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7JetSet7 Code: BAB
Status: Operational
Region: EUROPE
Employees 56159
Web: britishairways.com
Telephone: +44 208 738 5050
Fax: +44 208 738 9947

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Great Britain (United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland) was established in 1066, it covers an area of 242,432 sq km, its population is 59 million, its capital city is London and its official language is English.










2ND 777 (GE90-76B) DELIVERY.

MARCH 1996: TO KIEV (737).





FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1995 = +$724 MILLION (+89.2%): +9.8% (RPK) TRAFFIC, +6.7% (ASK) CAPACITY, +4.7% (FTK) FREIGHT, 73.6% LF LOAD FACTOR (+2) (BONUS OF 4 WEEKS PAY TO ALL 55,000 EMPLOYEES).





2 747-400'S (RU124; RU125) DELIVERIES. 777 (WA076) DELIVERY.










SEPTEMBER 1996: FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW RECONFIRMED 10 ORDERS 747-400'S TO REPLACE 747-100'S; +4 ORDERS 747-400'S, 3 ORDERS 777-200'S, 3 ORDERS 757-200'S. NOW 32 ORDERS 747-400'S.


















FEBRUARY 1997: 2 747-400'S, 1 767-300ER, & 3 777-200'S (IGW) DELIVERIES.





$193.5 MILLION FOR +3 ORDERS (DECEMBER 1997) 757-200'S FOR TOTAL 51.



NOW OPERATING 4 777-200 (IGW)'S, 267 PAX: 14F "FLYING BED" SEATS, 56C "CRADLE SEATS," & 197Y. 747, 401 PAX, INCLUDING 332Y. 767, 196 PAX, 3 CLASS. 1 757-2YO (RB211-535E4) (25268), EX-(VNS), 5 YEAR LEASED. 1 757-236 (28666) & 1 777-236IGW (27489) DELIVERIES.






PARIS AIR SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT OF $1 BILLION 13 ORDERS 767'S (NOW 28), AND 5 ORDERS 777'S (NOW 23). 2 777-200'S (IGW) (GE90-90B) & 1 747-436 (28700) DELIVERIES.












2 737-236'S (21804 & 22030) RETURNED TO (GUI). 777-200 (IDG) (GE90-85B) (TYPICAL (LHR) TO (BOS)/(PHL)/(IAD)/(DTW)/(YMX)/(DXB)/(ALA).






POSSIBILITY OF 9 737-300'S, EX-PHILIPPINE AIRELINES (PAL), (GUI) LEASED, FOR (GFL) SUBSIDIARY. 3 737-300'S (28548; 28572; 28573), (GECAS) (GEF) LEASED. 747-400 (RU131), 757 (NT401), 777 (WB010) DELIVERIES.















EMPLOYEES (1,000): 1 FED 94; 2 UAL 92; 3 AAL 86; 4 DAL 63; 5 DLH 58; 6 BAB 53; 7 NWA 48; 8 USA 42; 9 CAL 40; 10 AFA 36; 11 QAN 30 12 KLM 27; 13 SWA 25; 14 TWA 25; 15 IND 23; 16 IBE 22.

NET ($ MILLION): 1 AMR 985 (1,016); 2 UAL 949 (533); 3 DAL 934 (248
4 BAB 754 (876); 5 SIA 670 (731); 6 NWA 597 (536); 7 FED 583
8 USA 494 (263); 9 DLH 482 (371); 10 CAL 385 (371).

(RPK) TRAFFIC (BILLION): 1 UAL 195; 2 AAL 172; 3 DAL 160; 4 NWA 116; 5 BAB 106; 6 JAL 77; 7 CAL 77; 8 DLH 71; 9 AFA 70; 10 USA 67.

PASSENGERS (PAX) (MILLION): 1 DAL 103; 2 UAL 84; 3 AAL 81; 4 USA 59; 5 NWA 55; 6 SWA 50; 7 ANA 41; 8 CAL 39; 9 DLH 35; 10 BAB 34.

(FTK) FREIGHT TRAFFIC (BILLION): 1 FED 9.3; 2 GRC 6.5; 3 KAL 5.7; 4 UPS 5.4; 5 AFA 5.0; 6 SIA 4.8; 7 JAL 4.2; 8 BAB 3.9; 9 KLM 3.9; 10 CAT 3.6.

EMPLOYEES (1,000): 1 DLH 58; 2 BAB 53 (+2%); 3 AFA 36 (+19%); 4 KLM 26; 5 SAS 23 (+19%); 6 IBE 21 (-4%); 7 ALI 18 (+4%); 8 SWS 17 (2%); 9 SAB 10 (-10%); 10 THY 9.

(RPK) TRAFFIC (MILLION): 1 BAB 105 (+5.1%); 2 DLH 71 (+12.8%); 3 AFA 70 (+22); 4 KLM 55 (+13.4%); 5 ALI 36 (+4.2%); 6 IBE 28 (+6.6%); 7 SWS (+19.8%); 8 SAS 20 (+4.3%); 9 THY 12 (+13.1%); 10 SAB 11.

(FTK) FREIGHT TRAFFIC (BILLION): 1 GRC 6.2 (+2.4%); 2 AFA 4.9 (+5.5%); 3 BAB 3.9 (+12%); 4 KLM 3.7 (+.8%); 5 SWS 1.8 (+12.8%); 6 1.4 (-1.1%).

AUGUST 1998: $2.4 BILLION, 16/16 ORDERS 777-200ER. 777-236 (29319 - "WHALE RIDER") DELIVERY. $2.6 BILLION, 59/129 ORDERS (DECEMBER 1999) A319/A320'S.




OCTOBER 1998: FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1997 = +$962.8 MILLION (+$1.06 BILLION).


50TH 747-436 DELIVERY. 767-336ER (25443 "CHELSEA ROSE") DELIVERY.


747-136 (20269; 20272) WITHDRAWN FROM USE (WFU).


1998 = 72.07 BILLION (RPK) (65.68 BILLION); 101.6 BILLION (ASK) (91.13 BILLION); 70.9% LF (-1.2).

PLANS TO RETIRE ITS 16 747-200'S BETWEEN 2000 & 2002.







1 UAL 200 (195); 2 AAL 175 (172); 3 DAL 166 (160); 4 BAB 117 (106); 5 NWA 107 (116); 6 CAL 87 (77); 7 JAL 87 (77); 8 USA 66 (67); 9 SIA 58 (55); 10 KLM 57 (55).






3 747-136'S (20270; 20809; 21213) RETIRED AT ROSWELL.

1 UAL 124.54; 2 AAL 108.87; 3 DAL 103.24; 4 BAB 72.08; 5 NWA 66.71; 6 CAL 50.94; 7 JAL 48.97; 8 DLH 46.88; 9 AFA 46.35; 10 USA 41.25).



AUGUST 1999: FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1998 = +$332 MILLION (+$773 MILLION): 116 BILLION (RPK) (+9.7%), 36.59 MILLION PAX (+7%), 71% LF (-1.1). 1998 = 72.08 BILLION (RPM) (+9.7%), 10.04 BILLION (FTM) (+7.8%).




1. AAL 17.37M (14.1%); 2. UAL 9.91M (8.1%); 3. DAL 7.26M (5.9%); 4.
NWA 6.91M (5.6%); 5. CAL 6.61M (5.4%); 6. BAB 6.31M (5.1%); 7. JAL 4.39M (3.6%); 8. ACN 4.13M (3.4%); 9. DLH 2.92M (2.4%); 10. VAA 2.65M (2.2%).









1999 = 118.80 BILLION (RPK) (-3.1%); 4.49 BILLION (FTK) (+13%); 39.92 MILLION (PAX) (-3.7%).






1999 = -$323 MILLION (WORST LOSS SINCE ITS PRIVATIZATION, 13 YEARS AGO). 1999 = +.7% (RPK), +.7% (ASK), 69.8% LF (-.9).









TRAFFIC (RPK) (BILLION): 1 UAL 201.9; 2 AAL 177.3; 3 DAL 168.6; 4 NWA 119.3; 5 BAB 117.5; 6 CAL 93.4; 7 AFA 83.7; 8 JAL 82.9; 9 DLH 81.4; 10 USA 66.9.

EMPLOYEES (K): 1 UPS 308; 2 FED 15-0; 3 UAL 96.7; 4 AAL 86.1; 5 DAL 72; 6 DLH 66.2; 7 DHL 60; 8 AFA 55.2; 9 BAB 53.1; 10 NWA 51.8.

(FTK) (FREIGHT TRAFFIC) (BILLION): 1 FED 10.31; 2 LUB 7.07; 3 UPS 6.02; 4 KAL 5.96; 5 SIA 5.48; 6 AFA 4.73; 7 BAB 4.54; 8 JAL 4.42; 9 KLM 4.15.

FISCAL YEAR (FY) 1999 = -$33.6 MILLION (+$329.6 MILLION): 117.46 BILLION (RPK) (-.7%); 69.8% LF; 4.54 BILLION (FTK) (+6.1%); 36.35 MILLION (PAX) (-2%).












2000 = 73.88 BILLION (RPM) (-1.4%), -1.5% (ASM), 71.1% LF (+1).

1 UAL 126.88; 2 AAL 116.51; 3 DAL 107.78; 4 NWA 79.10; 5 BAB 73.88; 6 CAL 62.31; 7 DLH 58.52; 8 AFA 57.04; 9 JAL 55.30; 10 USA 46.83.




2000 = 117.83 BILLION (RPK) (-.1%), 9.55 BILLION (FTK) (+3.2%), 36.40 MILLION (PAX) (-.6%).

1 A319-131 (1440, G-EUPW) DELIVERY.

APRIL 2001: 65,640 EMPLOYEES.











2 747-236B'S (21351; 21830) RETIRED. USING 747-400F, WET-LEASED FROM ATLAS AIR (TLS), FOR SERVICE TO ATLANTA. 777-200 (G-YMMO) DELIVERY. 2 757-236'S (22183; 22492) WFU (22183 TO BOEING (TBC). 1 A319-131 (1574, G-EUOE), DELIVERY.

OCTOBER 2001: GROUNDS 20 AIRPLANES, WHICH BRITISH AIRWAYS (BAB) INTENDS TO SELL: 4 737'S, 10 747-200'S, AND 6 767'S. 4 747-236B (21831; 22305; 23711; 23799), WFU AT CARDIFF. PLANS TO DELAY 777-236ER (30315, G-YMMP) DELIVERY. 3 757-236'S (22173; 23399; 23532); 3 747-236B'S (21831; 22305; 23799); & 6 767-336ER (24334; 24335; 24336; 25831; 25832; 25834), WFU. 2 A319-131'S (1590, G-EUOF; 1594, G-EUOG), DELIVERIES.






JANUARY 2002: 2001 = 105.13 BILLION (RPK) (-12.4%); 4.15 MILLION (FTK) (-13.5%) 37.52 MILLION (PAX) (-6.6%).

1 UAL 116.60; 2 AAL 106.15; 3 DAL 97.60; 4 NWA 73.11; 5 BAB 64.24; 6 AFA 59.54; 7 CAL 58.76; 8 DLH 56.76; 9 JAL 50.77; 10 USA 45.93; 11 SWA 44.50; 12 SIA 42.76; 13 QAN 42.14; 14 ACN 41.49; 15 KLM 35.76; 16 ANA 33.16; 17 CAT 27.81; 18 TII 27.43; 19 IBE 25.64; 20 KAL 23.73; 21 ALI 22.45; 22 MAS 22.29; 23 AMW 19.06; 24 VAA 17.65; 25 VAR 16.02; 26 CHI 16.00; 27 EAD 14.37; 28 SAS 14.26; 29 ANZ 13.54; 30 SAA 12.70; 31 SVA 12.56; 32 BEJ 12.39; 33 ASA 12.23; 34 JAS 10.06; 35 THY 9.35; 36 AMX 8.51; 37 PAL 8.36; 38 GIA 8.15; 39 CMA 7.99; 40 ELA 7.79; 41 GUL 7.65; 42 PIA 7.24; 43 AIN 7.10; 44 TAP 6.43; 45 EGP 5.53; 46 OLY 5.24; 47 AUL 5.06; 48 FIN 4.93; 49 IND 4.52; 50 CQT 4.51.





APRIL 2002: 60,000 EMPLOYEES.



June 2002: 2001 Top World Airlines by Traffic (RPK) Billion:
1 UAL 187.67; 2 AAL 170.88; 3 DAL 163.66; 4 NWA 117.66; 5 BAB 106.27; 6 CAL 98.37; 7 AFA 94.42; 8 DLH 86.70; 9 JAL 84.27; 10 USA 73.93; 11 SWA 71.59; 12 SIA 69.15; 13 QAN 67.89; 14 ACN 67.03; 15 KLM 57.85; 16 ANA 56.90; 17 CAT 44.79; 18 TII 44.04; 19 IBE 41.30; 20 KAL 38.45; 21 MAS 38.31; 22 ALI 36.52; 23 SWS 32.98; 24 TWA 31.85; 25 AMW 30.69.

2001 Top World Cargo Operators Billion (FTK) (Freight Traffic):
1 FED 11.05; 2 LUB 7.08; 3 UPS 5.96; 4 SIA 5.88; 5 KAL 5.57; 6 AFA 5.12; 7 KLM 4.64; 8 JAL 4.19; 9 BAB 4.033; 10 CHI 4.030; 11 NCA 3.93; 12 CAT 3.89; 13 CLX 3.77; 14 EVA 3.28; 15 UAL 2.80; 16 NWA 2.79; 17 AAL 2.56; 18 MTH 2.40; 19 AAR 2.38; 20 DAL 2.31; 21 MAS 1.84; 22 SWS 1.79; 23 TII 1.67; 24 QAN 1.57; 25 AHK 1.55.

June 2003: 2002 TOP 25 WORLD AIRLINES - TRAFFIC - Billion - (RPK)
1 (AAL) 195.81; 2 (UAL) 176.15; 3 (DAL) 152.66; 4 (NWA) 115.91; 5 (BAB) 99.71; 6 (AFA) 97.15; 7 (CAL) 95.51; 8 (DLH) Group 88.57; 9 (JAL) 83.54; 10 (QAN) 75.23; 11 (SWA) 73.05; 12 (SIA) 71.12; 13 (ACN) 69.42; 14 (USA) 69.42; 15 (KLM) 58.89; 16 (ANA) 52.97; 17 (CAT) 49.04; 18 (TII) 48.51; 19 (KAL) 41.80; 20 (IBE) 40.47; 21 (MAS) 36.90; 22 (AMW) 31.98; 23 (SAS) Group 30.91; 24 (EAD) 30.17; 25 (ALI) 29.84.

1 (FED) 13.20; 2 (LUB) 7.16; 3 (UPS) 6.62; 4 (KAL) 6.25; 5 (SIA) 6.08; 6 (AFA) 4.87; 7 (CAT) 4.85; 8 (CHI) 4.60; 9 (JAL) 4.39; 10 (CLX) 4.16; 11 (BAB) 4.12; 12 (KLM) 3.99; 13 (EVA) 3.28; 14 (NWA) 3.24; 15 (AAL) 2.93; 16 (UAL) 2.79; 17 (AAR) 2.75; 18 (NCA) 2.21; 19 (POA) 1.97; 20 (EAD) 1.96; 21 (MAS) 1.92; 22 (BEJ) 1.88; 23 (TII) 1.824; 24 (DAL) 1.823; 25 (ACN) 1.58.

September 2003: INCDT: 757-200 (G-CPER) departing from London Heathrow diverted to London Gatwick after smelling hot oil. During the approach, the 757 tended to drift right of the localiser after flap deployment. The pilots (FC) used 40 degrees of left-hand control wheel input, commanding 75 degrees of aileron travel to keep the wings level. The 757 was on its first flight following a 26-day maintenance check, and UK Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) determined that mechanics (MT) had serviced engine oils incorrectly and failed to reinstaLL two access panels on the right-hand outboard flap. The (AAIB) reprimanded British Airways (BAB) for ineffective supervision, poor standards of maintenance, and an inadequate safety culture. (BAB), who dispute some of the findings, says it has raised awareness of maintenance errors and discussed possible preventative action in open forums.

January 2004: 2003 = 101.18 Billion (RPK) (+1.4%); 36.14 Million (PAX) (+3%).

February 2004: Closes reservation centres in Glasgow and London to reduce costs by - 10 Million Pounds/-$19 Million over the next 5 years because of declining number of calls (due to use of the Internet) affecting some 400 employees.

Installs wireless Internet connections at 80 of its main lounges around the world by May 2004.

March 2004: Contract to Tel-Instrument Electronics Corporation for its TR5-220 Multi-Function Test Sets, which British Airways (BAB) will use to test airplanes that are being upgraded to meet new Eurocontrol requirements for Mode S Elementary and Enhanced Surveillance and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast.

3April 2004: British Airways (BAB) guaranteed a CHF 50 Million loan from Barclays Bank for Swiss International Airlines (CSR).

(BAB) selected Astute Solutions' ePowerCenter as the technology platform for its global customer service initiative.

May 2004: Selects Rockwell Collins to provide eOffload, an Internet-based service that manages in-flight entertainment use and information.

2003 Fiscal Year (FY) = +130 Million Pounds/+$409.06 Million (+72 Million P/+$216.59 Million): 100.85 Billion (RPK) (+1.1); 72.9 Million (PAX) +35.13 Million (PAX) (+2%); 5.19 Billion (FTK) (+4.7%).

June 2004: British Airways (BAB) and Qantas (QAN) implemented the latest release of Sabre AirFlite SlotManager. Delta Airlines (DAL); Lufthansa (DLH); El Al (ELA); & Japan Airlines (JAL) also use the new system.

Amadeus acquires a controlling 55% stake in travel portal Opodo for EUR 62 Million/$74.5 Million in cash. Opodo was created by 9 European network airlines: Aer Lingus (ARL); Air France (AFA); Alitalia (ALI); Austrian Airlines (AUL); British Airways (BAB); Finnair (FIN); Iberia (IBE); (KLM); & Lufthansa (DLH) - - whose stakes will be reduced in proportion to the investment by Amadeus. The 3 biggest shareholders: (AFA); (BAB) & (DLH) - - will hold 10.3% each, while the shareholdings of (ARL) & (AUL) will be diluted to 0.51% each. Amadeus, which is majority owned by (AFA); (IBE) & (DLH), said Opodo will continue to operate as a separate company.

OneWorld (ONW) Alliance: Aer Lingus (ARL); American Airlines (AAL); British Airways (BAB); Cathay Pacific (CAT); Finnair (FIN); Iberia (IBE); LAN (LAN); & Qantas (QAN).

July 2004: Shifts its flights London Heathrow (LHR) - Detroit (777, daily) from the Berry Terminal to the McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metro.

September 2004: In an effort to decrease its debt, will sell its 18.25% stake in Qantas (QAN) for approx A$1.1 Billion/$766.6 Million.

(BAB) Cargo, London Heathrow - Shanghai Pudong (747-200F, 2/week).

October 2004: London Gatwick - Zurich (2/day). In March 2005, London Gatwick - Vilnius (737-400, 5/week); - Thessoloniki (4/week), Split (3/week), Vilnius (5/week).

November 2004: A321-231 (2324, G-EUXF) delivery.

December 2004: (UKCAA) maintained British Airways (BAB)'s dominance in the UK - India market by allocating to (BAB) a third of the 21 new frequencies available under the recent bilateral agreement between the 2 countries. (BAB) currently operates all 19 weekly services available to UK airlines, while Virgin Atlantic (VAA) was allotted 10 and bmi (BMA) 4. In summer 2005, (BAB) will add 4 weekly flights to Chennai & inaugurate 3/week service to Bangalore.

January 2005: 2004 = 81.67 Billion (RPK) (+5.5%); +3.3% (ASK); 75.4% LF (+1.6).

In summer, London Heathrow - Shanghai (777, 5/week).

March 2005: Rod Eddington, (CEO) will step down later this year and be replaced by Willie Walsh, 43, former Aer Lingus (ARL) (CEO), who will start acting as (CEO)-designate in May 2005 and become (CEO) when Eddington retires in September 2005.

May 2005: British Airways (BAB) is the world's largest international carrier flying to 233 destinations in 96 countries. Is one of the founding partners of the OneWorld (ONW) Alliance.

51,939 employees.

(IATA) Code: BA - 125.

(ICAO) Code: BAW (Callsign - SPEEDBIRD & SHUTTLE).

Parent organization/shareholders: Publicly held (100%).

Owns: British Airways CitiExpress (100%); Comair (CML) (18%); Iberia Airlines (IBE) (9%); & Air Mauritius (MAU) (3.84%).

Alliances: OneWorld (ONW); America West Airlines (AMW); BMed (BMR); Comair (CML); Emirates (EAD); GB Airways (GBA); Japan Airlines International (JAL); Loganair; Regional Air; SN Brussels Airlines (DAT); & Sun-Air of Scandinavia.

Main Base: London Heathrow airport (LHR).

Hub: London Gatwick airport (LGW).

Domestic, scheduled destinations: Aberdeen; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Jersey; London; Manchester; & Newcastle.

International, scheduled destinations: Abu Dhabi; Abuja; Accra; Algiers; Amsterdam; Antigua; Athens; Atlanta; Bahrain; Baltimore; Bangkok; Barbados; Barcelona; Basle/Mulhouse; Beijing; Belgrade; Berlin; Bermuda; Bologna; Bordeaux; Boston; Brussels; Bucharest; Budapest; Buenos Aires; Cairo; Cape Town; Chennai; Chicago; Cologne; Copenhagen; Dallas Fort Worth; Dar Es Salaam; Delhi; Denver; Detroit; Dhaka; Doha; Dubai; Dublin; Dusseldorf; Entebbe/Kampala; Florence; Frankfurt; Geneva; Genoa; Grand Cayman Island; Grenada; Hamburg; Hanover; Harare; Helsinki; Hong Kong; Houston; Islamabad; Istanbul; Jeddah; Johannesburg; Kiev; Kingston; Kilkata; Krakow; Kuwait; Lagos; Larnaca; Lisbon; Livingstone; Los Angeles; Luanda; Lusaka; Luxembourg; Lyons; Madrid; Marseilles; Mauritius; Melbourne; Mexico City; Miami; Milan; Montreal; Moscow; Mumbai; Munich; Muscat; Nairobi; Naples; Nassau; New York; Nice; Orlando; Oslo; Paris; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Prague; Pristina; Providenciales; Riga; Rio de Janeiro; Riyadh; Rome; San Francisco; Sao Paulo; Seattle; Singapre; Sofia; Sr Lucia; St Petersburg; Stockholm; Stuttgart; Sydney; Tampa; Tel Aviv; Tobago; Tokyo; Toronto; Toulouse; Tripoli; Turin; Vancouver; Venice; Vienna; Warsaw; Washington; & Zurich.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 = +251 Million Pounds/+$298.9 Million (+93.1%) (+130 Million Pounds): +4.7% (RPK); +3.2% (ASK); 74.8% LF (+1.8).

August 2005: 47,472 employees (-8.6%).

September 2005: British Airways (BAB) will reorganize its Customer Service and Operations department following the retirement of Director, Mike Street, a 42-year veteran of (BAB) at the end of September. Effective October 1, Geoff Want, Director Safety & Security since 2002, will become Director of all Ground Operations for the airline, including assuming responsibility for the move to Terminal 5 at London Heathrow in 2008. Want joined (BAB) in 1988. Robert Boyle, currently Director Commercial Planning, becomes Director Planning with the creation of a new department that includes (BAB)'s Operations Control & Operations Planning departments. He retains his current responsibilities of Network Planning & Fleet Planning.

British Airways (BAB) and Universal Air Travel Plan said business (C) customers now can use their (UATP) accounts to pay for flights online at http://www.ba.com.

(BAB) launched a voluntary scheme through which passengers may make a cash donation "to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from their flight." The money raised will be used by Climate Care, which invests in "sustainable energy projects that tackle global warming by reducing carbon dioxide levels." Air travelers can make the donation via a link from the airline's website "for the cost of emissions created by their journey." According to (BAB), the donation for a roundtrip fare between London Heathrow and Madrid would be £5/$9.20, while a return flight to Johannesburg would be £13.30. (BAB) carried 35.7 million passengers last year. If each of them flew roundtrip between London and Madrid, the cost in emissions, based on the suggested charge, was £178 million.

(BAB) announced that Group Treasurer & Head of Taxation, Keith Williams will succeed John Rishton as (CFO) on January 1.

October 2005: British Airways (BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh reiterated earlier statements from the board that (BAB) will remain true to its full-service concept, again rebuffing rumors that he intends to copy the low-fare strategy he implemented at Aer Lingus (ARL) to turn (ARL) around. (BAB) has "a renowned reputation for premium travel, and my aim is to make sure that we deliver a world-class experience for all," Walsh said in an interview with the "Financial Times." He added that investment in a new business class (C) cabin in long-haul will exceed £100 million and will include the introduction starting in the first half of next year of a new seat capable of converting into a fully flat bed. He stressed his commitment to maintaining two-class operations on (BAB)'s short-haul network, even at London Gatwick where it is concentrating on point-to-point. He said he "has rejected" a proposal to begin single-class operations with paid-for in-flight food and drink at London Gatwick (LGW): "I am prepared to do what is right for the business. I have no preconceived ideas. Decisions will be based on facts and analysis. We believe there is a strong case for keeping two-class operations. We believe we can make that a success. That is what customers want."

(BAB) named Tim Steeds its new Director Safety & Security from next month, succeeding Geoff Want, who was promoted to Director Ground Operations. Steeds, a captain with 31 years of flying for (BAB), has spent the last three years as Head of Quality & Regulations and was (BAB)'s Chief Technical Pilot in 1997 to 2002. He will retire from flying at the end of 2005.

SITA INC said British Airways (BAB), Cathay Pacific (CAT), China Eastern Airlines (CEA) and Malev (HGA) signed contracts with a total value of $10 million for its new Airfare Insight solution. Airfare Insight, part of SITA's Airfare suite of applications, enables airlines to manage their entire fare structure in one system.

The world's largest non-aligned airline is independent no more - - Japan Airlines (JAL) said it will apply to join the Oneworld (ONW) alliance. In terms of revenues, (JAL) Group is the No 3 airline company in the world, trailing Lufthansa (DLH) Group and Air France (AFA) - (KLM) Group.

The link is not unexpected, given the close association between (JAL) and (ONW) anchors: American Airlines (AAL) and British Airways (BAB), as well as with Qantas (QAN) and Cathay Pacific (CAT), also members of the partnership.

(JAL) will bring a lineup of 206 airports in 34 countries to the (ONW) network, which covers 600 cities in 135 countries. It will expand (ONW)'s existing network by +10%, adding +68 unique destinations including +56 in Japan, +five in China and Guam.

November 2005: The British Airways Authority (BAA) plans to demolish Terminal 2 and the Queens Building at London Heathrow (LHR) and replace it with a single state-of-the-art facility capable of handling up to 30 million passengers annually as part of its vision to continue the badly needed transformation of the airport. "The significant increase in capacity created by Terminal 5 gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to look at the rest of Heathrow (LHR) and think creatively about how we can use our current very limited space better," (BAA) Heathrow Managing Director, Mick Temple said. The British airport operator aims to have the new passenger terminal operational in time for the 2012 Olympics. However, it stressed the "Heathrow East" idea is still in "the early stages of a proposal."

Heathrow East does not involve any net increase in passenger capacity at (LHR). However, the combination of Terminal 5, Heathrow East and planned modifications and renovations to Terminals 3 and 4 would "result in a transformed Heathrow, with unrivaled global connections, quicker and simpler transit and convenient public transport links," (BAA) noted.

British Airways (BAB) signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with Tussauds Group for the sale of its entire interest in the British Airways London Eye including its one-third share and its outstanding loan for £95 million/$165.63 million. (BAB) plans to continue its brand association with the attraction by extending its franchise agreement.

British Airways (BAB) will invest £100 million/$173.8 million in a major overhaul of its long-haul business class (C), including a revamp of all aspects of passenger services on the ground and in the air. (BAB) contracted B/E Aerospace to design and manufacture "next generation" lie-flat seat-beds that will begin delivery in mid-2006. (BAB) was the first airline to introduce a lie-flat business class (C) seat. (BAB) said it also will make a major upgrade to its in-flight entertainment system in all four cabins. "This is the first major product investment (BAB) has made in five years, in part, because of the success of our strategy to reduce costs during recent years," CEO, Willie Walsh commented. "Our new business class (C) cabin will be, without doubt, the best in the air." The refurbishment program will take several years to complete, as (BAB) operates some 110 airplanes on its long-haul network.

December 2005: New British Airways (BAB) (CEO) Willie Walsh has begun executing his game plan to streamline the airline, announcing plans to cut management staff by -35% by March 2008, the month that (BAB) moves into London Heathrow's new Terminal 5.

"I said when we reported our second-quarter financial results last month that our costs were up in most areas and that, as a result, we need to re-energize our efforts to deliver a competitive cost base," said Walsh, who joined (BAB) two months ago fresh from transforming Aer Lingus (ARL) from a money-losing legacy carrier into a profitable low-fare competitor. He added that the move is aimed at removing duplication, simplifying the core business and providing clearer accountability.

"Today marks the start of a renewed effort to deliver our goal of a 10% operating margin," Walsh stated. Interestingly, (BAB) achieved operating margins of 11.8% and 10.2% respectively for the fiscal second quarter and first half ended September 30.

(BAB)/GB Airways (GBA) will inaugurate nonstop service from London Gatwick to Dalaman (Turkey) on May 1st. GB Airways (GBA) will operate 2 flights a week, on Mondays/Fridays, using an A320.

INCDT: UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) sharply rebuked British Airways (BAB)'s maintenance operation over a September 2003 incident involving one of (BAB)'s 757s. During the first flight after the airplane returned to service from a 26-day maintenance check, the crew noticed that a hot oil smell that had been present in the cockpit on startup, had returned shortly after takeoff from London Heathrow. The cockpit crew donned oxygen masks and diverted the airplane to Gatwick. They experienced a control problem during the approach, with a large amount of manual left roll control needed to prevent the airplane from turning to the right. The 757 landed safely. The subsequent investigation determined the incidents were caused by maintenance errors "that culminated in the failure to reinstall two access panels . . on the right-hand outboard flap and incorrect procedures being used to service the engine oils." According to (AAIB), the events "were the result of a combination of errors on the part of the individuals involved and systemic issues that had greatly increased the probability of such errors being committed." It identified among other things, "ineffective supervision of maintenance staff" and a "culture, both on the ramp and in the maintenance hangar, which was not effective in ensuring that maintenance staff operated within the scope of their company authorization and in accordance with approved instructions." (BAB) has taken steps to respond to eight safety recommendations from the board to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

January 2006: For the full year 2005 = Passenger traffic 110.89 Billion (RPK) (+3.9%) (world's 7th highest); Freight traffic 4.93 Billion (FTK) (-2%); 35.48 Million passengers (flat even).

February 2006: Rockwell Collins was selected by British Airways (BAB) to upgrade the carrier's long-haul Total Entertainment System with on-demand audio and video, digital news and an audio jukebox feature by December 2007. Enhancements will occur on 57 747s, 25 777s and 14 767s.

(BAB) will double the frequency of flights on its London Heathrow to Delhi route on April 8th from 1 to 2 flights a day. (BAB)'s morning departure will switch from a 747-400 to a 777-200, while the new late afternoon/early evening departure will be operated with a 747-400.

British Airways (BAB) appointed Head of Legal, Maria da Cunha to Head of Government and Industry Affairs from April 1.

British Airways (BAB) placed an order for 1 A320 and 3 A321s. (BAB) also converted 3 A319 orders to A320s for delivery in 2007 - 2008. As a result, (BAB) has 7 A320s and 3 A321s on order as well as options on a further 36 airplanes.

March 2006: British Airways (BAB) will introduce "across-the-board" self-service check-in for customers traveling on intra-UK flights from April 25. Elimination of desk check-in for domestic travel is part of (BAB)'s strategy to streamline operations ahead of its spring 2008 move into London Heathrow's new Terminal 5. (BAB) hopes to have more than >80% of its customers using self-serve check-in by that time. "Making the airport experience simpler and speedier for our customers, is the cornerstone of our vision for Terminal 5, and we want to introduce many of these improvements now, ahead of our move," Commercial Director, Martin George said.

Conventional check-in desks will be converted to "fast bag drop" desks and dedicated staff will be on hand to help customers at the self-service kiosks. Passengers checking in on (BAB)'s website can print their boarding pass up to 24 hours before departure. Check-in at an assistance desk will remain an option for those traveling with children, those traveling on code share services, groups of more than six and unaccompanied minors.

April 2006: British Airways (BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh urged the European Commission (EC) to move forward with plans to bring (EU) airlines within the emissions trading scheme (ETS) "as soon as the technical details can be resolved and political agreement reached." At the same time, he urged the (EC) to "go for simplicity." For example, the scheme should apply, "initially at least," to flights that start and end within the (EU) and not try to include non-(EU) flights, "which could delay implementation for years." Speaking at Ireland's National Management Conference in County Wicklow, Walsh also said the (ETS) should not attempt to address the upper atmosphere effects of airplanes, "on which there is little scientific consensus and which are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol." Initial carbon allocations to airlines should be based on their emissions performance, not an auction system. He cautioned that regulators should not overestimate the environmental impact of commercial aviation. He said that based on recent calculations, the UK generates 2% of global CO2 emissions while "aviation, including international flights, is responsible for just over 5% of UK emissions." That means the total contribution of UK aviation to global emissions is around 0.1%. "In other words, if we took the most extreme policy option imaginable and banned all future domestic and international flights from the UK, the effect on global warming would be miniscule."

May 2006: Annual operating profit increased +26.8% to +£705 million as turnover rose +9.6% to £8.52 billion and expenses climbed +8.2% to £7.81 billion. Walsh called "fuel and employee costs a challenge," the former rising +44.7% and the latter by +5%.

Full-year passenger traffic lifted +3.7% to 111.86 billion (RPK)s against a +2.6% increase in capacity to 147.93 billion (ASK)s, nudging load factor up +0.8 point to 75.6% LF. Yield rose +1.3% to 6.1 pence.

(BAB) will implement e-ticket interlining with 80 new partners through Amadeus in the next two years. (BAB), which is hosted on the Amadeus e-Ticket Server, already has implemented e-ticket interline links with 40 airlines, including its Oneworld (ONW) alliance partners. "These new interline links will allow us to grow the number of routes on which our customers can travel using an e-ticket and help (BAB) advance towards the 100% e-ticket target set by (IATA) for the end of 2007," Product Delivery Manager, Jerry Foran stated.

Separately, Amadeus said (BAB) completed the carrier's migration to Amadeus Codeshare, enabling it to support 10 partners comprising the (ONW) carriers: Japan Airlines (JAL), (KLM), and SN Brussels Airlines (DAT).

(ARINC) and (SITA) announced formation of an industry technical work group to define the next generation of business-to-business, messaging among air transport operators. The workgroup consists of Northwest Airlines (NWA), (BAB), Worldspan, Amadeus, Lufthansa (DLH) Systems, Sabre, Galileo and Mercator.

June 2006: British Airways (BAB) is among the targets of a joint investigation by UK and USA authorities into "alleged cartel activity," the airline said in a statement. The probe involves (BAB) and "other airlines" and relates to the "pricing of passenger air transportation, including fuel surcharges," the carrier said. (BAB) added that it has "given leave of absence" to Commercial Director, Martin George and Head of Communications, Iain Burns, while the investigation is ongoing.

Iberia (IBE) Maintenance won a five-year contract from (BAB) for maintenance of 29 (RB211-535E4)s used on the carrier's 757 fleet. The agreement calls for (IBE) to perform all repairs, modifications, maintenance and inspection of engines, subassemblies, components and spare parts.

August 2006: British Airways (BAB) Engineering forms a "Team757 Maintenance" partnership with Icelandair (ICE) Technical Services and Volvo Aero to support 757 operators. Significantly, (ICE) Technical Services will be the lead Team757 partner as integrator and client contract holder, heading technical management of the fleet and heavy maintenance, negotiating the best Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) services rates for its clients. Volvo will be responsible for inventory availability and logistics. (BAB) will supervise component support, building on its existing 80% in-house capability. Gaynor Castle, (BAB) Business Development Manager, brings together the partners' strengths in airplane and technical maintenance, inventory and material support, component repair and line maintenance.

(AD) Aerospace was contracted by (BAB) to provide video security systems protecting baggage from theft and tampering during loading and unloading. The systems monitor the baggage hold.

September 2006: British Airways (BAB) revealed that the disruption at London airports caused by the terrorist bombing scare, cost it an estimated -$75 million, a figure it said includes lost revenue and costs associated with hotel accommodation, catering and baggage repatriation. During the week of August 10 - 17, (BAB) cancelled approximately 1,280 flights.

(BAB) teamed with Google to launch an interactive service on its website allowing passengers to "zoom in on their destination of choice" electronically using Google Earth.

(BAB) is offering advance registration for the "Clear" registered traveler (RT) program on its website. "Clear" is scheduled to launch at (BAB)'s New York (JFK) Terminal 7 this fall. Applicants will complete an online form before going in person to an "enrollment station" where they will submit fingerprints and iris scans. The program is open to USA citizens and permanent foreign residents and will cost $79.95 per year, plus a $27 - $30 fee to the USA Transportation Security Administration. It will be the first private (RT) program at a USA airport, (BAB) said.

October 2006: British Airways (BAB) reported good news on fuel costs, indicating that expenses will rise +£450 million/$849.3 million over last year rather than the +£550 to +£600 million originally predicted.

(ARINC) and (SITA) released a detailed set of standards and specifications last week that the companies say will "enable the adoption of efficient, (XML)-based business-to-business messaging" for airlines. The standards define a new messaging approach, Type X, that makes use of (XML) and Web Services technology to complement existing industry Type B messaging. "The standards and specifications represent more than a year of development by a blue-ribbon industry work group including Amadeus, British Airways (BAB), Galileo, Lufthansa (DLH) Systems, Mercator, Northwest Airlines (NWA), Sabre and Worldspan," said a joint (ARINC)/(SITA) statement. The companies say Type X will enable more cost-efficient electronic communications than standard Type B, which currently is used by them in an estimated 40 million messages daily.

(BAB) Commercial Director and board member, Martin George resigned after admitting that "inappropriate conversations" concerning the setting of fuel surcharges on long-haul tickets occurred in his department. (BAB) Head of Communications, Iain Burns also resigned. Both executives had been on leave since June, when the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the USA Department of Justice (DOJ) began investigating fuel surcharges.

(BAB)'s last major airplane order was in 1998, when it signed up for 59 A320s and 16 777s. It currently has 114 long-haul airplanes out of a total fleet of 284. Its long-haul fleet currently comprises 57 747-400s, 43 777s (three 777-200As, 24 777-200IGWs and 16 777-200ERs) and 14 767-300s. Its short-haul fleet is a mixture of Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC) airplanes.

November 2006: British Airways (BAB) reached an agreement in principle to sell its money-losing Regional operation, BA Connect, to Exeter-based Flybe (BEE). (BAB) intends to retain a 15% stake in the company, which lost -£20 million/-$38.2 million on revenue of £363 million in the most recent fiscal year. In January, (BAB) overhauled the unit, formerly known as British Airways CitiExpress, with a new name, a single-class cabin, buy-on-board catering and reduced fares to help it compete with low-cost carriers (LCC), but it continued to lose money in the current year. "Despite the best efforts of the entire team at BA Connect, we do not see any prospect of profitability in its current form," (BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh said. "Point-to-point regional operations are not a strategic part of our business, and we believe that such activities are better undertaken by a regional low-cost operator."

(BAB) announced that it purchased American Airlines (AAL)'s 1% stake in Iberia Airlines (IBE) for approximately €19 million, lifting its stake to 10% and preserving its two seats on the (IBE) board. (BAB) and (AAL) made their original investment in (IBE) in 1999 through (BAB) & (AAL) Holdings. (BAB) owns 90% of this holding, which in turn now owns around 10% of (IBE).

(IBE) appears to be more eager to participate in European airline consolidation than Oneworld (ONW) alliance partner and shareholder, (BAB), although (IBE) dismissed reports that it is dissatisfied with its UK partner.

(BAB) yielded to union concerns over its effort to raise the normal retirement age to 65 from 55 for aircrew (FC) and 60 for ground staff as part of a series of concessions required to tackle the -£2.1 billion deficit in the New Airways Pension Scheme. "(BAB) has now included the option of a normal retirement age of 60 in return for increased contribution rates," (BAB) said. Contribution by aircrew (FC) will rise to 11.25% from 6.5% for the first five years and by ground staff to 10% from 5.25%. All rates will be 10% after five years.

(BAB) moved to raise the premium-service bar with the rollout of a £100 million/$191.1 million overhaul to its Club World business class (C) cabin featuring "next generation" lie-flat beds, multiple channel, video/on demand In-Flight Entertainment (IFE), and in-seat laptop storage bins and hookups. "The reason we are doing this is that we believe we need to take the lead" in business class (C) service offerings, (CEO), Willie Walsh said in London at the unveiling of the new seats, catering program and related cabin services. "We carry more premium passengers than any other airline. This is an important part of our business." Premium cabins represent 20% of (BAB) capacity, and that business grew +8% in 2005.

The new flat bed, which is +25% wider than those unveiled by the carrier in 2000 and can extend to almost 2 m/6.5 ft, was developed by (BAB)'s in-house design team, together with consultant Tangerine, and manufactured by BE Aerospace. (BAB) expects to retrofit its 747s and 777s with the new amenities over the next 18 months. (BAB) also will reconfigure seating and increase by +8% the number of Club World (C) seats in its 747s. Seating will not be replaced in its 767 business (C) cabins, which recently were retrofitted with first-generation lie-flat seats. Seating will remain the same for first class (F) cabins, which were redesigned in 2000.

INCDT: (BAB) said that three 767s used on short-haul routes have been removed from service indefinitely, after the UK government informed (BAB) that the airplanes were to be examined as part of the investigation into the highly publicized poisoning death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. (BAB) said initial forensic testing confirmed that low traces of a "radioactive substance" were discovered aboard two of the airplanes. "(BAB) understands from advice it has been given, that the risk to public health is low," the airline said, adding that it is attempting to contact passengers, who traveled aboard the airplanes and has set up a phone line for those who were on affected flights.

December 2006: The Internet, which >20 years ago was regarded "as an experiment in how to move data," now is the primary channel by which most major airlines communicate with their customers and ultimately could form the backbone of operational communications, experts said during the ATWOnline webcast, "Industrial Strength Internet: Can Mission Critical be Agile?"

Shinkuro Inc (CEO), Steve Cocker noted that there is "no foreseeable end or replacement" for the Internet. Airlines have embraced the technology, but should go further, (ARINC) Network Solutions, Senior Director Global Product Management, Michael McShea said. "There's been very little use beyond e-commerce for operational purposes," he said, adding that cost savings and productivity increases could be generated by carriers that take advantage of the Internet for streamlining operations. "The possibilities are endless once we make this transition."

British Airways (BAB) Manager Communication Networks, Phillip Hawker said "BA.com" now is used at call centers so agents see the same information as customers. He noted that (BAB) is using the Internet more and more for managing internal processes. "Complexity was killing us. We recognized that we had to completely re-engineer the system and processes that we used . . . For us as a business, the Internet is already mission-critical."

The UK announced that taxes on airline passenger tickets will double to £10/$19.80 for most flights from February 1, with duties on long-haul business class tickets doubling to £80 per ticket, as part of an effort to reduce carbon emissions.

(BAB) purchased BWIA West Indies Airways (TTA)'s seven coveted slot pairs and landing rights at London Heathrow (LHR) for no more than £5 million, according to press reports in Trinidad & Tobago. BWIA (TTA) will be shut down, and replaced by Caribbean Airlines (TTA) in January 2007.

January 2007: See attached "Flight International" article "BAB - JAN07," which details how British Airways (BAB)'s next challenge is the environment.

(BAB) said it will change its baggage policy from February 13 by placing restrictions on the number and size of bags that can be checked, and charging customers fixed fees of up to £120/$232 per excess bag.

Long-haul, economy (Y) passengers will be restricted to one checked bag weighing no more than 23 kg/50 lb as well as one piece of sporting equipment, such as a golf bag. Passengers traveling long-haul to select locations, including North America, still will be able to check two bags. First-class (F) passengers will be able to check three 23-kg pieces at no charge and business-class (C) passengers will be allowed two 23-kg pieces.

On short-haul routes, including all domestic flights, economy (Y) passengers will be permitted to check just one 23-kg bag, while Club Europe premium customers (C) will be allowed two. On all flights, passengers with infants will be allowed to check "a collapsible baby buggy" in addition to one bag for the young traveler.

Under the new rules, domestic passengers checking extra bags will be charged £30 per bag, short-haul travelers will be charged £60 and long-haul £120. Passengers can get discounts of £6 to £24 per bag, depending on flight distance, if they pay the excess baggage fees online before coming to the airport.

STG Aerospace of the UK signed supply deals with both British Airways (BAB) and Air Canada (ACN) for its SafTGlo photoluminescent cabin floorpath marking system.

February 2007: Starting March 20th, new daily London Gatwick (LGW)- Newquay, using 737s. Starting March 25, new 3/week, (LGW) - Sarajevo, using 737-400s.

(BAB) took a first step toward renewal of its long-haul fleet with an order for four 777-200ERs, plus four options, and also placed an order for four A320s. The Boeing (TBC) order, while not unexpected, was a blow to Airbus (EDS), which was pitching the A330 and saw a potential deal as an opening for the A350 XWB.

April 2007: (BAB) is not in talks to acquire a stake in bmi (BMA) and is not really interested in (IBE) either, (CEO), Willie Walsh told "The Guardian."

(BAB) began selling tickets for the first 380 scheduled flights to depart or arrive at London Heathrow's new Terminal 5, which will open March 27. (BAB)'s move to its new facility is planned in four phases. Eventually, more than >90% of (BAB) flights will operate out of T5.

(BAB) selected (Trent 800)s to power the four 777-200ERs ordered previously for delivery in 2009. It also signed a long-term maintenance agreement. Of (BAB)'s 43 777s, 15 are (Trent)-powered 777-200ERs with the remainder outfitted with the (GE90).

May 2007: (BAB) announced that it ordered eight new A320 family airplanes for delivery in 2008 to 2010 as a "first step" toward a single-type short-haul fleet across its network. It also will upgrade its Gatwick-based short-haul fleet by replacing its oldest 14 737s with A319s.

June 2007: London Heathrow (LHR)'s new £50 million/$98.6 million air traffic control (ATC) tower was opened officially. Controllers have been operating at the 87-m-high tower for the past seven weeks. It has a 360-degree view of the entire airfield and handles up to 90 arrivals and departures per hour on two runways.

(BAB) will transfer flights from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Houston Intercontinental (IAH) from London Gatwick to Heathrow effective March 30. Daily (DFW) and twice-daily (IAH) service will be operated with 777s.

July 2007: Air China (BEJ) and British Airways (BAB) introduced interline e-ticketing this month.

August 2007: Walsh noted that (BAB) has joined with a consortium led by the Texas Pacific Group (TPG) "to look at a potential bid for Iberia (IBE) and are currently involved in due diligence"

September 2007: British Airways (BAB) will end daily service between London Heathrow and Detroit, effective March 30, after 50 years of operating the route. "It's just that the nature of Detroit has changed," spokesperson John Lampl said. He said the automotive industry, a major economic engine for the area, has become fragmented over the years.

Making one of the most anticipated long-haul airplane order announcements in recent years, (BAB) said it will purchase 12 A380s and 24 787s and place options for a further seven A380s and 18 787s. The split order means that (BAB) for the first time will operate long-haul Airbus (EDS) airplanes. On the Boeing (TBC) side, the airline will order both the 787-8 and 787-9. Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 900) engines were selected to power the A380s, while the (Trent 1000) was chosen for the 787s. Total list price value of the collective firm orders of airplanes and engines is $8.2 billion. The 787 will be used to start new routes to Asia, South America and North America and increase frequencies on existing routes. The new airplanes will replace 20 of (BAB)'s 57 747-400s and all 14 of its 767s, and will be delivered between 2010 and 2014, with the first 787 arriving in 2010, and the first A380 in 2012.

(BAB) will take a decision on replacement of the remainder of its 747-400 fleet in 2008 to 2009. The candidate airplanes as the 787-10, 777-300ER and A350 XWB, but no mention is made of the 747-8.

The 787-8 and 787-9s will be used to replace some of (BAB)’s 14 767s. "The great thing about the [787s] is that they can be used for long- or short-haul routes. It is a very flexible airplane and we will be looking at a whole host of opportunities," says the spokeswoman.

October 2007: Aer Lingus (ARL) and British Airways (BAB) signed a code share agreement covering all (ARL) flights between its new Belfast (BFS) base and London Heathrow (LHR). (ARL) will launch thrice-daily, (BFS) - (LHR) service on January 14, and add a fourth daily flight at the end of March.

December 2007: Thales (THL) said that it has received Category IIIb approval from (EASA) to utilize its (MLS) precision approach and landing system. Airbus (EDS) said last month that (EASA) certification had been granted for (THL)'s (MLS) system on A320 family airplanes and that British Airways (BAB) would be the first to implement it at London Heathrow in 2008. (THL)'s announcement appeared to signal across-the-board certification for all airplane types, but did note that (BAB) would be the first to use it. "This application of the (MLS) technology, is a world-first and means that more flights will be able to land safely in difficult weather, where air traffic is dense and where interference from buildings or objects around the approach to the airport is extensive," (THL) said. The technology, which employs a microwave signal and has been under development since the 1980s, is dependent upon both a ground station and an onboard system. A multimode receiver onboard the airplane computes position and determines the ideal approach path using a C-Band digital signal sent by (MLS) ground transmitters.

January 2008: 2007 statistics: 113.11 billion (RPK)s passenger traffic -1.4%; -.4% capacity (ASK)s; -.8 load factor for 75.6% LF. SEE ATTACHED COMPARISON CHART TO SELECTED OPERATORS - "BAB-2007-STATS."

British Airways (BAB) will launch five-times-weekly, London Heathrow - Hyderabad flights on October 27 aboard a 777. Hyderabad becomes (BAB)'s sixth Indian destination.

(BAB) will launch its new transatlantic subsidiary, "OpenSkies," in June with daily flights from New York (JFK) to Brussels and Paris Charles de Gaulle using 757s carrying up to 82 passengers in business (C), premium economy and economy (Y) sections. The name of the new carrier reflects the pending liberalization of the USA/(EC) aviation market, effective March 31, that allows carriers from either side of the Atlantic access to any destination within the USA or (EC), provided slots are available. Initially, "OpenSkies" service will be launched with a single airplanes with plans to add a second later this year, and increase the fleet to six by the end of 2009. All will come from the (BAB) fleet and will be retrofitted with Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) blended winglets. Dale Moss, a former Director Worldwide Sales for (BAB), will become the "OpenSkies" Managing Director.

(BAB) pilots (FC) will vote on strike action in a dispute over their status in the airline's new "OpenSkies" subsidiary, British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) confirmed. (BALPA) represents nearly all (BAB)'s 3,200 pilots (FC)

ACCDT: The UK's Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) will be joined by the USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Boeing (TBC) to investigate an accident at London Heathrow (LHR), where a British Airways (BAB) 777-236ER (342-30314, /01 G-YMMM), landed in the grass several hundred meters short of Runway 27L near a busy perimeter road. The airplane skidded, causing severe damage to the landing gear, both engines Rolls Royce (RRC) (RB211 Trent 895-17) and the wings. Three passengers suffered minor injuries during evacuation, (BAB) said. Of the total 16 crew (FC)/(ca), & 136 passengers, the "British Broadcasting Corp" (BBC) reported that 18 were taken to the hospital with minor injuries - see attached article "BAB-ACCDT-JAN07."

"Regrettably one of our airplanes has been involved in an incident today at Heathrow," (CEO), Willie Walsh said immediately after the accident. "Our 16 flight (FC) and cabin crew (CA) did a magnificent job and safely evacuated all of the 136 passengers." He noted that the airplane's captain (FC) "is one of our most experienced and has been flying with us for nearly 20 years." Flight BA038 was arriving from Beijing. The runway was closed for about 2 hours and reopened for departing airplanes at 14:30, while arriving airplanes continued landing on the northern runway, the British Airports Authority (BAA) said.

The UK's (AAIB) said its initial findings on the (BAB) 777-236ER crash landing at London Heathrow revealed that the two Rolls-Royce (Trent 895-17) engines did not respond to attempts to increase thrust during the airplane's descent. The agency's "initial report" said interviews and flight data recorder analyses "show the flight and approach to have progressed normally until" the airplane was "approximately 600 ft and 2 miles from touchdown," at which point "the autothrottle demanded an increase in thrust from the two engines, but the engines did not respond. Following further demands for the increased thrust from the autothrottle, and subsequently the flight crew moving the throttle levers, the engines similarly failed to respond." The (AAIB) added that the 777's "speed reduced" as a result of the nonresponsive engines and it landed short of the paved runway, sustaining "substantial" damage. The agency said it now is focused on "examining the range of airplane systems that could influence engine operation." The report also revealed that following the rough touchdown, "the right main landing gear separated from the wing and the left main landing gear was pushed through the wing root." In addition, "a significant amount of fuel leaked from the airplane" following the landing, the report said, squelching speculation that the 777 en route from Beijing ran out of fuel. The (AAIB) said Boeing (TBC) and Rolls (RR) are assisting with the investigation into the first crash involving a 777. The agency said that four crew and eight passengers sustained minor injuries, while one passenger suffered a "serious" injury, which press reports identified as a broken leg.

The UK (AAIB) issued an update later in its effort to trace the cause of the (BAB) 777-236ER accident, confirming that neither the (Trent 895-17)s "responded to throttle lever inputs during the final approach" although they did continue to run. The airplane landed about 300 m short of Runway 27L, causing significant damage to the landing gear, wings and engines, plus mostly minor injuries to some passengers. Initial inquiries focused on the engines and the (AAIB) elaborated, reporting that "whilst the airplane was stabilized on an (ILS) approach with the autopilot engaged, the autothrust system commanded an increase in thrust from both engines. The engines both initially responded, but after about three seconds, the thrust of the right engine reduced. Some eight seconds later, the thrust reduced on the left engine to a similar level. The engines did not shut down and both engines continued to produce thrust at an engine speed above flight idle, but less than the commanded thrust." The 777 was adequately fueled and both the autothrottle and engine control commands performed properly prior to and after the reduction in thrust. "All possible scenarios that could explain the thrust reduction and continued lack of response of the engines to throttle lever inputs, are being examined, in close cooperation with Boeing (TBC), Rolls-Royce (RR) and British Airways (BAB)," the investigators said. This will include a "detailed analysis" of the complete fuel flow path.

First Officer, John Coward told the "Sunday Mirror" that "as the final approach started, I became aware that there was no power. Suddenly there was nothing from any of the engines and the plane started to glide."

Investigators probing the nonfatal crash landing suspect the incident was caused by fuel-system contamination, perhaps from small particles or ice. Such a finding could call into question longstanding aviation-industry assumptions and safeguards regarding jetliner fuel systems and internal icing hazards on some long-distance flights, particularly in extreme cold conditions. The seven-year-old 777 bellied into the grass, hundreds of yards short of a runway.

Investigators are still pursuing other angles in determining why both of the plane's engines suddenly stopped providing adequate power. But they increasingly suspect that some blockage interrupted fuel flow during the flight's final two miles, according to USA-government documents and people close to the investigation. The probe is concentrating on "small-sized contamination, building up in the engine fuel systems" or "ice in the fuel, somehow limiting the fuel flow to the engines." The crash raises questions about fuel procedures, when operating long-distance, polar flights. If it turns out that enough ice or some other contaminants blocked the fuel system, the industry may be forced to re-evaluate safeguards and routine operational procedures.

Boeing (TBC) engineers and British government officials have been working on a safety bulletin, slated to be released soon, to update airlines about the direction of the probe. Some crash investigators seem focused on a theory that unusually cold temperatures during cruise formed ice particles, that may have changed the consistency of the fuel, turning it into more of a gel, impeding flow during landing, and preventing the pilots (FC) from getting additional thrust.

Pilots (FC) and safety experts said both engines of the (BAB) plane normally would have been draining fuel directly out of the same center tank during final descent to the field. Jetliners rely on additives to prevent ice formation inside tanks and fuel lines, but they don't typically have heaters to warm fuel. In the past few days, investigators have found internal damage to at least one fuel pump, suggesting that the pumps weren't receiving adequate fuel flows.

See (AAIB) report at: http://www.aaib.dft.gov.uk/cms_resources/S1-2008%20G-YMMM.pdf

Later, the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch released a Special Bulletin indicating that its investigation into this accident is centered on the fuel pumps and not the engines. The (AAIB) said examination of both the left and right high-pressure fuel pumps "revealed signs of abnormal cavitation on the pressure-side bearings and the outlet parts," that could indicate either a restriction of the fuel supply or "excessive aeration" of the fuel. It said Boeing (TBC) confirmed that both pumps remained capable of delivering full flow. The agency said it now is attempting to replicate the damage found in the fuel pumps and match it to data recorded during the flight. It also expressed concerns that the fuel supply was not cut off following the crash, which led to leakage that could have caught fire.

ACCIDENT (January 2008) Report Continuation (released in May 2008): Investigation into the January 17 crash landing of a (BAB) 777 on final approach to London Heathrow has not revealed an anomaly that could have caused the flow of fuel to the engines to be reduced as the pilots (FC) called for more power, according to the UK (AAIB), although restricted fuel flow was certainly the cause of the nonfatal accident. In an update, the (AAIB) noted that the engine control system detected the reduced flow and "commanded the fuel metering valve to open fully." The valve responded, "but with no appreciable change in the fuel flow to either engine." Some kind of "restriction" in the fuel system between the fuel tanks and the pumps is suspected. Examination of the airplane and analysis of recorded data "have revealed no evidence of an airplane or engine control system malfunction," nor is there any evidence of "a wake vortex encounter, a bird strike or core engine icing. There is no evidence of any anomalous behavior of any of the airplane or engine systems that suggests electromagnetic interference. The fuel has been tested extensively; it is of good quality, in many respects exceeding the appropriate specification, and shows no evidence of contamination or excessive water. Detailed examination of the fuel system and pipe work has found no unusual deterioration or physical blockages."

A later report (September 2008) by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said that ice within the fuel feed system "most probably" caused restricted fuel flow to the (Trent 800)s powering the 777-200ER. The (AAIB) just released a detailed interim report on the accident investigation, noting that the flight from Beijing to (LHR) "was uneventful and the operation of the engines was normal until the final approach." But when autothrottles commanded an increase in thrust, an initial response gave way to reduced thrust of the right engine at about 720 ft, followed by a similar reduction in the left engine about 7 seconds later. "The reduction in thrust on both engines was the result of less than commanded fuel flows," the (AAIB) said. It added that a possible cause was that "ice had accreted throughout the fuel feed system and then was released during an increased fuel flow demand." It said the ice "is likely to have formed from water that occurred naturally in the fuel, whilst the airplane operated for a long period, with low fuel levels, in an unusually cold environment." It added, though, that (BAB) had "at all times" operated the 777-200ER "within the certified envelope."
The (AAIB) recommended that changes to the fuel system design be examined long-term and that near-term "operational changes to reduce the risk of ice formation" be mandated by (EASA) and the USA (FAA). But it also noted that "this is the first such event in 6.5 million flight hours" and that the probability of such a scenario reoccurring is "remote." (End of report).

See later similar incident as follows:
INCDT: The USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it is investigating an incident in which a (DAL) 777-200ER experienced an "uncommanded engine rollback in the cruise phase of an intercontinental flight." (DAL) Flight 18 was over Montana en route from Shanghai to Atlanta (ATL) on November 26, 2008 at about 12:30 pm MST, when the incident occurred to the No 2 engine. The airplane is powered by Rolls-Royce (Trent 895)s, the same type of engines that powered the (BAB) 777 that crash landed at London Heathrow (LHR) last January after it suffered a dual engine rollback on final approach.

According to the (NTSB), the crew of the (DAL) jet descended to 31,000 ft, whereupon "the engine recovered and responded normally thereafter" and the crew elected to continue to (ATL), where the airplane landed without further incident. The (NTSB) said flight data recorders and other applicable data and components were retrieved from the airplane for testing and evaluation.

London Heathrow (LHR)'s long-awaited Terminal 5 (T5) will open on schedule March 27. T5, a gleaming, light-filled, five-story building, will allow (BAB) to consolidate most of its flight operations at Heathrow. The new terminal, which is owned and operated by the (BAA), was built at a cost of £4.3 billion/$8.43 billion and appears to be nearly ready for passengers. (BAB) has invested an additional +£300 million for lounges and other amenities. Boyle said T5 was not built primarily to add capacity, but rather because (BAB) wanted facilities that reflect its brand as a "premier service provider." It accounts for about 41% of annual air traffic movements at (LHR), he said. The terminal, which includes two smaller satellites along with the ramps and parking stands, covers 260 hectares. Earlier this week, thousands of battered suitcases stood at the ready in the T5 departure hall, where they were being used in test runs of the newly installed baggage system from Vanderlande Industries and IBM. (BAB) officials said they wanted to guarantee that the new system, featuring 12 carousels, will work without a hitch on opening day. It is designed to process up to 12,000 pieces per hour, though the airport expects to handle closer to 7,000. There are no plans to include (RFID) technology, because it is not widely accepted and there are no global standards.

(BAB) has installed 96 new self-service check-in kiosks in additional to traditional counters. "We expect it will be up in the top of the best airports," he stated.

Astraeus (AUA) wet-leased a 757 to (BAB) for operation on European routes to and from London Gatwick through March.

(BAB) signed the contract for 16 787-9s and eight 787-8s worth $4.4 billion at list prices. The deal includes options for 18 787s and 10 purchase rights.

February 2008: (BAB) will launch flights from London Gatwick to Poznan (daily, from March 30), Antalya (thrice-weekly, from April 10) and Genoa (daily, from April 4).

(BAB) said that the 777-236ER (30314, G-YMMM) involved in the emergency landing at (LHR) last month has been written off, with the insurance claim "agreed in full" and no "material effect" on the company's financial performance.

A new business class (C) service will be operated aboard 32-seat A318s and will begin next year. The flights will be operated by the mainline as opposed to the "OpenSkies" subsidiary, and will connect (LCY) with either New York (JFK) or Newark (EWR), depending on slot availability. (BAB) will offer 15-minute check-ins and lie-flat business class (C) seats. It currently flies from (LHR) to (JFK) eight-times-daily, and (EWR) thrice-daily.

"OpenSkies," (BAB)'s new transatlantic subsidiary, will operate its first flight between either Paris Charles de Gaulle or Paris Orly and New York (JFK), (BAB) said in a filing and application for traffic rights with the USA Department of Transportation. "OpenSkies" will fly with both the (BAB) and its own European Commission (EC) code and plans to launch service in June. It said it intends to extend its European network to cities such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, and Milan, "as well as other USA points." It will take a second 757-200 this year and hopes to be operating six 82-seat 757s by the end of 2009. But there could be trouble ahead, as (BAB) pilots (FC) voted 86% in favor of strike action to protest the new carrier, which the British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) said would be a "Trojan horse to force down their own pay and conditions." A strike "would effectively ground (BAB) worldwide," (BALPA) said. (BAB) said it has "guaranteed" that "OpenSkies" constitutes no threat, while (CEO), Willie Walsh told "Reuters" he is "confident that a settlement can be achieved through conciliation."

(BAB) gave little credence to concerns that it has fallen behind major European rivals in the rush toward consolidation, insisting it must move at its own pace. Instead it confirmed an increase in its Iberia (IBE) stake to 10.1% from 10%, that "ensures we continue to derive tax and accounting benefits," according to (CFO), Keith Williams.

With the end of the UK government's consultation on expansion at London Heathrow (LHR) approaching, rivals (BAB) and (VAA) reiterated their support for a third runway at the world's largest international airport. "Expansion is crucial for (BAB) and all other airlines operating from the airport. Heathrow is slipping behind. The facts speak for themselves, with a cut in the number of destinations it serves while other European hubs increase and expand."

In November, the UK government outlined plans on how (LHR) could be developed over the next 20 years. Proposals include the possibility of a new 2,200-m runway by 2020 and introduction of mixed-mode use of existing runways as an interim measure. At present, the two runways are used for either takeoff or landing at any one time. The Department for Transport (DfT) says full mixed mode throughout the day would provide up to +60,000 additional movements per year, and could bring total movements to around 540,000 by 2015. This represents an increase in movements of +12% and is equivalent to an average of eight extra airplanes every hour, or 88 per hour, compared with 80 under segregated mode. Under the (DfT)'s proposals, (LHR) could operate with three runways from around 2020 with around 702,000 annual movements.

The prospect of adding a third runway was included in the government's well-known Air Transport White Paper of 2003. Public consultation began November 22 and ran until February 27.

Oneworld (ONW) airlines will begin bringing all operations together at Beijing International in the airport's vast new passenger terminal. (BAB) and Qantas (QAN) will move on February 29, while the alliance's other members serving Beijing (Cathay Pacific (CAT), Dragonair (DRG), Finnair (FIN), and Japan Airlines (JAL)) will transfer into Terminal 3 on March 26. The six (ONW) carriers will use check-in desks in the terminal's Area C.

March 2008: British Airways (BAB) announced the purchase of 28.7 million shares of Iberia (IBE) at an average price of €2.34/$3.69 per share, lifting its stake in its Oneworld (ONW) partner to 13.15%.

Queen Elizabeth II officially opened London Heathrow (LHR)'s Terminal 5, launching a £4.3 billion/$8.7 billion facility that the (BAA) and British Airways (BAB) hope will transform (LHR) from an airport with a poor customer service reputation, into a modern, more efficient gateway. The new terminal, at which operations started March 27, will be able to handle as many as 30 million passengers annually. (BAB) will be the sole airline occupant. (SEE ATTACHED - "BAB T5 -A/B/C-MAR08").

(BAB) subsidiary, "OpenSkies" revealed several product features for the transatlantic 757 service it plans to launch in June. The three-class, 82-seat 757-200s will have 24 business class (C) seats, Managing Director, Dale Moss wrote on the start-up's website. The cabin, dubbed "Biz," will feature lie-flat seats, on-demand In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) with more than >50 hours of programming and an expanded menu with "more fresh, healthy, a la carte selections . . . and a service style that is modeled from a fine dining restaurant." A "Biz" ticket also will include dedicated check-in and private airport lounges.

April 2008: AerCap Holdings (DEA) subsidiary, AeroTurbine (AUB) reached a 10-year deal with (BAB) for the purchase, sale and lease of components including wheels and brakes for 737, 757, 767, 777, and 747-400 airplanes. The contract calls for a 6 to 10-year leaseback in line with (BAB)'s fleet renewal plans, as well as strategic worldwide wheel and brake positioning to support daily flight operations and maintenance.

May 2008: Despite rising fuel prices, an economic slowdown and the troubled opening of London Heathrow's Terminal 5 in the last days of its fiscal year, British Airways (BAB) reported a record profit performance for the year ended March 31 with net income of +£694 million/+$1.35 billion, more than double the +£304 million it earned in the prior year. It also delivered on its goal of a 10% operating margin for the 12-month period. Total revenue was up +3.1% to £8.75 billion, while operating expenses rose just +0.7% to £7.87 billion. Operating profit climbed +45.3% to +£875 million from +£602 million a year earlier.

Full-year passenger revenue rose +3.8% to £7.5 billion on a +0.3% increase in passengers carried to 33.1 million. Traffic (RPK)s inched up +0.1% to 113.01 billion, and capacity grew +0.8% to 149.57 billion (ASK)s, producing a load factor of 75.6% LF, down -0.5 point. Yield lifted +3.6% to 6.67 pence, owing to an improved mix of premium traffic and the effect of fuel surcharge increases. Premium cabin traffic grew +4.4%. (RASK) was up +2.9% to 5.04 pence. Cargo revenue increased +3% to £616 million, but cargo yield dropped -1.2% to 12.59 pence. Looking forward, Walsh warned that the first quarter will be "particularly" difficult, owing to fuel price increases and the delayed transition of all flights to T5. The full year will "also be challenging," (BAB) said. "As a result, we have reduced capital expenditure and are reviewing our capacity, costs and network in the context of the economic pressures and high fuel prices." It expects Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 revenue to rise around +4% and nonfuel costs to grow +3% to +3.5%.

(BAB) will begin shifting long-haul flights to London Heathrow's Terminal 5 next month, it said in a joint statement with airports operator (BAA). The move will be phased, in contrast to the short-haul transfer, that coincided with an operationally disastrous opening of its £4.3 billion/$8.4 billion new home in March. "We will move our Terminal 4 long-haul program into Terminal 5 in phases," (BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh said, noting that the carrier took this decision "in the interests of customers." He added: "Terminal 5 is now working well." On June 5, flights to and from eight long-haul destinations will transfer to T5: New York (JFK), Abuja, Bangalore, Beijing, Cairo, Cape Town, Lagos, and Phoenix. Combined, they amount to about a quarter of (BAB)'s T4 schedule.

(BAB)'s startup transatlantic subsidiary, "OpenSkies" received approval from the USA Dept of Transportation (DOT) to begin operations. (BAB) said the approval was the last regulatory hurdle it needed to clear and that OpenSkies' 757 premium service will launch next month with flights between Paris Orly and New York (JFK). The (DOT) also approved OpenSkies' code share arrangement with L'Avion (LVI), the French premium carrier.

(BAB) will launch its "OpenSkies" subsidiary next month, and also plans to begin serving London Gatwick (this fall) and London City (next year) from (JFK). It currently serves (LHR) and Manchester from the airport.

(BAB)'s transatlantic subsidiary "OpenSkies" will operate its first daily, Paris Orly - New York (JFK) flight on June 19, with one-way fares starting at $1,746 in business class (C), $720 in its Prem+ premium economy, and $554 in economy (Y), it announced as tickets went on sale. Each 757 frequency will have no more than 82 passengers onboard. Its Biz business class (C) will feature lie-flat beds while Prem+ offers reclining seats at 52-inches pitch. There will be 30 seats in economy (Y). A second 757 will join the fleet "later this year" and "OpenSkies" plans to operate six airplanes by the the end of 2009. It is targeting Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, and Milan for future service to (JFK).

ACCIDENT (January 2008) Report Continuation: Investigation into the January 17 crash landing of a (BAB) 777 on final approach to London Heathrow has not revealed an anomaly that could have caused the flow of fuel to the engines to be reduced as the pilots (FC) called for more power, according to the UK Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB), although restricted fuel flow was certainly the cause of the nonfatal accident. In an update, the (AAIB) noted that the engine control system detected the reduced flow and "commanded the fuel metering valve to open fully." The valve responded, "but with no appreciable change in the fuel flow to either engine." Some kind of "restriction" in the fuel system between the fuel tanks and the pumps is suspected. Examination of the airplane and analysis of recorded data "have revealed no evidence of an airplane or engine control system malfunction," nor is there any evidence of "a wake vortex encounter, a bird strike or core engine icing. There is no evidence of any anomalous behavior of any of the airplane or engine systems that suggests electromagnetic interference. The fuel has been tested extensively; it is of good quality, in many respects exceeding the appropriate specification, and shows no evidence of contamination or excessive water. Detailed examination of the fuel system and pipe work has found no unusual deterioration or physical blockages."

Investigators are examining whether "particularly" cold temperatures along the flight path may have had something to do with the restriction, although the temperatures "were not exceptional" and tests revealed that the fuel onboard had a measured freezing temperature of -57 degrees C, well below the minimum recorded lowest fuel temperature of -34 degrees C.

(BAB) signed a firm contract with Airbus (EDS) for two A318s. It will use the airplanes to launch all-business-class (C) services between London City (LCY) and New York scheduled for 2009. The A318 last year was certified for steep approach after compatibility tests at (LCY).

June 2008: Japan Airlines (JAL) began placing its code on twice-daily , British Airways (BAB) flights between London Heathrow and Manchester , and from August 14, will place its code on Vietnam Airlines (VIE)'s four-times-weekly, Hanoi - Nagoya service.

(BAB), subsidiary "OpenSkies" operated its first daily flight between Paris Orly and New York (JFK) aboard a three-class, 82-seat 757. "While the economic climate has worsened in recent months, we believe that "OpenSkies" can compete effectively," (BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh said. "It has a low cost base and support from (BAB) in key areas such as Sales & Marketing. This differentiates it from some new airlines, that have failed recently which were operating in isolation without the backing of an established carrier."

It's not too late for struggling airlines to shift to new technology and cut costs, according to Paul Coby, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of (BAB). Coby, who also is chairman of the board of (SITA), told delegates to (SITA)'s Air Transport Information Technology (IT) Summit in Brussels to take advantage of the "community model" that allows carriers to use new technologies on a per-transaction basis, rather than requiring a large upfront investment. With skyrocketing fuel costs, the airline industry is facing a crisis unlike any other, Coby said. "After "9/11," we had a big, downward spike in traffic, but it came back," he said. "This is different. There is a fundamental shift in how the industry works."

Surviving the oil crisis "will depend to an enormous extent on (IT) and on the (CIO)s who make it work in airlines," he said. "(CIO)s should be talking to their airlines about how (IT) can improve customer service and cut costs across the whole airline, rather than simply running old (IT) systems." Coby said airlines should spend more on investing in new technology than in running the old. "How much you invest is not the same as how much you spend," he said. Service-oriented architecture also will have "interesting effects" on the industry, Coby said. It will allow airlines to link their legacy systems, which have been written down and in many cases still work well, to new technologies.

Airlines also should be sure that they are taking advantage of direct distribution to cut costs, Coby said. Online purchasing is becoming the "default" method of buying air travel, he said. Carriers also should be willing to be creative in cutting their costs, Coby said. For example, can an airline forgo the installation of airport self-service kiosks, which cost several thousand dollars, and instead set up a few Personal Computers (PC)s, that cost a few hundred dollars each?

Coby said the airline (IT) of the past "was focused on technology. The (IT) of the future will focus on processes, proposition and people." The differences between technology projects and business projects will disappear, he said. "It's the technology, stupid. It's central to everything we do."

July 2008: British Airways (BAB) reached an agreement to acquire French all-business-class (C) operator L'Avion (LVI) for £54 million/$107.7 million and will integrate the company into its new premium transatlantic subsidiary OpenSkies (OPK).

Rolls-Royce (RRC) and (BAB) announced the start of an alternative fuel test program that "will seek to identify practical alternatives to the current industry-standard fuel kerosene." The engine producer and the airline will initiate a joint tender process in an effort to find suppliers willing and able to offer samples for testing on a (RRC) (RB211) used to power a (BAB) 747. The tests will be carried out on an indoor engine testbed at the Rolls-Royce (RRC) facility in Derby, England. The companies plan to select up to four alternative fuels for testing. Each company will be asked to supply up to 60,000 liters of its alternative fuel. "In each case, the engine will be operated through its full range of power settings, including idle, acceleration, takeoff and cruise," Rolls (RRC) and (BAB) said. Testing is expected to be completed by the end of March 2009. (BAB) joins Air New Zealand (ANZ), Continental Airlines (CAL), Japan Airlines (JAL), and JetBlue Airways (JBL) among carriers that have committed to test biofuels. Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) is to date, the only airline to carry out a biofuel demonstration flight.

The initial problems at London Heathrow's new Terminal 5 that resulted in hundreds of flight cancellations and delays and an overwhelming luggage pileup that cost sole tenant (BAB) some £16 million have been resolved, officials claimed. At the time, (BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh said the March launch was "definitely not (BAB)'s finest hour."

Some 15 long-haul arrivals and departures recently moved from T4 to T5 and the remaining 45 flights will transfer in yet another two phases: 30 daily flights will switch on September 17 and the final 15 will transfer at the end of October.

At the Farnborough Air Show, airline executives said that even the world's most successful carriers will have to consider hiking passenger ticket prices and cargo carriage charges to contend with high fuel costs. "I think in the current fuel environment there is no question that prices will have to go up," (BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh said. "Prices going up, will have an impact on demand and that will lead to capacity reductions . . . We've got to price $150 [per barrel] oil into our tickets."

(BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh told reporters at Farnborough that the carrier and Rolls-Royce (RRC) have determined that alternative fuel tests will be more valuable if conducted on an indoor engine testbed. "We believe a controlled test environment can [enable us to] collect more accurate data than on an actual flight," he said. (BAB) and Rolls (RRC) are seeking four companies to supply up to 60,000 liters of an alternative fuel for testing at Rolls (RRC)'s Derby facility to be completed by the end of March 2009. "We're looking for an alternative fuel, that can do the basic job of operating an airplane safely and increase fuel efficiency, but also one that will not pressure food supplies," Walsh explained. He conceded that "technological breakthroughs . . . are unlikely to occur in the short term," adding that airlines need to take mid-term steps to become more energy efficient. He said carriers operating to crowded London Heathrow (LHR) should "slow down the airplanes" to avoid fuel-consuming holding and circling above (LHR). He said (BAB)'s profitability is threatened by soaring fuel prices, noting that its full-year 2008 fuel costs are likely to increase by more than >£1 billion/$2 billion compared to 2007 to above £3 billion. "This is a massive challenge," he said.

(BAB) selected (CFM56-5B)s to power two A318s in an engine order valued at more than >$25 million at list price. The airplanes are scheduled for delivery in 2009, and will be used on (BAB)'s all-business-class (C) route between London City (LCY) and New York (JFK).

August 2008: 1st 6 months = 53.8 billion (RPK)s traffic - - see "BAB-08TOPWLD6MTHSRPK."

(BAB) confirmed it is currently in merger talks with Iberia (IBE). The tie-up would create a group with annual revenue of €16.6 billion/$25.89 billion and 443 airplanes carrying some 65 million passengers annually. Under the proposals, (BAB) and (IBE) would retain their brands.

(BAB) placed an order for two 777-300ERs valued at $529 million and agreed to lease four more from (GECAS) (GEF), Boeing (TBC) said. Two of the four to be leased, are new orders placed by the lessor, the manufacturer said, with the remaining two part of a 2007 order. Including the latest two, (GECAS) (GEF) has ordered 25 777s (a combination of freighters and 777-300ERs) since 2006.

(BAB) also secured four 777-300ER options directly with (TBC), the manufacturer said.

September 2008: British Airways (BAB) said that it has cancelled its six-times-weekly, London Heathrow - Islamabad service in response to the September 20 Marriott hotel bombing in the Pakistani capital, that killed at least 50 people. "In light of the security situation in Pakistan, (BAB) has cancelled its flights from Islamabad to Heathrow indefinitely," it said. "The safety and security of our customers, our staff and our operation is always our absolute priority."

(BAB) moved another chunk of its international flights into London Heathrow's new Terminal 5 (T5) and expressed confidence that it has overcome the problems that beset (T5)'s March opening. Since then, the terminal has handled 8.5 million passengers. The carrier started operating flights to the USA, Latin America, and Canada from (T5).

(BAB) is accelerating plans to trim its management ranks. Speaking on "Bloomberg Television," (CEO), Willie Walsh said he expects an estimated 300 managers (of an eligible 2,000) to accept
voluntary severance packages. (BAB) had an excellent 2007, relative to the industry, earning an 8% operating margin, but is running into trouble this year. January to March was good, but operating
margins dwindled to less than 2% from April to June, as oil rose ever higher and the British pound began to weaken against the USA dollar.

(BAB) signed up for Boeing (TBC)'s Performance Improvement Package for its fleet of 42 777s. The package is expected to reduce fuel spending per airplane by about -$200,000 annually (assuming $100-per-barrel crude oil prices), according to Boeing (TBC) estimates. Key elements include addition of a drooped aileron and a ram air system. In addition, Boeing (TBC) will provide redesigned wing vortex generators. The manufacturer expects the package to be certified by the USA (FAA) next year.

October 2008: British Airways (BAB) begins weekly London Gatwick (LGW) - St Kitts on January 10. In addition, it will increase service from London Heathrow (LHR) to Dubai (to 20-times-weekly from 14 on March 29) and Johannesburg (to 19-times-weekly from 14 on May 1). Atlanta and Toulouse flights will transfer to (LHR) from (LGW) on March 29.

(BAB) completed the move of flights designated for London Heathrow's Terminal 5 over to the new facility, including services to/from Denver, Boston, Montreal, Calgary, and Toronto. More than >80,000 flights and 11 million passengers have used T5 since its March opening.

(BAB) World Cargo's former Commercial General Manager, Keith Packer, pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix rates on international airfreight shipments and agreed to serve eight months in prison, the USA Department of Justice (DOJ) announced. Under terms of the deal, which is subject to court approval, Packer also will pay a $20,000 criminal fine and has pledged to cooperate with the (DOJ)'s ongoing investigation into cargo carrier collusion. He is the first foreign national and third individual charged as part of the (DOJ)'s investigation. In May, Bruce McCaffrey, Qantas (QAN)'s highest-ranking executive in the USA, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail and a $20,000 fine. (SAS)'s highest-ranking US-based cargo executive, Timothy Pfeil, also pleaded guilty and will serve six months. Nine carriers have been charged and pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix prices on air cargo rates: British Airways (BAB), Korean Air Lines (KAL), Qantas (QAN), Japan Airlines (JAL), (SAS), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), Martinair (MTH), Air France (AFA), and (KLM).

NIIT Technologies inked a three-year, multimillion-dollar deal with (BAB) to support and test business-critical applications across various business areas.

(BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh reiterated his call to move forward with the second phase of (EU) - USA "open skies" and to remove all current ownership and control restrictions, so airlines can consolidate. "It is absolutely clear to me that one of the solutions to the problems this industry is facing is consolidation. Several months ago, (BAB) concluded it could survive with oil at $120 to $150 per barrel, "but it is imperative that airlines are allowed to consolidate, on a truly global scale," Walsh said.

Governments have a definite role in regulating aviation safety, he added, but stressed that oversight of airline ownership and control is "madness" in this day and age. "We need governments to get out of airlines. It is part of the problem." He also was critical of certain Persian Gulf states that are investing heavily in airlines. "While I do understand the economic need of developing countries to support their national carrier, I do not think Abu Dhabi needs to fund a state airline. I do not think that this is what is required in this industry," he said. He was equally dismissive of apparent recent statements from Qatar Airways (QTA), that it sees no need to turn a profit.

Walsh said he is "confident" the (BAB)/American Airlines (AAL)/Iberia (IBE) application for antitrust immunity will be successful. "If it is disapproved, it will represent a major step backward" for the industry, he warned.

Qantas (QAN) and (BAB) both admitted to violating Australian competition laws relating to air cargo fuel surcharges in 2002 through 2006, and reached agreement with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to pay fines of A$20 million/$12.2 million and A$5 million, respectively. "(QAN) apologizes unreservedly for the conduct of the employees involved," (CEO), Geoff Dixon said. (BAB) said it "has a longstanding competition compliance policy and it is highly regrettable that this policy was not adhered to in relation to fuel surcharges on the carriage of cargo."

November 2008: British Airways (BAB) confirmed that passengers using its all-business-class (C) London City - New York service will be able to clear USA customs at the Shannon stopover. The twice-daily, A318 service, set to launch next autumn, will require a fuel stop on the westbound segment.

(BAB) will resume service to Jeddah (aboard a 767) and Riyadh (777) with five-times-weekly flights from London Heathrow beginning March 29. (BAB) suspended the routes in March 2005.

Thales (THL) said its TopSeries In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system was selected by British Airways (BAB) for the 777-300ER, 787 and A380 airplanes it has on order. Screen size will be 15.4 inches in first class (F), 12.1 inches in business class (C), 10.6 inches in premium economy, and 8.9 inches in economy (Y). (BAB) will offer (USB) and (RCA) ports at each seat.

December 2008: British Airways (BAB) said merger discussions with Iberia (IBE) are continuing.

(BAB) will reduce the number of airplanes based at London Gatwick (LGW) to 37 from 41 next summer, and cut more than >100 ground operations positions. "We have briefed our staff and their trade unions that the number of departures at (LGW) will reduce by -15% next summer compared to this summer. We aim to have a voluntary severance program in place by the end of the year," (BAB) said. It already has announced the suspension of flights from (LGW) to Dublin and Zurich.

Deutsche Post's DHL Exel Supply Chain unit won a 10-year, multimillion-dollar deal with (BAB) to provide in-flight catering services for domestic and short-haul flights from London Heathrow. The contract takes effect in April 2010, and calls for up to 13 million meals annually, inflight retail, media and comfort items as well as waste management and wash-up responsibilities. Northern Foods will prepare the meals under a subcontract with DHL.

(BAB) placed a firm order for six Embraer EMB-170s and five EMB-190SRs, plus options on a further three 190SRs, for its wholly owned BA CityFlyer regional subsidiary. The firm airplanes are worth $376.5 million at list prices "based on January 2008 economic conditions," (BAB) said. Embraer (EMB) said the deal could reach $489 million if all options are confirmed. The EMB-jets will operate out of London City and replace CityFlyer's current fleet of 10 Avro RJ-100s and two RJ-85s. The first 76Y-seat EMB-170 is scheduled for delivery in the second semester of 2009. The EMB-190SR will seat up to 98Y. Both types will feature a single, Y-class layout. "Having the combination of the EMB-170s and EMB-190SRs in the same fleet will give us greater flexibility, enabling us to match capacity with demand on routes within our existing and future network," CityFlyer Managing Director, Peter Simpson said. (BAB) signed up for the Embraer "Pool Flight Hour Program" for 10 years.

January 2009: British Airways (BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh told "The Financial Times (FT)" that Iberia (IBE)'s market valuation, which surpassed that of (BAB) on January 23, is "unacceptable." He said (IBE) shares are "overpriced" and that the sides "will look at this in the negotiations." The (FT) said that the share exchange ratio was 50.4% for (IBE) and 49.6% for (BAB) compared to 65% for (BAB) and 35% for (IBE) when talks began last summer. Walsh said he considered a ratio of 53% for (BAB) and 47% for (IBE) to be "unacceptable." (IBE) was valued at €1.82 billion last week, just above (BAB)'s £1.69 billion.

Japan Airlines (JAL) announced an expanded code share agreement with (BAB) under which (JAL) will place its code on (BAB) flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Lisbon, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow International beginning January 14.

(BAB)'s new all-business (C) transatlantic service from London City will allow passengers to communicate with mobile phones, although initially there will be no voice calls. (BAB) has selected communications specialist "OnAir" to provide the service which will enable Internet access and transmission of email and text messages.
(BAB) is to open a route between London City and New York (JFK) using A318 airplanes. (BAB) claims it will be the first UK airline to offer live in-flight communication services on a transatlantic connection. "Voice calls may be allowed in the future, subject to customer demand and feedback," says the carrier.

(BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh says the arrangement is a "perfect fit" for the new all-business (C) flights. "This is a great service for our customers who, we know, want to do business in the air or simply stay in touch via email or text," he says. OnAir, the joint venture between Airbus (EDS) and (SITA), says it wants to assist (BAB) to "differentiate its service offerings." OnAir said (BAB) will install its Mobile OnAir inflight communications service on its twice-daily, all-business-class (C) service between London City and New York (JFK).
(BAB) has been planning to start the London City - (JFK) flights around September. The flights will operate twice-daily, six days per week.

February 2009: British Airways (BAB) Chairman, Martin Broughton indicated (BAB) soon will decide whether to proceed with its planned merger with Iberia (IBE). "I would be very concerned if we weren't able to make a call at least in the first [fiscal] quarter" starting April 1, Broughton told "The Wall Street Journal." He added, "Probably the biggest obstacle [excluding (BAB)'s pension-fund deficit] is beyond our control, either of us, which is the market cap." CEO, Willie Walsh warned last week that a merger based on the airlines' current market capitalization would be "unacceptable."

Boeing (TBC) sent a notice to all (Trent 800)-powered 777 operators that both the un-commanded loss of thrust on a Delta Air Lines (DAL) 777-200ER in November and the dual rollback that led to the British Airways (BAB) 777-200ER crash landing at London Heathrow 13 months ago likely were caused by ice in the fuel feed system. A (TBC) spokesperson told the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer" that the notice includes precautionary measures that pilots (FC) can take in flight to reduce the chance that ice could affect thrust and that a "permanent fix" is expected. The "P-I" said the (FAA) codified (TBC)'s previous recommendations in September, before the (DAL) incident, and that (TBC) now has revised pilot (FC) procedures.

