Skywork Airlines exits London City; Fly VLM returns

Skywork Airlines is to suspend London City – Basel from Sunday 29 October 2017. VLM Airlines returns to London City – Antwerp from Monday 30 October.

FlyVLM Fokker 50 turboprop (Image Credit: VLM Airlines)
FlyVLM Fokker 50 turboprop (Image Credit: VLM Airlines)

The great merry go round of route changes at London City continues.

Skywork Airlines is to withdraw from London City with the suspension of its route to Basel from Sunday 29 October 2017.

Any one with bookings after this date will be entitled to a full refund. Basel will continue to be served by BA from Heathrow, easyJet from Luton and Gatwick and Ryanair from Stansted. The news was confirmed in a press release last week.

On a more positive note, VLM Airlines is to return to London City.

VLM will take over London City – Antwerp from CityJet from Monday 30 October 2017. VLM will fly to Antwerp three times daily Monday – Wednesday, four times daily Thursday – Friday and twice daily on Sundays.

Flights will be operated with a 50 seat Fokker 50 turboprop aircraft and are on sale at FlyVLM.com.

BA launches London Heathrow – Almeria

BA will fly from London Heathrow to Almeria on Tuesdays and Sundays for the summer season.

Almeria (Image Credit: British Airways / Almeria Tourist Board)
Almeria (Image Credit: British Airways / Almeria Tourist Board)

BA is to launch a new summer seasonal route from London Heathrow to Almeria in Southeast Spain. The airline will fly to Almeria from London Heathrow Terminal 5, twice a week on Tuesdays and Sundays. Flights will operate from Tuesday 27 March 2018 to Saturday 27 October 2018.

The new route is an addition to a growing portfolio of summer seasonal European routes for BA at London Heathrow which also includes Malaga and Murcia and a number of routes in France and the Greek islands. It is likely that more summer seasonal routes from all of BA’s London airports will be announced in the coming months.

Flights to Almeria will be operated using Airbus A320 aircraft, in a two class, Club Europe business and EuroTraveller economy configuration.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

easyJet and Ryanair also fly to Almeria from London Gatwick and Stansted respectively.

London Heathrow – Almeria

Flight BA420 Depart London Heathrow 13:15 – Arrive Almeria 17:00 (Tuesday, Saturday)
Flight BA421 Depart Almeria 17:50 – Arrive London Heathrow 19:35 (Tuesday, Saturday)

Aer Lingus launches Dublin – Philadelphia

Aer Lingus will fly direct from Dublin to Philadelphia four times weekly from Monday 26 March 2018.

Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (Image Credit: C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®)
Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (Image Credit: C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®)
Aer Lingus is to fly direct from Dublin to Philadelphia from late March 2018. The airline will fly to Philadelphia International Airport four times weekly on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The route launches on Monday 26 March 2018.

This is the latest addition to a growing portfolio of transatlantic routes for Aer Lingus from Dublin. It has just launched Miami. It has also launched Los Angeles, Hartford, Newark and Washington Dulles in recent years.
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BA launches new route from London Heathrow to The Seychelles

British Airways will fly direct from London Heathrow to The Seychelles twice weekly from Saturday 24 March 2018.

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

BA has today announced a new route from London Heathrow to The Seychelles. The airline will fly to Seychelles International Airport twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays from Saturday 24 March 2018.

The route will be operated by a four class Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner with First Class, Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy, and World Traveller economy cabins. Flights will depart from London Heathrow Terminal 5.

This will be the only direct route from London to The Seychelles. It will also be the first time BA has flown to The Seychelles in approximately 15 years. It previously flew to The Seychelles via Nairobi.

This is one of many former routes that BA has reinstated thanks to the Boeing 787. Others include Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Santiago. BA is also due to launch Nashville in May of next year.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

London – The Seychelles

Flight BA63 Depart London Heathrow 17:50 – Arrive The Seychelles 07:00
Flight BA62 Depart The Seychelles 09:00 – Arrive London Heathrow 16:20

(Precise timings may vary by season.)

BA has also prepared a PDF briefing.

Qantas replaces London – Dubai – Sydney with Singapore stopover

Qantas will cease flying from London to Australia via Dubai next year.

