows a significant commitment by BA to Dublin.
Until two years ago, BA did not serve the city at all as it relied on codeshares with Aer Lingus. BA returned to Dublin after it inherited the London Heathrow – Dublin route from BA. From 26 October 2014, BA will operate up to 13 flights a day combined from London Heathrow and London City. BA is also moving London Heathrow – Dublin flights from Terminal 1 to 5 on the same day.
2. This puts more competitive pressure on CityJet.
This is the second occasion in recent times BA has launched a route at London City that has been well served CityJet, which was recently sold by Air France-KLM. The other route being Rotterdam. CityJet has withdrawn routes such as London City – Edinburgh and diversified away from London City, launching routes from UK regional airports, such as Cardiff.
BA is cancelling the London City – Aberdeen and London City – Stockholm routes to make way for this service and flights are now on sale on ba.com
British Airways has often been criticised in the past for failing to prove it can compete with rival airlines outside its base at London Heathrow, where it now commands nearly 50% of take off and landing slots. Witness how the airline withdrew entirely from regional point to point operations five years ago and, as reported yesterday, has ceded a significant share of traffic at London Gatwick to easyJet.
The one exception to this is at London City. Some five years ago CityJet, an airline with a complex history and structure, but now under the ownership of Air France KLM, dominated short-haul operations at the airport, with more than twice the share of take off and landing slots as British Airways.