March 2009: British Airways (BAB) lowered its guidance for the 2009 to 2010 financial year beginning April 1 and said it now expects revenue to decline -5% and an operating result similar to the -£150 million/-$211.1 million) loss forecast for the current year excluding any severance costs. In January, (BAB) warned it would report the -£150 million operating loss for the current fiscal year ending March 31. It was +£89 million in the black through December 31. (BAB) said that its overall guidance for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 basically is unchanged and that it expects an increase in full-year revenue of 3.5% (down from the previously forecast 4%), a £950 million rise in fuel expenses and a +7% year-over-year lift in non-fuel costs. But fuel costs are expected to fall -10% in (FY) 2010. (BAB) is targeting a -£220 million reduction in underlying non-fuel costs, with a further -£80 million cut in (FY) 2011. It will lower summer capacity by -2%.

(BAB) did not disclose any new developments regarding its proposed merger with Iberia (IBE) and indicated only that further details are expected to be announced later this month.

The USA (FAA) amended an airworthiness directive (AD) pertaining to (Trent 800)-powered 777s to incorporate new procedures recommended by Boeing (TBC) to prevent the fuel feed system icing that is believed to have caused both the un-commanded loss of thrust on a Delta Air Lines (DAL) 777-200ER last November and the dual rollback that led to the January 2008, British Airways (BAB) 777-200ER crash landing at London Heathrow. The new rules revise in-flight procedures "by reducing the step climb from 3 to 2 hours prior to descent and by requiring flight crews (FC) to retard the throttles to minimum idle for 30 seconds at the top of descent." The (FAA) added that the "manufacturer," presumably (TBC) or Rolls-Royce (RRC) or both, "is currently developing a modification that will address" the fuel feed system icing issue. It said additional rule-making may be considered once the modification "is developed, approved and available." It did not place a timetable on the modification or detail it. The revised (AD) becomes effective on March 20. The (FAA) said a standard notice and public comment period are "impracticable" because of the "critical need to assure the proper functioning of the main tank fuel feed system."

The USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) later issued an "urgent safety recommendation" calling for (RRC) to "redesign" the (Trent 800)'s fuel/oil heat exchanger (FOHE) to prevent the fuel feed system icing that is believed to have caused both the un-commanded loss of thrust on a Delta Air Lines (DAL) 777-200ER last November and the dual rollback that led to the January 2008, British Airways (BAB) 777-200ER crash landing at London Heathrow (LHR).

The UK's Air Accidents Investigation Board issued (AAIB) a second interim report on the (LHR) crash that details extensive testing conducted by Boeing (TBC) demonstrating that the accident likely was caused by (FOHE) ice buildup that restricted fuel flow. "With two of these rollback events occurring within a year, we believe that there is a high probability of something similar happening again," (NTSB) Acting Chairman, Mark Rosenker said.

The USA (FAA) recently issued an amended airworthiness directive (AD)
pertaining to (Trent 800)-powered 777s to incorporate new procedures recommended by (TBC) to reduce the risk of fuel feed system icing.
But the (NTSB) stated, "While the procedures may reduce the risk of a rollback in one or both engines due to (FOHE) ice blockage, they add complexity to flight crew (FC) operations, and the level of risk reduction is not well established. And because the recovery procedure requires a descent, the airplane may be exposed to other risks." The (NTSB) added that "the only acceptable solution to this safety vulnerability is a redesigned (FOHE) that would eliminate the potential of ice buildup."

While (RRC) has not commented publicly on a redesign, the (NTSB) said that the engine manufacturer "indicated [on February 23] that a redesign of the (FOHE) was underway, and that they anticipated the redesign to be tested, certified and ready for installation within 12 months." (RRC) said in a statement issued to media that the (AAIB) interim report on the (LHR) incident "clearly states that the (RRC) equipment on this flight met or exceeded all requirements. The report also highlights the emerging issue of ice buildup in commercial 'long-cold-high' routes. This is an industry-wide issue which requires detailed research that is likely to shape future regulations and requirements."

B/E Aerospace received an (FAA) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for installation of its Overhead Flight Crew Rest (OFCR) on (BAB)'s 777-200ERs, replacing the B/E Aerospace Overhead Attendants Rest. The (OFCR) order is valued at $15 million.

Usablenet, a mobile-Web platform, launched mobile browser service for Emirates (EAD)'s and British Airways (BAB)'s websites, allowing travelers to access them from phones or Personal Digital Assistants (PDA)s.

Still three years away: First A380s and first 787s will come in 2012.

777-236ER (36516, G-YMMR), delivery.

April 2009: British Airways (BAB) maintained its guidance for an operating loss of approximately -£150 million/-$218.7 million for the fiscal year ended March 31 and said the deficit will be deepened by -£75 million in severance costs. (BAB) is scheduled to announce its full-year results on May 22. One month ago, it said it expected to report a -£150 million operating loss excluding severance costs in both the 2008 - 2009 and 2009 - 2010 fiscal years. (BAB) said the recently ended term also would be impacted by £20 million in costs and lost revenue stemming from February snowstorms and an additional £20 to £25 million "due to the weakness in volume and yield, particularly in USA traffic." (BAB) said that "market conditions remain challenging, with both volume and yield under pressure in all markets."

(BAB) shifted its Atlanta service from London Gatwick (LGW) to London Heathrow (LHR) and suspended flights from (LHR) to Dhaka and from (LGW) to Dublin, Geneva (summer schedule only) and Zurich. (BAB) pushed back the launch of its five-times-weekly flights from London Heathrow to Jeddah and Riyadh to May 31.

Thales (THL) announced that its microwave landing system received UK approval for ground installations for Cat IIIb operations at London Heathrow (LHR). (THL) received European certification for its on-board airplane installations to Cat IIIb in November 2007. (BAB) is the first airline to implement the system, using it on its (LHR)-based Airbus (EDS) single-aisle fleet throughout 2008. The system became fully operational on March 25.

(BAB) announced it will sell 11 of its 15 757s for cargo conversion, with the airplanes leaving the mainline fleet between 2010 and 2012. The four 757s operated by (BAB)'s transatlantic "OpenSkies" (OPK) subsidiary will remain. The departing airplanes will be replaced by A320 family airplanes. "Replacing the 757s will give us both environmental and cost benefits," (BAB) Director Strategy & Business Units, Robert Boyle said.

(BAB) did not disclose how the sale will affect the potential expansion of OpenSkies (OPK), which launched operations last June and now has four airplanes. It was supposed to be flying six by the end of this year.

OpenSkies (OPK), the unique all business (C) airline operating nonstop flights between New York (Kennedy and Newark) and Paris (Orly), and between New York (Kennedy) and Amsterdam (Schiphol), announced that it has completed its merger with L'Avion (LVI), the first all business class (C) French airline. The combined airline, now referred to as (OPK), offers customers a single, premiere Business Class (C) brand that will continue to provide a unique experience, combining comfort with quality and personalized service at a highly-competitive rate in today's market.

A premium subsidiary of British Airways (BAB), (OPK) has been working to fully integrate (LVI) since it acquired the airline in 2008. This is the first European transatlantic merger to include full integration. Dale Moss, Managing Director of (OPK) said, "We are pleased that the completion of our merger with (LVI0 went very smoothly, and look forward to the array of opportunities for the new airline. Marc Rochet, former (LVI) CEO, was instrumental and an invaluable resource leading the technical and operational aspect of the merger. Amid the current economic environment, (OPK) offers the kind of value that is a rarity in the industry: A premium flying experience without prohibitive costs. For business (C) and leisure travelers, value is of critical importance in this tough time, and we remain committed to offering travelers a broad range of services, amenities and value, all at a competitive price."

Travelers flying the new (OPK) will benefit from additional enhancements and will receive the same advantages they experienced with both (LVI) and (OPK) - flexible pricing structure, premium comfort, personalized service, and exceptional value. The new (OPK) will provide customers with the best of both airlines. Noticeable changes include:

-- "BIZ" has been renamed "Biz Bed." The cabin is equipped with 12 seats, ensuring optimal comfort at competitive prices. The electronically-powered seats recline to 180 degrees and can be transformed into a completely lie-flat bed.

-- PREM+ has been renamed Biz Seat. The Biz Seat cabin is comprised of up to 72 seats, ensuring passengers comfort and value when traveling across the Atlantic. The seats recline to 140 degrees with a pitch of 51 inches and the spacious cabin is configured with 2-by-2 seating.

-- The (LVI) 757-200 fleet is being repainted with the updated
(OPK) livery, with the last airplane being completed by mid-May.
The name "OpenSkies" will be written in purple on the planes' fuselage, mixing in tones of (LVI)'s signature purple as a tribute to that airline. The future Biz Bed and Biz Seat cabins will continue to be elegantly furnished with the addition of purple accents. (OPK) plans to operate with its existing four aircraft until the current economic environment improves.

-- The company's Air Operating Certificate (AOC) is now located in France, resulting in the company relocating headquarters to Orly, Paris, one of (OPK)'s primary hubs. Additional employees will be based in New Jersey.

-- The (OPK) flight crew (FC), cabin attendants (CA) and management will be comprised of the top team members from both airlines. Dale Moss will remain Managing Director and Marc Rochet, former (LVI) CEO, is now Executive Vice President.

Mr Moss and Mr Rochet worked to facilitate a smooth integration of staff and crew through the merger and Mr Moss will utilize Mr Rochet's expertise in his new role at (OPK).

Travelers flying (OPK) will continue to experience a unique configuration (up to 84 seats compared to the usual 220 seats on a traditional 757-200) and the following amenities:

-- Competitive roundtrip pricing for both cabins as low as $1,100 in Biz Seat cabin and $2,211 in Biz Bed cabin for Paris. For Amsterdam, roundtrip pricing is as low as $875 in the Biz Seat cabin and $2078 in the Biz Bed cabin.

-- Exceptional plated dining service with a selection of wine and

-- Individual Archos video players loaded with more than >50 hours of entertainment and equipped with top of the range Sennheiser audio

-- Simplified access to the gate through "fast-track" check-in

-- 24-hour Concierge to assist with reservations, as well as hotel, car rental, restaurants, theater, florists and child care

-- Advantage of joining the "British Airways Executive Club"
customer-loyalty program allowing customers to accumulate miles on
both (OPK) and (BAB) and to benefit from its many advantages beyond mileage.

(OPK) will continue its commitment to improve operating efficiencies and contribute to a sustainable environment, including improving fuel efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint. As an industry leader, (OPK) is working directly with suppliers to eliminate excessive packaging and food waste in an effort to fulfill this commitment.

About (OPK):

(OPK) is a unique all business (C) airline that offers guests superior service, competitive fares and exceptional value. (OPK) flies from Paris Orly to New York (JFK) and Newark, and from Amsterdam Schiphol to (JFK). (OPK) offers guests innovative features onboard, including lie-flat beds, personal entertainment units with 50+ hours of programming and fresh, and a healthy meal service. A subsidiary of (BAB), (OPK) is the first airline created as a result of the (EU)/USA "Open Skies" agreement, which allows airlines to fly between any USA and (EU) destination. For more information: http://www.flyopenskies.com or +1 (866)-692-6759.

Embraer launched steep approach testing at London City (LCY) for the EMB-190. Certification is expected by the year end. The EMB-170 received certification to operate into (LCY) in 2007. Last December, (BAB) signed an order six EMB-170s and five EMB-190s to be operated by its BA CityFlyer subsidiary.

May 2009: British Airways (BAB) reported a net loss of -£358 million/-$563.7 million for its fiscal year ended March 31, reversed from a net profit of +£726 million in its prior fiscal year, and said it will slash capacity -4% in the upcoming winter season and park up to 16 airplanes. CEO, Willie Walsh said current market conditions are "the harshest trading environment we have ever faced." He announced that in addition to the planned capacity cut, (BAB) will not pay management bonuses and will freeze workers' base pay and offer employees "the option of unpaid leave and temporary or permanent part-time working." (BAB) already has reduced its workforce by -2,500 positions compared to last summer. He added that it is "in talks with our trade unions about pay and productivity changes."

Chairman, Martin Broughton stated that "any recovery is likely to take longer than initially envisaged. The revenue outlook continues to be weak." He noted that lower fuel prices, which will lessen (BAB)'s fuel bill for the current fiscal year by £400 million year-over-year, will provide some relief.

Fiscal-year revenue rose +2.7% to £8.99 billion, while expenses jumped +16.9% to £9.21 billion, producing an operating loss of -£220 million, reversed from an operating profit of +£878 million in the prior year. Traffic decreased -3.4% to 114.35 billon (RPK)s on a -0.7% dip in capacity to 148.5 billion (ASK)s, producing a load factor of 77% LF, down -2.1 points.

(BAB) officials are now heralding the success of London Heathrow's Terminal 5, which they say is contributing to improved operations and on-time performance just a little more than a year after its very troubled opening. The March 2008 debut of the £4.3 billion/$6.37 billion facility was ruined when the baggage system broke down, forcing cancellation of hundreds of flights. The fiasco cost (BAB) an estimated £16 million, reflecting the costs associated with the disruption as well as lost revenue opportunities.

Operations are far smoother now. "T5 has made things less complex," (BAB) Head Network Operations, Peter Lynam said. "Our punctuality has improved. We've beaten our own target." Some 55% of the flights out of T5 are able to leave slightly ahead of scheduled departure time, he pointed out. The terminal handles an estimated 255 flights each day. Lynam said 24.5 million passengers have used the terminal since it opened.

The T5 complex includes the main terminal A along with satellite buildings B and C, which will be connected by an underground track transit system. The first two facilities are operational, with C expected to be open in May 2010. Both B and C are designed to accommodate the A380, 12 of which have been ordered by (BAB). T5 also has enabled (BAB) to consolidate some crew-related operations. Previously, flight crew checked in at the Compass Center, located across the runway from the T5 site. The new terminal has an expansive, dedicated check-in area where crew can clear security and check their bags before reporting for their assigned flights.

(BAB) will launch a daily, London Heathrow - Las Vegas (LAS) service on October 25 aboard a three-class 777. (LAS) will be (BAB)'s 19th USA gateway.

Navtech signed a five-year extension to its agreement with (BAB) for Aerad aeronautical charts.

777-236ER (36517, G-YMMS), delivery.

June 2009: British Airways (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh writing in the company's in-house "BA News," told employees that (BAB) "is in a fight for survival" and cautioned that temporary solutions "just aren't enough." His warning follows the release of grim financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, when (BAB) reported a record consolidated net loss of -£358 million/-$584.4 million. Its operating loss was -£220 million, its debt rose fourfold to £2.4 billion and passenger numbers fell -4.3%.

"This is a structural shift in the nature of our business and only a structural response will be sufficient," Walsh continued, adding that "nobody will thank us for standing back and hoping the external environment improves. It simply isn't going to happen. I also want to nip in the bud any idea that a white knight in the form of the government will come and help." He said some employee groups have made good progress on pay and productivity changes but "elsewhere has been slow." He urged unions to up the pace and depth of change and flexibility. Management has set a June 30 deadline to reach agreement on new employment policies.

(BAB) said that 6,940 employees, about 17% of its total workforce, have agreed to either unpaid leave, part-time work or unpaid work in a move that will save the airline up to -£10 million. CEO, Willie Walsh called it "a fantastic first response." Unpaid leave/work was available for 1 to 4 weeks, with the pay deduction spread over 3 to 6 months.

(BAB) will abandon its daily, London Gatwick (LGW) - New York (JFK) service on October 25 owing to poor performance. The three-class 777 will be used on new thrice-weekly flights from (LGW) to Male and Sharm El Sheikh.

Shannon Aerospace Ltd (SLD) signed a contract with British Airways (BAB) for the supply of line maintenance services at Shannon (SNN) for (BAB)'s planned transatlantic business class (C)-only A318 service from London City to New York, scheduled to begin this fall. Westbound flights will make a fuel stop at (SNN). (SLD) will provide Extended Twin-engine OPerationS (ETOPS) checks on 11 A318 services per week.

(BAB) will press ahead with the launch of its new business class (C)-only service between London City (LCY) and New York (JFK), setting September 29 as the date of the first flight. There will be a daily return service except Saturdays when (LCY) is closed, and flights will increase to twice-daily from mid-October. Tickets are now going on sale. "In the harshest trading environment airlines have experienced, we believe it is more important than ever to embrace the future and innovate. That is what this historic new route is all about," CEO, Willie Walsh said. He confirmed (BAB) will designate the outbound and return flights with the BA001 and BA002 numbers previously used for its transatlantic Concorde services. It will operate A318s fitted with 32 lie-flat seats on the route. Weekend lead-in leisure fare starts from £1,901.10/$3,135 return, (BAB) said, while the lead-in business (C) fare starts at £4,912.10 and the fully-flexible business (C) fare at £5,625.10.

(BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh confirmed that (BAB) has no plans to defer airplane deliveries next year. "We will take delivery of six 777-300ERs in 2010 and we are also maintaining the plan for the eight A380s for delivery at some stage in 2012," Walsh said. (BAB) is taking delivery of four 777s this year. Regarding the recent headline-grabbing assertion that (BAB) "is in a fight for survival," he said, "I talk very openly . . . because people have to recognize that this is the most significant crisis in aviation [history]." He surmised that all airlines are fighting for their survival and that some big carriers will shut down. "I think it is quite possible that one of the big airlines could fail," he said, considering that oil prices are rising again and that there is no sign of a global economic recovery. He also said that "there are no signs currently" of a pickup in premium passengers at (BAB), which has suffered a -15% drop. "We still see healthy load factors, but I don't see any changes," he said. "(BAB) came off from a very strong peak, and the decline we have seen is deeper than in the past. It's not possible to call [an end to the recession] and that's the challenge the whole industry is facing." He concluded: "We've got a very weak economy, a bank system which is still broken, a very difficult trading environment and weak consumer confidence. Until we get some stability in the economy and in the aviation market, it will be a difficult time. There is no evidence at this point that the crisis will be over soon."

In the latest edition of "BA News," he wrote that its OpenSkies (OPK) subsidiary "is not profitable, Heathrow is not profitable, Gatwick is not profitable, cargo is not profitable and British Airways (BAB) is not profitable." He noted that (OPK)'s losses are small compared to those elsewhere in the company and that "closing it would have no material effect on our financial performance. But the team there knows that it will close if it does not deliver on its business plan."

777-236ER (36518, G-YMMT), and A320-232 (3912, G-EUYE) deliveries.

July 2009: British Airways (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh continued to maintain that (BAB) is in a "fight for survival" and that "just hoping for old high-roller times to return is the road to oblivion" at the company's annual shareholders meeting in London. "There is no point trying to skirt around the fact that we need a fundamental and structural change to our employee cost base. These changes are essential to our short-term survival and more importantly to our long-term viability," he said. (BAB) is in talks with unions to reduce its about 40,000-strong workforce by some 3,700 employees.

Chairman, Martin Broughton said the continuous fall in premium demand is "extremely grave news for major full-service airlines" and cautioned that the premium market may never recover fully. "There is evidence that business (C) customers no longer place the same value on the levels of flexibility offered in the highest fare categories. This represents permanent structural change in the market and poses a fundamental challenge to our traditional business model," he said.

(BAB) plans to cut summer and winter capacity by an additional -1%, ground six additional airplanes next year and defer its A380 deliveries, while some 2,000 employees represented by Unite have "overwhelmingly rejected" (BAB)'s proposed job cuts ahead of Wednesday's talks mediated by the UK Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. In an investor update, (BAB) said April to October capacity will be reduced -3.5% year-over-year instead of -2.5% and winter capacity will fall -5% rather than -4% "in response to challenging economic conditions." Its remaining three mainline 757s and three additional 747-400s will be removed from the fleet in summer and winter 2010, respectively. Delivery of its first six A380s will be postponed by an average of five months (the first still is scheduled to arrive in 2012), with the remaining six pushed back by an average of two years. The final airplane now is due in 2016.

As a result, forecast capital expenditure for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, will drop by -20% to £580 million/$947 million "and is likely to remain at that level in 2010 to 2011," (BAB) said.

(BAB) said its summer passenger capacity will be down -3.5% year-over-year, while its winter capacity will be -5% lower.

(BAB) said that it plans to raise £600 million/$985 million in cash "to ensure it has strong liquidity" to enable it to manage through "the current difficult trading conditions." CEO, Willie Walsh, who has said several times recently that the airline is in a "fight for survival," told reporters that the increased liquidity "puts to bed any suggestion that (BAB) is in any sort of risk short term."

(BAB) said that as of June 30 it had approximately £1.25 billion in cash plus general facilities of around £130 million. It expects to report a £100 million operating loss for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30 on £1.98 billion in revenue.

It said that the new funding will bring its liquidity to about £2 billion. "We're taking action to improve our liquidity and strengthen our position within the industry," Walsh said. "This goes hand-in-hand with our cost reduction and efficiency initiatives which are designed to create the right conditions for our sustainable, long-term profitability."

(BAB) appointed Barclays Capital, Deutsche Bank AG London Branch, HSBC, Merrill Lynch International and RBS Hoare Govett Ltd as joint bookrunners and joint lead managers for the convertible debt issue. Owing to national laws, the issue cannot be offered to institutional investors in the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Japan.

CEO, Willie Walsh said that he "could make a case to take [the A380s] earlier than scheduled," but that costs would "almost certainly rule out changing the delivery schedule." (BAB) management's request for employee concessions, which includes a reduction of approximately -3,700 full-time-equivalent positions this year, met with stiff opposition from cabin crew (CA) and other workers represented by Unite. Pilots (FC) represented by the British Airline Pilots Association proposed their own £26 million package last month, while 6,940 employees agreed to unpaid work or leave that will save (BAB) about -£10 million.

Following a meeting in Middlesex, a Unite spokesperson told "The Times" that employees "overwhelmingly rejected the company's plan, and there was overwhelming support for the union's alternative proposal," which involves two-year pay freezes designed to save (BAB) up to -£130 million and some voluntary redundancies. (BAB) said that some -2,000 of its proposed -3,700 cuts would come from cabin staff (CA). Unite said it was not threatening to strike, but warned that if talks break down it could ballot members on industrial action.

(BAB) and unions resumed discussions on -3,700 job cuts and working conditions, a GMB union spokesperson told "Sky News." "Following three days of talks at [the UK Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service] last week, talks are due to resume . . . and some progress has been made. We do not expect the talks to conclude until later in August," the spokesperson said. (BAB) had sought agreements by June 30 but has reached one only with its pilots (FC).

(SITA) said its "2009 Airline Information Technology (IT) Trends Survey" revealed that carrier investment in (IT) "is set to reach a new low this year as airplane operators cope with unprecedented financial losses." According to the survey, (IT) and telecommunications spending as a percentage of airline revenue is forecast to be just 1.7% in 2009, the lowest level since 2002. "Many airlines are in survival mode," (SITA) said, explaining that "72% of survey respondents intend to renegotiate (IT) supplier contracts and 70% will invest in solutions that lower overall enterprise costs. Most airlines have already put in place measures such as rationalization of (IT) suppliers, (IT) infrastructure consolidation, reduced head count and outsourcing."

(SITA) Chairman and British Airways (BAB) CIO, Paul Colby said, "The drop in (IT) investment by airlines is a direct response to the $80 billion in revenue that is expected to disappear this year due to falling passenger demand in our industry." The "Airline (IT) Trends Survey" is co-sponsored by the "Airline Business" publication.

(BAB) will remove in-flight meals in economy (Y) class on flights shorter than 2.5 hours, although it will continue to serve breakfast on flights departing before 10 am and offer free drinks and snacks. It expects to save -£22 million/-$36.1 million annually as a result. It will not sell food on board and claimed it is "not unusual to make small changes [to in-flight catering] to avoid waste and save money where it makes sense and it meets customers' changing tastes." British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association said (BAB) is considering cutting additional amenities such as chocolates in first class (FC), hot towels in business class (C) and pretzels in economy (Y), the "BBC" reported.

(BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh said he remains committed to the A380 and "could make a case to take this capacity earlier than scheduled." (BAB) placed an order for 12 A380s in September 2007 as part of its long-term fleet modernization, with deliveries beginning in 2012. "There is a big cost reduction compared to the 747s [we currently operate]," he said. "With fuel prices over >$70 and maybe heading to >$100 a barrel, the difference in unit cost becomes even more distinct," he said. "Also in terms of capacity, there is a case. One A380 could replace two 747s," he noted, while acknowledging that other costs associated with the introduction of a new airplane type as well as pre-delivery financing costs would "almost certainly rule out changing the delivery schedule." All new airplane deliveries up through 2013 are financed, he confirmed. "We are fortunate to be in this position," he said.

Later, (BAB) stated it will launch daily, London City (LCY) - New York (JFK) all-business-class (C) flights September 29 aboard 32-seat A318s, increasing to twice-daily in October.

(BAB) will launch twice-weekly service from London Gatwick to Montego Bay and Punta Cana in October. (BAB) announced changes to its 2009 to 2010 winter and 2010 summer schedules. Flights from London Gatwick (LGW) to Alicante, Krakow, Malta, and Palma and flights from London City to Lyon will cease on October 25. Flights from (LGW) to Barcelona, Gibraltar, Madrid, Malaga, and Pisa will move to London Heathrow (LHR) on the same date, although summer 2010 flights to Pisa will operate from both (LHR) and (LGW). It will cancel services between (LHR), Singapore, and Sydney during a certain number of weeks in the winter schedule.

Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) CEO, Steve Ridgway acknowledged that he was aware of the collusion between executives at (VAA) and British Airways (BAB) to fix fuel surcharges on long-haul flights between June 2004 through April 2006. In a statement released by (VAA) simultaneous to court proceedings in London and cited by several press reports, Ridgway said, "I apologize unreservedly for my involvement in this case. I have fully cooperated with the competition authorities since their enquiries began in 2006. Although I did not have any direct contact with (BAB) in relation to passenger fuel surcharges, I regret that, on becoming aware of the discussions, I did not take steps to stop them." He added that a "thorough and far-reaching competition law training program" has been implemented at (VAA). He is immune from prosecution because (VAA) brought the collusion to authorities' attention.

Oxford Aviation Academy signed a five-year agreement with (BAB) covering provision of pilot (FC) training and simulator time for BA CityFlyer's incoming EMB-170s and EMB-190SRs.

(BAB) is seeking to renegotiate installment payments to Boeing (TBC) for the 24 787s it has on order, CEO, Willie Walsh told "The Wall Street Journal." It already has announced a delay in its A380 deliveries.

777-236ER (36519, G-YMMU), delivery.

August 2009: Iberia (IBE)'s board asked (IBE)'s new Chairman & CEO, Antonio Vazquez, to look into alternatives to its merger with British Airways (BAB), "elEconomista" reported.

(BAB) introduced a "low-fare finder" on its website, a feature allowing passengers to search for (BAB)'s lowest fares by region or cabin across a rolling 12 months.


A318-112 (4007, G-EUNA - - SEE PHOTO - - "BAB-A318 EMB 170-OCT09"), delivery.

September 2009: British Airways (BAB) said 140 flight attendants (CA) have applied for voluntary redundancy as part of its plan to cut some -2,000 positions. "We have a small surplus in the number of our senior-grade cabin crew (CA) and, combined with our reduced flying program, we have been able to accept applications for voluntary redundancy from the equivalent of 140 cabin crew (CA)," a (BAB) spokesperson told reporters. In addition, 125 cabin staff (CA) on temporary contracts will be released. (BAB) plans to cut -3,700 fulltime-equivalent positions by March 31.

(BAB) said that it has gotten involved in American Airlines (AAL)'s talks with Japan Airlines (JAL) as part of an effort to keep (JAL) in the Oneworld (ONW) fold, while Japan's new government indicated it may not be fully supportive of the carrier's restructuring plan. (JAL) confirmed that it was in talks with both American Airlines (AAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) regarding one of those carriers potentially taking a stake, and said it hoped to reach accord on a tie-up by mid-October. (BAB) confirmed to "The Wall Street Journal" that it also is engaged in talks with (JAL), which a spokesperson said is "valuable to us as part of (ONW)." The paper reported that other (ONW) carriers are involved in talks about possible further cooperation, driven by fear that a (JAL)/(DAL) deal could lead it to jump to the SkyTeam (STM) alliance, which lacks a Japanese affiliate.

Meanwhile, (JAL)'s restructuring plan may have to be revised in the wake of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)'s decisive defeat of the long-entrenched Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in national elections. The new government is reviewing (LDP) policies and financial help for (JAL) appears to be part of the examination.

While (JAL) is a private carrier, it has been receiving loans from the Development Bank of Japan to mitigate its steep losses, including a ¥99 billion/$1.09 billion deficit for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30. The former government established a panel to which (JAL) is required to report regarding its restructuring as a condition for receiving the aid and the panel signaled support for a planned -14% workforce reduction.

But Seiji Maehara, in his first press conference as Transport Minister, said that the (DPJ) government "would like to go back to the drawing board" on the (JAL) oversight panel. "I would like to hear advice from a variety of viewpoints regarding Japan's aviation policy," he told reporters, adding that he wants to "take a thorough look at whether the plan to restructure (JAL) can realistically be implemented."

(JAL) reportedly is planning to seek an additional ¥100 billion in government-backed loans in coming months. (DPJ) swept to victory in part by promising voters to be less business-friendly and more consumer/worker-oriented, leading to speculation that it may be wary of (JAL)'s planned job cuts.

(BAB) is reintroducing the wider seats previously offered in its "Club Europe" cabin in response to customer feedback. "As these are converter seats, the installation is simple and there is no extra cost," (BAB) noted. The cabin was reconfigured with narrower seats in February, when (BAB) changed from a 2-3-2 to a 2-2-2 configuration by keeping the middle seat free. The change applies to all (BAB) and BA CityFlyer services excluding 767s that operate in a 2-2-2 business class (C) configuration.

(BAB) took delivery of the first of two A318-112s (4007, G-EUNA - - SEE PHOTO - - "BAB-A318 EMB 170-OCT09") equipped with steep approach capability. The (CFM56-5B9/3)-powered airplanes will operate on the carrier's twice-daily (except Sunday) London City - New York (JFK) service scheduled to launch September 29, featuring an all-business-class (C) cabin with 32C seats. The route will be twice-daily in mid-October.

Embraer announced the delivery of the first of six 76-seat EMB-170s to (BAB). The airplanes will be operated by BA CityFlyer and is part of a December 2008 order that included five EMB-190s plus options. The EMB-170 obtained steep approach certification in June 2007 to operate at London City. (BAB)'s first EMB-190 will arrive early next year.

A318-112 (4039, G-EUNB), delivery.

October 2009: British Airways (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh said merger talks with Iberia (IBE) have progressed significantly since Altadis Antonio Vazquez replaced Fernando Conte as (IBE) Chairman & CEO in July and predicted an announcement regarding a possible joining of the two Oneworld (ONW) carriers will come "in the weeks ahead."
Following a speech to the International Aviation Club in Washington, Walsh said discussions with (IBE) regarding a merger "have gone on considerably longer than I expected," but commented that the "change in management" at the Spanish carrier over the summer has enabled more productive negotiations. "A merger between (BAB) and (IBE) represents a good step forward," he said. While consolidation won't solve the financial problems facing airlines around the world, "it is part of the solution," he said.

Regarding Japan Airlines (JAL), another carrier in which (BAB) is speculated to have an interest in taking a stake, he said the Tokyo-based company is a "very important member of Oneworld (ONW)" and that (BAB) wants to see it remain in the alliance. Struggling (JAL) confirmed it has held talks with both Delta Air Lines (DAL) and American Airlines (AAL) regarding one of those carriers taking a stake to help boost its weak financial position. (BAB) has admitted it has participated in talks with (JAL) related to the potential stake sale to help induce it to stay in Oneworld (ONW); (ONW) members are fearful that a (JAL)/(DAL) tie-up could lead the Japanese airline to jump to SkyTeam (STM). "I believe that Japan Airlines (JAL) can and does benefit from Oneworld (ONW)," Walsh said. "At this point, we have not considered whether we should make an investment [in (JAL)], but I am keeping an open mind on that proposal."

(BAB) said it has accepted voluntary redundancy from 1,000 flight attendants (CA) and will allow an additional 3,000 cabin crew (CA) to down-gauge to part-time. It is seeking to cut -3,700 full time-equivalent positions by March 31. (BAB) said the latest flight attendant (CA) cuts/moves to part-time comprise 1,700 full time-equivalent position reductions.

The European Commission (EC) confirmed that it sent a "statement of objections" to American Airlines (AAL), British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) in September, warning the carriers that their proposed cooperation on transatlantic services "may be in breach of European rules on restrictive business practices." The (EC) in April opened an antitrust inquiry into the proposal, which would see the Oneworld (ONW) partners deepen their cooperation across the Atlantic by coordinating commercial, operational and marketing activities, in particular by jointly managing schedules, capacity and pricing as well as sharing revenue on transatlantic routes. The (EC)'s specific objections were not made public. It emphasized that issuance of the document to the carriers "is a formal step in Commission antitrust investigations" that does "not prejudge the final outcome." The carriers can respond in writing or request an oral hearing.

The European Commission (EC) will require Oneworld (ONW) partners British Airways (BAB), American Airlines (AAL) and Iberia (IBE) to surrender slots in order to gain clearance for their transatlantic alliance, the "Financial Times (FT)" reported, citing documents saying the joint venture is "likely to result in appreciable competitive harm" on seven Europe - USA routes. European authorities reportedly are concerned about competition on flights from London to New York, Dallas, Boston, Miami, and Chicago O'Hare (ORD), as well as from Madrid to both Miami and (ORD). The (EC)'s concerns were outlined in a confidential statement sent to the airlines three weeks ago. It said it "envisages issuing a decision finding that the series of agreements signed have been in breach" of competition laws and that "remedies may include . . . the transfer of airport slots" to competing carriers, the (FT) reported from Madrid.

The airlines had one month to respond to the (EC) notice. (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh has vowed on several occasions that the carrier will not relinquish any slots at London Heathrow. The trio, along with (ONW) alliance partners, Royal Jordanian (RJA) and Finnair (FIN), also are seeking antitrust immunity (ATI)from the USA Department of Transportation (DOT).

The (FT) reported that (IBE) said the airlines were "satisfied that they could address the concern of the [EC]," while (AAl) said, "We look forward to the opportunity to address and overcome the European Union (EU)'s concerns." In a statement to "Bloomberg News," (BAB) said, "On the issue of giving up slots at Heathrow, we don't believe that this is necessary given the number of airlines flying between the (EU) and (USA)."

(BAB introduces a charge for pre-selection of seats on October 7, claiming that the new "service will give customers more control over their seating options." The fee is applicable only to those passengers wishing to secure their seats more than >24 hours prior to departure. Within those 24 hours, selection will remain free. The new charge will come to £10/$16.23 per person per sector in economy (Y) on (BAB)'s domestic and European network, £20 on long-haul economy (Y) or short business-class (C) flights and £60 on long-haul business class (C). Exit row seats in long-haul economy cost £50 per segment and can be booked 4 to 10 days before takeoff.

(BAB) also reportedly has found a way to save -£2.7 million per year by cutting meal subsidies for staff. Manager UK Customer Partnerships Division, Raghbir Pattar said that (BAB) "historically" has spent more than >£6.5 million per year on feeding employees. "This is no longer financially feasible," he said. "Cost savings will be delivered through simplifying the food range, reducing opening times where facilities are underutilized and implementing modest and proportionate price increases," he said.

(BAB) launched its all-business-class (C) service between London City (LCY) and New York (JFK). The service, which will be offered twice-daily by mid-October, will be operated on specially configured A318s with 32 lie-flat business class (C) seats. The launch flights bear numbers formerly used for Concorde services, BA001 to BA004. "For the first time, New York has a tailor-made premium service to the London Canary Wharf area on its doorstep," said (BAB) Executive VP Americas, Simon Talling-Smith. The flights will feature OnAir in-flight connectivity enabling passengers to use their mobile and smart phones to send and receive text messages and e-mails and for Internet access. Passengers departing (LCY) will be able to check in for a flight as late as 15 minutes before departure. Westbound flights will stop for refueling at Shannon, where passengers will be able to clear customs and immigration before reaching New York. SEE ATTACHED "AIRWAYS" ARTICLE - - "BAA-2009-10 LCY-JFK-A/B."

(BAB) pleaded guilty in Canadian Federal Court to " fixing surcharges on the sale and supply of international air cargo exported on certain routes from Canada" in 2002 to 2006 and agreed to pay a C$4.5 million/$4.1 million fine, the country's Competition Bureau announced. Canada now has recovered more than >C$14.6 million from (BAb), Air France (AFA), (KLM), Martinair (MTH), and Qantas (QAN), and its "investigation into the alleged conduct of other air cargo carriers continues," it said.

November 2009: British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) agreed to a "binding" Memo of Understanding (MOU) to merge under a single holding company that will be 55% controlled by (BAB) shareholders and led by (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh, paving the way for establishment of a third major European airline company by the end of 2010 that would have annual revenue of about €15 billion/$22.5 billion, a fleet of 419 airplanes and a route network comprising 205 destinations.

The proposed new holding company, to be called "TopCo," will be created through an all-share transaction in which (BAB) shareholders will receive one new share for every existing (BAB) share and (IBE) shareholders will receive 1.0205 new shares for each existing (IBE) share. TopCo will be incorporated in Spain and board and shareholder meetings will occur in Madrid with (IBE) Chairman & CEO, Antonio Vazquez serving as Chairman, and (BAB) Chairman, Martin Broughton serving as Deputy Chairman. The company's operating and financial headquarters will be in London, where "principal management functions" will be handled under Walsh's guidance. TopCo's shares will be traded on the London Stock Exchange.

Walsh long has pushed for the combination, arguing that (BAB) and (IBE) need "enhanced scale" to compete with Air France (AFA)/(KLM) and an expanding Lufthansa Group. "The merger will create a European airline well able to compete in the 21st century," he said, adding that "both airlines will retain their brands and heritage while achieving significant synergies as a combined force."

The carriers claimed the merger will create annual synergies of around €400 million and noted that (BAB) will gain access to as many as 59 new destinations, including 13 in Latin America, while (IBE) will have access to up to 98 new airports. They argued that TopCo will have a "highly complementary network fit worldwide, in particular combining (BAB)'s strong presence in North America, Asia/Pacific and Africa, with (IBE)'s strong Latin America presence," and will benefit by "optimizing the dual hubs of London and Madrid."

(BAB) and (IBE) are aiming to sign a definitive merger agreement in the 2010 first quarter, present the transaction for shareholder approval next November and formally combine the following month. The deal is subject to relevant regulatory approvals and (IBE) "will be entitled to terminate the merger agreement if the outcome of discussions between (BAB) and its pension trustees is not, in (IBE)'s reasonable opinion, satisfactory." Under the terms of the merger (MOU), neither (IBE) nor TopCo can fund (BAB) pension schemes.

The airlines said that for at least five years after merging, both will "keep their main base in their home country," TopCo's strategy will reflect "the importance of both London and Madrid hubs," networks operated from each hub will be "balanced" and labor relations will be handled "locally." Work actions by cabin crew (CA) in recent days have forced (IBE) to cancel hundreds of flights. Unions representing the workers said that additional work actions will take place on November 30, December 2 and Dececember 14 to 18.

While Walsh will serve as TopCo CEO, (BAB) CFO, Keith Williams will become CEO of British Airways (BAB) OpCo and (IBE) COO, Rafael Sanchez-Lozano will become CEO of Iberia (IBE) OpCo.

Antonio Vazquez, (IBE) Chairman & CEO stated "This agreement is a giant step in the history of both (IBE) amd (BAB). We are laying the foundations of what will be one of the most important airlines in the world - - a real global airline."

(BAB) and (IBE) are probably "marrying for money" but can their combinations of main bases at London and Madrid, compete with the power of fusing Paris with Amsterdam and Rome, or with that formed by Frankfurt with Zurich, Brussels and Vienna.

Travelport announced a new long-term, full-content Global Distribution System (GDS) agreement with British Airways (BAB) that will make all (BAB)'s fares and inventory available on both Galileo and Worldspan until April 2013. The companies said they will "work together in the coming months" to provide travel agents the ability to offer a la carte extras through the (GDS).

December 2009: British Airways (BAB) said that Iberia (IBE) Managing Director and COO, Rafael Sanchez-Lozano joined the board as a non-executive director. The merger agreement between the airlines gave (IBE) the right to nominate a director to the (BAB) board.

(BAB) will keep full ownership of its OpenSkies (OPK) subsidiary, which launched last year and currently operates between Paris Orly and New York (JFK) and Newark. (OPK) abandoned Amsterdam - (JFK) service in August, which raised questions about the all-business-class (C) carrier's viability. In July, (BAB) appointed Reynolds Partners to assess options for the loss-making start-up, including selling part or all to external investors. BAB) received five bids from European and USA private equity firms, (OPK) Managing Director, Dale Moss told "The Wall Street Journal." (OPK)'s load factor currently averages 74% LF, up +4 points from August. "We have no plans to sell (OPK) or seek third-party investment in the airline," (BAB) said in a statement cited by "Reuters." "We are reviewing all aspects of our business in the current economic climate, including our subsidiary (OPK). (OPK) is a high-quality premium airline that remains of strategic and financial value to us. Its Paris - New York flights are performing well despite the current economic environment, and customer feedback is very positive."

(BAB) faces a Christmas crisis following the announcement that 92.5% of voting flight attendants (CA) represented by Unite are in favor of a 12-day strike beginning December 22, a decision that Unite Assistant General Secretary, Len McCluskey said was taken with a "heavy heart." (BAB) said it is "extremely disappointed" in the vote and that a 12-day walkout is "completely unjustified and a huge overreaction to the modest changes we have announced for cabin crew (CA) . . . intended to help us recover from record financial losses." (BAB) imposed those changes in mid-November following nine months of negotiations. (BAB) employs some 13,500 cabin staff (CA).

"We have taken this decision to disrupt passengers with a heavy heart and we are hoping that (BAB) can still avoid it happening," McCluskey said, according to "The Times," which reported that 80% of eligible members participated in the balloting. "We would like passengers to be angry with (BAB)."

In a statement, (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh called flight attendants (CA) "an absolutely vital part of our airline" but argued that "they have been disgracefully misled by Unite as to how our company-wide cost reduction program would affect them," while urging the union to return to negotiations. "Our package involves no reduction in terms or conditions for existing crew," Walsh claimed. "In fact, despite our financial backdrop, more than >10,000 of our cabin crew will receive pay rises of between +2% and +7% this year and again next year." (BAB) said it will not consider withdrawing its plan to cut the number of flight attendants (CA) on certain flights out of London Heathrow.

(BAB) said that it was working on a contingency plan and that customers with bookings from December 20 through January 4 can change to a travel date over the following 12 months or accept a refund. Between 900,000 and 1 million passengers are scheduled to fly during those dates, according to press reports.

Later, (BAB) said it is "commencing legal action" in an effort to forestall the 12-day flight attendants (CA) strike. (BAB) also claimed that "irregularities" in Unite's balloting of union members may render the strike vote invalid. (BAB) did not outline those issues and said it is working on "establishing which cabin crew (CA) might wish to work normally during the strike period." CEO, Willie Walsh said the carrier is "absolutely determined to do whatever we can to protect our customers from this appalling, unjustified decision from Unite." The union, meanwhile, blamed (BAB)'s "macho management, which prefers imposition and confrontation, or even litigation, to negotiation," for the predicament. Unite warned that the strike will cost (BAB) "vastly more money than [its] projected savings from attacking cabin crew (CA) conditions." It said it would suspend the strike if (BAB) calls off "the imposition of contractual changes."

Meantime, (BAB)'s rivals jostled to fill the potential void over the Christmas holiday. Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) plans to add more than >1,600 long-haul seats during the strike period by switching to A340-600s from A340-300s on flights to New York (JFK), Boston, Washington Dulles, and Delhi. EasyJet (EZY) reported rising bookings and said it was considering adding flights, and Flybe (BEE) announced an increase on its London Gatwick - Jersey service.

Later, (BAB) obtained an injunction from the UK High Court blocking a 12-day flight attendant (CA) strike because of irregularities in the balloting conducted by the Unite union, which countered with a promise that its dispute with the airline "is not settled." The court agreed with (BAB)'s argument that the strike vote was invalid because around 900 participants already had decided to accept voluntary redundancy. Exclusion of those voters would not have affected the ballot's result - - 92.5% favored a strike starting December 22 - - but Judge Laura Cox ruled that the balloting violated labor relations laws and that Unite was aware some voters might be ineligible.

"We are delighted for our customers that the threat of a Christmas strike has been lifted by the court," (BAB) said, adding that it "hope[s] that Unite will take this opportunity to reflect before deciding its next steps." It added: "In recent days, we believe Unite has formed a better understanding of our position and of the ways in which we could move forward."

Unite labeled the ruling "a disgraceful day for democracy" and said it was determined to conduct another vote. "(BAB) must accept that there can be no resolution except through negotiation, failing which there will inevitably be a further ballot for industrial action," Joint General Secretaries, Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley said in a statement. "Given the clear mood of cabin crew (CA) about management's imposition of changes on their working lives, this means that the specter of further disruption to (BAB)'s operations cannot be removed."

(BAB) announced that its pension deficit as of last March 31 had risen to £3.7 billion/$6.01 billion, comprising a £2.7 billion deficit in the New Airways Pension Scheme and £1 billion in the Airways Pension Scheme. The shortfall more than doubled during the 12 months preceding March 31. "(BAB) and trustees will now work together to develop a recovery plan," by the June 30, 2010, deadline, (BAB) said.

Amadeus and British Airways (BAB) announced a three-year extension to their full-content distribution agreement through 2012.

January 2010: Iberia (IBE)'s merger with British Airways (BAB) could be concluded next month, according to Caja Madrid Chairman, Miguel Blesa. The head of (IBE)'s largest shareholder (23%) told reporters, "We're on the right track. I think February will be decisive for the deal. There's not much left that needs agreeing to, if anything at all. I don't know if it will be [signed] in February but it won't go past March," according to "Reuters." The merger Memo of Understanding (MOU) was signed in November.

American Airlines (AAL) confirmed that its offer to invest in (JAL)/(JAS) in conjunction with TPG Capital has been raised by +$300 million to $1.4 billion and said it and Oneworld (ONW) partner British Airways (BAB) will enhance cooperation with (JAL)/(JAS) to enable it to generate an additional +$500 million in revenue over the next three years. (AAL) has been jockeying with Delta Air Lines (DAL) to take a stake in (JAL)/(JAS), which appears to be on the verge of entering a court-monitored bankruptcy proceeding. However, reports from Tokyo indicate that (ETIC) favors rejecting foreign investment in the carrier and instead will push it toward noncapital commercial cooperation with either (AAL) or (DAL), which is attempting to lure (JAL)/(JAS) to SkyTeam (STM).

(AAL) Executive VP Finance & Planning plus CFO, Tom Horton, speaking at a Tokyo news conference, said (ONW) has an "extraordinary commitment" to (JAL)/(JAS), which he claimed already generates around $500 million annually from its association with the (ONW) alliance. Enhanced cooperation with (ONW) partners can generate an additional $500 million over three years, he asserted. He said the incremental revenue would come primarily from closer ties with (AAL) and (BAB). An antitrust-immunized transpacific joint venture between (JAL)/(JAS) and (AAL) will "conservatively" generate an extra +$300 million over three years, he stated, adding that (AAL) "will guarantee this $100 million in new annual revenue for the first three years of the venture . . . to remove uncertainty."

In addition, (BAB) "has proposed a series of enhancements to its business relationships with (JAL)/(JAS) that will result in approximately $200 million in revenue over three years," Horton said. (BAB) Director Investments, Roger Maynard said (BAB) will "facilitate any decision by (JAL)/(JAS) to start services from [Tokyo] Haneda to London Heathrow (LHR)" by providing (JAL)/(JAS) with (LHR) "infrastructure . . . and slots" necessary for such services. He added that (BAB) would "double the number of European cities that (JAL) can reach through code sharing" on (BAB) flights from April.

Horton said (ONW) partners Qantas (QAN) and Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) are willing to assist (JAL)/(JAS) with its "complicated restructuring" by providing "expertise," including (QAN) helping (JAL) launch a Low Cost Carrier (LCC) affiliate based on its JetStar Airways (IMU) model. (CAT) General Manager Japan, Simon Large noted that (ONW) is willing to guarantee that "(JAL)/(JAS) is the exclusive north Asia partner in this alliance."

(JAL)/(JAS) executives and the Japanese government have been circumspect about discussing details of the airline's restructuring publicly, but Japanese Transport Minister, Seiji Maehara did say that (JAL)/(JAS)'s largest creditors are on board with the airline's recovery plan, though he did not confirm details of the plan.

The Unite union and British Airways (BAB) agreed to restart negotiations regarding the dispute over the airline's imposed conditions on flight attendants (CA)s that resulted in an invalid strike vote before Christmas. Unite said representatives will meet to start the process of finding a resolution. Joint General Secretaries, Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley said in a statement, "We have said all along that this dispute could only be resolved through negotiation, rather than imposition or litigation, so we are delighted to be joining (BAB) management in talks . . . We will be approaching those talks in a constructive spirit, seeking to find a settlement that meets the real concerns of (BAB)'s skilled, loyal and professional cabin crew (CA), while keeping the airline flying." Unite said it simultaneously is conducting another strike ballot. The UK High Court ruled the previous vote invalid because cabin staff (CA) who already had accepted redundancy participated.

Later, the Unite union decided to re-ballot (BAB) cabin crew (CA) members for industrial action starting January 22, according to a union letter cited in UK press reports. A strike could begin as early as March 1. The new ballot comes despite last week's statement from Unite that it had reached agreement with (BAB) to "hold talks aimed at finding a negotiated settlement to their dispute over cabin crew (CA) terms and conditions under the auspices of the [Trades Union Congress]." The first strike vote, held last month, was invalidated by the High Court.

The UK (CAA) approved British Airways (BAB)'s plan to train pilots (FC) and ground staff as cabin crew (CA) to be employed in the event of a strike by cabin attendants (CA) and will work with (BAB) and conduct inspections to ensure safety, (BAB) said in its weekly in-house newsletter. (BAB) planned to launch the first of nine training courses, when the Unite union started balloting its 12,000 (BAB) cabin crew (CA) members on industrial action. The vote closes February 22.

Formal negotiations between (BAB) and Unite were abandoned this month and tensions have risen since. "We will not allow Unite to ruin this airline, and we believe we have the support of our customers and the vast majority of our colleagues in that objective," CEO, Willie Walsh said, noting that the union's recent proposals to resolve the disputes over staff reductions, pay and working conditions "would actually result in a large increase in costs by reversing the changes to on board crew numbers made last November."

Unite Assistant General Secretary, Len McCluskey said that if the carrier "pulls out all the stops between now and February, it is still only going to train 216 strike-breakers. With a cabin crew (CA) of 13,500, does (BAB) seriously think this handful of inexperienced individuals will be able to operate a service?" Unite also vowed to write to the (CAA) "to demand full assurances that the haste with which these training programs are proceeding does not mean corners are being cut."

The British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA), which accepted a -£26 million/-$41.9 million cost reduction program last year, said it understood Unite's frustration but was "stunned" by the threat of a Christmas strike. (BALPA) General Secretary, Jim McAuslan said that "a number of pilots (FC) have responded to (BAB)'s call for volunteers to keep the airline operating through any strike and from their postings it is clear that this is out of concern for their own futures and that of other employees." He said the union's position was "neutral" and that it "will not dictate to our members."

A320-232 (4185, G-EUYF), delivery.

February 2010: British Airways (BAB) maintained its stark outlook and warned of "record losses" in its fiscal year ending March 31 despite sharp cost cuts and a better-than-expected third-quarter loss of -£37.5 million/-$58.9 million, narrowed -52% from the -£78 million deficit suffered in the year-ago period.

Fiscal third-quarter revenue fell -11.1% to £2.04 billion, while total costs were down -14.1% to £2.01 billion. Passenger revenue declined -11.8% to £1.76 billion, and cargo revenue dropped -13.2% to £151 million. (BAB)'s operating profit of +£25 million was reversed from a -£51 million loss in the three months ended December 31, 2008 and represented its first operating surplus since the quarter ended September 30, 2008.

"These results highlight the impact of permanent changes across the company on our costs," CEO, Willie Walsh said, while cautioning, "While we are on the right track, we still expect to make record losses this year. Permanent structural change is being introduced in all areas and will return us to sustained profitability." Walsh said the group achieved £300 million in nonfuel cost reductions in the nine months to December 31, exceeding its initial £220 million target for the full year. CFO, Keith Williams indicated a further -£50 million in savings should be realized in the current quarter.

For the nine-month period, (BAB)'s net loss deepened -92.9% to -£245 million from -£127 million in the year-ago period. The operating loss of -£86 million compared to a profit of +£89 million a year earlier. Revenue decreased -12.9% to £6.14 billion, against a -10.5% cut in costs. Passenger yield declined -11.1% to 6.18 pence owing largely to lower surcharges and sales mix, although (BAB) noted that its -9.7% slide in premium traffic volume "is significantly better than industry figures as disclosed by the (IATA) (ITA)." Unit cost was reduced -6.7%.

Walsh was vague regarding (BAB)'s progress on completing its merger with Iberia (IBE) and its transatlantic joint business agreement with (IBE) and American Airlines (AAL). He reiterated earlier statements that it is "on track to finalize the merger agreement by the end of the year" and that he remains "confident" of receiving regulatory approval for the joint venture (JV).

The European Commission (EC) confirmed that it is assessing "the effectiveness of proposed commitments" received from Oneworld (ONW) alliance partners: British Airways (BAB), American Airlines (AAL) and Iberia (IBE) designed "to alleviate" its concerns over anti-competitive aspects of their proposed joint venture (JV).

The airlines wish to jointly manage schedules, capacity and pricing and share revenue on transatlantic routes. The remedies proposed by the trio relate to passenger transport on certain long-haul routes, the (EC) said, noting that it has "no further comment at this stage" and that the offer requires further investigation before it "reaches any conclusion as to the next steps." The (EC) opened its investigation last April and sent a formal statement of objections to the carriers in September, identifying a number of long-haul routes, mainly between London Heathrow (LHR) and the USA, with potential antitrust issues (ATI). (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh and (AAL) Chairman & CEO, Gerard Arpey repeatedly have stated that there is no rational basis for them to relinquish slots at (LHR).

Sources told "Dow Jones" that the carriers had reconsidered and were in discussions to that effect. A (BAB) spokesperson told the news service, "We don't see any need to give up slots." The (EC) is conducting parallel investigations into the proposed cooperation among four Star (SAL) Alliance members: - - Lufthansa (DLH), Continental Airlines (CAL), United Airlines (UAL) and Air Canada (ACN) - - and among SkyTeam (STM) alliance members. The USA Department of Transportation also must sign off on the (ONW) (JV).

Later, the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a show cause order tentatively approving the application for antitrust immunity (ATI) from Oneworld (ONW) alliance partners (AAL), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Finnair (FIN) and Royal Jordanian (RJA) and also tentatively approved the three-way transatlantic joint venture (JV) among (AAL), (BAB) and (IBE) under which the carriers jointly will plan and manage capacity and share revenues.

But the (DOT) said the (ONW) alliance "could harm competition" on certain routes between the USA and London Heathrow (LHR) and is requiring that the carriers surrender four slot pairs at (LHR) for up to 10 years to enable competitors to launch new USA - (LHR) service. (AAL) and (BAB) had argued that they should not have to give up slots at (LHR). They withdrew an earlier application in 2002 for (ATI) rather than surrender slots at Heathrow. The European Commission (EC) also has identified competitive concerns but has yet to render a decision.

The (DOT)'s ruling came less than a day after Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS) and (AAL) applied for (ATI) to operate as one airline for commercial purposes on transpacific routes.

In its finding, the (DOT) said that "the proposed [transatlantic] alliance would enhance competition around the globe by creating a viable third immunized alliance that is comparable and more competitive with the product and service offerings of the Star (SAL) alliance and SkyTeam (STM) alliance, which have already received grants of antitrust immunity (ATI) and are proceeding with their own alliance plans and integrated joint ventures (JV)s."

However, the department noted that granting (ATI) to (AAL) and (BAB) will have the effect of boosting the combined carriers' market share at (LHR) to 47.4% and is proposing to require divestiture of four slot pairs, two of which will be earmarked for new service in the Boston - (LHR) market, while two may be used in any USA - (LHR) city-pair. It added, "This slot remedy would offset the potential loss in competition that results from combining the international operations" of (AAL) and (BAB).

The slot surrenders need not be permanent - - the (DOT) is "proposing that the applicants make the slots available for a period of 10 years from the date of issuance of a final order in this case." It also will require changes to the agreement "to ensure capacity growth, and require the carriers to submit traffic data and implement the proposed alliance within 18 months of a final decision."

In a statement, (AAL) said it "will review the (DOT)'s tentative order and will respond according to the time frame established for comments."

The tentative finding came less than 24 hours after (AAL) and Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS) applied for (ATI) to operate as if they are one airline for commercial purposes on flights between North America and Asia. The filing, which had been expected, followed (JAL)/(JAS)'s decision last week to maintain its membership in Oneworld (ONW) rather than jumping to SkyTeam (STM), which had been wooing the bankrupt carrier for several months. (JAL)/(JAS) and (AAL) said they also will notify Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of the application. Should (AAL) and (JAL)/(JAS) receive (ATI), they will "cooperate commercially on flights while continuing to operate as separate legal entities . . . coordinat[ing] fares, services and schedules in order to attract new customers and boost revenues." They noted that the (JBA) will be "metal neutral," meaning both "will benefit from a customer's ticket purchase regardless of which one carries the passenger, as the airlines will share revenue on all (JBA) flights."

The Competition Commission of South Africa (CCSA) said it has launched an investigation into collusion on fares and pricing strategies for flights during this summer's soccer World Cup.
The (CCSA) named (BAB) and its Comair (CML) subsidiary, along with South African Airways (SAA), Airlink, SA Express, 1Time (1TA) and Mango (MGO) as subjects of the inquiry.

The (CCSA) said the office of President, Jacob Zuma issued a November request asking it to look into World Cup soccer airfares. Last month, (SAA) applied for leniency from prosecution in exchange for full cooperation and provided the (CCSA) with "e-mail correspondence between the airlines in which there are indications that the airlines might adjust airfares ahead of the World Cup." The (CCSA) said, "In particular, the e-mail suggests that since there is no indication as to which flights will represent peak demand flights, airlines have the option to either not provide any inventory for sale until such time, or price all inventory at peak time rates until such time as they have greater certainty." It added that the e-mail "suggests that airfares will have to be raised in order to cover various anticipated additional costs."

Commissioner, Shan Ramburuth said the body "is obliged to investigate all legitimate complaints" concerning anti-competitive conduct and that if it identifies wrongdoing it will refer to the case to the Competition Tribunal for a hearing. The World Cup tournament runs June 11 through July 11 in nine South African cities.

(BAB) announced that in conjunction with Washington-based Solena Group it will establish a "sustainable jet-fuel plant" to convert "waste biomass" to "low-carbon fuel to power part of its fleet from 2014." It said the plant would be a first in Europe. It did not set a date for when the plant will be operational. "The new fuel will be derived from waste biomass and manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility that can convert a variety of waste materials, destined for landfill, into aviation fuel," it said. "The self-contained plant, likely to be sited in east London, will convert 500,000 tonnes of waste per year into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel through a process that offers life cycle greenhouse gas savings of up to -95% compared to fossil fuel derived jet kerosene." (BAB) said the volume of fuel produced would be "more than twice the amount required to make all of British Airways (BAB)'s flights at nearby London City Airport carbon-neutral." (BAB) said it signed a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase "all the fuel produced by the plant," which will be built by Solena. Four sites are "under consideration" for the facility, which (BAB) said will employ up to 1,200. CEO, Willie Walsh said, "We believe it will lead to the production of a real sustainable alternative to jet kerosene. We are absolutely determined to reduce our impact on climate change and are proud to lead the way on aviation's environmental initiatives."

British Airways (BAB) debuted its new first class (F) cabin on board a 777, featuring a bed widened by +60% at the shoulders, a personal wardrobe, electronic blinds and other amenities. (BAB) said it is investing £100 million/$156.6 million in the revamp.

British Airways (BAB) flight attendants (CA) represented by Unite overwhelmingly approved a strike in a ballot that recently closed. The union said that 80.7% (7,482) of members who voted favored industrial action, with a 78.7% turnout recorded. Unite stressed that it has not announced a strike date. "Our members are not mindless militants but men and women committed to their company and their profession, so it is right that they want to be consulted on changes to their jobs," Assistant General Secretary, Len McCluskey said. "In recent weeks we have been in serious discussion with (BAB). We sincerely hope that the continued strength of the vote by (CA)s will give (BAB) pause for thought."

(BAB) called the result "disappointing" and "completely unjustified" and cited the UK High Court's ruling that the airline's new work rules are legal. "The vast majority of (CA)s who voted in this ballot will have done so before the High Court decision. We hope Unite will bear this fact in mind as it considers its next steps," (BAB) said.

Later (BAB) cabin crew (CA) represented by Unite announced they "unanimously backed the work of their negotiating team attempting to resolve the current dispute" and steered away from setting a date for strike action. Unite members endorsed strike action in a vote that saw 80.7% call for a walkout. The union reportedly has until March 22 before its strike mandate expires under trade union legislation.

March 2010: British Airways (BAB) flew 7.79 billion (RPK)s traffic in February, a +1.1% increase year-over-year. Capacity was cut -1.9% to 10.51 billion (ASK)s, lifting load factor +2.2 points to 74.2% LF.

(BAB) will resume six-times-weekly, London City (LCY) - Barcelona service at the end of March, becoming daily in May. New flights from (LCY) to Majorca and Ibiza will begin in May.

Oneworld (ONW) alliance partners British Airways (BAB), American Airlines (AAL) and Iberia (IBE) offered to lease at least four daily slot pairs at London Heathrow (LHR) or Gatwick (LGW) to competing carriers for service to three USA cities in order to address regulatory concerns about their proposed transatlantic joint venture (JV).

Early last month the European Commission (EC) said it was assessing "the effectiveness of proposed commitments" by the airlines designed to address a formal Statement of Objections issued last September. At that time, the (EC) identified a number of long-haul routes, mainly between (LHR) and the USA, with potential antitrust issues (ATI).

Later in February the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively granted antitrust immunity (ATI) to the (ONW) alliance joint venture (JV) under the condition that the carriers surrender four slot pairs at (LHR) for up to 10 years. The (DOT) did not suggest (LGW) was an acceptable alternative. (AAL) and (BAB) repeatedly have resisted ceding slots at (LHR).

(BAB) issued a statement addressing the (EC) investigation and pledged that the trio will make available for lease to non-(ONW) alliance airlines, two daily slot pairs to Boston from either (LHR) or (LGW), one daily slot pair to Dallas/Fort Worth from (LHR) or (LGW) and one daily slot pair to Miami from (LHR) or (LGW). In addition, two slot pairs from London to New York (JFK) could be made available "should today's competitive conditions between [the cities] change," according to (BAB).

"The slots can be leased from the airlines' current slot portfolio and don't have to be slots currently used on the specified routes. The (EC) has agreed that the airlines should be compensated financially by those airlines wishing to lease slots," (BAB) said.

"We're pleased that the (EC) has recognized that we should be compensated for leasing the slots. This reflects the fact that there is an active slots market in London where slots are generally traded for value," (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh said. There had been speculation that the (EC) might demand the slots be surrendered for free. The initial leasing period will be five years, a (BAB) spokesperson said, adding that the decision regarding which airline will give up which slot will be finalized once regulatory approval is finalized.

The (EC) is expected to conduct its "market test" phase, which allows third parties to comment on the airlines' proposal, before making a final decision on April 10.

Regarding the USA (DOT) ruling, the (ONW) trio reiterated that it is "reviewing the order and will respond by the time frame established for comments," and said it "welcomed the (EU)'s announcement that it will be working closely with the USA (DOT) and taking into account its opinion at key points in the regulatory process." A final (DOT) ruling is expected at the end of April.

British Airways (BAB) reached a crossroads with disgruntled flight attendants (CA) as attempts to agree on terms designed to produce cost savings met with resistance. (BAB) and cabin staff (CA) represented by Unite could not reach an accord regarding staffing reductions and a pay freeze imposed by (BAB).

A Unite spokesperson told "Bloomberg News" that union officials will meet. The union offered concessions including a one-year salary freeze, then a -2.6% pay cut followed by a slight raise, along with reduced pay for new hires, which (BAB) said fell "significantly short" of the -£63 million/-$94.4 million in savings Unite claimed the package would achieve, "Bloomberg" reported. It also featured the reintroduction of a 15th crew member (CA) on long-haul flights from London Heathrow, according to "Sky News."

Later, (BAB) cabin crew (CA) represented by Unite announced that members will strike for seven days this month, March 20 to 22 and March 27 to 30, and vowed that further industrial action could take place after April 14 "if the dispute has not been resolved." Both parties made last-minute offers after mediated talks collapsed. (BAB) said, "To date, all proposals put forward by Unite fall significantly short of saving -£60 million/-$90.1 million a year . . . Unite's action has no shred of justification." The airline said it would "consider refinements" in its plan to reduce crew numbers on flights from London Heathrow (LHR) if the union could still find a way to reach that savings target. It said Unite proposals to cut crew pay and allowances by -£1,000 to -£2,700 "lack credibility."

The union said it "welcomed" the fact that airline management "finally submitted a formal offer of its own" and thus "acknowledges that negotiated agreement, not imposition, is the only way to conduct mature industrial relations." However, Unite Assistant General Secretary & lead negotiator, Len McCluskey said (BAB)'s proposal "falls short of what we believe is needed to address the legitimate concerns they have about cabin crew (CA) complement and service delivery." The union will conduct a consultative ballot of its cabin crew members to ascertain their view on the offer. "Should that ballot show a majority in favor of the company's offer, then all the strike action announced today will of course be cancelled," he said.

The strike, which analysts say could cost (BAB) up to -£20 to -£25 million per day, would be the first since Willie Walsh became CEO in 2005 and the first by (BAB) (CA) since 1997. The airline has contingency plans in place should a strike occur, which it hopes will allow it to operate all flights from London City, all long-haul and about half of the short-haul flights from Gatwick and a "substantial" portion of its schedule from (LHR).

(BAB) intends to serve 60% of its scheduled passengers March 20 to 22, or about 45,000 per day, when flight attendants (CA) are scheduled to stage the first of two strikes this month. In addition, (BAB) said it will offer seats to "many thousands more customers" on alternative flights or on services operated by 40 other carriers to which passengers can be re-booked free of charge during the strike. Unite also plans to strike March 27 to 30.

"Despite the desire of Unite's leadership to ground the airline, the flag will continue to fly," (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh claimed, adding that "due to the numbers of cabin crew (CA) who have called in to offer their services over the weekend, the schedule will be slightly larger than we had originally anticipated." He said (BAB) remains "absolutely determined to search for a sensible settlement and our door remains open to Unite, day or night. It is not too late for Unite to call off this action and we will do all we can to reinstate some of the cancelled flights."

(BAB) said it will operate all long-haul flights and more than half of its short-haul schedule at London Gatwick and all flights at London City. At (LHR), it will continue to operate more than >60% of its long-haul schedule and around 30% of its short-haul flights thanks mainly to 22 airplanes wet-leased from eight carriers in the UK and Europe. Flights operated by its OpenSkies (OPK) subsidiary between Paris Orly and Newark, as well as flights operated by its franchise partners and all freighter services, will run as normal.

Unite released a statement calling (BAB)'s plan "an accomplished work of fantasy."

(BAB) said that at this stage the "vast majority" of flights scheduled for March 23 to 31 remain in the schedule. A plan for March 27 to 30 will be released after the first strike concludes.

UK politicians have weighed in over the past two days in an effort to pressure the sides to reach a deal. "It's the wrong time. It's unjustified. It's deplorable. We should not have a strike," Prime Minister, Gordon Brown told the BBC. "It's not in the company's interest, it's not in the workers' interest and it's certainly not in the national interest." He reportedly called Unite Joint General Secretary, Tony Woodley over the weekend to discuss potential solutions.

Secretary of State for Transport, Andrew Adonis told the BBC, "I call on [(BAB) and Unite] to engage in those negotiations and to put the public first and to put the company first, and not to take action which not only would be deeply damaging to the economy and to the public, but which could threaten the very jobs of their members which they're seeking to protect." He said the strike was "totally unjustified."

Unite responded that Adonis "appears badly informed" and that (BAB) had withdrawn its final offer before union management could forward it to membership. Regarding Brown's comments, Woodley said: "I don't blame the Prime Minister for trying to help bring together parties to resolve the dispute. But it is rather unfortunate that politicians of all parties always want to kick the unions and kick the employees when in actual fact it's my members who've been kicked here."

Later, (BAB) found some common ground with its unions, announcing an agreement on a reduction of its £3.7 billion/$5.58 billion pension funding deficit that was a roadblock in its merger with Iberia (IBE). (BAB) said it "has concluded consultations with its joint trade unions on the future benefits of its defined benefit pension schemes" and that the "proposals are intended to avoid the closure of the pension schemes and maintain (BAB)'s contributions at the current level of £330 million per annum." Unite, GMB and the British Air Line Pilots Association will recommend the proposal to their members. The new benefit structure, which calls for reduced benefits at current employee contributions or the same benefits with a +4.5% increase in employee contributions, also requires approval from (BAB)'s pension trustees.

Meanwhile, the Unite union urged (BAB) to return to the negotiating table ahead of the scheduled Saturday flight attendants (CA) date. "Unite is ready to meet (BAB). But the company needs to put its offer of last week back on the table. If (BAB) thinks that strikes are going to be avoided with a worse offer, the company is conning the travelling public," the union said. It added that the first of two strikes, scheduled for March 20 to 22, "will have overwhelming support among cabin crew (CA) despite the company's bullying and harassment."

However, what happened during and after the strike was as follows:
(BAB) flight attendants (CA) represented by Unite concluded their three-day walkout amid contradictory claims regarding the impact of the airline's first strike in 13 years. (BAB) set out to serve at least 60% of its passengers using re-trained employees, wet-leased airplanes and Unite members choosing not to honor the strike. According to CEO, Willie Walsh, (BAB) exceeded that target. "The performance [Saturday] was very good, better than we had expected. We were able to re-instate a number of flights and we've been able to do that again today," he said Sunday.

"We're getting very good numbers of cabin crew (CA) turning up for work. I really appreciate that. At London Gatwick (LGW), it was fantastic. 97% of our cabin crew (CA) turned up for work at (LGW) [on Saturday], 52.5% of our cabin crew (CA) turned up for work at (LHR) [Saturday], and the numbers [Sunday] are very similar. In fact, slightly higher than those figures so far," he said.

(BAB) said flights were operated with "simplified on board service" to reflect reduced crew numbers. It said it added flights to its (LHR) and (LGW) schedules (all flights at London City were operating) and that its contingency plans "continued to work well." It said there was "no evidence" of strike action at foreign airports.

Not surprisingly, Unite told a different story. It called (LHR)'s Terminal 5 a "ghost town" and claimed the strike had 80% participation Saturday. (BAB) managed to operate just one-third of its Saturday departures, the union said, adding that there were 85 (BAB) airplanes parked at (LHR) Saturday afternoon. It also claimed 20 airplanes were parked at Cardiff and 20 more at Shannon, which Walsh refuted. Unite further accused (BAB) of operating empty airplanes "to make it seem it is functioning."

In a Sunday message to members, Unite Joint Secretary General, Tony Woodley offered his congratulations on a "magnificent start to the industrial action which has been forced on you" and exhorted them to "stay strong" in the face of "unfair abuse" by (BAB). The union claimed 38 employees, including 14 union representatives, were suspended by (BAB) during the dispute.

Woodley said that just a "small minority" of flight attendants (CA) had crossed the picket line but that he would appeal to the (BAB) board to restart negotiations in an effort to avert the second strike scheduled for March 27 to 30.

Later again, (BAB) said the three-day flight attendants (CA)'s strike, cost (BAB) an estimated -£21 million/-$31.5 million and that its contingency plans proved "very successful."

The Unite union scheduled another stoppage for March 27 to 30, but (BAB) declined to forecast the impact of a second strike. At the moment, earnings expectations for the fiscal year ending March 31 are "broadly unchanged" despite the walkout, and the "strong operational performance made possible by dedicated (BAB) staff has significantly reduced the financial impact of the [first] disruption."

(BAB) claimed it operated 78% of its long-haul flights (with a 68% LF load factor) and 50% of its short-haul flights (69%) on Saturday and Sunday, the first two days of the strike. It also operated 70 positioning flights with cargo on board. It carried 86,262 passengers in total over the weekend, nearly +4,000 more than the number of bookings it had when the strike began.

Unite continued to dispute (BAB)'s numbers. "We estimate that (BAB) may have spent as much as £18 million on leasing airplanes over the last three days. And it is beyond dispute that most of its long-haul flights have been cancelled, and most of those which have taken off are half empty or completely passenger free," Joint General Secretary, Tony Woodley said. "I would like to hear (BAB)'s board justify spending millions on a floundering strikebreaking operation when they turned down an offer of more than >£55 million in cost savings from their own cabin crew (CA)."

He reiterated that the union was "ready for talks at any time" and that the dispute would "only be resolved through negotiations and agreement." Common ground seems in short supply, however, as the sides thought it worthwhile to debate even the media's coverage of the strike. (BAB) issued a statement claiming that as a (PLC), it is "legally obliged to ensure that it does not release information that is misleading or inaccurate," including data on passenger numbers and flights. It said Unite is "under no such legal constraints. A great deal of the information they have put out over the last three days has no basis in fact."

Unite responded, arguing that (BAB) "apparently wants to establish a monopoly of news coverage" and that all the union's claims regarding the airline's operation were "reliably sourced."

The public sniping between British Airways (BAB) and the Unite union continued, while (TAP) Portugal and its pilots (FC) struck a more conciliatory tone and reached a deal that cancelled a potentially devastating six-day strike. (TAP) pilots (FC) represented by the (SPAC) union called off the March 26 to 31 work stoppage after agreeing to a new contract. "The agreement includes a pay rise of +1.8%, the same as for the other (TAP) unions, and equal sharing of productivity gains by pilots (FC) and the airline," (TAP) said.

President & CEO, Fernando Pinto said that "common sense has prevailed" and considered the agreement "good for both sides." He added that (TAP) "will make every effort to minimize the effects and guarantee normal operation over the Easter period."

Meanwhile, (BAB) withdrew travel privileges from those flight attendants (CA) who participated in the March 20 to 22 walkout, Unite said. The union condemned the move, saying that "many" of its members "rely on the travel assistance to get to work following (BAB)'s decision to close its regional bases and require the vast majority of cabin crew (CA) to operate out of [London] Heathrow, no matter where they may live." It added that it "will challenge this vindictive move in whatever way seems appropriate." Unite has scheduled its second strike for March 27 - 30.

Boeing (TBC) said British Airways (BAB) selected its Airplane Health Management (AHM) system to cover 777s, 747-400s and future 787s.

A320-232 (4238, G-EUYG), delivery. EMB-190 (0343, G-LCYK), delivery for BA Cityflyer operations.

April 2010: Volcanic ash from the recent eruption in Iceland continues to cause dramatic disruption to air traffic in Europe, with many airlines cancelling services for a fifth consecutive day owing to airspace closures but questioning whether European Union (EU) governments and Air Traffic Control (ATC) providers are overreacting.

Severe restrictions on civil flights across most of northern and central Europe remained in place over the weekend. This included airspace over Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, most of France, most of Germany, Hungary, Ireland, northern Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the UK. In some areas, upper airspace was made available for limited flights. But rather than easing, the restrictions spread on Sunday: 11 airports in Spain closed as did Bulgarian airspace.

(IATA) (ITA)'s "initial and conservative" estimate of the financial impact on the airline industry is at least $200 million per day in lost revenue. It added that carriers will incur further costs for rerouting airplanes, maintaining parked airplanes at various airports and providing care for stranded passengers. The Association of European Airlines (AEA) said 63,000 flights were cancelled Thursday through Sunday.

The (AEA) and Airports Council International Europe jointly called for an "immediate reassessment of flight restrictions," asserting that non-passenger test flights conducted by several European airlines "have revealed no irregularities at all." The organizations questioned the "proportionality of the flight restrictions currently imposed."

(KLM) and Lufthansa (DLH) were among the carriers that performed test flights over the weekend. (KLM) operated one on Saturday and was scheduled to operate nine more later. The technical inspection conducted after Saturday's 737-800 flight, which climbed to an altitude of 41,000 ft, "revealed that no problems had been encountered and that the quality of the atmosphere is in order," (KLM) said.

(KLM) President & CEO, Peter Hartman estimated the combined financial impact of lost revenue and costs for stranded passengers at €5 million/$6.8 million - €10 million daily. "This is rather dramatic," he told Dutch media. He confirmed that (KLM) does not have insurance that covers this event.

(SAS) warned it would lay off up to -2,500 employees temporarily in Norway, if airplanes remain grounded. It later announced that nearly all of its flights would be cancelled today, though it did say "a few domestic flights" would operate in Norway.

Several European carriers, including Finnair (FIN) and Lufthansa (DLH), grounded their entire fleets. Ryanair (RYR) said it has cancelled all scheduled flights to/from the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland, and the Baltic States through at least 1 pm Wednesday.

Eurocontrol said there were 10,400 flights in European airspace Friday compared to 28,000 normally and approximately 5,000 Saturday compared to 22,000 on a normal Saturday.

The situation has forced airlines in North America and Asia to cancel a high percentage of their Europe-bound flights. The USA Air Transport Association (ATA) said USA carriers cancelled 282 of 337 scheduled Saturday transatlantic flights. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of passengers were stranded at airports across Asia over the weekend as airlines in the region halted nearly all flights to Europe, though some to southern Europe were still operating. Qantas (QAN) cancelled all of its European flights through at least Tuesday.

European Commission (EC) President, Jose Manuel Barroso announced that he has established an ad-hoc group to assess the economic fallout from the multiday closure of much of Europe's airspace, with a particular focus on how the air transport industry was affected.
"The volcanic ash cloud has created an unprecedented situation," he said, adding that it is important that any measures taken "are coordinated at the European level." Barroso's move followed calls by the European airline industry for (EU) governments to provide carriers with financial relief similar to that supplied in the aftermath of 9/11.

"European airlines have asked the (EU) and national governments for financial compensation for the closure of airspace," British Airways (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh said. "There is a precedent for this . . . as compensation was paid after the closure of USA airspace following the terrorist events of 9/11." (BAB) estimates that lost passenger and freight revenue combined with the costs incurred supporting stranded passengers totaled £15 million/$23 million to £20 million daily Thursday through Monday. Walsh said he had been informed that the UK government was working on the issue, "as it recognizes the impact on airlines and the contribution that aviation makes to the British economy."

"The European air transport industry, which has come to a complete standstill, is losing €150 million/$202.5 million per day and today is the fifth day," Air France (AFA)/(KLM) CEO, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said. "(AFA)/(KLM) accounts for a quarter of these losses, ie, €35 million [per day]." He added that "500,000 direct employees and three times as many staff employed indirectly could very soon be temporarily laid off."

Citi analysts said the cost to airlines and airports "could be worse" than the seven-day closure of USA airspace following 9/11. However, the report also pointed out a "critical" difference: "The fear of flying impact is not there this time, thus reducing any lasting negative revenue impacts and additional security costs." Citi projected that the lost revenue "could be short-lived" as passengers resume travels plans and "load factors are likely to be extremely high in the two weeks following reopening of airspace." A bigger issue, it said, is the stranded-passenger accommodation costs incurred by airlines, which it estimated at £8 million daily for (BAB) alone.

A320-232 (4265, G-EUYH), delivery and EMB-190 (0346, G-LCYL), fo BA CityFlyer operations.

May 2010: British Airways (BAB) flew 7.26 billion (RPK)s traffic in April, down -22.4% year-over-year on a -20.9% fall in capacity to 9.48 billion (ASK)s. Load factor dropped -1.5 points to 76.6% LF. Operations were affected by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud that closed much of European airspace April 15 to 21 and resulted in six days of lost flying for the airline.

British Airways (BAB) said its global operations "continue[d] to perform well" on the second day of a five-day strike by cabin crew (CA) represented by Unite. "The numbers of (CA) reporting at [London] Heathrow (LHR) are still at the levels we need to operate our published schedule and Gatwick (LGW) (CA) continue to report as normal," the airline said in a statement. (BAB) is carrying more than >60,000 customers per day and is operating its normal schedules at (LGW) and London City (LCY). At (LHR) it is flying "more than >60%" of its long-haul flights and "more than >50%" of short-haul flights. (BAB) said it remains available for talks with Unite.

The UK's new coalition government indicated it will cancel plans for a third runway at London Heathrow (LHR) and refuse additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted, stating that it is committed "to implement a full program of measures to fulfill our joint ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy."

The resolution was listed in the document setting out the accord between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on a number of issues. The joint policy agreement also said the new government will replace the current and controversial Air Passenger Duty with a per-flight duty. EasyJet (EZY) said it "welcomed" the coalition government's pledge to reform the "daft Air Passenger Duty, which taxes full planes but not empty ones."

Responding to the plan to scrap (LHR)'s third runway, airport operator British Airports Authority (BAA) commented that it "will work with the new government to ensure that airports policy provides the strong international trading connections on which the UK's jobs and future competitiveness depend."

British Airways (BAB) told "Dow Jones" that it "remains of the view that a third runway at our national hub airport, (LHR), would have very substantial economic benefits for the whole of the United Kingdom. The incoming government is well aware of our view but has taken a different position."

See video "BAB 27 CONCORDE SST YEARS" - -

June 2010: British Airways (BAB) flew 8.10 billion (RPK)s traffic in May, down -11.5% year-over-year. Capacity was cut -4.7% to 11.62 billion (ASK)s and load factor fell -5.4 points to 69.7% LF.

(BAB) said it will code share on more Qantas (QAN) flights across Australia and New Zealand from June 14. It plans to add its code to (QAN) flights to Queenstown, Albury, Armidale, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, and Wagga Wagga. (BAB) will launch twice-weekly flights from London Gatwick to Cancun on November 3 aboard a 777-200 in a three-class configuration.

A320-232 (4306, G-EUYI), delivery.

July 2010: British Airways (BAB) flew 8.83 billion (RPK)s traffic in June, down -11.1% year-over-year. Capacity fell -8.6% to 11.39 billion (ASK)s, while load factor fell -2.1 points to 77.5% LF.

The USA Department of Transportation (DOT) issued its final clearance of antitrust immunity (ATI) for American Airlines (AAL), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Finnair (FIN) and Royal Jordanian (RJA) to "more closely coordinate international services" including a planned (AAL)/(BAB)/(IBE) joint venture (JV) on transatlantic flights.

The granting of (ATI) follows on the heels of the European Commission (EC)'s approval and cements the (DOT)'s tentative approval earlier this year.

"The department found that granting (ATI) to the Oneworld (ONW) alliance will provide travelers and shippers with a variety of benefits, including lower fares in some markets, new nonstop routes, improved services and better schedules," the (DOT) said. "The (DOT) also said that the (ONW) alliance will enhance competition around the world by enabling the (ONW) alliance to compete more vigorously with Star (SAL) Alliance and SkyTeam (STM) Alliance, which operate similar immunized alliances." The (DOT) said that to alleviate any anti-competitive concerns the carriers had agreed "to make four pairs of slots at [London] Heathrow available to competitors for new USA - London service, with two pairs to be used for Boston - London service and the other two for service from any other USA cities."

(AAL) Chairman & CEO, Gerard Arpey said, "We are pleased that USA and (EU) regulators have approved our long-sought-after alliance proposal. We look forward to delivering enhanced competition for customers on transatlantic flights."

British Airways (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh added, "This final approval is fantastic news for [(AAL)/(BAB)/(IBE)] and the Oneworld (ONW) alliance. We've waited 14 years to bring the benefits of the transatlantic joint business to our customers and level the playing field with the other two global alliances. We're pleased that the (DOT) and the (EU) have worked together to ensure that there is consistency in the number of slots that the three airlines have to give up for our competitors to use on services from Heathrow to the USA."

(BAB) took delivery of its first 777-300ER, part of an order for six placed in 2008. The airplane will be fitted with 297 seats in a four-class configuration and feature an "all-new interior" including new World Traveler (economy) and World Traveler Plus (economy plus) cabins. It also will feature a new in-flight entertainment (IFE) system when it goes into operation later this year, (BAB) revealed. The new (IFE) systems will provide more than >230 TV programs, 70 films and 400 (CD)s, plug-and-play technology and 60% larger high-resolution screens. (BAB) will take delivery of three airplanes this year and three in 2012.

British Airways (BAB) has wet-leased three 747-8F freighters from Atlas Air (TLS) Worldwide Holdings (AAWH)’s UK partner, Global Supply Systems (GSS). Under the five-year agreement, Global Supply Systems (GSS) will provide airplanes, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) wet-lease services for (BAB)’s World Cargo unit, starting in 2011. (GSS) will lease the freighters from Atlas (TLS), which owns 49% of (GSS). Atlas (TLS) expects to take the first of the 12 747-8Fs it has on order in early 2011. The delivery schedule has not been disclosed.

“The decision to once again work alongside our long term freighter partners, (GSS) and Atlas Air (TLS), to upgrade to the 747-8F freighter was an important step by British Airways (BAB) World Cargo (BAWC),” says (BAB)’s Managing Director, Steve Gunning, in a statement. “It is our view that long-haul freighters form an integral part of our overall business strategy—providing flexibility and capacity on resilient and growing lanes—as we strive for continued excellence in all key areas of the business, including product range, customer service and, of course, network offering.” The companies’ statement notes that the 747-8F is 5.6 meters, or 18.3 ft, longer than the 747-400F freighter, which is already operated by (BAB) (BAWC). “With a maximum structural payload capacity of 140 tonnes (154 tons), the 747-8F is expected to provide +16% more revenue cargo volume compared with the benchmark 747-400F,” they say, adding, “The additional +120 cubic meters/4,245 cubic feet of volume afforded by the longer fuselage offers space for four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets.”

(AAWW) President & CEO, William Flynn notes, “We are delighted to confirm (GSS)’s agreement with British Airways (BAB), and to extend our long-standing and successful relationship with one of the world’s preeminent airlines. “We anticipate significant growth in our fleet with our new 747-8F airplanes. Together with our modern 747-400F freighters, our airplanes anchor a fleet strategy that focuses on our customers and reinforces our position as the most advanced, most efficient and most reliable provider of leased freighter airplanes and outsourced airplanes operating services and solutions to the global aviation industry,” adds Flynn.

August 2010: British Airways (BAB) 2009 World Passenger Traffic = 110,851 Million (-3.1%) (RPK)s (World Highest #9) (#8); World Total Employees = 41,494 (-7.8%) (World Highest #8). SEE ATTACHED - - "BAB-2010-08-WLD RPK-2009."

(BAB) flew 10.56 billion (RPK)s traffic in July, down -2.6% year-over-year. Capacity fell -1.9% to 12.57 billion (ASK)s, while load factor dipped -0.6 point to 84% LF.

(BAB) reported a net loss of -£122 million/-$190.5 million for its fiscal first quarter ended June 30, widened -15.1% from a -£106 million deficit in the year-ago period, but noted that operating loss improved +23.4% year-over-year to -£72 million.

It said it incurred "disruption" costs of £250 million during the three months, including £108 million relating to the volcanic ash airspace closures in April and £142 million from the cabin crew (CA) strikes in May and June. The cabin crew dispute over changes to work practices is in its 18th month and is still not resolved.

“We’ve improved our underlying revenue performance in the quarter with increased yields and lower costs,” said CEO, Willie Walsh during a webcast. “We must continue to lower costs as revenue grows. Introducing permanent structural change across the airline remains our priority.”