Qantas Airbus A380 Sydney Harbour (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)
Qantas Airbus A380 Sydney Harbour (Image Credit: Qantas Airways)

Qantas today announced another milestone in the evolution of the “Kangaroo route” between London and Australia.

From Sunday 25 March 2018, Qantas will return to flying from London to Sydney via Singapore, replacing its existing service to Sydney via Dubai.  This, together with Qantas replacing London – Dubai – Melbourne with London – Perth – Melbourne means that Qantas will no longer fly from London to Dubai.

The changes were announced today as Qantas and Emirates are to extend their partnership for a further five years.  However, due to regulatory reasons Emirates will not be able to codeshare on Qantas operated services from London to Singapore and London to Perth.

Continue reading “Qantas replaces London – Dubai – Sydney with Singapore stopover”

BA adds Las Vegas and Toronto at London Gatwick

BA is to fly from London Gatwick to Las Vegas and Toronto from summer 2018.

Toronto, Canada
Toronto (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has today announced it is to launch a new route from London Gatwick to Toronto and reinstate its London Gatwick – Las Vegas route next summer.

BA will fly to Las Vegas three times a week from Tuesday 27 March 2018 on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. BA will fly to Toronto three times a week from Tuesday 1 May 2018, also on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

Both Las Vegas and Toronto are served by BA at London Heathrow up to twice daily. BA has previously flown from Gatwick to Las Vegas.  However, the service was suspended last year.  Toronto is BA’s first route from London Gatwick to Canada.  It is something of a surprise to see BA launch the Toronto from Gatwick, as it is not one of the stronger Heathrow routes due to a lack of presence by the Oneworld alliance in Canada.

However, there can be absolutely no doubt this is a move to take on the growth of low lost long-haul at Gatwick.  Las Vegas is served by Norwegian.  Toronto is also served by both WestJet and Air Canada Rouge.

Continue reading “BA adds Las Vegas and Toronto at London Gatwick”

Qantas moots non-stop flights from London to Sydney

Qantas has challenged Airbus and Boeing to develop aircraft capable of flying non-stop from London to Sydney by 2022.

Qantas Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner (Image courtesy of Qantas Airways)

Qantas announced its annual financial results in Sydney today.  The airline posted a healthy profit before tax of AUD$1.4bn.   This is a sharp turnaround in fortunes for Qantas after it reported a record loss of AUD$2.8bn three years ago.  Much of the turnaround has been achieved through a restructuring of its international network.

In Europe, Qantas suspended twice daily services from London Heathrow to Sydney via Singapore and Bangkok and to Melbourne via Singapore and Hong Kong in favour of daily services to Sydney and Melbourne via Dubai under a joint-venture with Emirates.

Whilst Qantas seemed to be in retreat in Europe having ceded much market share to the “Big Three” Middle Eastern airlines (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways), its interest has reignited of late.  Qantas is due to launch non-stop flights to Perth in March 2018.  Qantas is also due to open a new lounge in London Heathrow Terminal 3 this year.

Qantas has also today given a firm expression of interest in launching non-stop flights between London and Sydney by 2022.

Qantas has tasked aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing to produce new aircraft under development, the Airbus A350 Ultra Long Range and the Boeing 777X respectively, with sufficient range to operate London to Sydney non-stop with no restrictions on passenger loads.

Qantas claim that a non-stop flight between London and Sydney could shave four hours off the journey time.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce commented:

“From next year we’ll be flying direct from Perth to London, which is a huge leap forward. We believe advances in technology in the next few years will make Sydney to London direct a possibility and Qantas is well placed to be the airline to do it.

“Any aircraft purchase would have to meet strict financial thresholds, but these direct flights would be revolutionary for air travel in Australia.”

Airlines do not ordinarily give away commercial decisions on route launches away years in advance, and this is a very public message aimed squarely at aircraft manufacturers to sharpen their pencils.

It is also axiomatic that the viability of non-stop flights from London to Sydney will depend on how non-stop flights to Perth are received, both in terms of cabin comfort and whether passengers, particularly those at the front of the aircraft, are willing to pay a premium for non-stop services.

Personally, we would love to see non-stop flights to Sydney and for Qantas to rebuild its presence in London back to four flights a day.

Also today, Qantas announced a refurbishment of its Airbus A380 fleet which will include new business class and premium economy cabins and “refreshed” First Class and economy cabins.