Airports

British Airways will be increasing the number of flights to Newcastle from June 2, 2014.

British Airways has been operating flights between London and Newcastle for 55 years. Currently served by an Airbus A320, the extra return flight on a Monday and Wednesday will mean customers will have 41 flights each week to choose from. So, if the midlands are your thing you have plenty of options.

British Airbus A320 from below

An A320 off to somewhere, probably Newcastle.

Mr. Richard Tams, British Airways’ head of UK&I sales and marketing, said: “Our route between London and Newcastle is at the very heart of our domestic network. The number of flights on offer means customers can connect through London to our entire network of destinations, offering great opportunities for both leisure and business travellers.”

Tickets are already on sale for the new services. British Airways offers return flights between London and Newcastle from £102 including taxes and charges.

Mr. Tams is also in the news as is explained here.

Good news for skiers, as British Airways is to add new routes from London Gatwick to Friedrichshafen, Germany and to Grenoble, France.

The winter season routes will operate on weekends and both will be served by 737 aircraft, reports airlineroute.net.

From December 1, LGW to Friedrichshafen service will depart Gatwick at 0720 on Saturdays and at 0825 on Sundays, and land in Germany at 1000 and 1105 respectively.

The return flight will take-off from Friedrichshafen at 1050 on Saturdays and at 1200 on Sundays, and arrive at LGW at 1130 and 1240 respectively.

The Grenoble service will depart Gatwick at 0935 on Saturdays and at 0825 on Sundays and land in Grenoble at 1220 and 1110 respectively.

The return flight will leave from Grenoble at 1310 on Saturdays and at 1200 on Sundays arriving at Gatwick at 1400 and 1250 respectively.

Speaking in the Lords last night Baron Spicer former aviation minister said: “… because of the uncertainties about capacity at Heathrow that British Airways is undecided about whether to keep a big hub there.

“Would that not have been unthinkable in the 1980s, for instance, when Heathrow was the number one international airport in the world and when I was Minister of Aviation?”

Heathrow airport

Heathrow and BA

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer responded, saying there was “no crisis of capacity in the South-East”, but accepted that a new runway would be needed by 2030 and “in all likelihood” a second by 2050.

His comments come as Boris Johnson made a bid to tempt London Heathrow Airports Ltd away from west London, to help him set up a new international hub at his preferred “Boris Island” site in the Thames Estuary.

Mr Johnson set out a plan yesterday for a new Heathrow garden city to be built on the current airport site were it to close.

IAG, the owner of British Airways, on Friday posted a pre-tax profit from continuing operations, after exceptional items, of £186m, a significant turnaround from making a big loss last year. Total revenue grew 3.1%, despite a near 12% decline in cargo revenue. Passenger revenue grew almost 6%.

IAG Logo

One of the reasons for the return to profitability has been the reduced losses at its Spanish airline, Iberia, and the acquisition of the budget carrier, Vueling.

Iberia A330

Iberia – profitable soon?

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said Britsh Airways has also benefited from cost improvements and the additional Heathrow take-off and landing slots it acquired through its 2012 takeover of the loss-making UK carrier, BMI.

British Airways made a large operating profit for the 12 months to December 31, and Iberia, while remaining in the red, reduced its losses. Vueling has made an operating profit since April.

 

Mr Walsh said: “In 2013, we strengthened the group by acquiring Vueling, embarking on Iberia’s transformation and enhancing British Airways’ revenue performance. This has led to a strong financial recovery and return to profitability.”

The company expects to make “steady progress” this year towards its target of generating a group operating profit of approximately £1.5bn by the end of 2015.

Mr. Willie Walsh

Willie Walsh

Willie also said “I think the report is excellent, the commission has done some really good work. The problem is political, the failure to embrace the findings of the report. I don’t see any sign that politicians have changed their view,” “I think the politicians will try to avoid this issue and they’ll be sitting here in several years debating this issue and we’ll be losing ground. The economy will suffer as a result of lack of runway capacity in general,”.

Amazingly, the last full-length runway in the South East of England was opened in 1946.

Retired BA employee Norman Dawson has spent approximately 18 months making a beautiful matchstick model of a Boeing 747-400 and a Concorde (which took a year).

Norman matchstick model maker

Norman in front of his models

Norman has been making model aircraft for as long as he can remember and as he was nearing retirement after a 40 year career, began wondering what to do with his retirement. It was then that he thought of making a matchstick model of a Boeing 747.

Norman had access to 747 maintenance manuals to get all the scale right which is 1/50 and the 747-400 is about 4ft 6in long.

matchstick 747-400

The 747-400

matchstick 747-400 and Concorde BA branded

with BA branding

The Concorde is 1/40 scale and is over 5 feet long.

matchstick Concorde gear down

Concorde droop nose and gear down

The Concorde has been made in two modes. The first is supersonic all gear up and nose up, the other is landing mode all gear down and full droop nose.

matchstick Concorde gear up

Concorde nose and gear up – going supersonic

Here are some more images and angles..

 A detailed look at the Concorde model…

A walk around the 747-400 and th Concorde…

A little about Norman..

We thought it would be interesting to tell you a little about Norman’s life which has been closely associated with aircraft, as he fell in love with aviation as a boy growing up in Bedfont in the 1950′s next to the Airport and in sight of the old Pan Am hangar.

For the last year of junior school Norman had to cycle through the airport to school every day and had permission from the then Airdrome Commandant and a pass, although after a while, Norman says he knew all the security people. Clearly things were very different then to now!

Norman went into motor racing with the legendary Gulf GT40 racing team being in the team which won the 1969 the Le Mans 24 hour race.

Norman has already started his next model which is a 777.