Group revenue fell -2.3% to £1.94 billion and total operating costs declined -3.3% to £2 billion including a -0.7% reduction in fuel costs to £592 million.

Passenger revenue was down -3.4% to £1.66 billion on a -11.2% capacity reduction. Yields improved +13.5% “driven by a change in mix especially within cabin,” according to (BAB). It added that without the disruptions, passenger revenue would have increased by “some +11%” year-over-year. Its cargo business performed strongly, with revenue increasing +36.7% to £175 million and yields up +33.9% “driven by demand, mix and fuel surcharges.”

British Airways (BAB) will operate four-times-weekly, London City - Chambery, BA CityFlyer service starting December 18 aboard an EMB-190.

Two European airlines’ maintenance and engineering operations are looking toward the future through apprenticeship programs.

Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) just started 257 apprenticeships in Germany and British Airways (BAB) Engineering will have 105 in London on September 6. The robust, Germany-based training program that started in 1956 includes 1,025 young people. (BAB) offers three-year apprenticeships for 10 to 15 students at maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) bases in Cardiff, Wales, and Glasgow, Scotland; but the London Heathrow-based apprenticeship will be the first offered there in 16 years.

While the schemes differ, their intent is similar. As Garry Copeland, (BAB) Director Engineering, says, the reintroduction of Heathrow engineering apprenticeships is important not just to bring new people and skills to the organization, but also “to recruit leaders for tomorrow.” The apprenticeship coincides with (BAB)’s need for more engineers in two years and the receipt of (BAB)’s first 787 in 2012 and its first A380 in 2013. Copeland says 90 people will start a traditional program in conjunction with Farnborough, Kingston, and Brooklands colleges. This will be followed by 18 months “rotating around the Engineering department working in casualty, ramp and base maintenance,” then six months of activity based on “operational requirements and individual aptitude,” says Mark Ballington, Engineering Training Manager. After the three-year apprenticeship, students will qualify for a City & Guilds Level-3 certificate in Aeronautical Engineering. The second new apprenticeship for 15 people also will start in September, but will teach business administration skills, such as material distribution, logistics and documentation management. This is a two-year stint in business administration at Farnborough College of Technology.

Ballington says (BAB)’s investment for the two programs is “commercially confidential” but adds that it “will be sufficient to make the program a success and manage our future engineering requirements.”

Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK), which spends roughly €47 million/$60 million annually on its youth training programs, received about 5,000 applications this year for the 257 spots. Students choose from 19 career paths—from airplane mechanic (MT) to inventory administration, to educational degree programs such as Bachelor of Engineering or Master of Mechatronics.

777-36NER (38286, G-STBB), (GEF) leased.

September 2010: The planned merger between British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) under holding company International Airlines Group (IAG) is nearing its final stage following (IBE)’s approval of (BAB)’s £3.7 billion/$5.8 billion pension deficit funding plan.

“We carefully reviewed (BAB)’s pension deficit plan and the board cleared this last condition,” (IBE) Managing Director & (COO), Rafael Sanchez confirmed in Barcelona.

The next step is gaining approval of both airlines’ shareholders. “We have not yet set a date, but I expect the general shareholders meeting will take place in November,” Sanchez said, adding that the merged company will be up and running around year’s end. “I expect shareholders of both companies will be sensible to realize this is a positive merger.”

(IBE) had until September 23 to exercise its right to terminate the merger agreement if the outcome of discussions between (BAB) and its pension trustees was not in its “reasonable opinion” satisfactory.

(IBE) is still in talks with cabin crew (CA) and pilots (FC) regarding the terms under which its new short and medium-haul carrier will be established. “We are still far away. We decided we need a new short-haul model, and we will get it,” Sanchez said. “This is a strategic issue. It is important we solve the problem [of addressing the losses of its short-haul network]. We know how to solve it and we prefer to do it with the support and in consensus with the different employee representations.” Sanchez declined to confirm the new carrier would operate as "Iberia Express." “We registered about 20 names,” he said, noting that the new short-haul carrier will be launched in due course but that the merger has been a priority. "We have been focusing on the merger and how to achieve €400 million/$534 million in annual synergies."

The International Airlines Group (IAG), the holding company formed by the British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) merger, appointed (IBE) Chairman & CEO, Antonio Vazquez as Chairman of the board, (BAB) Chairman, Martin Broughton has been named Deputy Chairman and (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh has been named Managing Director.

October 2010: British Airways (BAB) attributes its first positive
result for two years, in the first half of 2010, to its ongoing drive to reduce costs and a rebound in yields. As (BAB) prepares to merge with Iberia (IBE) in January, it has reported a pre-tax profit of +£158 million/+$251 million in the six months to September 30, compared with a loss of -£292 million in the same period last year. Improved yields drove revenue up by +8.4% to 4,447 million, while costs fell -1.5%.

(BAB) returned an operating profit of +£298 million in the first two quarters, compared with a loss of -£111 million in 2009, while its second-quarter operating profit was +£370 million on losses of -£17 million in the same period last year. “Our concerted efforts to introduce permanent structural change across (BAB) has led to a reduction in non-fuel costs and a return to profitability,” says CEO, Willie Walsh. “Revenue has increased, driven primarily by yield improvements and, while fuel costs have risen, they are in line with our expectations.” (BAB) CFO, Keith Williams says that while volumes were flat in quarter two, passenger yields rose more than >20%. Over the first six months, yields were up +17.2%. While yields are not yet back at pre-recession levels, Walsh says that the speed and strength of the recovery in demand for the more lucrative flexible fares have surprised the airline and that the trend is continuing with forward bookings. The yield picture in cargo was even brighter after the collapse in the freight market last year, with a +38.5% year-on-year improvement. Again the recovery is expected to continue in the second half of the year. Cargo revenue rose by +39.4%, while volumes increased by +2.4%. However, (BAB) is concerned about the impact that an imminent increase in the UK government’s Air Passenger Duty tax will have. Walsh describes the rise as “a disgrace and cannot be justified at any level,” saying it will have “a dampening effect on demand.” Williams says the increase is expected to have a 1.5% impact on yields.

Another issue that (BAB) is facing is the ongoing threat of industrial action by cabin crew (CA), which has disrupted operations throughout the year. However, Walsh says he is optimistic that the cabin crew (CA)’s union will recommend that its members accept the latest proposal the airline has put forward and bring the dispute to an end.

(BAB) expects to complete its merger with Iberia (IBE) in January 2011, once shareholders decide whether to approve the deal at meetings on November 29.

Oneworld (ONW) alliance carriers British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and American Airlines (AAL) are to open four new routes next April as part of their new transatlantic joint venture (JV). (AAL) will operate New York (JFK) - Budapest and Chicago - Helsinki, connecting the USA gateways with the bases of Oneworld (ONW) members Malev (HGA) and Finnair (FIN).

(BAB) will operate London Heathrow - San Diego, while Iberia (IBE) will open Madrid - Los Angeles.

(ONW) disclosed the routes at an event marking the three-way tie-up in London. (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh describes the venture as "historic", adding: "We've waited 14 years for this."

(AAL) is placing its code on 322 (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) flights, while (BAB) will add its code to 2,063 (AAL) and Iberia (IBE) flights.

(IBE)'s code will feature on 354 flights operated by (BAB) and (AAL).

"There will be further opportunities to increase code shares in future," Oneworld (ONW) adds.


Boeing (BAB) announced it will enhance British Airways (BAB)'s Boeing Airplane Health Management system operating on its 777s and 747-400s to include the Custom Alerting and Analysis module. It will also incorporate the two modules on (BAB)'s future 787 deliveries.

British Airways (BAB) retired all its 757 airplanes from its fleet on October 30, after 27 years of operations. The 757 entered service with (BAB) in February 1983 on shuttle flights from London Heathrow Airport. As well as operating with (BAB)’s mainline London Heathrow (LHR) based fleet, the 757 also flew from London Gatwick (LGW) and with the airline’s regional divisions, and with its former charter arm, Caledonian Airways (CAW). “The 757 is probably the most flexible aircraft (BAB) has had, and we’ll miss it. It has been used all over the network — - European routes and long-haul routes as well from Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow to North America,” says Peter Lynam, who is (BAB)’s Head of Network Operations and was on board the type’s final flight from Edinburgh to Heathrow. “From now on, all those routes within the UK and to Europe will be operated by Airbus equipment, so the baton passes from Boeing (TBC) to Airbus (EDS) on the (BAB) shorthaul network.”

(BAB) took delivery of a total of 54 Rolls-Royce (RRC) (RB211)-powered 757-200s between 1983 and 1999, and also operated a handful of additional airplanes on lease. (BAB)’s last three 757s, which were retired on October 30, will be converted to freighters and operated by FedEx Express (FED).

November 2010: British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) shareholders voted in favor of the merger of the airlines at special meetings in London and Madrid, respectively, ending years of speculation and on-and-off discussions that took off following (IBE)'s announcement in spring 2007 that it was open to a full or partial sale.

The merger, which was agreed to by both companies’ boards in November 2009 with an official agreement signed in April, will see the integration of (BAB) and (IBE) in the International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG). The merger is expected to be finalized by January 24, when the (IAG) will begin trading on stock exchanges. (BAB) shareholders will own 56% of the company.

(BAB) acquired an initial stake in (IBE) along with its Oneworld (ONW) alliance partner American Airlines (AAL) in 1998 and bought out (AAL) in 2006, raising its shareholding to around 10%. In May 2007, (BAB) joined a consortium led by private equity firm (TPG) to make an offer for (IBE) but the group withdrew its €3.4 billion/$4.5 billion offer some months later. (BAB) then increased its shareholding further to about 13%.

While (BAB) and (IBE) will disappear from the stock exchange screens, both airlines will retain their brands, traffic rights and operational independence. (BAB) CEO, Willie Walsh will become the (IAG) Chief Executive and (IBE) Chairman & CEO, Antonio Vazquez will be board Chairman.

"We are very happy the shareholders gave their approval to the merger," Vazquez said. "Without a doubt, it is a historical agreement that will create a global group to lead a future consolidation process in the airline business."

The airlines expect annual synergies of €400 million starting in the fifth year following the merger. (BAB) posted a net loss of -£425 million on revenue of £7.99 billion in its fiscal year ended March 31 and carried 31.8 million passengers. (BAB) ended Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 - 2010 with 238 airplanes in operation. (IBE) reported a consolidated deficit of -€273 million for 2009, ending a 13-year annual profit streak, on operating revenue of €4.46 billion. (IBE) ended the year with 109 airplanes and carried 25.6 million passengers.

Based on combined passenger count, the (IAG) would be Europe's fourth largest carrier group after the Lufthansa (DLH) Group, which enplaned more than >76 million passengers in 2009, the Air France (AFA)/(KLM) Group, which boarded 71.4 million passengers, and Ryanair (RYR) which boarded 66.5 million passengers in its most recent fiscal year.

Unite, which represents the majority of the (BAB) cabin crew (CA), remains unaffected by the merger approval and announced it will hold a fresh ballot among members on further strike action in its dispute with management over pay and staffing levels. (BAB) criticized the action, which (BAB) claims violates an understanding that it had with Unite leadership to submit an agreement reached in October to rank and file members for a vote. It vowed that, in the event of a fresh strike, its contingency plans will allow operation of normal time timetables at London City and Gatwick airports and all long-haul flights at Heathrow.

(BAB) will launch daily 777 London Heathrow - San Diego service in June.

British Airways (BAB) named Nick Swift, CFO, effective March 7, 2011. He will replace Keith Williams, who will become CEO of the (BAB) operating unit upon completion of (BAB)'s merger with Iberia (IBE) early next year.

(BAB) will launch 12-times-weekly, A320 London Heathrow - Paris Orly service on January 10.

The European Commission (EC) fined 11 airlines a total of €799 million/$1.1 billion for "operating a worldwide cartel which affected cargo services within the European Economic Area." In a statement, the (EC) said the carriers "coordinated their action on surcharges for fuel and security without discounts over a six-year period." Air France (AFA) received the largest fine at €182.9 million, followed by its affiliate (KLM) at €127.2 million. Other fines include British Airways (BAB) (€104 million), Cargolux (CLX) (€79.9 million), Singapore Airlines (SIA) (€74.8 million), (SAS) (€70.2 million), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT) (€57.1 million), Japan Airlines (JAL) (€35.7 million), Martinair (MTH) (€29.5 million), Air Canada (ACN) (€21 million), Qantas (QAN) (€8.9 million) and (LAN) Airlines (€8.2 million).

Lufthansa (DLH) and its subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines (CSR) "received full immunity from fines under the (EC)’s leniency program, as it was the first to provide information about the cartel," the (EC) stated.

"It is deplorable that so many major airlines coordinated their pricing to the detriment of European businesses and European consumers," said (EC) VP Competition, Joaquin Almunia. "With today’s decision, the (EC) is sending a clear message that it will not tolerate cartel behavior." The (EC) charged that the "cartel members" coordinated pricing from December 1999 to February 2006.

The (EC) in late 2007 sent out official statements of objections to as many as 25 carriers regarding cargo price fixing. It said that 11 carriers originally charged were not fined.

The (EU), USA Department of Justice, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and other authorities worldwide have been investigating anti-competitive practices in air cargo since 2005. Cargolux (C LX) President & CEO, Ulrich Ogiermann and Senior VP Sales & Marketing, Robert Van de Weg were recently indicted in a USA court on charges of conspiring to fix and coordinate certain surcharge rates on air cargo shipments to and from the USA.

In a statement, Air France (AFA)/(KLM) said it considered the level of the fine to be "disproportionate given the fact that the economic analysis demonstrated that the actions in question had no detrimental effect on the freight shippers or the freight forwarders. Moreover, the level of the fines disregards the economic hardship that the air cargo industry has suffered, and will have a distortive effect on the level playing field." It added that it intends to appeal the decision to (EU) courts. Because the level of the fine exceeds the level of provisions already taken by the company for potential cargo antitrust payments, (AFA)/(KLM) will book a charge of €127 million for the first half of its current fiscal year.

(SAS) said in a statement it has not been involved in a global cartel and the fines are disproportionate. It also plans to appeal the decision, a process that could take several years. The fines will be accounted for in (SAS)'s third-quarter earnings.

Air Canada (ACN) said in a statement it may appeal the decision and said the penalty is “more than adequately” covered by a C$125 million provision it made in 2008.

"We are highly disappointed and strongly contest the considerable level of the fines, which we believe to be disproportionate to (SAS) Cargo's actions," said (SAS) Chief Legal Officer, Mats Loennkvist. "We have cooperated fully with the (EC) during the entire investigation and, for slightly more than four years, we have disputed the (EC)'s view that (SAS) Cargo has been involved in a global cartel."

December 2010: British Airways (BAB) increased its fuel surcharge on long-haul services by £10/$15.52 per sector from December 16. (BAB) will not raise fuel surcharges on its short-haul services. For economy (Y) passengers, the surcharges will amount to £63 for flights of less than nine hours and £73 for flights over nine hours; premium economy (PY) will see an increase to £73 and £94.50, respectively. First (F)/business (C)-class passengers on flights under nine hours will pay £88, rising to £108 for flights over nine hours.

(BAB) launched twice-daily, London Heathrow - Gothenburg service.

Oneworld (ONW) alliance partners American Airlines (AAL), British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) are expanding their transatlantic relationship by adding up to 317 new code share routes to their current joint venture (JV). The new code share routes expand the joint business agreement approved two months ago to more than >400 destinations in 100 countries from December 28, according to the three airlines. Five previously announced routes are also scheduled to launch in the spring.

“When we launched the joint business in October, we said that we would be rolling out more benefits to customers, and this introduction of more code share flights across our three airlines is exactly that,” says (BAB)’s Commercial Director, Andrew Crawley. “The feedback we’re getting from customers is very positive already, and we will continue to align our policies in order to bring them even more benefits.” With this latest addition, (AAL) will add its ‘AA’ designator code to +57 more (BAB) flights to 16 markets, including five North American services to London Heathrow International Airport, and 10 European cities served through London Gatwick International Airport. (AAL) also adds two new (IBE) services from both Barcelona’s El Prat International Airport and Madrid Barajas Airport. (BAB), meanwhile, will add its ‘BA’ code to 42 additional (AAL) flights to 18 markets through Boston Logan International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, New York John F Kennedy International Airport, and Miami International Airport, and 56 (IBE) flights to eight markets, mostly through Madrid.

(IBE)’s IB code is also added to 72 (AAL) flights in 23 markets and 86 (AB) flights to 24 markets. “Today’s announcement continues to demonstrate how our stronger relationship with our Oneworld (ONW) alliance partners delivers value to our customers,” says (AAL)’s Chief Commercial Officer, Virasb Vahidi. “Expanded code sharing makes it easier and more convenient for our respective customers to travel on the global networks of all three airlines and delivers on our promise of more choices, easier connections and a better overall travel experience.”

Manuel Lopez Aguilar, (IBE) General Director, Commercial & Clients, adds, “The expanded code sharing that will be in place before the end of the year is another benefit for our customers; this has to be added to the new routes that we will be launching from next spring, which in the case of (IBE) are Madrid - Los Angeles and Barcelona - Miami. We could not operate these new routes without the joint business.”

January 2011: SEE ATTACHED "BAB-2011-01-2010 WORLD TOP TRAFFIC."

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) scored a victory by winning a vote to represent pilots (FC) at Jet2.com (JT2). (BALPA) now represents pilots (FC) at all major
UK-based airlines, including British Airways (BAB), Virgin Atlantic (VAA), easyJet (EZY), FlyBe (BEE), Monarch Airlines (MON), and TUI (TUG)’s Thomson Airways (ATZ)/(TFY).

Airport Terminal Services was selected by British Airways (BAB) to serve as their ramp handling agent at Toronto Pearson International, Terminal 3. (BAB) serves Toronto twice-daily from London Heathrow.

Rolls-Royce (RRC) and British Airways (BAB) have completed contracts for (Trent 900) and (Trent 1000) engines to power up to 61 new wide-body airplanes. The order, originally announced in September 2007 and worth in excess of >$5 billion at list prices if all options are exercised, is for (Trent 900) engines to power 12 A380 airplanes, with a potential additional seven options, and (Trent 1000) engines to power 24 787 Dreamliners, with 18 options. The contracts include TotalCare long-term support agreements.

British Airways (BAB) is one of nine customers that have selected the (Trent 900) for the A380. The (Trent 1000) has been selected to power the first 787 to enter service with All Nippon Airlines (ANA) and has already powered over >2,000 hours of airplane test flights.

Rolls-Royce (RRC) has finalized a (Trent 900) and (Trent 1000) engine contract with British Airways (BAB) for up to 61 Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC) airplane. Valued at more than >$5 billion, including options, the agreements include (RRC)’s TotalCare support program for (Trent 900)s on 12 A380s and (Trent 1000)s on 24 787s.

A320-211 (042, G-BUSH), to Gatwick for storage. A320-232 (4551, G-EUYK), delivery.

February 2011: International Airlines Group (IAG), formed by the merger of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) last month, reported a pro-forma net profit of +€90 million/+$124 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2010, reversed from a -€130 million deficit in the year-ago period, as revenue and yields strongly increased on limited capacity growth.

CEO, Willie Walsh said the group is closely monitoring the “current political instability in the Middle East and its impact on fuel prices,” and conceded that (IAG) airlines will “adjust and even reduce capacity” if demand is being impacted by the rise in fuel prices.

Both (BAB) and (IBE) previously passed on an average of 50% of fuel increases to passengers through fuel surcharges and “this is still a valid proposition,” Walsh said, noting that despite recent increases in fuel surcharges on (BAB) and (IBE)’s long-haul flights, demand has thus far not been affected. Walsh also said he was not too worried about a possible collapse of traffic to/from the Middle East as the region represents just 6% of (IAG)’s capacity.

Revenue for the quarter rose +13.4% to €3.81 billion compared to the year-ago period, with passenger revenue up +15.6% to €3.3 billion on +2.7% growth in capacity (ASK)s and a +12.7% improvement in (RASK) to €0.0631. Passenger yield was €0.0809, 13.1% higher on the year-ago period. Cargo revenue heightened +28.2% on a +3.2% increase in freight traffic (FTK)s and a +24.2% jump in yield to €0.19.

Operating costs for the quarter were up +9.5% to €3.8 billion with €119 million in non-recurring items, including €19 in impairment costs related to the scrapping of two 747s and merger completion costs of €26 million. In addition, there was a €43 million bonus provision after performance criteria were met and a €71 million impact related to the adverse winter conditions and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes in Spain in December.

Operating profit for the quarter was +€6 million, vastly improved on the -€114 million operating loss in the year-ago period. According to a presentation during the investors’ webcast, (BAB)’s (EBIT) for the quarter was €44 million while (IBE) posted a -€46 million operating loss. Pro-forma operating margin for the group was 0.2%.

Pro-forma full-year net profit for the combination amounted to +€100 million, compared to a -€777 million deficit in 2009, and operating profit came in at +€225 million, reversed from an operating loss of -€910 million. Revenue heightened +10% to €14.8 billion (ASK)s and operating cost rose just +1.4% to €14.6 billion. (ASK)s were reduced by -3.4% while (RASK) was up +13.9% to €0.0618. Passenger yield improved +13.9% to €0.0793. (CASK) rose +5% to €0.0731 with fuel cost per (ASK) rising just +0.5% to €0.0196.

(IAG) said its long-haul business remains strong, particularly in the premium sector, but highlighted concern with its short-haul European market, which continues to be highly competitive. It is confident it is “on track” to deliver synergy targets. The planned combined (AIG) capacity growth for the first half of 2011 is +6.8% over the first half of 2010, with the (ASK) growth arising from increased sector lengths and the change in the network mix with the ongoing shift to long-haul. The number of seats in the fleet actually is set to decrease by about -1% year to year.

In its last nine months as a stand-alone listed airline, (BAB) posted a consolidated net profit of +£170 million/+$275 million, reversed from a -£245 million loss in the year-ago period. Revenue rose +8.8% year-over-year to £6.68 billion and operating cost inched up +1.8% to £6.34 billion. Operating profit came in at +£342 million, compared to an operating loss of -£86 million in the nine months to December 31, 2009.

The Iberia Group reported consolidated net income of +€89 million for 2010, compared with a -€273 million deficit posted in 2009. Operating revenue increased by +8.2% to €4.77 billion and operating costs declined -2% to €4.77 billion. (EBIT) amounted to a loss of -€3 million, versus a -€463 million loss in 2009, and “would have been comfortably in the black" except for the April volcanic ash crisis and Spanish air traffic control (ATC) disputes.

S7 Airlines (SBR) reached a code share agreement with British Airways (BAB), opening up joint flights from Russian regions via Moscow Domodedovo airport (DME) to London Heathrow airport (LHR) starting February 8.

(BAB) launched five-times-weekly, London Heathrow - Tokyo Haneda service.

Travelport announced that UK travel agencies "for the first time" are able to book pre-paid seating on British Airways (BAB) flights through the Global Distribution System (GDS) channel. Previously this extra was only bookable via http://www.ba.com.

(BAB) passengers can receive a free seat assignment when they check-in up to 24 hours before their flight. Choosing seats more than one day in advance, or selecting preferred seating such as in an exit row, typically incurs a fee, however. The "industry first" for Travelport-connected subscribers follows the global, full-content agreement the organizations signed "which included a commitment to integrate (BAB)'s pre-paid seating solution into the Travelport (GDS)."

To offer the feature, travel agents need to download Travelport Options Integrator, which is free of charge and links directly to (BAB)'s pre-paid seating content, Travelport said.

Travelport Managing Director Europe & Brazil, Jason Clarke said, “This development not only makes the booking process easier for agents but also enables them to offer even better customer service by offering to book a pre-paid seat. It very much forms part of our ongoing merchandising strategy as a business.”

The companies said they intend to bring the new functionality to other regions later in the year and that it "is just one of a number of high profile merchandising announcements, Travelport hopes to make over the coming months with other key flag carriers."

March 2011: British Airways (BAB) Chief Technology Officer, Gordon Penfold has moved to Etihad Airways (EHD) as Senior VP Information Technology (IT).

BA CityFlyer will launch London City service to Faro (four-times-weekly, June 7) and Malaga (thrice-weekly, June 8).

April 2011: British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) will combine their cargo business and network into a single business unit reporting to the International Airlines Group (IAG) although both cargo operations will retain their current brands. There will be a small cargo management team within (IAG), while all other cargo employees will continue to work for their current airline. The combined business will be led by Managing Director, Steve Gunning and Deputy Managing Director, Ignacio Diez Barturen. They were previously Managing Directors of (BA) World Cargo and Iberia (IBE) Cargo, respectively.

British Airways (BAB) was fined $1.6 million and Cargolux (CLX) was fined $4.6 million for operating an illegal cartel to fix airfreight rates on flights into New Zealand. Both airlines admitted the offense last month in settlements reached with the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC), which lodged actions against 13 international airlines in 2008.

“The penalties reflect discounts for both airlines, to take account of their early admissions and their cooperation with the commission’s proceeding. (BAB) has received a greater discount, because of its commitment to further cooperation as the case progresses, but in each case, the court has acknowledged the value to this agency of receiving assistance from the parties involved,” said Commission General Counsel of Enforcement, Mary-Anne Borrowdale.

Qantas (QAN) has also admitted involvement but is yet to be fined. Court proceedings will begin in May against a host of airlines, comprising Air New Zealand (ANZ), Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), Emirates (EAD), Japan Airlines (JAL), Korean Air (KAL), Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Garuda (GIA), Singapore Airlines (SIA), and Thai Airways (TII). A case by (NZCC) against United Airlines (UAL) has been dropped.

May 2011: The International Airlines Group (IAG), formed by the merger of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) in January, reported a first-quarter net profit of +€33 million/+$48.7 million, turned around from a pro forma net deficit of €243 million in the year-ago period. Net income includes a €83 million book gain related to the acquisition of (IBE) and an €80 million tax credit.

"These are the first-ever (IAG) results and they show an improved performance compared to last year. Revenue is up due to increased volumes, particularly in the premium cabins, and improved yields, which also showed good premium growth," said (IAG) CEO, Willie Walsh, noting that the group also "achieved a significant reduction in our controllable costs."

Revenue rose +15.4% to €3.64 billion; €98 million, or 3.1%, was owing to currency translation. Total operating costs were up +10.3% to €3.74 billion with 3% related to currency. Fuel costs were up +30.9% to €1.13 billion. (IAG) expects its fuel bill for the full year will be about €5.2 billion, roughly €100 million above its previous estimate in February. "Fuel costs remain the big challenge facing the industry," Walsh warned. First-quarter operating loss was narrowed -57.1% year-over-year to €102 million.

Passenger revenue jumped +14.9% on capacity growth of +9.1% to 51.12 billion (ASK)s and a +5.2% improvement in (RASK) to €0.059. North American unit revenue was boosted by strong demand in premium cabins, whereas (RASK) growth is slowing on Latin American routes owing to capacity increases, (IAG) said in a presentation to analysts and journalists.

Passenger yield rose +8.8% to €0.0799. Cargo revenue for the quarter increased +24.5% as cargo yield heightened +14.3% to €0.192 on a +8.9% rise in traffic to 1.51 billion (CTK)s. Passenger capacity was increased without additional airplanes and employees, which highlights "the good work that has been done in previous years," according to Walsh. The group had 346 airplanes in operation and employed 56,159 people during the reporting quarter.

The group flew 37.77 billion (RPK)s in the first quarter, up +5.6% over the year-ago period. The number of passengers carried heightened +3.2% to 11.5 million. Load factor dropped -2.4 points to 73.9% LF. Total cost per (ASK) inched up +1.1% to €0.0731, comprising a -5.2% reduction in non-fuel unit costs to €0.0511 and a +20.1% hike in fuel (CASK).

(IAG) said it expects the ongoing impact of the earthquake/tsunami in Japan and political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa to reduce full-year operating profit by between +€90 million and +€100 million. Nevertheless, it still targets "significant" growth in operating profit with improvements in both unit revenue and unit cost performance compared to 2010. It said it is on track to reach synergy targets and its planned +8% growth in capacity (ASK)s for the full year compared to 2010 remains "essentially unchanged," although it retains flexibility to cut capacity, if necessary, from the fourth quarter.

"Our long-haul business is stable, with strength in the premium sector, but the short-haul European market remains highly competitive," it said.

British Airways (BAB) will increase thrice-weekly, London City - Palma service to six-times-weekly in July and August. (BAB) increased its thrice-weekly, London Heathrow - Rio de Janeiro service to six-times-weekly.

British Airways (BAB) and its cabin crew (CA), represented by the Unite union, reached an agreement aimed at ending their long-running industrial dispute. The deal follows changes at the top of both (BAB) and Unite and lifts the threat of strike action by cabin crew (CA). Cabin crew (CA) last year staged 22 days of strikes, costing (BAB) an estimated £150 million/$246 million, and earlier this year voted for more work stoppages.

(BAB) said the agreement with Unite “involves acknowledgement by the union that the cost-saving structural changes we have made in cabin crew (CA) operations are permanent. We have also agreed to changes that will modernize our crew industrial relations and help ensure that this kind of dispute cannot occur again.”

Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey said, “We are delighted to have reached an agreement which I believe recognizes the rights and dignity of cabin crew (CA) as well as the commercial requirements of the company. This agreement will allow us to go forward in partnership.” He said the union would recommend its members accept the deal because “we believe it is an honorable settlement.” Unite cabin crew (CA) members will vote on the agreement over the next month. The parties did not publicly disclose the terms of the agreement but McCluskey said that staff travel concessions will be restored in full.

June 2011: The International Airline Group (BAB)/(IBE) reported a first-quarter net profit of +€33 million/+$48.7 million. (IAG) Group CEO, Willie Walsh noted that premium long-haul traffic remains strong, but the European market is still under pressure.

British Airways (BAB) on June 1 replaced the 777 operating daily, London Heathrow - Las Vegas service with a 747, increasing capacity by +18%.

Air Berlin (BER) and British Airways (BAB) reached a code share agreement. Beginning July 5, (BER) will place its code on (BAB) flights from "various" German airports to London Heathrow, as well as (BAB) flights from Frankfurt and Zurich to London City, and from Salzburg to London Gatwick (LGW). (BAB) will place its code on (BER) flights from (LGW) to Nuremburg and from London Stansted (STN) to Paderborn and Munster/Osnabruck. The cooperation agreement applies to flights to more than >40 European destinations served by the two airlines.

(BAB) increased London City - Nice service to twice daily from May - September and London City service to Palma and Ibiza from four-times-weekly to 10-times-weekly July - September. The services are operated by BA CityFlyer using Embraer EMB-170 and EMB-190 airplanes.

August 2011: The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), distinguished itself from rivals suffering losses or significantly reduced earnings by posting a net profit of +€71 million/+$101.8 million for the 2011 first half, reversed from a pro-forma (BAB)/(IBE) -€352 million net deficit in the first six months of 2010.

"(IAG) is on target to deliver its year one synergies," CEO, Willie Walsh said. (BAB)/(IBE) expect annual synergies of €400 million starting in the fifth year following the merger. "Customers are also directly benefiting through airline website cross-selling, more fare and schedule choice on overlapping long-haul routes and easier access to more destinations via new code shares."

The (IAG) said the strong half-year result was achieved despite fuel costs lifting +34% year-over-year to €2.44 billion. It noted that non-fuel unit costs lowered -5.6% compared to the 2010 first half.

The (IAG) said it expects "improvements in both our unit revenue and unit cost performance [for the full year 2011] versus 2010 and are on track to reach our synergy targets. Our long-haul business is stable, with strength in the premium sector, but the short-haul European market remains highly competitive"

The (IAG) projected that "events in Japan and North Africa/Middle East [will] have a negative impact on operating profit for the full year of +€90 to +€100 million."

(BAB) has launched its biggest pilot (FC) recruitment drive in more than >10 years. (BAB) plans to take on more than >800 new pilots (FC) by 2016, using three combined recruitment programmes:

* A new programme to help people to train to become airline pilots (FC) for the first time, called the "Future Pilot Program."

* Recruitment of qualified pilots (FC) from other airlines.

* A joint initiative with the UK Armed Forces to provide military pilots (FC) with a planned career path into commercial aviation.

The (BAB) Future Pilot (FC) Program will help about 400 applicants to gain a place at an approved flight training school, with successful candidates landing a job as a (BAB) pilot (FC).

Previously people have been prevented or deterred from starting a career as an airline pilot (FC), due to the initial private training costs of around £100,000, which they have had to find themselves. This programme helps students to secure funding to train as a pilot (FC) which they can pay back later in their career.

(BAB) is also using YouTube as a recruitment tool for the first time. Anyone interested in becoming (BAB)’s next generation of pilots (FC) can learn more about the program and hear useful advice from current pilots (FC) from the clip on the company’s dedicated YouTube site.

Captain Robin Glover, Head of Pilot Recruitment at (BAB), said: “The Future Pilot Program is a fantastic opportunity for anyone, from any background to realise their ambition of becoming a pilot (FC) and flying for (BAB). “By removing the barrier of initial training costs and making it more accessible to a wider range of people, we hope to be able to attract the very best talent out there.

“It is a really exciting time to join (BAB) as we are giving our customers even more choice by adding new destinations to our network and introducing new airplanes to our fleet. “No other airline in the UK offers the opportunities that (BAB) does for developing a career as a pilot (FC).”

Successful trainees will attend one of three world-class flight training colleges in the UK and Spain, with the initial training fees covered by sponsor company, Airline Placement Limited (APL), with (BAB) acting as guarantor.

The Future Pilot Program is part of a wider pilot (FC) recruitment plan at (BAB). (BAB) is also taking on current commercial pilots (FC) and working with the UK Armed Forces to give military pilots (FC) a new career in commercial aviation, once their agreed service period has ended.

October 2011: British Airways (BAB) has said before that other USA cities besides New York might soon receive nonstop flights from London City using A319s configured with only business class (C) seats. In a "Sunday Telegraph" interview, (BAB) CEO, Keith Williams again raised the possibility, mentioning Boston and Washington as possible candidates.

Things aren’t going so well for (BAB)’s other all-premium longhaul product, its Paris Orly-based 757 OpenSkies (OPK) unit. Flights to Washington Dulles are suspended for the winter, leaving New York - Newark as its only destination. OpenSkies (OPK) will, by the way, be included in the (BAB)/Iberia (IBE)/American (AAL) transatlantic joint venture (JV) beginning in 2012, if it lasts that long, anyway. The idea was to take advantage of the ability to operate to the USA from non-UK bases thanks to the USA - (EU) "open skies" regime, which began in 2008. But the freedom to fly such markets doesn’t mean
it can be done profitably. Air France (AFA) long ago abandoned its London Heathrow - Los Angeles flights, leaving OpenSkies (OPK) as the only such experiment. Its labor costs (narrowly defined) are lower than at mainline (BAB), but supporting what’s now a one-route carrier can’t make a lot of sense.

Iberia (IBE) has signed a seven-year Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) contract with British Airways (BAB) covering its (CFM56-5B) engines, powering its A318 airplanes.


November 2011: SEE LATEST CABIN SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT: http://www.flightglobal.com/airspace/forums/thomson-airways-safety-video-superb-27746.aspx#33820

The International Airlines Group (IAG) reported a -26.2% drop in third-quarter consolidated net profit to +€267 million/+$367 million, compared to +€362 million earned in the year-ago period. It cited increases in fuel costs for the decline.

(IAG), the parent of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) said its quarterly fuel bill spiked +25% to €1.38 billion. Total operating expenses were up +7.1% to €4.14 billion, outpacing a +2.2% lift in revenue to €4.49 billion. Cargo revenue was up +0.3% to €389 million and passenger revenue rose +2.9% to €3.18 billion on a -2.7% decline in passengers carried to 14.9 million.

“The competitiveness of the UK economy and the aviation industry has been damaged by Air Passenger Duty with UK airlines facing the highest tax levels in the world. Unless the British Chancellor reverses this, even more passengers and businesses will avoid the UK and further undermine the economy,” (IAG) CEO, Willie Walsh said.

Operating profit, after €12 million in exceptional items, came in at +€351 million, down -33.5% from +€528 million a year earlier. (IAG)’s third-quarter traffic heightened +3.4% to 47.02 billion (RPK)s on a +3.1% rise in capacity to 55.66 billion (ASK)s, producing a load factor of 84.5% LF, up +0.3 point. Passenger yield declined -0.4% to 8.11 euro cents. (CASK) increased +3.5% to 7.41 euro cents, comprising a +19.9% hike in fuel costs per (ASK) to 2.47 euro cents and a -2.9% reduction in other costs per (ASK) to 4.95 euro cents.

For the nine months ended September 30, (IAG) posted a net income of +€338 million, compared to +€10 million in the year-ago period. Revenue rose +11.6% to €12.26 billion and operating costs were up +10.3% to €11.88 billion after exceptional items of €68 million. Operating profit after exceptional items surged +74.9% to +€383 million.

Walsh said the company expects “to deliver a 2011 full-year operating profit of around double the year 2010 profits.” He added, “The main challenge for 2012 will be to offset increased fuel costs, as our hedges unwind, against a background of potentially weaker demand.”

(IAG) announced it had reached a tentative agreement with Lufthansa (DLH) to buy its loss-making UK subsidiary British Midland (bmi) (BMA). The purchase of bmi (BMA) could increase (IAG) subsidiary, British Airways (BAB)'s share of slots at London Heathrow (LHR) to 53%, although regulators most likely will require some slot divestments.

“The sale and closing of the deal remain subject to conditions, including a binding purchase agreement, further due diligence and regulatory clearances. It is envisaged that the purchase agreement will be signed in the coming weeks and the aim is for the transaction to be completed in the first quarter of 2012,” (IAG) and (DLH) announced.

The companies did not detail whether the agreement is for the sale of the entirety of bmi (BMA), or just (BMA)'s mainline operation. Recently, bmi (BMA) confirmed it was “in advanced discussion” to sell bmi regional to a UK-based investor group “previously associated with the regional business,” indicating its owner was negotiating to divest its loss-making UK subsidiary in parts. It is not clear what will happen with (BMA)’s low-cost carrier (LCC), bmibaby (BMI).

Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA), which was also interested in acquiring (BMA), said the deal is anti-competitive. “(BAB)'s hold over Heathrow is already too dominant and we are very concerned (as the competition authorities should also be) that (BAb)'s purchase of (bma) would be disastrous for consumer choice and competition,” (VAA) said. “With the government limiting growth at London Heathrow, they cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the deterioration of competition that would result.”

(BMA) reported a -€154 million/-$211.6 million operating loss for the first nine months of 2011, deepened from a -€90 million loss in the year-ago period, despite lower costs achieved by restructuring activities and the sale of six slots at (LHR). Those slots were either already leased to other airlines or could not be used profitably by (BMA). Revenue declined -5.5% year-over-year to €658 million and passengers carried fell -7.4% to 4.5 million.

Later, however, British Airways (BA) owner, the International Airlines Group (IAG) reached a binding agreement with the Lufthansa Group (LH) to buy British Midland Ltd (bmi) (BMA), the companies announced on December 22nd.

(IAG), the parent company of (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), will pay €207 million/$271 million in cash for the loss making (BMA), although the price is subject to significant reductions if (DLH) decides not to sell bmi subsidiary, bmibaby (BMI) before completion, the (IAG) said.

The deal is subject to regulatory clearance from competition authorities, including the European Commission (EC).

The companies said they aim to complete the transaction during the first quarter of 2012.

(DLH) has the option to sell bmibaby (BMI) and bmi regional before the deal is completed. (IAG) CEO, Willie Walsh said bmi regional and bmibaby (BMI) “are not part” of the company’s plans. “Buying (BMA)’s mainline business gives (IAG) a unique opportunity to grow at London Heathrow (LHR), one of our key hub airports. Using the slot portfolio more efficiently provides the option to launch new long-haul routes to key trading nations, while supporting our broad domestic and short-haul network,” he said.

The deal follows an agreement in principle signed in early November. (DLH) also held negotiations with Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA), which said it would ask anti-trust regulators to block the deal.

“Claiming that this deal is about new markets from Heathrow is a smoke screen. This deal simply cuts consumer choice,” (VAA) Chairman Sir Richard Branson said. “(BAB) is already dominant at (LHR) and their removal of (BMA) just tightens their stranglehold at the world’s busiest international airport. We will fight this monopoly every step of the way, as we think it is bad for the consumer, bad for the industry and bad for Britain,” he said.

The purchase of (BMA) will increase (IAG)’s number of slots at Heathrow by up to 56 daily pairs at an airport where it already holds about 43% of the slots.

Walsh warned that “there is an urgent need to restructure” (BMA), but he said “(IAG)’s purchase of (BMA) will protect more British jobs than if the airline had been closed and had its Heathrow slots sold off.”

(DLH) CEO & Chairman, Christoph Franz said, “As part of Lufthansa (DLH)’s strategic development, the sale means that our customers, shareholders and employees will benefit from a sharpened corporate profile and a stronger financial position of the group.”

(DLH) will remain responsible for (BMA) staff pension liabilities.

Thales (THL) UK received a contract from British Airways (BAB) to supply one A380 full-flight simulator. It will be delivered to the (BAB) Flight Training Center in January 2013, initially used to provide advance training for (BAB) pilots (FC) and aircrew.

January 2012: British Airways (BAB) and Qantas (QAN) have introduced changes to their joint flights between the UK and Australia. (QAN) will cancel its routes from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Hong Kong to London Heathrow from March 24, while (BAB) will cancel its Bangkok Suvarnabhumi - Sydney flights by March 3. (BAB) has introduced other new routes:
London Gatwick - Algiers: daily 737-400 service starting on March 25 (route transferred from Heathrow);
London Gatwick - Antigua - Tobago: weekly 777-200ER service starting on March 30 (replacing 2x weekly London Gatwick - Barbados - Tobago);
London Gatwick - Mauritius: 3x weekly 777-200ER service has started on October 31 (route transferred from London Heathrow);
London Gatwick - Nice: 3x daily A319-100/B737-400 service starting on March 25 (in addition to London City - Nice and London Heathrow - Nice routes);
London Heathrow - Bologna Marconi: daily A319-100/A320-200 service starting on April 29 (in addition to London Gatwick - Bologna Marconi route);
London Heathrow - Tripoli International: daily A320-200 service resuming on March 25.

It has, however, temporarily suspended its routes from London Gatwick to Paphos for the winter timetable period and has permanently given up its London Gatwick - Cagliari route.

British Airways (BAB) has converted two options for 777-300ERs into firm orders with deliveries scheduled for 2013.

A320-232 (4975, G-EUYN), ex-(F-WWDT), delivery.

February 2012: The International Airlines Group (IAG) has reported a solid set of results in its first year as a combined entity of British Airways (BA) and Iberia (IB), with a net profit of +€555 million/+$745.5 million and an operating profit of +€407 million.

Net earnings rose +455% year-on-year on a pro forma basis and included 21 days of (IBE) pre-merger results from €100 million in 2010. Operating profit increased +81% from +€225 million in 2010, which was negatively affected by the volcano ash cloud and 22 days of strikes by (BAB) cabin crew (CA).

(BAB) and (IBE) recorded very different performances. The group told investors and journalists that (BAB) posted an operating profit of +£518 million/+$611.3 million for 2011 while (IBE) recorded an operating loss of -€98 million. (BAB) revenue rose +17% year-on-year to £9.99 billion on a +9.8% capacity hike in (ASK)s; (IBE) revenue rose +1.4% to €4.87 billion for a +1.2% increase in (ASK)s.

Group revenue rose +10.4% to €16.3 billion, including a +11% hike in passenger revenue to €13.68 billion against a reported capacity rise of +7.1% to 213.19 billion (ASK)s. (RPK)s rose +7.2% to 168.66 billion; load factor inched up marginally +0.1% to 79.1% LF. (RASK) and yield were up +3.6% to 6.41 euro cents and €8.11, respectively.

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said the “performance of our airlines reflects the different markets in which they operate. The North Atlantic market remains strong, benefiting British Airways (BAB). Iberia (IBE)'s challenge is its exposure to financial uncertainty in the Eurozone in a highly competitive marketplace with no-frills airlines, high-speed rail and growing competition from more efficient long-haul airlines.”

(IBE) management is addressing its “high cost base and outdated workplace practices” among others through the launch of Iberia Express, Walsh said. The new (IBE) subsidiary for short- and medium-haul flights will launch at the start of the (IATA) (ITA) summer timetable initially with four A320s, despite the (IBE) pilots (FC)’s ongoing protest, which costs the airline around -€3 million per strike day, Walsh said. “We are fully committed to the project, and believe its benefits will far outweigh the costs.”

British Airways (BAB) 747 service from London (LHR) - Moscow Domodedovo (DME) became uncertain after Russian civil aviation authorities said they did not approve the airplane.

According to a Russia-(UK) bilateral agreement, carriers must coordinate with authorities the number of frequencies and airplane type used on the route.

In September, (BAB) disclosed plans to fly the 747 on its (LHR) - (DME) route but Russian authorities have denied it gave approval, according to a representative from the Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia’s Ministry of Transport. (BAB), which currently uses a 767 and A320s on the (LHR) - (DME) route, is in negotiations with Russian authorities seeking permission to use the 747.

Market experts say the dispute stems from the (UK)’s refusal of a similar request from Transaero Airlines (TRX) to use a 747 and 777 on its (DME) - (LHR) route, replacing 737s and 767s. Aeroflot (ARO) may also be against (BAB)’s use of the 747 on the route. (BAB) operates mostly A320s on its Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) – (LHR) route. (ARO) representatives refused to comment on the situation.

(BAB) will resume flights between London Heathrow and Tripoli in Libya on 1 May. (BAB) will operate thrice-weekly flights on the route. (BAB) suspended its Tripoli flights in February 2011 due to the civil unrest in the country that led to the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi from his seat of power.

The return of services between Heathrow and Tripoli follows a thorough security review in conjunction with the UK government and the Libyan authorities. No other carrier currently operates service between London Heathrow and Tripoli airports.

Japan Airlines (JAL) and International Airlines Group (CAL)/(UAL) have announced plans for a new joint business between Japan Airlines (JAL) and British Airways (BAB) on flights between Europe and Japan. The joint business has been submitted for government approval.

March 2012: The European Commission (EC) has given the go-ahead for British Airways (BAB) owner, the International Airlines Group (IAG) to acquire British Midland International (bmi) (BMA), saying any competition concerns were addressed by conditions that were proposed as part of the deal.

The decision, announced this month, requires (IAG) to give up 14 daily slot pairs at London Heathrow and to commit to carry connecting passengers to feed long-haul flights of competing airlines out of Heathrow. “In light of these commitments, the (EC) concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.”

In its proposal to regulators, the (IAG) offered to release 12 daily slot pairs at Heathrow, which could be used on the specific routes of concern, including the UK domestic routes, as well as on other European routes. In addition, it proposed leasing two Heathrow daily slot pairs to Transaero Airlines (TRX) for use on flights to Moscow. The (IAG) also said it would form special agreements with competing airlines that operate long-haul flights out of Heathrow to provide those airlines with connecting passengers.

"The commitments package includes an appropriate number of very sought-after slots at London Heathrow as well as far-reaching feeder arrangements as regards connecting passengers. We are therefore satisfied that the competitive dynamics will be maintained so as to ensure choice and quality of air services for passengers," (EC) VP Competition, Joaquín Almunia said.

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said the company would move “as fast as possible” to integrate (BMA) into (BAB) and that (BMA)’s fleet would be repainted in (BAB) colors.

The (IAG) reached a deal worth €207 million/$271 million in December 2011 to buy loss-making (UK) carrier (BMA) from the Lufthansa (DLH) Group.

Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA), which also tried to buy (BMA), had asked antitrust officials to block the deal, arguing it would harm competition.

American Airlines (AAL) and British Airways (BAB) have Indian government approval to place the (AA) code on (BAB) flights from London Heathrow to Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai beginning March 29.

British Airways (BAB) received approval to fly a 747 on its London (LHR) - Moscow Domodedovo (DME) route, just two days before the first scheduled flight began. In September, (BAB) disclosed plans to fly the 747 on its (LHR) - (DME) route but Russian authorities denied it gave approval.

Market experts said the dispute was caused by the (UK)’s refusal of a similar request from Transaero Airlines (TRX) to use a 747 and 777 on its (DME) - (LHR) route. Now a (UN) representative said the airline has received several 747 and 777 slot approvals, but only for dates coinciding with the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

According to a Russia - (UK) bilateral agreement, carriers must coordinate with authorities on the number of frequencies and airplane type used on the route.

(BAB) plans to operate a 747 for one out of three daily, (LHR) - (DME) flights; the carrier also uses a 767 on the route.

The (UK) government has confirmed the Air Passenger Duty (APD) will rise to 8% April 1 as previously announced, despite strong lobbying from airlines, airports and the tourist industry to cancel the tax. It is also keeping plans for a further “inflationary” increase in the (APD) from April 2013.

“At a time when the government talks about creating jobs and growth, its blinkered insistence on further increases in Air Passenger Duty (APD) achieves precisely the opposite,” (IAG)/(BAB) (CEO), Willie Walsh; easyJet (EZY) (CEO), Carolyn McCall; Ryanair (RYR) (CEO), Michael O'Leary; and Virgin Atlantic (VAA) (CEO), Steve Ridgway said in a joint statement.

The (UK) (APD) is one of the highest air travel taxes in the world. It is calculated on a four-band structure and varies from £13/$20.63 for an economy-class (Y) ticket in Europe, to £92 for a ticket to a "Band D" destination (over >6,000 miles). The amounts are doubled for a ticket in premium economy (PY), business (C) or first class (F).

“In every other leading country, aviation is an expanding industry that underpins and facilitates growth in other parts of the economy. In the (UK), rises of up to +360% in (APD) in the last seven years are squeezing the life out of the economy. The [(UK) Civil Aviation Authority] (CAA) has confirmed that (UK) passenger numbers last year were the same as in 2004,” the (CEO)s of the country’s four largest airlines added. They argue the “(APD) must be scrapped.”

Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK) (CEO), Mike Carrivick described the decision to stick to the (APD) hike a “reckless brake” on the economy. “A policy of disproportionately high air travel taxation and a failed aviation policy provide two glaring examples of how the government’s aim for economic recovery is being damaged by its own doing,” he said.

The Airport Operators Association said it was “dismayed” at the (APD) decision. The (UK) government also confirmed it will proceed with plans to bring executive jets into (APD) from April 2013, as outlined in December.

On a more positive note, Chancellor, George Osborne said the country had to “confront the lack of capacity in the southeast of England.”

The British Airports Authority (BAA) has spent $20 million on a new temporary terminal to handle the 10,000+ athletes expected for the 2012 Olympics in London in June.

April 2012: British Airways (BAB) launched 3X-daily, London Gatwick - Nice service. (BAB) launched 7X-weekly, London Gatwick - Algiers 737 service, moving the route from London Heathrow.

(BAB) has announced it will cut up to -1,200 jobs as it absorbs the mainline operations of British Midland International (bmi) (BMA).
Loss-making (BMA), sold by the Lufthansa (DLH) Group to (BAB) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) in December 2011, has around 2,700 employees.

(BAB) said it began consultations today with trade unions representing (BMA) staff. Most of the job losses will come at (BMA)’s Castle Donington corporate headquarters in the East Midlands of England, and at regional airports.

Jobs secured under (BAB)’s proposals include roughly 1,100 pilots (FC), cabin crew (CA) and engineers (MT) based at London’s Heathrow airport (LHR), plus 400 passenger services jobs in the airport’s Terminal 1.

(BAB) said it is also working to find potential employment opportunities for (BMA) personnel facing redundancy with its industry partners, such as Rolls-Royce (RRC) in the Midlands. It said it will also seek to create openings at its own engineering (MT) facility at Glasgow airport in Scotland.

“(BMA) is heavily loss-making and is not a viable business as it stands today,” said (BAB) (CEO), Keith Williams. “Our proposals would secure 1,500 jobs that would otherwise be lost. As we look to restructure the business and restore profitability, job losses are deeply regrettable but inevitable.”

Integrating (BMA)’s mainline operations into its own organization will give (BAB) an additional 56 average daily slot pairs at capacity-constrained (LHR). It plans to use many of the new slots to expand services to long-haul destinations, particularly in the Asia/Pacific region. However, to gain regulatory approval for the merger, the (IAG) had to give up 14 (LHR) slot pairs and offer other conditions.

(BAB) has announced that it will start transferring routes from subsidiary, bmi british midland (BMA) to its own mainline operation as of May 23. The first (BMA) airplanes are already being reconfigured and repainted and are expected to be used on the transferred routes that will still be operated by (BMA) but with a (BAB) product.

(DLH) has not been able to find any buyers for bmibaby (BMI) ahead of a deadline that had been agreed to as part of its agreement to sell bmi british midland (BMA) to the International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE). The (IAG) has announced that it will receive an undisclosed discount on the price paid for (BMA) as the deadline could not be met by Lufthansa (DLH). This discount will cover its expenses to either finance operations at the two (BMA) subsidiaries until a buyer can be found or to close down the carriers if that is not the case. (BMA) has left the Star (SAL) Alliance as part of the transaction.

A financial penalty on British Airways (BAB) for engaging in anti-competitive practices with Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) has been more than halved. In August 2007, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) gave notice that it intended to fine the national flag carrier £121.5 million/$188.3 million for coordinating its fuel surcharge pricing with (VAA) over an 18-month period up to January 2006.

The fine has now been reduced to £58.5 million/$90.6 million after the (OFT) took into account several factors, including developments in English case law and (BAB)’s cooperation to bring the matter to an earlier conclusion.

(VAA) has been spared a financial penalty as a result of bringing the collusion to (OFT)’s attention.

The (OFT) has the power to fine companies up to 10% of their global annual turnover.

Commenting on the decision, (OFT) Senior Director Cartels & Criminal Enforcement, Ali Nikpay said that the size of the fine “sends out a strong message that coordinating pricing through the exchange of confidential information between competitors is unlawful.”

As the London 2012 Olympics are fast approaching (starting in July) some sort of marketing initiative was expected from British Airways (BAB), that, in addition to calling London its home, is also a proud sponsor of the event. Designer, Pascal Anson has come up with a dove-like livery for one of (BAB) A319s (see photo - - "BAB-2012-04 - A319 DOVES FOR OLYMPICS").

May 2012: The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), reported a pre-tax loss of -€263 million/-$340.5 million, worsened from a -€47 million loss in the year-ago period, despite revenue rising +7.8% to €3.9 billion. Passenger unit revenue for the period was up +8.5%, on top of capacity increases of +0.6%.

Fuel costs for the quarter rose +24.9% year-over-year to €1.4 billion.

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said fuel was the main factor for the quarter's loss, although the strike by (IBE) pilots (FC) protesting at the introduction of low-cost carrier (LCC) operation Iberia Express cost -€25 million.

He said (BAB) continues to benefit from strong demand through London, particularly in premium cabins and across the North Atlantic. (IBE), by contrast, affected by euro zone woes, was experiencing weakening demand at its Madrid hub.

Walsh said the (IAG)’s financial performance “continues to be undermined by government actions. In addition to the UK government increasing the world's highest aviation tax (Air Passenger Duty) by double the inflation rate, the Spanish government plans to increase departure taxes from Spain by up to +10 euros per passenger.”

He expects operating results for the full year to be “around the breakeven level.”

Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS) and the International Airlines Group (IAG) (BAB)/(IBE) have been granted antitrust immunity (ATI) from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport & Tourism (MLIT) to cooperate commercially on flights between Europe and Japan.

The joint business, which will provide better links and more routes between the European Union (EU) and Japan, is expected to launch by late March 2013.

The revenue-sharing agreement will strengthen the Oneworld (ONW) alliance, enabling it to compete more effectively with other global alliances, according to (JAL)/(JAS).

(JAL) President, Yoshiharu Ueki said, "Amid the evolving Japanese aviation industry, the (ATI) will enable us to build a strong value-creating relationship with British Airways (BAB) that can benefit our customers as well as our businesses.”

In April, the (IAG) completed the purchase of bmi (BMA) but Walsh said "bmibaby (BMI) is not part of our plans and consultation has started with trade unions on proposals to review future options for the business.”

However, the (IAG) was successful in selling British Midland International’s bmi regional to a group of Scottish investors for £8 million/$12.9 million. (IAG), which finalized the purchase of bmi regional's parent company bmi last month, had said the regional operator did not figure in its plans.

Bmi regional, which operates 14 Embraer ERJ-145s and four ERJ-135s, is based in the northeast Scottish city of Aberdeen and operates to destinations in the UK and northern Europe. A primary investor behind the purchase, Ian Woodley, set up a small carrier, Business Air, in the 1980s, which was eventually bought by bmi and became the core of bmi regional.

He has been joined by several other investors, including former Business Air executive Graham Ross and members of the Bond family that previously owned North Sea oil helicopter operator Bond Helicopters and are investors in Scottish regional carrier Loganair.
"In essence, [bmi regional] is the guts of the same company that Ian and Graham founded," a bmi regional spokesman said. The deal will preserve bmi regional's 330 jobs. The spokesman added that, following a period of consolidation, the company plans to develop its network both within the UK and in northern Europe.

It will keep its brand name and, for now, the existing color scheme: "There's obviously some value in the brand," the spokesman said.

British Airways (BAB) will launch 3X-weekly, London Gatwick - Las Vegas 777 service on October 29. (BAB) has resumed its flights to Tripoli from London Heathrow Airport.

(BAB) will launch 3X-daily, Aberdeen - London City service, operated by subsidiary (BA) CityFlyer on September 24 using Embraer EMB-170 and EMB-190 airplanes.

(BAB) has announced plans to use some of the new slots it has received at London Heathrow airport (LHR) as part of the acquisition of bmi british midland (BMA) to introduce new short-haul services to Leeds/Bradford International (LBA), Rotterdam (RTM) and Zagreb Pleso (ZAG) from the end of October. (BAB) has temporarily wet-leased 757-256 (29309, G-ZAPX) from Titan Airways (TIU) to replace one of its 737-400s (25854, G-DOCU) that is currently being repaired after being damaged by ground equipment at Genoa Cristoforo Colombo airport (GOA) on April 30.

Goodrich (BFG) signed an agreement with Rolls-Royce (RRC) to provide Boeing 787 nacelle maintenance services for British Airways (BAB) under (RRC)'s Total Care support program. The contract will begin following delivery of (BAB)'s first 787, slated for 2013.

June 2012: British Airways (BAB) is reportedly planning to resume code sharing with Kingfisher Airlines (KFH) on domestic services in India offering its passengers connections from Bangalore Kempegowda International (BLR), Chennai Meenambakkam (MAA), Delhi Indira Gandhi International (DEL) and Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International (BOM). It had suspended its code share agreement with (KFH) earlier this year following the major financial and operational difficulties with the Indian carrier. (KFH) currently operates a much smaller domestic operation with a stable schedule again.

(BAB) will operate service from London City to Mahon, Angers, Quimper, Venice, the Isle of Man, and Aberdeen this summer.

British Airways Ltd (based at London City airport (LCY)) is a new subsidiary of British Airways (BAB) using an almost identical name. The new subsidiary has started operating (BAB)'s A318-100 transatlantic flights between London City (LCY) and New York John F Kennedy International (JFK) from June 13. It currently operates two daily services on the route with outbound flights stopping at Shannon International (SNN) as a fuel and USA immigration/customs check stop. (BAB) has only disclosed "potential new sources of finance" as a reason for the move which could lead to the assumption that a third party is either interested in taking over the operation or investing in it. (BAB) has been operating on the route since 2009 with two A318-100s equipped with only 32 seats.

British Airways (BAB) has announced changes to its winter 2012 route network as it continues to integrate British Midland International (BMA). A (BAB) spokesman said it is assessing which parts of the former (BMA) network are viable. For example, services to the Jordanian and Ethiopian capitals of Amman and Addis Ababa were dropped due to poor performance. Other routes were dropped to release slots that could be put to better use on the (BAB) network, the spokesman said.

(BAB) said it was “actively looking” at right-sizing some of its own services, using former (BMA) airplanes to give it room to maneuver in switching types between routes. For example, he said, (BAB) 767s operating on European routes to destinations such as Paris, Athens and Tel Aviv might be replaced by former (BMA) A320s, although no firm decisions have been made. This would release the larger 767s for use on long-haul routes.

From October 28, (BAB) will step-up services to several domestic destinations. For example, the number of seats available on Anglo-Scottish sectors will rise by +32%, or 27,000 seats weekly, although the spokesman admitted this would by “similar to” the previous aggregated total of (BAB) and (BMA) seats on the routes.

It plans to start services from London Heathrow (LHR) to Leeds-Bradford in northern England, which is expected to attract passengers into (BAB)’s (LHR) hub for long-haul flight connections.

The spokesman said (BAB) plans to add new routes, including (LHR) - Seoul and (LHR) - Zagreb.

Recent comments made by Prime Minister, David Cameron in the House of Commons have raised industry anticipation that the UK’s coalition government may be reconsidering its opposition to the development of a third runway at London Heathrow airport (LHR).

In response to a question from one of his own backbench members of parliament at Prime Minister’s Questions, Cameron insisted the coalition government’s position on a third runway for (LHR) have not changed. In its election manifesto of 2010, the Conservative Party pledged to block any such plans. However, he added: “Clearly we must not be blind to two important considerations. One is how we expand airport capacity overall, but secondly how do we make sure that (LHR) operates better."

If the comments signify a government softening of its manifesto stance (and there is growing pressure for additional aviation infrastructure to help stimulate economic recovery) it is unlikely to happen before the next election in 2015.

Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles insisted: “There are lots of things that we can do to increase airport capacity in the South East without reopening the question of a third runway. I am pretty clear there is not any chance of us reopening the third runway [question] within this parliament. We fought an election promise on it.”

However, the government has indicated it will not block airport operator (BAA) from submitting proposals for the third runway in a forthcoming revamp of policy on aviation hubs. (BAA) has threatened to sue the government for breach of proper process if the (LHR) proposals continue to be ruled out as an option for expanding airport capacity.

(BAA), airlines, business leaders and a growing lobby within the Conservative Party are pushing for additional airport capacity and have latched onto Cameron’s latest comments.

Singapore Airlines (SIA)'s General Manager UK, Phee Teik Yeoh said: “The capacity problem is an urgent one which needs to be tackled, and up until this point has hampered the expansion of our operations in the UK. The current situation is clearly not sustainable and so news that a third runway is back on the agenda for consideration can only be good.” He said that (SIA) (which is introducing a fourth daily frequency between Singapore and (LHR) in October) has “had these ambitions since 1998, but due to the difficulties in obtaining commercially viable slots at an airport operating close to capacity, it has taken 14 years for us to be able to realize them. Prior to obtaining our fourth slot, our only expansion opportunity was to introduce larger airplanes on our routes and as we operate A380s on all three services currently, even this option had been exhausted.”

(BAB) is considering ordering additional 777-300ERs. (BAB) had originally ordered eight of the airplanes and already has six in operation.

(IAG) Managing Director, Willie Walsh has mentioned plans to use its first 787-8s to be delivered from 2013 onwards on new routes to destinations in China not yet served by British Airways (BAB). Currently, (BAB) only operates to Beijing Capital (PEK) and Shanghai Pudong International (PVG) but it is evaluating 10 Chinese cities that could be added as soon as the 787s start arriving in spring 2013. (BAB) has eight 787-8s and 16 787-9s on order.


July 2012: British Airways (BAB) will extend seasonal 2X-weekly, London City service to Palma and Ibiza to year-round service from October.

(BAB) seems to have now completed another round of schedule changes as a result of the integration of subsidiary, bmi British Midland (BMA) for the upcoming winter season. It will give up (BMA) routes from Heathrow to Amritsar Raja Sansi International (ATQ), Bishkek Manas (FRU), Casablanca Mohamed V International (CMN), Dammam King Fahd International (DMM), Khartoum (KRT) and Yerevan Zvartnots (EVN). (BAB) plans to continue to serve Almaty (ALA), Baku Heydar Aliev International (GYD), Freetown Lungi International (FNA), Tbilisi Lochini (TBS) and Tehran Imam Khomeini International (IKA) airports, but still does not have traffic rights to operate them as British Airways (BAB), so exact plans still seem to be pending and flights might continue to be operated using (BMA)'s (AOC). Some of the slots freed up thanks to the cancellations will be used for new routes from Heathrow to Alicante (ALC) and Rotterdam (RTM) airports.

Later, (BAB) secured traffic rights and finalized schedules for the remaining (BMA) routes that were still sold under the (BD) code for the upcoming winter season. (BAB) will serve Baku Heydar Aliev International (GYD) daily from Heathrow with A321-200s, Heathrow - Freetown Lungi International (FNA) twice weekly with 767-300ERs and operate daily from Heathrow to Tbilisi Lochini (TBS) with A321-200s with these flights then continuing to Tehran Imam Khomeini International (IKA) four times weekly and to Almaty (ALA) three times weekly. This concludes a series of schedule changes that will see (BMA) operations fully integrated into (BAB) by the end of October.

British Airways (BAB) Engineering was selected by Boeing (TBC) as a line maintenance and engineering services provider for its GoldCare program, which covers the 787 and the latest 737 variants.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) (CCC) to “carefully consider” ordering the Chinese-produced C919 at the Farnborough Airshow.

According to the (MOU), (COMAC) (CCC) will set up a joint working group with the (IAG) to conduct cooperation in the fields of technology and operation requirements, regulations, financing and client and product services for the C919.

According to a (CCC) insider, (IAG) is the first non-Chinese airline to consider ordering the 150-seat airplane. Last year, Ryanair (RYR) signed a similar (MOU) with (COMAC).

(COMAC) (CCC) has received 280 orders for the C919 from customers, including Air China (BEJ), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), China Southern Airlines (GUN), Hainan Airlines (HNA), Sichuan Airlines (SIC), China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Company, China Development Bank Leasing Company, (ICBC) Financial Leasing Company, China Aircraft Leasing Company, (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GEF), and (BOC) Aviation (SIL).

The C919 entered the final design definition phase last year. Detailed design will be completed this year and the first flight is scheduled for 2014. Type certification is expected by 2016, followed by first delivery. By 2020, (COMAC) expects to produce 150 C919s annually.

See video - - "BAB-747-400 D Check Maintenance" - -

August 2012: British Airways (BAB) will launch first class service on London Gatwick 777-300 service to Barbados, Bermuda, St Lucia and Port of Spain this summer. (BAB) will launch 3X-weekly, London Gatwick - Male - Colombo 777 service on March 31.

British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) parent, the International Airlines Group has officially confirmed that it is reviewing the option of potentially placing a bid for a minority stake in Oneworld (ONW) alliance partner American Airlines (AAL) currently operating under Chapter 11 bankrupty protection. According to United States legislation, the maximum level of foreign airline ownership is, however, restricted to 25%, so (IAG) would need additional USA partners to be able to place a bid.

Sharply increased half-year losses at the International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) have led (CEO), Willie Walsh to warn of imminent major restructuring at subsidiary Iberia (IBE) to correct “deep and structural” problems. Redundancies were inevitable, he said.

(IAG), which comprises (IBE) and British Airways (BAB), slumped to an operating loss of -€253 million/-$312 million before exceptional items for the six-month period ending June 30, compared to a profit of +€88 million for the same period last year.

After-tax figures showed a loss of -€231 million compared to a profit of +€71 million year-over-year. Revenue increased +9.8% to €8.53 billion. Fuel costs were up +25%.

(BAB) reported a half-year operating profit, after exceptional items, of +€13 million; (IBE) posted an operating loss of -€263 million.
“There remains a stark difference in the performance of our subsidiaries,” Walsh said.

“Iberia (IBE)’s problems are deep and structural and the economic environment reinforces the need for permanent structural change. We are currently working on a restructuring plan for Iberia (IBE) which we anticipate will be finalized by the end of September,” Walsh said, adding it is likely to include “short-term downsizing, network reshaping to deliver higher unit revenues and a re-evaluation of all aspects of the business to deliver competitive costs and service to enable long-term profitable growth.”

(IBE)’s new low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, Iberia Express, has been profitable in its third full month of operation in June and has established an “exemplary operating performance from Madrid Barajas,” Walsh said.

Integration of British Midlands International (BMA) into (BAB) accounted for most of the +€38 million of exceptional items. Completion is due by year end, (IAG) said.

For the second quarter, (IAG) posted an operating loss of -€4 million, before exceptional items, compared to an operating profit +€190 million in the year-ago quarter.

(IAG) was targeting a breakeven operating result for this year; however, with the Spanish economy in the doldrums, it now expected to report a small operating loss.

As a result of Airbus (EDS) problems with correcting a cracking problem with A380 wing-rib brackets, International Airlines Group (IAG)'s (CEO), Willie Walsh, says A380 deliveries will probably be pushed back "towards the third quarter."

British Airways Engineering announced that its avionics subsidiary has officially released >1,000,000 (one million) units. The South Wales-based Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) provider said the million-unit milestone equates to a release rate of more than >52,000 avionics units per year.

(BAB) Airways first established its avionics subsidiary in 1994, and has provided avionics packages and services for a wide range of airplanes including many Boeing (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) airplanes.

"We have grown into a commercial organization with the skills to provide engineering services for a range of fleets for our customers" said Brian Currie, General Manager Interiors & Avionics at British Airways Engineering.

British Airways (BAB) Engineering has expanded its capabilities to include three new training rooms at its London Heathrow Maintenance base. The (EASA)-approved classrooms will be used for A380 and A318/9/20/21 variants and 787 Maintenance training.

September 2012: Japan Airlines (JAL) and British Airways (BAB) expanded a code share agreement, adding each other’s codes on daily London Heathrow - Tokyo Narita service as well as on (BAB)'s 5X-weekly service from Tokyo Haneda.

British Airways (BAB) and Qantas (QAN) will terminate their long-running revenue-sharing agreement on UK - Australia routes following (QAN)’s decision to embark on a new global partnership arrangement with Emirates Airline (EAD).

The existing (BAB) - (QAN) Joint Services Agreement (JSA) has enabled the two companies to share revenues and costs since 1995. (BAB)’s parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG), said the (JSA) will end March 31, 2013 (the day before the new (QAN - (EAD) agreement starts). “We’re ending the joint business on amicable terms and support (QAN)’s decision to work with (EAD),” (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said. “The world has changed since 1995 when the joint business started. This is a small part of our overall network and this move fits in with changes in our global strategy.” (IAG) was already talking to several airlines about replacement arrangements, particularly for services into Asia, Walsh said.

Despite ending their agreement, (BAB) and (QAN) will continue to work together as part of the Oneworld (ONW) alliance and through bilateral code shares, he added. “The good relationship that we have with (QAN) (CEO), Alan Joyce and his team will continue through our joint membership of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance.” “Over the past 17 years, the joint business with (BAB) has been central to the (QAN) network,” (QAN) (CEO), Alan Joyce said. “However, global operating conditions have changed and partnership with (EAD) is the right strategy for (QAN).”

WestJet (WJI) entered into a code share agreement with British Airways (BAB), effective immediately. The (BAB) code will be placed on select (WJI) flights connecting from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto to Ottawa, Edmonton and Victoria.

The agreement with (BAB) is the eighth signed since September 2011 by (WJI). (WJI) has initiated code shares with American Airlines (AAL), Cathay Pacific (CAT), China Eastern Airlines (CEA), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Japan Airlines (JAL), (KLM), and Korean Air (KAL).

(BAB) Director Strategy & Business Units, Lynne Embleton said the partnership “will enable easier travel from Canada’s gateway cities to destinations that have been more difficult to access from the UK.

(WJI) is the second largest airline in Canada. It flew 2.6 billion (RPK)s traffic in July for a combined total of 10.7 billion (RPK)s for the first seven months of 2012.

British Airways (BAB) is stepping up its presence in western Africa with a new service to Monrovia Roberts International Airport commencing 05-November-2012. Currently only two European airlines operate to Liberia’s capital, Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) and AirFrance (AFA), and (BAB)’s new service will indubitably challenge the leading position of Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) in the small but high yielding Europe to Liberia market.

(BAB) will operate eight daily return flights from London Heathrow to Dublin this winter, resuming services on the route after a 20-year absence, following its acquisition of (BMI) (BMA). (BAB) stopped operating its own flights on the route when it began code sharing with Aer Lingus (ARL) and only returned after acquiring (BMA) in June. (BAB) will begin a new schedule in winter, increasing its daily services from four to eight. This includes a new early morning departure from Dublin.

Transfer traffic from the USA contributes notably to the load and profitability of European services to Liberia, and (BAB) with its extensive trans-Atlantic network is well placed to capture a sizeable part of this market. (BAB)'s new flight to Monrovia will tag-on to the existing flight from London Heathrow to Freetown in Sierra Leone, which is a former bmi (BMA) route and is presently operated twice a week with an A330 that (BAB) inherited from its acquisition of bmi (BMA). (BAB) will operate the new London Heathrow - Freetown - Monrovia route with a smaller capacity 767-300ER in a three class configuration with 189 seats.

British Airways (BAB) Cityflyer, the London City (LCY) based subsidiary of (BAB), launched a new route to the northern Italian city of Venice (VCE) on 17 September. Six weekly services are now operated with the airline’s 98-seat EMB-190s, but (BAB) already offers 21 and 11 weekly frequencies to Venice respectively as part of its mainline operations at London Gatwick and London Heathrow airports. While a further 26 weekly flights are offered by easyJet (EZY), Monarch (MON) and Thomson (ATZ)/(TFY) from Gatwick, (BAB) does not face direct competition on the route to Venice from London City.

(BAB) through its (BA) CityFlyer subsidiary operating out of London City (LCY), launched a new domestic route to Scotland on 23 September. The oil city of Aberdeen (ABZ) is now served 16 times weekly (thrice-daily on weekdays and once on Sundays) with the airline’s 76-seat EMB-170 airplanes. Mainline (BAB) already serves Aberdeen with 84 flights a week from London Heathrow, while indirect competition in the London area comes from Flybe (BEE)’s and easyJet (EZY)’s Gatwick flights (19 and 13 weekly, respectively) and easyJet (EZY)’s 11 flights a week from Luton. Luke Hayhoe, (BA) CityFlyer’s Commercial Manager, said: “Our direct flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London City are extremely popular with Scottish customers who want to want fly straight to the heart of the City, for both business or leisure. We are delighted to be adding flights from Aberdeen linking Europe’s oil capital with the UK’s financial and business hub.”

(NATS), the UK’s major provider of air traffic services, has been selected to lead a Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) project to trial environmentally “perfect” flights across the Atlantic.

The "TOPFLIGHT" project (in which (NATS) will be working with British Airways (BAB)) aims to put into practice a concept that has only previously been achievable in single, one-off flights. It will build on the 2010 Perfect Flight project, where a single (BAB) flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh was environmentally optimized, saving a quarter tonne of fuel and nearly one tonne of CO2.

Under the first phase of "TOPFLIGHT," 60 transatlantic flights will be planned to achieve minimal emissions and delay. This will involve optimizing every phase of the flight, from push back and taxiing to an optimized flight profile and continuous descent approach. It is expected that each optimized trip will save approximately -500 kg in fuel — the equivalent to -1.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The (BAB) flights between Heathrow, Toronto and Montreal will start in May next year and be operated over a period of four months. Also included in the project are Canada’s air navigation service provider NAVCANADA, Airbus ProSky, Boeing (TBC) and Barco Orthogon.

The second phase of the project will introduce multiple “perfect” flights crossing the Atlantic simultaneously. The aim is to prove the concept is scalable and can be implemented for many flights at the same time without penalizing those in the surrounding airspace.

Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) is the technical and operational component of the European Community (EC)’s "Single European Sky" initiative. Its goal for the (TOPFLIGHT) project is to develop, demonstrate and transition to operation an optimized flight concept based on several elements of the (SESAR) vision.

(SESAR) is in negotiation with the USA (FAA) NextGen Implementation Plan to expand the program to include flights to Boston Logan and New York (JFK), thereby creating a sustainable gate to gate perfect flight concept across the North Atlantic.

(BAB) (CEO), Keith Williams has confirmed that (BAB) plans to take delivery of its first 787-8 in May 2013 and the first A380-800 in July 2013. (BAB) has eight 787-8s and twelve A380-800s on order.

Visiting LA? You'll love the beaches and you won't want to miss Disneyland. While in town, walk with the stars in Hollywood and enjoy the great shopping. Travelling for business? By any measure, LA (that nexus of the world entertainment industry) is one of a dozen or so global mega-hubs, the great and growing centres of commerce and culture whose momentum is driving the 21st century.

In any case, LA by air is awe-inspiring. Whether arriving over the sea from the west or over a sea of lights by night from the east, one of the world's unforgettable travel experiences is the approach to the enigmatically named LAX (there's no significance to the "X" which was added to LA when airport designations were standardised at three letters).

So, who doesn't want LA on their route network? Or, to put the question back to Los Angeles World Airports, the City of Los Angeles-owned airport operator, how hard can it be to sell LAX as a destination?

Surprisingly, the answer is "hard enough".

What any LAX passenger knows all too well is that on the ground, the LAX experience is challenging, often with chaotic check-in, very long queues at passport control, and overcrowded baggage claim and customs areas in too-small terminals that show their age.

For airlines, too few gates can mean complicated ground handling and secondary moves to remote parking when departure schedules don't call for a quick turnaround. More recently, there has been the matter of A380-compatible gates, as this West Coast gateway is an obvious destination for A380 traffic from Asia. Qantas opened LA's superjumbo era, and Singapore Airlines, AirFrance and Korean Air have followed, but they operate from just four gates: two attached to the main Tom Bradley International Terminal complex and two remote.

The root of all these problems, readily admitted by (LAWA) External Affairs Director & Head of Air Services Marketing, Celine Cordero, is the fact that nothing of substance has been done to improve the facilities since the Bradley terminal opened in 1984. That development, inspired by the realisation that an airport upgraded piecemeal during the 1970s was not up to the task of welcoming the Olympic Games, was good, if not excellent, for its time. But times have changed and LAX (for reasons relating to budgets and local politics that would be familiar to an operator of any airport wedged into a dense urban area) has not.

However, the advent of so-called Group 6 airplanes such as the A380, 787-8 and biggest 777s has spurred action, resulting in what (LAWA) claims to be the biggest construction project in Los Angeles: a $4.1 billion modernisation scheme that will add 18 new gates (including nine dedicated to Group 6 airplanes) along the western edge of the existing Bradley terminal complex. The project is doubling concourse space and also involves improvements to the power and other systems as well as, critically, a widened taxiway running between the North and South runway pairs.

And, with 80 new customs counters and an automated baggage handling and inspection system, this "Bradley West" facility should cope with 4,000 passengers an hour.

The first of these new gates will have opened as delegates gather for World Routes, so Sonjia Murray, a Consultant working with Cordero, is understandably excited about making an impact in Dubai. The remaining 18 Bradley West gates will open during 2013.

By its own reckoning, LAX is the sixth-busiest airport in the world and third in the USA, offering more than >600 daily flights to 91 domestic cities and more than >1,000 weekly nonstop flights to 56 cities in 32 countries on nearly 75 air carriers. But while it served more than >61 million passengers in 2011, it remains far from its peak of more than >67 million in 2000, and airplane movements (604,000 in 2011) are also way down on that peak year (738,000).

The plan now, backed by Bradley West (and, possibly, future improvements to the North airfield runway layout, to better accommodate Group 6 aircraft movements) is to get LAX better connected. As Murray puts it, there are some notable gaps in the LAX system: India is "a big hole", as is Scandinavia; Eastern Europe is a gap; and remarkably, says Murray, South America is less well connected to LAX than it was a decade ago - Argentina is notably ill-served. She hopes Emirates will not have to wait much longer for company from its Gulf rivals. She would also like to link to Vietnam, and secondary Chinese cities are another sales target.

Industry consultant, George Hamlin, a former TWA financial analyst and Airbus North America Strategic Planning Director, reckons improved A380 capacity will be a "huge boost" for LAX. He stresses that what matters to airlines when it comes to "destination appeal" are seats and price - and getting more big airplanes into the airport means more passengers, which drives down prices and helps carriers bring in more people.

The new ground facilities at LAX, he adds, will probably enable the airport to cope with 15 or more extra flights daily to new destinations. The politically thorny issue of changing the runway layout is less important than fixing the on-ground passenger interface issues that have characterised the airport.

Aviation Consultant and former British Airways Executive, John Strickland says a key test of the Bradley West development will be whether or not it improves airlines' operational reliability, for example by helping ensure that passengers get to the gates on time; pleasant passenger facilities count for little as far as airlines are concerned.

He also adds that for any airport the real key to selling itself as a destination is to make sure it knows its own market intimately. What businesses are visitors from which origins actually coming to meet with? To which destinations do local communities have family links? Which local leisure attractions appeal to passengers from a particular airline's home market?

In other words, says Strickland, an airport has to be able to show that, as a destination, it has the appeal to pull people onto an airplane.

From that perspective, LAX is selling Los Angeles, not LAX. Murray and Cordero say they recognise this, and work closely with LA Tourist & Business Development officials.

Murray also recognises that selling LAX as a destination is a non-stop effort. There are rival gateways (San Francisco, for one) and modern airplanes coming from Asia have the range to overfly the West Coast. "We recognise that we have a strong prominence as LAX," she says. "But we don't take it for granted."

October 2012: Japan Airlines (JAL) and British Airways (BAB) have added Rome, Milan, Bologna, Amsterdam, and Warsaw to their code share cities. (JAL) will place its code on the (BAB)-operated service from London.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has granted approval to British Airways (BAB) and easyJet (EZY) to operate service between London and Moscow Domodedovo under bilateral agreements with the Russian government.

(BAB) will continue to operate existing service from London Heathrow, while (EZY) will operate new service from London Gatwick. Applications to operate the service, previously granted to (BAB) and British Midland International (BMA), were received from (BAB), (EZY) and Virgin Atlantic (VAA).

“On balance, allocating scarce capacity to (BAB) and (EZY) is likely to deliver the greatest benefit to consumers,” (CAA) Director Regulatory Policy and Chair of the Scare Capacity Decision panel, Iain Osborne said. “(EZY)’s proposal will introduce an innovative product into the market and has the potential to deliver the greatest dynamic fare benefits for consumers.”

The capacity became available following (BAB) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG)’s acquisition of (BMA). “We concluded that (EZY)’s proposal would introduce a distinctly different product into the market and would stimulate innovation on the route as a whole,” Osborne said, “as well as satisfying and stimulating consumer demand that is currently underserved, in particular: people who prefer or are content to use Gatwick.”

(BAB) will continue serving the city pair under its current schedule; (EZY) is expected to launch the service from early 2013.

The debate about how to address capacity shortage at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) is intensifying, with calls for a solution getting more urgent. This month, the Policy Exchange think-tank issued a report calling for a new hub airport, to be located in southeast England, with enough capacity to accommodate anticipated demand increases.

The report examines a range of options for increasing airport capacity in the UK, but favors the development of four runways three kilometers west of (LHR).

For primarily cost and location reasons, it rules out the idea of a Thames estuary airport in London (the so-called “Boris Island” concept, because it is championed by London Mayor, Boris Johnson), connecting (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW) as a single hub, and a four-runway plan at (LGW) and London Stansted airports.

Instead, the report recommends noise mitigation measures including a complete ban on the noisiest airplanes, additional airplane noise limitations when the new runways open, a complete ban on flights between 11 pm and 6:15 am, and steeper descents for narrow body airplanes approaching from the east to reduce their noise footprint over the city.

The report suggests London Luton Airport would be the next best location for a four-runway airport because it is close to key road and rail links between London and the rest of the country. However, the terrain there is more challenging and the location not as favorable.

Johnson called on the government to accelerate a decision on a new hub airport for the Southeast. Without it, he warned, the economies of London and the UK would stagnate. He urged the government to “forget about a new runway at Heathrow” and “look at the viable alternatives.” Johnson believes a new airport would cost about £80 billion/$129 billion and could be operational by 2030, just marginally later than the proposed third runway at (LHR).

Economist, Howard Davies has been tasked with examining future capacity options, but his report is not expected until after the next election in 2015.

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh told the BBC last week: “Nothing's going to happen because there is no cross-party consensus to deal with this issue. There is no political will to tackle difficult issues and therefore nothing will happen. I run my business at a two-runway Heathrow. I run it as best I can, and we’ll try and do what we can to maximize the benefits that exist for British Airways (BAB) there.”

Airport operator, (BAA) Limited has changed its name to "Heathrow Limited" to better reflect the company. UK Airports Glasgow (GLA), Aberdeen (ABZ), Southampton (SOU) and London Stansted (STN) will also drop the (BAA) name and operate under their own brands. (BAA) Funding Limited will now operate as Heathrow Funding Limited.

There will be no change in Managing Directors of (GLA), (SOU), (ABZ) or in the Managing Director of (STN) airport. “We are a different company today from when (BAA) was formed,” Heathrow (CEO), Colin Matthews said. “Over the last few years, we have sold our stakes in Gatwick, Edinburgh, Budapest and Naples airports and we are in the process of selling Stansted Airport. The (BAA) name no longer fits. We do not represent all British airports; we are not a public authority and, practically speaking, the company is no longer a group as Heathrow will account for more than 95% of the business.”

The company will continue to publish quarterly financial results for airports financed with publicly traded debt, which following the sale of (STN) will leave just London Heathrow (LHR).

According to local media reports, Ferrovial has set a closing date of October 23 for bids for the sale of (STN). (BAA) was unable to confirm or deny the date. Interested bidders are believed to include the Manchester Airport Group and a Hong Kong investment group.

British Airways (BAB) Engineering and A J Walter Aviation (AJW) extended their strategic partnership to begin offering 787 airplane spares support and repair capability.

Airbus (EDS) has installed four Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 970-84) engines on the first A380 to be delivered to British Airways (BAB). The engines, installed at its Toulouse facility, each produce 70,000 lbs of thrust. The A380 is scheduled for delivery in July 2013. Others will follow in September and November 2013.

(BAB) has 12 A380s on order plus seven options. The A380, which will replace (BAB)’s older Boeing (TBC) 747s, is widely expected to be used initially on high-density Far East routes (such as Singapore and Hong Kong) and possibly to New York (JFK).

(BAB) may consider introducing its forthcoming fleet of A380s on short-haul routes to quickly to build up training time for its pilots (FC). (BAB) will take delivery of the first of 12 A380s next July, although no in-service date has been given.

A (BAB) spokesman said that using the type on short-haul routes was a possibility but that “absolutely no decisions have been made on that. “We may look at the possibility [of using it on short-haul sectors]. It really is no stronger than that.” No decisions have been made on whether any such flights would be crew-only or whether passengers would be carried.

(BAB) is due to take delivery of its A380 flight simulator early next year.

November 2012: The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), reported a third-quarter operating profit of +€270 million/+$344 million, down -25.6% from an operating profit of +€363 million, before exceptional items, (+€301 million excluding British Midland International (BMA)) in the year-ago period.

Third-quarter revenue was up +12.6% year-over-year, buoyed by a +14.1% growth in passenger revenue. Operating costs increased +16%, as fuel costs jumped +20.9%.

Third-quarter (ASK)s increased +4.7% to 58.2 billion from 55.6 billion in the year-ago period, and (RPK)s were up +4.9% to 49.3 billion. Passenger numbers were up +8.3% year-over-year and passenger load factor was 84.7% LF, up two points from the year-ago quarter.

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said the group performance is “coming back to the levels seen in 2011 and this is particularly true if you strip out the (BMA) losses of -€31 million in the quarter. However, there remains a strong difference between the performances of (BAB) and (IBE).”

For the first nine months, (IAG)’s operating profit plunged -96% from +€451 million in the year-ago period to +€17 million. (BAB)’s operating profit of +€286 million was all but negated by (IBE)’s operating loss of -€262 million.

(IAG) said the revenue trend in third quarter was restrained by the London Olympics, but was showing signs of recovery for the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, the negative impact of Hurricane "Sandy" and continued weakness in (IBE) mean the group is expecting to make an operating loss of around -€120 million for the full year, after (BMA) trading losses and exceptional items. This expectation does not take into account the (IBE) restructuring plans.

British Airways (BAB) inaugurated operations on the route from its London Heathrow (LHR) hub to the Liberian capital of Monrovia (ROB), as it extended its service to Freetown (FNA) in Sierra Leone on 5 November. Thrice-weekly flights are operated on the West African route using a 767-300ER. Although there is no direct competition on the route, (BAB) will compete indirectly from Europe with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA)’s thrice-weekly (one non-stop and twice-weekly via Abidjan) and AirFrance (AFA)’s twice-weekly (via Conakry) services

(BAB) launched its London Gatwick - Las Vegas route.

(BAB) will drop its longstanding London Gatwick – Manchester (LGW) - (MAN) service March 31, citing deteriorating performance on the sector. The route is served up to 3X-daily by a 737-400 and is a legacy route originally served by Dan-Air, which (BAB) acquired some 20 years ago. A (BAB) spokeswoman said a combination of factors was behind the decision. “Gatwick historically for (BAB) is more of a leisure airport. We still have good load factors from Gatwick to places such as the Caribbean and Orlando, but a lot of those destinations are now also served direct from Manchester.”

The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), is considering the purchase of Spanish low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VY).

In a brief statement issued after the close of European stock markets, (IAG) said that its board would consider an offer for 100% of (VUZ)'s shares. “No decision to make an offer has yet been reached nor, accordingly, on any of its potential terms, including in particular the price. “(IAG)’s subsidiary, Iberia L A E Operadora, S A already has a 45.85% shareholding in Vueling (VUZ).” (VUZ) is Spain’s second-largest airline and has been expanding rapidly in recent years, particularly at its Barcelona base.

The (IAG) has announced -4,500 job cuts at Iberia (IBE) as part of a widely anticipated restructuring of (IBE). (IBE) is cutting its fleet by 25 airplanes, and reducing -15% of its network capacity, with (IBE) focusing on its most profitable routes. The plan aims to stem (IBE)'s cash losses by mid-2013, and raise profits by at least +EUR600 million/+S$766 million/479 million pounds.

(IAG) also revealed a -30% drop in pre-tax quarterly profits to +EUR221 million. The drop was due to the poor performance at (IBE) and at the recently-purchased UK regional airline bmi (BMA), as well as rising fuel, operating and engineering costs. "The (IAG) group performance is coming back to the levels seen in 2011 and this is particularly true if you strip out the (BMA) losses of -EUR31 million in the quarter," said (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh. "However, there remains a strong difference between the performances of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE)."

The parent company (IAG) said it now expected to make an overall operating loss of -EUR120 million for the year (excluding any costs associated with the (IBE) restructuring) with further losses likely in the remaining three months due to the impact of storm "Sandy" in the USA Northeast. Its pre-tax losses for the first nine months of the year have now reached -EUR169 million, compared with a +EUR355 million profit in the same period last year.

Iberia (IBE) has been suffering record losses, and (IAG) flagged up three months ago that job cuts were likely to come. "(IBE) is in a fight for survival," said the Spanish subsidiary's (CEO), Rafael Sanchez-Lozano. "It is unprofitable in all its markets. "Unless we take radical action to introduce permanent structural change, the future for (IBE) is bleak."

The -4,500 job losses are not as steep as the -7,000 figure that reportedly had been expected by (IBE)'s unions. (IAG) said the restructuring would safeguard 15,500 posts at (IAG).

However, the restructuring plan also includes "permanent salary adjustments to achieve a competitive and flexible cost base". (IBE)
has set a deadline of January 31 next year to reach agreement with unions over the cuts. "Time is not on our side," said Mr Sanchez-Lozano, claiming that: "The company is burning -EUR1.7 million every day. "If we do not reach consensus, we will have to take more radical action, which will lead to greater reductions in capacity and jobs."

The restructuring plan comes a day after (IAG) announced that it would pay EUR113 million to buy up the remaining 54% stake in Spanish budget airline, Vueling (VUZ) that it did not already own. Mr Walsh had said that the acquisition of (VUZ) would be "good for Spain" and "create new Spanish jobs".

(IAG) released its latest passenger figures for October, which showed that traffic rose by +6.2% at British Airways (BAB) from a year earlier, while at Iberia (IBE), traffic was down -3.7%. (IBE)'s woes in part stem from the weakness of the eurozone economy, including a sharp downturn in its Spanish home market. However, according to Mr Sanchez-Lozano, (IBE)'s problems are also "systemic and pre-date the country's problems".

A Chinese sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation (CIC) has purchased a 10% stake in Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly (BAA)) through its wholly owned subsidiary, the Stable Investment Corporation. Stable bought a 5.72% stake of (FGP) Topco, the holding company that owns Heathrow Airport Holdings, from the company’s largest shareholder, Ferrovial for £257.4 million/$414.4 million. As part of the same transaction and at the same share price, Stable purchased a further 4.28% from other (FGP) Topco shareholders for £192.6 million.

Ferrovial continues to be the industrial partner and largest indirect shareholder in Heathrow Airport Holdings, but is reducing its stake. The deal with Stable brings Ferrovial’s stake in (FGP) Topco down from 49.99% to 44.27%. The August sale of a 20% stake to Qatar Holdings will further reduce Ferrovial’s stake to 33.65% if it receives European competition approval. That deal is expected to close by year end.

Stable will join the boards of (FGP) Topco and Heathrow Airport Holdings. Britannia Airport Partners, (GIC) and Alinda continue as shareholders of (FGP) Topco.

Ferrovial (CEO), Íñigo Meirás said: "We will continue to work with the new shareholders and with existing shareholders to ensure that Heathrow Airport Holdings retains its position as one of the best infrastructure assets in the world." The company said the sale would enhance Ferrovial’s liquidity position and financial flexibility.
Heathrow Airport Holdings owns London Heathrow, London Stansted (STN), Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports, but is the process of selling (STN) in compliance with a Competition Commission ruling.

USA private equity group, the (TPG) has reportedly joined the list of bidders for the airport as interest in the facility picks up, according to the "Financial Times" (FT). The Manchester Airport Group (MAG) in partnership with Industry Funds Management (IFM) remains hot favorite to acquire the Essex site, but other first-round contenders are understood to include Australian investment bank, Macquarie, and New Zealand investment manager, Morrison & Company. Morrison manages Infratil, which already owns two regional airports (Prestwick and Manston) in the UK.

(STN) is estimated to be worth £1.3 billion and short-listed bidders are expected to learn the deadline for second-round offers shortly, the (FT) said.

December 2012: The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), has signed a non-binding agreement covering Aer Lingus (ARL)’s London Heathrow (LHR) slots.
The deal is one of the remedies being proposed by Ryanair (RYR) as it seeks to acquire (ARL) for the third time. The European Commission (EC) is reviewing the acquisition and is expected to give its verdict by February 27. “We have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with (RYR) (which is subject to (EC) approval) as part of its review of (RYR)’s proposed takeover of (ARL), and the (IAG) board approval,” an (IAG) spokeswoman said.

According to the "Financial Times," the deal covers more than >85% of (ARL)’s (LHR) slots and (BAB) is offering to take over (ARL)’s (LHR) services for three to five years. After this time, the (IAG) would have the right to buy and redeploy the slots.

The (IAG) subsidiary, Veloz Holdco has initiated the process to purchase Vueling Airlines (VUZ). It has applied to Spain’s National Securities Market Commission for authorization to launch a tender offer for the remaining shares of the Barcelona-based, low-cost carrier (LCC).

The (IAG) currently has no direct shareholding in (VUZ), but its subsidiary, Iberia (IBE) holds 45.85% of (VUZ). The (IAG)’s tender offer would purchase the remaining 54.15% of (VUZ) stock, giving the group 100% ownership of the airline. (IBE) will retain its current shareholding.

The (IAG) announced its intention to launch a voluntary cash tender offer last month and created Veloz Holdco for this transaction. The offer will be launched exclusively on the Spanish stock markets and the cost of acquiring the 54.15% stake is anticipated to be €113 million/$146.5 million. The (IAG) said the acquisition would be funded using internal resources.

Subject to authorization from the Securities Market Commission, the offer will be launched in the 2013 first quarter and is expected to be completed in the second quarter. It is not subject to regulatory approval by the European Commission (EC).

British Airways (BAB) has returned on the 8,900 km route from its London Heathrow (LHR) base to the airport serving the South Korean capital, Seoul Incheon (ICN). Notably, the launch of the new route has been helped by the “Gangnam Style” song by Psy, which took the internet by storm and is helping to put South Korea on the travel map. Keith Williams, (BAB)’s (CEO), commented: “We couldn’t have foreseen the enormous response to the current Gangnam Style phenomenon when we announced the route. It is really helping to put Seoul on the map for UK travellers looking for an exciting and fun destination.” Six weekly flights are offered on the route in competition with Asiana Airlines (AAR) and Korean Air (KAL), which already serve the market from London to Seoul – each with daily frequencies.

(BAB) added one domestic and two European routes to its network from London Heathrow (LHR) on 9 December. Leeds Bradford (LBA) returned to (BAB)’s route map after three decades, and (BAB) now serves it with 27 weekly frequencies; bmi (BMA) previously operated the route until March 2009. James Keegan, (BAB)’s Commercial Services Manager UK regions, said: “The well-timed four flights a day will offer our customers the chance to complete a full day’s business in the capital without the expense or inconvenience of an overnight stay.” On the same day, (BAB) also added two new European routes to its (LHR) offering with thrice-daily flights to Rotterdam (RTM) in The Netherlands, as well as daily to Zagreb (ZAG) in Croatia, which will face competition from Croatia Airlines (CRH)’s nine weekly departures. All three new routes were made possible as a result of slots being freed up by the purchase of bmi (BMA) earlier this year by (BAB)’s parent company, (IAG).

(BAB), through its South African franchisee Comair (CML), launched its first domestic route out of Lanseria (HLA), the airport serving both Johannesburg and Pretoria. Only in September did (CML) launch operations at the airport. George (GRJ) on the South African south coast is the new destination. The airport will be served daily with ATR72 airplanes, although only for a limited period until 18 January. (CML) already serves George from its main base at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) announced plans to cut -400 cabin crew (CA) jobs at its British Airways (BAB) division. “We are offering voluntary redundancy to some members of our senior cabin crew to help address an imbalance in our crew numbers,” an (IAG) spokesman said, adding that 400 jobs would be affected.

“Based on the feedback from our senior cabin crew in the past few months, we believe that there will be good demand for this opportunity. We have now begun a 90 day consultation with Unite about the issues.” The spokesman stressed that it was a purely voluntary scheme and there were no plans to make any compulsory redundancies. In total, (BAB) has around 14,000 cabin crew (CA).

The news comes almost one month after (BAB)’s loss-making sister group, Iberia (IBE), revealed it was seeking to axe -4,500 jobs to save it from collapse. British Airways (BAB) and Spanish carrier Iberia (IBE) merged in January 2011 in a tie-up aimed at slashing one another’s costs, as a sharp economic downturn and rise of low-cost competitors (LCC)s sparked steep losses for traditional carriers.

British Airways (BAB) has committed to buying the jet fuel produced by a planned new UK biofuel plant that is part of the GreenSky London initiative. The fuel will be purchased at market competitive prices.

(BAB)’s financial commitment covers the next 10 years and is worth about $500 million at today’s prices. GreenSky London involves construction of a facility that will annually convert approximately 500,000 tonnes of waste normally destined for landfill into 50,000 tonnes of sustainable low-carbon jet fuel, 50,000 tonnes of biodiesel, bionaphtha and renewable power.

Construction of the plant is being spearheaded by Solena Fuels Corporation as part of a technology consortium. Solena will provide the high temperature gasification process that converts waste matter into synthesis gas and the overall Integrated Biomass Gasification to Liquids solution. Other members of the consortium include Oxford Catalysts Group/Velocys that will supply the Fisher-Tropsch reactors and catalyst to convert the cleaned synthesis gas into liquid hydrocarbons; and Fluor which has already started the pre-front end engineering and design for the project. Fluor specializes in project execution and bio-fuel projects, and is providing engineering services support.

Barclays has been appointed as advisor to explore optimal funding through Export Credit Agencies, and a competitive letter of interest has been obtained from one of the Agencies including associated term funding.

GreenSky London has signed an exclusive option on a location for the facility and consent work for the site has begun. More than >150 jobs will be created to operate the plant, as well as +1,000 construction positions. The site is due to be operational by 2015.

British Airways (BAB) (CEO), Keith Williams said: “With world-class technology partners now in place, we are well on our way to making sustainable aviation fuel a reality for (BAB) by 2015.”

(BAB) is to allow passengers to watch and listen to in-flight entertainment (IFE) from boarding through to landing, following an assessment of safety considerations. (CEO), Keith Williams said (BAB) would no longer "pull the plug" (typically about 20 minutes from touchdown) on passengers who wished to continue using the (IFE).

(BAB) will introduce the new policy on 1 December. (BAB) says it carried out safety assessments in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on a number of flights including services to Moscow and Tel Aviv. A spokesman for (BAB) says these "went extremely well."

Passengers will be allowed to continue using the (IFE) but only if they are using (BAB)'s own headsets, to ensure that they can hear cabin announcements. (BAB) says passengers will still be able to use their own headsets during cruise. The precise point at which the (IFE) will be switched off will depend on the airplane type. Most of the long-haul fleet is already capable of supporting the new scheme, but (BAB) is still upgrading cabins on eight older 777-200s.

British Airways (BAB) Engineering developed its own Part 21J major change to upgrade from (TCAS) 7.0 to (TCAS) 7.1. It can now carry out warranty repair capabilities for components supplied by (ACSS), via its (ACSS)-approved European Repair Center.

(BAB) is rolling out iPads to all 3,600 of its pilots (FC). The introduction of iPads in the cockpit is part of (BAB)’s $8.1 billion investment to give its cabin crew (CA) and ground staff (MT) iPads as well.

The pilots (FC) will use the iPads as electronic flight bags (EFBs) to access real-time operational and passenger data. “As pilots (FC) we want to deliver a safe and memorable experience for each and every British Airways (BAB) customer, on every single flight,” said Stephen Riley, Director Flight Operations at (BAB). “The iPads will help us to achieve this goal by giving us the means to provide a more personalized service and share more timely flight information with our customers and colleagues.”

(BAB)'s eight new 787-8s will have 214 seats: 35 in Club World with a 2-3-2 configuration, 25 in World Traveller Plus with the same configuration, and the 154 World Traveller seats will have a 3-3-3 configuration.

Like Qatar Airways (QTA), (BAB) has opted for no First Class (F) on its 787-8s. According to "Business Traveller's" Tom Otley, Willie Walsh, (IAG) (CEO) says he sees the 787-8 as good for developing new routes where there isn't a strong demand [for First], then replace it, once demand has been built up, either with a 787-9 or 777.

Seating plans for the airline's 16 787-9s on order have not been finalized.

Walsh also confirmed the layout on (BAB)'s 12 new A380s, which will have a total of 469 seats. These will have 14F seats in First on the main deck in a 1-2-1 configuration.

There will be 55 seats in World Traveller Plus on the upper deck in a 2-3-2 configuration.

Club World on the upper deck will have 53 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration and 44 seats in the main deck in a 2-4-2 configuration.

199 World Traveller seats will have a 3-4-3 configuration in the main deck and the other 104 seats on the upper deck will be in a 2-4-2 configuration.


(BAB)'s first 787 is due to be delivered in May 2013 with the first A380 expected to arrive in July.

January 2013: Only a year or so after the merger of Iberia (IBE) and British Airways (BAB), the International Airlines Group (IAG) is already in crisis mode. This time, all attention is on Iberia (IBE), which has to implement a draconian cost-savings and capacity-reduction program. This will see (IBE) withdraw from essentially all European routes that are not needed as feeders for its long-haul network to Latin America. (IBE) is also axing -20% of its workforce, and the (IAG) says still more drastic plans are in the cupboard if agreements cannot be reached quickly with unions. As the examples of (SAS) Scandinavian Airlines and others show, unions have few options to oppose such restructuring moves in tough times.

At the end of this month, negotiations between Iberia (IBE) and its trade unions over the future restructuring of the airline have broken down. "Bloomberg" cited (UGT) union representative, Manuel Atienza as saying the unions now intend to press ahead with strike action in February. (UGT) represents 39% of (IBE)’s ground staff (MT) and 14% of cabin crew (CA).

(IBE) said it presented a new set of proposals that lessened the impact of cuts to the workforce and their salaries this month. However, an (IBE) spokesman said the revised proposals had not found favor with union representatives, who had walked out.

(IBE) had previously warned that if its proposals were not accepted by the January 31 deadline, it would impose deeper, more radical cuts than had originally been proposed.

The revised (IBE) proposal presented this month offered concessions over the initial proposals last November. It called for 3,147 redundancies, down some -30% on the initially mooted 4,500; pay cuts of -11% for ground staff (MT) and -23% for cabin crews (CA) and pilots (FC), against the initial proposal of between -25% and -35%, respectively. It also called for a -10% capacity cut for 2013, versus the initial proposal of -15%, and future capacity growth pegged to business results.

(IBE) has been heavily loss-making in recent years, with its deficits largely cancelling out profits made by British Airways (BAB), its partner in the International Airlines Group (IAG).

British Airways (BAB) will launch 3X-weekly, London - Chengdu 777 service on September 22. It will also increase London Heathrow - Toronto service to 17X-weekly on March 31, with additional Monday, Friday and Saturday frequencies on a 767-300.

In November, (BAB)’s parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG) detailed plans to shrink capacity by -1% this year. This will be the net result of capacity growth at (BAB) through fleet replacement and capacity reductions at Iberia (IBE).

(BAB) has selected Honeywell (SGC)’s Next Generation flight management system to boost navigation database capacity for its fleet of 747s. Honeywell (SGC) said its NextGen system reduces the need for step climbing approaches at airports and provides reduced fuel burn and airplane emissions. (BAB) has implemented several Honeywell (SGC) safety systems across its 777 and A320 fleets since 2010, including the IntuVue 3-D weather radar and SmartRunway systems.

British Airways (BAB) has inked a 10-year agreement with Air Lease Corporation (ALE) to lease two 777-300ERs. (ALE) said the two 777-300ERs will be delivered to (BAB) in May and July 2014. A (BAB) spokeswoman said the two new 777-300ERs will be used to replace existing 747s under (BAB)’s current fleet plan. (BAB)’s fleet comprises more than >240 airplanes. (ALE) ordered the two 777-300ERs in 2011, forming part of a wider airplane deal.

See video "BAB CONCORDE SST PART 1 OF 4" - -

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February 2013: British Airways ((IATA) Code: BA, based at London Heathrow airport (LHR)) (BAB) and sister carrier Iberia ((IATA) Code: IB, based at Madrid Barajas airport (MAD)) (IBE) are reportedly considering to move some of their short-haul flights to low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling Airlines ((IATA) Code: VY, based at Barcelona El Prat International airport (BCN)) (VUZ) according to a report by the "Financial Times." If the International Airlines Group (IAG) (BAB)/(IBE) is able to fully acquire Vueling (VUZ), according to the report, short-haul point to point services such as (BAB)'s network from London Gatwick (LGW) and some Iberia (IBE) routes could be transferred to lower cost Vueling (VUZ) in a similar move to Lufthansa (DLH)'s plan to move non-hub routes to (LCC) subsidiary, germanwings (RFG).

March 2013: British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) reported a full-year net loss of -€885 million/$1.2 billion, down from a +€503 net profit in the year-ago period. The (IAG) said the results were depressed by (IBE)’s deteriorated performance and the integration of British Midland International (bmi) (BMA).

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh cautioned that structural change is needed: “The divergent financial performance of our airlines continued. (BAB) made an operating profit of +€347 million, including bmi (BMA) losses, while (IBE) made an operating loss of -€351 million. We have embarked on a significant transformation program in (IBE) — and these results emphasize further that (IBE) must adapt to survive. It must stem its cash losses and adjust its cost base permanently if it is to compete with other airlines in all its strategic markets and lay the foundations for profitable growth in the future.”

Revenue rose +10.9% to €18.1 billion, while expenses increased +14.4% to €18.7 billion, producing an operating loss of -€613 million, down from a +€407 million operating profit in the prior-year.

Excluding exceptional items (such as a €202 million charge for (IBE)’s restructuring and €343 million (IBE) intangible asset impairment) the operating loss would have stood at -€23 million, which Walsh describes as “solid” and better-than-expected. “We believe 2013 will not see a repeat of these headwinds,” (IAG) said.

The group recently announced plans to press ahead with 3,807 redundancies and a -15% capacity cut at (IBE) after unions rejected a softer package. Traffic rose +4.4% to 176.1 billion (RPK)s on a +2.8% increase in capacity to 219.2 billion (ASK)s, producing a load factor of 80.3% LF, up +1.2 points. Yield rose +7.6% to 8.73 cents, as (RASK) increased +9.4% to 7.01 cents and (CASK) increased +11.3% to 8.28 cents. (CASK) ex-fuel, was 5.49 cents, up +8.5%.

The (IAG) achieved €313 million in synergies in 2012, exceeding its €225 million target, as joint revenue initiatives performed above expectations. “The outlook for 2013 will be impacted by the outcome of the (IBE) transformation plan negotiations, and any associated costs and losses. Subject to these, we would expect a better pre-exceptional operating result to the one achieved in 2011.”

The International Airlines Group (IAG) has upped its takeover offer for Spanish carrier Vueling (VUZ) to €9.25/$11.90 per share after an original bid of €7.00 per share was rejected by Vueling (VUZ)’s management.

Late last year, the (IAG) announced it was planning to offer €7.00 per share to acquire the remaining 54.15% of (VUZ) not already owned by its subsidiary Iberia (IBE), which holds a 45.85% stake.

Back in November this offer represented a 27% premium on (VUZ)’s share price. However, by March, the share value had risen to €7.85 so (VUZ)’s management advised its shareholders to reject the offer.

The (IAG) came back with a fresh offer of €9.25/$11.90 per share, saying: “[Takeover vehicle] Veloz Holdco will submit the documentation relating to the amended offer with the Spanish National Securities Markets Commission (CNMV) for its authorization on or before 3 April 2013.”

It has also extended the acceptance period from 39 to 48 days and reduced the minimum acceptance conditions from 90% of the (VUZ) voting rights not owned by Iberia (IBE) to 1,244,029 Vueling (VUZ) shares, or 4.16% of (VUZ)’s share capital.

The original (IAG) offer valued Vueling (VUZ) at €209 million.

(BAB) inaugurated services to Barcelona (BCN) in the Spanish region of Catalonia, from London Gatwick (LGW) on 23 February. (BAB), which already offers 47 weekly flights to the Mediterranean city from London Heathrow as well as further thrice-weekly flights from London City (operated by BA CityFlyer), now provides additional thrice-daily flights from London’s second largest airport. Direct competition on the route comes from easyJet (EZY)’s 39 and Monarch Airlines (MON)’s seven weekly flights with further twice-daily flights offered each by easyJet (EZY) from London Luton and Ryanair (RYR) from London Stansted. In addition, the Barcelona-based Vueling (VUZ) will launch twice-daily flights on the route on 22 March.

As Europe’s trendiest city destination for the best part of the last decade, Barcelona is crammed with stunning architecture, sublime art, world-renowned gastronomy and nightlife, all finished off with miles of golden beaches stretching along the Mediterranean coast. Located only about two hours’ flying time from the British capital, it has long attracted Londoners craving the best of both worlds and, while Barcelona showed an overall passenger traffic growth of +2.2% in 2012 (compared to average decline of -5.5% at Spanish airports), the market from London produced an outstanding increase, not only recovering the all-time high of 2007, but improving on it by +16%.

Examination of (CAA) data shows that in the years preceding the recession, traffic in the market from London to Barcelona was growing at an average of +1.2% (2002 - 2007), reaching its peak of 1.8 million in 2007. Although the full-blown effects of the Spanish construction industry crisis and the financial misfortunes of the City of London were not fully felt in 2008, when traffic diminished by -2.5%, it did materialize in the following two years: traffic fell by -12.8% and -11.3%, respectively, to produce total passengers of 1.4 million – - a market size last observed in the 1990s. Notably, October 2009 saw the departure of Iberia (IBE), the Spanish flag carrier from the market. Disappearance of (IBE)’s four-weekly services to London Heathrow were partly offset by its (IAG) partner, British Airways (BAB), which stepped up its frequencies from four-weekly to daily.

2010 was the turning point for traffic recovery in the market, and in 2011, traffic figures showed an improvement of +22%, followed by +26% growth in 2012. A total of 2.1 million people travelled on the route connecting the British and Catalan capital last year.

Now, all six London airports have links to Barcelona, with London Heathrow and Gatwick almost equally sharing two thirds of the traffic. The latter has, however, experienced more dynamic traffic growth in the last two years (+37.7% and +43.7% respectively in 2011 and 2012, compared to +17.2% and +3.9% for Heathrow), a trend which is set to continue in 2013. The only airport to outdo Gatwick in terms of passenger growth last year, albeit starting from a considerably lower base, was London Stansted (+64%). Two other London airports, City and Luton, saw traffic decline respectively by -10.8% and -5.2%, while easyJet (EZY)’s launch of daily services from London’s latest airport last April, led Southend to account for 3% of the total traffic in the market in 2012.

Weekly average capacity data for the market in June 2013 shows some interesting capacity shifts within the London airport system. In summer 2012, two main airports to offer services to Barcelona, London Gatwick and Heathrow, commanded, respectively, 35.6% and 34.6% of the total seat capacity in the market. This proportion is no longer valid for summer 2013, as Gatwick will see an increase of almost +70%, while the capacity offered (entirely by British Airways (BAB)) from Heathrow, decreases by -3.3%. Gatwick’s growth is fuelled by the launch of thrice-daily flights by (BAB), which now serves Barcelona from three London airports, as well as by new entrants to the market: – Vueling (VUZ) (twice-daily, launching 23 March), and Norwegian (NWG) (thrice-weekly, launching 4 April). SEE ATTACHED - - "BAB-2013-03 LONDON-BARCELONA-A/B."

London Stansted will lose a third of its Barcelona capacity in summer 2013, as easyJet (EZY) withdraws its daily schedule. (EZY) will also reduce capacity to Barcelona from London Southend, down to six weekly from daily. No changes have been reported neither for London Luton, where easyJet (EZY) continues to provide twice-daily frequencies, nor for London City, which has a daily British Airways (BAB) service.

In summer 2013, 78% of weekly frequencies and 64% of weekly seats in the market from London to Barcelona will be offered by only two carriers: British Airways (BAB) and easyJet (EZY), which both serve the Mediterranean city from three London airports. (BAB) will offer +30% more frequencies and +21% more seats in the market in June 2013 compared to the same period a year before, while (EZY) reduces its offering respectively by -11% and -13%.

Once it launches its new route, Vueling (VUZ) will match Ryanair (RYR) in terms of frequency share, even though it will provide marginally less capacity in terms of weekly seats. At the same time, Monarch Airlines (MON) removes one of its 11 weekly frequencies from London Gatwick. Norwegian (NWG)’s entry to the market is set to have a limited impact as (NWG) will command less than <2% of weekly frequency and capacity.

Early January saw the opening of the missing high-speed rail (HSR) link between London and Barcelona, and the overland journey can now be completed with two stops (in Paris and Figueras) in around 10 hours. With prices from under <£200 for a return journey and the growing trend toward slow travel, the rail offering might attract some traffic away from airlines, especially during peak summer months, when one-way fares can exceed >£200. However, Barcelona’s appeal as a weekend break and business destination suggest that this enhanced rail offering should not have a major impact on air traffic, unlike in the case of the introduction of high-speed connections on shorter distances.

(BAB) is adding one extra frequency on its London Heathrow - Nairobi route, boosting the service to eight times weekly. Effective 12 May, (BAB) will operate the extra flight with a 777-200 in a four-cabin configuration, adding 266 seats per week on the route.

The move comes after (BAB) announced the withdrawal of its thrice weekly Heathrow service to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, effective 31 March.

London Heathrow (LHR) Airport, the UK’s largest airport, recorded an improved, but still loss-making, financial position in 2012. Annual results for Heathrow Ltd (which includes both London Heathrow and Stansted airports) show the company incurred a post-tax loss of -£40.9 million/-$63.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. This compared to a post-tax loss of -£191.5 million in 2011.

The company recorded an adjusted pre-tax profit of +£40.6 million, compared to a loss of -£166.7 million in 2011, but the 2012 figures were dragged into the red by exceptional items. Revenue for the two airports increased to £2.46 billion, a +8.1% rise on the previous year.

This will be the last year’s accounts that include figures for Stansted, the airport northeast of London used largely by low-cost carriers (LCC)s. In 2012, after several years’ opposition in the courts, Heathrow (SP) Ltd (then known as (BAA)) agreed to demands by the UK’s competition authorities to divest Stansted. It has been sold to Manchester Airports Group for £1.5 billion.

The sale’s proceeds will be used mainly to reduce debt. The company noted that (LHR) again operated close to its maximum allowed number of flights (471,000 compared to the legal cap of 480,000). It hit a record load factor of 75.6% LF (75.2% LF in 2011) and the average number of seats per airplane rose from 194.8 to 197.4.

“These are the key drivers of the modest growth that can be expected in (LHR)’s traffic for as long as it operates with its current capacity constraints, where there is negligible opportunity to increase flight numbers,” the company said. The proportion of transfer traffic at (LHR) was 35%.

Passenger numbers at the two airports was static at 87.4 million. (LHR)’s numbers rose 0.9% to 70 million. However, this was offset by a 3.2% drop at Stansted to 17.5 million.

The company said the centerpiece of its infrastructural improvements in 2012 was the continued progress in building the new Terminal 2, scheduled for a mid-2014 opening.

British Airways (BAB) has announced it will launch its first A380 (which is scheduled for delivery in July) on Los Angeles, California and Hong Kong routes. Its London - Los Angeles A380 service will tentatively launch October 15 followed by Hong Kong service, tentatively scheduled for November 15.

The Oneworld (ONW) Alliance carrier stressed the dates have not yet been finalized and will be formally announced once training flights have been completed. The A380 will be configured with 469 seats across four cabins.

The A380 delivery marks the first of the type to be operated by a UK carrier, which has 12 on order. Deliveries are scheduled through 2016.

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh says it is highly likely his company will place an order for the proposed Boeing 777X. “Based on what I have seen, it is almost inevitable that it is an airplane that we will have in our fleet at some stage,” Walsh said. “It looks like a perfect fit for some of what British Airways [BAB] would require.”

Walsh also says it is “unlikely” that (BAB) would take additional A380s or look at the 747-8, even as it contemplates a fleet replacement for about 30 747-400s and, eventually, the 46 777-200ERs in operation.

A separate fleet renewal program is pending at (IAG)’s Iberia (IBE) division, although its Spanish unit’s plan is subject to a successful restructuring. Walsh indicates that the (IAG) will make a decision at least on the (BAB) fleet plan sooner, rather than later. “We don’t have an immediate issue, but given the delivery time frames, we are not looking to delay [the decision],” Walsh says.

“We have been in detailed discussions with both manufacturers and the engine suppliers in recent months, and we have as much visibility at this stage about what options are available to us as we are likely to get,” the (CEO) added.

The choice is likely to be between the 777-9X and the Airbus A350-900 and A350-1000. Walsh says he is pleased with the performance of (BAB)’s 777-300ERs, noting that “if I’m honest, the regret I have is that we did not get the 777-300ERs earlier.” (BAB) is operating the 777-300ER in a 297-seat configuration, just two fewer seats than the 747-400s.

However, Walsh also acknowledges that “as good an airplane as the 777 is, it is going to be overtaken by the next generation of airplanes, the A350-1000, the 777-9X or versions of the 787.”

(BAB) has 12 A380s on order, the first of which will arrive later this year. Walsh says he can “see a case for increasing that, but we think 12 is a good [fleet] size.”


Vueling (VUZ) has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept an improved takeover offer of €9.25/$12.10 per share from the International Airlines Group (IAG).

The (IAG), which already owns 45.85% of Vueling (VUZ) as well as British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), last month raised its bid by almost one-third after a previous offer of €7 per share was rejected.

“The board of (VUZ) recommends shareholders accept the improved offer for the following reasons: the price is reasonable and within the valuation issued by experts and from a strategic point of view the deeper integration of (VUZ) in the (IAG) will offer advantages and opportunities,” (VUZ) said in a notice sent to stock exchange regulator (CNMV).

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh was quoted by "Reuters" as saying the (IAG) would not merge Vueling (VUZ) with Iberia (IBE) if its takeover bid was successful. He said the profitable (VUZ) business would operate separately from loss-making (IBE) after the takeover.

Later, on April 23, the International Airlines Group (IAG) will own 90.51% of Spanish carrier Vueling (VUZ) after the majority of the Barcelona-based carrier’s shareholders agreed to sell to the (IAG).

The (IAG), which is trying to lay off more than >3,000 workers and cut salaries at (IBE) to return the unit to profitability, could use Vueling (VUZ) to boost its short-haul business and compete with cheaper operators, according to "Reuters."

British Airways (BAB) increased its long-haul offering from its London Gatwick (LGW) hub as it added Colombo (CMB) to its network on 14 April. Sri Lanka’s largest city is now served by (BAB) thrice-weekly with a stopover in Male (MLE), and will indirectly compete with daily, SriLankan Airlines (LNK)’s operations, which already serves the city pair, but from London Heathrow. With the newly launched 777-operated service, (BAB) increased its presence in the Indian sub-continent to a total of seven destinations available across both of its London hubs.

Aer Lingus (ARL) has sought clearance from its shareholders to dispose of a pair of London Heathrow slots to British Airways (BAB).

The International Airlines Group (IAG) has signed a new long-term content agreement with Amadeus. The agreement (which covers British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Iberia Express) allows Amadeus subscribers to continue to benefit from accessing the same level of fares, availability and functionality.

Babcock International was awarded preferred bidder status on Operations and Maintenance contracts for British Airways (BAB) and Heathrow Airport Ltd. The five-year contracts are worth a combined total of £440 million/$665 million.

The UK Engineering Support Services company would take on Maintenance and support of baggage systems at Heathrow terminals 3 and 5, making it responsible for the Operations and Maintenance of all baggage handling systems across the airport campus. The baggage handling contract includes an option to extend the contract for a further two years. The (BAB) contract would see Babcock continue to be responsible for Maintenance of (BAB)’s Ground Support at Heathrow including de-icing units, passenger buses, scissor lifts and pushback tractors.

A J Walter Aviation (AJW), in partnership with British Airways (BAB) Engineering, has won a contract from Azerbaijan Airlines (AHY) to provide power-by-the-hour component support for its new fleet of 787s. The partnership will provide (AHY) with component supply, inventory management and repair services.

(The (IAG) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Airbus (EDS) for 18 A350-1000s, plus 18 options and secured terms and delivery slots for firm orders for Iberia Airlines (IBE). The orders for Iberia (IBE) will not be secured until the Spanish carrier is in a position to grow profitably, after restructuring and reducing its cost base.

The (BAB) order would amount to $12 billion, according to current (EDS) list prices. The A350-1000s, with first deliveries slated for 2018, will replace some of (BAB)’s aging 747-400s on long-haul operations.

The (IAG) has converted 18 787 options into firm orders for British Airways (BAB). The original order, placed in 2007, was for 24 firm 787s, with 18 options. The Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 1000)-powered 787s will replace some of (BAB)’s 747-400s between 2017 and 2021.

According to the (IAG), Iberia (IBE) has reached agreement with Boeing to “secure commercial terms and delivery slots for a possible 787 order. Firm orders will only be made when (IBE) has restructured and reduced its cost base and is in a position grow profitably.”

(BAB) has 118 wide body long-haul airplanes in its fleet with 42 airplanes on order (not including the 18 787 options it has agreed to firm), comprising 12 A380s, 24 787s and six 777-300ERs.

(IBE)’s fleet comprises 31 wide body long-haul airplanes with six A330s on order.

The firming of the 18 787 options is subject to approval by the (IAG) shareholders.

May 2013: The International Airlines Group (IAG) reported a sharp deterioration in its first-quarter results compared to the previous year, taking into account exceptional items. The (IAG) reported a post-tax loss of -€630 million/-$819 million, more than four times the loss of -€129 million for the year-ago period. Revenue rose by +0.5% to €3.93 billion, while operating loss was slightly worse at -€278 million compared to -€249 million.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) is looking to acquire the remaining shares in Vueling (VUZ) for €9.25/$11.96 per share and delist the carrier from the Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, and Valencia stock exchanges.

The (IAG) Group already owns 90.51% of Vueling (VUZ), including a 45.85% stake which is held by its Iberia (IBE) subsidiary, following its successful takeover bid earlier this year.

"The International Airlines Group’s (IAG) subsidiary, Vueling (VUZ) has called a general shareholders’ meeting on June 27, 2013 to approve the delisting of (VUZ)’s shares from the Spanish stock exchanges," the (IAG) said.

The "Financial Times" (FT) reported that Qatar Airways (QTA) has approached the International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), with an informal offer to become the company’s largest shareholder by buying the 12% stake held by Spain’s nationalized lender Bankia.

The (FT) said (QTA) had approached the (IAG) to ask whether the company would welcome it as a shareholder. The financial daily cited one of those people as saying the initial approach was made last year, though it wasn’t clear which Qatari entity would buy the Bankia stake.

A third person familiar with the matter told the (FT) that the (IAG) had informed Bankia of the interest from Qatar (QTA) about three months ago. “This is an issue for Bankia and we’re not going to comment further,” an (IAG) spokeswoman told "Reuters."

Earlier this year, Bankia (the biggest failed bank in Spain’s history) hired Rothschild to help sell its stakes in companies including power group Iberdrola and insurer Mapfre, as the bank rebuilds its capital.

Later, however, Qatar Airways (QTA) through its (CEO), Akbar Al Baker, says it is “not interested” in purchasing a 12% stake in the International Airlines Group (IAG) currently held by Spain's nationalized lender, Bankia. The news comes after "The Financial Times" recently reported that the state of Qatar had sounded out (IAG) with an informal offer to become the company's largest shareholder by buying the 12% stake held by Bankia. Al Baker also said he was “not aware” that any other Qatari entity had an interest in the Bankia stake. “Any other entity will not get into any kind of discussion in an airline, or an airline stake, without asking Qatar Airways (QTA),” said Al Baker. (QTA) already has a prominent investment in UK aviation after Qatar Holding, an investment arm of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, last year agreed to buy a 20% stake in Heathrow airport Holdings, the owner of London Heathrow (LHR), for GBP900 million. Akbar Al Baker is one of two Qatari representatives on the Heathrow board.

British Airways (BAB) launched 3X-weekly, London Gatwick - Malé - Colombo 777 service. (BAB) begins 3X-weekly, London Gatwick - Larnaca service on June 30. (BAB) will launch weekly seasonal, London Heathrow - Las Palmas A320 service October 26 - March 29.

(BAB) inaugurated services on the 430 km route from Johannesburg (JNB) to the capital of Mozambique, Maputo (MPM), on 6 May. Nine weekly departures are now offered on the route and will be carried out by Comair (CML) on behalf of (BAB) using 737-300 and 737-400 equipment. Competition on the route comes from (LAM) Mozambique’s 24 and South African Airways (SAA)’s 17 weekly departures.

Effective 28 October, (BAB) will also add three additional weekly services to its daily, Gatwick - Marrakech link.

British Airways (BAB) Engineering will expand its commercial Learning Academy to help customers as they bring 787s and A380s into their fleets. The first course, which begins June 3, targets engineers (MT) wishing to qualify in 787 B1/B2 maintenance theory with the (Trent 1000) engine.

INCDT: On May 24th, Almost 200 flights were cancelled and 20 incoming services diverted following an in-flight incident involving a British Airways (BAB) flight that led to the closure of London Heathrow Airport (LHR).

Several news outlets showed amateur film of the (BAB) A319 trailing smoke from its starboard engine as it approached (LHR)’s northern runway, 27R/09L. BA762 to Oslo returned to (LHR) 27 minutes after taking off at 0816 local time. The airplane had 75 passengers and five crew on board. All were evacuated by emergency slides, with no injuries reported.

Photos from the scene at (LHR) after the airplane landed, show the cowlings of both (IAE) (V2500) engines missing. Both runways were closed for around 30 minutes, with the northern runway remaining closed for around two hours. The incident led to substantial delays for passengers. (LHR) operates at 99% capacity, which means any disruption tends to cause log-jams to build up rapidly.

The incident led to (BAB) cancelling all short-haul services in and out of (LHR) until 1600 local. “These cancellations will help us to stabilise our schedule, allowing us to get as many customers away as possible in these difficult circumstances,” (BAB) said.

A (LHR) spokeswoman said that 190 flights had been cancelled during the day, while 20 inbound services had been diverted to seven other UK airports during the runway closure. Video shot by passengers inside the airplane during the approach showed a large section of the forward port engine nacelle apparently missing, while pictures taken on the ground after the airplane landed, showed the starboard forward nacelle also missing and apparent scorch marks on its center and rear. It was not clear whether the starboard nacelle section had been removed by fire crews who attended the incident.

Later, the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said an emergency landing May 24 by a British Airways (BAB) A319 at London Heathrow Airport was caused by the engine cowling doors being left unlatched following maintenance.

June 2013: British Airways (BAB) begins code sharing with Bangkok Airways (PGB) on June 11 on flights to Phuket, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai. The code share will also see Singapore - Koh Samui service. (BAB) begins daily, London Heathrow - Rio de Janeiro 777-300ER service, up one flight from 6X-weekly.

Airbus (EDS) has confirmed that British Airways (BAB)'s first A380 will be displayed during the Paris air show which begins on June 17th.

(BAB) has detailed delivery schedules of the first members of its new long-haul fleet. (BAB)’s first two 787s (from 42 on order) will arrive June 26 and 27, with the first of its 12 A380s due to touch down in the UK July 4, the second in September.

Seats on the A380 are on sale for travel from October 15 to Los Angeles and from November 15 to Hong Kong, but dates for inaugural services have not formally been announced.

(BAB) also has six 777-300ERs on order for delivery over the next four years. “Over the next 12 months, we will take delivery of new long-haul airplanes at an average rate of one every two weeks,” (BAB) (CEO), Keith Williams said, adding (BAB) will take delivery of 22 long-haul airplanes by the end of summer 2014.

(BAB) will be the first European airline to operate both the A380 and the 787.

Following their arrival, both types will begin a complex entry into service (EIS) program, which includes pilot (FC) and cabin crew (CA) training at Manston Airport, customer service trials at London Heathrow and short-haul flying for both airplane types.

Boeing (TBC) officially launched the Boeing 787-10 at the Paris Air Show. (TBC) is going ahead with the development of the 787-10 on the back of firm commitments for 102 from five different customers. The first 787-10 is to be delivered in 2018.

Among the customers launching the program are Air Lease Corporation (ALE) (30 airplanes), United Airlines (UAL) (20), British Airways (BAB) (12), Singapore Airlines (SIA) (30) and GECAS (GEF) (ten). All of the orders are new commitments except ten of the 20 (UAL) airplanes, which have been rolled over from a previous 787 order and converted into the larger version.

The 787-10 is a 18 ft stretch of the 787-9, allowing room for around +40 additional seats. Boeing (TBC) says it will offer room for around 300 - 330 passengers. The 787-10 will have a range of 7,000 naut mi. “The 787-10 will be the most efficient jetliner in history,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) President & (CEO), Ray Conner said at the launch event in Paris. “The 787-10 is +25% more efficient than airplanes of its size today and more than >10% better than anything being offered by the competition for the future.”

According to Boeing (TBC), final assembly and flight tests of the 787-10 are both to begin in 2017 with first delivery scheduled for 2018. “The 787-10 will be one of the most powerful wide-body airplanes for decades ahead,” (ALE) Chairman/(CEO), Steven Udvar-Hazy said. In his opinion, the 787-10 will benefit from operational and development experience gained on the 787-8 and the 787-9.

Boeing managed to overcome Hazy’s initial concerns about range by increasing it to 7,000 naut mi. Hazy said that was addressed by introducing a slightly higher maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 553,000 pounds. Some reinforcements in the wing to body attachment area and on the landing gear were needed to accommodate the increased weight. Engine thrust will also be slightly higher than originally planned. “The range covers 97% of the wide-body city pairs of the world,” Hazy pointed out. Its range will be around 1,500 naut mi more than the 787-9.

The (ALE) (CEO) believes that a lot of 777-200s and Airbus A340s will be replaced by the 787-10. (ALE) is also working with Boeing (TBC) on the 777X, but it is still too early for a launch decision according to Hazy. “It is still under design refinement,” Hazy stated.

The arrival of British Airways (BAB)’s first 787 Dreamliner was greeted by the apparently excited Willie Walsh (CEO), (BAB), who said: "The 787 is a tremendous, innovative airplane which sets new standards for environmental performance and operating efficiency and I'm sure British Airways (BAB)'s customers will love it!" - - SEE ATTACHED - - "BAB-2013-06 - 1ST 787."

July 2013: SEE ATTACHED - - "BAB-2013-07 - 1ST 787 A380-A/B/C/D."

British Airways (BAB) launched 3X-weekly, London Gatwick - Larnaca service. Beginning on June 30th, (BAB) will operate three flights each week on the 3,300 km route using A319s. Competition comes from easyJet (EZY) (six weekly frequencies), Thomson Airways (ATZ)/(TFY) (four), Monarch Airlines (MON) (three) and Thomas Cook (JMA)/(GUE) (two). (BAB) begins London Heathrow - Chendgu service in September.

British Airways CityFlyer commenced operations on the 1,600 km route from London City (LCY) to Granada (GRX) in southern Spain on July 25. Five-weekly frequencies are operated using EMB-190s, but the frequencies will be reduced to four-weekly from August 26. The last scheduled airline to serve the London – Granada market was Ryanair (RYR), who operated the route daily from London Stansted until July 2010. Monarch (MON) also served the market between 2005 and 2007 with year-round flights from London Gatwick. Last year, Granada airport handled 730,000 passengers, down -16.5% from the previous year.

(BAB) has appointed Sean Doyle as General Manager & Executive VP for British Airways in the Americas, effective September 1. He will be responsible for the airline’s commercial business in the USA, Canada, Mexico, South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Doyle will oversee Sales & Marketing and will lead the airline's efforts to grow the Atlantic joint business between American Airlines (AAL), (BAB), Iberia (IBE), and Finnair (FIN).

(BAB) has been conducting initial test flights with its A380 having temporarily deployed the airplane to Manston airport. (BAB) has been operating the A380 on flights through northern French airspace (around Paris and Chateauroux) after relocating to Manston from London Heathrow on July 15. (BAB) is to build A380 experience by operating the airplane on short-haul flights between London and Frankfurt. It aims to put the type into full revenue service in September, initially on the Los Angeles route, before expanding to Hong Kong.

August 2013: The International Airlines Group (IAG) (BAB)/(IBE) has reported a second-quarter net profit of +€127 million/+$168.3 million, reversing a -€78 million loss in the year-ago period.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) (BAB)/(IBE) is on track to acquire 97.52% direct and indirect ownership of Vueling (VUZ), falling short of its 100% target. The (IAG) Group (which owns 90.51% of (VUZ) that includes a 45.85% stake held by its (IBE) subsidiary) was looking to acquire the remaining 9.49% stake for €9.25/$11.96 per share to give it full ownership.

However, the (IAG) said in a stock market announcement it had acquired only 73.9% of the outstanding shares. “This represents 7.01% of (VUZ)’s share capital. The offer acceptance level is below 90%, which is lower than the threshold that would have enabled the (IAG) Group to exercise its squeeze-out right. Following settlement of the delisting tender offer, the (IAG) Group will own 97.52% of (VUZ), which will be delisted from the Spanish stock exchanges,” the (IAG) said.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) has begun to reorganize its newly acquired Spanish carrier Vueling (VUZ) by replacing the board and naming current (CEO), Alex Cruz as Chairman. The (IAG) is rolling out its first changes at (VUZ) following (VUZ)’s delisting from the Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia stock exchanges. “The seven independent board members, including the Chairman [Josep Pique], will shortly present their resignation,” the (IAG) stated in a stock market filing.

The former board members will be replaced by a team of as yet unnamed (IAG) executives, who will be more operational and focused on the day-to-day activities of the airline. They will be headed by Cruz, who will take on Pique’s former role as Chairman. Cruz confirmed he will be Vueling (VUZ) Chairman & (CEO) following the revamp.

(IAG) said the new governance structure is “more in line” with Vueling (VUZ)’s status as an unlisted company.

JetBlue Airways (JBL) and British Airways (BAB) signed an interline agreement to include 18 daily (BAB) flights, more than >50 USA routes on the (JBL) network and more than >100 (BAB) routes beyond London including Boston - London Heathrow (LHR), New York (JFK) - London City, (JFK) - (LHR), (JFK) - Paris (ORY), Orlando - London Gatwick, Washington (IAD) - (LHR).

The International Airlines Group (IAG) (parent to British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ)) has called on its shareholders to meet September 26 to formally approve orders for 98 Airbus (EDS) and Boeing (TBC) airplanes in an extraordinary general meeting in Madrid.

In a stock market disclosure, the (IAG) said shareholders will be asked to approve the purchase of 18 787s and 18 A350s for British Airways (BAB), plus 30 A320ceos and 32 A320neos for Vueling (VUZ).

Earlier this month, IAG announced plans to acquire up to 220 A320 family airplanes, including the 30 A320ceos and 32 A320neos for (VUZ).

Iberia (IBE) has been omitted from the order plans, although the (IAG) has options for 32 A350-900s and 12 787-9s earmarked for (IBE), pending its restructuring.

(BAB)'s new A380 and 787s are equipped with the Thales (THL)-provided TopSeries In-Flight Entertainment System (IFE). (BAB), which has ordered a total of 12 A380s and 24 787s, took delivery in the United Kingdom of the first A380 in July and first two 787s in June. The second A380 is due to be delivered in September.

The Thales (THL) TopSeries System, which (BAB) agreed to buy in 2008, allows passengers to watch movies and TV, follow breaking news, play games, and listen to music, radio and podcasts. The system also includes a 3-D moving map application. Arrival and flight-connection information is also available. “Thales (THL) is looking forward to more passengers being able to experience in-flight entertainment products and services fitting of the new state-of-the-art airplanes,” said Andrew Musgrave, Thales VP In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) for the United Kingdom & Ireland.

The new airplanes will be maintained at the Thales (THL) London Heathrow maintenance hub, which already services 31 (BAB) airplanes.

(BAB) has 18 777-200s in service with Thales (THL) (IFE) equipment.

(BAB) has launched temporary A380 operations between London Heathrow and Frankfurt as it gears up for the type’s long-haul debut. The A380 will replace (BAB)’s 767s on Heathrow - Frankfurt, operating from Terminal 5C, which has eight A380 stands. The A380 landed at Frankfurt for the first time on August 2, marking the start of a limited period of short-haul flying while (BAB) trains its crews. (BAB)’s A380s are due to begin commercial long-haul operations between Heathrow and Los Angeles on September 24, followed by Heathrow - Hong Kong beginning October 22.

(BAB) Regional Commercial Manager Central & East Europe, Katja Selle said the “implementation and handling is running according to plan.
Traditionally, we use Paris, but we needed a bit more flight time for the crew to go through the training requirements and Frankfurt is a European airport which has capacity to handle the A380,” (BAB) Director Operations, Andy Lord said July 4 when (BAB) took delivery of its first A380.

(BAB) is the fifth airline to operate an A380 into Frankfurt Airport, after Lufthansa (DLH), Singapore Airlines (SIA), Korean Air (KAL) and Thai Airways (TII). (BAB) has 12 (Trent 900)-powered A380s on order for delivery by 2016.

(BAB) and Iberia (IBE) parent, (IAG) is to order up to 220 Airbus A320-family jets, initially for low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VUZ). The firm part of the order comprises 62 airplanes (including 32 A320neo) plus 58 options.

(IAG) is also taking another 100 A320neo options for (BAB), (IBE) and (VUZ). Vueling (VUZ) (CEO), Alex Cruz, through his social media feed, describes the agreement as "great, great news!"

(BAB) is preparing for its first 787 commercial long-haul flight September 1, between London Heathrow and Toronto. The flight is due to land at Toronto at 14:55 local time on Sunday afternoon, kicking off (BAB)’s 787 long-haul program. Throughout September, (BAB)’s 787s will exclusively operate London - Toronto, to be joined by New York - London from October 1.

Since (BAB)’s first 787 arrived on June 27, the type has been used for maintenance familiarization at Heathrow and flight (FC) and cabin crew (CA) training from Manston Airport in Kent, eastern England. From August 9, the 787 was deployed on short-haul services between Heathrow and Stockholm.

(BAB) has committed to a total of 42 787s on order, comprising an initial order for 24 airplanes and a commitment to firm a further 18 options subject to shareholder approval. The first 24 are due to arrive over the next four years.

September 2013: British Airways (BAB) has linked Chengdu (CTU), China with London Heathrow (LHR) by 777-200ER flights from September 22 - - SEE PHOTOS - - "BAB-2013-09 - TO CHENGDU-A/B." While there is no direct competition, the thrice-weekly 777-200ER (BAB) service (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) joins Air China (BEJ) (thrice-weekly to Frankfurt) and (KLM) (four times weekly from Amsterdam), in linking the capital of Sichuan province to Europe. (BAB) parent, (IAG)'s (CEO), Willie Walsh confirmed that the thrice weekly 777-200ER service will be upgraded to five times weekly with a 787-8 Dreamliner next summer.

Trade between the UK and China grew by +7.5% in 2012 and (IAG) estimates that bilateral trade will increase to $100 billion/£62 billion in 2015.

Chengdu is set to play a critical role in the next wave of economic development in Western China. It is hardly a surprise, therefore, that nearly half of the world’s Fortune 500 companies have opened offices in the city, and that Chengdu is aiming to become China’s fastest growing aviation hub. Last year, Chengdu Shuangliu Airport saw traffic growth of +8.7% to 31.6 million passengers. Chengdu is ranked among China’s top five cities with a population of 14 million in its administrative area. Although the city is known for its giant pandas, it also has significant industries, including electronics, automotive and aerospace parts, medicine, food and tobacco, information technology (IT), processing, metallurgy and petroleum.

(BAB) will launch flights between London Heathrow and Austin in Texas using its new 787 twinjets next year. From May 5, 2014, (BAB) will offer five weekly frequencies on the route, which is not currently served by any other airline. It joins (BAB)’s two existing Texas links: Houston and Dallas.

This will be Austin's only non-stop option for flying to Europe, and consequently, a lot of people in Austin are really excited about it. For (BAB), it's a case of flying from its hub to a "tech" center in another country. However, there is one key difference: (BAB) has a 189-seat airplane today that could fly this route, the 767-300. But the 787 is bigger, with 214 seats and that makes the per-seat cost for (BAB) much less than the 767, which is why (BAB) can now justify this route.

“The addition of the A380s and 787 Dreamliners to our fleet enables us to start new routes and increase services to a number of our destinations,” (BAB) Director of Strategy, Lynne Embleton said.

British Airways’ summer 2014 program, which kicks off March 30, will also see frequency and capacity increases on services from Heathrow to Accra in Ghana, Entebbe in Uganda, Seattle, Seoul in South Korea, and Tel Aviv in Israel.

(BAB) began London Heathrow - Toronto 787 service on September 1.

From Gatwick, (BAB) is increasing frequencies and capacity to Antigua, Kingston, Orlando, Punta Cana and St Lucia using a 777, which has joined the Gatwick fleet.

UK air traffic services provider (NATS) has completed a 10-year, £164 million/$262 million program to upgrade or replace the 23 main radar stations that make up the UK’s radar network. (NATS) Project Manager, Kevin Harris explained: “It was certainly no ordinary program, with major engineering and logistical challenges. The UK has some of the busiest and most complex airspace in the world, so it was vital to deliver the radars back into service without any major operational impact.” Harris described the challenge as being like re-surfacing the M1 (one of the UK’s main arterial motorways) “during rush hour without closing any lanes or affecting the traffic.”

The upgraded radars are expected to have around a 15-year lifespan, so the next replacement program could begin as soon as 2018. “Whether we’ll be working with the same types of technologies is a question we are currently addressing,” Harris said.

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh has warned the managers of London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to “step aside and let someone else run the airport” if they are unable to “introduce customer improvements in a cost-effective way.” In a statement ahead of the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) October 3 publication of final proposals relating to airport charges for the period 2014 to 2019, (IAG) subsidiary, British Airways (BA) said: “The owner of (LHR) is gearing up to hit passengers with a double whammy of price increases coupled with a cut in spending on facilities.”

(BAB) said the (CAA)’s initial proposal of the Retail Price Index (RPI) –1.3% meant that charges at (LHR) were set to increase by +£600 million/+$961 million over the five-year period. (BAB) said this would perpetuate (LHR)’s position “as the most expensive hub airport in the world” and would “continue the upward trajectory of charges levied by the airport.”

(BAB) acknowledged that, in the last regulatory period (from 2008), (LHR) invested £4.5 billion in new facilities at the airport, including the delivery of Terminal 5 and construction of Terminal 2. However, (BAB) pointed out: “By its own admission, in the next five years (LHR) plans to cut spending at the airport by -£1.5 billion even as the charges increase. Indeed, the airport owner has publicly stated that if it does not get a settlement of RPI+2%, it will cut spending by a further £1 billion. This means that among other measures, it will only undertake ‘reactive maintenance,’ whereby facilities will be fixed only if faulty rather than maintained to standard or improved.”

He went on: “(LHR) has been protected from the harsh realities of the market place due to past over-generous regulated charges. The (CAA) has the responsibility to deliver a (LHR) that is efficiently run, fairly rewarded, and priced comparably with other hub airports.”

London Heathrow (LHR) is submitting evidence to the UK Airports Commission challenging Gatwick’s claims that it is able to support long-haul flights to growth markets. This follows the recent news that Air China (BEJ) is suspending its Gatwick - Beijing flights, Korean Air (KAL) has withdrawn its services and the Garuda Indonesia (GIA) proposal of a Gatwick - Jakarta route has been cancelled.

In total, Heathrow argues that 20 long-haul airlines have withdrawn from Gatwick in the last five years - - SEE ATTACHED - - "BAB-2013-10 - GATWICK LOST FLIGHTS."

However, (LHR) says that it is not opposed to growth at Gatwick: – as long as that growth coincides with building an expanded hub airport. The statement argues that demand for long-haul from London exists, but that the lack of transfer passengers at Gatwick fails to fill flights, in comparison to European hubs at Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. It adds: “Some of Gatwick’s flights to Vietnam, one of the last long-haul services to an emerging market from the airport, are now flying via Frankfurt to pick up more passengers to make the flight viable.” The statement concludes: “Analysis by York Aviation shows that adding capacity at other London airports but not at a hub would mean fewer routes than today, while adding new runway capacity at a single hub would mean London and the UK could add more than >100 new routes.

“Airlines say they won’t move to Gatwick or Stansted. Despite Gatwick and Stansted having spare capacity and lower charges, neither has been able to attract the long-haul flights that (LHR) does.

“Over the period in which Gatwick lost 20 long-haul airlines, it gained just six that are still operating, mostly to leisure destinations: – Thomson (ATF)/(GUE), Monarch (MON), Caribbean (TTA), Gambia Bird (GMQ), Vietnam (VIE), and Iraqi (IRQ).”

A (BAB) A380 operated its first commercial long-haul service, debuting on the London Heathrow - Los Angeles route. After performing a series of short-haul training flights, the 469-seat A380 departed Heathrow’s Terminal 5, operating as BA269 to Los Angeles, at 16:15 local time. “It will be the first and only A380 to operate between London and Los Angeles,” (BAB) said.

(BAB) is planning to deploy its A380s on London Heathrow (LHR) services to Hong Kong from October 22 and Johannesburg from February 12, 2014. Twelve A380s are due to join its fleet over the next four years.

October 2013: British Airways (BAB) introduced direct weekly flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Gran Canaria (LPA), utilizing its 162-seat A320s. The new winter sun route will be served weekly (Saturdays) on the 2,898 km sector until March 29th 2014. While there is no direct competition linking Heathrow to the third-largest of the Canary Islands, easyJet (EZY) flies five times weekly, as well as Norwegian (NWG) also offering a four times weekly service, both from London Gatwick; Ryanair (RYR) operates flights to Gran Canaria from London Luton (twice-weekly) and London Stansted (six); Thomas Cook (JMA)/(GUE) flies from London Stansted (one) and London Gatwick (two); while Thomson Airways (ATZ)/(TFY) operates from the same London airports with weekly and four times weekly services, respectively.

The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), said an emergency rescue package for Alitalia (ALI) includes “manifestly illegal [state] aid” from the Italian government and called on the European Commission (EC) to oppose it.

(ALI)’s board of directors recently approved a €500 million/$677.5 million emergency rescue plan that will include a €300 million capital increase; €75 million of that capital increase will come from state-owned postal service, Poste Italiane. (ALI)’s shareholders, including AirFrance (AFA) - (KLM) (which holds 25% of the Italian carrier), were expected to vote to approve the rescue plan.

Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta told "The New York Times" that Poste Italiane guaranteeing €75 million to help save (ALI) “is not protectionism.” Instead, he said, the additional capital will buttress (ALI) as it goes into negotiations with potential international investors, including (AFA) - (KLM). The Italian government reportedly would like (AFA) - (KLM) to increase its shareholding in (ALI).

The (EC) said it had not yet been formally notified of the (ALI) rescue plan, and would make a judgment on the package’s legality once it knew the details.

(IAG) Cargo is boosting its flights from Heathrow to Hyderabad to daily. From October 27, flights will operate daily, up from the previous six times a week. The route will also be serviced by a 777-200, which has increased cargo capacity of six pallets, up from the current four. The extra flight is a response to demand from India’s pharmaceutical industry, (IAG) said.

“This is the first step in providing consistent year-round coverage for this key market and offering our customers the level of connectivity they require, helping to fuel India’s pharma boom,” said John Cheetham, Regional Commercial Manager Asia Pacific & India at (IAG) Cargo. “This announcement is excellent news for businesses in Hyderabad, offering customers more cargo space and schedule flexibility than ever before. Businesses in Hyderabad are always looking for ways to connect their production facilities with markets across the globe,” Cheetham added.

Los Angeles International (LAX) airport will have seven airlines flying the Airbus A380 on international flights from December, a fact that it credits to its new international terminal. AirFrance (AFA), British Airways (BAB), China Southern Airlines (GUN), Korean Air (KAL), Qantas Airways (QAN) and Singapore Airlines (SIA) operate at least seven daily flights on the super jumbo to the airport, with Emirates (EAD) planning to upgrade its existing service to an A380 from December 2.

Operator, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) says that this service is “absolutely” attributable to the new Tom Bradley International terminal. Phase one of the expanded and rehabilitated terminal opened on September 18. The new terminal has nine gates designed for group six airplanes, which includes the A380 as well as the Boeing 747-8 and the largest Boeing 777s. A380 flights previously had to board and deplane remotely.

(LAX) also boasts the most A380 flights of any USA airport, with New York’s John F Kennedy International the next busiest, with flights on only four carriers.

(BAB) will begin 5X-weekly, London Heathrow - Austin 787 service in March, increasing to daily, later in the year. Also next summer, (BAB) increases service from London Gatwick to Orlando (from 10X- to 13X-weekly), St Lucia (from 6X-weekly to daily), Punta Cana (from 2X- to 3X-weekly), Antigua (from 5X- to 6X-weekly) and Kingston (from 3X- to 4X-weekly).

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is proposing to curtail any above-inflation charges increases at London Heathrow (LHR) Airport over the next five years, by capping prices in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI). In its initial proposals, the (CAA) had suggested prices should be capped at (RPI) minus -1.3% 2014 to 2018. (LHR) had originally called for +4.6% annual real-terms increase for the period, while airlines had asked for a -9.8% per year cut. The (CAA) said it had improved its final proposal for (LHR) because of increased cost of capital driven by higher debt costs, but this would be “offset to some degree by more challenging targets for operating efficiency.”

(LHR), however, said price regulation could have “serious and far-reaching consequences” for passengers and airlines. It argued the (CAA) has fundamentally underestimated the cost of raising capital to invest in new facilities.

(LHR) (CEO), Colin Matthews said: “This proposal is the toughest (LHR) has ever faced. The (CAA)’s proposed cost of capital of 5.6% is below the level at which (LHR)’s shareholders have said they are willing to invest.”

He said the rate of return on capital investment as set by the (CAA) had declined from 7.75% in the fourth quarter of 2003 - 2008 to 6.2% in the fifth quarter of 2008 - 2014. The (CAA)’s current proposal of 5.6%, he argued, provids no incentive for shareholders to fund improved facilities.

(LHR) said: “Since 2008, (LHR) has made a pre-tax loss every year and shareholders have not received the return on their investment allowed for by the regulator. This is unsustainable.”

Matthews said (LHR) would “now carefully consider our investment plans before responding fully to the (CAA).”

The UK Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) denounced the price regulation decision as “bad news for the UK’s international competitiveness” and said it had “angered the airline community.”

(BAR) UK (CEO), Dale Keller said: “The (CAA)’s new primary duty to consumers has failed its test flight by instead rewarding operating inefficiencies and excessive shareholder returns at the monopoly that is (LHR). Following increases exceeding >300% over the past 11 years, the latest settlement allowing further (RPI) increases, escalates costs to consumers and weakens the international competitiveness of the UK’s only hub airport.”

(LHR) has acknowledged the (CAA) had a duty “to set a price cap level which both protects the interests of passengers and ensures the required investment can be financed.” Nevertheless, prices at (LHR) have risen faster than inflation for more than a decade.

(CAA) Chair, Deirdre Hutton said: “Tackling the upward drift in (LHR)’s prices is essential to safeguard its globally competitive position. The challenge for (LHR) is to maintain high levels of customer service while reducing costs. We are confident this is possible and that our proposals create a positive climate for further capital investment.”

The (CAA) has published final proposals for charges regulation at London Gatwick (LGW) Airport that would limit price increases to +0.5% above inflation, as measured by the Retail Prices Index (RPI), for each of the next seven years.

(CAA) Chair, Deirdre Hutton said: “(LGW) has tabled a revised price offer to airlines that we consider fair, and its new commitments framework offers a chance for a more commercially driven and tailored approach. To protect the diverse interests of passengers, we propose a license based on the commitments.”

(LGW) said it cautiously welcomed the (CAA) proposal, calling it “a step in the right direction to creating a more competitive operating environment for the airport and its airline partners.”

It said the proposed price level cap of (RPI) +0.5% over seven years equated to an increase in core airport charges from £8.80/$14.25 per passenger by April 2014 to £9.11 in 2020/2021. It pointed out, however, that its commitments framework would still enable it to negotiate individual airline contracts at lower prices.

The (CAA) announced last month it was launching a market power assessment for Stansted, following the conclusion of long-term commercial agreements between new owner, the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) and its two principal customers, easyJet (EZY) and Ryanair (RYR). As a result, the (CAA) will defer making a final decision on whether Stansted should be regulated, until the assessment has been completed.

The (CAA)’s final proposals for all three London airports ((LHR), (LGW) and Stansted) will take effect if it makes a final decision in January that the airports have substantial market power requiring regulation. The (CAA) is required to assess the level of market dominance at airports it proposes to regulate, explaining clearly why economic regulation will achieve better outcomes for consumers than the market. Final proposals have been published for consultation, which runs until November 4.

(LHR)'s Spanish owner, Ferrovial is reducing its stake in the airport group (which owns Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports) but remains the group’s main investor. Ferrovial agreed to sell 8.65% of (FGP) Topco Ltd, the holding company which owns Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH), to British pension fund Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) for £392 million/$634 million. This reduces its indirect holding in (HAH) from 33.65% to 25%. The transaction is expected to be completed October 24.

Ferrovial (CEO), Íñigo Meirás said: “This sale of a stake in (HAH) is a further part of Ferrovial’s investment diversification strategy. Following this deal, we reiterate our role in (HAH) as the main shareholder and industrial partner in the long term.” He said the addition of a British pension fund to the international group of investors who own (HAH) would reinforce the geographical diversity of the group. “(HAH) now has investors based in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia, including sovereign wealth funds from Qatar, China, and Singapore,” he said. “Having long-term investors of the quality of the (USS) will only strengthen (LHR).”

The (USS), which is one of the UK’s largest pension schemes, was set up in 1975 as the principal defined benefit pension scheme for universities and other higher education institutions in the UK. It has total fund assets of approximately £40 billion. The transaction was arranged by (USS) subsidiary and principal investment manager and advisor (USS) Investment Management Limited, which will manage the investment on (USS)’s behalf.

On completion of the (USS) purchase, (HAH) will be owned by (FGP) Topco (25%), Qatar Holdings (20%), Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (13.29%) the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (11.88%), Alinda Capital Partners (11.18%), China Investment Corporation (10%), and the (USS) (8.65%).

Solena Fuels hopes to enter negotiations with Qantas (QAN) after completing a joint study showing the feasibility of building a waste-to-biofuel facility in Sydney. Solena already has a long-term offtake and investment agreement with (BAB) to build its first waste-to-biofuel plant, planned to be operational by 2016 in Tilbury, east of London. The company is also close to completing negotiations with Lufthansa (DLH) to build a waste-to-biofuel facility in Berlin, (CEO) Robert Do said.

(BAB) has begun a month-long trial of personalized digital bag tags being developed by the airline. Employees from Microsoft traveling through London Heathrow’s Terminal 5, which is used by (BAB), have been chosen to take part in the trial using Nokia Lumia Windows Phones equipped with a specially adapted version of the (BAB) app to provide feedback that will help shape the final product. They will check in, choose seats and download mobile boarding passes. The app automatically updates the tag with a unique barcode that contains new flight details and an easy-to-see view of each bag’s destination: – just by holding the mobile phone over it.

The digital tag contains a customer’s baggage details and could eventually do away with the need for a new paper tag for every flight. Testing has already taken place to ensure the system can work in a live airport environment and withstand the rigors of airport baggage systems and everyday travel. The digital bag tag has been designed to be used time and time again, with a battery life of up to five years, and will ultimately be compatible with all smartphones.

(BAB)’s Head of Service Transformation, Glenn Morgan said, “the customer trials take us another step closer to making the personalized digital bag tag a reality for our customers."
Development of the personalized tag is part of a wider (BAB) strategy to improve the airport experience. Trials have also taken place on self-service bag drops, automated boarding gates, porter services, auto check-in, and meet and greet hosts.

The personalized digital bag tags have been specially developed by (BAB), in partnership with Densitron Displays, and Designworks Windsor.

777-336ER (38431, G-STBH), 2 A320-232s (2653, G-MEDL; 5784, G-EUYP), A380-841 (124, G-XLEC), deliveries.

November 2013: The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), reported profit before tax of +€103 million/+$138.8 million for the nine months to September 30, reversing a loss before tax of -€121 million for the year-ago period.

British Airways (BAB) flies 3x-daily, Düsseldorf - London City Airport.

Though British Airways (BAB) already flies extensively to the USA, serving more than >20 destinations in the continental USA with 5x-weekly London Heathrow - Austin 787 service set to start in March 2014, (BAB) is eyeing further USA expansion.

(BAB) will offer daily, London (LGW) - Malta service from March 30, 2014, with 737s and A319/A320s.

British Airways (BAB) (CEO), Keith Williams and his Iberia (IBE) counterpart, Luis Gallego are to step down from the (IAG) board in January, and add Chairman duties to their respective roles at the subsidiary airlines.

Both will continue to report to (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh.

The current non-Executive Chairmen of Iberia (IBE) and (BAB) (Antonio Vázquez and Martin Broughton, respectively) will, having resigned these positions, focus on their (IAG) board functions. Vázquez chairs (IAG). Broughton is his deputy and a senior independent director.

Following the reshuffle, (IAG)'s board will have 12 members.

"The Heathrow Hub" consortium is promoting what it describes as “the plan for a quieter [London] Heathrow [Airport] (LHR) expansion that isn’t being heard.” Heathrow Hub is a an independent proposal devised by former Concorde Captain William Lowe and former Arup Director, Mark Bostock to double capacity at (LHR) by extending the existing two runways to the West and splitting each one centrally to create four runways.

The entire project could be implemented for an estimated £12.5 billion/$19.9 billion and would be privately funded, according to the proposal. It brings no new households into the airport’s noise footprint and would actually reduce noise, Heathrow Hub said. The proposal also incorporates new rail connections that would provide easier access from regional towns and cities: — not just London.

Lowe said: “Expansion at (LHR) is vital for the economy and we believe this independent, innovative proposal is the most cost effective and practical solution to the issue of Britain’s aviation hub capacity. It also has the merit of being quieter by not building the ‘third runway’ and adopting noise reduction measures.”

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) has unveiled plans to rank airlines based on their noise performance and publish the league table each quarter. Under the “Fly Quiet Program,” (LHR)’s 50 biggest operators by movements will be ranked based on their performance across six noise-related metrics. “(LHR) has some of the world’s toughest rules and regulations on noise. As a result, airlines use their quietest airplanes around +15% more on (LHR) routes. The aim of the program is to ensure this trend continues by encouraging airlines to use the quietest airplanes available and to fly them in the quietest possible way,” (LHR) said.

(LHR) said the ranking covers more than >90% of its flights, adding that it will work with the worst performers to improve its rating.
British Airways (BAB) short-haul, took top position as the quietest airline in the first "Fly Quiet" ranking, with (LOT) Polish Airlines coming in bottom at number 50.

The Thames Estuary Research and Development Company (TESTRAD) has unveiled plans for a London Britannia Airport (a six runway, 24-hour airport complex proposed for development in the Thames Estuary). Designed by Gensler, the (TESTRAD) said the airport would take just seven years to construct, once approvals have been granted and would cost £47 billion/$75.2 billion - - SEE ATTACHED - - "BAB-2013-11 - LONDON BRITANNIA AIRPORT."

(BAB)’s regional subsidiary (BA) CityFlyer has placed a firm order for an additional Embraer EMB-190 jet, a follow-on to a 2008 order placed for six EMB-170s, five EMB-190s and three EMB-190 options.

The EMB-190 will be operated from CityFlyer's base at London City Airport, according to Embraer (EMB). "Given its mid-range capabilities, it ably supports our plans to fly new routes and increase frequencies on existing ones,” said Adam Carson, Managing Director of BA CityFlyer. “Delivering terrific performance, and with an excellent climb rate and superior environmental qualities, the EMB-190 is proving ideal for our London City operations.”

December 2013: British Airways (BAB) plans to deploy its Airbus A380s on its London Heathrow - Washington Dulles service from next year, while its Boeing 787s will be rolled out on Calgary, Chengdu, Hyderabad, and Philadelphia routes.

(BAB) has taken delivery of three Airbus A380s, which currently serve Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Johannesburg will join (BAB)’s A380 network in February 2014, followed by Washington Dulles from September 1 next year.

(BAB)’s 787 fleet now stands at four airplanes. These will debut on Hyderabad from March 30, Chengdu from May 5, Philadelphia from June 5, and Calgary from July 5. This will take both Chengdu and Hyderabad to an all-787 service. (BAB) began 787 long-haul operations this fall on services from Heathrow to Toronto and New York Newark. “We’re receiving great customer feedback on our new airplanes, so we’re delighted to be able to roll them out across more of our network and hope our customers enjoy them on these important Indian, Chinese, and American routes. More destinations will follow as we will receive 12 A380s and 24 787s over the next three years,” (BAB) Head UK & Ireland Sales, Richard Tams said.

Next summer, British Airways will also step up frequencies on its Cape Town, Chengdu, Haneda and Mexico City routes. Cape Town will switch from daily to 10x-weekly. Chengdu, which launched in September, will go from 3x- to 5x-weekly from May 5. Tokyo Haneda will be re-timed and moved from 5x-weekly to daily from May 6 and an extra frequency will be added on the Mexico City route, taking it to 6x-weekly from April 27.

London’s Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick (LGW) airports have been identified as possible sites for new runways to boost airport capacity around London. In its December 17 interim report, the Airports Commission put on ice, options for an new-build airport in the Thames Estuary, because of high cost—beginning at £112 billion/($183 billion (and because they presented “many challenges and uncertainties”).

Despite describing (LHR) as full in 2010 and (LGW) due to be at full capacity by 2020, the Commission pointed out a new runway would need to come into operation by 2030. At (LHR), commission officials have identified two options (the construction of a new 3,500 meter runway to the northwest of the airport, an idea mooted by Heathrow’s owners in July) and an independent option, produced by the (LHR) Hub group, extending the airport’s northern runway, lengthening it to at least 6,000 m and enabling it to be operated as two separate runways for departures and arrivals.

At (LGW), the commission said its analysis will study options for a second runway at a location south of the current runway, which would allow for independent operation: one as an arrival runway and the other for departures.

(LHR) owners said during the summer that either of the third runway options it presented could deliver new capacity by 2025 - 2029 and for around £17 billion, less than quarter of the expected price tag of a new airport.

The commission also forecasts the requirement for a second additional runway in the South East of England by 2050.

While many of the Estuary airport options (promoted by London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson) weren’t shortlisted, commission officials have said they will study the most viable, a new build airport on the Isle of Grain. But the report pointed out that any of these airport ideas would require “substantial” surface access infrastructure, with “potential cost, deliverability and environmental challenges of its own.”

“The overall balance of economic impacts would be uncertain (particularly as an Estuary airport would require the closure of (LHR) for commercial reasons and London City for airspace reasons),” the report added.

Plans for a second runway at Stansted were also not shortlisted; however, the commission said the airport is a “plausible option” for any second additional runway during the 2040s. The commission will now firm up studies and development work ready for the final report to be delivered in 2015 after the next general election.

The commission is also pushing for a series of short-term solutions to capacity including the optimization of UK airspace, making use of enhanced en-route traffic management systems, and performance-based navigation. It also called for the undertaking of trials at (LHR) to smooth the early morning arrival schedules to minimize delays and provide more predictable respite from noise and pollution for local communities. The report also urged improvements in surface access to airports, including improvements to rail links, but while officials say such measures are “worthwhile on their own terms, none of them can provide a long-term solution to the UK’s airport capacity problem.”

British Airways (BA) says it is the first carrier in Europe to allow passengers to use their personal electronic devices (PED) throughout all flight phases. Effective December 19, (BAB) passengers can use their handheld electronic devices during taxi, take-off and landing, as long as they are set to “flight mode.” (BAB) said it secured clearance for the policy change from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) after demonstrating it complies with all existing safety rules.

INCDT: The British Airways (BAB) flight to London was taxiing at O R Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, when its right wing hit a building, injuring four people inside. Images showed the wing of the Boeing 747 wedged in the structure. South Africa’s Civil Aviation Authority said the 747 had travelled down a taxi-way that was too narrow for it. The incident involving the Boeing 747-400 happened late Sunday, December 22nd.


January 2014: SEE ATTACHED - - "BAB-2014-01-TOP 2013 WORLD AIRLINES-A/B."

The International Airlines Group (IAG) saw traffic measured in (RPK)s increase by +10.6% last month when compared to December 2012. Group capacity measured in (ASK)s rose by +9.1% over the same period.

All important group premium traffic for the month of December increased by +7.3% compared to the previous year, with a greater increase in load factor than that experienced in the non-premium cabin.

British Airways (BAB) begins daily, London Gatwick - Malta A319/A320/ 737 service on March 30.

The (IAG) group controls both British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE).

On December 2, Iberia (IBE) announced that it has completed the reorganisation of its management team as part of its restructuring plan. The total number of management positions has been reduced by -48% from 399 to 208.

In addition, (IBE) announced the reduction of the minimum connecting time between its flights at Terminal 4 in Madrid-Barajas airport enabling an additional +1,200 flight connections to be made each week.

On December 10, (BAB) announced that it is extending the number of routes operated by its new A380 and 787 fleets. The A380 will start services to Washington DC from September 2014, having already announced it will operate to Johannesburg in February 2014. The A380 is already flying to Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

The 787s will be operated on flights to Hyderabad from March, Chengdu from May, Philadelphia from June, and Calgary from July 2014.

(BAB) cancelled around 200 flights on December 7, due to a technical failure at UK (NATS).

London’s Heathrow airport (LHR) warned it could struggle to grow its business after accusing the industry regulator of imposing a “draconian” cap on the prices Britain’s biggest airport can charge airlines.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it would insist that (LHR) set its prices at -1.5% below inflation from April 2014 after finding that the airport (Europe’s busiest) had too much market power.

(LHR) said it might appeal the cap, which was much lower than expected for the next five years, but airlines said the move did not go far enough as the hub still had some of the most expensive charges in the world. The cap is well below an interim suggestion made by the regulator for prices in line with inflation. It is also well below (LHR)’s original request for a rise in tariffs of +4.6% above inflation, as measured by the retail prices index (RPI). The previous five-year tariff was (RPI) plus +7.5%.

“We want to continue to improve (LHR) for passengers,” (CEO) Colin Matthews said. “We will review our investment plan to see whether it is still financeable in light of the (CAA)’s settlement.”

The airport, to the west of London which has expanded in recent years with Terminal 5 and the redevelopment of Terminal 2, said the new price limit would result in a fall in the cost charged per passenger from 20.71 pounds in 2013/14 to 19.10 pounds in 2018/19 in real terms.

It said this would result in a rate of return on capital investment of an “unsustainable” level of 5.35% compared with the 6.7% it was seeking.

The (CAA) said it was confident its proposals would still allow (LHR) to invest sufficiently while reducing prices for consumers. It said it had toughened the regulation after seeing passenger traffic forecasts strengthen and the cost of capital revised at the airport.

But (LHR) questioned the (CAA)’s forecasts for the next five years in terms of passengers and costs, and said it would have to cut operational expenditure by more than >600 million pounds and increase commercial revenue targets by more than >100 million pounds by increasing retail and car park charges.

(LHR) whose owners include Spain’s Ferrovial (FER.MC) and the sovereign wealth funds of Qatar, China and Singapore, is the third busiest airport in the world, with almost 200,000 passengers arriving and departing each day.

Analysts at Mirabaud said the news was very bad for Ferrovial. But they noted that it could be balanced by the increasing chance that (LHR) will be allowed to expand from two runways to three by 2030 as part of a government review to address a capacity crunch that could slow economic growth.

The regulator had been reviewing the market power of the big airports (and whether this needed to be curbed by price caps) following complaints from the airlines.

British Airways (BAB), the dominant airline at (LHR), said the price curbs were a step in the right direction to address the excessive charges, while Virgin Atlantic (VAA) noted that prices at the airport were triple the level they were 10 years ago. (VAA) is the second largest airline at (LHR). “Coupled with ever increasing Air Passenger Duty (APD), customers flying to and from the UK are facing some of the highest travelling charges in the world,” said Craig Kreeger, (VAA) (CEO).

For rival airports Gatwick and Stansted, the (CAA) said it would accept and monitor Gatwick’s proposal to agree fair terms with individual airlines and not regulate Stansted at all.

Ryanair (RYR), Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, condemned the (CAA) decision not to regulate Stansted, one (RYR)’s biggest bases. “Today’s decision is an example of the (CAA)’s regulatory failure which will again harm consumers as Stansted will be able to further increase airport charges whenever it wishes, without any reference to competitive price levels,” (RYR)’s Director Legal & Regulatory Affairs, Juliusz Komorek said.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) Cargo will end its arrangement with Global Supply Systems (GSS), which operated three Boeing 747-8F freighters on its behalf. The move comes after British Airways (BAB), which formed (IAG) Cargo with Iberia (IBE)’s freight division, decided to pull out of the dedicated freighter airplane market.

Alas Air Worldwide Holdings (TLS) said British Airways (BAB) had terminated the lease agreement ahead of schedule. (TLS) shares fell as much as -19% in early trading on January 17th. (TLS) said the lease for three 747-8F airplanes operated by (TLS)'s UK subsidiary, Global Supply Systems (GSS) was terminated, following British Airways (BAB)'s decision to exit dedicated cargo-freighter service.

(GSS) was operating the three 747-8F airplanes for (BAB) and the lease agreement was originally scheduled to end in April 2014.

Atlas Air (TLS) said it would receive early termination fees from British Airways (BAB). (GSS) will redeliver the 747-8Fs to Atlas Air (TLS).

(IAG) Cargo will retain a dedicated cargo service, a 5x-weekly, London - Hong Kong route, which will be operated by Qatar Airways (QTA) Boeing 777Fs. Both British Airways (BAB) and (QTA) are members of the Oneworld (ONW) alliance. “This new partnership is an important step forward for us and enhances our relationship with (QTA),” (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said. “It allows us to continue delivering significant capacity for our customers through the important gateway of Hong Kong. With the ongoing arrival of our next generation airplanes, (IAG) Cargo’s customers will now benefit from increased belly-hold capacity as well as the deployment of freighter services on capacity constrained routes.”

British Airways (BAB, headquartered in London with its main hub at Heathrow Airport (LHR), is one of the world’s largest international airlines. It is the (LHR) airport’s major operator, controlling approximately 50% of flights to and from the airport, and is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations. (BAB) operates more than >300,000 flights per year and in 2011/12 carried more than >34 million passengers to nearly 150 destinations.

Like many airlines around the world, (BAB) operates on tight margins. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) (the aviation industry’s lobby group) predicted a member profitability margin of less than <1% as a result of high oil prices and a poor global economic climate. Air transport operations were also hard-hit by events on "9/11." The industry as a whole has had to reshape to cope with the after effects. Investment in new fleets and technology has been the key to recovery, along with careful capacity management, efficient process adoption and consolidation. Inefficient airline operations can mean that airlines incur fines. It is therefore vital for (BAB) to have efficient and streamlined communications to support swift airplane turnaround operations.

Ground-to-air communications (SEE ATTACHED - - "BAB-2014-01 - RADIO SYSTEMS) are a critical element of airline operations, providing the ability to communicate between the airline’s flight deck and the operational control center for a range of up to 200 nautical miles. For outbound and inbound flights, information relating to the airplane and its passengers can be relayed, ensuring that the necessary preparations for passenger assistance or airplane maintenance can be implemented prior to the airplane landing. Ground-to-air communications are used by (BAB) to facilitate efficient airplane turnaround, helping to avoid the financial penalties associated with schedule delays.

The ground-to-air radio system in use by (BAB) consists of multiple radio base stations connected to a series of remote terminals distributed throughout (LHR) airport. In its original form, the (BAB) ground-to-air radio system was connected to a legacy switch in the operations facility at its former main office, the Compass Center, via a series of leased lines. Further leased lines were in use between the audio switch and the desk remote control units, where (BAB) users would receive, process and respond to the information. The distributed nature of (BAB)'s leased line infrastructure was a result of having airline operations across the entire (LHR) campus.

There were several driving factors for (BAB) to commence this project. Firstly, (BAB) needed to relocate operations from its facility in the Compass Center to its Waterside headquarters and the new Terminal 5. Secondly, (BAB) needed to reduce the total cost of ownership of voice, video and data services in use. Finally, (BAB) wanted a way to manage communication services with ease.

The audio switch in use at the Compass Center presented a number of challenges to (BAB) as part of the move into Waterside and Terminal 5. It was based on proprietary protocol, hardware-based, hard-wired and nearing full capacity. (BAB) therefore needed to decide to either retain and move its legacy audio switch system or replace it.

With ground-to-air communications being critical to airline operations, moving the audio switch in a ‘lift-and-shift’ manner was not feasible. The age and relative fragility of the audio switch was a concern, calling into question the longevity of the aged equipment. In addition, a move of the audio switch would mean a total loss of communications, while the system was physically moved from the Compass Center into the new locations.

To ensure continuity of service during the move, the audio switch and the infrastructure on which it operates would need to be replicated and fully functional in the new locations before the existing implementation in the Compass Center could be switched off. A full replication of the audio switch and leased line connectivity would be both time consuming and expensive for (BAB).

A further consideration was the user capacity on the audio switch. Operating at nearly full capacity, there was little scope to economically provide for additional user desk positions. The reliance on fixed position hardware meant that the flexibility for ongoing moves and changes was limited. In addition, the audio switch utilized bespoke signaling, which meant that the additional application integration would be complex and costly for (BAB).

In support of its technology strategy to embrace (IP), (BAB) had already deployed a (CCCM) (IP) telephony solution operating on a converged (IP) network. With (IP) convergence enabling voice and data packets to be transported on a single network infrastructure, (BAB) was now in a position to also transfer its ground-to-air communications onto its (IP) network.

“Our network convergence project was primarily focused on streamlining the management and provisioning of telephony services throughout the company,” said Lee Weatherley, Voice & Video Solutions Manager at (BAB). “We are now exploring ways to exploit the new network to support other forms of communication (for example, we also operate paging, TV, video conferencing and (CCTV) over our (IP) network.”

To replace its audio switch and leased line connectivity, (BAB) selected an on-premise, fully managed and maintained solution from Twisted Pair’s international partner, Affini. The solution features Twisted Pair’s (WAVE), a Radio over (IP) (RoIP) software platform, operating on (BAB)’s existing converged (IP) network. Comprised of a number of elements, the (WAVE) solution deployed included clients on standard desktop (PC)s, and bespoke server infrastructure.

Twisted Pair’s (WAVE) was recommended for and deployed to (BAB) because it provides secure, real-time communications from any (IP) enabled position on the network and from a number of industry standard smartphone devices. This capability means that all (BAB) end users, whether mobile or in the office, can effectively communicate and collaborate through voice, text and data. Using (WAVE), (BAB) now has the opportunity to operate a mixed estate of devices without impairing functionality.

Deployed to >75 operational positions serving in excess of 1,000 users, the (WAVE) Desktop Communicator application allows (BAB)’s operators to communicate to smartphones, radios and carrier push-to-talk (PTT) networks from any (WAVE)-enabled (PC), across a secure network infrastructure. This capability not only removes the need to deploy radio handsets to desktop workers who don’t need them, but also allows users to participate in communications between multiple radio channels. In addition, the Desktop Communicator provides activity displays, audio recording and instant replay to give users a complete communications history.

As a communications platform, (WAVE) is unrivalled. One of the key benefits to (BAB) is the capability to cost effectively globalize radio communications. Using (WAVE), (BAB) now has the ability to replicate its UK control center anywhere in the world. Furthermore, (BAB)’s ground-to-air communications now benefit from the inherent resilience of its fully redundant (IP) network infrastructure.

Delivered as a fully managed service, the chosen solution is “light-touch” for (BAB) (minimizing risk and uncertainty while optimizing efficiency and performance). (WAVE) is a future-proof (IP) communications solution, using Radio over (IP) technology to extend ground-to-air communications to a range of smartphones and tablets. Its flexible architecture supports additions, moves and changes for future business expansion.

“(WAVE) is a tremendously powerful unified communications platform with a suite of applications that makes it possible for teams of people, whether mobile or in their offices, to effectively communicate and collaborate,” Weatherley said.

The implementation of (WAVE) has delivered a number of benefits to (BAB). (WAVE) operates on a single (IP) network infrastructure, making it accessible from any location and from a range of devices. This provides (BAB) with a flexible and scalable ground-to-air communications capability that can be extended to any location in the world. By supporting communications to a wider community of interest, (WAVE) also helps optimize airplane operations and leverage investments in existing assets around the airport.

(WAVE) was also specifically deployed to ensure a seamless transition from legacy infrastructure. Its ease of deployment reduces the risk of downtime often associated with major infrastructure upgrades, and offered minimal disruption to (BAB) users. This elimination of downtime and lack of significant hardware upgrades allowed (BAB) to save on costs.

With radio communications distributed over an (IP) network to application-enabled wired and wireless devices, (BAB) Operations personnel have the flexibility to adapt to an ever-changing airport environment. The solution can be scaled to allow future expansion with ease, giving (BAB) the option to explore new or additional applications to support future interoperability.

“By putting our ground-to-air communications directly on our (IP) network, we could dispense with expensive remote terminals and leased lines, gaining the flexibility to adapt to every changing airport environment using any readily available network ports,” Weatherley said.

“We’re now looking at extending its capabilities further to include smartphones and tablets, running on carrier data networks, ensuring seamless communications in any location. In addition, we’re looking at the potential to integrate (WAVE) into a new enterprise collaboration platform and expand the use of (WAVE) into the worldwide Flight Operations Control Center and (LHR) Airport Control Center.”

February 2014: The International Airlines Group (IAG) swung to a +€147 million/+$201 million net profit in 2013, compared to a -€696 million net loss in 2012, boosted in part by Iberia (IBE)’s ongoing restructuring.

British Airways (BAB) posted a full-year operating profit of +€762 million, while (IBE) stemmed its operating loss at -€166 million. Meanwhile, newly acquired Vueling (VUZ) delivered an operating profit of +€168 million from the date of its acquisition by (IAG) in April 2013. (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh described the performance as a “strong financial recovery and return to profitability.”

Over the 12 months ended December 31, 2013, (IAG)’s revenues rose +3.1% to €18.6 billion, while costs fell -1.3% to €18 billion. This delivered a +€527 million operating profit after exceptional items, marking a drastic improvement from the -€613 million operating loss it posted in 2012.

Before exceptional items, the 2013 operating profit stood at +€770 million, up from a -€23 million prior-year loss.

Traffic was up +5.8% at 186.3 billion (RPK)s, off the back of a +5.2% increase in capacity to 230.6 billion (ASK)s, producing a load factor of 80.8% LF, up half a point. Yield remained stable at 8.73 cents, while as (RASK) increased +0.6% to 7.05 cents and (CASK) decreased -6.2% to 7.77 cents. (CASK) ex-fuel was 5.18 cents, down -5.6%.

“Iberia (IBE) has made huge progress on cost control as its restructuring takes shape,” Walsh said. “The recent pay and productivity agreements between (IBE) and its pilot (FC) and cabin crew (CA) unions are key to reducing (IBE)’s costs further and providing the foundation for profitable growth.”

In 2014, the (IAG) is aiming to make “steady progress” toward its +€1.8 billion 2015 group-wide operating profit target. It is forecasting “relatively flat” unit revenue growth, with margins being driven by lower unit costs.

British Airways (BAB) will begin 2x-weekly, London (LHR) - Punta Cana on October 26. It will also increase flights to Orlando from 7x-weekly to 10x. Service to Tampa goes daily.

(BAB)’s Corporate Sales Chief, Luke Goggin has been appointed as (BAB)’s new Area General Manager for Europe and North Africa. Goggin, who is currently Head of Corporate Sales for (BAB), will take up his new role in February following Gavin Halliday’s move to become Managing Director of Flying Reward Scheme, Avios.

London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) launched a six-week consultation on Monday, asking local communities for their views on how to improve the third runway proposal shortlisted by the Airports Commission in its interim report published in December. The airport said the results of the consultation would be used to refine the northwest runway proposal before it is resubmitted to the Airports Commission in May.

The consultation covers 140,000 households and businesses likely to be most impacted by the proposed plans, which will receive booklets. Additional comment from people outside this immediate area can be submitted on line or via local drop-in events. (CEO), Colin Matthews said, “We believe our proposal to expand Heathrow is the right way to deliver the capacity Britain needs to connect to fast growing economies around the world. This consultation is to make sure we correctly understand what local people value and that we can take their views into account as we refine our proposal. The more people that tell us their views, the more successful the process will be. We know that opinion is divided locally about whether a third runway should go ahead or not, but everyone has an interest in making sure that if a third runway does happen it is developed in the best way possible.” The results of the consultation will be shared with the Airports Commission for its independent review.

British Airways ((IATA) Code: BA, based at London Heathrow (LHR)) (BAB) is considering replacing its fleet of fifty 747-400s with 777Xs, (IAG)'s (CEO), Willie Walsh has disclosed. (BAB)'s 747s currently see service to North America, the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, India, and Brazil. “We’re looking at the 777X and we’re certainly interested,” he told "Bloomberg" newswire. “We see airplanes like the A350-1000 and 777X as being natural replacement airplanes for the 747s that we have,” Walsh said. Mr Walsh added that no commitment to Boeing has yet been made, but noted that any order placed would be for jets to be delivered from 2019 onwards. (BAB) currently operates forty-six 777-200ERs, fourteen 777-300ERs of which five are on order, and has orders for eighteen A350-1000s.

British Airways (BAB) has started using its Airbus A380s as a tool to reduce frequencies on trunk routes without cutting capacity and is pleased with the initial results, according to (BAB)’s parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh.

British Airways (BAB) currently operates 266 airplanes and serves 88 countries, 203 destinations, 312 routes and 987 daily flights.

March 2014: British Airways (BAB) expanded its international network with a new service from its London Heathrow (LHR) base to Austin, Texas (AUS) on March 3rd. The 7,910 km sector to the capital of Texas will be served five times weekly, utilizing (BAB)’s 214-seat 787-800s. There is no direct competition on this service, which will see a frequency increase to daily from May 5th.

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh has been nominated to become Chairman of the Oneworld (ONW) alliance. Walsh succeeds American Airlines (AAL) Chairman, Tom Horton, who has been the Oneworld (ONW) Chairman since December 2011. (IAG) carriers British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) are (ONW) Alliance members. (ONW) Alliance said that Walsh “will act as ‘first among equals’ of the (CEO)s of (ONW) Alliance member airlines.”

Oneworld (ONW) Alliance (CEO) Bruce Ashby said, “We thank Tom Horton sincerely for his leadership of oneworld during a period of unprecedented growth for the (ONW) alliance and at a time when his own (AAL) has been undergoing its merger with US Airways (AMW)/(USA). We are fortunate to have, in Willie Walsh, a man with the vision, determination and overall skills and capabilities to lead us forward in the next phase of our journey.”

US Airways (AMW)/(USA) and Brazil’s (TAM) (TPR) are scheduled to join the (ONW) Alliance on March 31.

April 2014: British Airways (BAB) began daily, London (LGW) - Malta service and 2x-weekly, London (LHR) - Porto, - Malaga and – Faro services. (BAB) also began 5x-weekly, London (LCY) - Rotterdam and 4x-weekly, – Florence. (BAB) will begin 2x-weekly, London (LHR) - Mykonos (May 3) and – Santorini (May 4). A seasonal 3x-weekly, Edinburgh - Ibiza service runs May 23 - September 8.

US Airways (AMW)/(USA) has joined American Airlines (AAL), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Finnair (FIN) in their transatlantic joint venture (JV). As part of the joint business (established by Oneworld (ONW) global alliance partners (AAL), (BAB) and (IBE) in October 2010) the airlines can cooperate commercially on transatlantic flights. The (JV) also includes a revenue-sharing agreement in which member airlines have permission to coordinate schedules and pricing on North Atlantic routes.

Willie Walsh said the addition of (AMW)/(USA), which merged with (AAL) at the end of 2013, provided “unmatched” capability on transatlantic routes. (BAB) is part of the (IAG) Group. (AAL) (CEO), Doug Parker said his merged airline’s relationship with the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance was an important part of his plan to restore (AAL)’s position as “the best airline in the world.”

British Airways (BAB) will offer winter 2x-weekly, London Gatwick - Friedrichshafen and – Grenoble with a mix of Airbus A319/A320s.

London Heathrow (LHR) Airport (CEO), Colin Matthews has announced he will leave later this year. Matthews took up his current role in March 2008. During his term, he has overseen the opening of Terminal 5 and the revamp of Terminal 2, which is slated to open in June. “Once Terminal 2 has opened later this year, I have decided the time is right to pass on the baton,” Matthews said.

(LHR) Chairman, Nigel Rudd said the search for a successor has begun and a new (CEO) should be in place later this year. Matthews will stay on to ensure a smooth transition. The move comes as the London airports debate continues to rage. (LHR) is calling for a third runway, an option that has been shortlisted by the Airports Commission.

The British Airways (BAB) - Solena Fuels partnership will build the "GreenSky London" facility on the site of the former Coryton oil refinery in Essex. The facility, which will convert landfill waste into jet fuel, will open in 2017, two years later than originally planned.

GreenSky London will convert approximately 575,000 tonnes of post-recycled waste, normally destined for landfill or incineration, into 120,000 tonnes of clean burning liquid fuels.

British Airways (BAB) has made an 11-year commitment to purchase all 50,000 tonnes of jet fuel produced by the facility each year at market competitive rates. At today’s prices, that equates to approximately $550 million. (BAB) will also provide some construction capital and become a minority shareholder in GreenSky.

(BAB) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said the sustainable jet fuel produced each year “will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.”

Solena said it will be using its patented high-temperature plasma gasification technology to convert the waste efficiently into synthetic gas, which will then be converted into liquid hydrocarbons using third-party technologies. These will include cleaning and conditioning of the gas, a Velocys Fischer-Tropsch conversion process, hydrocracking and electric power production.

Solena Fuels President & (CEO), Robert Do anticipates starting construction of the site “in approximately 12 months after all the requisite permits and agreements have been obtained.”

London Heathrow (LHR)’s new Terminal 2 will officially open June 23, five years after work began on the new building. The £2.5 billion/$4.2 billion development, designed by Spanish architect, Luis Vidal, will be home to 23 Star (SAL) Alliance airlines plus Aer Lingus (ARL), Virgin Atlantic (VAA)’s Little Red, and Germanwings (RFG).

T2, which was (LHR)’s first terminal, closed after 54 years of service in 2009 and was demolished in 2010. Once fully operational, the terminal will handle 20 million passengers annually compared to 8 million handled by the old T2.

The new T2 is the latest phase of an £11 billion transformation of (LHR) - - SEE ATTACHED - - "BAB-2014-04-LHR T2 OPEN IN JUNE."

Reducing CO2 emissions by -40%, the new T2 will be the world’s first airport terminal to be awarded a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) rating for its sustainable design. (BREEAM) encourages designers to minimize the energy demands created by a building, before considering energy efficiency and low carbon technologies.

London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) says a report it commissioned from Frontier Economics estimates that by 2030 the average price of return ticket for passengers using the airport could cost -£300/-$504 less if the airport is allowed to expand and add a third runway.


May 2014: The International Airlines Group (IAG) showed a marked improvement in its first-quarter figures compared to the year-ago quarter as restructuring at Spanish flag-carrier Iberia (IBE) continues to flow through to the bottom line.

Net losses were reduced to -€184 million/-$253.7 million compared to a loss of -€630 million in the year-ago period. The result was achieved on revenue of €4.20 billion, up +6.7% on last time’s €3.93 billion. The winter period is traditionally the weakest quarter for most European airlines.

Capacity jumped +11.8% to 56.3 billion (ASK)s, while (RPK)s lagged slightly to 43.2 billion, up +10.9%. Load factor was down -0.7 point to 76.7% LF.

“Iberia (IBE) has almost halved its losses from the first quarter last year with an operating loss of -€111 million compared to -€202 million,” (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said. “(IBE) continues to benefit from restructuring and these figures don’t reflect the impact of recent pay and productivity agreements, which took effect in April. While the restructuring remains a work in progress, (IBE) is gradually resuming some routes, including long-haul services to Santo Domingo and Montevideo,” he said.

British Airways (BAB) reported an operating loss of -€5 million in the quarter, compared to a -€72 million operating loss in the 2013 first quarter. (BAB) has increased capacity within a controlled cost environment and benefited from the efficiency of its new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 airplanes.

Vueling (VUZ) posted an operating loss of -€30 million and has managed to keep its losses flat, while growing capacity. (VUZ) continues to grow, with its main focus in southern Europe.

Cargo revenue for the quarter decreased -7.4%, with yields down -3.8% on a constant currency basis. Cargo demand and yields remained weak due to overall excess capacity in the market.

Other revenue dipped -10.5% from the elimination of Iberia (IBE)’s handling and maintenance revenue related to Vueling (VUZ), which was included in the comparative period.

Walsh said the (IAG) was pleased at the “significant” reduction in quarterly operating loss from -€278 million a year ago to -€150 million this time, “especially as Vueling (VUZ)’s quarterly losses were not included last year as they weren’t in the Group.” At constant currency, revenue was up +7.6% and non-fuel costs rose +4.8%.

A combination of the addition of low-cost carrier (LCC) (VUZ) to the Group, (IBE)’s restructuring and British Airways (BAB)'s growth led to a drop in employee unit costs of 11.7%. Average number of employees increased +0.6% compared to the same period last year, while productivity improved +11.2%.

Fuel unit costs decreased -8.9%, driven by a mix of lower average fuel prices net of hedging and consumption efficiencies achieved through the introduction of new airplanes.

Walsh held out the prospect of substantially better full-year results: “We expect to improve operating profit for the 2014 full year by at least €500 million, from a 2013 base of €770 million. Unit revenues should remain relatively flat, with margin expansion driven by a reduction in unit costs.”

The International Airlines Group (IAG) significantly reduced its seasonal losses in its first quarter (1Q) 2014. Iberia (IBE) cut its operating loss almost in half and British Airways (BAB) came within touching distance of breakeven. Vueling (VUZ) kept its (1Q) loss more or less unchanged, in spite of rapid capacity and revenue growth. (IAG)'s unit cost reduction outstripped a dip in unit revenue; and labor productivity improved across all three airlines.

Iberia (IBE)'s restructuring is starting to pay off, and it will return to capacity growth from second quarter (2Q) 2014 after cuts in 2012, 2013 and (1Q) 2014. (BAB) has integrated its first A380 and Boeing 787 airplanes and has more deliveries to come. Together with its A350s on order, this should help it to make further improvements in the cost efficiency of its long-haul fleet.

The airline sector globally is in a cyclical upswing and this is helping to drive better profits for almost everyone. However, it does seem that (IAG) is achieving a structural improvement in its profitability as a result of strong discipline over capacity, capital and costs, and a firm stance on labor productivity. More than its European legacy peers, the momentum is with (IAG).

US Airways (AMW)/(USA) has launched a code share with British Airways (BAB) after becoming an affiliate member of the Atlantic Joint Business between (BAB), American Airlines (AAL), Iberia (IBE) and Finnair (FIN). (AAL) and US Airways (AMW)/(USA) closed their merger in December and earlier this year (BAB) parent the International Airlines Group (IAG) said it hoped to integrate US Airways (AMW)/(USA)’s flights into the Atlantic Joint Business.

(BAB) said (AMW)/(USA) joined the group as an affiliate member on March 31. “It will remain as such until it fully integrates with (AAL) as part of their merger to create the largest airline in the world.”

Cementing the agreement, (BAB) will add its code to nearly 40 (AMW)/(USA) destinations in North America and the Caribbean, while (AMW)/(USA) will add its designator to over 70 (BAB) destinations in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The code share will be introduced in two phases, which should be completed by the end of the summer.

“Our code share arrangement with (AMW)/(USA), and the addition of its extensive network to our schedule, marks another milestone in our Joint Business,” (BAB) Head of Alliances, Steve Ronald said.

“(AMW)/(USA)’s entry into the Atlantic Joint Business marked a crucial step in our overall integration process, and this code share arrangement with our long term partner (BAB) is essential to the continued expansion of our combined networks,” added (AAL) Senior VP Alliances & Partnerships, Kurt Stache.

British Airways (BAB) increases London - Newcastle Airbus A320 service for a total of 41x-weekly from June 2. (BAB) has started its only international route from Edinburgh (EDI) to Ibiza (IBZ) on May 23. (BAB) currently operates up to 26 times daily from the Scottish capital across the three London airports it serves ((LHR), (LGW) and City). The twice-weekly service to Ibiza (IBZ) is operated by (BAB)’s 161-seat A320s, and will face direct competition from Jet2.com (JT2) (twice-weekly) and Thomson Airways (ATZ)/(TFY) (weekly). From June 13th, the service will increase to thrice-weekly. This is currently (BAB)’s only international route from a UK airport outside of London operated by its own airplanes, as the airline’s two routes from Manchester (to Billund and Gothenburg) are operated by SUN-AIR.

(BAB) has appointed Richard Tams, currently head of UK & Ireland Sales & Marketing, as Executive VP China & the Philippines.

The UK government-appointed Airports Commission has received detailed proposals relating to the three options short-listed in its December 2013 interim report for a new runway to serve the South East of England. The three options include a third runway for London Heathrow Airport (LHR) (submitted by (LHR) Heathrow), a second runway for Gatwick Airport (LGW) (submitted by (LGW)), and an extension to one of the existing runways at (LHR), effectively creating a third runway (submitted by the (LHR) Hub consortium).

The report concluded that London and the South East needs one new runway by 2030, and two by 2050. The government has yet to make a formal response to the interim report, but the “Let Britain Fly” campaign said the submission of detailed proposals “marked another important step toward expanding our airports.”

Let Britain Fly Director, Gavin Hayes said: “With (LHR) already full for a decade, (LGW) full by 2020, and all of London’s main airports forecast to be full by the mid-2020s, we believe it is fundamental that senior politicians from each of the main parties publicly acknowledge the need to build new runways. Failure to act, will be bad for business, bad for passengers, bad for our economy and bad for Britain.”

The (LHR) 3rd runway proposal now includes recommendations for a congestion charge to fund public transport improvements, and higher compensation for people most affected by a new runway. This includes a +25% markup on market value for properties subject to compulsory purchase, as well as other incentives, and improved noise insulation support.

(LGW) said its 2nd runway proposal “is a straightforward construction project, building a new runway on land already set aside for runway expansion. Unlike (LHR), it doesn’t involve putting the busiest stretch of the busiest motorway in Europe into a tunnel.”

(LGW) insists its proposal would be cheaper and impact fewer homes than the (LHR) third runway, and described (LHR)’s congestion charge proposal as a “bombshell” of “unprecedented measures to tackle one of the huge environmental challenges of their expansion plans.”

(LHR) Hub promotes its own proposal as “the simplest of the concepts being considered,” with “greater and more secure economic benefits, as well as being more innovative and lower risk than the alternatives.” The (LHR) Hub solution provides “significant improvements in public transport,” creates jobs, and generates “substantial local, regional and national economic benefits. Community impacts are relatively modest and can be mitigated, and airplane noise impacts compare well with the other (LHR) scheme.”

The Airports Commission will now evaluate the revised proposals, which will eventually be subject to public consultation.

Air Lease Corporation (ALE) has taken delivery of the 1st of 15 Boeing 777-300ERs on order. The airplane is the 1st of 2 delivering to British Airways (BAB) on long-term lease; the 2nd 1 is scheduled to deliver from Boeing (TBC) in July.

(ALE) Chairman & (CEO) Steven Udvar-Hazy said, “The operational capabilities and versatility of the 777-300ER provide significant profitability potential for our customers. With its leading economics and passenger-pleasing interior, this airplane has maintained a broad customer base year after year and will continue to do so long into the future.”

According to Boeing (TBC), Udvar-Hazy helped launch the 777-300ER in 2004, and has ordered 94 777s during his career in the industry. This includes 43 777-200ERs, 8 777-300s and 43 777-300ERs (more than any other lessor and the second most of any Boeing customer).

British Airways (BAB) has taken delivery of the 4th of 12 Airbus A380s, which will all be delivered by 2016. The A380s are used on long-haul routes Los Angeles (2x-daily), Hong Kong (daily), Johannesburg (6x-weekly) and later this year, to Washington DC (5x-weekly). (BAB) has also taken delivery of its new A320, which will provide short-haul service to destinations across Europe. A total of 7 A320 airplanes will arrive in 2014.

See video "VISIT LONDON" - -

June 2014: British Airways (BAB) and Qatar Airways (QTA) are believed to be in the early stages of studying ways to increase levels of cooperation beyond their current code share links as part of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance.

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker was asked by Richard Quest of (CNN) if he was interested in some form of joint venture (JV) with British Airways (BAB). “Why not?” Al Baker replied.

This was followed by a report in the Abu Dhabi newspaper, "The National," which quoted (BAB) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) & (ONW)Alliance Chairman Willie Walsh as saying that various forms of potential cooperation were being studied. “We look at various different structures of joint ventures (JV)s. You can have a revenue share, you can have a profit share, you can have things that fall between the middle. This is all the sort of issues that are subject to discussions between us. It won’t necessarily have to mean a profit share, but we will have discussions about these issues in the right time.”

Asked to confirm (BAB)’s interest, an (IAG) spokeswoman said: “(QTA) is already a partner of (IAG) through the (ONW) Alliance, which it joined in October 2013. We will look at other opportunities to develop our commercial relationship.”

Satellite operator Inmarsat will roll out a new high-speed in-flight broadband service across the European Union (EU) and has named British Airways (BAB) as a potential launch customer. Using an integrated satellite/air-to-ground network, Inmarsat plans to offer a service similar to Gogo in the USA, delivering over 30MHz of S-band connectivity to airplanes across the (EU). “We believe that the same in-flight connectivity opportunity exists in Europe and that, with the support of (EU) telecoms regulators, Inmarsat can rapidly bring to market unique, high-speed aviation passenger connectivity services to meet this market demand on an (EU)-wide basis. A number of European airlines are aligned with this vision and we are absolutely delighted to announce advanced discussions with British Airways (BAB) to be a launch customer on our new aviation network,” Inmarsat (CEO) Rupert Pearce said.

Passengers will be able to switch seamlessly from the new service to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress product. “(BAB) is in discussions with Inmarsat about leading Europe in a new era of broadband in the air. Starting with UK domestic routes, Inmarsat intends to deploy Europe’s first ground-based 4G broadband network giving our customers the Internet access they expect on the ground while in the air,” (BAB)'s Head Product & Service Kate Thornton said.

To support the new service, Inmarsat and non-competing European satellite operator Hellas-Sat have ordered a new S-band satellite from Thales Alenia Space, scheduled for launch at the end of 2016. Inmarsat, which has called its section of the satellite Europasat, said the partnership has halved the €400 million/$544 million investment required for the launch. Inmarsat has clearance to operate in 30MHz of S-band frequencies across the 28 member states of the (EU) and it is now to secure licenses for the new aviation services.

“Inmarsat has received strong support for its applications from many (EU) telecoms regulators and remains confident that a consistent (EU) regulatory foundation can quickly be completed, to support the deployment of these services for the benefit of (EU) businesses and consumers,” it said.

British Airways (BAB) named Marie Hilditch as Head of Corporate Sales-London from July. Marie is currently VP Trade Sales, North America.

British Airways (BAB) has unveiled new seats and cabin interiors for its short-haul fleet, which operate domestic and European services from London Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick (LGW) airports. (BAB) has followed the trend of utilizing new, slimline seat designs to create additional capacity.

Fitting-out work has begun on the first of 95 Airbus (EDS) short-haul airplanes. (BAB) said the new cabin designs “take inspiration from” the airline’s most recent fleet entrants, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787. The new, charcoal gray leather seats enable the addition of extra seats in the Euro Traveler (economy) (Y) cabin.

In an A320, for example, capacity will rise from 162 to 168 (an extra row). In the A321, the longer fuselage allows for a larger increase (from 188 to 205). Seat pitch would be “pretty much the same” as existing seats. Current cabins typically have a 29- to 30-inch pitch. The new cabins will all be 30 inches. (BAB) will continue to install reclining, as opposed to fixed-back, seats.

The new seats are designed to maximize personal space, with sculpted backs providing more knee space. An eye-level seatback tablet computer-holder also provides storage for magazines. The seats include a moveable headrest.

Business (C) class, termed “Club Europe” will retain the previous arrangement of 6-abreast seating, but with the center seat of each row kept free to give more space for premium passengers. The center seats will be bridged with a new “central console” table, providing customers with improved functional space.

Cabin (LED) lighting systems will include blue tones for boarding, a “candlelit mood” for dining and a “gentle white” for the cruise and landing.

“The short-haul landscape has changed enormously in recent years," British Airways Executive Chairman Keith Williams said. “To stay competitive, we are giving our cabins a radical makeover.”

The new interiors will be fitted across the Airbus (EDS) fleet over the next 12 months.

(BAB) still has a fleet of 19 Gatwick (LGW)-based Boeing 737-400s operating short-haul services. These are due to be retired in the next 6 to 9 months and will not receive the cabin upgrade.

(BAB) also said it is in discussions with satellite communications provider Inmarsat to install new broadband in its short-haul fleet. Starting with UK domestic routes, it plans to roll out what it describes as Europe’s first ground-based 4G broadband network, giving customers Internet access while airborne.

A320-232 (6129, G-EUYW), ex-(F-WWDZ), delivery, part of Iberia (IBE) order.

July 2014: British Airways (BAB) begins 2x-weekly, London (LGW) - Fuerteventura Airbus A320 service on December 13.

The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of Iberia (IBE) and British Airways (BAB), has converted 20 A320neo options into firm orders.

August 2014: British Airways (BAB) says it has temporarily suspended flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until the end of August because of the worsening outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. (BAB) had been flying four times per week to the two countries, traveling first to Freetown before continuing on to Monrovia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says >800 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have died in the outbreak. There is no known treatment for Ebola.

(BAB) says customers with tickets on those routes are being offered refunds or the ability to rebook flights for a later date. “The safety of our customers, crew (FC)/(CA) and ground (MT) teams is always our top priority and we will keep the route under constant review in the coming weeks,” (BAB) said.

787-8 (38615, G-ZBJH), delivery.

September 2014: AirBaltic (BAU) and British Airways (BAB) will begin code sharing on September 23. The partnership will allow (BAU) passengers to reach cities served from London Gatwick and (BAB) passengers will have better access to Riga, Latvia.

British Airways (BAB) will start 5x-weekly, London Heathrow - San Francisco Airbus A380 service next summer.

(BAB) is rolling out cabin upgrades across 18 of its Boeing 747s, which will be equipped with improved in-flight entertainment (IFE) and modern interiors. The cabin refresh, which will be performed by (BAB)’s engineers in Cardiff, will bring the 747s more in line with its Airbus A380s and 787s.

“Our customers love our new airplanes and we wanted to refresh the 747s in line with them,” (BAB) Aircraft Cabin Interiors Manager Kathryn Doyle said. “These improvements will be really noticeable to our frequent flyers.”

Universal power sockets and (USB) points will be installed throughout the "World Traveller Plus" cabin, and the curtains and carpets will be replaced in both World Traveller and World Traveller Plus.

The 747s will be installed with Panasonic’s next generation eX3 entertainment system. “The new system, which will be installed from August 2015, will provide >130 movies and 400 TV programs on larger, hi-resolution screens, capable of touch and swipe gestures, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet.”

(IAG) Cargo is introducing an upgraded 787 service on its route between London and the burgeoning Indian city of Chennai. Currently operated by a 777-200, the new 787 service will use advanced temperature control capability to make the 787 perfectly suited to the shipment of pharmaceutical products and will help support India's rapidly developing "pharma" market. With India becoming one of its most important markets, (IAG) Cargo's Regional Commercial Manager for (APAC), John Cheetham noted that the upgrade would benefit other industries, including shipments of laboratory equipment and machinery inbound to Chennai and large volumes of textiles outbound on the return.

E190SR (0674, G-LCYU), ex-(PR-EHF).

October 2014: News Item A-1: British Airways (BAB) has added three new routes from London Gatwick: Seville in Spain, Funchal and Las Palmas from March 2015. (BAB) resumes daily, London Heathrow - Kuala Lumpur Boeing 777-200ER service May 27, 2015 after a 14-year gap.

(BAB) began its 1st Airbus A380 service into Washington DC, arriving at Washington Dulles (IAD) from London Heathrow (LHR). (BAB) now has 6 A380s in service and another 6 on order. Washington is (BAB)’s 4th A380 route. It began with a route to Los Angeles in July 2013, where it now offers double-daily A380 service year-round, then Hong Kong, and Johannesburg.

The Washington (IAD) - (LHR) route will be daily year-round on top of 2x-daily, 777 services. The A380 on the flight was registered (XLEB) and was (BAB)’s 2nd A380 to enter service.

(BAB) added a 3x-weekly A380, London - Singapore service in October and plans a 5x-weekly summer service to San Francisco in 2015.

(BAB)'s Head of Sales said the new A380 3x-weekly direct service from London Heathrow to Singapore’s Changi Airport would allow up to 4,000 a month more seats on its services. This was part of (BAB)’s multi-million pound investment in new airplanes, products and services.

The new flight will underpin (BAB)’s push into the nonstop Asian market, and will be complemented by a new nonstop Boeing 777-200ER service to Malaysia, due to launch in May next year.

(BAB) is reinvigorating its services to both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in response to “commercial demand from our customers,” (BAB) said, citing a “thriving [regional] economy.”

However, the reality may be more of a response to the increasingly aggressive moves into the long-haul Asian market by Middle East carriers.

The (IAD) addition of the A380 (which has 469 seats, including 14F first-class and 97C business-class seats) takes capacity up +16% on that route.

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB)'s Line Maintenance team has won a contract to provide technical handling for Qatar Airways (QTA)'s Boeing 787 flights in Edinburgh. (BAB) has also been selected to support Qatar (QTA)'S operation at Dallas/Fort Worth, Kigali and Moscow airports. (BAB) will also provide maintenance for (QTA)’s A380 flights at London Heathrow (LHR) Airport from October.

November 2014: News Item A-1: The International Airlines Group (IAG) reported a net profit of +€598 million/+$749 million for the quarter ended September 30, up +3.1% from +€580 million in the year-ago period.

Operating profit for the 3rd quarter was up +18% to +€818 million and revenue was up +8.5% to +€5.9 billion.

The (IAG) attributed the improved performance largely to an increase in passenger revenue and a reduction in unit costs, especially at Spanish subsidiary, Iberia (IBE).

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said: “At constant currency, revenue was up +6.9% with non-fuel unit costs down -4.5% and fuel unit costs down -7.5%. We continued to grow capacity efficiently and both our non-fuel and fuel unit cost performances were strong, with the latter boosted by the introduction of new, more efficient airplanes into our fleet.”

According to Walsh, “British Airways (BAB) made an operating profit of +€607 million, compared to +€477 million last year, and grew capacity, while retaining its focus on cost control. Iberia (IBE)’s operating profit increased to +€162 million from +€74 million last year, highlighting its strong cost discipline combined with the continued benefits of restructuring.”

He said that Barcelona-based, low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary, Vueling (VUZ), which became part of the (IAG) last year, “continued to grow, developing new bases in Italy and Belgium, with an operating profit of +€140 million compared to +€139 million last year.”

Passenger numbers for the quarter were up +9.9% to 23.4 million year-on-year, while (ASK)s grew +9% to 69.3 billion, and (RPK)s increased +8.1% to 58.2 billion. Seat load factor was down -0.8% points to 83.9% LF from 84.7% LF year-on-year. Operating costs were also up +5.3% on last year to just >€5 billion.

For the first nine months of the year, (IAG) net profit was up to +€694 million from +€77 million in the same period last year, with operating profit up to just >€1 billion from +€348 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue for the 9 months was up +7.4% to €15.2 billion, and operating costs were up +4.2% to €14.1 billion.

Passenger numbers were up +16.8% to 59 million for the 9-month period, with (ASK)s increasing +10.5% to 190.2 billion, and (RPK)s up +9.5% to 153.5 billion. Seat factor was down -0.7% points to 80.7% LF.

In terms of the trading outlook, Walsh said: “For the full year 2014, we expect to produce an improvement in operating profit before exceptional items in the range of +€550 million to +€600 million, from a base of +€770 million in 2013.”

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) has outlined plans to achieve a 10% to 14% operating profit margin over the period 2016 - 2020.

News Item A-3: INCDT: A British Airways (BAB) Boeing 777-200 (G-VIIS) performing flight BA-48 (departed November 22nd) from Seattle, WA (USA) to London Heathrow (LHR) with 220 people on board, was enroute at FL350 about 120 nm north of Shannon (Ireland) when the crew requested a descent to below FL270 and a diversion to Shannon.

The crew subsequently reported the right hand engine (GE90) had been shut down, due to an oil leak. The 777 landed safely on Shannon's runway 24 about 30 minutes after the call, vacated the runway and stopped on an adjacent taxiway for inspection by emergency services.

News Item A-4: Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) has expanded its route network to include +6 more UK destinations following a Special Prorate Agreement signed with (BAB) giving each carrier a fixed price for interlining. The deal will extend (RBA)'s network to key destinations such as Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Belfast. The agreement also means passenger bags will be checked-in all the way to their final destination and their boarding passes for all flights issued at the 1st check-in point. Business (C) class customers will also have access to all (BAB) business (C) lounges.

News Item A-5: British Airways (BA) has started a year-long volcanic ash monitoring project in partnership with the UK Met Office and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

A prototype of the (ZEUS) ash detection device, developed by the Met Office and the (NERC), has been fitted on a (BAB) Boeing 747 and will monitor small amounts of ash in the atmosphere. This will then be matched up with flight data (including weather conditions, speed, altitude and location) to build up a picture of volcanic ash distribution.

The 1st draft of data collected from a flight between London and Johannesburg has already been sent to the Met Office for analysis. “(ZEUS) has the potential to provide a clearer picture of ash distribution and could be used to inform decision making-processes in the event of future volcanic eruptions,” (BAB) Captain Dean Plumb said.

(ZEUS) was initially trialed on the (NERC)/Met Office’s dedicated research airplane, before being fitted to a Flybe (BEE) Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400 in 2012.

Met Office Head of Natural Hazards, Ian Lisk said the project is a "great result of cross-industry collaboration, including British Airways (BAB), Flybe (BEE), the (NERC), and the Met Office. While further development is still required, we are delighted with progress with this prototype volcanic ash sensor to date, and the findings we have so far received from the tests are very promising.”

(ZEUS) uses measurements of static as a tool to detect ash, after a pilot (FC) in a research airplane noticed his hair stood on end when low levels of volcanic ash were present.

Likewise, (BAB)’s fellow UK-carrier, easyJet (EZY) has been working with partners to trial (AVOID) ash detection technology.

2 787-9 (38618, G-ZBKD; 38620, G-ZBKE), and 1 A380-841 (192, G-XLEJ), ex-(F-WWAE) deliveries.

December 2014: News Item A-1: British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG) has revealed that Aer Lingus (ARL)’s board has rebuffed a potential takeover attempt. In a stock exchange disclosure, the (IAG) confirmed it had “submitted a proposal” to make an offer for (ARL), but it added that this was “rejected by the board of (ARL).”

“There can be no certainty that any further proposal or offer will be forthcoming. A further statement will be made if and when appropriate,” the (IAG) added. “The board has reviewed the Proposal and believes that it fundamentally undervalues (ARL) and its attractive prospects. Accordingly, the Proposal was rejected on December 16th 2014,” (ARL) said in a stock market disclosure. “Shareholders are strongly advised to take no action.”

This is not the first time (ARL) has been courted. Ryanair (RYR) has made several attempts to acquire its fellow Irish carrier, but each of these efforts has been blocked on competition grounds. Last September, a UK Competition Commission (UKCC) investigation into these unsuccessful (RYR) bids revealed that (ARL) was looking to combine with another carrier in 2012 and has more recently explored a variety of merger and acquisition scenarios.

The annexes of this report were heavily edited, making it difficult to pin down exactly how many initiatives were under discussion, but they revealed several sets of talks relating to (ARL) acquiring, merging and forming strategic initiatives with other airlines.

(RYR) was ordered to sell its 29.8% stake in (ARL) down to 5% by the (UKCC), partly based on concerns the shareholding could jeopardize (ARL)’s consolidation with other carriers. (RYR) responded by putting its entire stake up for sale, with certain conditions. More recently, (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary has bemoaned a total lack of interest in the (ARL) stake. Speaking at the release of (RYR)’s first-quarter results this summer, O’Leary said: “We’ve had depressingly received no interest in (ARL)'s stake, which has been up for sale for about 18 months.”

O’Leary said his strategy for (ARL) would be to turn it around, make it low-cost and profitable, and operate a dual-brand strategy.

See significant later developments next month (News Item A-1) announced on January 26th.

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) begins 4x-weekly, London (LHR) - Krakow service in May with Airbus A319/A320s. (BAB) will add 2x-daily (LHR) - Miami Airbus A380 services in October.

British Airways (BAB) started a trio of new routes from its second most important London base this week, commencing twice-weekly operations each to Friedrichshafen (FDH), Fuerteventura (FUE) and Grenoble (GNB) from London Gatwick (LGW). The two ski routes will be flown on Saturdays and Sundays, whereas the winter sun route to the Canaries will be operated on Wednesdays and Sundays, and all routes were begun over the weekend of December 13 and 14. The route to Grenoble will encounter the most significant competition, with easyJet (EZY) (seven times weekly), Monarch Airlines (MON) (two), Thomson Airways (ATZ)/(TFY) (two), Thomas Cook Airlines (JMA)/GUE) (one) and Norwegian (NWG) (one) already serving the ski resort. (NWG) also launched its service this week. On the city pair to Fuerteventura, the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance airline will face (EZY) (six times weekly), (NWG) (two), (ATZ)/(TFY) (two) and (JMA)/(GUE) (one). Finally, (MON) (weekly) is the incumbent on the route to Germany. The three routes will be operated by (BAB)’s short-haul fleet of A320s and 737-400s.

News Item A-3: An unprecedented computer systems failure on Friday December 12th touched off the recent mayhem that caused delays and canceled flights for thousands of passengers, the UK-based air traffic management company said. In its first detailed explanation of the computer glitch that led to flight disruptions, (NATS) said the problems at its control center in Swanwick occurred as more workstations were being brought on line to deal with an increase in traffic.

"In normal operations the number of workstations in use versus in standby fluctuates with the demands of the traffic being controlled," (NATS) said. "In this instance, a transition between the two states caused a failure in the system which has not been seen before."

The computer failure made it impossible for the controllers to access data regarding individual flight plans. Planes were prevented from taking off, but those in the air and close to airports were allowed to land during the shutdown that lasted about 35 minutes.

Britain's government reacted with fury over the meltdown ahead of the holiday season, when travel demand is particularly high. Ministers are demanding a thorough explanation. Parliament's Transport Committee Chairperson, Louise Ellman said the Transport Secretary will appear before her panel on Monday December 14th and will be asked about the incident.

Computer software experts have said the problem appears to lie in the age of the systems (some of which date to the 1960s). The Swanwick center has been troubled since it opened 2002 (six years late and at twice its anticipated cost).

Problems over the past two days were particularly acute at London's Heathrow Airport (LHR), where flights were canceled both Friday and Saturday.

Though the shutdown was brief, (LHR) operates at nearly full capacity. So when the flights were canceled, there was no place in the schedule to slot them.

News Item A-4: London Heathrow Airport (LHR) has opened the doors to its new Airport Operations Center (APOC), a facility that supports frontline operational teams and oversees the Airport Operations Plan (AOP). The (APOC) concept is based on development activities performed within the Single European Sky (ATM) Research (SESAR) Program for Research & Innovation, which has a goal of bringing together the operational planning, monitoring and oversight of an airport in one place.

“The opening of the (APOC) is a major milestone for (LHR), bringing to life many months of planning and hard work. It is also recognition of quality of solutions that the (SESAR) Program is delivering in response to the airport operational needs,” said Normand Boivin, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of (LHR). “For the first time, we have many of our airport partners in the same room, together making every journey better.”

(APOC) features two video walls with 60 high definition (HD) screens that monitor the entire airport to give (LHR) more of a collaborative decision-making process.

(SESAR) (JU) Executive Director, Florian Guillermet is hoping that other airports throughout Europe will use (LHR) as an example and establish their own respective Airport Operations Centers. “We hope that the example of (LHR) will prompt further uptake of (SESAR) concepts and solutions by other airport actors in Europe," said Guillermet.

News Item A-5: See attached - - "BAB-2014-12 - LHR 2023 PROPOSAL" reference heathrowhub.com.

A320-232 (1771, G-GATR), (GECAS) (GEF) leased.

January 2015: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) has acquired a 9.99% stake in British Airways (BAB)/Iberia (IBE) parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG).

(QTA) said the move was “part of efforts to enhance operations and strengthen existing commercial ties initiated through code share agreements with the (IAG) as well as its membership of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance.”

Qatar Airways (QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker said: “The (IAG) represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our Westward strategy. Having joined the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance, it makes sense for us to work more closely together in the near term, and we look forward to forging a long-term relationship.”

The (IAG) concurred it already had a close relationship with (QTA) through the (ONW) Alliance and welcomed (QTA)’s commitment to strengthening existing commercial ties.

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said the company will “talk to them about what opportunities exist to work more closely together and further (IAG)’s ambitions as the leading global airline group.”

As a non-European Union (EU) shareholder, (QTA) is subject to an overall cap on ownership in the (IAG) as a result of the requirement for (EU) airlines to be majority owned by (EU) shareholders. However, (QTA) said it “may consider increasing its stake further over time, although this is not currently intended to exceed >9.99%.”

News Item A-2: Qatar Airlines (QTA) & the (IAG): "Shifting sands in the global reach of the Gulf carriers" January 30, 2015 by Karen Walker in (ATW) Editor's Blog:

The announcement that Qatar Airways (QTA) has acquired a 9.99% stake in (BAB)/(IBE) parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG) is an interesting development in the ongoing change in the international airline landscape prompted by the growth of the Gulf carriers.

(QTA) (CEO), Akbar Al Baker describes the taking of a stake in the (IAG), worth about $1.7 billion, as an “excellent opportunity to further develop our Westward strategy.” (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said he was “delighted” about the investment, and opportunities to work more closely with (QTA).

There’s an interesting history to the (IAG) and (QTA) connection. Al Baker and Walsh are long-time, firm friends who each hold the other in high respect. In October 2013, (QTA) joined the Oneworld (ONW) global alliance, becoming the first of the major Gulf carriers to join a global alliance. British Airways (BAB), a founding (ONW) member, was (QTA)’s sponsor and Walsh spoke very enthusiastically about the importance of having (QTA) join. My understanding is that his enthusiasm was not matched by every (ONW) member (CEO).

Dubai-based Emirates (EAD), meanwhile, remains alliance-independent, but in 2013 it entered a five-year alliance with Qantas (QAN), another Oneworld (ONW) Alliance founding member. And Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways (EHD) owns a 29% stake in airberlin (BER), another (ONW) airline. (EHD) has its own version of an alliance, taking stakes in relatively small carriers and creating a constellation of airline equity partners that includes airberlin (BER), Air Serbia (JAT), India’s Jet Airways (JPL), Virgin Australia (VOZ), Air Seychelles (ASY) and Aer Lingus (ARL). Interestingly, the (IAG) wants to buy Aer Lingus (ARL), a move, which if it happens, would further tangle the (IAG)-Oneworld (ONW)-Gulf carrier web.

(EHD), of course, is also now a 49% owner of Alitalia (ALI) (to keep you on track with the alliance matings here, (ALI) is a SkyTeam (STM) Alliance member). But (QTA)’s stake in the (IAG) is the first time that one of the “Big Three” Gulf carriers has invested in one of the “Big Three” European airline groups of the (IAG), the Lufthansa Group and Air France (AFA) - (KLM).

It will be fascinating to see if the (QTA) - (IAG) deal marks the beginning of more such equity partnerships (within the caps of the (EU) airline ownership rules) between Gulf carriers and their European counterparts. The fact is that it’s becoming increasingly challenging for the “traditional” global hubs of Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Heathrow, and Paris to compete with the “modern” world hubs of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Qatar.

In the USA, meanwhile, there is growing awareness that what happened in Europe regards Gulf competition could happen in America. A campaign is being run by North America’s “Big Three” (American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL)) to try and get lawmakers to review "Open Skies" policies and the international air transport competitive landscape to take account of the rise of the Gulf carriers.

Flying under the radar so far in the shifting sands of air transport power houses is Turkish Airlines (THY), which is a Star (SAL) Alliance carrier and which has developed an extensive network, very large and modern fleet and highly successful global hub in Istanbul. It will be interesting to see whether that continues to be the case if, as Al Baker described it, a “Westward strategy” by Gulf carriers begins, in some eyes at least, to look more like a "Westward" invasion.

News Item A-3: On January 26th, an improved offer from the International Airlines Group (IAG) to acquire Aer Lingus (ARL) has a much likely chance of acceptance, as follows:

The (IAG) revealed more details of its "Aer Lingus (ARL) plan."

Aer Lingus (ARL) would keep its brand and rejoin the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance if the International Airlines Group (IAG) succeeded in acquiring (ARL).

News of the tentative plans came as (ARL)’s board signaled it is now happy with the (IAG)’s latest bid proposal of €2.55/$2.86 per share. This is significant, because the (IAG) would only be willing to proceed, once this endorsement is in place.

“The [Aer Lingus (ARL)] board has indicated to the (IAG) that the financial terms are at a level at which it would be willing to recommend [to shareholders], subject to being satisfied with the manner in which the (IAG) proposes to address the interests of relevant parties,” Aer Lingus (ARL) said in a stock market disclosure.

With the approval now secured, (ARL) said it has granted the (IAG) access to perform “a limited period of confirmatory due diligence.”

The (IAG) said Aer Lingus (ARL) would operate as a separate business within the (IAG) group, with its own brand, management and operations. It will also continue to provide direct Irish flights and connectivity, supporting local investment and tourism. The (IAG) hopes to secure Irish government support for the deal.

Under its new ownership, Aer Lingus (ARL) would also rejoin the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance, which it left on March 31, 2007, and become a part of the (IAG)’s transatlantic joint venture (JV) with American Airlines (AAL).

The (IAG) plans to tap “natural traffic flows between Ireland and the USA” and Dublin’s strength as a connecting hub. This makes sense, as Dublin has a well-established USA immigration pre-clearance facility.
“The (IAG) believes that the proposal would secure and strengthen Aer Lingus (ARL)'s brand and long term future within a successful and profitable European airline group, offering significant benefits to both (ARL) and its customers,” the (IAG) said in its own disclosure. The plan was “noted” by the Aer Lingus (ARL) board.

British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) parent, the (IAG) made an initial €2.30 per share takeover approach on December 16, but the Aer Lingus (ARL) board said this undervalued (ARL). On December 29th, it increased its proposal to €2.40 per share, which was again rejected. This latest bid of €2.55 per share was announced on January 26.

The €2.55 per share proposal remains subject to Ryanair (RYR) and the Minister for Finance of Ireland accepting the offer and due diligence.

The International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) has promised to maintain Aer Lingus (ARL)’s London Heathrow - Cork and - Shannon services for a minimum of five years, if it succeeds in acquiring the Irish carrier.

A trade union group representing (ARL) workers has reversed its position and said it will now back a takeover approach by the (IAG) after the British Airways (BAB)'s owner laid out its growth plans for (ARL).

(ARL)'s board recommended the EUR1.36 billion offer from the International Consolidated Airlines Group last month, subject to the Irish state selling its 25% stake, but political and trade union opposition has been significant.

(ARL) Central Representative Council (a grouping of staff representatives from the company's trade unions) said last month that a sale could have a devastating effect on employment and lead to up to -1,200 job cuts.

However, it said it had changed its stance after the (IAG)'s Dublin-born (CEO), Willie Walsh, who began his career as an Aer Lingus (ARL) pilot (FC), told a parliamentary committee that job cuts would be minimal and be far exceeded by new roles as it expands (ARL)'s fleet.

"The danger of this going away is that the company could eventually go into a downward spin and who knows going forward, what would happen if that was the case," (CRC) Secretary, Myles Worth told national broadcaster (RTE).

"There doesn't seem an immediate threat to the company, but if this bid was to fail and the share price goes down, there's a likelihood that the new (CEO) would have to put together a very aggressive cost-cutting plan."

Senior government ministers have said they are not yet convinced on the merits of selling, as a government-appointed group prepares a report on its options. Resistance is especially strong among members of the junior coalition partner the Labor Party ahead of tough elections next year.

But one senior member of the center party, which has close trade union links, said that the state should sell. "Before we heard from Walsh, my tentative disposition was not to sell," Pat Rabbitte, a former Labor leader and Minister before a reshuffle last year, wrote in the "Sunday Business Post" newspaper.

"I appreciate that the (IAG) may not seem the best option for government colleagues (but) the best option, I suspect, is to do business with Willie Walsh and the (IAG)."

News Item A-4: Finnair ((IATA) Code: AY, based at Helsinki Vantaa) (FIN) says its freight subsidiary, Finnair Cargo, has signed an agreement with the International Airlines Group (IAG) to participate in its (IAG) "Cargo Partner Plus" Program. Six airlines currently make up the program including Qatar Airways (QTA), (JAL)/(JAS) - Japan Airlines; the Avianca (AVI) group, and American Airlines (AAL).

“This closer cooperation with (IAG) Cargo will provide our customers better access to many markets beyond our own network. This is an innovative way to grow reach, and one that we believe will prove mutually beneficial to (IAG) Cargo and ourselves,” Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Finnair (FIN), said.

Through the "Partner Plus," which allows members to interline on each other’s airplanes on a commercially booked basis, Finnair Cargo customers will gain access to markets in South and North America as well as Africa, as the introduction of the (IAG) network connections offers expanded route availability via its London Heathrow and Madrid Barajas hubs.

For (IAG) Cargo, the addition of (FIN) to the program will provide additional capacity across the globe (Finnair (FIN)'s strategic destinations in North East Asia, in particular.

News Item A-5: Boeing [TBC] announced that British Airways (BAB) received operational approval from the UK Civil Aviation Authority for use of Boeing (TBC)’s Electronic Logbook (ELB) on their 787 Dreamliner fleet.

Developed in partnership with Ultramain Systems, Inc, the (ELB) enables unprecedented levels of communication between flight crew (FC), cabin crew (CA) and ground-based Maintenance & Engineering (MT) staff, which translates into better passenger service and greater airline cost savings.

The (ELB) runs on the airplane’s Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) & on board server system to collect airplane flight data and crew-observed fault input, sharing that information with ground-based maintenance technicians (MT) and maintenance systems, while the airplane is still en route. Ground crews, along with needed parts and documentation, can be stationed at the gate to perform needed maintenance as soon as the airplane lands. This enables the airline to maximize maintenance process efficiency and minimize passenger delays.

“The Electronic Logbook (ELB) will allow faster and more detailed communication between our crews and ground teams, which will benefit our customers”, said Steve Frewin, British Airways Engineering 787 Fleet Chief. “We worked closely with Boeing (TBC) and used our shared expertise and knowledge of the 787’s full technology capabilities in order to receive this approval from the (CAA). This development represents our commitment to investment in technology to further improve our customers’ flying experiences.”

“British Airways (BAB) is the first 787 customer to eliminate paper technical and cabin logs,” said Per Norén, VP Customer Solutions, Boeing Digital Aviation. “The regulatory approval of (ELB) signifies industry acceptance of paperless technical logs and supports our shared commitment to improving operational efficiency, decreasing our environmental footprint and using industry-leading technologies to reduce airline costs.”

Pilot (FC) observed faults can now be created in the (ELB), whereas previously they were handwritten by a pilot (FC) into a paper logbook. Because British Airways (BAB) also uses Boeing’s Airplane Health Management (AHM) software, in-flight faults generated by the airplane and automatically recorded by the (AHM) are correlated and displayed side by side with the faults recorded by pilots (FC) into the (ELB). With this coordination of real-time, in-flight fault data collected from both solutions, (BAB)’s Maintenance organization is aware of a potential situation before the airplane even arrives at its destination.

Use of the (ELB) together with Airplane Health Management (AHM) provides comprehensive analytics and prognostics capabilities, creating a more complete picture of the airplane’s maintenance status. Equipped with this data-driven knowledge, airlines are able to understand, diagnose and quickly execute maintenance items.

News Item A-6: Dubai International Airport seems formally set to overtake London Heathrow Airport (LHR) as the world’s busiest airport for international passengers, when year-end figures for Dubai are released January 27.

Dubai is projected to reach 71 million passengers in 2014. These are all international passengers, as no domestic United Arab Emirates (UAE) traffic uses Dubai International.

London Heathrow (LHR) recorded 68.1 million international passengers for 2014, although in terms of total passenger numbers it remains ahead of Dubai International, as a further 5.3 million domestic passengers passed through its terminals. The 73.4 million passenger total was up +1.4% on 2013.

There are airports elsewhere in the world that have higher numbers of total passengers (Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson and Beijing Capital airports) but these handle a higher proportion of domestic passengers.

(LHR) is increasingly capacity-constrained by its two runways. Successive UK governments over the past 40 years have failed to increase capacity in the crowded southeastern corner of the UK, whether by building a completely new hub or by allowing new runways to be built at (LHR) or Gatwick.

Dubai, meanwhile, with a supportive government that sees aviation as a major driver of economic growth, has poured money into Dubai International and the new Al Maktoum International, which, in time, will be even larger.

“Britain has benefited from being home to the world’s largest port or airport for the last 350 years, connecting British business people and their exports to the world’s markets,” (LHR) (CEO), John Holland-Kaye said. “But lack of capacity at (LHR) means we have lost our crown to Dubai.

“It is hard to find a serious economic player that doesn’t aspire to having what London has taken for granted, which is why Istanbul, Dubai, Chicago, Hong Kong, and Beijing are investing in their hub airports.

“It’s not too late: We can have the vision and confidence to develop (LHR) into the world’s best connected airport if we take decisions now.”

A government-appointed Airports Commission is looking into the problem of capacity in South East England at present, but will not report before this May’s UK elections (and even then its findings will not be binding on whoever wins the poll).

News Item A-7: German rail operator Deutsche Bahn (along with several other unnamed companies) is set to file a billion-euro lawsuit seeking damages from 11 air cargo carriers, including Lufthansa Cargo (LUB) and British Airways (BAB), for allegedly operating a price-fixing cartel from 1999 - 2006.

News Item A-8: A320-232 (1834, G-GATL), AerCap (DER) leased.

March 2015: News Item A-1: The International Airlines Group (IAG) (parent company of British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ) reported a 2014 net profit of just over >€1 billion/+$1.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2014, compared to +€151 million for the previous year. The profit was achieved on revenue of €20.2 billion, up +8% on the previous year.

Capacity in (ASK)s rose +9.3%, with load factor dipping -0.4% to 80.4% (LF.

The increase in capacity extended across all regions, reflecting the full-year impact of low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VUA), the restoration of routes as part of Iberia (IBE)’s "Plan de Futuro," and changes to the (BAB) network, including up-gauging related to new fleet and additional flying from more efficient replacement airplanes.

The profit figures show that Iberia (IBE) is no longer dragging down the group’s figures. Until a couple of years ago, (BAB)’s profits were largely, or completely, canceled out by losses at (IBE), the Spanish flag-carrier. However, following a painful restructuring, (IBE) has seemingly turned the corner.

“(IBE) made an operating profit of +€50 million compared to an operating loss of -€166 million last year,” (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said. “(IBE)’s turnaround has been remarkable, both financially and operationally, and we’re very proud of its achievement, especially its strong cost discipline. In 2013, we said our intention was for (IBE) to breakeven in 2014 and it has fulfilled that promise.

“(BAB)’s operating profit increased to +€1,215 million, up from +€762 million last year, which shows significant progress towards its long term targets. Vueling (VUZ) made an operating profit of +€141 million, compared to an operating profit of +€139 million in 2013, with the airline focusing on flexible growth.

“We achieved a strong unit cost performance, down -4.1%, through increased productivity, supplier cost savings and lower fuel unit costs. The latter was boosted by the introduction of more efficient airplanes into our fleet and lower fuel prices in the last quarter of the year. “However, the positive effect of the oil price reduction has been partly offset by hedging and significant currency impact,” Walsh said.

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) commenced a 4x weekly service to the Spanish city of Seville (SVQ) from its London Gatwick (LGW) base on February 26th. Operated by the (IAG) airline’s 737-400s, the 1,588 km sector faces direct competition from easyJet (EZY) (5x weekly), as well as the indirect threat posed by Ryanair (RYR)’s daily services from London Stansted. Seville joins the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance carrier’s Spanish gateways of Alicante, Malaga, Barcelona, Tenerife South, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura, currently served from its Gatwick operation.

News Item A-3: British Airways (BAB) and Bank of China (SIL)) have finalized a 2.75 billion yuan deal for the purchase of two new Airbus A380 Superjumbos, in a ground-breaking deal that marks the first offshore yuan-dominated airplane financing loan in the industry.

Under the 12-year deal, the Chinese Bank will arrange yuan-denominated financing facilities through its London branch, acting as sole lender, agent and security trustee. The transaction provides financing for two A380s, one handed over this month and the other set for delivery in the fourth quarter.

April 2015: News Item A-1: The International Airlines Group (IAG) (parent company of British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), and Vueling (VUZ)) has reported a first-quarter net loss of -€26 million/-$29.1 million, narrowed from a -€184 million loss for the year-ago period. Operating profit was +€25 million, reversed from a loss of -€150 million a year ago, giving the Group its first-ever operating profit in the traditionally weak months after Christmas and New Year.

Separating out the three carriers’ individual operating profit figures, British Airways (BAB) posted a profit of +€117 million compared to a -€5 million loss last time; Iberia lost -€55 million, half of (1Q) 2014’s figure of -€111 million; while Vueling (VUZ)’s loss was -€29 million, barely changed from the -€30 million loss a year ago.

Group revenue was up +12% at slightly over €4.7 billion, compared to €4.2 billion a year ago, while costs climbed +7.6% to €4.68 billion, up from €4.35 billion.

Passenger revenue jumped +12.3% to €4.11 billion. Cargo revenue dipped -1.6% to €246 million. Other revenue sources saw a +19.4% rise to €345 million.

Capacity grew +5% to 59.1 billion (ASK)s, but this was outstripped by (RPK)s, which rose +6.2% to 45.9 billion in the first quarter. Load factor rose +1% to 77.7% LF.

“There was a strong improvement both at a Group level and with all three airlines,” (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said.

“At constant currency, revenue was up +3.7%, with passenger unit revenue down -0.8%. In particular, there was a consistent positive performance in our key North American market. “We achieved a strong unit cost performance with non-fuel unit costs down -2.7% and fuel unit costs down -11%, at constant currency. As before, fuel costs benefitted by operating more efficient airplanes and lower fuel prices though hedging and significant currency headwinds reduced the positive impact of lower oil prices.

“Cost discipline across our airlines continued through increased productivity and supplier cost savings, enabling us to improve our operating margin while growing capacity by +5%.”

The improvement in the group’s performance (for several years, (BAB)’s profits were negated by heavy losses at Iberia (IBE)) has made it a much more attractive proposition for investors. This was evidenced by Qatar Airways (QTA) taking of a 9.99% stake late last year. (QTA) carrier has said it would like to increase its stake in the future.

The UK-Spanish group said that it anticipates a whole-year operating profit “in excess of >+€2.2 billion,” although it cautioned that profit growth would slow in the second quarter due the combination of the timing of Easter this year (always a busy time for carrying leisure passengers) and an adverse year-on-year fuel price in this quarter (net of fuel and currency hedging).

News Item A-2: Iberia (IBE) & British Airways (BAB) Leave the Association of European Airlines (AEA) In a Clash Over Gulf Carriers" by Jens Flottau & Madhu Unnikrishnan, "Aviation Daily," April 15th, 2015.

In the worst clash so far among European airlines over how to deal with the Persian Gulf carriers, Iberia (IBE) and British Airways (BAB) left industry-lobby group, the Association of European Airlines (AEA) at the end of March.

The International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent of (BAB) and (IBE), told the "Aviation Daily" that “our position on some important policy issues is not aligned with many other (AEA) airlines.” The (IAG) in particular believes “that global liberalization of our industry is fundamental to our future growth and we are not willing to compromise on it.”

The conflict centers on demands put forth by Air France (AFA) - (KLM) and the Lufthansa (DLH) Group to limit access to Europe for Gulf carriers, and to investigate and limit what they perceive as state subsidies to Qatar Airways (QTA), Etihad Airways (EHD), and Emirates Airline (EAD). The (IAG) has taken a completely different approach. (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh has said numerous times that he has “no issues” with the growth of the Gulf airlines and that he admires them.

However, the (IAG)’s own interests are at work. After years of moving into a closer relationship, Qatar Airways (qta) has become the (IAG)’s largest shareholder, with a stake of almost 10% as of this year, and has indicated that it would like to own a larger stake.

European initiatives to counter Gulf airlines come at the same time as a USA-based lobbying campaign against the big three Gulf carriers led by Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL), and American Airlines (AAL), which have claimed the Gulf carriers received more than >$40 billion in subsidies from their governments.

But it is unlikely that the drama in Europe will play out with (AEA)’s analog in the USA, Airlines for America (A4A), people familiar with the matter have told "Aviation Daily." The issue has sown some dissension, however. Key (A4A) members (DAL), (UAL) and (AAL) are leading the charge against the Gulf carriers, but others are opposed to tinkering with "open skies" agreements. JetBlue Airways (JBL) has been very vocal in its support of "open skies," and this camp is thought to include Alaska Airlines (ASA), sources said. But the difference in opinion is not thought to be enough of an issue to tear the association asunder, these sources said.

(AEA) has more or less followed the Air France (AFA) - (KLM) and Lufthansa (DLH) approach, but vehemently opposed the notion that it was protectionist. The (IAG) has pulled back on its (AEA) involvement for some time. Walsh did not attend the last (AEA) summit in Istanbul late last year.

The (AEA) is understood to have desperately tried to keep the two (IAG) airlines on board. According to industry sources, Walsh has refused to take phone calls from (AEA) Chairman, Temel Kotil, who is also the (CEO) of Turkish Airlines, an airline, Air France (AFA) - (KLM) and Lufthansa (DLH) also see as a massive threat.

Kotil eventually traveled to London to meet Walsh, but was told in a meeting lasting only minutes that the decision is irreversible, according to the sources.

The move could ring the death knell for the (AEA), an association that has been operating in crisis mode for some time, and raises the question of whether it still has a future. It could give rise to renewed effort for a bigger association of European airlines that could combine what is left of (AEA) and the association representing charter airlines (IACA).

According to one source, the (IAG) is considering joining the European Low-Fare Airline Association (ELFAA) which represents carriers such as Ryanair (RYR) or Easyjet (EZY). With Vueling (VUZ), (ELFAA) does have the low-fare operators in the group.

Walsh has once-before played an instrumental role in turning another association, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), upside down. At the 2011 annual general meeting in Singapore, he supported calls by Gulf carriers for a stronger representation on the board of governors and criticized then-(IATA) (CEO), Giovanni Bisignani for his management of the association.

News Item A-3: The European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) has accepted the International Airlines Group (IAG) carriers British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Iberia Express as members, effective immediately. Barcelona-based budget carrier Vueling (VUZ), which is also an (IAG) airline, is already a member of the (ELFAA).

The (IAG) airlines resigned from the Association of European Airlines (AEA) in mid-April over differences regarding the (AEA)’s support for plans to investigate suspected state subsidies to Gulf carriers and, if necessary, limit their access to the European market.

Qatar Airways (QTA) currently has 10% ownership in the (IAG) and has said it would like to increase that stake.

(ELFAA) Secretary General, John Hanlon said: “This cements (ELFAA)’s position as the largest European airline group for passengers within Europe. Our new members will further strengthen our credentials as the major stakeholder group on European legislative and regulatory matters. They will add more weight to our voice on behalf of European consumers, who have benefited so greatly from the European Union (EU)’s liberalization of air transport.”

(ELFAA) now has 12 airline members: British Airways (BAB), EasyJet (EZY), Flybe (BEE), Iberia (IBE), Iberia Express, Jet2.com (JT2), Norwegian (NWG), Ryanair (RYR), Transavia (TAV), Volotea (VLZ), Vueling (VUZ), and Wizz Air (WZZ). Between them, they carry some 300 million passengers a year.

News Item A-4: Virgin Atlantic (VAA) has expressed concerns that the proposed takeover of Aer Lingus (ARL) by the International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of Iberia (IBE), Vueling (VUZ) and British Airways (BAB), will diminish competition.

News Item A-5: London Heathrow (LHR) Airport has become the first airport to implement time-based separation (TBS) for airplanes on final approach, in a bid to reduce delays caused by strong winds (the single most significant cause of arrival delay at the airport).

(TBS) has gone live as part of a phased introduction this year.
Traditionally, flights are separated on the approach, based on set distances dependent on airplane type, and the intensity of wake vortex they generate. In the event of strong headwinds, however, airplane ground speed decreases, resulting in extra time between each arrival. Having to maintain a set distance in those conditions, reduces the landing rate and can cause delays and cancellations.

On a normal day, (LHR) handles around 40 landings an hour, but that can drop to just 32 on windy days.

(TBS) uses time instead of distance to separate airplanes. It takes live wind data from the airplane to dynamically calculate the optimal safe spacing between each airplane, in order to maintain the landing rate. (LHR) estimates that strong headwinds affect operations at the airport on 65 days each year, resulting in approximately 160,000 minutes of delay. (TBS) is expected to halve that amount of delay and reduce the need for airlines to cancel flights.

(TBS) has been developed by UK air navigation services provider, (NATS) in conjunction with Lockheed Martin, and builds on initial (R&D) work undertaken through the Single European Sky (SES) (ATM) Research program (SESAR), and on a long-term partnership with Eurocontrol in wake vortex research. (NATS) has studied over >150,000 flights to measure the behavior of airplane wake vortices in strong headwinds, with the results showing that they dissipate more quickly in windy conditions. This means airplanes can be safely separated on final approach using a time-based method.

(NATS) Managing Director Operations, Martin Rolfe said: “Strong headwinds are the single biggest cause of arrival delay at (LHR) and the introduction of (TBS) will radically reduce delays and cancellations, while improving the airport’s resilience against disruption.”

While (TBS) is initially being introduced at (LHR), (NATS) says it could also prove beneficial at other major airports, both in the UK and around the world.

London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) is proposing to reduce domestic passenger charges and shift the financial emphasis of airport landing charges instead on incentivizing the use of cleaner, quieter airplanes.

News Item A-6: London City Airport (LCY) reports being ‘perplexed and disappointed’ at the refusal of the city’s civic head to allow a major expansion to proceed.

News Item A-7: The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will create an “aviation ombudsman” with powers to compel airlines to pay compensation.

News Item A-8: The number of passengers traveling through UK airports last year increased for the fourth year in a row, bringing the total to just below the pre-recession peak of 2007.

According to figures released by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), UK airports (excluding the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) handled 238 million passengers in 2014, an increase of +4.4% (10 million passengers) over 2013, and just three million short of the 2007 peak of 241 million.

European destinations accounted for the lion’s share of passengers, with a +5.4% increase over 2013 bringing the total to 144 million. The most popular European destination remains Spain (34.3 million), which saw a +4.7% increase year-on-year. Spain has now been the most popular destination from UK airports for more than >25 years.

Of the European destinations, Greece saw the biggest percentage rise (+13.2%) with 5.6 million passengers travelling there from UK airports in 2014. The largest decline was Poland, which saw passenger numbers from UK airports fall -2% to 5.2 million.

Outside Europe, North America saw a +2.3% increase, with passenger numbers reaching 21 million a year. Passengers traveling to and from all other international destinations were up +3.7% to 33.6 million, with the largest increase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), up +7.4% to 6.2 million. Australia saw the largest decline is passengers from UK airports, down a third from 744,000 in 2013 to 488,000 in 2014.

Domestic flights increased for the second year running, up +2.4% to 21 million year-on-year, but still well short of the 2005 peak of 25 million.

During 2014, air transport movements at all UK airports increased +1.1% to reach 2.1 million, with an increase of +3.2% or 31,000 movements at the London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, London City and Southend). The number of movements at all other UK airports, however, fell by -4,000.

The number of passengers handled by the London airports rose +5% to 147 million in 2014, with each handling their highest ever annual total. At UK airports outside London, traffic rose by +3.4% to 91.7 million passengers, with Manchester registering an increase of +6.1% to handle 22 million passengers in 2014.

The number of passengers traveling on charter flights continued to decline, falling -6% to 18.5 million year-on-year. Scheduled flights were up +5.3%, with UK airlines accounting for 57% of scheduled passengers, other (EU) airlines accounting for 28%, and non-(EU) airlines 15%.

(CAA) Director of Regulatory Policy, Iain Osborne said: “Our latest figures show that while passenger demand is increasing across the UK, flight numbers are growing much faster at London airports than elsewhere. This situation highlights both the pressures on airspace in the South East and the need for more runway capacity in London. With demand for air travel continuing to grow during 2015, these two issues must be tackled so consumers can continue to enjoy the full benefits of the UK’s strong aviation industry. But industry also needs to play its part by addressing environmental impacts, including reducing airplane noise and carbon emissions.”

News Item A-9: See attached "BAA-2015-04 - TOP 25 WORLD TRAFFIC.jpg."

May 2015: News Item A-1: The Irish government is to sell its 25% stake in flag carrier, Aer Lingus (ARL) to British Airways (BAB) owner, the International Airlines Group (IAG), the Transport Minister said on May 26th. "Following detailed consideration of all the issues surrounding a potential disposal of the State's shareholding in (ARL), the Government has decided that it will support the (IAG)'s proposal," Minister Paschal Donohoe said.

Ryanair (RYR) is remaining tight-lipped on whether it is willing to sell its 29.8% Aer Lingus (ARL) stake to the International Airlines Group (IAG).

The International Airlines Group (IAG) will make a €1.4 billion/$1.5 billion formal takeover bid for Aer Lingus (ARL), after winning crucial backing from the government of Ireland and (ARL)’s board.

The (IAG) has been courting (ARL) since last December, culminating in a third takeover proposal of €2.55/$2.78 per share in January. Unlike the two earlier approaches, this received a favorable response from (ARL), but was conditional on the (IAG) securing support from (ARL)’s two key shareholders: the government of Ireland and (RYR).

Late May 26th, the (IAG) announced it had agreed “the terms of a recommended cash offer” with both the Irish government and (ARL) by signing a transaction agreement which “contains certain assurances” for the future of (ARL).

The (IAG) has given “cast-iron guarantees” on (ARL)’s London Heathrow (LHR) slots, protected by a single "B" share which will be held by the Irish government. Aer Lingus (ARL) will maintain its current seasonal frequencies to Dublin, Cork, and Shannon for at least seven years and its other Heathrow - Ireland links for at least five years. (ARL) will now convene an (AGM) to approve the connectivity resolutions.

“The independent (ARL) Directors intend unanimously to recommend that (ARL) shareholders accept the offer,” the (IAG) said. “The government of Ireland has stated that it supports the offer and the Minister for Finance of Ireland has confirmed that the general principles of the disposal of his shares in (ARL) will be laid before Dáil Éireann [the lower house of the Irish Parliament] for approval.”

Later, the lower house of the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann, gave the Irish government the green light to sell its stake in Aer Lingus (ARL) to the International Airlines Group (IAG).

(RYR) said it was waiting on a formal approach from the (IAG), adding that it would consider any deal on its merits. The offer document will be sent to shareholders within 28 days. To succeed, the offer must be backed by at least 90% of (ARL) shareholders, which means that Ryanair (RYR)’s buy-in will be pivotal. It will also require competition clearance from the European Commission (EC).

Both (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh and (ARL) Chairman, Colm Barrington described the deal as “compelling,” adding that it will provide stronger transatlantic and regional connectivity for both (ARL) and the (IAG). “The company [(ARL)] will reap the commercial and strategic benefits of being part of the much larger and globally diverse (IAG) Group,” Barrington said.

Willie Walsh confirmed the "Aer Lingus" brand and its Irish head office will be retained. The (IAG) plans to develop Dublin as a transatlantic hub and Aer Lingus (ARL) will re-join the oneworld (ONW) alliance under its new ownership.

“(ARL) would add a fourth competitive, cost effective airline to the (IAG), enabling us to develop our network using Dublin as a hub between the UK, continental Europe and North America, generating additional financial value for our shareholders,” Walsh said.

The offer for 100% of (ARL) will be made by (AERL) Holding, a wholly owned (IAG) subsidiary, which has been created for the takeover. The directors of (AERL) Holding are Walsh, (IAG) (CFO), Enrique Dupuy and (IAG) General Counsel, Chris Haynes. (AERL) Holding plans to delist (ARL) from the Irish and London stock exchanges and re-register it as a private company.

The (IAG) operates a combined fleet of 459 airplanes, handling over >77 million passengers and 897,000 tonnes of cargo across its three carriers, British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ). Iberia (IBE) will add a fleet of 48 Airbus airplanes and three Boeing 757s to the group. Together with its regional franchise operation, (ARL) carried over >11.1 million passengers in 2014, generating a €1.6 billion turnover.

News Item A-2: British Airways (BA) is trialing new landing procedures at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) as it seeks to minimize noise disturbance to residents on the glide path.

(LHR)’s proximity to London (it lies 15 miles west of the city center) and the prevailing westerly wind, means that most landings are conducted over densely populated inner suburbs and there is an active anti-noise lobby. "(LHR) is probably the most noise-sensitive airport in Europe,” (BAB) Head of Environment, Jonathon Counsell said. Of particular concern to both (BAB) and residents, are a small number of long-haul flights that arrive before 6 am, shortly after the airport opens for the day.

Speaking at an Airbus "Environmental Briefing" in Toulouse, he said (BAB) will conduct four trial flights with the Airbus A380 this month using a slightly steeper approach to the runway, 3.2 degrees rather than the normal three degrees. At 10 miles out, this means the airplane will be 300 - 500 feet higher. Combined with other procedural changes, such as later lowering of the undercarriage, this is predicted to lower noise by up to five decibels, the level at which people detect a perceptible difference in noise levels.

At lower speeds, with engines throttled back for landing, airframe noise becomes a major component of what is heard on the ground; the turbulence created by the air rushing past the irregular shapes of piping around the main undercarriage legs is a significant cause of this noise.

It is understood that airplane and undercarriage manufacturers are looking at some form of aerodynamic shielding around the undercarriage legs to smooth the airflow on future airplane designs.

(BAB) will conduct further trials early next year to experiment with a two-stage approach to (LHR), with the earlier part of the descent at four degrees, Counsell said. This would put the airplane 1,000 ft higher at the 10-mile mark.

“It’s difficult to land a wide-bodied airplane at that descent rate, so it will intercept the 3.2 degree glide path at 1,500 feet and follow that descent rate to landing.

“The bigger and heavier the airplane, the more challenging it is, because it’s trying to speed up [at the higher descent angle]. The key is that you can program the airplane to do it.”

(BAB) has a company target of aiming to reduce flight noise by -15% by 2018, compared to a 2013 baseline.

News Item A-3: UK air navigation services provider (NATS) said it is on track to achieve its goal of saving 80,000 minutes of delay each year at London Heathrow (LHR) Airport through the implementation of time-based separation (TBS).

Using time rather than distance to separate aircraft on final approach to the airport, (TBS) was developed by (NATS) and Lockheed Martin and implemented at (LHR) last month. It is expected to halve headwind delays, the single biggest cause of arrival delay at the airport.

(NATS) pointed out that controllers were able to land an average of two more airplanes per hour than they would have been able to using conventional distance based separation when headwinds on final approach reached 35 knots on March 30. (NATS) said this effectively halved delays when compared to similar conditions that occurred on March 2 before (TBS) was introduced, despite the fact that March 30 was a busier day, with +24 more scheduled arrivals.

Under normal conditions (NATS) controllers land around 42 airplanes an hour at Heathrow; however, that falls dramatically in a strong headwind when airplanes fly more slowly over the ground. Traditionally, separation distances on arrival have been determined by the size of the wake vortex they create. However, (NATS) and Lockheed Martin spent five years studying the wake vortex of 150,000 aircraft to prove that it dissipates much more quickly in strong headwind conditions, therefore allowing separation distances to be reduced in order to maintain the landing rate. (TBS) uses real-time wind data to calculate the optimum safe time between arriving airplanes.

(NATS) (CEO), Martin Rolfe said: “There was a 35 knot headwind on (LHR) final approach on March 30. Before (TBS), that would have seen the landing rate drop to just 36 airplanes an hour resulting in major delays. But with (TBS) in place, we were landing around 38 consistently each hour and the benefits of that to passengers and airlines are huge.”

(LHR) Director Airside Operations, Derek Provan said: “(LHR) has been operating at 98% capacity for over a decade and so technology like this is essential to maintaining our efficient operations.”

(LHR) is the first airport in the world to introduce (TBS), and it was introduced there to address the problem of headwind delays. However, (NATS) and Lockheed Martin believe that being able to dynamically alter the separation times between airplanes could also help optimize runway capacity at other airports around the world.

News Item A-4: See video - - "BAB-2015-05-What a Wonderful World" -

A320-214 (1793, EC-ILR), ex-(F-WWIM), Iberia (IBE) wet-leased.

June 2015: News Item A-1: It's no longer just the luck of the Irish!

"Excellence in Irish aviation recognized at the Aviation Industry Awards 2015," June 1st 2015.

Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the International Airlines Group (IAG) (parent group of British Airways (BAB)) was announced as the winner of the "Outstanding Contribution to Aviation" award at the Aviation Industry Awards, which took place at a gala ceremony in Dublin on May 28th. The Awards celebrate excellence and innovation in the aviation industry. Sponsored exclusively by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), the event attracted 650 people from over >80 companies.

Willie Walsh was recognized for his many significant achievements to the aviation industry over the years, including the successful reconfiguration of Aer Lingus (ARL) during the global aviation downturn following "9/11;" the restructuring of British Airways (BAB) into a profitable airline and for his lead role in the merger of (BAB) with Iberia (IBE), which created the International Airlines Group (IAG).

The "Aviation Company of the Year" award went to Ryanair (RYR) (having already been declared the winner of the "Customer Service" category) for their “Always Getting Better" program, which was recognized for revolutionizing (RYR)’s business over the last 18 months, by placing customer service as a cornerstone to the company philosophy, and contributing to its +€867 million profit last year.

Air Contractors (HCA) was declared as the winner of the "Aircraft Operator" category for the introduction of the trans-Atlantic services on behalf of Aer Lingus (ARL) on their fleet of three Boeing 757 airplanes, helping Air Contractors (HCA) to carry over >400,000 passengers during 2014.

As well as other major industry players, such as AerCap (DEA) (winner of the "Leasing Achievement" category), (GECAS) (GEF) (for Innovation), Eirtech (for "Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO)"), and Stobart Air (for "Safety"), Captain Kieran O’Connor of the National Flight Center received a "Special Recognition Award" for his pivotal role in the Irish aviation training sector over many years.

In his key-note address, the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Paschal Donohoe, (TD), took the opportunity to highlight the momentous decision by the Government to approve the sale of the State’s 25.1% shareholding in Aer Lingus (ARL) to the (IAG), which was subsequently approved by the Dáil. The Minister also endorsed the work of the newly establish Irish Historic Flight Foundation.

Speaking after the ceremony, Eamonn Brennan, (IAA) (CEO) said, “We’re delighted to sponsor these Awards for a second consecutive year. Many congratulations to all of the winning companies, as well as the runners-up for making the shortlist. I am particularly pleased to see due recognition go to Ryanair (RYR), Air Contractors (HCA) and of course, Willie Walsh for his outstanding contribution to aviation.

From the (IAA)’s perspective, these Awards celebrate key achievements of businesses and individuals who work tirelessly to grow this sector, create jobs and to ensure a safe and efficient aviation industry. Ireland is a ‘center of excellence’ for aviation and the success and immense growth of the aviation sector in Ireland would not be possible without the outstanding work carried out by individuals and businesses across the entire island, from airlines to airports, pilots (FC), engineers (MT), finance and leasing companies, support services, researchers, training institutions, safety and security professionals, and, of course, the general aviation enthusiasts.”

The Awards were adjudicated by an independent judging panel from across the aviation industry.

News Item A-2: The International Airlines Group (IAG), currently in the midst of an attempt to acquire Aer Lingus (ARL), has offered concessions to the European Commission’s (EC) competition authorities in its efforts to gain approval for the bid.

A brief note on the competition section of the (EC) website said “remedies” were offered by the (IAG), parent group of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), in connection with its proposed takeover.

The deadline for the (EC)’s decision on whether to allow the bid has also been pushed back by two weeks, to July 15.

Rivals to (BAB) have raised concerns about the threat to competition if the takeover is allowed.

“The (IAG)’s engagement with the (EC) is ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage,” an (IAG) spokeswoman said when asked about the nature of the proposed concessions.

Concessions in such cases can take several forms, such as an offer by the acquiring airline to give up a certain number of slots to rivals. The (IAG) has already said it will maintain Aer Lingus (ARL)’s brand, management and connectivity to the UK.

Dublin airport, (ARL)’s base, is becoming an increasingly attractive jumping-off point for westbound transatlantic passengers from the UK, who can avoid London’s crowded London Heathrow (LHR) airport. Dublin also has a USA immigration pre-clearance facility, which means that passengers effectively arrive in the USA without having to negotiate the frequently lengthy immigration queues at USA airports.

The (IAG) has been trying to take over (ARL) since late last year. It received approval last month from the Irish government, which holds 25% of Aer Lingus (ARL)’s shares, for its bid.

The other remaining hurdle to the (IAG) bid is Ryanair (RYR)’s 29.8% stake in (ARL). The (IAG) has said it does not wish to have a large minority shareholder; the UK competition authorities have been trying for some years to force (RYR) to sell down its shares to 5% of the total, with (RYR) furiously resisting in the courts. (RYR) has previously said it would look at any bid for its shares from an acquiring part on its merits.

News Item A-3: The last flight will depart from London Heathrow Airport (LHR)’s Terminal 1 late Monday, June 29, as (LHR) prepares to decommission the facility after 47 years of operation.

Opened as a domestic facility in May 1968, the terminal has now been superseded by the new Terminal 2, which was built as part of an £11 billion/$17.3 billion investment program aimed at transforming the London hub.

Over the last year, the majority of flights have moved from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2, meaning that more than >60% of (LHR) passengers now travel through the new terminals 5 and 2.

The final departure from the terminal was a British Airways (BAB) flight to Hanover. (BAB), in the guise of regional carrier, British European Airways (BEA), was also the first airline to operate from the terminal in 1968. Its opening led to the renaming of all three terminals in (LHR)’s Central Terminal Area: the Europa Terminal became Terminal 2, and the Oceanic Terminal became Terminal 3.

(LHR) said the terminal closure would “make way for improved service and way finding around the airport,” and the site will eventually be used to build an extension of the new Terminal 2 with enough capacity to eventually replace Terminal 3. The airport said that, if the government supports development of a third runway at (LHR), then Terminal 2 would be extended to provide “enough capacity to connect Britain to the world for the 21st century.”

In its heyday, Terminal 1 was the biggest short-haul terminal of its kind in Western Europe and handled approximately nine million passengers at peak capacity. (BAB) also operated its Concorde charter flights (champagne specials that flew around the Bay of Biscay and back again) from the terminal. In the last few weeks, the terminal has been home to just 17 (BAB) flights and around 1,700 passengers a day, as airlines were phased out of the terminal. The last remaining (BAB) operations have been transferred to terminals 3 and 5.

(LHR) (CEO), John Holland Kaye said: “The closure of Terminal 1 marks another important milestone in the transformation of (LHR). Terminal 1 has served Britain well for nearly 50 years, but will soon make way for the expansion of Terminal 2, giving Britain a world class airport that we can all be proud of.”

July 2015: News Item A-1: The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent of British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), and Vueling (VUZ), reported a net profit of +€358 million/+$397 million for the second quarter ended June 30, up +27.9% on the same period last year.

Revenue for the period was up +11.2% to £5.7 billion, while operating costs were up 8.9% to £5.1 billion, resulting in an operating profit of +€530 million, up +39.5% on the year-ago quarter.

For the 2nd quarter, (BAB) improved its operating profit to +€453 million, up +36% year-on-year; (IBE) more than tripled its operating profit to +€51 million; (VUZ)’s operating profit declined -20% to €24 million year-on-year due to a +13.9% capacity increase.

The group’s second-quarter passenger numbers were up +8.7% year-on-year to 22 million, with seat factor stable at 80.7% LF. (ASK)s and (RPK)s both increased +5.5%, to 68.1 billion and 55 billion, respectively.

“We said previously that profit improvement would be slower in the second quarter and we are on track to reach our full year targets,” (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said. “We continue to take cost out of the business, with both employee and supplier unit costs down at constant currency, and improvements in productivity levels. In the half year, we made an operating profit of +€555 million, which is up from a +€230 million operating profit last year.”

Looking forward, the (IAG) said, “At current fuel prices and exchange rates our outlook remains unchanged. (IAG) expects in 2015 to generate an operating profit in excess of >+€2.2 billion.”

News Item A-2: "Ryanair (RYR) to Sell Aer Lingus (ARL) Stake to Rival (IAG) Group" By Shawn Pogatchnik, "AP" July 10, 2015.

(RYR) has agreed to sell its shares in Irish rival Aer Lingus (ARL) to the (IAG), putting the British Airways (BAB) parent solidly on course to acquire (ARL), the former Irish national airline.

(RYR) (CEO) Michael O'Leary said July 10 that (RYR)'s board has voted unanimously to sell its nearly 30% stake in (ARL), formally ending (RYR)'s own nine-year effort to seize (ARL). British and European competition authorities had repeatedly blocked (RYR)'s effort and ordered (RYR) to divest itself, but O'Leary still was fighting those rulings in various courts.

O'Leary called the (IAG) offer "a reasonable one in the current market" that would allow (RYR), Europe's fastest-growing airline, to record "a small profit."

The International Airlines Group (IAG) unveiled its EUR1.3 billion/US$1.45 billion takeover bid for (ARL) in January. The bid now has won acceptance from all three key investors: top shareholder (RYR); (ARL)'s own board; and the Irish government, which retained a 25% stake, when it privatized (ARL) in 2006.

The (IAG), which also owns Spain's Iberia (IBE) airline, had made its takeover bid conditional on acceptance by (RYR). It offered no immediate reaction to (RYR)'s decision.

Grass-roots shareholders are expected to back the offer at a Dublin extraordinary general meeting July 9. The deal still requires approval by European Union (EU) competition regulators.

The (IAG) already has agreed to a package of concessions to Irish interests to win support from the government. These include giving the government an indefinite right to veto the sale of (ARL)'s strategic landing slots at London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) and a guarantee that those slots will be used to operate Irish routes for at least the next seven years.

(ARL) owns the fourth-most slots at (LHR), Europe's busiest hub. Industry analysts have estimated their value alone at EUR450 million/US$500 million.

The (IAG) also has pledged to increase trans-Atlantic traffic operating from Ireland, boosting tourism and business opportunities for the island nation, which is heavily dependent on air links.

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh, a Dubliner, previously held the same position at (ARL).

Shares in (RYR) and the (IAG) rose more than >2% July 10, while (ARL) rose more moderately to (IAG)'s bid price of EUR2.50/US$2.80 per share.

Later, The European Commission (EC) approved the International Airlines Group’s (IAG) acquisition of Aer Lingus (ARL), subject to the carriers surrendering five slot pairs at London Gatwick Airport.

Detailing its conclusions, the (EC) said it required “significant concessions” on routes from London to Dublin and Belfast for the tie-up to go ahead. “The (EC) had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition on several routes,” the (EC) said, identifying Dublin - London, Belfast - London and Dublin - Chicago as the main competition pinch points for the deal.

To appease the regulator, the (IAG) offered to give up five daily Gatwick slot pairs to its rivals. Two of these five daily slots must be used to serve Dublin, while a third is reserved for Belfast flights. The remaining two pairs can be used for either Dublin or Belfast.

The (EC) also insisted that (ARL) must continue to accept rival airlines’ connecting passengers at Amsterdam, Dublin, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, and Shannon.

“These commitments adequately address all competition concerns identified by the (EC). The (EC) therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it,” the (EC) concluded.

The (IAG) issued a brief statement, confirming the remedies and welcoming the ruling. This marks another major milestone for the takeover, following (RYR)’s recent confirmation that it is willing to sell its (ARL) shares to the (IAG).

Later again, on July 16, the (IAG) received approval from the USA Department of Justice (DOJ) for its (ARL) acquisition, which has cleared a series of pivotal shareholder votes. “The (IAG) has received notice from the USA Department of Justice that its review of the offer has been satisfactorily concluded. This was a condition to the offer,” the (IAG) said in a stock market disclosure. The (EC) has already cleared the deal after accepting a series of competition remedies proposed by the (IAG).

News of the USA approval followed an extraordinary meeting of (ARL) shareholders, where a series of lynchpin resolutions for the acquisition were passed. Backing for these resolutions, which give assurances for the future of (ARL), was also a condition of the offer.

One of the resolutions was to create a single B share, to be held by the Minister for Finance of Ireland, which will protect Aer Lingus (ARL)’s (LHR) slots. A second connectivity resolution commits (ARL) to maintain its current seasonal frequencies to Dublin, Cork and Shannon for at least seven years and its other Heathrow-Ireland links for at least five years.

“All resolutions set out in the notice of extraordinary general meeting of the company held on 16 July 2015 were passed by shareholders following a poll conducted at the meeting,” (ARL) told the stock exchange.

The (IAG) is making a €1.4 billion/$1.5 billion takeover bid for (ARL), which it initiated last December culminating in a third takeover proposal of €2.55 per share in January. The "Aer Lingus" brand and its Irish head office will be retained. The (IAG) plans to develop Dublin as a transatlantic hub and (ARL) will re-join the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance under its new ownership.

To succeed, the offer must be backed by at least 90% of (ARL)’s shareholders, which is likely, now Ryanair (RYR) and the Irish government have both committed to sell. However, (IAG) announced it would extend the duration of the offer, which was originally due to close July 16, until July 30.

News Item A-3: "British Airways (BAB)’s 1st 787-9 Destination is Delhi" by (ATW) Victoria Moores, July 13, 2015.

British Airways (BAB) has named London Heathrow (LHR) - Delhi as its first Boeing 787-9 route, from October 25, and is moving ahead with plans to revamp its Boeing 747 fleet.

(BAB) already operates eight of the smaller 787-8s and is due to take its first 787-9 in September. The 787-9 will be deployed 5x-weekly between (LHR) and Delhi.

“Abu Dhabi/Muscat (a double sector flight) and Kuala Lumpur will be the next destinations on (BAB)’s network to receive the 787-9 after Delhi. Details of the first official flight to the destinations will be issued in due course,” (BAB) said. “With a total of 42 787s destined to join (BAB), the 787 is to become the mainstay of (BAB)’s fleet.”

The 787-9 delivery will also mark the launch of (BAB)’s “First” premium cabin on the 787, designed by London agency "Forpeople" and (BAB)’s in-house teams. Joining (BAB)’s World Traveller (economy (Y)), World Traveller Plus (premium economy (PY)) and Club World (business class (C)) cabins, the 787-9 First (F) cabin will be configured with eight seats, more storage, a device charging area, as well as improved in-flight entertainment and seat controls.

As reported in September 2014, (BAB) is also modernizing 18 of its 747s, with the first slated to enter service in September. These 747s will operate selected flights to New York (JFK), Chicago, Lagos, Dubai, Boston, Riyadh, and Kuwait, with further routes added in summer 2016.

“In response to customer demand, (BAB) is changing the 747’s configuration and adding an additional 16C Club World seats. The 747’ cabins are also receiving a cabin face-lift and a new Panasonic (eX3) next generation in-flight entertainment system,” (BAB) said.

News Item A-4: London’s Heathrow airport (LHR) should be the site for the much-needed extra runway capacity in London and the South East UK, according to an official report. After more than two years of deliberations, the Davies Commission “unanimously concluded” that a third runway, to the northwest of the current two east-west aligned runways, offered the best option for generating strategic and economic benefits for the UK.

It said the other two short-listed options—extending the northerly of the two existing runways, then splitting it into separate areas for takeoffs and landings (and a second runway at London Gatwick would not deliver the same levels of benefits).

The UK government’s Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin said his department “will now consider that advice in detail. As a nation, we must be ambitious and forward looking. This is a once in a generation opportunity to answer a vital question.”

Prime Minister, David Cameron told Parliament July 1st the government would make its decision on the report’s recommendations by the end of the year. The report’s decision places Cameron in a difficult position. He said in 2009 he would never allow a third runway to be built at (LHR). And several cabinet ministers whose parliamentary constituencies are affected by noise from (LHR) are opposed to the plan.

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who became a Member of Parliament at the May general election, is also vehemently opposed to the plan and has predicted it will be mired in years of legal challenges on environmental grounds.

The commission said a new northwest runway would provide the capacity for around 40 new destinations from the airport and generate £147 billion/$230 billion and more than >70,000 new jobs by 2050.

It said its recommended option “is a fundamentally different proposition from previous proposals to expand at (LHR). It is situated further west than the current runways, which will help to reduce the number of people affected by noise.” It added that the new runway would not increase noise above current levels.

According to the report, conditions for local residents would also be improved by a ban on all scheduled night flights from 11:30 pm to 6 am; a legally binding “noise envelope” putting firm limits on the level of noise; and a new aviation noise levy to fund measures such as noise insulation for homes and schools in the area.

It added that the government should make a firm commitments that there should be no fourth runway at (LHR).

While accepting the government would have to review the decision carefully, Commission Chairman, Howard Davies urged it not to prolong the process. “Further delay will be increasingly costly and will be seen, nationally and internationally, as a sign that the UK is unwilling or unable to take the steps needed to maintain its position as a well-connected, open trading economy in the 21st century.”

Reaction to the July 1st’s long-awaited announcement of the preferred option for a new runway at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in South East England was swift, with predictably mixed views. Gatwick Airport said it will fight on after (LHR) runway backing.

News Item A-5: London Heathrow (LHR) Airport canceled 22 flights on July 13 after environmental protestors from the "Plane Stupid" action group cut through the perimeter fence and padlocked themselves to each other.

A (LHR) spokeswoman said the canceled flights resulted in delays of up to 30 minutes for much of the day. However, some of the delays and cancelations were the result of winds at (LHR) that led to an increase in spacing between flights.

The demonstration followed this month’s announcement by the UK’s Airports Commission that it favored a third runway at (LHR) to ease the capacity shortage in the south East UK. "Plane Stupid" believes there must be overall reductions in the number of flights to help prevent climate change.

The protest began shortly before 0345 local time after a group of 13 protestors was detected on the airport’s northern runway. (LHR) operates restrictions on takeoffs and landings between 2330 and 0600 local time to minimize disturbance to the sleep of nearby residents.

“Both runways were operational throughout, although there have been some delays and a few cancellations (we are sorry to those passengers who experienced disruption this morning),” said (LHR). (LHR) normally handles around 1,300 movements a day.

“The safety of our passengers and the smooth running of the operation is paramount. Anyone who breaks the law and interferes with the safe operation of the airport can expect to face legal action.”

The protestors padlocked themselves at the eastern extremity of the northern runway, with the result that most flights were able to take off with only a small reduction in available runway length. The airport’s southern runway was unaffected.

News Item A-6: "UK Regulator Launches ‘Drone Code’ Following Lufthansa dLH) Near-miss" by (ATW) Alan Dron, July 22, 2015.

Increasing numbers of near misses between un-manned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and airliners in the UK have prompted the country’s regulator to launch a new code of practice for (UAV) operators.

The code, launched Wednesday July 22 with a "Drone Safety Awareness Day," immediately follows a near-miss between a Lufthansa (DLH) Embraer EMB-195 and an un-identified (UAV) on the approach to Warsaw’s Chopin Airport on July 20.

Illustrating the dangers, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) released details of one such incident, known as an “airprox,” involving an unnamed airline’s Airbus A320, which came within an estimated 20 feet of a remotely controlled mini-helicopter hovering over London Heathrow (LHR) Airport in July 2014. The A320 was at 700 feet, on short finals to runway 09L.

The (CAA) has recorded three further instances of airproxes between airliners and (UAV)s between May 2014 and March this year.

There are increasing fears of a collision between a (UAV) and an airliner. Many close calls have occurred near airports, when airliners are at low altitude and speed, worsening the potential effect of a collision.

In January, air traffic controllers (ATCs) at Dubai International, the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passengers, had to suspend all operations for just under an hour after small (UAV)s were seen in the vicinity of the runway. Neighboring Abu Dhabi has since banned all drone sales to the public.

The (CAA) has launched its new code of practice in conjunction with the UK’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) provider, (NATS) and the pilots (FC)’s union, (BALPA), targeting the increasing number of recreational drone users.

There have been UK guidelines in place for some time (for example, drones must always be kept within the operator’s line of sight, not exceed a maximum altitude of 400 feet, and be kept away from airports or airfields) but these are now being re-emphasized.

There is already criminal legislation in the UK that can charge drone operators with “recklessly endangering an aircraft in flight,” which can result in a prison sentence. In April 2014, the (CAA) successfully prosecuted an individual for flying an un-manned aircraft through restricted airspace over a nuclear submarine base, believed to be the first such prosecution world wide.

“We want to embrace and enable the innovation that arises from the development of drone technology, but we must ensure that this is done safely, with all airspace users in mind,” (CAA) Director of Policy, Tim Johnson said on Wednesday, July 22.

“It is imperative that people observe the rules when operating a drone. Drone users must understand that when taking to the skies they are entering one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world. When doing so, they must be aware of the rules and regulations for flying drones that are designed to keep all air users safe.”

The (CAA) has welcomed moves by drone manufacturers to build “geo-fencing” capabilities into their products. Geo-fencing prohibits drones from being flown into pre-programmed geographical areas, such as airport control zones. It can also set altitude limits.

The (CAA) has also launched a dedicated on-line resource, where existing and potential users can access advice on safe drone operation.

News Item A-7: Oneworld (ONW) Alliance carrier British Airways (BAB) has identified the Indian capital, Delhi as the first destination for its new Boeing 787-9 fleet. The 787-9 will be introduced on the route from London Heathrow (LHR) on October 25.

(BAB) will also begin operating the type to Abu Dhabi and Muscat, as well as Kuala Lumpur, following the 787-9’s deployment on the Indian route.

(BAB) will take delivery of the initial Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 1000)-powered 787-9 in September.

It is configuring 787-9 in four classes, introducing a first-class cabin on the 787-9 which will feature 8F seats. There will also be 42C business, 39PY premium-economy, and 127Y economy seats on the type.

This will mean that the 787-9 will have 216 seats overall, just +2 more than (BAB)’s 787-8s, which have a three-class layout without a first-class section.

(BAB) already operates eight of the shorter 787-8s. (BAB) has ordered a total of 42 787s including 22 787-9s and 12 787-10s.

August 2015: News Item A-1: "The (IAG) Seals Deal for Aer Lingus (ARL)" by (ATW) Anne Paylor, August 18, 2015.

British Airways (BAB) owner, the International Airlines Group (IAG) has confirmed its deal to acquire Aer Lingus (ARL) after Ryanair (RYR) formally agreed to sell its 30% share in Aer Lingus (ARL).

(RYR) agreed in July to sell its 29.8% (ARL) stake to the (IAG), but said it would not issue a formal acceptance of the offer until mid-August, forcing the (IAG) twice to extend the share offer deadline. (RYR)’s acceptance was a condition of the (IAG)’s bid for (ARL), and the offer is now wholly unconditional as all the conditions have been satisfied.

(IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh said: “We’d like to welcome Aer Lingus (ARL) into the (IAG). It will remain an iconic Irish brand with its base and management team in Ireland, but will now grow as part of a strong, profitable airline group. This means new routes and more jobs benefitting customers, employees and the Irish economy and tourism."

By 13.00 on August 18, the (IAG) had received valid acceptances of the offer for 95.77% of the existing issued share capital of (ARL). The offer will remain open until September 1 for any (ARL) shareholders who have not yet accepted.

(ARL) will apply for cancellation of its share listings and trading of (ARL) shares on the Irish Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange, expected to become effective on September 17. Any outstanding shares will then be acquired compulsorily and (ARL) re-registered as a private company.

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) has announced it will commence direct Glasgow International - Salzburg flights during the last quarter of the year. The Saturday-only flights will operate on-board an A319-100 with effect from December 12.

“The new route to Salzburg is sure to be popular with those looking to hit the slopes this winter, offering ideal access to some of the top resorts, including Zell am See, Saalbach and Obertauern," Francois Bourienne, Glasgow Airport’s Commercial Director, said.

The point-to-point service represents a departure from (BAB)'s traditional approach of routing international flights via its London hubs.

News Item A-3: British Airways will launch Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner service between London Heathrow (LHR) and San Jose, California next year.

The flights to start May 4, 2016, will be the first direct link between San Jose and London. San Jose will become (BAB)’s fourth destination in California; it already serves Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

(BAB) sees this as a (LHR) connection to the heart of the USA "high tech" sector. The big appeal here has to be to business (C) passengers moving between Silicon Valley and London, enabling them to fly directly, without a drive from San Francisco, or a flight/drive from Los Angeles. Putting the 787-9 on the route, clearly signals a major commitment by (BAB) to build the city pair.

San Jose Aviation Director, Kim Becker said London has been “the number one requested international destination” by San Jose passengers. The sector will become (BAB)’s 20th USA route from its (LHR) hub, the fourth city served in California (joining Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego), and based on the number of frequencies being flown this summer (plus the extra ones announced to Seattle-Tacoma and Las Vegas) not being changed in Summer 2016, means (BAB) the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance carrier will operate over >270 flights per week on this most important market.

The 787-9 operating on the route will be configured with 218 seats including 8F in first class, 42C in business class, 39PY in premium economy, and 127Y in economy. (BAB) expects to take delivery of its first 787-9 in September. It currently operates eight 787-8s.

The route news comes on the heels of Delta Air Lines (DAL) announcing it will launch flights between Salt Lake City and (LHR) in May 2016.

The USA Routes from (LHR) and weekly frequency to be as follows:-

New York (JFK):- - - - - - - 56x

Boston (BOS):- - - - - - - - 28x

Seattle-Tacoma (SEA):- - - - 12x

Las Vegas:- - - - - - - - - 10x

Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Houston Intercontinental (IAH), New
York Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), Los Angeles (LAX),
Miami (MIA), San Francisco (SFO), Washington Dulles (IAD) - - 14x

Phoenix (PHX), San Diego (SAN), Atlanta (ATL), Denver (DEN),
Austin-Bergstrom (AUS), Baltimore/Washington (BWI), and
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) - - 7x

News Item A-4: Finnair (FIN) Cargo and the International Airlines Group (IAG) have signed an agreement to link their respective cargo networks through a new connecting service.

The Finnish carrier (FIN) Cargo is starting a 2x-weekly service between Helsinki and London, with the aim of connecting (FIN)’s extensive connections to Asia with (IAG)’s destinations in the Americas. (IAG)’s component airlines, British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), have major route networks in North and South America, respectively.

The new Helsinki - London service will be operated by a (DHL) A300-600F freighter under contract to Finnair (FIN). The A300-600F has a 43-tonne freight capacity.

Finnair (FIN) Cargo describes the new link as an important strategic move, creating a third cargo hub to join those in Helsinki and Brussels. “This partnership with (IAG) Cargo offers our customers considerably improved connections between Asia and the UK, and adds tens of new connections between our Nordic home market, North America and Asia,” Finnair Cargo Head, Antti Kuusenmäki said.

“This deal will open up new markets for our customers while supporting the responsible management of capacity on our network,” (IAG) Cargo (CEO), Steve Gunning added.

European cargo airlines have been under pressure in recent years, partly due to the expansion of the Gulf “Big Three” airlines (Emirates (ead), Etihad Airways (EHD), and Qatar Airways (QTA) into the continent, notably with the considerable belly-hold capacity of their Boeing 777s.

News Item A-5: London’s Heathrow (LHR) Airport is trialing steeper landing approaches to reduce airplane noise next month, following British Airways (BAB)’s Airbus A380 trial flights in May.

The trial, which will start September 14 and has been approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), is planned to run until March 16, 2016. It is one of 10 practical steps (LHR) is taking to explore ways to improve the noise climate around the airport. If adopted, (LHR) will be the only airport in the UK to introduce steeper approaches as a means of reducing noise on the ground.

The aim of the trial is to test whether a steeper approach angle is possible and will reduce noise for people living near the airport.

The international standard approach to most airports in the world is set at 3 degrees, except for obstacle clearance, but (LHR) will trial a 3.2 degree approach with the aim ultimately of increasing that to 3.5 degrees. (LHR) said that the introduction of steeper approach angles at Germany’s Frankfurt Airport had had a positive impact on noise pollution.

The trial will only affect arriving airplanes on final approach into (LHR), but should position those airplanes between 300 and 500 feet higher when they are 10 miles from touchdown using the 3.2 degree approach than they would be using the conventional approach angle. It will be used on all four runway approaches (27R, 27L, 09R, 09L).

While the trial is optional, (LHR) expects “a large number of airlines that have the necessary standard of navigational equipment for this approach” to take part.

Steeper approaches, combined with other new operating procedures and new airplane technology, are aimed at ensuring that, even with proposed expansion of the airport, fewer people around (LHR) would be affected by airplane noise.

(LHR) Director of Sustainability & Environment, Matt Gorman said: “Steeper approaches are just one step in the right direction, and along with other quieter operating procedures and incentives to bring quieter airplanes into operation, will ensure fewer people are affected by noise, even with an expanded airport.”

News Item A-6: British Airways (BAB) has entered into a 12-year agreement with Boeing (TBC) to provide Component Services for its 787 Dreamliner fleet.

Boeing (TBC) will supply (BAB) with a pool of selected high-value parts for its 787s that should help (BAB) to reduce its inventory management costs, while improving component availability. (BAB) currently has eight 787s in its fleet, and 34 more on order.

Component Services, which is part of Boeing GoldCare, establishes and maintains a pool of parts selected to fit each customer's fleet needs. The customer contacts Boeing (TBC) for replacement of program-covered parts, which are shipped within a timeframe determined by the airline, based on criticality. Boeing then handles the repair, upgrade or warranty service of the unserviceable part. The (BAB) contract adds 42 airplanes to Boeing (TBC)'s growing Component Services customer base.

(BAB) Director of Engineering, Andy Kerswill said: "This new Boeing (TBC) service, which provides us with replacement parts quickly and efficiently, will help us to maintain our global 787 flight schedule and continue to deliver a consistently great performance for our customers."

Boeing Commercial Aviation Services (BCA) VP of sales, Rick Anderson said Component Services offered "a simple way for airlines to reduce the total cost of airplane ownership, giving them a competitive advantage in their markets." Boeing Commercial Aviation Services (BCA) is a business unit of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA).

News Item A-7: The International Airlines Group (IAG) (parent of British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), and Vueling (VUZ)) has converted options for 20 Airbus A320neos into firm orders.

The airplanes will be delivered between 2020 and 2021 and can be used by any airline in the group for fleet replacement. The options were originally placed in August 2013.

The (IAG) has also confirmed that it is converting eight A350-900 and three A330-200 long-haul aircraft options into firm orders for Iberia (IBE). These aircraft will be delivered between 2016 and 2021 and will enable Iberia (IBE) to replace and expand its existing long-haul fleet.

The A320neo list price, as at January 2012, was approximately $92 million; the A330-200, $185 million; and the A350-900, $285 million, but the (IAG) said it had negotiated “a substantial discount from the list price.” It said it had “a range of financing options and will choose the most appropriate source closer to the delivery time.” The (IAG) expects, in the long term, that its assets will have at least a 12% return on invested capital.

News Item A-8: "Top 10 Premium Economy Class 2015" by AIRWAYS publication placed British Airways (BAB) in 8th place - - see attached "BAB-2015-08 - Top 10 Premium Economy 2015 - 8th."

News Item A-9: "737 Classic Era Comes to an End at British Airways (BAB)" by (ATW) Alan Dron, August 21, 2015.

More than three decades of Boeing 737 service at British Airways (BAB) is due to come to an end in the next few weeks as (BAB) retires its last examples of the twinjet.

(BAB) has just three 737 Classics remaining in service, the last survivors of what was, at its height, a 39-strong fleet serving domestic and European destinations.

(BAB) took delivery from Boeing (TBC) of its first 737-200 in 1980 to start replacing the Hawker Siddeley Trident and has also operated the 737-300 and 737-500 series variants since then. In all, (BAB) has operated well over >100 of the Boeing (TBC) narrow bodies.

For many years, the mainstay of (BAB)’s short-haul fleet, the 737 has slowly been replaced by the Airbus A320 family. The remaining examples have for some years operated out of London Gatwick on European routes.

Specialist websites have predicted that the last service will be a London Gatwick - Turin round trip on September 30, but a (BAB) spokeswoman said that the date and destination of the last flight had yet to be confirmed and could change for operational reasons.

The airplanes are likely to be sold on to a new operator, she said.

September 2015: News Item A-1: The International Airlines Group (IAG) has acquired Aer Lingus (ARL) after shareholders, representing 98.05% of the Irish carrier, signed up to sell their stakes to takeover vehicle (AERL) Holding Limited.

“As at 1500 Irish time on September 1, 2015, (AERL) Holding Limited, the wholly owned subsidiary of (IAG), had received valid acceptances of the offer for 529,779,029 Aer Lingus (ARL) shares, representing 98.05% of the existing issued share capital of (ARL),” the (IAG) said in a stock market update released September 2.

The (IAG) declared its offer closed and said payment for the (ARL) shares will be released within 14 days. It added that (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh has become a non-executive director of (ARL), following the (IAG)’s acquisition of the Irish carrier.

(ARL) announced the resignation of 10 directors: Colm Barrington, Montie Brewer, Laurence Crowley, Emer Gilvarry, John Hartnett, Nigel Northridge, Frank O’Connor, Nicola Shaw, William Slattery and Nicolás Villén. It said the resignations took immediate effect, “subsequent to acquisition by the (IAG).”

News Item A-2: "British Airways: Fury As Airline Regains Monopoly on Flights Between London Heathrow and Scotland" By Simon Calder, The Independent, September 25, 2015.

British Airways (BAB) regains its monopoly on flights connecting Scotland with London Heathrow (LHR) for the first time since 1982. The final Virgin Atlantic (VAA) flights from Aberdeen and Edinburgh to Europe's busiest airport, departed on September 26, following heavy losses by Sir Richard Branson's airline (VAA).

The (VAA) flights, badged "Little Red," were operated by the Irish airline, Aer Lingus (ARL). The links used slots surrendered by (BAB) as part of the deal to take over its competitor (bmi), which previously operated flights from (LHR) to Scotland.

Announcing the closure, Sir Richard said: "We were offered a meager package of slots on a short-term basis, and decided to lease a couple of planes and give it our best shot. The odds were stacked against us and sadly, we just couldn't attract enough corporate business on these routes." Unless another operator volunteers to take over the routes (which looks unlikely), the slots will revert to (BAB).

News Item A-3: British Airways (BAB) begins Glasgow - Salzburg service on December 12. It also begins 3x-weekly London Gatwick (LGW) - Lima Boeing 777 service May 4 On October 30, the service goes to 2x-weekly. Also beginning in 2016, (BAB) offers 2x-weekly, London (LGW) - San Jose, Costa Rica Boeing 777 service on May 4.

British Airways (BAB) entered the Egyptian market from London Gatwick (LGW), with its first route to the North African country from the UK airport (namely to Sharm El Sheikh (SSH)). It does however, fly to Cairo on a daily basis from London Heathrow (LHR). Life on the airport pair is not going to be easy, with 20 competing weekly frequencies from Monarch Airlines (MON) (eight), Thomson Airways (ATZ)/(TFY) (seven), easyJet (EZY) (three), and Thomas Cook Airlines (JMA)/(GUE) (two). The 2x-weekly (Mondays and Thursdays) service, which began on September 14, will be flown by (BAB)’s 162-seat A320s. From October 24, weekly flights will be increased to three, with the addition of a Saturday rotation.

News Item A-4: "UK Pilots (FC) Warn on Batteries and Fatigue" by (ATW) Alan Dron, September 1, 2015.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has issued warnings to both passengers and carriers over potential risks to safety. The UK pilots (FC)’s union urged passengers to show caution when packing battery-powered gadgets and cautioned airlines to ensure their flight deck personnel received adequate rest between duty stints.

(BALPA) told passengers flying off on the last major UK public holiday before Christmas to ensure that any devices powered by lithium batteries were packed in cabin baggage, rather than checked into the hold, to enable easy access to them if they caught fire.

Lithium batteries have been responsible for three major on board incidents, including the fatal crashes of two Boeing 747F freighters after thermal runaway in batteries being carried as cargo (not in passengers’ baggage) ignited and caused an uncontrollable fire. (BALPA) pointed out that (ICAO) has already banned lithium metal batteries from being carried as cargo, given their ability to combust and create a fire that is difficult to extinguish.

“Lithium batteries are essential parts of the gadgets that enable people to travel light and stay connected, but flight safety comes first, and we must protect against any aircraft fire risk,” (BALPA) Flight Safety Specialist, Steve Landells said.

The union said the safest way to prevent problems is for passengers to ensure that any lithium battery devices are carried in hand luggage and suggested check-in staff ask if they are carrying any devices that may be powered by such batteries.

Earlier this year, the European Aviation safety Agency (EASA) issued safety bulletins on fighting lithium battery fires on board aircraft and also warned of dangers of packing increasingly popular electronic cigarettes in checked-in baggage.

Meanwhile, (BALPA) cautioned employers that incidents of fatigue are being under-reported. “We want to de-stigmatize the issue and remove the barriers that discourage pilots (FC) from sharing their experience,” Head of Flight Safety, Rob Hunter said.

“(BALPA) is currently carrying out a project to investigate reporting culture within commercial aviation and give an accurate picture of the extent of fatigue within the industry. Pilots (FC) want industry-wide open discussions about fatigue. They would like reassurance that their managers also see reporting of fatigue as a priority.”

The union added it had been told by members this was the busiest summer in living memory and they believed management had not recruited sufficient pilots (FC) to mitigate the fatigue problem. The union intends to sit down with airlines after the holiday season to find out what had gone wrong.

News Item A-5: "(BAB) 777 Catches Fire at Las Vegas Airport, - Passengers Use Emergency Slides to Escape" by Andrew Blankstein and Becky Bratu, NBC News, September 8 2015.

See photo - - "BAB-2015-09 - 777 Engine Fire Las Vegas.jpg."

Passengers aboard a British Airways (BAB) 777-236ER (GE90-90B) (182-29320, /99 G-VIIO), 28C, 355Y, had to use emergency slides after the airplane caught fire at Las Vegas airport, sending thick clouds of black smoke into the air, according to officials.

The (BAB) 777 experienced an engine failure while in the process of taking off at around 4:13 pm (7:13 pm ET) at McCarran International Airport. The takeoff was aborted and passengers deplaned on the runway using emergency slides and were bused to the terminal, officials said.

"We were literally just about to take off," passenger Dominic Worthington, who lives in London, told NBC News in a phone interview. He said smoke was seen on both sides of the plane, and then the evacuation chutes deployed.

A Federal Administration Aviation (FAA) spokesperson said the left engine caught fire during takeoff. Flight 2276 was headed to London Gatwick Airport. There was a lot of smoke as passengers used the chutes, and they could see debris on the ground, Worthington said. At the bottom of the slide, passengers going down were bumping into each other amid the thick smoke, he said.

All 159 passengers and 13 crew members ((FC) & (CA)) made it off the 777 safely, the airport said. Thirteen people suffered minor injuries, the airport said. Photos and video posted to social media show what appears to be a large fire, and smoke belching out of the engine.

Clark County Deputy Fire Chief, Jon Klassen told The Associated Press that the fire didn't appear to breach the cabin. The fire was out by 4:18 pm.

(BAB) said that "Safety is always our priority. We are looking after customers after a technical issue with the airplane."

Worthington praised crew members who he said did a great job of communicating instructions to passengers. "They were brilliant," he said. "[The communication] was crystal clear."

However, the pilot (FC) credited with saving the lives of dozens of passengers on the burning British Airways (BAB) plane, said it was the first time in 42 years of flying that he'd ever faced a life-threatening emergency (and it happened on one of his last runs before retirement).

"It's safe to say I'm finished flying," Captain Chris Henkey told NBC News by phone from a hotel in Las Vegas, where he was waiting to brief investigators. Captain Henkey, 63, has been praised for his calm under pressure. He has become an instant celebrity in his native England.

He was cheered by his passengers after they made it back to the terminal, according to a first-hand account in the "Guardian" newspaper. They credited Captain Henkey for slamming the brakes on and steering the Boeing 777 to safety after its left engine caught fire during takeoff from McCarran International Airport. It was supposed to be a 10-hour flight to London Gatwick. The Captain can be heard on air traffic control (ATC) recordings issuing a mayday call and asking for firefighters.

Captain Henkey insisted that he wasn't the only one who helped save the 159 passengers aboard Flight 2276. "It's not just me," Captain Henkey said. "It's the whole crew, really." Captain Henkey was joined in the cockpit by two senior first officers (FC) (one with 18 years of experience, the other with 10), (BAB) said, not naming any of the crew.

Captain Henkey would not discuss details of the incident (he was saving that for British and American investigators). But he said that in 42 years of flying, he's never experienced such an emergency. "Not at all," he said. "It's ironic, really."

Captain Henkey is from the small town of Padsworth in southeast England. He used to own a pub there, and is an active member of a rugby charity called "Wooden Spoon."

Flight 2276 was to be Captain Henkey's second to last flight before he retired. His last was to take him to Barbados, one of his favorite places in the world, where he planned to join his daughter on vacation. But that last flight probably won't happen, he said. "It's looking unlikely for the moment."

The fire shut down the runway, but three other runways remained in service. McCarran Director of Aviation, Rosemarey Vassiliadis said that the runway remained shut down as of 7:45 pm September 8, but all other operations were back to normal. Passengers were taken to area hotels.

The flight-tracking website "FlightAware" reported delays on departing flights of up to 45 minutes, and said incoming flights were also delayed by the fire.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to investigate the fire, Vassiliadis said. Boeing (TBC) offered technical assistance to the (NTSB).

Later, the following day, it was determined that the left (GE90) engine on the 777 that caught fire had “multiple breaches of the engine case,” investigators said. In an investigative update, the USA National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said an initial examination of the 777-200ER’s left engine revealed the engine case breaches “in the area around the high pressure compressor.” The (NTSB) added that investigators recovered “several pieces of the high pressure compressor spool (approximately 7 - 8 inches in length)” on the Las Vegas McCarren International Airport runway, where the British Airways 777 was on a takeoff roll that was aborted when the engine fire started on September 8.

The (NTSB) said that the 777’s left engine and pylon, as well as its left fuselage structure and inboard left wing “were substantially damaged by the fire.” The (NTSB) plans a “full teardown” of the 777’s left engine.

The 777 is likely to be declared a constructive hull loss, meaning the damage is too costly to repair. If written off, the insurers would have to absorb around £21.4m/$32.8m to cover the aircraft and liabilities.

Boeing (TBC) and (GE) Aviation (GEC) are parties to the (NTSB)’s investigation of the fire.

All 157 passengers (including one lap child) and 13 crew members aboard flight BA2276 bound for London Gatwick Airport escaped the 777 as black smoke billowed from the engine. The (NTSB) said there were “several minor injuries” that occurred during the evacuation. The board described the injuries as “mostly abrasions.”

The 777’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders were downloaded and examined by the (NTSB).

Later analysis of engine failure covered by Aerospace Reporter, Dominic Gates as follows:

News Item A-6: London Heathrow (LHR) Airport’s noise footprint is smaller now than it has been at any time since the 1970s, according to analysis by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

News Item A-7: Technology specialist (WIN) is expanding its e-booking system to connect independent forwarders to 16 airlines. (WIN) already connects to over 90 airlines for electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB). The carriers available for e-bookings include British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Etihad Airways (EHD), (SAS), Singapore Airlines (SIA), Jet Airways (JPL), Swiss (CSR), American Airlines (AAL), Air France (AFA), Finnair (FIN), Korean Air (KAL), (KLM), Lufthansa (DLH), United Airlines (UAL), Emirates (EAD), and Gulf Air (GUL). The all-in-one tool includes the ability for customers to look up flight schedules, create and manage bookings in real-time, transmit (e-AWB) data, and receive full (e-AWB) tracking automatically.

October 2015: News Item A-1: The International Airlines Group (parent company of British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Vueling (VUZ) and Aer Lingus (ARL)) reported a third-quarter net profit of +€883 million/+$992.8 million, up +39.3% compared to a net profit of +€634 million for the same period last year. The figures do not include exceptional charges of €38 million related to (IAG)’s acquisition of Aer Lingus (ARL).

The profit figures were reached on total revenue of €6.76 billion, up +15.2% on the year-ago figure of €5.87 billion.

The third quarter’s results were the first to include a contribution from Aer Lingus (ARL), which the (IAG) acquired in August.

Operating profits for the quarter to September 30 climbed to €1.25 billion, an improvement from last year of €350 million, including Aer Lingus (ARL) and €305 million better, excluding (ARL).

Breaking down the group’s operating profits by individual airline, (BAB) recorded a figure of £589 million compared to £484 million for the same period last year; (IBE) made a profit of +€200 million, up from +€162 million, and (VUZ) showed a positive figure of +€178 million (2014: +€140 million). (ARL)’s operating profit was +€45 million from August 18, the date of acquisition.

The (IAG) expects to generate an operating profit for the full year of +€2.25 to +€2.3 billion, excluding (ARL). This figure is marginally up on previous guidance. “We’re reporting strong quarter results with a positive contribution from all of our airlines,” commented (IAG0 (CEO), Willie Walsh.

“Our passenger unit revenue showed a better trend than in the second quarter of the year and our cost performance remained strong,” Walsh said. “Aer Lingus (ARL) made an operating profit of +€45 million since it joined the (IAG) on August 18. While the airline’s profitability is seasonal, (ARL) is cost-effective and provides a natural gateway to build our business between Europe and North America. It’s a great asset for the group.”

He added that the (IAG) would make its first dividend payment (of 10 euro cents per share). “For the full year, we expect to pay out 25% of our underlying profit after tax in dividends, and plan to announce a proposal for a final dividend for 2015, when the full-year results are published.”

Both the (IAG)’s revenue and cost figures have been favorably affected by the strength of the USA dollar and sterling, two of the most significant currencies in its operations.

Walsh noted (IBE)’s figures are expected to improve further as the Spanish carrier’s transformation process continues. Changes to its management structure means it is now much more nimble in taking advantage of rapidly changing tactical situations in the marketplace.

Growth in the quarter had come from all parts of the group; Iberia (IBE), for example, had restored some previously ditched routes, such as Madrid - Havana, and opened new ones, such as Madrid - Cali, while (BAB) opened up London Heathrow - Kuala Lumpur.

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) launched a 3x-weekly, A320-operated service between London Heathrow (LHR) and Reykjavik/Keflavik (KEF) on October 25. (BAB) will face heavy competition in the busy London - Iceland market, as it becomes the 4th airline to offer services alongside easyJet (EZY) (which operates from London Luton and London Gatwick), Icelandair (ICE) (London Heathrow and London Gatwick) and (WOW) air (London Gatwick).

News Item A-3: British Airways (BAB) took delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 on September 30 and, on the same day, operated its final 737 flight.

The initial 787-9 (G-ZBKA), touched down at London Heathrow (LHR) Airport at 0850 local time following its delivery flight from Seattle.

“The 787-9 will now go in to an intensive ‘entry into service (EIS)’ program, which will include ground trials and familiarization trips, before it begins flying to Delhi on October 25,” (BAB) said.

After Delhi, the 787-9 will be deployed on flights to Abu Dhabi and Muscat from November 5, 2015. The 787-9 will then make its Kuala Lumpur debut in December 2015, followed by Austin, Texas, in February 2016 and San Jose, California, from May 2016.

The type includes an 8F-seat first class cabin (the first on (BAB)’s 787 fleet) as well as Club World (Business 42(C) class), World Traveller Plus (premium economy 39(PY)) and World Traveller ((154Y)).

(BAB) has 22 787-9s on order, with the next airplane slated for delivery in October, followed by another pair before year end. In total, (BAB) is taking 42 787s (including 12 787-10s).

In another fleet milestone, (BAB) operated its final 737 service from Turin to London Gatwick on September 30, marking the end of 35 years’ service. The type is being replaced with Airbus A320s.

This year, 15 new airplanes will join (BAB)’s fleet, including two A380s, the first five Boeing 787-9s and eight A320s to replace its Gatwick 737 fleet. (BAB) will ultimately also operate 12 A380s and 18 A350s.

Click here for a time-lapse video of the aircraft being built in Seattle:

News Item A-4: "London Heathrow Airport Presses Ahead with Runway Plans" by (ATW) Alan Dron, October 30, 2015.

Managers at London’s Heathrow (LHR) airport are lining up potential contractors to build its long-awaited third runway, even as the UK government continues to mull whether the west London hub should be the site of additional runway capacity in the southeast of the country.

The Davies Commission looking into the requirement for runway capacity in the South East, reported in July that it favored over London Gatwick or elsewhere as the site of a new runway. The government is deliberating on the findings and has said it aims to announce a formal decision on the location by the end of the year.

This delay (the latest in a saga stretching back over four decades) means that Gatwick is continuing to pursue its case to be the preferred site.

In advance of the government’s pronouncement, (LHR)’s management invited expressions of interest on September 25 to suppliers across the UK, with the aim of being able to kick-start the expansion program as soon as the government gives a go-ahead.

The expressions of interest were designed to help (LHR) expand several core competencies needed to deliver expansion, given that the current management hierarchy is more focused on the day-to-day operation of the airport.

Suppliers were invited to express their interest (and demonstrate experience) in four key skill-sets: program management; information management; construction advice; and design and technical advice.

This initial phase closed October 16. (LHR) is looking at the detailed responses and compiling a shortlist. Then it intends to invite short-listed companies to participate in a formal invitation to tender in November.

The aim is to award contracts for the runway in January/February 2016, with the target of getting “shovels in the ground” by 2020 and the new runway operational by 2025.

3rd 787-9 (38621, G-ZBKC) delivery.

November 2015: News Item A-1: British Airways (BAB) has added London (LHR) - Chania and Kalamata, Greece, to its summer schedule, beginning April 30, 2016, with a mixed fleet of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft. (BAb) also is to increase London (LHR) -Budapest service to 4x-daily on May 3.

News Item A-2: "Vueling (VUZ) Chairman & (CEO) Named Next British Airways (BAB) (CEO) Effective (2016-04)."

The International Airlines Group (IAG) has named Vueling (VUZ) (CEO), Alex Cruz as the next Chairman and (CEO) of British Airways (BAB), succeeding Keith Williams who will retire April 2016. Vueling (VUZ) is an airline member of the (IAG).

In addition, (IAG) Cargo (CEO), Steve Gunning will return to (BAb) as (CFO), replacing Nick Swift who is leaving the airline. Steve joined British Airways in 1998 from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. He held the role of (BAb) Finance Director & Head of Internal Control, until he became (BAB) World Cargo Managing Director in 2007. In 2011, he combined (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) Cargo into a single business unit.

News Item A-3: British Airways (BAB) has taken delivery of its 10th Airbus A380 and is expecting its final two of the type in 2016, which will take the total number of A380s in the airline’s fleet to 12.

News Item A-4: The "The (IAG) Converts Options on Four Airbus A330s, 15 A320neos" by (ATW) Victoria Moores, November 5, 2015.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) has converted options on two Airbus A330-300s for Aer Lingus (ARL), two A330-200s for Iberia (IBE) and 15 A320neos for use across the group.

Announcing the deal November 5, the (IAG) said it had negotiated “a substantial discount” from the list price. “The modern, fuel efficient aircraft will bring both cost efficiencies and environmental benefits to the airlines,” the (IAG) said.

(ARL) will receive its two A330-200s in 2016 and the two Airbus 330-300s will be delivered to (IBE) between 2017 and 2018. The A330s, which finalize options from the (IAG)’s September 2014 order, will be used to expand the two airlines’ long-haul fleets.

The A320neo options have been firmed up from an order originally placed in August 2013. “These aircraft will be delivered between 2018 and 2021 and can be used by any airline in the Group for fleet replacement,” (IAG) said.

December 2015: News Item A-1: "British Airways (BAB) 777 that Caught Fire Before Takeoff at McCarran, Las Vegas to Fly Again" by Richard N Velotta, Las Vegas Review-Journal rvelotta@reviewjournal.com

The (BAB) 777 that aborted a takeoff at McCarran International Airport with 157 passengers and 13 crew members aboard in September will fly again.

A (BAB) representative said that crews would be dispatched to McCarran and that work would begin "shortly" to repair 777's hull to make it airworthy. A (BAB) spokeswoman said in an email, "The airframe was inspected by a team of highly experienced engineers from Boeing (TBC) who concluded that the damage was limited and suitable for repair. "A team from (TBC) will carry out the repair work, which will be certified to the same high standards as if the 777 was brand new," she said. She said the work is expected to begin next month.

While the jet is parked at McCarran, (BAB) is paying $375 a day in fees and by the end of 2015, the bill will reach about $31,000.

Aviation experts said they expected the plane's insurers to declare the 777 a "hull loss," meaning that it was too damaged for repair and that it would be disassembled for parts.

(BAB)'s email was the first indication that (BAB) would instead put a different engine on the plane, repair the hull and fly the plane to a maintenance facility for additional work.

News Item A-2: As the UK government announced more delays on a decision regarding additional runway capacity in the South East, European air traffic controllers have converted a trial project to reduce delays of inbound aircraft at London’s Heathrow (LHR) Airport into standard operating procedure.

The project—known as "cross-border arrivals management" (XMAN) has controllers at UK air navigation service provider National Air Traffic Services (NATS) coordinating with colleagues handling adjacent airspace in France, Ireland, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

The aim is to slow down inbound aircraft as far as 350 miles out from London to smooth out traffic flows and minimize holding times in the several stacks around London.

Since the project began as a trial in April 2014, (NATS) has recorded reductions of up to a minute in holding times. This equates to annual savings of 8,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and £1.65 million/$2.5 million in fuel. It has also meant a reduction in noise for those communities beneath the holding stacks.

(LHR) operates at 98% capacity and relies on the continuous flow of traffic that the smoothing process of the stacks provides.

* UK government criticized for delay tactics over runway capacity

The UK government has come under a barrage of criticism from the business community over its announcement to further delay a decision on desperately needed additional runway capacity in the South East.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) described the move as “gutless,” while the Institute of Directors (IOD) said business leaders would be “tearing their hair out at the news that, yet again, a decision on expanding the UK’s airport capacity has been delayed.”

* Environmental concerns

The government’s Airports Subcommittee announced it would “undertake a package of further work” to re-examine the possible environmental impacts of all three runway development plans shortlisted through an exhaustive three-year process by the Airports Commission. The government said it anticipated this work would conclude “over the summer” of 2016. Following publication of the Commission’s final report at the beginning of July this year, Prime Minister, David Cameron gave the House of Commons a “guarantee” that “a decision will be made by the end of the year.”

* Delay due to 'local political reasons'

The UK Board of Airline Representatives, which described the Commission’s report as “the most detailed independent report of its type ever commissioned,” said it was “dismayed” by the delay, voicing a widely held concern among industry and the business community that the decision was based on “what appears to be local political reasons.”

London Mayor, Boris Johnson is known to be firmly opposed to the expansion of (LHR), championing instead development of a major new airport on reclaimed land in the Thames Estuary. In response to the government’s decision, Johnson has reignited his so-called “Boris Island” bid, saying: “The wheels are falling off the (LHR) fuselage and I think that due to the environmental impacts, the legal obstacles and the cost to the public purse, this bird will never fly. I have long argued that the most dynamic and forward looking approach would be to look at the sites east of London where a four-runway hub airport could be built.”

Johnson will step down as Mayor in 2016, and his successor as Tory party candidate in May’s mayoral elections is Zac Goldsmith, Member of Parliament for the constituency of Richmond Park and North Kingston, which lies directly under the (LHR) approach path. Goldsmith is vehemently opposed to any expansion of (LHR) and the delay allows time for the mayoral elections to be completed without the government potentially ending up entirely at odds with its own party candidate.

Goldsmith welcomed the decision, saying that “recent events, not least the {VW) scandal, have raised serious questions about the impact of an expanded (LHR) on air quality.” He said it represented “a massive opportunity to remove the threat of (LHR) expansion once and for all.”

* Let Britain Fly 'rightly angered'

The "Let Britain Fly" campaign said the business community was “rightly angered” by the latest delay, calling it a “fudge” that had more to do with “political expediency” than “about doing what is right for our economy,” a view echoed by several other organizations.

(BCC) (DG), John Longworth said: “Business will question whether ministers are delaying critical upgrades to our national infrastructure for legitimate reasons, or to satisfy short-term political interests. Businesses across Britain will be asking whether there is any point in setting up an Airports Commission if political considerations are always going to trump big decisions in the national interest.”

(IOD) Director General, Simon Walker similarly asked: “What was the point of the Commission if the government still fails to act?”

"Let Britain Fly" Director, Gavin Hayes said: “Having already spent three years and millions of pounds of taxpayer money looking at the issue in a Commission, including extensive analysis on the economic and environmental impact, this further delay is unacceptable.”

* (LHR) expansion favored

And while cautiously acknowledging the “short delay to do additional work on the noise and air quality impacts of airport expansion” as “sensible,” Jock Lowe of the "Heathrow Hub" option for extending the northern (LHR) runway into two runways, said there could be “no doubt that expansion at (LHR) is in the best economic interests of the entire country.”

In announcing its decision, the Airports Sub Committee said the government “accepted the case for airport expansion in the South East and the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options for expansion.”

The government said it had also identified “the most appropriate” mechanism for “delivering planning consents for new capacity,” using an “Airports national policy statement” (NPS), following which a scheme promoter would need to apply for a development consent order.

Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin said: “The case for aviation expansion is clear, but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come.”

But Carolyn Fairbairn, (DG) of the Confederation of British Industries, warned the costs of not addressing the capacity issue could equate to at least £5.3 billion/$8 billion a year in lost trade. “By 2025 (the earliest a new runway would be built) London’s airports could already be operating at full capacity and the longer we wait, the further we fall behind the likes of Amsterdam and Paris,” she said

Historically, (NATS) could only influence an aircraft’s approach once it entered UK airspace, which can be as little as 80 miles from (LHR). This limited opportunities to manage inbound traffic flows. These opportunities are improved by slowing aircraft, while still en route. “The success we’ve achieved by working with our international partners translates into real benefits for our customers,” said Juliet Kennedy, Operations Director at (NATS)’ Swanwick control center in southern England. “Even though the system is now in full operational service, we will continue to make enhancements that will help us deliver even greater time, fuel and emission savings.”

It is led by (NATS) at Swanwick and Prestwick centers in partnership with (DSNA) in France; the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA); Eurocontrol in Maastricht; and (LHR) Airport, and is part of a broader strategy to eliminate stack holding for (LHR) in the longer term. The (XMAN) procedure is scheduled for expansion into the (IAA)’s area by September 2016.

News Item A-3: The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company to British Airways (BAB), Iberia (BAB), Vueling (VUZ) and Aer Lingus (ARL), has appointed Andrew Crawley as (CEO) of (IAG) Cargo. Crawley, currently British Airways (BAB)’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), will take up his new post in January.

Crawley will replace Steve Gunning, who is leaving (IAG) Cargo in January to become (BAB)’s Chief Financial Officer. Crawley will report to (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh and become a member of the group’s management committee.

Adam Daniels will become British Airways (BAB)’s acting Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). He is currently (BAB)’s Head of Global Revenue.

Lynne Embleton, (BAB)’s Director of Strategy & Managing Director Gatwick, will replace Andrew Crawley on the (BAB) board.

January 2016: News Item A-1: "(LATAM) Seeks Antitrust-immunized Joint Ventures (JV)s with American (AAL) and the (IAG)" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, January 14, 2016.

The (LATAM) Airlines Group is seeking to form separate joint ventures (JVs) with American Airlines (AAL) and the International Airlines Group (IAG) for travel between North and South America, and between South America and Europe, respectively.

(AAL) and (LATAM), parent to Brazil’s (TAM) (TPR) and Chile’s (LAN) Airlines (as well as affiliated carriers throughout South America), said they will apply for antitrust immunity (ATI) with the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) and the relevant regulatory authorities in South America. Similarly, (LATAM) and the (IAG), the parent of British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE), said they have signed “a joint business agreement” for the operation of “flights between Europe and South America.”

(LAN), (TAM), (AAL), (BAB) and (IBE) are all members of the Oneworld (ONW) alliance. (AAL), (BAB), (IBE) and Finnair (FIN) already operate an antitrust-immunized transatlantic (JV).

The (IAG) said that (LATAM), (BAB) and (IBE) “plan to seek approval from the appropriate competition authorities in South America and will inform the regulatory authorities in the European Union (EU),” adding, “Under the joint business, (BAB), (IBE) and the (LATAM) Airlines Group would cooperate commercially on flights between the European Union (EU) and South America. They would expand their code share arrangements on flights between and within Europe and South America, significantly increasing the number of destinations that the airlines can offer customers.”

(IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh hinted at a potential (IAG)-(LATAM) (JV) in December, telling the Aviation Club of the UK that the (IAG) “would like to have closer ties to” (LATAM).

(LATAM) (CEO) Enrique Cueto called the potential (JV)s with (AAL) and the (IAG) “excellent news for Latin America,” adding, “Through these 2 agreements, we seek to significantly improve the benefits to our clients by providing them with greater connectivity between South America and the USA/Canada and also between South America and Europe. This step is necessary to offer the best network of connections for everyone in Latin America and increases the possibility of adding new routes and direct flights to new destinations, as well as flights already operated by (LATAM) and affiliates in the future.”

(AAL) Chairman & (CEO) Doug Parker said, “Customers will benefit from more frequent and convenient schedule options than the carriers could offer individually. Travelers headed to Latin America will soon have more seamless access to >100 additional destinations with (LATAM) beyond (AAL)’s already extensive network.”

Walsh added, “We already have a close commercial relationship with the (LATAM) Airlines Group as part of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance and we look forward to enhancing the relationship further. This joint business would benefit customers by providing them with easier journeys to more destinations with better aligned schedules and increased frequencies. This would boost both tourism and business travel between South America and Europe.”

(LATAM) emphasized that it, (AAL) and the (IAG) “will continue to operate independently and maintain control of their respective operations,” adding, “These agreements will not cause any changes to the ownership or administration of the airlines.”

February 2016: News Item A-1: The International Airlines Group (IAG) (parent company of Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), and Vueling (VUZ)) reported a +51.5% rise in 2015 net profit to +€1.52 billion/+$1.66 billion, compared to +€1 billion in 2014. Full-year revenue was up +13.3% at €22.8 billion compared to €20.1 billion last time.

In capacity, (ASK)s rose +8.2% to 272.7 billion (of which +3.2% came from the inclusion of the Aer Lingus (ARL) fleet) and load factor rose +1% to 81.4% LF, while (RASK)s rose +5.4% to 7.46 euro cents. Passenger numbers were up +14.2% at 88.3 million compared to 77.3 million last time.

Fuel costs for the year before exceptional items dropped -6.3%, while non-fuel costs before exceptional items were up +4.3%.

“We’re reporting very strong full year results,” (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said. “These results are in line with our recent target and have exceeded our original 2015 operating profit target of +€1.5 billion that we set in 2011. “It’s undoubtedly been a good year, but it’s also been challenging, with extreme volatility in the currency and fuel markets. The benefits we gained from lower fuel prices have been partially offset by the stronger USA dollar.”

(IAG) completed the acquisition of (ARL) over the summer and Walsh (a former (ARL) (CEO)) said (ARL), the Irish flag carrier had made a positive contribution of +€35 million since it formally joined the (IAG) group on August 18, 2015.

(IAG) said that Iberia (IBE), which for the early years of the consortium was a notable drag on the group, had made “significant progress on its “Plan de Futuro,” improving its cost base and recovering routes previously withdrawn. The turnaround of (IBE) is leading to a profitable and efficient new airline capable of growing in its strategic markets and starting to achieve positive returns for the Group, with a positive after-tax profit of +€155 million.”

In 2016, the (IAG) anticipates it will generate an absolute operating profit increase similar to that in 2015, when it leapt +68% before exceptional items. Revenue trends for (1Q) 2016 “appear broadly in line with those experienced in quarter 4 2015.”

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) started its 3rd Portuguese service from London Gatwick (LGW) this month, with a 4x-weekly service to Porto (OPO), joining its existing flights to Faro and Funchal. Commenced on February 11, the 1,276 km sector, which is operated by (BAB)’s A319/A320 fleet, will face direct competition from (TAP) Portugal (2x-daily) and easyJet (EZY) (4x-weekly).

News Item A-3: "British Airways (BAB) Threatens to Cut London City Services," by (ATW) Alan Dron, February 4, 2016.

British Airways (BAB) has said it will move flights from London City Airport if new owners attempt to increase landing charges.

The airport’s USA owners, Global Investment Partners (GIP), put it on the market last year for a reported £2 billion/$2.9 billion. The airport handled a record 4.3 million passengers last year, up +18% on 2014.

The airport, built on old shipping berths adjacent to the city’s Docklands financial district, is popular with bankers and business executives. Most services are to western European destinations, although (BAB) also operates a 2x-daily, all-business (C) class service to New York (JFK).

(BAB) is the largest operator from London City, with its CityFlyer division operating a fleet of 13 Embraer E190 and 6 E170 regional jets from the airport. (BAB) mainline operates the New York service.

The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of (BAB), warned in a February 3 statement: “Any potential new owner for London City should be left in no doubt that (BAB) can move flights elsewhere if it ramps up airport charges to fund its investment. (BAB)’s customers will not swallow increased fares to fund unrealistic returns for a monopoly airport supplier.”

+2 more major users of London City Airport (LCY) (UK-based regional Flybe (BEE) and Ireland-based CityJet) have joined British Airways (BAB) in voicing concerns over any increase in charges to be imposed by a new owner for the inner-city facility.

The airport was put up for sale by current owners Global Infrastructure Partners in August 2015. Press reports have indicated that a price tag of £2 billion/$2.9 billion has been affixed to the airport, which has a heavy bias toward business passengers, particularly from the nearby Docklands financial district.

(BAB) warned that any attempt by new owners to recoup their costs by increasing landing and other charges could lead to it cutting back its services at (LCY).

Now CityJet has issued a similar warning. Noting that (BAB) and CityJet were, respectively, the largest and 2nd-largest users of the airport and together accounted for some 60% of total activity at the downtown airport, CityJet Executive Chairman, Pat Byrne said that any increase in charges “brings into question the long-term sustainability of airline operations at (LCY).”

CityJet said the airport was already expensive for users, both in terms of equipment required to operate within (LCY)’s unusual physical constraints (an approach angle almost double the usual three degrees is required to avoid high buildings and get into the short runway, ruling out many types of aircraft) and in terms of the airport’s current charge per passenger, “which [is] the highest by far of London’s 6 airports.

“The £2 billion potential sale price quoted suggests that potential buyers consider the earning potential of the airport to be significantly in excess of where it is today, with a return on investment only being possible through increased charges to airlines and their passengers.”

Concerns about such increases had motivated CityJet and (BAB) to commission consultants (CEPA) to produce a report on the likely impact on airport charges following a sale. “The initial finding of the report would indicate the concerns (BAB) and CityJet share in respect of increased charges are well-grounded if the speculated sale price range for the airport is achieved.”

A 3rd major user of the airport, Flybe (BEE), said February 19 that it “is, of course, concerned that new owners may think they can recoup any premium paid for the airport by increasing charges. “We look forward to meeting them to talk about not only how they plan to retain airlines like Flybe (BEE) at London City, but also how they plan to incentivize us to grow our capacity there.”

Later, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), majority owners of London City Airport (LCY), sold the property to a Canadian-led consortium. The purchase price was not disclosed, but was widely reported in the UK financial media to be around £2 billion/$2.8 billion.

(GIP) agreed to sell its 75% shareholding in (LCY) to a grouping comprising the Alberta Investment Management Corporation; Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; and the infrastructure investment arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority, and Wren House Infrastructure Management.

The successful grouping is thought to have won the race for (LCY) from another Canadian consortium and the fast-expanding Chinese airline and transportation group (HNA).

In a statement on the airport’s website, the consortium was described as “international infrastructure operators, all with proven track records, which will bring significant financial and operational expertise to London City Airport.” It added that the consortium was “committed to the responsible, long-term ownership and development of London City Airport to ensure its continued strong position and reputation as a key airport for London.”

(LCY) “is a premium infrastructure company, operating in a very attractive market,” a consortium spokesman said. “We look forward to working closely with the airport’s strong management team to achieve the business’s full long-term potential.”

The airport, which adjoins London’s Docklands financial district, is popular with business executives because of its proximity and swift ‘curb to aircraft’ performance. An estimated 65% of its passenger throughput (which hit a record 4.3 million in 2015) is business traffic.

Several major airlines that use (LCY) have previously expressed concern over the projected £2 billion purchase price, which they suggested could only be recouped by new owners through higher charges. The International Airlines Group (IAG), CityJet and Flybe (BEE) have all warned new owners that they may move out of (LCY) if charges rise.

That message was repeated February 26 by (IAG), whose (BAB) CityFlyer subsidiary is the airport’s largest user.

“The new owners for London City should be left in no doubt that British Airways (BAB) can move flights elsewhere if it ramps up airport charges to fund its investment,” it said. “(BAB)'s customers will not swallow increased fares to fund unrealistic returns for a monopoly airport supplier.”

News Item A-4: British Airways (BAB) is trialing a new system called “Our Trip,” which removes the requirement for an individual to have to coordinate the trip, book all the tickets, and for everyone to travel on the same flight. Now, 1 person simply needs to set up the group on the "Our Trip" site and then they can invite friends and family who are traveling, to join it. Each individual customer can then select and pay for their flights as normal through ba.com. They can travel on separate flights on different days, if they so choose. Once they’ve made their booking, they register it on Our Trip to be recognized as part of the group. Provided the group has traveled and spent at least 1 day together by June 21, 2016, everyone who has taken the trip then receives a discount on a future booking (either -10% off if there were between 5 and 10 people, or -15% for groups of 11 or more. The trial is available for any groups who are booking to travel from the UK to the USA, Canada or Mexico.

News Item A-5: "Female British Airways Cabin Crew Win the Right to Wear Trousers" by Gwyn Topham, "The Guardian" February 5, 2016.

An argument over who wears the trousers at British Airways (BAB) has been won by the workers, after (BAB) agreed to allow all cabin crew (CA), male and female, to keep their legs covered.

After a 2-year dispute, all crew (CA) will be allowed to wear trousers if they choose, undoing part of the dress code imposed on new recruits, who have joined the company since 2012.

The crew's union, Unite, said (BAB) was "joining the 21st century" by making the change, a decision made after an internal test case.

Established crew (CA) of either sex have long been allowed to wear trousers, but the new "mixed fleet" of crew (CA) (employed under inferior terms since the strikes in 2010 and 2011) were subject to different rules. Female cabin crew (CA) on the 3,000-strong mixed fleet had to wear a skirt unless exempt on medical or religious grounds.

Unite said 83% of its members at the airline wanted the option of wearing trousers for warmth and protection.

A (BAB) spokesperson said: "Our mixed fleet team wear the 'ambassador' British Airways (BAB) uniform. While trousers are not a standard part of this uniform, colleagues wishing to wear them can request this through their manager."

Unite regional officer, Matt Smith said: "British Airways (BAB)'s stance was unbefitting of a modern airline in the modern age, and demonstrates that Unite will not allow cases like this to go unchallenged."

"Not only is the choice to wear trousers a victory for equality, it is also a victory for common sense and testament to the organizing campaign of our members."

"Female cabin crew (CA) no longer have to shiver in the cold, wet and snow of wintery climates, but also can be afforded the protection of trousers at destinations where there is a risk of malaria or the Zika virus."

Crew (CA) in (BAB)'s worldwide (long-haul) and Euro fleets have been able to wear trousers since 2003, after a uniform overhaul by designer Julien Macdonald.

Cabin crew (CA) have suffered recent reversals in the wider trouser war, with Etihad (EHD) removing the option in its revamp last year. In Britain, Virgin Atlantic (VAA) reviews requests on a case-by-case basis, with skirts the norm. Only EasyJet (EZY) crew are routinely able to wear trousers. Ryanair (RYR) has yet to make trousers available, although since last year, its female crew are no longer encouraged to pose in bikinis for an annual calendar.

News Item A-6: Britain should make a decision on where to build a new runway this summer, its transport minister said, dismissing concerns it could be further delayed by a referendum on (EU) membership.

Prime Minister David Cameron could reach a deal over Britain's ties with the (EU) at a summit later this month, paving the way for a public vote on membership of the bloc as soon as June.

Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin said he did not think a June referendum would derail the current timetable for deciding on expanding either London Heathrow (LHR), Britain's busiest airport, or Gatwick, its 2nd-busiest.

The decision has been repeatedly delayed.

"If the referendum is June 23, the date that has been talked about, then I think we still could be on target to make it (the decision) before the end of July" McLoughlin told a panel of lawmakers, adding that he did not know when the vote would be. "I very much hope that by the summer of this year we will have a location decision," he said.

(LHR)'s campaign to build a new runway received a blow in December when the government delayed the politically charged decision to summer 2016, saying it needed to do more work on the environmental impact of expansion.

Few disagree that London needs a new runway to remain economically competitive, but its location has been disputed for >25 years and no new runway has been built in south east England since World War Two.

(LHR) to the west of London is operating at full capacity. It was recommended over Gatwick last year as the site for expansion by an independent commission.

In his 1st speech since the government announced it would postpone a final decision on airport expansion, (LHR) (CEO) John Holland-Kaye said that he was confident that the government would back (LHR).

"After the (EU) referendum, the biggest issue for the Prime Minister is delivering the sustainable growth that will tackle the deficit and create that prosperity," he said.

"Only saying 'yes' to (LHR) expansion will help him deliver that vision."

He said that should the government make a decision to back (LHR) by this summer, a new runway could be built by 2025.

March 2016: News Item A-1: British Airways (BAB) bases additional 777 at Gatwick to bring winter link to Cape Town.

The 777 will be the 4th 777 dedicated to its Gatwick operation that is configured in a 3-class arrangement. Cape Town will be 1 of 4 long-haul destinations (BAB) is launching from Gatwick this year, with flights to Costa Rica starting on April 27, 2016, daily flights to New York’s (JFK) beginning on May 1, 2016, and flights to Lima, Peru, commencing on May 4, 2016.

(BAB) is to introduce a 12th Boeing 777 to its London Gatwick fleet from this winter to further boost its long-haul operations from the facility. The 777 will be used to provide additional capacity in existing markets and support the launch of a new Cape Town service from the final quarter of this year.

The new Cape Town flight will operate on a 3x-weekly basis from November 24, 2016 and will complement (BAB)’s existing services to the South African city from its main hub at London Heathrow (LHR). It will operate with a seasonal winter-only schedule, confirmed (BAB).

"We are incredibly excited to be the only airline to offer direct services from both Gatwick and (LHR) to this hugely popular destination, while adding another long haul route to our rapidly growing network,” said Lynne Embleton, Managing Director of (BAB)’s operations at Gatwick.

Cape Town remains a popular leisure getaway for travelers, thanks to its blend of nature, culture, wildlife and history, and its dramatic coastline, the breath-taking views from Table Mountain, and world-renowned vineyards and restaurants make it one of the most popular places in Africa to visit and explore.

One of the UK Trade & Investment’s high-growth markets, South Africa is now part of the rapidly-developing (BRICS) markets along with Brazil, Russia, India, and China and viewed as an increasingly sophisticated and lucrative market for business and tourism development, assisted by the long-standing colonial ties between the countries. The UK is 1 of South Africa’s principal trading partners with annual 2 way business worth >£7 billion a year.

(BAB) already serves South Africa with up to 4x-daily flights including a daily link between (LHR) and Cape Town that grows to a 2x-daily offering during the winter months. South African Airways (SAA) and Virgin Atlantic (VAA) also serve the UK – South Africa market, but are now limited to just serving Johannesburg, having previously both offered non-stop flights to Cape Town.

This network link will be the 1st regular non-stop service between London Gatwick and South Africa, since Nationwide Airlines ended its flights to/from Johannesburg in July 2008. It will be the 1st link to Cape Town from outside of (LHR) since flyglobespan offered links to the South African city from Manchester for 1 winter season in the 2000s (from November 2006 to April 2007).

UK leisure carrier Thomas Cook Airlines (JMA)/(GUE) will also introduce its own London Gatwick – Cape Town service from November 2016, offering a mix of tour packages and seat-only deals on its 3x-weekly flights between December 15, 2016 and March 20, 2017.

(MIDT) data shows an annual (O&D) demand of >375,000 2-way passengers between the UK and Cape Town (around 1,030 passengers per day).

News Item A-2: British Airways (bab) has introduced multiple mobile boarding passes. Previously, each person had to each carry their own smartphone to show their mobile boarding pass to go through security or board a flight. But now, up to 8 individual mobile boarding passes can be viewed on 1 phone, providing everyone traveling together is on the same booking reference number.

April 2016: News Item A-1: The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Vueling (VUZ) and Aer Lingus (ARL) posted a first-quarter net profit of +€104 million/+$118 million, reversed from a net loss of -€26 million a year ago. The result was achieved on revenue of just over >€5 billion, compared to >€4.7 billion for the year-ago period.

The January to March 1st quarter, incorporating the post-festive season dip is traditionally the weakest period of the financial year.

Capacity measured by (ASK)s jumped +11.9% to 66.2 billion, although this includes the addition of Aer Lingus (ARL), which the (IAG) acquired last fall. Stripping out the (ARL) component, capacity was up +4.8%, slightly skewed by the extra day in February.

(RPK)s more than kept pace, rising +13.8% to 52.2 billion. Load factor rose +1.2 points to 78.9% LF.

“This is a good performance, with a strong increase in what is traditionally the weakest quarter,” (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said. “Total revenue was up +7.9% and total cost per (ASK) decreased -6.1%.

“January and February’s revenue was in line with (Q4) 2015 trends. March revenue was affected by the timing of Easter and the Brussels terrorist attacks, with the latter continuing into (2Q).

“Our productivity has improved +5.9% and the underlying non-fuel unit costs performance continued to show improvement across our companies.”

The aftershocks of the Brussels attack, together with what Walsh described as “some softness in underlying premium demand” has led the (IAG) to trim its short-term capacity growth plans.

For the full year, the (IAG) expects to cut underlying ex-fuel costs by -1%. “Consequently, in 2016, the (IAG) still expects to generate an absolute operating profit increase similar to 2015.”

The (1Q) saw the continuing benefit from low fuel prices (-14.3% lower than (1Q) 2015), partially offset by the headwind of a stronger dollar vis-à-vis both the euro and the pound, creating some €62 million of adverse foreign exchange transaction costs.

Cargo revenue for the period decreased -1.5%, or -5.9%, excluding Aer Lingus (ARL). The cargo premium mix remained strong, the (IAG) said, but overall market conditions were weaker than last year, which benefited from a USA port strike.

Other revenue rose +15.1% from an increase in activity at "BA Holidays" and in Iberia (IBE)’s 3rd-party maintenance.

News Item A-2: "Investigation Launched After British Airways A320 Reports Being Hit by (UAV)" by (ATW) Alan Dron, April 17, 2016.

Police in London are investigating a collision on April 17 between a British Airways (BAB) aircraft on final approach to London Heathrow (LHR) Airport and an unidentified object, believed to be an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The Airbus A320 landed safely.

Flight BA727 was inbound from Geneva and approaching the airport from the east, over central London, when the crew reported an impact around 1250 local time, April 17. The aircraft, with 132 passengers and five crew ((FC) & (CA)), landed safely and without any injuries.

A London Metropolitan Police statement said that the pilot (FC) reported he believed a drone had struck the front of the aircraft. Investigations are continuing.

A (BAB) spokesman said that engineers (MT) checked the aircraft on landing and cleared it to go back into service for its next scheduled flight. He added that the aircraft had been “five to 10 minutes out” from (LHR) airport at the time of the impact.

(LHR) Airport said that it was working with (BAB), the UK air navigation service provider (NATS) and the police.

A spokesman for the UK aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (UKCAA), said: “Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations. It is totally unacceptable to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties, including imprisonment.

“Drone users have to understand that when taking to the skies, they are potentially flying close to one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world.”

It anticipated receiving a report from (BAB) on the incident within 96 hours.

The number of reports of near-miss incidents between small (UAV)s and airliners near major airports has become a serious concern for the air transport industry and regulatory authorities. French air accident investigation agency (BEA) is investigating what it described as a “serious near-miss incident” involving an unmanned aerial vehicle and an Air France (AFA) Airbus A320 during its approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle in February.

The problem seems especially acute in Europe and in the USA, where the (FAA) last year introduced new rules governing private, small (UAV) ownership and operation. Typically, authorities are unable to track the privately-owned drone or its operator; the (FAA) rules are aimed at making them traceable and at keeping (UAV)s away from airports.

News Item A-3: British Airways (BAB) began 3x-daily London City - Berlin and – Hamburg Embraer E190 service. (BAB) also added weekly Stansted - Berlin service.

News Item A-4: UK monarch Queen Elizabeth is 90 this month.

May 2016: News Item A-1: British Airways (BAB) showed its true global network carrier credentials, launching 4 routes, one domestic, 1 European and 2 long-haul from 2 of its London bases.

While none of the routes will face any direct competition, Billund is served from London Stansted by Ryanair (RYR), and (BAB) itself flies to the Danish city from London City; easyJet (EZY) flies to Inverness from its London Luton and London Gatwick bases.

On May 4th, 2016, British Airways (BAB) Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (G-ZBKF) touched down on Runway 30L at Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) from London Heathrow (LHR), launching the 1st ever service to the Silicon Valley by a European airline. London Gatwick (LGW) to Lima (LIM) is operated by a 777-200, 3x-weekly.

Both long-haul routes are unserved by competition from any London airport.

News Item A-2: Qatar Airways (QTA) said it has raised its ownership stake in the International Airlines Group (IAG) to 15.01%.

(QTA) originally acquired a 9.99% stake in the (IAG), the parent company of British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Vueling (VUZ) and Aer Lingus (ARL) in January 2015. It raised that stake to <12% last month, and now has moved to the 15.01% holding.

Like (IAG) carriers (BAB) and (IBE), (QTA) is a member of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance.

(QTA) said that “the increased stake recognizes the strengthening commercial and strategic ties between the companies,” adding, “(QTA) believes the (IAG) is very well positioned in Europe on the back notably of its attractive exposure to the transatlantic segment, its leading positions at the London and Madrid hubs, and the future benefits from the acquisition of Aer Lingus (ARL).”

(QTA) (CEO) Akbar Al Baker said the “relationship formed [with the (IAG)] has helped to deliver on our westbound strategy.”

(QTA) said it “may consider increasing its stake further over time within the allowable limits.” It could own up to 49% of (IAG) under European Union (EU) rules.

News Item A-3: In-flight wi-fi connectivity specialist Gogo has confirmed a partnership with the International Airlines Group (IAG) to install 2Ku technology on 118 of its aircraft.

The agreement, Gogo’s first with a European airline, includes installation of in-flight connectivity to (IAG) airline fleets including 118 British Airways (BAB) airplanes, 4 Aer Lingus (ARL) 757s and up to 15 Iberia (IBE) wide bodies.

The first (BAB) airplane is expected to be in service early next year with the majority of installations expected to be completed by 2019.

Michael Small Gogo's President & (CEO), said: "One of the many benefits of 2Ku is that it's built on an open architecture and can leverage numerous Ku satellites around the world today and new advancements in the Ku-band coming on line in the future."

News Item A-4: British Airways (BAB) has completed its 1st "B" Check on a 787 at its heavy maintenance facility in Wales.

Engineers (MT) at British Airways (BAB) Maintenance Cardiff carried out a 12-day "B" Check on the 787, which included emergency evacuation slide checks, engine ground runs, and a review of cabins, which saw all seats removed and transported to its interiors engineering center in Blackwood for a full overhaul.

The airplane is the 1st of 42 787s (BAB) has on order, with all the wide bodies expected to be in its fleet by 2021.

British Airways (BAB) currently operates 16 of the 787 type.

News Item A-5: "(IAG)’s Walsh: ‘I Will Fight’ Current London Heathrow Third Runway Plan" by (ATW) Editor Karen Walker, May 11, 2016.

The current proposal to build a 3rd runway at London Heathrow (LHR) Airport is “indefensible” from a cost point of view and the head of British Airways (BAB)’s parent company will fight it.

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh, speaking as a panelist May 11 at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Aviation Symposium, said he was worried about the current (LHR) proposal because there was now “desperation by the airport to get a 3rd runway and they are willing to do anything to get it.”

Walsh said that has led to a proposal that would cost £18 billion/$26 billion, but just 1% of that would go to building the runway. The rest of the money, he said, would go to all other things at the airport. “So the airport is incentivized to spend money while I am incentivized to save money,” Walsh said. “I will not support what would be the world’s most expensive runway. I will fight against it and I refuse to pay for it because the cost will be passed on to me and my customers.”

Walsh added, “The proposal that’s on the table now is completely indefensible from a cost point of view.”

Building a 3rd runway at (LHR) was declared the best option for extra runway capacity in the crowded southeast of England after a 2-year investigation by a government-backed commission.

Walsh explained that when he 1st joined British Airways (BAB) in 2005, (BAB) campaigned for an additional runway at (LHR), but the new UK government that came into power in 2010 had made denying permission for the 3rd runway, a platform of its election campaign.

As a result, the (IAG) acquired UK airline (BMI) so that it could secure that airline’s (LHR)’s slots and ensure its ability to compete from its hub base. “Since then, there has been a realization by politicians that there was no magic solution [as an alternative to a third runway] and when they asked me what we were going to do, I said the alternative was to grow somewhere else,” Walsh said.

The (IAG), which owns Spanish carriers Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ), plus Irish airline Aer Lingus (ARL), operates a 3-hub strategy: — (LHR), Dublin and Madrid.

News Item A-6: "London Heathrow (LHR) Airport Promises to Surpass ‘Green’ Conditions" by (ATW) Alan Dron, May 13, 2016

"London’s Heathrow (LHR) Airport has pledged to exceed the environmental stipulations laid down for it, in order to gain permission to build a third runway.

Building a third runway at the west London airport, the UK’s main international hub, was declared the best option for extra runway capacity in the crowded southeast of England after a two-year investigation by a government-backed commission.

Despite clearly opting for (LHR), however, the commission’s choice has been kicked into the long grass by the UK government, which at the end of last year commissioned yet more environmental studies into the impact of increasing capacity there. A final decision is not expected until well into the 2nd half of this year.

Deterioration in environmental conditions as a result of additional flights has always been regarded as (LHR)’s Achilles heel by its opponents.

London Gatwick (LGW), which is still fighting to win approval for the extra runway, has consistently said that a busier (LHR) will result in more noise pollution for people on the flightpath and a worsening of the already illegally-poor air quality around the airport.

In an effort to sway the decision in (LHR)’s favor, (CEO), John Holland-Kaye wrote to UK Prime Minister David Cameron May 11, setting out a “world-leading, ambitious and affordable plan” to balance economic benefits and environmental impact.

Among the measures, (LHR) has offered:

* A 90-minute extension to the current 5-hour overnight curfew on flights, stretching it from 11 pm to 5:30 am;

* To support the introduction of an independent noise authority and regular reviews of the “noise envelope”;

* To pay householders whose homes would be compulsorily purchased and demolished for the new runway, full market value plus a 25% premium and additional costs. This offer would be extended to a further 3,750 homes, if householders wanted to leave the area;

* To spend more than >£1 billion/$1.45 billion in compensation to residents and communities adversely affected by the expansion.

However, Gatwick (CEO), Stewart Wingate immediately described the offer as “a desperate last throw from a project that has repeatedly failed. (LHR)’s air quality plans, for example, fail the most basic credibility test. You can’t promise no more cars [taking people to and from the airport] and at the same time to propose to expand the M25 [motorway, which serves (LHR) and plan to spend millions on parking.”

Only Gatwick could provide a new runway, while minimizing the environmental impact, he said.

Meanwhile, the 3rd option considered (but rejected) by the commission, (LHR) Hub, which proposes extending the northerly (LHR) runway and operating it as 2 separate runways for landings and take-offs, described its option as being £6 billion cheaper, simpler, and less disruptive.

July 2016: News Item A-1: "Retrofit Investment to Soar as Airlines Wi-FLY Into the Future" Following the recent announcement of British Airways (BAB) investing more than >£30 million to retrofit 118 of its aircraft with next-generation satellite technology, Bhoopathi Rapolu, Head of Analytics (EMEA) at Cyient, pondered whether this could be the start of airlines increasing connectivity in their fleets.

The cash injection was to fund the retrofit of Gogo’s next generation satellite technology into a range of (BAB)'s long-haul planes including Airbus A380s, and Boeing 777s, 747s, and 787s, putting the technology in the hands of (BAB) passengers from early next year.

While (BAB) is not the first to implement such a scheme, this landmark deal will be a huge leap forward for the technology. The International Airlines Group (IAG), (BAB)’s parent company, claimed that 90% of its long-haul fleet will be up and running by 2019.

The question, however, still remains for medium and short-haul flights (coverage on short-haul European flights in particular is woefully low). But there is clear demand across the board, and this is certainly a step in the right direction. Over the next few decades we will surely see seamless connectivity across all fleets for the entire duration of any journey. But is the proliferation of such technology as much of an opportunity for the airlines as it is for the passengers?

* Monetizing the skies.

There is no doubt that the announcement from (BAB) is a fantastic step forward in the aerospace industry’s quest for truly connected travel in the skies. It is a prime example of how technological advancements can drive benefits for both carriers and their passengers alike: customers are provided with the seamless digitally-led travel experience that they crave, and airlines can now open up new revenue streams through premium offerings.

It will be particularly interesting to see how (BAB) monetizes their new internet services. Identifying the viable commercial models is the key challenge that sets the direction of the industry on these initiatives. One hope for operators is that opening up paid for offerings such as movies, TV series and other premium content, to passengers via a subscription model, would make the whole plan worth investing.

However, operators cannot expect to make money without offering some basic connectivity for free, so that passengers can get used to it before opening their wallets.

* Flight app.

We are all starting to see a rise in custom-built airline apps. These applications link up to the passenger’s individual in-flight entertainment systems, enabling them to interact with the plane via their personal device.

Once an airline app is in place, the integration possibilities are endless. Some carriers only currently allow their customers to interact with entertainment platforms, essentially using their tablet or iPhone as a second screen. But others offer a much deeper integration into the in-flight experience, via the passenger’s personal device.

The apps can be used for things like ordering food and drink and calling the attention of a flight attendant. Being run via a subscription-based model, they also provide opportunities for airlines to generate further revenue and would benefit hugely from the integration of high-speed wi-fi enabled services.

* A cloud of security.

This project with (BAB) will, however, be far from “plane-sailing,” and the infrastructure in place will have to manage huge bandwidth increases, as such services have historically proven to be extremely difficult to install.

While stepping up bandwidth is the first step, any discussion of Wi-Fi in the skies will also raise significant security concerns. For airlines, access can also mean a risk of manipulation, either from the ground or within the aircraft itself. In-flight Wi-Fi, and the notion of connectivity can leave planes vulnerable to hacking. It is paramount that network and data safety are kept front of mind, as (IAG) embarks on this exciting and potentially transformative modernization project.

Unfettered connectivity opens up the possibility for security risks not just for aircraft systems, but also for other passengers, if the necessary security framework is not in place before opening up the bandwidth.

In order to ensure a secure on-board browsing experience, the most important measure that airlines need to take is to separate the flight systems network from the passenger network. There have been instances of encroachments into the flight systems in the past, and every operator should be absolutely sure that they are protected. Alongside this, airlines must have a second level of precaution in the form of controlled environmental measures to restrict users from venturing into other passenger’s online privacy.

In spite of this, there will always be unknown vulnerabilities that can only be unearthed by the shrewdest of hackers, and operators must be ready to respond quickly to such instances.

As a whole, the aerospace industry is yet to reach the nirvana state of full Wi-Fi connectivity at 30,000 ft. However, this retrofit deal is a great step in the right direction, and it will be fascinating to watch it rollout over the course of next year.

There will certainly be barriers along the way, but there is a clear demand from a consumer standpoint and airlines are beginning to realize the lucrative benefits that could be harnessed from full in-flight connectivity.

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) cabin crew (CA) will vote on industrial action in response to a new performance scheme, which has triggered fears of future job losses.

About 8,800 (BAB) cabin crew (CA), represented by the British Airlines Stewards & Stewardesses Association (BASSA) section of Unite, are calling for (BAB) to suspend introduction of the “Dashboard Performance Management” scheme.

The Heathrow-based Eurofleet and Worldwide Fleet cabin crew (CA) will vote on whether to take “industrial action short of a strike” between July 21 and August 17.

A consultative ballot has already shown that 94% of (BASSA) members support some form of industrial action. “Our members have already overwhelmingly indicated they want this Dashboard system suspended until their worst fears have been allayed through meaningful consultation, with guarantees over job security,” Unite regional officer Matt Smith said.

“In its current form, this new Dashboard system means (as an employee) you are constantly given red, green, and possibly amber based on a never-ending ‘continual improvement’ score which, we believe, eventually year-on-year will become impossible to achieve.”

(BAB) said Dashboard is based on customer feedback, which is common in all industries. “The system enables us to commend cabin crew (CA) who perform well and support those that need to improve so that we ensure our customers get the very highest standards of service. Union has told members it would not be strike action and that any action they take will not inconvenience customers,” (BAB) said.

News Item A-3: See video on World's Biggest Airport:

August 2016: News Item A-1: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) saw its 1st scheduled landing of a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on August 1 as a British Airways (BAB) nonstop from London Heathrow (LHR) made its inaugural flight to Baltimore, Maryland.

See photo - "BAB-2016-08 - 1st LHR to BWI 787.jpg."

News Item A-2: 747-436 (25427, G-BNLV), 2 767-336ER (25204, G-BNWM; 25834, G-BNWY) permanently withdrawn from use.

787-9 (38623, G-ZBKG), ex-(N896BA) delivery.

October 2016: News Item A-1: International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) posted a +€930 million/+$1 billion net profit for the 2016 3rd quarter, up +9.7% year-over-year (YOY) from the Group’s +€848 million net income in (3Q) 2015.

The (IAG) encompasses Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways (BAB), Spain’s flag carrier Iberia (IBE) and Spanish low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VUZ).

The group’s consolidated total revenue for the quarter was €6.5 billion, down -4% (YOY) from €6.8 billion a year ago. (IAG)’s combined passenger revenue during the quarter was €5.8 billion, down -5.4% (YOY); cargo revenue was €240 million, down -7% (YOY). “Yields decreased at (BAB) and (IBE) with continued fare pressure on oil related routes and lower demand from economic uncertainty related to the UK referendum vote leading up to and following the vote, weakening of currencies throughout Latin America, Africa and Middle East and the compounding impact of terrorist attacks.”

Total operating expenses incurred by the Group over the quarter were €5.3 billion, down -3.8% (YOY). The Group’s 3rd-quarter operating profit came to €1.2 billion, down -4.9% (YOY). “While strong, these results were affected by a tough operating environment with a very significant negative currency impact of €162 million, primarily due to sterling weakness, and continued disruption due to air traffic control (ATC) strikes,” (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said.

Combined traffic for the (IAG) airlines increased +9.4% (YOY) during the 3rd quarter to 71.4 billion (RPK)s. Combined capacity grew +9.6% (YOY) to 83.4 billion (ASK)s. The Group’s collective passenger load factor for the quarter was 85.6% LF, down -0.1 point (YOY).

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) will launch 4x-weekly London Heathrow - New Orleans Boeing 787 service March 27, 2017.

News Item A-3: The decision on provision of additional runway capacity for the congested SE of England was thought to be delayed a little longer, after an anticipated decision by the UK government’s cabinet was postponed. The cabinet had been expected to pronounce October 18 on the location of the new runway. The government-created Airports Commission recommended 1 year ago that the best solution for the wider UK economy would be a 3rd runway at London Heathrow (LHR).
However, neither London Gatwick, nor the backers of a 3rd plan that would lengthen one of (LHR)’s existing runways and then use one half for landings, the other for takeoffs, has given up its attempts to persuade the government of the merits of their respective schemes.

Full-page advertisements for both of the latter projects appeared in UK national newspapers over the weekend. Gatwick, in particular, argued it could build a 2nd runway faster, more cheaply and with fewer pollution problems than is possible at (LHR).

The UK government last year delayed making a final decision until it received the results of a special environmental report into making (LHR) the site of a 3rd runway. That has now been delivered, but a succession of factors (notably the referendum campaign on European Union (EU) membership) has seen the final decision being repeatedly postponed.

According to multiple media sources, the Prime Minister’s spokesman, giving his daily briefing to specially accredited journalists, said October 18 the announcement on the new runway’s location would be delayed until a later meeting in the month of the cabinet’s airports sub-committee. Following the announcement, normal rules of cabinet “collective responsibility” were waived, to give some Ministers who had always been hostile to a new (LHR) runway a chance to express their opposition.

Later however, on October 24, A UK government committee selected a 3rd runway at London Heathrow (LHR) Airport as the best option to boost capacity in the UK south east. The 3rd (LHR) runway was chosen as the best of 3 potential solutions. The other options were extending (LHR)’s northern runway ((LHR) Hub), or adding a runway at London’s Gatwick Airport. The decision has been pending since the Airports Commission released its conclusions in 2015. “There were 3 very good options on the table, but we believe a 3rd runway for (LHR) is the best option for our future,” UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said. “I know this will be a disappointment to [Gatwick], but Gatwick remains a really important part of our transport system and will continue being so.”

(LHR) said the runway allows for up to +40 more long-haul destinations, as well as improved domestic connectivity, when it opens in 2025. However, Gatwick remains unconvinced that the complex and costly (LHR) expansion is deliverable and remains ready to step in. “We are ready to deliver within 10 years of being given the green light,” a Gatwick spokesman said.

The October 25 selection is not the end of the process. The 3rd runway must still be put to a government vote, which is not expected until winter 2017 to 2018. After that, it will be subject to a full consultation and the normal planning processes, with a high likelihood of further challenges. “There are still serious issues that need to be addressed and there is still a long way to go,” International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said.

(IAG), which is the parent of British Airways (BAB) has voiced concerns over potential fee increases to cover the expansion costs.
Likewise, Virgin Atlantic (VAA) said it supported the (LHR) expansion as long as it delivers for customers. “New capacity must be allocated in a way that brings more choice, better service and lower fares for customers. We will work with (LHR), the (CAA) and the government to ensure that the final scheme is affordable, cost-efficient and that the customers of today are not overburdened by paying for runways and facilities that won’t be open until the mid-2020s,” (VAA) said.

Business representatives and pilot (FC) unions welcomed the decision, but environmentalists have said they will challenge the 3rd runway plan. Around 800 homes would be demolished to pave the way for the runway and some local residents have said they will refuse to move. Others, such as Irish low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair (RYR), say the government has not gone far enough. “The government finally made half a decision, but unfortunately they made the wrong decision,” (RYR) (CEO) Michael O'Leary said, arguing the government should approve 3 new runways (at London’s (LHR), Gatwick and Stansted airports) and let the market decide. EasyJet (EZY) responded positively to the decision and has said it conditionally plans to launch operations from the newly expanded (LHR).

November 2016: News Item A-1: Qatar Airways (QTA) and British Airways (BA) have expanded their code share partnership, adding a series of UK and European flights.

The Oneworld (ONW) Alliance partners started their network partnership October 30, with (BAB) launching daily scheduled flights between London Heathrow (LHR) and Doha on the same day. “As part of the agreement, all nonstop flights between the UK and Doha will operate under the code share agreement, allowing both (ONW) carriers to provide passengers with better links between the UK, Asia, the Middle East and Africa,” the carriers said.

The expanded code share will now also include all of (BAB)’s flights within the UK, covering Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, and Newcastle.

(QTA) will also code share on routes from London Heathrow to Europe, including all services to Dublin in Ireland; Hamburg and Stuttgart in Germany; Luxembourg; Basel in Switzerland; Bilbao, Malaga, Ibiza and Palma in Spain; Lisbon and Faro in Portugal; and Billund in Denmark.

On July 28, (QTA) increased its stake in the (IAG) to 20.01%, building on the 9.99% stake that it 1st acquired in January 2015. The (IAG) is the parent company of (BAb), Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus (ARL), Madrid-based Iberia (IBE), and Spanish low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VUZ).

News Item A-2: Brazil Clears Qatar Airways - (LATAM) Tie-up, but is Wary of (LATAM) - (IAG) (JV)" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, November 17, 2016.

Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica (CADE), Brazil’s competition authority, has approved Qatar Airways (QTA)’s investment in the (LATAM) Airlines Group, but the regulator has also expressed misgivings about (LATAM)’s proposed joint venture (JV) with the International Airlines Group (IAG).

The approval of (QTA) taking up to a 10% stake in (LATAM) worth >$600 million is welcome news for (LATAM), the largest Latin American airline company, which believes foreign investment and transnational (JV)s are critical to its future. But the delay in approval of a transatlantic (JV) with (IAG) carriers British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE) (Oneworld (ONW) Alliance partners with (LATAM)) is concerning to (LATAM) (CEO) Enrique Cueto.

At the Latin American & Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) Airline Leaders Forum in Mexico City, Cueto said major airlines in North America, Europe and Asia in well-established antitrust-immunized (JV)s have an advantage over Latin American carriers. “Everything comes to our region 5 to 10 years later,” he said. “Either we get into this [JV] model or we’ll be bought by others and we’ll disappear.”

Cueto said competition authorities and labor unions concerned about (JV)s should understand that (JV)s will enable Latin American airlines to guarantee services and jobs over the long term, while being bought out altogether would mean nothing is secure. “(JV)s will guarantee a lot more than people think,” he said.

(CADE) said earlier this month that a (LATAM) - (IAG) (JV) “has the potential to cause harmful effects on competition,” particularly on the São Paulo - London and São Paulo - Madrid routes. (LATAM)’s application to start the (JV) with (IAG) has been forwarded to (CADE)’s Tribunal, which has final say on mergers and acquisitions in Brazil. (CADE) has jurisdiction over the proposed (JV) because one of (LATAM)’s primary subsidiarys, (LATAM) Brasil (formerly (TAM)(TPR)) is based in Brazil. (LATAM) is also seeking approval for a (JV) with American Airlines (AAL), but (CADE) has not reviewed that application yet.

* Attracting capital

Meanwhile, the investment from (QTA) provides a shot in the arm to (LATAM), which has struggled financially in recent years as Brazil and Latin American’s other economies have faltered. Speaking at the (ALTA) conference, Deutsche Bank Analyst Michael Linenberg pointed out that (LATAM)’s market capitalization stands at $5 billion today, less than half of (LATAM)’s implied equity value of $12 billion, when Chile’s (LAN) Airlines announced in 2011 that it was acquiring (TAM) (TPR) to form (LATAM). The merger closed in 2012.

At the time, the combined (LAN) - (TAM) market capitalization was higher than any airline in the world. (LATAM)’s current $5 billion equity value is just one-seventh of Delta Air Lines (DAL)’s $35 billion market capitalization, according to Linenberg, a demonstration of how much the global airline industry has changed in the last 5 years. But Linenberg predicted airlines from around the world will continue to invest in Latin American carriers, which still appear poised for strong long-term growth. “There’s a huge amount of potential in the region,” Linenberg said. “You have a lot of carriers in the world looking to invest in the region.” He said the economic fortunes of Latin American airlines are starting to brighten. “It does feel like we’re seeing a bottom here,” he noted.

Latin American airlines have “become an industry that is attracting capital” from outside the region, Aeromexico (AMX) (CEO) Andrés Conesa said. (AMX) and (DAL) earlier this month received tentative approval from the USA Department of Transportation (DOT) for an antitrust-immunized cross-border (JV). (DAL) owns a minority stake in (AMX) that it has said could rise to as much as 49% once the (JV) is cleared.

Conesa said Latin American airlines are trying to take advantage of the (JV) model and outside investment, just as airlines have in Europe and the USA. European and USA carriers have gained significantly from a “very developed” transatlantic (JV) structure, he said, adding, “What we’re asking is to be on the same level as other airlines.” Conesa said the (DAL) - (AMX) (JV) “also makes sense for the consumer” and will create “an additional wave of traffic” for (AMX).

Panama-based Copa Airlines (COP) Holdings (CEO) Pedro Heilbron indicated that his company and other major Latin American airlines, such as Colombia’s Avianca (AVI), will also pursue (JV)s with carriers outside of the region. “As airlines such as (AMX) and (LATAM) get into (JV)s, it will put pressure on the other airlines in the region to do something,” he said. “We can’t be left out of the game.”

News Item A-3: Seattle-based Alaska Airlines (ASA) and British Airways (BAB) have established a code share partnership, opening up 7 USA west coast cities and 3 Hawaiian airports for (BAB) passengers. The code share agreement goes into effect November 23. “(BAB) and (ASA) have been frequent flyer program partners for >15 years but [the code share will] forge close ties and extend this partnership further,” (BAB) Executive Chairman Alex Cruz said. “For business (C) travelers [this will] open up USA cities that have previously been more difficult to access from the UK.”

British Airways (BAB) operates 2x-daily flights to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and 1x-daily flights to San Diego, Vancouver, British Columbia and San Jose (Silicon Valley), California. (BAB) also flies to 29 other North American cities.

New direct western USA destinations opening up to (BAB) customers with the (ASA) code share include Boise, Idaho; Fairbanks, Alaska; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City, Utah; Spokane, Washington; and Santa Ana (Orange County) in southern California. The new Hawaiian destinations to be directly accessible to (BAB) passengers via Los Angeles are Honolulu, Kona, and Kahului.

News Item A-4: "Airline Execs: Long-haul, Low-cost on Brink of Changing Industry" by Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com (ATW) Plus, November 8, 2016.

2 of the airline industry’s most prominent executives predicted the imminent arrival of viable long-haul, low-cost carrier (LCC) services in London at the World Travel Market conference and exhibition on November 7. “We’re just on the brink of something new coming along,” Emirates Airline (EAD) President Tim Clark said. “Now you’re seeing Scoot (SCT), Norwegian (NWG) and AirAsia X (ASX) coming along. I think we’re seeing the beginnings of an inflection point,” he said. The current crop of young long-haul, (LCC)s had some work to do to refine their business models, but he believed the market would see a major change.

However, Clark added he would have made his comments “with more gusto” if he had not been concerned about moves away from liberalism and free trade in certain nations. If that trend continued, it would likely kill off much of this new growth.

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh echoed Clark’s comments, but said not every airline that attempted long-haul, low-cost services would be successful: “There will be lots of airlines that label themselves long-haul, low-cost and will never make a penny,” he said. He admired the efforts of Norwegian (NWG) to be a front runner in this category, which had demonstrated that passengers were prepared to countenance the unbundling of fares for long-haul flights in the same way as they had accepted this in the short-haul market, although Norwegian (NWG) had “not yet cracked it” in terms of success. Like Clark, he feared that changing political and economic moods could hamper the progress of such airlines. “It does depend on a liberal regime that allows you to access destinations” that would provide the necessary traffic flows, he said.

News Item A-5: British Airways (BAB) started its 1st 787-9 service on its 3x-weekly London Heathrow - Moscow Domodedovo route on November 1.

News Item A-6: "(IAG) Signs Up for Next-gen Wi-Fi" by (ATW) Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com, November 3, 2016.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) is to introduce high-speed Wi-Fi across its constituent carriers’ short-haul fleets, as it becomes the launch customer for Inmarsat’s next-generation connectivity system.

The (IAG) (comprising Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ)) will equip up to 341 of its short-haul aircraft with the necessary equipment to provide a 4G broadband network. They include 132 (BAB), 125 (VUZ), 45 Iberia (IBE), and 39 Aer Lingus (ARL) Airbus A320-family aircraft.

The new system will offer customers broadband internet access on their own mobile devices, allowing them to use email, check social media and stream videos. Bandwidth capacity will allow them to use multiple devices simultaneously, while connection speeds will be similar to what they have at home, the (IAG) said. “We are giving our customers the fastest connectivity you can get on any aircraft,” (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said.

Earlier this year, the (IAG) announced the installation of Wi-Fi on its long-haul aircraft. “Connectivity is essential because it’s what our customers demand and the (IAG) will be the 1st European airline group to offer high-quality air-to-ground Wi-Fi on short-haul flights,” Walsh added.

“The European Aviation Network is a game changer for the millions of airline passengers that have been cut-off from fast, reliable and consistent broadband access during flights in Europe,” Inmarsat Aviation President Leo Mondale said. “It will combine the strengths of Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity with a powerful ground network operated by our partner Deutsche Telekom.”

The 1st short-haul aircraft to be equipped with the new system (a (BAB) A321) will be in service summer 2017. (ARL), (IBE) and (VUZ) aircraft will follow later in the year.

The new development means that by 2019, 90% of (IAG) airlines’ fleets will have connectivity.

News Item A-7: "(IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh Urges New UK - USA Open Skies Agreement" by (ATW) Mark Nensel mark.nensel@penton.com, November 9, 2016.

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh, speaking in Washington DC November 9 at the International Aviation Club, congratulated USA President-elect Donald Trump on his election victory and urged the USA government and the aviation industry to support a new USA - UK "Open Skies" agreement modeled on the existing USA - European Union (EU) "Open Skies" agreement.

“I have a quote from Oscar Wilde that’s appropriate in this case,” Walsh said. “Oscar Wilde once said that ‘the world is divided into 2 classes, those who believe the incredible, and those that do the improbable.’ I think what happened was we saw somebody who appealed to those who believe in the incredible and those who have done the improbable. I personally look forward to seeing what President-elect Trump does. I expect this is going to be a very exciting time for aviation.” Additionally, Walsh said there will be a period of negotiation before the shape of the UK’s future relationship with the (EU) and indeed the aviation framework will become clearer.

“At (IAG) we will press strongly to maintain the full access to international markets and to continue effective regulatory arrangements,” Walsh said. “The best and the easiest way to do that will be for the UK and the (EU) to agree to a comprehensive air transport agreement, in other words an "Open Skies" agreement.” “We would want to see a similar Open Skies agreement between the UK and other markets for [which] the (EU) agreement already exists. That would include obviously the USA. I believe that such an agreement would be good for all parties, whether it’s Britain, USA or the (EU),” he said.

“Aviation is a global industry,” Walsh said. “Anything short of an Open Skies would be a massive retrograde step. Limited flying is protectionism. We need a liberal regime to facilitate trade and connectivity between our nations. With Brexit, Britain needs to further develop its trading links around the world and it’s critical to do that, that we have a good relationship with the USA,” Walsh continued. “When I listened to Donald Trump’s victory speech I was impressed because if he is to deliver on the promises that he gave to grow employment, to strengthen the economy, aviation is going to be a key facilitator in achieving those goals. It is in both countries’ interest that a UK - USA agreement ensures that consumers and businesses continue to benefit from the improved competition, choice and value that has been delivered by the (EU) - USA Open Skies agreement for almost 8 years.”

“Today’s agreements don’t just benefit airlines. Many other industries depend on flying and we need to ensure that they can continue to do so without any disruption,” Walsh said. “The good news is that aviation is not starting from scratch. We have a model in the (EU) - USA agreement, one that can be easily applied to other jurisdictions today.”

News Item A-8: British Airways (BAB) plans to speed up its move toward “densifying’ its fleet with changes to its Boeing 777-200s.
The 25 777-200s based at London Gatwick will see an increase in capacity from 280 to 332 from early 2018. The main change is going from 9Y abreast to 10Y abreast in economy, increasing seats at the back of the 777-200 from 216 to 252.

The number of business (C) class seats will also reduce from 40C to 32C and the number of premium economy (PY) seats will double from 24PY to 48PY.

The Gatwick-based subfleet serves a more leisure-oriented set of destinations than those operating from London Heathrow, notably to the Caribbean.

At a capital markets presentation earlier in November, the slide containing the details of the new, denser configuration stated the configuration would give a “lower cost/seat than the Norwegian (NWG) 787.” Low-cost carrier (LCC) (NWG) has been ramping up flights to leisure destinations from London Gatwick with its rapidly growing fleet of the Boeing twin-aisle airplanes.

(BAB) said, “We are flying more customers than ever before. To meet this demand, we are updating our 777 cabins to bring us into line with many of our competitors.” The increased seat count “will allow us to offer even more low fares.” A (BAB) spokeswoman was unable to say by how much seat width would be reduced to allow the move to 10-abreast.

As part of the re-configuring of the 777-200, larger in-flight entertainment screens will be fitted in economy (Y).

(BAB), the UK flag carrier has previously announced it will increase the number of seats in its short-haul fleet for the 2nd time in 4 years (Airbus A320s will go from 168 to 180 seats from winter 2017, while A321s capacity will rise from 205 to 218 from summer 2018).

In another cut to onboard amenities, (BAB) announced plans in October 2016 to stop serving free food and drink on its short-haul fleet. Perhaps significantly, when the move to purchased food and drink was announced, (BAB) offered price comparisons for onboard victuals with (LCC)s such as easyJet (EZY).

December 2016: News Item A-1: "Qatar Airways Finalizes Stake in LATAM" by (ATW) Karen Walker, December 28, 2016.

(LATAM) Airlines Group (LAN)/(TPR) and Qatar Airways (QTA) have completed their transaction in which (QTA) has taken a 10% stake in the Latin America group.

The deal, which sees Qatar Airways (QTA) invest some $600 million through a capital increase in (LATAM), was completed December 28, (LATAM) announced. Both airlines are members of the Oneworld (ONW) global alliance. “The entrance of (QTA) as a shareholder of (LATAM) represents a unique opportunity to develop a long-term relationship and explore new opportunities for connectivity with Asia and the Middle East,” (LATAM) said.

The transaction was granted Brazilian regulatory approval in November. But (LATAM) is still waiting for approval of a transatlantic immunized joint venture (JV) with British Airways (BAB) and Iberia (IBE). Both European carriers are part of the (IAG) Group and are also Oneworld (ONW) Alliance members. (QTA) also has a 20% stake in the (IAG).

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) looks set to join the list of major European airlines that have endured industrial strife this year, following a ballot for strike action by cabin crew (CA) staff. >2,500 cabin crew (CA), represented by UK’s largest union "Unite," have voted for action to begin after December 21 over a pay claim. (BAB) has criticized the uncertainty of the move. Lufthansa (DLH), Air France (AFA) and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) have been hit by strike action this year.

Unite said 79% of its members who voted in the ballot had opted for strike action, but did not say how many had actually voted. Those affected, are members of Mixed Fleet crews that operate both short- and long-haul services from London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Unite said that since 2010, all new cabin crew (CA) employees had joined Mixed Fleet. It said earnings were advertised as being £21,000 - £25,000/$26,600 - $31,700, “but in reality start at just >£12,000 plus £3 an hour flying pay.” The latter figure is just over the UK’s national minimum wage.

Unite said the staff had rejected a 2% pay offer from the airline and that on board staff managers had their pay frozen for the past 6 years. “Meanwhile [International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO)] Willie Walsh pocketed €8.8 million and parent company (IAG) reported profits of +€1.4 billion, up +64% on last year.”

The union added that half its members in Mixed Fleet had taken on a 2nd job to make ends meet and that many were going on duty unfit to fly as they could not afford to be off sick. “Some admitted sleeping in cars between flights because they could not afford the petrol to get home.” Mixed Fleet was experiencing high staff turnover because many staff found they could not afford to remain with the airline, the union said. It urged (BAB) to return to the negotiating table with a better offer. There was no indication whether strike action would take place over the busy Christmas and New Year period.

“We are extremely disappointed that the union is creating uncertainty for our customers,” (BAB) said. “Mixed Fleet Unite represents about 15% of our cabin crew. We remain focused on resolving this issue as quickly as possible without any disruption to customers. “We have proposed a fair and reasonable pay increase to Mixed Fleet cabin crew (CA), which is in line with that accepted by other (BAB) colleagues and which will ensure their reward levels remain in line with cabin crew (CA) at our airline competitors.”

A (BAB) spokeswoman said (BAB) was working on a response to Unite’s claims that staff were going on duty while unwell.

News Item A-3: "London Heathrow (LHR) Airport to Apply for 3rd Runway in 2019" by Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com, December 12, 2016.

London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) will submit a planning application for its controversial 3rd runway in 2019, after the project secured government backing in October. “(LHR) is to commence the preparation of a planning application to expand the airport with a new runway. The application is intended to be formally submitted in 2019, after the government has designated the National Policy Statement,” (LHR) said December 12.

The airport will consult closely with local communities as it prepares its submission. “The 1st step will be to commence wildlife and other environmental surveys in the local area, starting in early 2017,” (LHR) said.

Earlier this month, (LHR) named 7 companies that will make up the 3rd runway Integrated Design Team. These are sustainability specialist Amec Foster Wheeler, Engineering firms Arup and Atkins, concept architect Grimshaw, airport consultancy firm Mott MacDonald, infrastructure design company Jacobs, and planning consultants Quod.

“The 7 were chosen because of their experience in delivering projects of similar size, breadth and importance as an expanded (LHR). Their appointment followed competitive selection processes and a thorough commercial review. The teams have each been awarded 4-year term contracts, commencing November 2016,” (LHR) said.

Earlier this year, Arup, (CH2M), (MACE) and Turner & Townsend were hired as the program client team for the project, which has been criticized by both (IATA) and British Airways (BAB) parent company the International Airlines Group (IAG) for being too expensive.

In November, (LHR) handled a record 5.72 million passengers, up +2.5% on the prior year. London Gatwick (LGW) airport was running a rival runway campaign.

News Item A-4: "Scottish Parliament sets Timetable for Reducing Airline Tax" by (ATW) Alan Dron, December 2016, 2016.

The Scottish Parliament plans to halve the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD) (a departure tax imposed by the UK parliament in London) by the end of the current parliamentary session, with the longer-term aim of abolishing it completely.

The (APD) introduced in 2007, was characterized by the then labor government as an environmental measure designed to reduce the amount of aircraft emissions. However, the money goes into the UK’s general taxation pool, and is generally regarded as a convenient way of raising additional revenue for the Treasury.

The airline industry has complained it is the highest tax of its kind in the world and has a detrimental effect on air travel. From relatively modest beginnings in 2007, the amount paid by UK passengers has risen steadily; the lowest amount paid, by an economy- (Y)class passenger on a flight of <2,000 miles, is £13/$16.25 and can rise to as much as £146 for a passenger in a premium-class cabin traveling >2,000 miles.

Scotland, which has around 10% of the UK’s total population, has its own parliament in Edinburgh, to which many revenue-raising powers are devolved. The governing Scottish National Party has said it will cut (APD) in Scotland by -50% from April 1, with the aim of abolishing it completely “when resources allow.” The move has been backed by the opposition Scottish Conservative Party. “This is an important moment in the ongoing debate around (APD), as it is clear that there is now cross-party support for reductions in the tax to take place in Scotland from April 2018,” Tim Alderslade, (CEO) of Airlines UK, the trade association representing UK airlines, said.

“Airlines have long said that taking action on (APD) in Scotland will make a big difference to businesses and families (and we are pleased that the Scottish Conservatives have joined the (SNP) government in acknowledging its damaging impact and paved the way for total abolition in the future).”

News Item A-5: Passengers at 18 UK airports face potential disruption over Christmas weekend, as >1,500 check-in staff, baggage handlers and cargo crew, represented by the Unite union, are set to stage a 48-hour strike beginning December 23 after a long-running pay dispute. The staff is employed by ground and cargo handling services company Swissport.

Unite earlier called a strike of some members of British Airways (BAB)’s cabin crew (CA) in a separate dispute.

Unite members voted to reject a 4.65%, 3-year pay deal for 2015 - 2017, which the union said barely keeps pace with inflation. It added that staff is angry that detrimental changes to terms and conditions have been linked to the pay deal. These include freezing overtime payments for the foreseeable future and restructuring pay.

Unite called on Swissport to take the matter to the UK’s industrial arbitration and conciliation service (Acas), to avoid Christmas travel disruption. “Our members are only taking this industrial action as a last resort in a bid to reach a fair settlement (our members have not had a pay rise since 2014),” Unite’s national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson said.

Unite represents Swissport members at the following UK airports: Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Doncaster, East Midlands, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, Glasgow, London Heathrow, Leeds/Bradford, London Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Southampton and London Stansted.

News Item A-6: Threats of a 2-day strike by UK airport workers that would have potentially disrupted passengers heading off for Christmas holidays have been eased. A new pay offer for the 1,500 baggage handlers, check-in staff and cargo personnel, who work at 18 UK airports, is to be put to a vote in the next few days. The move follows talks with their employer Swissport December 20 at the UK industrial arbitration service, (Acas).

The staff, members of the Unite union, had been due to strike for 48 hours on December 23 and 24. Swissport describes itself as the aviation industry’s largest provider of ground and cargo handling services.

Unite officials said the talks had resulted in a breakthrough on pay and conditions. They said many of their members were paid only fractionally above the UK’s national minimum wage of £7.20/$8.90 an hour. “That the strike is called off is obviously good news for Unite members and very welcome news for passengers,” Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey said. “No worker likes taking strike action but often the threat of it is the only way to make headway in very frustrating circumstances. We now take this offer back to the members for their consideration.”

A single line on Swissport’s website said: ‘The planned industrial action on December 23rd and 24th has been suspended.’ McCluskey added that he hoped for similar progress in talks with British Airways (BAB), where Unite members who work as cabin crew (CA) are due to strike after December 21.

News Item A-7: Passengers at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) are being advised to check which terminal their flight departs from in January 2017 as 3 of the airport’s major carriers change locations.

(LGW), which says it is the world’s busiest single-runway airport with an estimated 43.5 million passengers in 2016, has 2 terminals: the original airport building, now known as the South Terminal, and the newer North Terminal.

As part of (LGW)’s ongoing modernization and upgrade program, British Airways (BAB) will move to the South Terminal, Virgin Atlantic (VAA) will cross to the North Terminal, while low-cost carrier easyJet (EZY), which currently operates out of both buildings, will consolidate its operation in the North Terminal.

The changes will see new facilities being brought into use for both (BAB) and (VAA), including new technology at check-in, security and immigration as well as new bag-drop zones and new (BAB) and (VAA) lounges. The moves will take place over a 72-hour period in late January 2017, with all 3 carriers operating a reduced flying program during that period.

From January 24, all easyJet (EZY) flights will depart from the North Terminal; from January 25, all (BAB) services will depart from South and all (VAA) flights will depart from North.

The only exceptions to these dates are (BAB)’s flight BA2273 to New York, which will depart from South beginning January 11 and BA2612 to Naples, which will make the switch to South from January 19. “We are ready to deliver this major step in (LGW)’s strategic transformation program,” (LGW) (COO) Chris Woodroofe said. Plans for the change have been under way for 2 years, he added. “Relocating the airlines allows greater efficiency and positions all 3 carriers for growth, which in turn drives (LGW)’s growth,” he said.

Approximately 50,000 passengers will be traveling with the 3 airlines on the 277 flights that will be relocating across the 72-hour switchover period. Around 10,000 (LGW)-based staff are also affected by the moves.

January 2017: British Airways (BAB) cabin crew (CA), represented by the Unite union, is planning a 48-hour strike on January 10 - 11 as part of an ongoing pay dispute.

(BAB) has said it anticipates being able to carry all its passengers January 10 - 11, despite a planned strike by some cabin crew (CA).
The national carrier said January 6 that industrial action by around 2,500 members of the Unite trade union, who are employed as cabin crew (CA) on (BAB)’s “mixed fleet” based at London Heathrow (LHR), would impinge only slightly on travelers.

Mixed fleet personnel are employed as crew on both long- and short-haul services. The dispute is over pay, which the union claims can be as low as £12,000/$14,750 plus £3 an hour flying pay.

(BAB) said the “vast majority” of flights to and from (LHR) would operate as normal but “a very small number” would be merged. “This will mean some customers will travel slightly earlier or later in the day than their original booking.”

During December’s ballot for industrial action, 79% of the Unite members that took part, voted for strike action on a turnout of 60%, the union said. It added that a survey of its mixed fleet members had found that half had taken on 2nd jobs on their days off to make ends meet, while more than two-thirds were going to work unfit to fly because they could not afford to be off sick.

(BAB) said the staff affected by the vote represented around 15% of (BAB)’s cabin crew (CA) complement. (BAB) added that all flights from London Gatwick and London City airports would be unaffected. (BAB) remained available for talks with the union.

However, (BAB) faced a fresh bout of industrial action from some of its cabin crew (CA) after the union involved said staff would strike for 72 hours the following week over pay rates. Members of the union who worked on (BAB)’s mixed fleet based at (LHR) were to stop work at 12:01 am local time on January. 19. Mixed fleet personnel operate both short- and long-haul services; Unite said that around 2,900 of the 4,500 mixed fleet cabin crew (CA) are union members, with 800 having joined since the dispute started.

(BAB) described the new strike threat as “bizarre and regrettable.” A 48-hour strike on January 10 - 11 led to the cancellation of a relatively small number of (BAB) flights, with affected passengers moved on to other services.

Unite said its members were increasingly angry over (BAB)’s failure to offer a reasonable pay settlement. The union has claimed pay levels for some staff are so low they are forced to take 2nd jobs to make ends meet. “(BAB) should be under no illusion about our members’ determination to secure a settlement that addresses their concerns over poverty pay,” Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said. “Seeking to squeeze ever more from cabin crew (CA) and making passengers pay for services which were once complementary, is a sad state of affairs for an airline which once described itself as the ‘world’s favorite.”

(BAB) said this week's 48-hour strike by Mixed Fleet Unite failed in its objective of disrupting our customers, adding that “>70% of mixed fleet cabin crew (CA) ignored” the strike call earlier this week and reported for work as normal. “So it is bizarre, as well as regrettable, that Mixed Fleet Unite branch announced further strike dates for January 19 - 21,” (BAB) said. “We will again aim to ensure that all our customers travel to their destinations in this period and we will publish more details on January 16 once we have finalized our contingency plans.” (BAB) added that it had agreed a deal with Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey before Christmas, but the Mixed Fleet Unite branch refused to recommend it.

* British Airways (BAB) faced another 6 days of industrial action by some of its cabin crew (CA), represented by the Unite trade union, in an ongoing dispute over pay. The cabin crew (CA), members of the London Heathrow (LHR) based mixed fleet workforce that staffs both short- and long-haul services, will strike between February 5 - 7 and February 9 - 11.

In a letter to (BAB) dated January 27, Unite urged (BAB) to return to negotiations: “Your reluctance to offer a reasonable pay deal to our members, yet spend what we believe is now reaching millions of pounds in trying to quash strike action, suggests money is available and this is a question of ideology.” The union said (BAB) had been spending substantial sums to hiring in third-party airplanes to cover schedules affected by previous strike period and urged the company to “get back around the table, with the starting point being the encouraging start that we made at industrial arbitration service (ACAS) before Christmas.”

(BAB) mixed fleet cabin crew (CA) has so far staged 2 stoppages, resulting in 5 days of strike action. (BAB) said it had flown all its customers during the previous strike periods and would do so again in the future. During earlier strikes, (BAB) canceled or merged some short-haul services to destinations that have multiple daily flights and chartered aircraft from external parties to fill gaps in the schedules. “We will publish more details on Tuesday, January 31, once we have finalized our contingency plans in relation to the strikes called for February 5 - 7,” (BAB) said. “On Thursday, February 2, we will publish more details in relation to the 2nd strike period, February 9 - 11.” It added that its pay offer to mixed fleet staff was consistent with that agreed with Unite for other (BAB) staff and was in line with pay rates at competitors.

February 2017: News Item A-1: A major refurbishment and expansion of London City Airport’s Western Pier is approaching completion.

The airport has finished the makeover of the 1st 7 of the pier’s 10 ground-level gates. The 1st floor level, previously essentially a narrow corridor, has been extended out over the gates, increasing available space by some +84%.

The new space will be used for a combination of seating areas plus retail outlets. Full completion is scheduled for April 2017.

Work on reconfiguring the pier began in spring 2015 and was scheduled to be completed in summer 2016. The delay, an airport spokeswoman said, was the result of typical issues that come up with any major building project. “You run into problems and, on top of that, we had to remain operational all the time.”

The additional space is much-needed. The small terminal handled 4.5 million passengers in 2016, a +5% rise on 2015’s figure and the largest in the 30-year history of the airport, which is a favorite for business executives, given its position close to London’s Docklands financial district. “With 52% of all passengers traveling for business, the +5% year-on-year growth demonstrates that the appetite for business travel to and from London remains strong despite the unpredictable political climate, as we prepare to expand the airport in 2017 to meet increasing demand,” airport (CEO) Declan Collier said.

The airport is about to get underway with a major £344 million/$430 million expansion program that will see a deck built on piles sunk into the dock on which the airport is located, providing +7 additional aircraft stands, notably for larger, new-generation regional jets.

Work is scheduled to start in early summer: “The 1st bit is the unglamorous bit: lots of concrete piling and decking,” the spokeswoman said. “A large part of the expansion is out over the dock, so the 1st thing we have to do is piling, then putting the decking on, so we can build on it.”

The expansion project will also allow for an extension to the terminal and the building of a parallel taxiway; at present, aircraft have to backtrack along the single runway for takeoff or after landing, limiting its utilization.

The expansion program will enable 6.5 million passengers to pass through the airport annually by 2025 and allow an additional +29,000 flights per year.

News Item A-2: Lobby group "Airlines for Europe" (A4E) has completed its 1st year of operations, bringing both successes and some ongoing frustrations. (A4E) was started by Europe’s 5 major airline players: Air France (AFA) - (KLM), UK-based easyJet (ESY), the International Airlines Group (IAG), Lufthansa (DLH), and Irish low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair (RYR) in January 2016 to focus on key policy areas, including airport charges, air traffic control (ATC) strikes and taxation.

News Item A-3: 747-446 (24048, G-BNLF), registration canceled, withdrawn from service at Teruel.

March 2017: News Item A-1: "European Commission (EC) Re-imposes Cargo Cartel Penalties" by Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com, March 17, 2017.

The European Commission (EC) has reinstated fines totaling €776 million/$834 million on 11 airlines for operating a price-fixing cartel on air freight from 1999 to 2006. More legal hearings are likely, as at least 1 of the carriers immediately said it would appeal the decision.

The (EC) originally imposed the penalties in November 2010, but these were annulled by a decision of the European Union’s (EU) General Court in December 2015 on procedural grounds, which ruled there was a technical discrepancy in the prosecution. In a March 17 announcement, the (EC) said it had resolved the discrepancy and was re-imposing the financial penalties on 11 air cargo carriers: Air Canada (ACN), Air France (AFA)/(KLM), British Airways (BAB), Luxembourg-based Cargolux (CLX), Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways (CAT), Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JSA), (LAN) Chile, Dutch cargo carrier Martinair (MTH), Australia's Qantas (QAN), (SAS) Scandinavian Airlines and Singapore Airlines (SIA).

The (EC) said that a 12th member of the cartel, Lufthansa (DLH) and its subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines (CSR), was spared from the financial penalties after it applied for immunity in 2005 and revealed details of the alleged arrangements between the airlines.

These were said to consist of collusion between the airlines at both bilateral and multilateral levels to fix the level of fuel and security surcharges on cargo. After the initial verdict, all the airlines except Qantas (QAN) appealed. The financial penalty thus became final for QAN). Millions of businesses depend on air cargo services, which carry >20% of all (EU) imports and nearly 30% of (EU) exports,” (EC) Commissioner Competition Policy Margrethe Vestager said. “Working together in a cartel rather than competing to offer better services to customers does not fly with the (EC). Today’s decision ensures that companies that were part of the air cargo cartel are sanctioned for their behavior.”

The (EU) can fine companies participating in cartels up to 10% of their revenue in the year preceding the adoption of a verdict. (SAS) immediately said it would appeal. “We strongly question the European Commission’s move to re-impose a decision that has already been annulled once by the [General Court],” (SAS) General Counsel Marie Wohlfahrt said. “Throughout the entire process, (SAS) has cooperated with the (EC) and, for >11 years, has argued against the (EC)’s perception that (SAS) Cargo had participated in a global cartel.”

Nevertheless, the fine would be recognized as a nonrecurring expense by (SAS) in its earnings for (2Q) 2016/2017. Air France (AFA) - (KLM), which will be fined €325 million if the penalties become final, said it would analyze the new decision and whether to appeal it again at the General Court. It added that the fines had been covered in its financial accounts since 2010.

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) cabin crew (CA) have embarked on their latest and longest bout of strike action in pursuit of improved pay. Members of the "Unite" union who form part of (BAB)’s London Heathrow (LHR)-based mixed fleet, which operates both short- and long-haul services, began a week-long strike on March 3.

The union claims some cabin crew (CA) members earn as little as £16,000/$19,600 a year, just above the UK’s statutory minimum wage. (BAB) disputes this figure, saying mixed fleet cabin crews (CA) typically earn £21,000 - £25,000.

Since December, (BAB) Unite members have staged a series of strikes, with the length of each strike slowly increasing.

(BAB) said March 3 it would ensure all passengers reach their destinations during the strike.

Only some (LHR) services are affected. Some flights will merge and passengers re-booked on alternative flights. Most of the affected flights are to short-haul destinations with several daily rotations.

The airline added it would continue to operate a full schedule at London Gatwick and London City airports. A spokesman declined to say if any negotiations to end the dispute were underway or pending.

News Item A-3:: The International Airlines Group (IAG) launched its long-anticipated low-cost, long-haul carrier March 17, naming it "Level."

The new airline will be based at Barcelona’s El Prat airport, the hub of (IAG)’s low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VUZ), which is expected to act as a feeder for the new long-haul operation. Level will start operations in June 2017, with 2 initial USA destinations of Los Angeles (2x-weekly) and San Francisco Oakland (3x-weekly), plus Buenos Aires, Argentina (3x-weekly) and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (2x-weekly). Further European cities will be added to the route map later, but an (IAG) spokeswoman declined to name them.

Initial equipment will consist of 2 new Airbus A330-200s, part of a batch of five options previously taken out with Airbus. More aircraft will be added to the Level fleet as the route map expands, the spokeswoman said. The 2 initial aircraft will be in a 2-class configuration, with 21PY premium economy and 293Y economy seats.

Level (LVL) will be orientated toward the leisure market: “We’re very much targeting people that want to fly long-haul, but haven’t been able to afford it in the past,” the spokeswoman said. The airline’s name was chosen because, “We believe this brand is about leveling the playing field so more people have the chance to fly long-haul.”

The 2 initial aircraft will be operated by crews from Spanish flag carrier Iberia (IBE), another of (IAG)’s brands. “Level (LVL) will become (IAG)’s 5th main airline brand alongside Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ),” (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said. “Barcelona is Vueling (VUZ)’s home base and this will allow customers to connect from (VUZ)’s extensive European network onto Level’s long-haul flights.”

Walsh has long been an admirer of Norwegian (NWG)’s young, but rapidly expanding, low-cost long-haul operation.

Like other low cost carriers (LCC)s, Level’s fares will be un-bundled, with economy (Y)-class passengers adding services at additional cost. Premium-economy (PY) passengers will have complimentary checked baggage plus a cabin bag, meals, seat selection and in-flight entertainment.

All passengers will have access to what (IAG) describes as a wide range of on-board entertainment options, but high-speed internet connectivity will come at a price (the minimum charge will be €8.99/($9.65)).

April 2017: News Item A-1: "British Airways Introduces Biometric Boarding Gates" by Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com, April 7, 2017.

British Airways (BAB) is introducing automated biometric technology to create self-service boarding gates at London’s Heathrow (LHR) Airport. Passengers passing through the security channel will have a digital scan of their face recorded. When they arrive at the gate and scan their own boarding pass, their face is matched with the previously recorded data. If the 2 digital images match, the passenger is allowed to board.

(BAB) said the system, which was trialed in June 2016, is now being rolled out, with the 1st 3 boarding gates for UK domestic flights at (LHR)’s Terminal 5 now fitted with the necessary equipment.

(BAB) plans to open +3 self-boarding gates for domestic services every week until mid-June, with the aim of extending it to international flights at a yet-to-be-determined date. (BAB) said the (LHR) equipment is more advanced than alternative systems used by other airlines and airports.

(BAB), the UK flag carrier has also opened self-service bag drops at both (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW) and, later in 2017, will open an improved connections area at (LHR) Terminal 5 for passengers switching flights. “Our customers have told us that they want the ability to simplify and speed up their journeys through the airport,” (BAB) Director Customer Experience Troy Warfield said.

News Item A-2: See video on British Airways:

See video:

10 longest nonstop flights in the world.

May 2017: News Item A-1: The International Airlines Group (IAG) posted a 1st-quarter net profit of +€27 million/+$29.6 million, down -74% from net profit of +€104 million in (1Q) 2016. The company said adverse currency movements played a significant part in the profit drop.

Revenue for the quarter was €4.9 billion, down -2.8% from the year-ago figure of €5.08 billion.

However (IAG) (the parent company for Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways, Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ)) said it had recorded its highest-ever operating profit for the traditionally weak 1st quarter of the year, at €170 million before exceptional items, up +9.7% compared to +€155 million last time.

The (IAG) said (1Q) 2017 had seen a backdrop of increasing fuel prices and a stronger USA dollar against both the euro and the UK pound. This gave an adverse foreign exchange figure of €32 million.

In an analysts’ call on the figures reported by "Reuters," Walsh said the group’s new long-haul, low-cost carrier (LCC), "Level," would add “2 or 3” aircraft to its initial 2 Airbus A330-200s in 2018 and would begin to operate from at least 1 new European base, apart from its initial base at Barcelona.

The “improving trend” in passenger unit revenue was continuing, (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said, with (2Q) passenger unit revenue also anticipated to be up on the year-ago figure. At current fuel prices and exchange rates, the group was on course to improve its operating profit figure for 2017 compared to 2016, he added.

Capacity rose +3.3% to 68.3 billion ASKs, while load factor inched up +0.1% to 79% LF. Although capacity grew across all regions, the group picked out Aer Lingus (ARL)’s continued growth on North Atlantic services, while low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VUZ) grew in its Spanish homeland and was able to reduce its seasonality.

(BAB) launched new routes to Santiago, Chile, and Oakland, California, while dropping 1 of its China routes, to Chengdu. Iberia (IBE) continued to rationalize its European operations, while increasing capacity on long-haul routes launched in 2016, such as Shanghai, Tokyo and Johannesburg.

Passenger revenue kept pace with the capacity increase, up +3.3% at 53.9 billion RPKs, while cargo tonne kms rose +3.6% to 1.37 billion.
Passenger numbers rose +3.8%, to 21.1 million, up from 20.4 million a year ago.

Employee costs were €1.15 billion, down -6% compared to the same period in 2016, while fuel, oil and emission charges dropped -10.8% to €1.06 billion.

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) flight BA 7025 departed Birmingham (BHX) on the inaugural service to Florence (FLR) on May 20, but it also marked a significant return to regional flying for the airline. It was the 1st of 4 new regional routes launched from the Midlands, as well as from Bristol (BRS) in the UK’s SW, this weekend and the 1st time (BAB)’s colors have been seen at either airport for years. (BAB) last flew from both airports in 2007 when its regional airline business (BA) Connect was sold to Flybe (BEE). Alex Cruz, (BAB) (CEO) & Chairman said: “We continue our regional growth following the successful launch of services from Stansted last year. Now we are flying from Birmingham once again we are excited about the future opportunities.” In addition to these 8 services, (BAB) also started 9 more from London City (LCY), Dublin (DUB), London Stansted (STN), and Manchester (MAN).

June 2017: News Item A-1: "British Airways (CEO) Puts Cost of Recent (IT) Outage at 80 million Pounds." by "Reuters" June 15, 2017.

A technological failure which stranded tens of thousands of British Airways (BAB) passengers in May will cost (BAB) around 80 million pounds/US$102.19 million, Willie Walsh (CEO) of (BAB) parent, the International Airlines Group (IAG), said.

The figure was an initial estimate, Walsh told at the company's annual shareholders meeting in Madrid. In addition to (BAb), the (IAG) owns Aer Lingus (ARL), Vueling (VUZ),and Iberia (IBE).

(BAB) suffered a disruption at London's Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick airports when a power surge knocked out its Information Technology (IT) system, forcing it to cancel almost two-thirds of all flights on May 27, which fell on a busy bank holiday weekend.

(LHR) suffered further setbacks on Thursday after a baggage system failure prevented luggage from being checked in at terminals 3 and 5. The problem has been resolved.

News Item A-2: British Airways (BA) is preparing for the longest strike yet in its dispute with some of its cabin crew (CA) as members of (BAB)’s London-based “mixed fleet” group of flight attendants (CA) are planning to stop work from July 1 to 16.

The initial reason for the long-running dispute, salary levels, has actually largely been settled, according to the Unite union, which represents the striking staff. “The issue is now largely around sanctions that have been meted out to the people who went on strike,” Unite spokesperson Alex Flynn said.

These sanctions included withdrawal of travel concessions and other benefits, he said. “We had put forward a compromise, but that was refused,” he added. As a result, Unite now plans to take 1,400 cases of affected personnel to the UK’s employment tribunal system, which arbitrates between employers and staff in such disputes.

(BAB) said June 27 that, as in previous disputes involving the cabin crew (CA), it would ensure that all passengers got to their destinations, either on (BAB) flights or on those of one of their partner airlines. Customers on “a very small number” of London Heathrow flights could find their long-haul flights being merged, said an airline spokesperson.

As during previous strikes, (BAB) will be wet leasing capacity to help it cope with the disruption. Whereas in previous strikes this capacity has come from UK or European carriers, (BAB) is this time considering leasing Airbus A320s and A321s from Qatar Airways (QTA).

This has triggered another protest from Unite. Pointing to what it described as (QTA)’s “inferior flight duty time limitations and rest requirements,” the union said that it had “warned that unless these had been ‘transitioned’ to meet (EU) requirements,” the wet lease would not be compliant.

Additionally, it said, it had warned “that if a bilateral international agreement between the (EU) and Qatar covering wet leasing does not exist, then approval for the lease would not comply and should be automatically refused.” The union said it had written to UK regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the matter.

A (BAB) spokesperson said: “As you might expect, we’ve not specified these planes. We’re looking at all options available to ensure our customers travel as planned.”

Qatar Airways (QTA), like (BAB), is a Oneworld (ONW) alliance member and (QTA) is the largest single shareholder in (BAB)’s parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG), with a 20.01% stake.

(QTA) also has aircraft sitting idle at present, due to its major diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt.

On June 27, the (CAA) said: “We are currently processing an application from British Airways (BAB) to wet lease 9 Qatar-registered aircraft. Under European regulations specific approval is required for an (EU) airline, such as British Airways (BAB), to wet lease aircraft from an airline based outside of Europe. The UK Department for Transport will approve or reject the application taking into account advice from the (CAA). We can confirm we have so far received a number of comments on the application, which will be taken into consideration.”

News Item A-3: "Walsh: (IAG)’s Level and Vueling on Standby to Fill Alitalia Capacity" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann hofmann.aviation@netway.at, June 30, 2017.

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said (IAG) member airlines Level (LVL) and Vueling (VUZ) are prepared to provide immediate additional capacity if Alitalia (ALI) is forced to downsize and restructure further.

Speaking on the sidelines of an Airlines for Europe (A4E) event at the European Parliament in Brussels June 29, Walsh said Spanish low-cost carrier (LCC) Vueling (VUZ), an (IAG) member airline, “has a significant operation in Italy and we will [also] operate our new long-haul (LCC) Level (LVL) from Rome Fiumicino.”

The (IAG)’s new Level airline (LVL) launched flights from Barcelona June 1. “The passenger demand is absolutely fantastic,” Walsh said. “Level (LVL) operates 2 Airbus A330s [and] 3 more aircraft are expected to join the fleet in 2018.”

Walsh said the (IAG) is not interested in acquiring Alitalia (ALI).
“We had been very clear: any reduction of capacity [from (ALI)] as a result of [its] restructuring will be filled,” Walsh said, adding it would not possible for the (IAG) to take over aircraft from (ALI), saying nearly all of (ALI)’s aircraft are leased and mostly Irish-registered.

Responding to a question about (IAG) member airline British Airways (BAB)’s plans to wet-lease 9 Qatar Airways (QTA) Airbus A320 family aircraft to fly its passengers during a planned 16-day mixed fleet cabin crew strike set for July 1 - 16, Walsh said “British Airways (BAB) will continue flying. Where [there] are disruptions [by the strike], we [will] use capacity from other airlines like we did in the past. We did it before and we [will] do it again. There is nothing new in this,” Walsh said. “We demonstrated [this] successfully on other occasions. When we say we operate, we operate.”

News Item A-3: The long-running dispute between British Airways (BAB) and (BAB)’s London Heathrow-based “mixed fleet” cabin crew (CA) shows no sign of being resolved, with the July 6 announcement of a further 2 weeks of strike action.

From December 2016, mixed fleet cabin crew (CA) (who operate both short- and long-haul services) have held a series of increasingly long strikes and are in the middle of a cessation of work from July 1 to 16. The new strike will start July 19, just 3 days after the current one ends, and continue until August 1.

(BAB) said July 6 it is running 99.5% of scheduled services, and will merge a small number of long-haul flights and accommodate passengers on other services.

(BAB) will also wet-lease 9 Airbus A320s (from fellow Oneworld (ONW) Alliance member Qatar Airways (QTA)) to keep services running. According to (BAB), (QTA) would again be operating “a small number of short-haul flights on our behalf” during the next dispute.

Unite has launched legal action against the UK government’s decision to allow the lease of the Qatari airplanes, arguing the use of the airplanes and cabin crew (CA) breaches European regulations.

Ironically, the original cause of the dispute (pay) has now largely been resolved by union negotiators. The Unite union says staff has not gone back to work because of sanctions being taken against strikers, including removal of staff travel concessions. “We had reached a deal with Unite on pay, which the union said was acceptable,” (BAB) said on July 6. “They should call off this unnecessary strike and allow their members to vote on the pay increase.”

A (BAB) spokeswoman added (BAB) had appealed to staff early in the dispute to keep working. “We said ‘Please come to work, we will support you. If you don’t, we will be removing for a short period of time things such as bonuses and staff travel [concessions].’” She said (BAB) wanted the legal action to be resolved by the courts and for staff to return to work in the interim.

News Item A-4: Pilot representatives from the European Cockpit Association (ECA) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) have voiced concerns about British Airways’ (BAB) use of aircraft and crews from Qatar Airways to fill gaps in (BAB)’s schedule caused by a long-running industrial dispute at (BAB), the UK national carrier.

Since late 2016, (BAB) has been embroiled with some of its cabin crew (CA) in a row over pay and, recently, allegations of sanctions against strikers.

The latest bout of strike action by members of the Unite union is scheduled to last for nearly the entire month of July.

Throughout the dispute, (BAB) has kept the great bulk of its schedule operating, but in recent weeks has brought in 9 Airbus A320s from fellow Oneworld (ONW) alliance operator Qatar Airways (QTA) to keep its timetable running.

(QTA) is understood to have spare capacity following its diplomatic rupture with several neighboring states, which has led to destinations in those states being barred to (QTA).

(ECA), which represents pilots (FC) from throughout the continent, said the lease of the Qatari aircraft “is being used by British Airways (BAB) in order to undermine the lawful collective action of a group of (BAB) flight attendants (CA) who are trying to improve their wages and working conditions. It is important to understand what is happening here,” (ECA) President Dirk Polloczek said.

“Under the arrangement, the (QTA) crew will be employed under Qatar law and under Qatar employment contracts. There was no meaningful examination of the effect of the lease of the non-European Union (EU) aircraft and crew on the ability of (BAB)’s flight attendants (CA) to exercise their lawful collective rights or on their employment conditions. (QTA) receives massive state subsidies from its government,” he said.

“It is essential that the [European] Commission (EC) and the UK government assess the consistency of the lease with (EU) and UK laws and consider the effect of the lease on the employment rights of (EU) workers now and in the current legislative process dealing with this issue,” Polloczek said.

* (ALPA) supported the (ECA) stance.

“This lease is completely inconsistent with the notion that government action should not benefit one party to a labor dispute,” (ALPA) said.

“If a USA airline attempted to do the same, it would be denied, as USA regulations require that an analysis be conducted to determine if the leasing of foreign aircraft by a USA airline would give an advantage to a party in a labor dispute,” it said.

“(ALPA) opposes the use in the USA market of any non-(EU) leased aircraft by an (EU) airline in order to undermine legal collective bargaining. We urge the (EU) and the United Kingdom to harmonize upward their leasing rules and require an analysis similar to that made by the USA.”

On June 30, the UK regulator, the (CAA), said (BAB)’s request to temporarily wet-lease the Qatar-registered aircraft had been approved by the UK Department for Transport.

“The decision to approve the application took into account the advice of the Civil Aviation Authority [CAA]. Under European regulations, specific approval is required for an (EU) airline to wet-lease aircraft from an airline based outside of Europe. The application was judged to meet all legal and regulatory requirements,” the (CAA) said.

News Item A-5: "The UK’s Laptop Security Predicament" by Karen Walker karen.walker@penton.com in (ATW) Editor's Blog, July 6, 2017.

Gradually, business returns closer to normal for those airlines and airports that were affected by the USA government’s poorly conceived laptop ban in the cabins of in-bound flights from 10 airports, most of them in the Middle East.

Since the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced at the end of June new, heightened security screening rules for all international flights bound for the USA, it has also begun lifting the laptop carry-on ban it implemented in March as airports comply with the new rules. That’s good news for Emirates (EAD, Etihad (EHD) and Qatar Airlines (QTA), which made huge efforts to minimize hassle for affected passengers, but which still saw drops in their USA traffic.

Those airlines and Turkish Airlines (THY), are now permitted to let passengers bring their laptops and electronic devices onboard since the USA has deemed their home airports compliant with its new screening rules.

Good security is critical, of course, but it must also be the right security. (DHS)’ laptop ban failed the “right security” test in several ways. It was implemented without consultation with those affected and who would have to enforce it; it was a unilateral solution when aviation security, to be effective, must be a global, networked system; even if it was not the intent, it looked discriminatory because of the mostly Middle East, Muslim countries it targeted; it created market distortions. Most worrisome of all, it compromised safety by introducing a potential fire hazard because so many lithium battery-powered devices were now in the cargo hold.

(DHS) will never say it was a mistake, of course, but it was a mistaken approach to what is undoubtedly a very real problem (terrorists who are still working on new ways to bring down an airliner because the publicity factor of such an act remains, in (DHS) secretary John Kelly’s own words, “the crown jewel target.”

The new security rules, therefore, are a better solution. They have been reached after extensive consultation with industry. But they still pose questions. Can they be implemented without causing long delays and chaos in the 105 countries and 280 airports that will be affected (involving 180 airlines, 2100 daily flights and an average of 325,000 daily passengers)?

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) provided those numbers and many of its member airlines are concerned. “Implementation of these new security directives will necessitate a number of procedural and operational changes by airlines and airports around the world. Airlines, airports and the relevant government authorities will need to work closely together to avoid unnecessary disruption to the travelling public,” (AAPA) Director General Andrew Herdman noted.

Also, it’s puzzling why the new rules apply to inbound flights to the USA, but not outbound. Strong as USA airport security now is, if there are new technologies being pursued to potentially slip explosives through the passenger screening process, then shouldn’t the new screening rules apply to the USA also? And why target only international flights? The USA is the world’s largest domestic aviation market and most terrorist incidents in the USA since "9/11" have been inflicted by American citizens living in the USA.

Finally, there’s the UK security question. Soon after the USA implemented its laptop ban in March, the UK issued a similar ban on flights to Britain from a list of 6 Middle East and African countries. The UK ban appeared to have been prompted by the USA ban, but the 2 countries’ intelligence authorities apparently did not agree on where the threat lay; they had different target lists.

However, as the USA lifts its laptop ban, the UK ban stays in place. A UK Department of Transportation spokesman confirmed this week that no changes were imminent and rather stiffly dismissed the USA’s new rules (which, of course, apply to all USA flights from any UK airports) with this comment: “It is for the USA to determine its own security measures based on its own assessments, just as we do ourselves.”

Could it be that, as the only other country in the world that followed the USA’s laptop ban, the UK is now trying to find a save-face way to make it look like its security decisions are, indeed, its own?

News Item A-6: A further delay in providing a 3rd runway at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) has been discovered, because of a quirk of UK parliamentary procedure.

The government’s draft Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS), which includes plans for the 3rd runway, was subject to scrutiny by the UK parliament’s Transport Select Committee in the spring of 2017. The committee’s report has to be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport and parliament as part of the legislative process. That was expected to happen later this year.

However, the unexpected calling of a general election earlier this year meant the dissolution of parliament and the select committee, which was forced to close its inquiry into the (ANPS).

Addressing the Aviation Club Lunch in London July 12, the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling told members that the select committee would have to be re-constituted and its inquiry into the (ANPS) restarted. This meant that it would be some time in “the 1st half of 2018” before the final version of the (ANPS) would be laid before parliament.

It is understood, however, that the evidence taken before the dissolution of the last parliament can be admitted as evidence again without it having to be formally resubmitted in hearings before the committee.

Grayling’s announcement is the latest in a seemingly unending list of delays to the construction of desperately needed new capacity at (LHR), whose 2 existing runways operate at 99% of their capacity. This makes it almost impossible for new destinations or frequencies to be added by airlines operating there, without reducing services to existing destinations.

Before work on the runway can get underway, the project is likely to face several legal challenges from environmental campaigners. Early next decade is reckoned to be the earliest time for work on the ground to actually begin.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) expressed its frustration at the news of the latest hold-up. “Pilots (FC) and the traveling public are frustrated that this vital step towards expansion has once again been delayed,” (BALPA) General Secretary Brian Strutton said.

“Aviation brings £52 billion ($68 billion) a year to the UK economy and we can’t afford these incessant delays to see the extra capacity become a reality.”

August 2017: News Item A-1: British Airways (BAB) will operate the Airbus A380 once daily between London Heathrow (LHR) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD) beginning May 8th, 2018. The A380 will replace the Boeing 747-400 on 1 of 2 daily (BAB) flights on this route.

The A380 will operate as the BA295, departing (LHR) at 10:50 am and arriving (ORD) at 1:25 pm. The return flight, BA294, departs (ORD) at 5:30 pm and arrives (LHR) at 7:20 am the next morning.

Simon Brooks, British Airways’ Senior Vice President Sales, North America said, “Customers love our Airbus A380 with its refreshed cabins, enhanced entertainment system and improved quality air. We’re delighted to be the first airline to offer regularly scheduled service on the A380 between Chicago and London. For those traveling for business to London or customers heading to Europe on vacation, this is an exceptional start to their travels.”

“The addition of the Airbus A380 for direct service from (ORD) to (LHR) is great news for travelers in Chicago and around the world,” said Ginger S Evans, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation. “Chicago is always looking for ways to offer our passengers new and improved options for international travel. Thanks to our partners at (BAB), we will bring more visitors directly to our City on one of the largest and most exciting aircraft in the world.”

(BAB) will become the 1st airline to operate regularly scheduled A380 service to (ORD). (BAB) will not, however, be the 1st airline to bring the A380 to (ORD).

News Item A-2: British Airways (BAB) and Scottish regional airline Loganair have concluded a new code share agreement, the 2 carriers have confirmed. The airlines said earlier this month they were working on a code share as part of a cooperative agreement that will take the place of Loganair’s current franchise operation on behalf of UK regional airline Flybe (BEE).

The latter arrangement ends September 1, after Loganair and (BEE) were unable to agree a continuation of their agreement.

The (BAB) code share will enable customers from the Scottish Highlands and Islands to book directly onto services on (BAB)’s global network at London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and City airports.

Loganair customers will be able to connect onto (BAB)’s domestic services at Inverness, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen with the facility to check-in hold baggage at their departure airport straight through to their destination.

Loganair flights between the Highlands and Islands airports and Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Inverness under the new code share agreement will be eligible for ticket discounts under an existing Scottish government scheme to cut the cost of transport links to some of the more remote airports in the country. &#8239;&#8239;&#8239;

New Loganair services to and from Manchester, NW England, will also be included in the code share partnership, enabling customers to take advantage of new connections from points including Glasgow, Inverness and Norwich onto the growing family of (BAB) services at the NW hub.

The airlines operated as franchise partners between 1994 and 2008, and operated a smaller code share agreement even during the Loganair/Flybe (BEE) franchise period.

“We believe the new code share agreement will bring enormous benefits to the Highlands and Islands, significantly boosting the region’s economy by extending the global reach of the area’s businesses and communities through British Airways (BAB)’s worldwide network,” (BAB) Head of Alliances, Rishi Kapoor said.

“Additionally, it will boost the region’s inbound tourism sector by making it easier for visitors from all over the world to travel to some of the most remote and beautiful parts of Scotland.”

News Item A-3: Scotland’s Edinburgh Airport (EDI) has started construction work on a terminal building extension, as part of an £80 million/$103 million investment program.

The 3-story extension, which is scheduled for completion by summer 2018, will see the airport’s SE pier extended to add 6 new boarding gates, air bridges and seating areas.

Under the plan, immigration and customs will be extended. Domestic baggage reclaim will be moved, so international reclaim can be expanded into the current domestic hall. There will also be more space for retail and airline lounges.

The work forms part of a wider £220 million capital investment program, aimed at supporting projected growth of up to 16.5 million passengers by 2021. “We are Scotland’s busiest airport and the fastest growing airport in the UK, and that demand is only going to grow with record numbers of passengers we expect to see passing through the terminal. There have been times this summer where we’ve experienced busy periods that have impacted on our service and this investment in new facilities will ensure we have the infrastructure needed to handle more passengers,” Edinburgh Airport (COO) Adrian Witherow said.

September 2017: As part of its premium-product revamp, British Airways (BAB) is to offer airside transfers for business-class (C) passengers who are at risk of misconnecting.

The service, Premium Transfer Drive, will be available at London Heathrow (LHR) Airport for passengers connecting from UK domestic services to short-haul flights in business (C) class (Club Europe); long-haul premium cabins (Club World and First (F)); and silver- and gold-tier Executive Club members.

(BAB) will track these connecting passengers and, if they are at risk of missing their onward flights, automatically provide an airside car transfer.

The crew and passengers on the inbound flight will also be notified that the service has been arranged.

(BAB) is fitting its short- and long-haul fleets with Wi-Fi over the next 2 years. “As Wi-Fi is introduced on our airplanes, we’ll also be able to use that to communicate directly with customers about their onward flight,” (BAB) said.

(BAB) is investing £400 million/$519 million to upgrade its Club World business (C) class product. As part of this push, (BAB) has just opened a First Wing check-in area at (LHR) with direct security and lounge access. Lounges around the network are being revamped, catering has been improved, and a Club Europe cabin has been introduced on UK domestic services.

October 2017: News Item A-1: The International Airlines Group (IAG) has reported what it described as a strong 3rd quarter, despite disruptions caused by weather and terrorism during the period. Net profit before exceptional items was +€1.2 billion/+$1.33 billion, up +18.1% on +€970 million for the year-ago period. Net profit after exceptionals was +€1 billion, compared to +€930 million last time.

The (IAG) group (which comprises Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways (BAB), Spain’s Iberia (IBE), new long-haul (LCC) Level and Spanish (LCC) Vueling (VUZ)) achieved the result on revenues of €6.6 billion, up +2% on the same period last year.

“We’re reporting another strong quarter with an operating profit up +20.7% to +€1.5 million before exceptional items,” (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said. “All our companies performed well. Passenger unit revenue was up +2.2% at constant currency, boosted by improvements in the Spanish and Latin American markets. Our commercial performance was good despite underlying disruption from severe weather and terrorism. (IAG) Cargo improved in the quarter due to stronger Asia-Pacific demand compared to last year.”

Capacity (ASK)s grew +0.9% to 84.2 billion, while (RPK)s rose slightly faster, up +1.6% at 72.6 billion. Passenger numbers grew +1.3%, to 31.3 million, giving a load factor increase of +0.6% to 86.2% LF.

The increase in capacity was partly attributed to the launch of the new airline "Level" in June, together with new (BAB) routes from London to New Orleans, Louisiana; Oakland, California; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Santiago, Chile. These were partly offset by the discontinuation of the route to Chengdu, China, plus downgauging of capacity to Japan and frequency reductions to Brazil. Iberia (IBE) increased services on several domestic routes and felt the full effect of 2016 route launches to Shanghai, Tokyo and Johannesburg, South Africa. (ARL)’s continued transatlantic expansion also contributed, with Miami its latest destination.

Vueling (VUZ) underwent a small capacity reduction as it rebalanced services toward a less seasonal, denser and more focused network, prior to resuming growth in months to come.

News Item A-2: "UK Eyes Heathrow (LHR) Expansion Vote in (1H) 2018" by Tony Osborne (ATW) Plus, October 26, 2017.

UK Parliament could vote on the expansion of London’s Heathrow (LHR) Airport during the 1st half of 2018. On October 24, the UK Department for Transport launched a new consultation on its new airport-expansion policy, which takes into account newly published aviation forecasts, a new national air-quality plan, and discussion on how the airspace will be managed.

November 2017: News Item A-1: One of the longest-running industrial disputes in UK aviation history has been resolved, after British Airways (BAB) cabin crew (CA) voted to accept a pay increase.

News Item A-2: International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh is aiming to finalize Spanish long-haul (LCC) Level’s next steps before year-end and hire a dedicated (CEO) for the business. Barcelona-based Level, which launched June 1, operates 2 Airbus A330s on services to Buenos Aires in Argentina, Los Angeles, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and San Francisco (Oakland), California. “Level is doing extremely well. We’re very pleased with it,” Walsh said.

December 2017: News Item A-1: "(IAG) in Exclusive Takeover Talks for Niki" by "Reuters" December 29, 2017.

British International Air Group (IAG) is in exclusive talks to buy Niki (NKI), Air Berlin (BER)'s insolvent Austrian airline, a source close to the process said, after (NKI)'s administrator said that 1 bidder out of 4 remained. Besides (IAG), the owner of British Airways and low-cost carrier Vueling (VUZ), bidders for holiday airline (NKI) included tour operators (TUI) (TUG), Thomas Cook (GUE)/(JMA) and former Formula One world champion Niki Lauda.

"(IAG) is the last remaining bidder and is still negotiating now," the source said, adding that the company had put in the highest offer (a double-digit million-euro amount). German newspaper Bild put the figure at around EUR40 million/US$48 million).

Niki Lauda, (NKI)'s Founder, was quoted as saying on the website of newspaper "Die Presse" that he was out of the running. A source said Thomas Cook GUE)/(JMA) was also out of the race.

Die Presse also reported, without citing sources, that (IAG) was likely to be the last bidder. (IAG) and Thomas Cook's Condor (CDF) subsidiary declined to comment.

"The provisional creditors' committee for (NKI) decided to continue sales negotiations for the business operations of the company exclusively with one bidder for now," the spokesman of administrator Lucas Floether said. "(The committee) tasked the provisional administrator Floether to conclusively negotiate the purchase contract over the coming days."

Austrian news agency (APA) quoted an internal letter sent by Floether and the Niki (NKI) management to its employees that the new investor would not split up the company's business and would keep most of its employees. The new owner will have to pay (NKI)'s running costs, including salaries for its roughly 1,000 employees in Austria and Germany, from the beginning of January, Floether said.

(NKI) was part of collapsed Air Berlin. (BER) filed for insolvency after Germany's Lufthansa (DLH) dropped a plan to buy the assets of (NKI) on competition concerns, grounding the fleet and stranding thousands of passengers.

The administrators had been racing to find an alternative buyer for its assets before it loses its take-off and landing slots, its most attractive assets.

News Item A-2: "(BAB) Owner (IAG) Confirms NIKI Deal" by
Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com and Kurt Hofmann hofmann.aviation@netway.at December 29, 2017.

The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways (BAB), Aer Lingus (ARL), Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ) is adding NIKI (NKI) to its portfolio after sealing a deal to acquire (NKI) for €20 million/$24 million.

(IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh confirmed the deal December 29 after the (IAG) was left the sole remaining bidder for (NKI), which went into insolvency after its parent airline, airberlin (BER), ceased operations in October this year. (NKI), founded by former racing driver Niki Lauda, filed for bankruptcy on December 13 after Lufthansa (DLH) withdrew its offer. The European Commission (EC) had expressed competition concerns about Lufthansa (DLH)’s bid.

A statement from (IAG), released mid-evening Vienna time, December 29, said the multi-national company would pay for the assets, which include up to 15 Airbus A320-family aircraft and what (IAG) described as “an attractive slot portfolio” at airports including Vienna, Düsseldorf, Munich, Palma, and Zurich. Additionally, (IAG) will provide liquidity to (NKI) of up to €16.5 million.

The transaction is being made by a newly-formed subsidiary of Spanish (LCC) Vueling (VUZ), 1 of (IAG)’s airlines. The new subsidiary will be incorporated as an Austrian company and run initially as a separate operation. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including the (EC) approving the move.

It was the (EC)’s reluctance to allow Lufthansa (DLH) to take over (NKI) on competition grounds that led to (DLH), the German flag-carrier withdrawing from the deal, triggering (NKI)’s bankruptcy.
The new company aims to employ around 740 former (NKI) employees to run the operation. (NKI) operated a leased fleet of around 20 Airbus A321s and 7 wet-leased TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) Boeing 737s. (NKI) has 1,000 staff.

“NIKI (NKI) was the most financially viable part of airberlin (BER) and its focus on leisure travel means it’s a great fit with Vueling (VUZ),” Walsh said. “This deal will enable (VUZ) to increase its presence in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and provide the region’s consumers with more choice of low-cost air travel”.

Further details about the new subsidiary’s branding and route network will be provided at a later date, said the (IAG).

News Item A-3: "British Airways Readjusts its Pension Schemes" by Victoria Moores (ATW) Plus, December 12, 2017.

British Airways (BAB) has taken further steps to manage its pension liabilities by closing 2 old schemes to further contributions and opening a new plan. Like many former state-owned companies, (BAB) has been weighed down by heavy pension obligations for years. At the last valuation in March 2015, the New Airways Pension Scheme (NAPS) had a -£2.8 billion deficit. The next valuation is scheduled for March 31, 2018.

News Item A-4: "British Airways, London Heathrow & UK Border Force Mess Up Big Time!" by Karen Walker karen.walker@informa.com in (ATW) Editor's Blog, December 10, 2017.

It's 3 am, London time, Monday and I'm sitting on the floor of (LHR) Terminal 5. My British Airways (BAB) flight was supposed to get me home to Washington DC Sunday evening. However, there was a little sleet and snow around London and the system ground to a halt. As I arrived at (LHR) T5, a lot of flights had already been canceled (mostly to or from Europe) or delayed. And there were long lines of people waiting to get re-ticketed.

There was not a lot of snow, but weather can quickly have a knock-on effect. Nevertheless, given that snow was forecast, it was surprising to see that (BAB) and (LHR) seemed little prepared to handle the changes and heavier workloads they must have known would be likely.

My flight (an American Airlines (AAL) ticket operated by (BAB)) was delayed about 3 hours (1st because there was insufficient gates for incoming aircraft as they backed up; then because a passenger's bag had to be unloaded after we boarded; and then for de-icing).

But as we finally prepared to leave the gate there was a bang, it went dark and the captain announced there had been an (APU) failure. By the time the (APU) restarted, the captain announced worse news; the crew was now at the edge of its roster time and there was no spare crew. The flight was canceled and we would have to disembark. We were on the aircraft almost another hour (because we were waiting for gate agents, they said).

We were told we'd have to go back through immigration, collect our bags, then return to check-in where (BAB) staff would re-book our flights and find us hotel accommodation.

From the moment we de-boarded, however, there was no sight at all of any (BAB) staff. We backtracked through T5's tortuously complicated transit system. This involves 2 sets of escalators and elevators. The escalators were not working and only 2 of the 3 elevators worked, so there was a big backup and crush. But much worse was to come. At immigration, the queues snaked forever. Again, not a single (BAB) or (LHR) agent to be seen. There was no proper signage and a lot of confusion as masses of people from canceled flights tried to work out which was the right place to be for UK, (EU) or other passports. In the end, it didn't matter. The queues all became 1 huge clog. I stood for 3 hours. So did many elderly people and families with small children. There was no one to help or prioritize them.

After 3 hours, when I at last cleared UK Border Force & Immigration, there was more chaos in the baggage area. Hundreds of bags were piled across the floor in no order and with no signs. And no-one helping anyone to locate their bags. It was now 1 am and we finally heard a (BAB) voice (but did not see a (BAB) person), sternly telling us if we couldn't see our bags we must leave the baggage area. We were told there would be no help with hotels; and (BAB) could do nothing more until they reopened at 5 am. (BAB) may have been off the hook for any assistance where weather was the cause of cancellation, but my flight was canceled because of an (APU) failure and crew unavailability. Nevertheless, there was no one at all to help.

So here I am, at now 3.30 am, on the floor of a freezing cold T5. No bags, No ticket, No idea when I'll get out of here. BA.com and AA.com are useless (clearly the system just caves in when there is an unforeseen event, which is precisely when you want an airline's online system to work. There are, of course, lots of miserable, tired, cold people sharing this floor with me. They are all (BAB) customers. But there is no evidence of any (BAB) or (LHR) staff. Even if some are working behind the scenes to try and make tomorrow a better day, there should be staff out here with their customers. But there is no evidence whatsoever that they see themselves as being in the service industry or that they regard these people on the floor as their customers.

UPDATE. It's now 11 am London time Monday and here's what happened next. There was a single coffee shop open through the night on the T5 arrivals level. I queued 45 minutes for a cup of hot chocolate. At 4.30 am I joined the (BAb) queue to get re-ticketed and hopefully get some news of my checked bags. My queue companions came from all round the world and all were talking about their miserable experiences (many having had long-haul flights into (LHR), only to sit on the tarmac for 4 hours before disembarking into chaos and 4-to-6 hour queues in the immigration scrum. Most people also no longer knew what had happened to their checked bags. Everyone was talking about the same thing; how there was no sign of (BAB) or (LHR) staff; how families with small kids and elderly people were left to fend for themselves; how there was no information whatsoever and nobody available to provide assistance. And how a stilted apology only was made "for operational disruptions caused by the weather" from around 9.30 am when (BAB) started to tell people over the tannoy they should leave the airport and rebook on ba.com. After 4 hours of queuing and a night at the airport and no sign of their bags, nobody was going to leave the airport. As many pointed out, BA.com wasn't working, not were the (BAB) helplines.

There was also considerable anger when people read morning news stories reporting a "snow storm" had brought (LHR) to a standstill, and quoting a (BAB) spokesperson saying (BAB) had provided refreshments and hotels to customers. Nobody I spoke to had been offered so much as a cup of water (even though the crew on my flight promised on board there would be hotels). People noted that when (BAB) staff did start work at 5 am, they mostly chatted among themselves and ignored their customers, even turning their backs on us while they chatted. Nobody saw a snow storm at (LHR) (it was sleet and a little wet snow. Enough to cause delays, yes, but there are ways to handle that, starting with looking after the customer. Even more infuriating, the (BAB) staff started a queue system that split those who needed re-ticketing (the vast majority, who had spent the night on T5 floor) and those who had a ticket but just needed to drop off their bags. The re-ticketing queue, of course, was much, much longer, but we patiently waited our turn for hours. And then a (BAB) woman started taking some "baggage check" passengers (who had queued for a much shorter time) and inserting them at the front of the re-ticketing queue. After this happened a few times the re-ticketing passengers protested. At which point another (BAB) woman started clucking her tongue and talking about "people's attitude". Actually, their attitude had been remarkably tolerant until (BAB) messed up the queue system, which was the last straw.

Eventually, I was re-booked on a flight that leaves this afternoon. Still no apology and the (BAB) check-in agent acted like it was just another normal check in. When I asked her about my checked bags, however, she said there were "no guarantees" they would be on my new flight. So that's a mystery to enjoy over the Atlantic.

Ironically, my colleague Victoria Moores was at an Aero Club lunch in London last week where (BAB) (CEO) Alex Cruz was the speaker. Victoria points out that Cruz repeatedly said that (BAB) was different because it will look after you when things go wrong.

I beg to differ; and so do several hundred of my (BAB) traveling companions at (LHR) today.

News Item A-5: "Customer Service Lessons for British Airways, London Heathrow and All Airlines" by Karen Walker, December 12, 2017.

A final update on my journey out of the London Heathrow (LHR) chaos, along with a few takeaways that the incident made me think about, not just for British Airways (BAB) and airport directly involved, but for the wider industry.

The re-ticketing process was treacle-slow; most of the time there were just 3 re-ticketing desks open and this was for (BAB)/Oneworld (ONW) Alliance priority customers (I have Oneworld "sapphire" status). Heaven knows what they were doing for their “non-priority” customers. Given the time we had on hand, however, some of us in the queue made it an entertainment to time how long it was taking each passenger to be re-ticketed once they actually reached a desk. The (BAB) guy at check-in desk H12 won our prize for most entertaining: he came on duty at 5 am and by 9 am was still working his 2nd customer. We quickly agreed that should we get to the front of the queue just as H12 got his 2nd passenger re-booked, we’d pass to the next in line and wait for another agent.

When I reached the (BAB) re-ticketing desk after 5 hours of queuing, the check-in agent was polite and professional, but no acknowledgement of what her customers were going through - no “sorry you’ve had such an awful wait/night”. She just got right into finding a new flight, which was fine by me but not an endearing (BAB) moment after nearly 18 hours of (LHR) hell.

She was, however, the hare to H12’s tortoise. 30 minutes later and she told me she had secured me a seat on the 5 pm direct flight to Washington Dulles (the same flight I was on the previous day until its (APU) bust). Great news! But then she looked again at the screen and was clearly troubled. I figured the flight had just been canceled (there were many additional cancellations on Monday). She got on the phone to someone in the (BAB) system and started talking code. Finally she told (BAB) system guy “thank you so much for fixing that: sorry – my mistake.”

Then she turned to me and explained that she had accidently put me in a business (C) class seat, but “you aren’t business (C) class, so I had to fix that. But it’s okay, all fixed.”

Fixed indeed and firmly put in my place to boot! I mean, the seat was clearly available, so even if it was a mistake, here was an opportunity to deliver a “we are so sorry, but please enjoy an upgrade”. Even more fundamentally, from a customer service perspective: you made a mistake and can’t allocate that (C) seat, but please don’t tell me about your mistake! Keep me in blissful ignorance of my unimportance.

In my carry-on was a jar of blackcurrent preserve and a jar of mustard pickle; treats I had bought at a gourmet store in T5 duty free after going through security the 1st time. As (BAB) still had my checked bag (somewhere, but nowhere that I was allowed to know of) and I had to go back through security, I would have to throw away both jars because they would not comply with the 3 oz gel rule. So it was at this point I contemplated unscrewing both jars and pouring them over this woman’s head. Instead, I politely told her this had been the worst travel experience I had ever been through, took my boarding pass and threw the jars in security’s trash can.

Flight 293, (a 747), did leave the gate this time and I arrived at Dulles, sailed through Global Entry to a very welcoming USA Customs & Immigration agent and (praise be) was reunited with my baggage.

So here are my takeaways:

* Lessons for British Airways (BAB) and (LHR):

This was an event for which there was at least 24 hours preparation time. The sleet/ice was forecast; the airport and airline knew there would be delays caused by the weather, de-icing etc. They should have coordinated across the system to ensure extra officials/agents were on site. They should have been providing information (by agents on the floor as well as over tannoys). Information is what people crave most when there is a major change in their planned travel. (BAB) was accused of giving no information to its customers after its Information Technology (IT) meltdown earlier this year. It did not look like (BAB) has learned anything from that.

* Don’t make promises you don’t keep. We were specifically told by the (BAB) cabin staff on our aborted flight that we would be given our bags, met by (BAB) ticketing agents and given a hotel room. None of those promises were met.

* When your customers are queuing for hours and spending the night on a terminal floor (many of them having just come from long-haul flights, some with young kids or elderly relatives) get your staff on duty and get out there. Even if it’s just to sympathize. Better still, to distribute bottled water, maybe juice boxes and crayon packs for kids? Even better, coffee; blankets or some wet wipes.

* Acknowledge your customers’ pain. (BAB) ground staff, when they came on duty at 5 am, must have known what their customers had been through and they were still anxious about when they would get to their planned destinations. A small but genuine “sorry” goes a long way. Most of the (BAB) staff I saw, simply chatted among themselves, several with their backs to us.

* Make your online systems and self-serve kiosks work, even in a crisis. Especially in a crisis. BA.com did not work. My ticket was with American (AAL), but if I entered my (BAB) flight locator into AA.com, it said there was a technical issue and I needed to contact a (BAB) agent. The telephone helplines for both airlines did not work. The kiosks didn’t work. Yet on Monday, as the queues lengthened, (BAB) kept announcing over the tannoy that people who needed to re-book should leave the airport and go to BA.com. To go where? To use a site that didn’t work?

* Don’t blame the weather. Even if the weather caused the initial operational upheaval that led to delays and cancellations, it was (BAb)’s and (LHR)’s inability to cope that turned a disruption into misery.

* Why couldn’t people be allowed to stay airside? They would have been more secure and there are at least lots of seats and bathrooms and electronic charging points (all of which are very sparse on the terminal’s land side. If there’s some rules that prevent this, (BAB) and (LHR) need to work to change those rules. All those hundreds of people on the floor of T5, just inside the main doors, were not just uncomfortable (they were a conspicuous target).

Lessons for airlines generally:

* If your hub airport messes up, customers will try to avoid that airport in future. I heard many passengers, from all round the world, say they would not go through (LHR) again. They have hub choices. And if they avoid your hub, that could well mean they will avoid your airline. So airlines need to work and coordinate with their hub airports to ensure everyone has a system for disruptions and is customer focused.

* It may not be your airline that messed up, but it doesn’t matter. The best service-orientated airline in the world is only as good as its worst-service partner.

* This is why the (LCC)s are growing their market share and making inroads in the long-haul market. At the end of the day, both promise to get you to your destination safely. But if you are a major legacy carrier and that’s all you can deliver, the (LCC) will win on price and honesty.

* This is why airlines get regulated. In my work, I champion for the airline industry to be market-driven and for governments and regulatory bodies to get out of the service side. But for as long as airlines inflict this type of awfulness on their customers (particularly when the initial event was forecast and fairly minor) the more likely it is that lawmakers and travelers will be able to justify legislating how airlines deliver customer service.

News Item A-6: The UK and China have announced a major expansion of air connections between the 2 nations. The new agreement, announced this month, will increase by around +50% the number of flights allowed between the countries. Notably, the agreement allows for considerable growth in Chinese routes from UK regional airports, not just London. In 2016, the 1st services from a UK regional airport to China were launched by Manchester Airport, in NW England.

The announcement builds on an October 2016 agreement that saw limits on passenger flights between the 2 countries raised from 40 per week from each country to a maximum of 100. That figure will increase to 150 under the latest deal.

The rapidly increasing number of Chinese tourists visiting other countries makes the new traffic agreement potentially lucrative for the UK. Between January and June 2017, 115,000 Chinese visitors arrived in the UK, a rise of +47% on the same period in 2016. Chinese tourists are some of the UK’s highest spenders, staying longer and traveling more than visitors from other countries. Spending by them over the January to June period rose 54%, to £231 million/$310 million.

“These agreements are an important part of preparing Britain for a post-Brexit world and making sure we have access to key markets in the Far East,” UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said.

In 2016, restrictions were also relaxed on freight services between the 2 countries, allowing an unlimited number of cargo flights to operate. By the end of 2016, >74,000 tonnes of freight had been transported between the UK and China by air, a rise of +27% compared to 2015.

News Item A-7: "Time is Fast Running Out to Prevent a Brexit Aviation Crisis" by Karen Walker karen.walker@informa.com in (ATW) Editor's Blog December 16, 2017.

With every ticking minute towards the day when the UK exits the European Union (EU), anxiety is growing among those in the airline industry about when replacement agreements will be secured to ensure uninterrupted commercial air traffic in and out of the UK.

Anxiety levels have now ratcheted up several more notches since the European Commission (EC) Directorate General for Mobility & Transport confirmed what everyone knew, but hoped would not need to be spelled out with so little time left. In a “notice to operators,” the (EC) stated that, unless agreed otherwise, the UK will become “a 3rd country” from 0000 local time March 30, 2019 and (EU) aviation law will no longer apply to the UK.

Less there be any misunderstanding about what that means, the (EC) was explicit: UK carriers will no longer have access to air transport agreements between the (EU) and 3rd countries, whether negotiated directly by the (EU), or by the Member States acting jointly (as is the case with the (EU) - USA bilateral). Likewise, (EU) carriers and 3rd countries with (EU) agreements will no longer have traffic rights to, from and beyond the UK.

All airline operating licenses, air transport agreements and aviation certificates will similarly become void; to “obtain and keep” an (EU) operating license and access intra-(EU) air traffic rights, airlines must have their head office or registered office within an (EU) Member State and be majority owned and effectively controlled by (EU) interests. “The aviation sector is highly integrated and harmonized at Union level. The current market access and freedoms enjoyed by aviation stakeholders have been granted under Union law, including notably free and unlimited access to intra-(EU) air traffic,” the (EC) pointed out. “In view of the considerable uncertainties, in particular concerning the content of a possible withdrawal agreement, all operators are reminded of certain legal repercussions stemming from currently applicable rules of Union law in the field of air transport when the UK becomes a 3rd country.”

That “3rd country” status is looking increasingly like a looming crisis for aviation. “Here, it is in black and white from the (EC) — (UK) flights to the (EU) will be grounded in March 2019 should no agreement be reached,” (UK) pilots (FC) union (BALPA) General Secretary Brian Strutton commented. “We need the UK government to sort air traffic rights now; no deal is not an option.”

(IATA) Director General & (CEO) Alexandre de Juniac warned that if the UK fails to establish traffic rights for airlines before it leaves the (EU), it would be “a disaster.”

(IATA) is urging that airline traffic rights are established as soon as possible and by October 2018 at the latest, because airlines set their schedules and sell tickets at least 6 months ahead of operation.

“The worst case would be that connectivity is not maintained between the UK and (EU) due to the disappearance of traffic rights. Traffic rights are a key issue,” de Juniac said during a media briefing in Geneva in early December. “It would be a disaster for UK-based carriers because they would not be allowed to land in Europe. I don’t think it will happen, but it is a risk.”

A risk, indeed. What one senior industry executive described as “the doomsday scenario” is turning from the unthinkable to the possible. And while UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement of a broad Brexit deal reached with the (EC) in December offers some reassurance, the really tough free trade negotiations have yet to begin, and there is so far little indication that aviation is being prioritized or that the need for urgency is understood.

There is precedent in aeropolitics for operations to continue in the absence of a formal legal arrangement, such as when bilaterals or confidential (MoU)s expire without agreement about future capacity. What generally happens, the industry executive said, is that air services are frozen at the level they were at before the expiry or cancellation. But the (EU) aviation system is completely liberal, so bridging arrangements would pose difficult questions, such as at what level should operations be frozen?

And aviation "Open Skies" agreements typically take years to accomplish. How will the UK speed through that process in months when it also has to negotiate trade rights for every other industry? There is also the question of what new terms non-UK governments, especially France and Germany, will seek in the new aviation agreements, such as giving UK airlines less access to their markets.

The (EU)’s "Open Skies" framework is credited with stimulating Europe’s air traffic growth, especially in the (LCC) sector. British carriers need access to that market; and the UK is a major market for many European airlines. But they head into 2018 with little-to-nothing accomplished to secure that access.

News Item A-8: London’s Heathrow (LHR) Airport, in the midst of planning for its much-needed 3rd runway, said December 18 it had identified a potential -£2.5 billion/-$3.4 billion of savings from the plans for the proposed runway and associated infrastructure.

Details of the proposals will not be released until January 2018 when they will form part of the airport’s public planning consultation, but airport authorities said they had been developed in cooperation with user airlines and would ensure that (LHR) expanded with airport charges staying close to today’s levels.

Several carriers (notably British Airways (BAB), the airport’s biggest operator) have persistently criticized the estimated £18 billion cost of the planned runway and associated works and have warned they are not prepared to see their airport charges rise to cover these.

(LHR)’s announcement came on the day that the International Airlines Group (IAG), (BAB)’s parent company, urged the UK government to make the airport authorities provide a detailed breakdown of its expansion costs to ensure airlines’ customers were not exploited. In a submission to the government’s consultation on its Airports National Policy Statement, the (IAG) said there was no transparency on how cost proposals are calculated.

“It’s unacceptable that a monopoly can charge these prices without having to explain why,” (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said. “(LHR)’s project costs frequently increase substantially from their original budget without any justification. “The current regulatory system incentivizes (LHR) to spend an exorbitant amount of money at passengers’ expense and the regulator is unable, or unwilling, to force the airport to provide a detailed cost breakdown. The government must protect consumers by putting a cap on what they pay to use Heathrow.”

Although the UK government has decided in principle to opt for a 3rd Heathrow runway as its preferred means of increasing airport capacity in the crowded SE corner of the UK, legal challenges are expected to prevent construction getting underway for several years yet.

The airport said that the options that would enable the cost reductions included:

* Repositioning new buildings over existing public transport and baggage infrastructure. This included building additional capacity at both Terminals 2 and 5 rather than a dedicated terminal or satellite building between today’s N runway and the planned new NW runway;

* Technological advancements to reduce the amount of terminal space required to process passengers, without compromising their experience;

* More efficient phasing of capacity construction (incrementally increasing terminal capacity in blocks to match growing demand).

* The UK government “set us the challenge to deliver an expanded airport for Britain with passenger charges staying close to current levels,” (LHR)'s Executive Director Expansion Emma Gilthorpe said. “We have now identified potential savings of £2.5 billion and are increasingly confident we can meet the affordability challenge.”

News Item A-9: In December, the (IAG) purchased NIKI (NKI) in a deal worth up to €36.5 million that will see the group take charge of (NKI), the Austrian airline’s 15 A321s and additional traffic rights at airports including Berlin Tegel, Düsseldorf, Munich, Vienna and Palma de Mallorca. The group has stated that the assets will be used to help grow (VUZ)’s brand in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, however, strong competition from Eurowings (EWG) and easyJet (EZY) will make it a tough battle in the low cost carrier (LCC) market.

News Item A-10: "(BAB) Owner (IAG) Confirms NIKI Deal" by
Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com and Kurt Hofmann hofmann.aviation@netway.at December 29, 2017.

The International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways (BAB), Aer Lingus (ARL), Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ) is adding NIKI (NKI) to its portfolio after sealing a deal to acquire (NKI) for €20 million/$24 million.

(IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh confirmed the deal December 29 after the (IAG) was left the sole remaining bidder for (NKI), which went into insolvency after its parent airline, airberlin (BER), ceased operations in October this year. (NKI), founded by former racing driver Niki Lauda, filed for bankruptcy on December 13 after Lufthansa (DLH) withdrew its offer. The European Commission (EC) had expressed competition concerns about Lufthansa (DLH)’s bid.

A statement from (IAG), released mid-evening Vienna time, December 29, said the multi-national company would pay for the assets, which include up to 15 Airbus A320-family aircraft and what (IAG) described as “an attractive slot portfolio” at airports including Vienna, Düsseldorf, Munich, Palma, and Zurich. Additionally, (IAG) will provide liquidity to (NKI) of up to €16.5 million.

The transaction is being made by a newly-formed subsidiary of Spanish (LCC) Vueling (VUZ), 1 of (IAG)’s airlines. The new subsidiary will be incorporated as an Austrian company and run initially as a separate operation. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including the (EC) approving the move.

It was the (EC)’s reluctance to allow Lufthansa (DLH) to take over (NKI) on competition grounds that led to (DLH), the German flag-carrier withdrawing from the deal, triggering (NKI)’s bankruptcy.
The new company aims to employ around 740 former (NKI) employees to run the operation. (NKI) operated a leased fleet of around 20 Airbus A321s and 7 wet-leased TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) Boeing 737s. (NKI) has 1,000 staff.

“NIKI (NKI) was the most financially viable part of airberlin (BER) and its focus on leisure travel means it’s a great fit with Vueling (VUZ),” Walsh said. “This deal will enable (VUZ) to increase its presence in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and provide the region’s consumers with more choice of low-cost air travel”.

Further details about the new subsidiary’s branding and route network will be provided at a later date, said the (IAG).

NIKI (NKI) suspended flight operations on December 14 after 14 years of flying. Launched in 2003, it announced a cooperation with airberlin (BER) in 2004, before completely merging with (BER) in 2011, with it sharing operations, booking systems and aircraft. With (BER) folding in October, it was unsure what was going to happen to (NKI). Lufthansa (DLH) showed interest in (NKI) as part of its discussions to acquire (BER), however these talks never came to fruition. This left the door wide open for the (IAG) to come to an agreement to purchase (NKI) for €20 million at the end of December, giving the (IAG) access to 15 A321s and additional traffic rights at Berlin Tegel, Düsseldorf, Munich, Vienna, Zurich and Palma de Mallorca. A further €16.5 million is to be used to shore up its capital reserves.

* Palma was (NKI)’s prime airport

Palma de Mallorca was by far (NKI)’s largest airport, with the Balearic island being home to around 28% of (NKI)’s departing seat capacity in 2017. This should come as no surprise, given the popularity of the Spanish market for the airline, with the nation accounting for 40% of its departing seat capacity in 2017, ahead of Germany (38% of departing seats in 2017), its home market of Austria (6.7%) and Switzerland (5.5%). Along with Palma de Mallorca, Malaga and Gran Canaria are also in Spain and make it into (NKI)’s top 12 airports. In total (NKI)’s leading airports accounted for 72% of its departing seats last year.

In the 1st 11 months of 2017, (NKI) flew just over >5 million passengers to/from Spain, giving (NKI) a theoretical load factor of just <85% LF. Of those passengers, 3.58 million flew to/from Palma de Mallorca. During the same period of last year, Vueling (VUZ) flew 32.4 million passengers to/from Spain, with 2.08 million of those being Palma de Mallorca passengers. With the addition of (NKI)’s traffic to that already generated by (VUZ), the combined throughput for both could make it the largest airline at Palma de Mallorca, as (NKI) between January and November carried just 400,000 passengers less than the airport’s number 1 carrier Ryanair (RYR). Thr (IAG) has confirmed that more details about the new subsidiary’s branding and route network will be provided in due course, but given the power of Palma de Mallorca and the slots which the (IAG) will gain at the airport, it will be a surprise if the destination is not a major part of the network, even if the main focus of the acquisition is to grow Vueling (VUZ)’s brand in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

* The perfect fit for Vueling (VUZ)’s existing presence in region

An examination of (VUZ)’s top airports in Austria, Germany and Switzerland shows that (NKI)’s current network fits perfectly into (VUZ)’s existing operation to the region, with 8 of the 11 airports (VUZ) operates to in the 3 countries being part of (NKI)’s top 12 destinations (all highlighted in light green). The only airport’s not appearing in (NKI)’s top 12 are Geneva, Basel and Hannover, but the latter 2 were still part of (NKI)’s network before flying stopped a few weeks ago. (NKI) did not operate from Geneva last year.

(NKI) was the 8th largest airline operating in the German, Austrian and Swiss region in 2017 (excluding airberlin (BER)), sitting just behind Condor (CDF) but ahead of British Airways (BAB). The purchase of (NKI) will propel (VUZ), which currently sits as the nations’ 22nd largest operator, to being the region’s 7th biggest airline, sitting just behind Ryanair (RYR). “(NKI) was the most financially viable part of airberlin (BER) and its focus on leisure travel means it’s a great fit with (VUZ),” commented (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh. “This deal enables (VUZ) to increase its presence in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and provide the region’s consumers with more choice of low-cost air travel.” The newly-formed subsidiary of (VUZ) will be incorporated as an Austrian company and run as a separate operation to begin with. It is still subject to customary closing conditions such as European Commission (EC) competition approval.

* Will be hard to keep up with Eurowings (EWG) and easyJet (EZY)

While this deal does allow for a major capacity increase to expand (VUZ)’s brand awareness and operation in the region, the new venture would still be dwarfed by (LCC)s (EWG) (2nd largest airline in Austria, Germany and Switzerland – 21.16 million one-way seats in 2017) and (EZY) (4th – 12.69 million). Both have also been expanding rapidly in the region during recent months. (EZY) purchased part of (BER)’s assets for €40 million to create its own Berlin Tegel operation which begins operations this week. (EZY) has also established an Austrian (AOC) to allow it to continue inter-European flying post "Brexit." (IAG) also plans to operate its new Vueling (VUZ) unit under an Austrian (AOC). Eurowings (EWG) has added capacity to its Vienna and Salzburg operations during the past 12 months, along with its many bases in Germany which coincidentally appear in (NKI)’s top 12 airports, including its new Munich operation. Not only that, but (EWG) has also opened a base at Palma de Mallorca, (NKI)’s number 1 airport. So the (IAG) will have to work hard to crack the market with its new operation, particularly given the negativity around the airberlin (BER) brand in recent years. Nonetheless, a further advantage that this deal gives the (IAG), and indeed Oneworld (ONW), is an improved foothold in the Star (SAL) Alliance’s backyard, in a 3 country market currently dominated by Lufthansa (dlh), SWISS (CSR), Austrian (AUL) and Eurowings (EWG).

January 2018: News Item A-1: British Airways (BAB) will substantially increase operations at London Gatwick Airport as it fights off the growing incursions of competitors such as low cost carrier (LCC) Norwegian (NWG)/(NUK). The Scandinavian carrier has a major operation at London Gatwick, in both short- and long-haul markets, with its rapidly growing Boeing 787 fleet venturing to several North American destinations and new ones such as Buenos Aires in Argentina scheduled to come on-line shortly.

News Item A-2: Austria-based airberlin (BER) subsidiary NIKI (NKI) (CEO) Oliver Lackmann confirmed he will step down by the end of February as the takeover deal with the International Airlines Group (IAG) hit a snag. “It is logical that with a new ownership (of NIKI), it will also lead to a new management,” Lackmann said. Lackmann, a former Airbus (EDS) A320/330 captain with airberlin (BER), became (CEO) in April 2016.

Airberlin (BER) filed for bankruptcy August 2017 and ceased operations in October 2017.

NIKI (NKI) (which filed for insolvency December 13, 2017 and abruptly ceased operations) is still waiting for approval to be taken over by the International Airlines Group (IAG) after sealing a deal at the end of December to acquire the Austrian carrier for €20 million/$24 million.

However, a Berlin regional court (Landgericht) ruled earlier this week that bankruptcy proceedings should be conducted in the Austrian regional court in Korneuburg (near Vienna), rather than in Germany, which may put the (IAG) takeover deal in jeopardy.

Some reasons for that decision are that even though the majority of (NKI)’s revenues were generated in Germany, (NKI) conducted analysis, financial accounting and other administrative tasks at its main headquarters in Vienna.

Meanwhile, as expected, (NKI) also filed for bankruptcy in Austria on January 11, 2018, which could wind up being in parallel with the insolvency house pending in Germany.

The application for bankruptcy proceedings is Austria is said to have been filed by the German insolvency administrator Lucas Flöther. The application was for a so-called secondary procedure, which Korneuburg judges are verifying. “We assume [we will be able to work] together with the courts in Austria and Germany [for a solution so] the deal with (IAG) can be completed.”

Austrian aviation authorityAustrocontrol has also extended (NKI)’s Austrian air operator’s certificate (AOC) by 3 months until March so (NKI) will not lose its slots.

The (IAG) has said it will continue to work with all parties to ensure the transaction goes through as planned. The (IAG) group intends to eventually relaunch (NKI) as an Austrian-based unit of its (LCC) subsidiary Vueling (VUZ).

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said that the company will grow significantly if the deal to buy NIKI (NKI) assets via its Spanish (LCC) subsidiary Vueling (VUZ) goes ahead. “We see organic growth for (NKI) from the currently planned 15 to at least 30 A320 family aircraft within 2 or 3 years,” he said.

February 2018: News Item A-1: "(IAG): High UK Taxes Make Level Flights Unlikely" by Alan Dron, (ATW) Daily News, February 17, 2018.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) has warned UK legislators that the chances of the (IAG)'s new long-haul (LCC) Level operating from the UK are slim while the country's passenger taxes remain so high. In a letter to Members of Parliament, the (IAG) said air passenger duty (APD) undermines the UK's position as a global trading nation as it exits the European Union (EU) and reduces the chance of Level flights from UK regions.

In its letter, the (IAG) said abolishing (APD) would make it more likely that Level could operate from Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester. However, this was not financially viable when Level's fares start at around 88 pounds/US$124 one-way, yet (APD) on a long-haul economy seat is 78 pounds.

The (IAG) said it is seeking to expand Level, which launched flights from Barcelona to the USA and Latin America last year, and will start operating from Paris to the Caribbean and North America in July.

"British consumers are losing out because of (APD)," (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said. "In Spain and France, Level can offer lower fares than it can in the UK and that goes for other long-haul, low-cost airlines, too."

In the letter, the (IAG) said it was foolhardy for a trading nation that relies on developing international connections post-Brexit to tax aviation so heavily. While economy (Y) class passengers paid 78 pounds (APD), the tax rate is even higher on premium passengers, it noted 156 pounds in premium economy (PY) and business (C) class. The latter rate is scheduled to increase another +10% (to 172 pounds) next year. "By hiking (APD) in the last budget, it's clear the UK Finance Minister doesn't understand that Britain is losing out to countries that don't have draconian aviation taxes," Walsh said.

The (IAG) is the parent company of Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE) and Vueling (VUZ).

News Item A-2: Encouraged by much-improved results across all airline units and robust unit revenues, the International Airlines Group (IAG) plans to expand capacity significantly in 2018, a move met with concerns by investors. The (IAG) anticipates a +6.7% capacity increase for 2018, compared to a +2.6% expansion last year.

News Item A-3: "(IAG):British Airways' Parent Company Reports Strong Financial Performance for 2017" By SimonCalder, The Independent, February 23, 2018.

The (IAG), the parent company of British Airways (BAB), has reported "a very good full year performance" with even better results predicted for 2018 at current fuel prices and exchange rates.

The airline group has reported an operating profit of +EUR3,015 millions/+ (2,655 millions Pounds) before exceptional items for 2017. The figure is 18.9% higher than 2017. Willie Walsh, the (CEO) said: "All our airlines performed extremely well with their best-ever individual financial results, strong operational performances and commitment to customer service."

He said the turnaround at the Spanish low-cost subsidiary, Vueling (VUZ), which had a torrid 2016, had been "particularly outstanding".

Revenue rose +1.8% across the group, though it fell -1% relative to (ASK). The "seat factor" the proportion of capacity filled increased by 1% to 82.6%, ahead of the (IATA) world wide average.

Costs at (BAB) increased, due to more expensive "pay-as-you-go" engine contracts, higher maintenance costs because of additional flying, and compensation arising from the power outage in May 2017 which wrecked the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of (BAB) passengers over a bank-holiday weekend.

(BAB) is expanding aggressively at Gatwick, having acquired the slots previously used by Monarch (MON) at the Sussex airport. It is believed to have paid >50 millions pounds for the take-off and landing rights, which will increase the number of flights by +28%. Alex Cruz, (CEO) & Chairman of (BAB), said the new slots would be used for European flights in 2018: "The focus this year is short haul. You'll see increase in frequency to well-known destinations. "In terms of ambition, there are opportunities to grow our very, very successful long-haul network from Gatwick."

In a webcast, Mr Walsh repeated his opposition to any increase in charges at London Heathrow (LHR) to pay for a 3rd runway, saying: "We think the airport can be expanded without any increase in passenger charges. "(LHR) has said 'We can do this for 14 billions pounds'. We think that is excessive." (LHR)'s (CEO) John Holland-Kaye, said: "For Britain to thrive post-Brexit, the Government needs to crack on with (LHR) expansion as quickly as possible with a vote in Parliament before the summer."

The largest part of the (IAG) network is represented by North America, at almost 30%. Transatlantic capacity was increased with new flights from Aer Lingus (ARL), British Airways (BAB) and Level (LVL), which launched from Barcelona in June 2017. Next month a new (LVL) route from Barcelona to Boston will begin, replacing Punta Cana, with a new base at Paris Orly offering services to Montreal, New York and the French Caribbean islands of Guadaloupe and Martinique. Mr Walsh said: "Level (LVL) has exceeded our expectations. It gives us significant advantages over our competitors.

"Our plan in the short term is getting to about 15 aircraft."

(IAG) has recommended a dividend of EUR0.145 per share, bringing the full-year dividend to EUR0.27. "With the dividend and share buyback, we returned >EUR1 billion/880 million pounds to our shareholders last year," said Mr Walsh. "Our confidence in (IAG)'s future remains undaunted and today we're announcing our intention to undertake a share buyback of EUR500 millions/440 millions pounds during 2018."

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Cheap fuel and stronger economic growth have helped (IAG) fly with tailwinds over 2017. "However, neither of these factors are under (IAG)'s control, so to some extent, the group's recent success has been a function of being in the right place at the right time. "What investors will really crave is underlying improvements, not shots in the arm from favorable external factors." The euro and sterling have strengthened against the USA dollar by >10% over the past year, making fuel and aircraft leases priced in dollars cheaper.

News Item A-4: "(IAG) is in Talks over New Aircraft for Low-cost Airline Level (LVL)" by Victoria Bryan, "Reuters" February 23, 2018.

British Airways (BAB) owner (IAG) is in talks about acquiring new airplanes for its Level (LVL) low-cost long-haul brand, as it drives expansion of the airline, which was set up last year.

(LVL) will have 5 Airbus A330 aircraft this year, which (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh said offered a more efficient way to get the operation off the ground than the newer 787 Dreamliner from Boeing.

He said the plan was for (LVL) to grow to 15 aircraft in the short-term, by about 2022, with the possibility to grow further. "We see an opportunity with Airbus and with Boeing. The 787 more and more we see as a future opportunity in the development of Level (LVL)," Walsh told analysts on an annual results call.

News Item A-5: "(IAG) Reports Strong 2017 Results, Plans to Expand Capacity in 2018" by Jens Flottau (ATW) Plus, February 23, 2018.

Encouraged by much-improved results across all airline units and robust unit revenues, the International Airlines Group (IAG) plans to expand capacity significantly in 2018, a move met with concerns by investors. The (IAG) (parent company of British Airways (BAB), Iberia (IBE), Vueling (VUZ) and Aer Lingus (ARL)) anticipates a +6.7% capacity increase for 2018, compared to a +2.6% expansion last year.

News Item A-6: Concorde (SST) nostalgia:

See video: https://www.facebook.com/britishnostalgia/videos/1385969641457863/

March 2018: News Item A-1: "(A4E) to Maintain Push on Core Issues" by Victoria Moores (ATW) Plus, March 7, 2018.

International Airlines Group (IAG) (CEO) and new Airlines for Europe (A4E) Chairman Willie Walsh has said the association will “beat people to death” on the same core issues as the body enters its 3rd year.

(A4E) represents 30 airlines, carrying 75% of Europe’s passengers. The body was created in 2016 to represent all European airline business models, sparking the closure of 2 other lobby groups.

Thomas Reynaert is the Managing Director of (A4E).

News Item A-2: "O’Leary’s Winning Hand with Lauda" by Karen Walker
(karen.walker@informa.com) in (ATW) Editor's Blog, March 20, 2018.

Michael O’Leary must have played a lot of "Risk" as a boy. And he frequently won, judging by how he played his hand over LaudaMotion (NKI), a prize that was keenly sought by Lufthansa (DLH) and British Airways (BAB) owner, the (IAG).

The March 20 announcement that Ryanair (RYR) has struck a deal with Niki Lauda to take up to a 75% stake in his newly-acquired LaudaMotion (NKI) startup is a fascinating twist in a fast-changing story. It started years ago with Lauda himself, when the Formula 1 racing car champion and pilot (FC) launched NIKI (NKI), an Austrian-based airline that was acquired by airberlin (BER) in 2011.

After airberlin (BER) filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations in late 2017, and NIKI (NKI) also stopped operating. A small airline, with 1,000 staff operating a leased fleet of around 20 Airbus A321s and 7 wet-leased TUIfly (HAP)/(HLX) Boeing 737s, NIKI (NKI)'s strategic importance and potential was still clear and the industry giants were quick to advance. The (IAG) and Lufthansa (DLH) were among those that bid, for different reasons. (NKI)’s Vienna-based network across Austrian, German and Swiss cities, linking them to other popular European leisure destinations, lay in the heart of Lufthansa Group territory. A turf that Lufthansa (DLH) wants to defend from new (LCC) competition, and 1 where (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh hoped to grow by making (NKI) part of the (IAG)’s Spanish (LCC) Vueling (VUZ) operations. The (IAG) described (NKI)’s network with airports such as Dusseldorf, Munich, Palma, Vienna and Zurich as “an attractive slot portfolio.”

Not surprisingly given that portfolio, (NKI)’s bid to buy (NKI) was thwarted by European competition authorities. Walsh, who said (NKI) was “the most financially viable part of airberlin (BER),” believed he had sealed the deal with a €20 million/$24 million bid plus the provision of up to €16.5 million in liquidity. At the end of December, the (IAG)’s was the only remaining bid.

But then the courts stepped in and ruled that NIKI (NKI)’s bankruptcy process must be held in Austria, not Germany,. where the (IAG) deal was struck. This time, it was the (IAG)’s plan that was upended; by mid-January, Lauda himself was not just back in the game, but once more, the owner of his namesake airline. His was the winning bid for (NIKI), Austrian and German administrators declared January 23, and Lauda announced he would re-brand and relaunch "(NKI)" as "LaudaMotion." As we now know, however, the game was still not concluded. Always on the sidelines, quietly expressing interest but never really declaring his hand, was (RYR)'s O’Leary, a man not known for keeping his thoughts to himself.

As it turns out, he and his exec team have been spending some time in Vienna and negotiations went well, ending with an agreement in which (RYR), the Irish (LCC) giant will take a 24.9% stake in LaudaMotion (NKI), with a plan to grow ownership to 75% if competition authorities allow.

While (DLH) might protest, it’s hard to see what the competition watchdogs won’t like about this deal. Where (RYR) goes, ultra-low fares follow. (RYR)’s size, muscle and strong financial position will ensure not just the survival of a small (LCC) startup on (DLH)’s back door, but also its growth. Lauda and O’Leary will likely enjoy shaking up that market.

O’Leary kept his cards close through NIKI (NKI)’s final chapter. During that time, Walsh and Lufthansa Group (CEO) Carsten Spohr revealed quite a bit about how they intended to use the (NKI) assets. That will be important information to the Lauda - O’Leary team as they move forward with their new partnership. There may still be risk, but you can bet that with this leadership, every step will be meticulously calculated.

April 2018: News Item A-1: "(IAG) Acquires 4.61% Stake in Norwegian in ‘Attractive Investment’" by Jens Flottau (jens.flottau@aviationweek.com) April 12, 2018.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) acquired a 4.61% stake in (LCC) Norwegian (NWG), a move that could see it take full control later.

The (IAG) said it considered (NWG) to be an “attractive investment.” The shareholding “is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with (NWG), including the possibility of a full offer for (NWG).” The (IAG) said no such talks have taken place so far and that it has not yet made a decision to make an offer.

(NWG) shares rose by +40% in early trading upon the news. (NWG) said it had “no prior knowledge of this acquisition” and “has not been in any discussions or dialogue with the (IAG) about the matter. (NWG) believes that interest from 1 of the largest international aviation groups demonstrates the sustainability and potential of our business model and global growth.”

Should the (IAG) go ahead with the plan, the deal could be transformative for both companies, as well as the European air transport sector. The (IAG) would become an even bigger player not only in traditional hub flying, but also in the fast-growing European low-fare segment. It would also put the (IAG) into the pole position in the long-haul, low-cost market, for which (NWG) has been building a large base at London-Gatwick airport.

Norwegian (NWG) has been expanding aggressively, particularly on long-haul routes and, because of the massive expansion, made a loss in 2017 following a profitable 2016. (NWG) did not immediately comment on the (IAG) plans. It has holding an extraordinary shareholder meeting on April 13 because of a recent financing round.

Should the (IAG) take control of (NWG), the deal would raise questions about its internal structure. The (IAG) could decide to merge (NWG) with its existing low-cost unit Vueling (VUZ) and Level (LVL), the long-haul, low-cost unit that just started flying. (NWG)’s plans to build a subsidiary in Latin America, Norwegian Air Argentina, may need to be reconsidered since the (IAG) is already an alliance partner with (LATAM) (LAN) and is linked to it through common shareholder Qatar Airways (QTA).

The Lufthansa Group is also expanding its low-cost business through the Eurowings (EWG) affiliate, but the network is focused mainly on Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium. Air France (AFA) - (KLM) has a much smaller low-cost offering, Transavia (TAV), growth of which is limited by pilot (FC) agreements.

News Item A-2: "(IAG) - Norwegian (NWG) Deal Raises Competition Concerns for Barcelona El Prat" by "Aviation Week"
Helen Massy-Beresford (helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk)
April 20, 2018.

The Catalan Competition Authority (ACCO) said the International Airlines Group’s (IAG) possible purchase of Norwegian Air Shuttle (NWG) would have to be analyzed in depth because it could involve risks for competition at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport.

The (IAG) revealed April 12 it had acquired a 4.61% stake in (NWG), a step it said could eventually lead to an offer for a full takeover.

“The Catalan Competition Authority considers that this operation could reduce competition and have negative effects on the welfare of the citizens of Catalonia since both companies are very significant at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, the watchdog said. It noted the (IAG) operates to 120 destinations through all its airlines, including Iberia (IBE), Vueling (VUZ) and Level (LVL), as well as British Airways (BAB), while Norwegian (NWG) operates to 23 destinations.

Its preliminary analysis of the situation reveals overlaps between (NWG) and the (IAG) group airlines on 17 routes and the group would become the sole operator to 4 destinations, including 2 transatlantic ones, the (ACCO) said.

If a takeover operation went ahead with no concessions, 4 destinations: Dubrovnik, Gothenburg, Los Angeles and Oakland; would be served by just 1 operator, down from 2.

In the case of 7 destinations, competition would reduce from 3 to 2 operators: Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Gran Canaria, Helsinki, Reykjavík and Oslo.

Stockholm, Hamburg, Tel Aviv and Tenerife would see their choices reduced from 4 to 3 competitors. London would be served by 4 operators, down from 5, and Warsaw 5 down from 6.

May 2018: News Item A-1: "British Airways Leases Out Surplus ex-Monarch Gatwick Slots" by (ATW) Victoria Moores (victoria.moores@informa.com), May 22, 2018.

British Airways (BAB) has confirmed that it is leasing out some of the summer 2018 London Gatwick slots that it acquired from defunct UK leisure carrier Monarch Airlines (MON), because it was unable to use them all.

(BAB) parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG) announced that it was acquiring (MON)’s London Gatwick slot portfolio in November 2017, primarily for use by (BAB).

A (BAB) spokesman said the extra slots have enabled (BAB) to operate its biggest schedule from Gatwick in more than a decade, but not all the slots could be used. Under the ‘use it or lose it’ rule, slots must be operated, or they will be returned to the slot administrators for reallocation.

“Given the very tight timescales involved, it has not been possible to use all of the new slots in the 1st summer season. While we assess our future growth plans to make maximum use of the additional slots for the years ahead, we have leased out a small number of them, which is a very common industry practice at busy airports,” he said.

The spokesman declined to give any specifics about how many slots have been leased and to whom. “I can’t add anything further, as the terms of the slot leases are confidential,” he said.

He added that the slots will be used to support (BAB)’s “medium- to long-term growth plans.” The slots were sold to (BAB) after a legal case between Monarch (MON) administrators (KPMG) and slot pool oversight body Airport Coordination (ACL). Initially, the UK high court ruled that (MON) had no claim to its summer 2018 slots, although this decision was overturned on November 22 by the UK Court of Appeal.

News Item A-2: (BAB) will transfer 1 out of 3 daily London Heathrow to Moscow services from Domodedovo (DME) to Sheremetyevo (SVO) from October 28. The flight will be operated by an Airbus A321; the (SVO) terminal has not yet been disclosed.

(BAB) said it wants to increase choices for passengers flying between the 2 capitals. (BAB) will compete at (SVO) with Aeroflot Airline (ARO), which operates up to 5x-daily London Heathrow services with A330, A321 and Boeing 737-800 airplanes.

(BAB) was 1 of the 1st foreign carriers to move from (SVO) to the renovated (DME) in 2003. In 2011, (BAB) announced a code share agreement with (DME)-based (S7) Airlines (SBR), both carriers are members of the Oneworld (ONW) Alliance.

(SVO) is the biggest airport in Moscow; it handled 40 million passengers in 2017, up +17.8% year-over-year (YOY). (DME) handled 30.6 million, up +7.6% (YOY). Both airports have launched significant renovation programs. (DME) is constructing a 3rd passenger terminal, T3, which is scheduled to open in 2023. While (SVO) has opened Terminal B after renovation and created a tunnel connecting southern and northern parts of the airport.

June 2018: See photo: Concorde Memories. I have at least one design drawing on that supersonic airplane of the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) box done when I worked at British Aircraft Warton, Lancashire, UK, which preceded my going to work for Boeing.

July 2018: News Item A-1: British Airways (BAB) will begin 4x-weekly seasonal London Gatwick to Germany’s Cologne Bonn service on November 16.

News Item A-2: A possible joint venture between China Southern Airlines (GUN) and International Airlines Group’s (IAG) British Airways (BA) could create more opportunities, especially at the new Beijing airport, where (GUN) has a strong position, (IAG) (CEO) Willie Walsh sid. “We have had some recent discussions with (GUN), which is interested in a closer relationship with (BAB). We have developed a very good relationship with them in the short term,

News Item A-3: (BAB) to End 767 Operations" by (ATW) Alan Dron (alandron@adepteditorial.com), July 30, 2018.

British Airways (BAB) will end Boeing 767 operations in the 4th quarter, some 28 years after it received the 1st USA-built twin-aisle.
(BAB) has 7 remaining 767-300ERs in its fleet. They are used on a small number of short-haul routes to European destinations such as Amsterdam, Athens, Rome, Frankfurt, Stockholm and Istanbul, typically in 2-class, 244-seat configuration. They are also occasionally used on domestic UK services. The fate of the 7 surviving airplanes, which are all owned by (BAB), is not yet known.

News Item A-4: British Airways (BAB) said it will commit to 3 Boeing 777-300ERs, which (BAB) will take on operating leasing with an as-yet unidentified lessor. The announcement came near the close of the industry trade portion of the Farnborough Air Show July 19. Total value of the new aircraft is $1.1 billion at list prices.

(BAB), which is part of International Airlines Group (IAG), already flies 58 777-200ER and 777-300ER airplanes.

August 2018: The (IAG) Pushes Ahead with (MRO) Efficiencies (the
(IAG) is looking to optimize its internal (MRO) operations) by
Victoria Moores, August 08, 2018.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) is making good progress with optimizing its internal (MRO) operations, although (CEO) Willie Walsh says there is still more to be done.

Speaking at the release of the (IAG)’s interim results, Walsh said the (IAG) has been on an efficiency drive to ensure that the group’s internal (MRO) units are offering market-competitive prices.

Iberia (IBE), in particular, has been maximizing use of its own facilities before outsourcing to 3rd-party suppliers. Walsh says Iberia has “certainly demonstrated” that it can compete on a market-price basis against its global competitors. “Their engine shop is continuing to perform very well,” he added.

The (IAG) will continue to further-invest in its most efficient internal facilities. Where it lacks sufficient capacity, the work will be outsourced, but only after a competitive tender to secure the best price and help set internal benchmarks. “We’re very clear that our maintenance costs are in line with best practice in the industry. There is more improvement coming through increasing efficient internally within British Airways (BAB), where we do a lot of the heavy maintenance (airframe maintenance) in our own facilities in Glasgow. We’re continuing to look at opportunities to improve that. I am pleased with the progress we are making. There is more to come, but it’s working well so far,” Walsh said.

For the 6-month financial period to the end of June 2018, the (IAG)’s Engineering and other aircraft costs were -11.3% down at €822 million/$949.83, although the (IAG) said this improvement was driven by the timing of 3rd-party maintenance activity at Iberia (IBE) and engine compensation credits from a manufacturer.

September 2018: News Item A-1: Continuing problems with Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 1000) engines on its fleet of Boeing 787s has forced British Airways (BAB) to contract leased-in help to maintain its schedules.

(BAB) plans to use an Air Belgium (ABM) Airbus A340-300 on its daily London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi service from September 15 to October 4. (BAB) has already used the Belgian startup for a small number of flights from London to Cairo earlier this month.

(BAB)’s 787 fleet is undergoing precautionary inspections in light of durability problems in the compressor of the (Trent 1000) Package C engines. These have required additional inspections, which has forced airlines to ground 787s using this model of engine while the checks take place. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure our customers travel as planned, in light of continuing issues with (RRC) (Trent 1000) engines, which are affecting many airlines around the world.”

“In order to fly as many customers as possible on their original dates of travel, we have leased an aircraft from (ABM). We are in touch with customers who are affected to offer them a range of options if they don't wish to continue with their booking.”

(ABM) began flying earlier this year and has a fleet of 4 A340-300s.

In recent months, (BAB) has leased aircraft from fellow Oneworld (ONW) Alliance carrier Qatar Airways (QTA) to help fill its shortfall in aircraft. However, given the 15-month diplomatic stand-off between (QTA) and the (UAE) (as well as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt), Qatari aircraft would not have been able to operate the service to Abu Dhabi, which is the federal capital of the (UAE).

News Item A-2: Air pollution, especially in large Asian cities, is believed to be 1 cause of reliability issues that have affected a large portion of the Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 1000)-powered Boeing 787 fleet. But (RRC) said it is close to fielding a final fix to the problems. Dozens of 787s have been sitting engine-less at airports around the world while the (Trent 1000)s are inspected and modified. Air China (BEJ), Air New Zealand (ANZ), British Airways (BAB) and Virgin Atlantic (VAA) are among those affected.

* "Analysis: The Dilemma of the High-tech Aero-engine"
by (ATA) Editor, Karen Walker, ATWOnline, September 24, 2018.

The irony is woefully obvious. Aero engines developed for the newest generation of airliners are designed and built to be super fuel efficient, quiet and environmentally clean. But the Rolls-Royce (RRC) (Trent 1000), which powers around 45% of the world wide Boeing 787 fleet, has been brought down, in part at least, by something as common as air pollution.

A large portion of (RRC) (Trent)-powered 787s have been affected by the engine reliability issues. Dozens of 787s have been parked at airports around the world, their engines removed to be inspected and modified. Air China (BEJ), Air New Zealand (ANZ), British Airways (BAB) and Virgin Atlantic (VAA) are among those affected. (ANZ) has suspended routes from its international network partly because of airplane shortages caused by the issue after being forced to make significant schedule changes earlier to accommodate the inspections and repairs mandated for its 787-9s. Many other airlines are also experiencing schedule disruption because of the engine issues.

The baseline problem, (RRC) discovered, was caused by “hot corrosion” in which the thermal barrier coating on the (IP) turbine blades was stripped away prematurely, exposing the underlying material to low cycle fatigue. Analysis of the phenomena indicated it was tied primarily to operations in and around airports in the Asia-Pacific region with high atmospheric sulfur concentrations. “It’s fundamentally pollution around big cities that have ‘dirty’ industries,” Rolls Large Engines Chief Engineer Frank Haselbach explained.

Adding to (RRC)’s challenges, fatigue cracks were also discovered in the (Trent)s, prompting an (EASA) engine-inspection directive issued in tandem with an airplane-level (FAA) order limiting extended range twin engine operations (ETOPS) flights to 140 minutes from the nearest suitable airport for certain airplanes, reduced from the 787’s normal 330 minutes. The order applied to (Package C)-powered airplanes with at least 1 engine having accumulated 300 or more cycles since new or the last (IP) compressor blade overhaul.

(RRC) said in mid-September it was completing development of the final element of a suite of modifications to fix the issues and was confident the compressor blade redesign would be cleared for introduction in the next few months. But the cost to (RRC) and to its customers, the affected airlines, is in the multi-millions of dollars.

None of (RRC)’s engine manufacturer rivals (the (GE) (GEnx) is the alternative engine option for the 787) are crowing, however. Wherever you look in new aero-engine development, there are cases of in-service problems.

The other most notable problem has been the multiple in-service issues with the Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1000G) geared turbofan (GTF) that powers Airbus A320neos and A220s. This year, a problem surfaced with that engine’s knife edge seal. This impacted around 100 engines and cost (PRW) some $50 million. The seal was introduced into new production engines in mid-2017 to eliminate an inspection requirement, but problems began to emerge within weeks of entry-into-service on new A320neos. Fractures caused rotor vibration and stalling in 4 engines, 2 of which resulted in in-flight shutdowns and 2 in rejected takeoffs.

The incidents led (PRW) and Airbus to issue urgent recommendations to affected A320neo operators to make sure aircraft had no >1 affected engine installed and banning (ETOPS) flights. By the time the problem became apparent, 43 engines had entered service on 32 airplanes.

(PRW) and (RRC) each identified the problems, found the fixes and have worked round the clock with their customers to get airplanes back in the air. What seems to be happening is the engine manufacturers are being caught by problems in service that were not seen in development; even though they have all significantly increased the amount of development testing they do to ensure maturity at entry into service. The (Trent) corrosion issue is one that had not been seen before, presumably because the materials used are different, so it was not anticipated.

The cracking issue also seems to show how even small changes in design can cause problems. In the (GTF) case, (PRW) changed the knife seal (a seemingly miniscule component) and suddenly started seeing problems. It also seems that these new engines are so pushing the boundaries of technology, that the unforeseen becomes more probable. To be fair to the manufacturers, the airlines (and, indeed, the regulatory and national authorities) insist on higher and higher emissions standards coupled with better and better fuel efficiencies. So the engine manufacturers respond with technology. They say they will increase development testing even more for their next engines to ensure service entry mature, but it will be hard to guarantee there will be no new problems.

After all, if polluted city air was not foreseen as a corrosion factor by engineers who specialize in designing eco-friendly aero-engines, what else is out there to surprise the industry?

October 2018: News Item A-1: "British Airways Celebrates 60 Years of Jet Flights Across The Atlantic" by James Field, "Airways" Magazine, October 7, 2018.

British Airways (BAB) is celebrating 60 years of jet engine Transatlantic crossings. (BOAC), the predecessor to (BAB), operated the 1st transatlantic jet engine flight on October 4, 1958, on a de Havilland Comet 4 aircraft (see photo).

This flight, at the time, reduced flying times from London to New York from 18 hours to just 7, which is what we see today.

To celebrate the occasion, (BAB) placed a focus on Peggy Thorne, a 91-year-old ex-flight attendant (CA) for (BOAC), who joined the carrier in 1950.

Thorne was handpicked by (BOAC) to serve customers on the 1st flight. She commented on what was at the time an incredible milestone for the industry. “It was marvellous. We were used to traveling to New York on Boeing Stratocruisers which took up to 20 hours. We couldn’t believe the flight was possible in such a short time.”

Thorne was also able to remember the inaugural flight very well. “It was so exciting to be the 1st. It was wonderful,” she said. “There were all sorts of dignitaries on board, press and the Chairman of (BOAC). It was a thrilling experience.”

Thorne continued narrating her memorable experience, “We served customers Madeira biscuits and coffee when they came on board, followed by cocktails and canapes, and then a 5-course lunch with wines. Petit Fours followed and then there was Afternoon Tea! Our customers loved it (they ate and drank from when they got on board until the time they got off).”

(BOAC) was also able to beat Pan Am in what was seen as a race to get across the Atlantic by jet. Due to the new jet engines that (BOAC) received for the Comet 4, the carrier was able to beat Pan Am by several weeks.

Times have changed, however. Back in 1958, the Comet 4 could only fly 48 customers every day from London. Now, 60 years on, (BAB) operates 12 flights per day from London Heathrow (LHR) to New York, offering 3,500 seats on a daily basis.

The price difference between then and now is also astronomical. Back in 1958, the flight would cost a passenger around £8,000/$10,490 for a round trip. Now, it can be as cheap as £292/$380.

The celebrations don’t stop there either. The airline is just a few months away from celebrating its 100th anniversary!

Current British Airways (BAB) (CEO) Alex Cruz gave some inspiring words about the industry and where it has taken Britain: “British Airways and its predecessors have always pioneered innovation and hospitality and this is a great early example. Next year, we celebrate 100 years of taking Britain to the world and bringing the world to Britain, and the quality of service we provide to customers is better than ever.”

Overall, this is a massive milestone for (BAB) and to see where they are now after 60 years is nothing short of remarkable.

With a 3rd runway at (LHR), (BAB)’s Transatlantic crossings might continue to increase, paving the way for the next 60 years of jet flights across the Atlantic ocean.

News Item A-2: "The (IAG) Embeds Start-ups In London Operation To Transform Travel" by Lee Ann Shay, October 08, 2018.

The International Aviation Group (IAG) launched its 3rd Hangar 51 accelerator program this month by embedding 10 start-ups within British Airways (BAB), (IAG) Cargo, and Avios, its "reward currency program." “Hangar 51" has a unique approach of bringing the start-ups to the heart of our business and harnessing their potential to transform the future of travel, said an (IAG) spokesperson.

A few of the start-ups relate to aftermarket operations, including "Mobilus Labs," which created a wearable voice communications platform to connect teams in various environments; "Satavia," which offers a cloud-based platform that uses earth observation data, weather prediction and aircraft tracking to optimize maintenance and flight operations; and "Soter Analytics," which specializes in wearable health devices to prevent injuries in the workplace.

The 10 start-ups were selected from >400 applicants from 40 countries, 28 of which made it to “pitch day” a month ago and were evaluated on “the quality of their existing proposition, the ability to scale the product strategically across the (IAG), and how disruptive we feel the start-ups are, from an industry perspective,” said the (IAG).

“The selected start-ups are assigned a subject matter expert from 1 of 6 core areas which include "connected service," "smarter operations," "loyalty & rewards," "cargo logistics," "new products," and "wildcard,” said the (IAG). The start-up collaborates with an assigned mentor to define key objectives during the London-based program and then work side by side to access resources to develop and test their products, said the (IAG).

At the end of the 10 weeks, the start-ups will demonstrate their achievements at a demo day. “It also enables start-ups to present their proposals for future engagement and potential investment from the (IAG)’s multimillion pound fund, where we see strategic alignment,” said the (IAG). (IAG), the airline group said the program works well because disruptive start-ups can benefit from the group’s size and industry expertise to deliver faster development.

The (IAG) said it has had a high success rate with finalists from the past 2 years and is still working with several of them.

News Item A-3: "British Airways Opens New First Class Lounge at New York (JFK) Terminal 7" October 11, 2018.

British Airways (BAB) has officially opened the doors to a luxurious new First Class lounge at New York’s (JFK) Terminal 7. The refurbishment forms part of a £52 million investment in the (BAB)'s customer experience at (JFK)’s Terminal 7.

The facility is open to gold card holders and customers traveling in (BAB)’s 1st-class cabin on (BAB)’s most coveted route across the Atlantic. This is (BAB)’s 1st long-haul lounge to showcase the new design direction that customers are already enjoying in Rome and Aberdeen, and which will be rolled out across other destinations including Geneva, San Francisco and Johannesburg.

At 60% larger than its predecessor, and covering >5,480 square feet, the lounge has been designed with thoughtfully tailored zones. A new wine room forms the center piece boasting an aeromatic dispenser, which enables customers to enjoy wines at exactly the right temperature that have been oxidized to the correct level.

Other features include an opulent 1st bar with a wide range of premium beverages and a quiet work area. Customers can also dine in (BAB)’s upgraded dining room before they fly to maximize rest on their flight.

Carolina Martinoli, (BAB) Director Brand & Customer Experience, said: “We fly thousands of customers between London and New York every week so we’re absolutely dedicated to making the experience as relaxing, comfortable and enjoyable as possible. “We are investing £52 million in our home at (JFK) this year as part of the £4.5 billion investment we’re making in our customer experience globally, and there will be further investments at (JFK) planned for the future. “We hope our guests enjoy using the new facilities as much as we’ve enjoyed designing them.”

News Item A-4: "British Airways (BAB) Woos Pilots of Tomorrow with London Heathrow Exhibition" See Photo - October 19, 2018.

British Airways (BAB) unveiled what could be its pilot (FC) class of 2022 last night, as 100 students were given the chance to give flying a go, at (BAB)’s headquarters near London Heathrow (LHR). (BAB)’s aim is to inspire and encourage the next generation to pursue a career as a (BAB) pilot (FC).

Pilots (FC) from across (BAB) turned out in force to welcome the students and to help them try their hand at the controls of 1 of (BAB)’s high-tech flight simulators.

The youngsters were also able to experience life in the captain’s seat via virtual reality headsets. (BAB)s first officers Rebecca Panther and Amie Kirkham spoke to the students about what flight training involves and what it means to be a pilot (FC). They also set tasks for the students focusing on the vital skills not normally associated with the role, such as teamwork and communication.

(BAB) Director Flight Operations, Captain Al Bridger, said: “The whole team at British Airways (BAB) is passionate about demonstrating to young people that flying really is a wonderful career, which is open to everyone. Through events like this, we are aiming to inspire the pilots (FC) of tomorrow and, with determination, they can succeed.”

The "Flying Futures" evening events are part of a portfolio of activities run by (BAB)'s pilots (FC) to encourage young people into aviation; others include visits to schools, colleges and recruitment events. (BAB) has been recruiting female pilots (FC) for >30 years and the percentage of female flight crew at (BAB) is currently >6%: double the national average of around 3%. By the end of this year, (BAB) will have welcomed 22 more female pilots (FC) to the team.

News Item A-5: "(BAB) works Out the Meaning of Customer Service" by
Karen Walker (karen.walker@informa.com) in (ATW) Editor's Blog, October 24, 2018.

British Airways (BAB) has announced a company-wide initiative to train and empower its staff to be more service orientated.

Some of the terminology (BAB) is using is a little quaint; (BAB) customer service agents are now “hosts” who should treat passengers like “their own family”.

I can’t help think that for some families, this may not be a positive, but the initiative is well-intentioned. You just wonder what took (BAB) management so long for the light bulb to flicker on and realize that, in its own words, good service is “a simple idea?”

Starting with its home hub, London Heathrow T5, (BAB) staff will be armed with iPads, be permitted to roam the floor and be proactive in solving customer issues, (BAB) said.

Good news indeed. But many other airlines have long-since worked out the empowered agent and the iPad tool. In December, I was among the passengers who saw (BAB)’s un-empowered, desk-shackled approach to its customers. A very light snow shower brought T5 to a halt and there was total chaos in the airport. (BAB) staff (the very few who could be spotted and most of whom scuttled for the exit as soon as they could) were about as unhelpful and unapologetic as it gets.

As I said at the time, even if they didn’t have the tools to help their customers, a look of caring and a few sympathetic words would have gone a long way to those who spent the night on a freezing cold, filthy dirty terminal floor without any information on potential new flights, no knowledge of where their bags had gone, or even a bottle of water. So good for (BAB) for embarking on this “new approach.”

But (COO) Klaus Goersch has a long way to go to deliver on his promise that this will result in “exceptional customer service that will set us apart from other airlines.” And winter, with the next dusting of snow on Heathrow, is just around the corner.

News Item A-6: "British Airways Data Breach Larger than Originally Thought" by Alan Dron (alandron@adepteditorial.com), October 26, 2018.

The International Airlines Group (IAG) has revealed that the data breach of its British Airways (BAB) customer database in September 2018 affected more customers than previously believed.

In notes to the Group’s 9-monthly accounts, the (IAG) group said that an intensive inquiry into the incident with specialist cyber forensic investigators and the UK’s National Crime Agency was continuing, although (BAB)’s internal investigation was now concluding.

The investigation had shown the hackers may have stolen additional personal data. As a result, (BAB) said it was notifying the holders of 77,000 payment cards, not previously notified, that the name, billing address, email address, card payment information, including card number, expiration date and (CVV) have potentially been compromised. A further 108,000 cards without the attached (CVV) number, which acts as an additional security layer, had also been compromised. Potentially affected customers were only those making bookings between April 21 and July 28, 2018, using rewards from (BAB)’s frequent flyer plan and who used a payment card.

“While (BAB) does not have conclusive evidence that the data was removed from its systems, it is taking a prudent approach in notifying potentially affected customers, advising them to contact their bank or card provider as a precaution. “In addition, from the investigation (BAB) knows that fewer of the customers originally identified were impacted. Of the 380,000 payment card details identified, 244,000 were affected.”

(BAB) added that since it made public the news of the data breach on September 6, it had received no verified cases of fraud.

News Item A-7: Rolls-Royce (RRC) has acknowledged it has fallen behind on (Trent 7000) shipments to Airbus (EDS) that will cause knock-on delays to A330neo deliveries later this year and into 2019. News of the (Trent 7000) setback comes on the heels of fresh complaints from operators affected by extended (Trent 1000)-related groundings of Boeing 787s. (RRC) shares value lost as much as 14% on the news and at 1 point declined so precipitously that trading was suspended temporarily.

See News Item A-8: See video on 747-436 (G-CIVN):

November 2018: News Item A-1: British Airways (BAB) has retired its last Boeing 767-300, 28 years after the type entered service. At one point, (BAB) had a 28-strong fleet of the Boeing twin-aisle design on strength. The airplane completed 425,000 flights with (BAB).

The 767 was sufficiently versatile to be used on both long-haul routes to destinations such as New York, Calgary and Abu Dhabi, and dense, short-haul services such as Edinburgh and Frankfurt. The final commercial service in (BAB) colors was from Larnaca, Cyprus, back to the 767’s London Heathrow base on Nov. 25. The final flight was flown by (G-BZHA), which 1st flew in 1998 and has flown an estimated 23 million miles. It had visited Larnaca 900 times in its career, but was most frequently used on the London to Athens run, having completed 1,275 round trips to the Greek capital.

The last 2 remaining (BAB) 767s have now been ferried to St Athan, South Wales, for storage. A (BAB) spokesman said their final fate was uncertain. (BAB)’s 767s were reconfigured for use on short-haul routes with a 2-class, 244-seat layout.

“The 767 has been a brilliant part of our fleet, flying some of our most popular routes and giving customers what was an industry-leading service in its time,” (BAB) Director Flight Operations Al Bridger said.

Meanwhile, (BAB)’s 1st Airbus A321neo, from an order for 10, has been delivered, according to industry reports. (BAB) is anticipated to take delivery of 3 A321neos this year and the remaining 7 in 2019.

News Item A-2: News Item A-5: "Industry Observers see no Upside out of Brexit for Aviation" by Jens Flottau (jens.flottau@aviationweek.com), November 27, 2018.

Major uncertainty continues across the European air transport industry about the impact of the UK’s pending split from the European Union (EU), and clauses on aviation within a new Brexit political declaration provide little reassurance.

In the non-binding joint declaration (a side paper to the formal withdrawal document agreed this week by the (EU) and the UK, there are brief clauses that reference mutual aspirations for commercial aviation. These include forming a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement to ensure connectivity and market access, and continuing cooperation on aviation safety and security via (EASA) and the UK Civil Aviation Administration. No details about implementation or timing are given.

The declaration and withdrawal plan need UK Parliamentary approval, with a vote scheduled for December 11. But that outcome is far from certain, keeping open the possibility of a “no-deal Brexit,” which would be the worst-case scenario for aviation.

Discussing the issue during the (CAPA) World Aviation Outlook Summit in Berlin on November 27, industry executives said major uncertainty continues about how Brexit will affect aviation. European Regions Airline Association (ERA) Secretary General Montserrat Barriga said (ERA) members were very concerned about the potential temporary grounding of flights between the EU and the UK in a hard Brexit scenario on March 29, 2019. Barriga cited the example of Luxembourg’s national carrier Luxair (LUX), for which the Luxembourg to London route is the most important single market and which has described that scenario as “catastrophic.”

Croon Callaghan Aviation Consulting analyst Jim Callaghan added, “There is no re-engagement with the industry about how to deal with [Brexit]. We are not much further ahead in terms of clarity than we were 2 years ago.”

Callaghan said there are 2 camps in the European airline industry. One, led by International Airlines Group (CEO) Willie Walsh, argues that Brexit will not cause disruptions, while the other group, led by Ryanair (CEO) Michael O’Leary, predicts chaos. “The truth probably is in the middle, but we don’t know,” Callaghan said.

He said the UK had not dealt with “some fairly fundamental practical issues” despite the increasing likelihood of a hard Brexit.
Regardless of how the UK leaves the EU, “there is no upside in Brexit for aviation,” Callaghan said.

Callaghan also stressed other travel-related impacts. If a hard border is reinstated between Northern Ireland, which will leave the (EU) as part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, which will remain in the (EU), then some 1 million passengers in the North that use Dublin Airport could find that no longer viable because of border controls that could add hours to their journey to the airport. Belfast Airport, however, might benefit.

News Item A-3: "Brexit Teeters on Chaos and Still no Air Transport Plan" by Karen Walker (karen.walker@informa.com) in (ATW) Editor's Blog" November 15, 2018.

No deal, botched deal, backstop. "Brexit," a word not coined just a few short years ago, has become a common noun with its own set of adjectives and adverbs.

For all the drama flowing out of London today as UK Prime Minister Theresa May laid out the government’s draft plan for exiting the European Union (EU), there was scant more clarity on what will happen to the country’s air transport industry on March 29, 2019.

Although fury on all sides of Parliament and across Brexit supporters and opposers may have slightly elevated the possibility of a 2nd referendum, May made clear in a press conference late November 15 that she intends to deliver on the vote of the people. “We will leave the (EU) on March 29,” she said.

Between now and then, however, May will need to hold on to her leadership and get her Brexit plan through parliament. At this stage, the prospects look challenging at best. And the chances of a “no-deal” Brexit seem to have heightened, which is a nightmare for airlines, airports and the traveling public.

Anyone who previously could not imagine air travel between the UK and its continental neighbors flying into a bureaucratic black hole is now looking at that prospect via a draft plan that offers almost no more answers than were available right after the referendum result in June 2016. The draft plan tries to reassure the public that in the case of a “no-deal”, visas will not be required by UK and EU citizens traveling between their nations “for short-term” visits. For many people, however, it will come as a shock to realize that visas will be needed at all, particularly among those who routinely work or vacation across the borders (and who include many in the aerospace industry). And what is a “short” term? Many Brits and Europeans own properties either side of the English Channel, enjoy weeks-long vacations, or are retired and switch between homes. Even the most weather-hardened Brit may balk at the idea of spending more than a week on an English beach when they could be in Provence, Tuscany or Marbella for a month.

How will customs and immigration queues be managed once the “EU only” channels are no longer available to UK citizens? If air travel becomes more difficult, requiring visas, long lines and multi security points, how many people will reduce their flying? And how damaging would that be to an industry that has already seen several airlines go out of business since the Brexit vote?

More fundamentally, where are the details of agreed plans to continue current, or implement new, cross-border air services? Or the plan to continue mutually-recognized safety and certification standards that fall under (EASA)?

Understandably, the public’s focus of the draft plan has fallen on what have always been the most contentious areas of Brexit (the Irish border and the size of the “divorce” payment to the (EU)). But this means that once again, and despite increasingly urgent calls from the commercial air transport industry, there seems to be no forward movement on this front.

The British have famously adopted the phrase “keep calm and carry on.” But you can’t just “carry on” an air service agreement if it becomes void, as the UK's part of the (EU) liberalized air agreement will become on March 29.

An emergency meeting will be held in Brussels November 25 to sign off on the Brexit plan and then it will be back to London, likely in early December, to see whether Members of Parliament say yay or nay. Regardless, transport and trade ministers, civil servants and industry regulators are going to have just 3 months to sort out the big air service questions. They may want to cancel any Christmas plans.

News Item A-4: See video on England UK:


December 2018: News Item A-1: "British Airways’ Pilots, Cabin Crew Unions File New Pay Claim" by (ATW) Kerry Reals (kerry@realsreporting.com), December 5, 2018.

British Airways (BA) faces the prospect of fresh industrial tensions with pilots (FC) and cabin crew (CA) after 3 unions submitted a joint pay claim to (BAB), requesting that improvements in its financial results trickle down to staff.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has joined forces with cabin crew and ground staff unions Unite and (GMB) to demand pay increases from January 2019. They are also calling for enhanced profit-sharing arrangements and the introduction of an employee share ownership scheme. Negotiations with (BAB) will begin this month, according to the unions.

“(BAB) is continuing to deliver extraordinary financial results. In a remarkable transformation, (BAB) has moved from a -£230 million/-$366 million operating loss in 2009 to a £1.8 billion profit in 2017, with an even better result forecast for 2018. (BAB) staff made an essential contribution to this success by delivering change and increasing productivity,” unions (BALPA), Unite and (GMB) said in a joint statement on November 30.

The unions have accused (BAB) of allowing “a culture to develop in which employees are disconnected from (BAB)’s success.” Through their joint pay claim, they aim to “re-establish this connection between financial success and staff reward.”

(BAB) said it is “working with our unions to find a positive approach to our pay talks.” (BAB) added that it has “begun a £6.5 billion, 5-year investment program in our people and customer products.”

(BAB) was hit by a number of cabin crew (CA) strikes throughout the summer of 2017, although disruptions were minimized as (BAB) drafted in wet-leased airplanes. (BAB) reached a new pay agreement in October 2017 with (CA) members represented by Unite. The deal ended a year-long dispute between (BAB) and its Mixed Fleet crew, who claimed to earn less than longer-serving employees.

(BAB)’s parent company, the International Airlines Group (IAG), said in October it expected operating profit before exceptional items for 2018 to increase by about +€200 million/+£178 million.

News Item A-2: Adding to its Summer 2019 destination list, British Airways (BAB) has announced 2 new routes from London Heathrow: Ljubljana and Montpellier.

Services to the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana will begin from July 15 and will operate until September 2, 2019 on a 2x-weekly basis, departing on Mondays and Fridays.

Montpellier, however, will run up to 4x-weekly on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and will also operate during the same period as Ljubljana.

It is unclear what equipment will run on these routes, but it will more than likely be on the airline’s Airbus A320 family planes.

Sean Doyle, (BAB)’s Director Network & Alliances, stated that this was the start of the Summer 2019 scheduling as “we add more routes to our extensive network.”

From Terminal 5, (BAB) also announced it would be increasing services to Nantes, Olbia, and Valencia. New routes to Preveza, Kos, and Bastia will also join the Summer 2019 schedule, alongside increased frequencies to Marseille, Budapest, Inverness, Palermo, and Malaga.

On top of these new routes, the airline is currently investing >£4.5 billion into the refitting of 128 long-haul airplanes and the delivery of 72 new planes. This has been evidently seen in recent weeks with A320neos and A321neos all being delivered to (BAB) for its domestic and European network.

Club Europe will also be subject to renovations within this investment package, meaning that (BAB) is hoping to modernise and refresh its brand.

News Item A-3: British Airways in Northern summer 2019 season is adjusting London Heathrow to Johannesburg service, which sees operational airplane changes. From March 31 2019 to October 26, 2019, 4x-weekly BA051/050 will be operated by Boeing 787-9, instead of 787-8. Overall service on this route remains unchanged at 18x-weekly, including 7x-weekly each A380 and Boeing 747-400.

News Item A-4: "British Airways Resumes Flights to Islamabad, Pakistan" by (ATW) Kerry Reals, December 18, 2018.

British Airways (BAB) will resume nonstop flights to Islamabad, Pakistan next year, more than a decade after withdrawing the route because of security concerns.

(BAB) announced December 18 that it will begin operating a 3x-weekly Boeing 787 service between London Heathrow and Islamabad in June 2019.

(BAB) suspended its London to Islamabad service indefinitely in September 2008, following a terrorist attack on a hotel in the Pakistani capital that left scores of people dead.

The British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Thomas Drew, said the resumption of direct flights by (BAB) is “a reflection of the great improvements in the security situation in Pakistan in recent years.”
The move follows the opening of a new international airport in Islamabad earlier this year.

February 2019: News Item A-1: "Airline Alliance Oneworld, Which Represents Cathay Pacific, British Airways, American Airlines, and Qantas, Rolls out Tech Upgrades 'to Stay Relevant'" by Danny Lee, South China Morning Post, February 02, 2019.

The global alliance which represents heavyweight airlines Cathay Pacific (CAT), British Airways (BAB), American Airlines (AAL) and Qantas (QAN) has rolled out customer service upgrades to try and stop frequent fliers defecting to rivals. Technology improvements and information sharing to enhance the user experience aim to persuade 225 million customers of the 13 member airlines in the Oneworld (ONW) alliance to stick with those carriers.

Travelers flying with >1 airline in the same journey will only need to check in, obtain all boarding passes and access their itinerary from 1e carrier on line to simplify the experience. 8 million customers embarked on a multi-ticket journey in the past year.

(ONW) is also working on improvements to the customer experience at major airports, which will include alliance-branded lounges. (CEO) Rob Gurney described the changes as a relaunch of the alliance on its 20th birthday. Trips involving >1 airline were previously a hassle as passengers commonly needed to use multiple airline apps to access details of each flight. The technical upgrades will mean (CAT) customers being able to use the company's website or app to access any booking with a (ONW) partner, doing away with the need for login details with each airline.

Oneworld (ONW) is formed of 13 airlines and 30 affiliate carriers and celebrated its 20th birthday in London, where it unveiled a raft of changes. The grouping is 1 of 3 global airline pacts. The others are Star (SAL) Alliance, which counts Singapore Airlines (SIA) as a top member, and Skyteam (STM), which has Delta Air Lines (DAL).

"We are effectively relaunching (ONW), and it's designed to have relevance for stakeholder groups, our customers and our member airlines," Gurney said. Cathay (CAT) and Qatar Airways (QTA) are the 1st pairing to have started using new digital functions that enable the upgrades. (CAT) (CEO) Rupert Hogg told an audience in London that (ONW) was on the right path to keep the grouping relevant and contemporary. The 3 alliances have increasingly become less important as airlines prefer to partner with carriers outside their alliances where it makes sense for business. Questions have been asked about their future with the strength of budget and non-alliance airlines.

These problems were acknowledged by Willie Walsh, (CEO) of the International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways (BAB). "For this alliance to stay relevant in an ever-changing world, we have got to change and evolve," he said.

(ONW)-branded lounges are also being planned (at least 3 by 2020) to boost (ONW)'s appeal, especially at airports where there is no home carrier with the alliance. Proposed locations are being narrowed down to airports where the grouping and its members have proposed sharing check-in desks to improve service quality.

(ONW) said the new Beijing Daxing International Airport, due to open later this year, was a good opportunity. (10) members currently fly to Beijing operating 175x-weekly. "We've been engaged in discussions with the Chinese authorities and the airport operators about co-locating in the new airport. Not every airline will be there. But we believe we will have a critical mass of (ONW) airlines," Gurney said.

The (ONW) alliance's members currently serve 1,110 airports in 180 territories, with 14,000 daily flights carrying 550 million passengers annually on a fleet of 3,500 airplanes.

News Item A-2: "American Airlines and British Airways to Unify Operations at (JFK) Airport" by Aviation Tribune, February 09, 2019.

American Airlines (AAL), British Airways (BAB), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) announced future plans to co-locate their operations in New York's John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) Terminal 8.

Moving under the same roof will allow (AAL) and (BAB) to offer enhanced service between New York and London, further strengthening the airlines' Atlantic Joint Business partnership. (AAL) and (BAB) will invest US$344 million in Terminal 8 over the next 3 years to prepare for the co-location in 2022.

(BAB) moving from its current operation in Terminal 7 will allow the 2 airlines to offer even better service between New York and London, and beyond. "Investing in our terminal and welcoming our partners is a win-win for both customers and team members at (AAL) and (BAB)," (AAL) President Robert Isom said. "Co-locating with (BAB) will allow our customers unprecedented convenience and flexibility between these 2 world-class cities."

This US$344 million investment in Terminal 8 will include improvements in the overall customer experience, including the addition of 5 wide body gates and 4 adjacent wide body hard stands, enhanced baggage systems, new lounges, premium check-in space and upgraded concessions and retail options. Additionally, customers arriving in New York will enjoy the ability to more conveniently connect onto other (AAL) flights and customers departing New York will gain the flexibility of 14 daily flights to London all departing from the same terminal.

"Only 4 months ago, we announced plans to transform (JFK) Airport into a state-of-the-art global hub, with new and unified terminals adding 4 million square feet and increasing the airport's capacity by at least 15 million passengers annually," Governor Cuomo said. "Today that transformation is well underway, with an extraordinary private investment that will turn (JFK) into a truly modern airport. This new investment is part and parcel with the State's broader efforts to modernize airports all across New York. From (JFK) and LaGuardia to Ithaca and Rochester, we are making historic progress rebuilding our airport infrastructure for the future and ensuring New York State remains the nation's front door."

(AAL) and (BAB) have a joint business partnership across the Atlantic, providing up to 70 flights a day between London and the USA. By bringing their network of flights together, they give customers convenient flight schedules at competitive fares from 8 hubs throughout North America and 3 hubs in Europe. (BAB) will remain in Terminal 7 until 2022. With thousands of customers flying between New York and London every week, (BAB) remains committed to improving its customer experience at (JFK) Terminal 7. (BAB) is investing US$65 million, including a brand new First class lounge which opened last year and further improvements planned in 2019.

(BAB) Chairman & (CEO) Alex Cruz said: "We're excited to announce our move to Terminal 8 alongside (AAL), our Atlantic Joint Business partner. Offering the best customer experience at (JFK) now and in the future is a top priority. We look forward to working with the Port Authority and (AAL) to continue building a world-class trans-Atlantic travel experience in our new home from 2022."

(JFK) is not alone among (AAL)'s hubs in getting an upgrade. With its airport partners, (AAL) has spent and committed billions of dollars for projects at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Miami International Airport, Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and Los Angeles International Airport. (AAL) connects New York to the world through its operations at (JFK) and (LGA). At (JFK), (AAL) operates about 100 flights to >40 destinations in >15 countries. At (LGA), American offers >170 daily flights to >40 destinations in the USA and Canada.

March 2019: British Airways (BAB) has unveiled its new business (C) class seat ("Club Suite") and confirmed it will arrive on the 1st of its A350 aircraft in July. The newly-branded Club Suite offers direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy and flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Boasting +40% more storage, the product also includes a vanity unit and mirror, Wi-Fi, 18.5-inch in-flight entertainment screens, high definition gate-to-gate programming, and (PC)/(USB) power.

The A350 aircraft itself will also promote a feeling of well-being, space and calm due to its reduced noise levels, high ceilings and ambient lighting which is intended to compliment the time of day and outside light. Customers will leave their flight feeling rested thanks to higher levels of humidity and refreshed air as the cabin pressure is equivalent to an altitude of just 6,000 feet.

As well as a new 56-seat Club World cabin, the 3-cabin A350 will feature the latest "World Traveler Plus" cabin (56 seats) with new furnishings including a plush new pillow and warm quilt, new amenity kits and an enhanced service and an improved dining experience. The World Traveler (economy) cabin offers 219Y seats.

Customers will also benefit from high-speed Wi-Fi, allowing travelers to browse the internet on their personal electronic devices.

(BAB), which is marking its centenary this year, will roll out the new suites in a carefully managed program designed to minimize disruption to customers. During phase 1, the 1st A350 aircraft will start some short-haul flying between London and Madrid to allow (BAB)’s teams to perfect their customer service delivery and familiarize cabin crew with the aircraft layout. In phase 2, from October 1st, the aircraft will begin long-haul flying.

During this period another 3 A350 aircraft will join the (BAB) fleet and 2 777 airplanes will also be retrofitted with the new cabin.

At the start of 2020, phase 3 will begin, which will see (BAB) rolling out its Club Suite on further long-haul aircraft across the network.

Alex Cruz, (BAB) Chairman, said: “The arrival of our 1st A350 featuring our new Club Suite is 1 of the most exciting developments in our £6.5 billion investment program. “At (BAB) we have 1 of Europe’s largest long-haul fleets and most far-reaching global networks, so it will take some time to make the cabin available to everybody. “We hope that as more customers have the chance to experience it, they’ll enjoy traveling in it as much as we’ve enjoyed designing it.”


Click below for photos:
BAB-747 - 2012-08
BAB-747-400 G-CIVZ-2017-07.jpg
BAB-747-400 SYD
BAB-747-G-BNLZ 2006-11
BAB-757 2001-11
BAB-777 2017-06.jpg
BAB-777 2018-05.jpg
BAB-777-236ER G-YMML Speedbird 143 2018-11.jpg
BAB-777-300ER - 2017-09.jpg
BAB-777X - 2013-03
BAB-777X 2018-02.jpg
BAB-787 - SPITFIRE - 2013-08
BAB-787-9 - 2015-10.jpg
BAB-787-CONFIG - 2012-12
BAB-A318 EMB 170-2009-10
BAB-A319-131 - 2012-05
BAB-A320 G-EUYM 2018-07.jpg
BAB-A320-251N G-TTNE 2018-10.jpg
BAB-A321-231 - 2323 G-BUXE-2016-06.jpg
BAB-A350-1000 - 2013-04
BAB-A380 - 2015-08.jpg
BAB-A380-800 - 2015-08.jpg
BAB-A380-CONFIG - 2012-12
BAB-Concorde SST PAA.jpg
BAB-E170STD 294 2-16-10.jpg
BAB-E190LR - 2016-01.jpg

March 2019:

0 737-200 (JT8D) (599-21790, /81 G-BGDA; 1088-23171, /85 G-BKYM), 3 TO (PER) 1999-01, 2 LEASED TO (CML) 1999-05. 10 TO (ARG) 1999-09 (23170; 23171; RETIRED 1999-08), 1 LEASED (CML), ALL OUT OF SERVICE.

0 737-3Q8 (CFM56-3B2) (1765-24470, /89 G-LGTG), EX-(PRL), (AFD) 5 YEAR LEASED 2001-04. 126Y.

0 737-3YO (CFM56-3C1) (1542-23924; /88 G-LGTH; 1544-23925, /88 G-LGTI), EX-(EBA), (BBB) LEASED 2001-02. 126Y.

0 737-3YO (CFM56-3C1) (2015-24908, /91 G-LGTE), EX-(SNS), (GEF) LEASED 2001-03. 126Y.

0 737-36N (CFM56-3B2) (3031-28572, /98 G-XBHX; 3041-28573, /98 G-XMAN), (JAE) LEASED; 28572 WFU 2002-11. 28573 RETURNED TO (GEF) 2003-04. 28572 RETURNED, LEASED TO (AUA) 2003-03. 126Y.

0 737-36Q (CFM56-3C1) (2880-28659, /97 G-ODUS; 3023-29327, /98 G-OFRA; 3035-29141, /98 G-OHAJ; 3047-29405, /98 G-OMUC), (BOU) LEASED. 29405; RETURNED 2002-06. 126Y.

0 737-37Q (CFM56-3C1) (2961-28548, /97 G-OAMS), (GUI) LEASED 1997-12. RETURNED 2002-10. 126Y.

0 737-382 (CFM56-3B2) (1873-24450, /90 G-LGTF), EX-(TAP)/(IST), (OXA) LEASED 2001-01. 126Y.

0 737-4Q8 (CFM56-3C1) (2210-25168, /92 G-BSNV "WHALE RIDER;" 2237-25169, /92 G-BSNW; 2486-26289, /93 G-BUKW; 2447-25164, /93 G-BUHJ), EX-(DAN), (ILF) LEASED. 25169 RETURNED 2002-12, LEASED TO (FUA). 25168; 26289; WFU 2003-01. 147Y.

0 737-4S3 (CFM56-3C1) (1700-24163, /89 G-BVNM "POPPY APPEAL;" 1702-24164, /89 G-BVNN; 1736-24167, /89 G-BVNO), EX-(DAN). 24167 WFU 2003-12. 24163; 24164; 24167; RETURNED (OXA) LEASED TO (ADH) 2004-03. 147Y.

0 737-436 (CFM56-3C1) (2532-25859, /93 G-GBTA "YOUM-AL-SUQ;" 2422-25856 "RENDEZVOUS;" 2425-25823 "CHELSEA ROSE;" 2426-25857 "COLUM;" (2545-25860, /93 G-GBTB). 25305 LEASED TO (CML) 2001-12. 25841 LEASED TO (CML) 2002-10. 25304; 25350; 25851; WFU 2004-03. 25349 RETURNED 2004-03. 25843; 25858; 2004-04. 25350 RETURNED TO SERVICE 2004-04. 25839 RETURNED (BBB), LEASED TO (CSA) 2004-04. 25843 WET-LEASED TO (DBA) 2004-05. 25851 LEASED TO (ADH) 2004-06. 25843 WFU 2004-07 & RETURNED 2004-11. 25858; RETURNED TO SERVICE 2004-09. 25304; 25851; RETURNED FROM (ADH), 25851; RETURNED TO LESSOR. 147Y.

0 737-5H6 (CFM56-3C1) (2637-27354; /94 G-GFFH; 2646-27355, /94 G-GFFJ), EX-(JPL), (GEH) 5 YEAR LEASED 2000-04. 27355; SOLD TO ASTRAEUS & WET-LEASED TO (PMC) 2009-05. 27354; TO (AIW) 2009-10. 110Y.

0 737-500 (CFM56-3C1) (1969-25038, /90 G-GFFA, EX-(BMA), (2229-25789, /92 G-GFFB) EX-(BRT), (INZ) 5 YEAR LEASED 2/00; 737-528: (2720-27424, /95 G-GFFE), EX-(LUX), (CIF) LEASED 6/00; 737-59D: (2186-26419, /91 G-GFFD), EX-(LNJ) 2000-06; 737-528: (2730-27425, /95 G-GFFI) EX-(LUX), (CIF) LEASED 2000-07; 737-505: 1842-24651, /90, (INZ) LEASED 2000-11; 24650. (BAB) REGIONAL OPERATIONS, MANCHESTER. 27424; TO (SRP) 2014-08. 110Y.

0 737-505 (CFM56-3C1) (1923-24272, /90 G-GFFC), (GEH) LEASED 2000-04, EX-(BRT). RETURNED 2005-06. LEASED TO (AVL). 110Y.

0 747-2D7B (22472) (TLS) WET-LEASED 2004-09 TO 2005-04.


36 747-436 (RB211-524G) (802-24056, G-BNLN 2018-05; G-BNLO /90 STORED 2017-03; G-CIVN - SEE VIDEO 2018-10; G-CIVJ; /98 G-CIVP; 1172-28852, /98 G-CIVX; G-CIVW, 2019-02; 1178-28853, /98 G-CIVY; 1192-28855, /98 G-BYGA - - INVOLVED IN INCDT - - SEE 2009-05; G-BYGF; 4 SOLD TO (VAA) IN 2001, 20450 LEASED TO 17 MONTH (QAN) FROM 2000-12. POSSIBLE TRADE-IN OF 12 FOR 777-300X'S. 25091; HAS SPECIAL "UNICEF" STICKER 2006-11 - SEE PHOTO. 25427 WFU 2016-08. 24048 WFU 2017-02 AT TERUEL. 14F, 38C, 307Y.

1 747-47UF (CF6-80C2B5F) (1213-29256, /99 G-GSSA), (TLS) WET-LEASED. FREIGHTER.

0 757-236 (RB211-535E4) (323-24882, /90 G-BPEC; 871-29943, C-GPEV; 798-29115, /98 G-CPET), 1 RETIRED 2000-05; 79-22172 TO (DHL) 2000-05; 400-25268 WFU 2000-07. 22190 SOLD 2002-09. 29943 WFU 2002-11. 22186 SOLD TO BARCLAYS 2003-01. 24120 RETURNED (BBB) 2003-03. ALL RETIRED BY 2010-10. 180Y.

0 767-336ER (RB211-524H) (24333, G-BNWA "NETHERLANDS" SEE PHOTO; 24334, G-BNWB; 288-24337, /90 G-BNWE; 293-24338, /90 G-BNWF; 298-24339, /90 G-BNWG; 363-24342, /91 G-BNWJ; 364-24343, /91 G-BNWK; 365-25203, /91 G-BNWL; 419-25443, /92 G-BNWP; G-BNWV "IRELAND" SEE PHOTO; 25733, G-BNWZ; 25832, G-BNWX; 29230, G-BZHA; 29231, G-BZHB - THIS AIRPLANE OPERATED THE LAST COMMERCIAL 767 FLIGHT 2018-11; 29232, G-BZHC). 6 GROUNDED 2001-10. 24334 RETURNED TO SERVICE 2002-09. 24335 RETURNED TO SERVICE 2004-04 THEN WFU. 25204; & 25834; WFU 2016-08. (ETOPS). ALL RETIRED 2018-11. 259CY.

4/4 ORDERS (2/09) 777-236ER (TRENT 895-17).

3 777-236 (GE90-76B) (6-27105, /95 G-ZZZA; 10-27196, /95 G-ZZZB; 15-27107, /95 G-ZZZC), 17F, 70C, 148Y.

8 777-236ER (GE90-85B) (41-27483, /96 G-VIIA; 49-27484, /96 G-VIIB; 70-27490, /97 G-VIIH; 111-27492, /97 G-VIIJ; 117-28840, /98 G-VIIK; 127-27493, /98 G-VIIL; 130-28841, /98 G-VIIM; 157-29319, /98 G-VIIN), 14F, 56C, 197Y.

6 777-236ER (GE90-85B) (76-27491, /97 G-RAES; 53-27485, /96 G-VIIC; 56-27486, /97 G-VIID; 58-27487, /97 G-VIIE; 61-27488, /97 G-VIIF; 65-27489, /97 G-VIIG), 14F, 48C, 165Y.


7 777-236ER (GE90-90B) (206-29323, /99 G-VIIS; 217-29962, /99 G-VIIT; 221-29963, /99 G-VIIU; 228-29964, /99 G-VIIV; 233-29965, /99 G-VIIW; 236-29966, /99 G-VIIX; 251-29967, /99 G-VIIY), 14F, 48C, 165Y.

22 +/11 777-236ER (TRENT 895-17) (95,000 LBS THRUST) (242-30302, /99 G-YMMA; 265-30303, /00 G-YMMB; 268-30304, /00 G-YMMC; 269-30305, /00 G-YMMD; 275-30306, /00 G-YMME; 281-20207, /00 G-YMMF; 301-30308, /00 G-YMMG; 303-30309, /00 G-YMMH; 308-30310, /00 G-YMMI; 311-30312, /00 G-YMMJ; 312-30312, /00 G-YMMK; 334-30313, /01 G-YMML; 342-30314, /01 G-YMMM W/O IN 2008-01 ACCDT - SEE ARTICLE; 346-30316, /01 G-YMMN 361-30317, /01 G-YMMO; 369-30315, /01 G-YMMP; 771-36516, G-YMMR, 2009-03; 784-36517, G-YMMS, 2009-05; 791-36518, G-YMMT, 2009-06; 796-36519, G-YMMU, 2009-07), 14F, 56C, 187Y.

3 777-236ET (27105, G-ZZZA; 27106, G-ZZZB; 27107, G-ZZZC), 17F, 48C, 24W, 127Y.

0 777-300ER, (GEF) LEASED, 4 RETURNED.

0 777-300ER, (ALE) LEASED. 2 RETURNED.

8 +3 ORDERS 777-336ER (38430, G-STBG; 38431, G-STBH 2013-10; 40542, G-STBA; 995-40543, G-STBF; 42121, G-STBK; 42124, G-STBL; 43702, G-STBI; 43703, G-STBJ), 14F, 56C, 44W; 183Y.

4 777-36NER (38286, G-STBB; 38287, G-STBC; 38695, G-STBD; 38696, G-STBE), 14F, 56C, 44W, 183Y.

24/18/10 ORDERS (2013-05) 787-8/-9 DREAMLINER (TRENT 1000):

10 787-8 DREAMLINER (TRENT 1000) (38609, /12 G-ZBJA, 2013-06; 38610, G-ZBJB), 2013-06; 177-38613, G-ZBJF, 2018-05; 187-38614, G-ZBJG, 2018-05; 38615, G-ZBJH, 2014-08), 35C (CLUB WORLD 2-3-2), 25 PY (WORLD TRAVELER PLUS 2-3-2), 154Y (WORLD TRAVELER 3-3-3).

18 +4 ORDERS 787-9 DREAMLINER (TRENT 1000) (/15 G-ZBKA, 2015-09; /15 G-ZBKB; 38621, /15 G-ZBKC, 2015-10; 38618, G-ZBKD, 2015-11; 38620, G-ZBKE, 2015-11; G-ZBKF; G-ZBKK; G-ZBKL, 2018-09; 682-60627, G-ZBKR, 2018-05; 38623, G-BNWY, 2016-08). 8F, 42C, 39PY, 127Y:


0 DC-10-30 (158-46932 RETURNED TO LESSOR 1999-07) (46949 SOLD 2000-02).


12 OPTIONS A318 (PW6000), 108 PAX.

2 A318-112 (CFM56-5B9/3) (4007, G-EUNA, 2009-03 - - SEE PHOTO - - "BAB-A318 E170-2009-10"; 4039, G-EUNB, 2009-09), FOR (C) SERVICE (LCY) - (JFK) OR (EWR). 32C.

43 A319-131 (V2522-A5) (1082, /99 G-EUPA; 1115, /99 G-EUPB; 1118, /99 G-EUPC; 1142, /99 G-EUPD; 1193, /00 G-EUPE; 1197, /00 G-EUPF; 1239, /00 G-EUPL; 1258, /00 G-EUPM; 1445, G-EUPX, 2018-02; 1510, /01 G-EUPZ; G-EVOB), 126Y.


1 +39/92 ORDERS A320neo FAMILY JETS (G-TTNE, 2018-10 - SEE PHOTO).

1 A320-251N (G-TTNE, 2018-10 - SEE PHOTO).

5 A320-111 (CFM56-5A1) (006, /87 G-BUSB; 018, /89 G-BUSF), 149Y.

4 A320-211 (CFM56-5A1) (039, /89 G-BUSG; 042, /89 G-BUSH; 103, /90 G-BUSI; 120, /90 G-BUSK), 109, /90 G-BUSJ; LEASED TO (GBA) 2005-02 & RETURNED FROM (GBA) 2006-02. 042 TO STORAGE AT GATWICK 2011-01. 149Y.

1 A320-214 (1793, EC-ILR), IBERIA (IBE) WET-LEASED 2015-05. 149Y.

34 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (1665, /02 G-EUUH; 1708, /02 G-EUUL; 1760, /02 G-EUUD; 1782, /02 G-EUUE; 1814, /02 G-EUUF; 1829, /02 G-EUUG; 1871, /02 G-EUUI; 1883 /02 G-EUUJ; 1899, /02 G-EUUK; 1907, /02 G-EUUM; 1910, /03 G-EUUN; 1958, /03 G-EUUO; 2038, /03 G-EUUP; 2040, /03 G-EUUR; 2653, G-MEDL, 2013-10; 3301, /07 G-EUUS; 3314, /07 G-EUUT; 3351, /08 G-EUUU; 3468, /08 G-EUUV; 3499, /08 G-EUUW; 3607, G-EUUY, 9/08; 3649, G-EUUZ; 3697, G-EUYA; 3703, G-EUYB; 3721, G-EUYC, 2009-12; 3726, G-EUYD, 2009-12; 3912, G-EUYE, 2009-06; 4185, G-EUYF, 2010-01; 4265, G-EUYH, 2010-04; 4306, G-EUYI, 2010-06; 4551, G-EUYK, 2011-01; 4975,
G-EUYM, 2018-10 - SEE PHOTO; G-EUYN, 2012-01; 5634, G-EUYO, 2013-06; 5784, G-EUYP, 2013-10; 5856, G-EUYR, 2013-11; 6129, G-EUYW, 2014-06). 150Y.

1 A320-232 (1771, G-GATR), (GECAS) (GEF) LEASED 2015-12. 150Y.

1 A320-232 (1834, G-GATL), AERCAP (DEA) LEASED 2015-01. 150Y.

20 ORDERS A320neo:

18 A321-231 (V2533-A5) (2305, /04 G-EUXC; 2320, /04 G-EUXD; 2323, /04 G-EUXE; 2324, /04 G-EUXF; 2351, /04 G-EUXG; 2363, /04 G-EUXH; 2536, /05 G-EUXI; 3081, /07 G-EUXJ; 3235, /07 G-EUXK; 3254, /07 G-EUXL; 3274, /07 G-EUXL; 3290, /07 G-EUXM; /08 G-EUXN; 3512, G-MEDN, 2018-05). 183Y.

1 +9 ORDERS A321neo (2018-11).


18/18 ORDERS A350-1000, TO REPLACE 747-400'S:

11 +1/7 ORDERS A380-841 (TRENT 970-84) (95, /13 G-XLEA, 2013-07; G-XLEF, 2018-12; 124, G-XLEC, 2013-10; 192, G-XLEJ, 2015-11), LOWER DECK: 14F FIRST CLASS SUITES, 44C (CLUB WORLD 2-4-2), 199Y (WORLD TRAVELER 3-4-3); UPPER DECK: 53C (CLUB WORLD 2-3-2), 55PY (WORLD TRAVELER PLUS 2-3-2), 104Y (WORLD TRAVELER 2-4-2).

1 + 1 ORDER A380, (SIL) 12 YEAR LEASED 2015-03.

0 ATR72-200, 3 RETURNED.

0 ATR72-210, 2 RETURNED.

6 EMBRAER E170 (0294, G-LCYD; 0296, G-LCYE, 2009-09 - - SEE PHOTO - - "BAB-A318 E170-2009-10;" 0298, G-LCYF, 2009-10; 0300, G-LCYG; 0302, G-LCYH; 0305, G-LCYI), FOR "BA CITYFLYER" OPERATIONS. 76CY.

16 EMBRAER E190LR (0255, G-LCYV; 0339, G-LCYG; 0343, G-LCYK, 2010-03; 0346, G-LCYL, 2010-04; 0351, G-LCYM 2010-05; 0392, G-LCFN; 0430, G-LCYO; 0443, G-LCYP; 0563, G-LCYR; 0671, G-LCYS; 0674, G-LCYU, 2014-09), FOR "BA CITYFLYER" OPERATIONS. 98CY.

8 SAAB 2000 (036, G-CDEB), EX-(SE-036), EASTERN AIRWAYS LEASED. 50Y.


Click below for photos:
BAB-3-ALEX CRUZ - 2015-11.jpg
BAB-3-Keith Williams - 2015-05-A.jpg
BAB-4-Andrew Crawley - 2015-12.jpg
BAB-9-RAJAN BINDRA - 2012-10






ANDREW CAWLEY, (CEO) (IAG) Cargo (2016-01).
Andrew, in 2015, then as British Airways (BAB)’s Chief Commercial Officer, took up his new post in January 2016.

Andrew replaced Steve Gunning, who left (IAG) Cargo in January 2016 to become (BAB)’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Andrew reports to (IAG) (CEO), Willie Walsh and became a member of the group’s management committee.



Adam was previously (BAB)'s Head of Global Revenue.


Sean is responsible for (BAB)’s commercial business in the USA, Canada, Mexico, South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Doyle oversees Sales & Marketing and leads (BAB)'s efforts to grow the Atlantic joint business between American Airlines (AAL), (BAB), Iberia (IBE), and Finnair (FIN).























(jim.c.o'sullivan@british-airways.com) (1999-03).

GARRY COPELAND, DIRECTOR ENGINEERING, (LHREJBA) (garry.a.copeland@britishairways.com) (2006-09).





Lynn replaced Andrew Crawley on the (BAB) Board (2016-01).

















WAYNE JENNER, MANAGER QUALITY CORE GROUP (LHRBYBA), (wayne.1.jenner@british-airways.com) (2001-06).





ROB PENDLE, GENERAL MANAGER AVIONIC ENGINEERING (LONENBA), (rob.c.pendle@british-airways.com) (BAAE) (2001-03).






STEVE BOND, MANAGER FLEET 1 TECHNICAL (757/767/A320), (stephen.w.bond@britishairways.com) (LONEBA) (2001-09).


DAVID BEWS, MANAGER FLEET 2 TECHNICAL 747/777/CONCORDE (LONENBA), (dave.w.bews@british-airways.com).





PHIL STUCKLE, MANAGER AIRPLANE MAINTENANCE TRAINING (LGWJNBA) (philip.d.stuckle@britishairways.com) (2001-12).






RAY MAYNE, MANAGER TECHNICAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS (LHREQBA), (tis.1.tis@britishairways.com) (1999-12).

ROBIN CREW, MANAGER FLEET 3 TECHNICAL (737), (LHREJBA) (rob.1.crew@british-airways.com) (2001-09).








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