July 2013

British Airways has today announced that it will be offering daily flights between London & Hyderabad from 27th October.

Currently, British Airways operates 6 weekly flights between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Hyderabad so the additional service will allow it offer an entirely seamless to its customers. Flights are operated by 777-200s with a 3 cabin layout split between World Traveller, World Traveller Plus & Club World.

The new A380 British Airways World Traveller Plus cabin

Commenting on the news, Christopher Fordyce, British Airways Regional Commercial Manager for South Asia stated:  ”For British Airways, Hyderabad is truly a key market in our South Asian network. We have witnessed tremendous growth in the market since 2008, resulting in concerted growth in the outbound business and leisure tourism. Our customers from Hyderabad will now be able to enjoy daily service to the UK whilst enjoying British Airways’ unmatched inflight services and flying experience.”

In addition to Hyderabad, British Airways also flies to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai & Bangalore. Indeed the Indian market is now the second largest for British Airways, after the US, and still growing. There has been some talk, although not really from the airline, that British Airways would re-introduce flights to Calcutta although this seems unlikely.

Earlier in the year there was also talk of British Airways joining up with a local Indian airline (IndiGo was mentioned) to provide local connections although nothing further has been said about this. Most likely, with the losses sustained by the Indian airline market in general, British Airways has decided that an arms-length approach is called for.

Hyderabad

As predicted on this website, British Airways 3rd destination for the A380 will be Johannesburg in South Africa.

Flights will commence from Heathrow on 12th February and, initially, will operate 3 times a week before increasing to 6 times a week from 10th March.

Prices start from £872 return in World Traveller (economy), £1,382 return in World Traveller Plus (premium economy), £3,274 return in Club World (business class) and £6,179 in First.

The A380 service will be incorporated into British Airways existing schedule and will therefore result in a significant increase in capacity. Although the airline has not yet indicated which aircraft the A380 will replace (both the 747 and 777 are currently used on the route) it seems almost certain that it will be the 747.

To celebrate the news of the new service British Airways invited rugby stars Chris Robshaw, Bryan Habana and Jean De Villiers (combined weight approx 300kgs) to tow the A380 (366,000kgs) down the runway at Manston airport in Kent.

British Airways A380 Launch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reports in the Arabian press suggest that Emirates, the airline of Dubai, is contemplating entering the transatlantic market.

While there is no suggestion that any decision is remotely imminent, even the mention of it must bring a cold shudder to both British Airways & Virgin Atlantic.

British Airways HeathrowFrom a near standing start, Emirates now flies 5 A380s a day between Dubai & Heathrow, three times a day from Gatwick, twice from Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham and once from Newcastle. From its hubs in the north of the UK alone, Emirates flew some 800,000 passengers last year.

Starting in October, Emirates will begin operating flights from Dubai to Milan and onwards to New York. Although current regulations currently prevent Emirates from carrying passengers between the UK & US, if this was to change it could have a massive effect on the UK aviation market.

With Heathrow already operating at near 100% capacity, Emirates would not be able to secure the necessary flights between the UK’s premier airport and the US. Outside of Heathrow however, there is still some spare slot capacity at London Gatwick and significant spare capacity at the UK’s regional airports.

Virgin Atlantic Aside from a few services between Gatwick and Las Vegas & Orlando, all British Airways flights to the US currently operate out of Heathrow. Virgin too operate the vast majority of their US flights from Heathrow & Gatwick with just a couple of seasonal services from Manchester & Glasgow.

With the Davies Commission currently looking into airport capacity in the UK, Heathrow and British Airways have jointly argued that the only solution is to increase capacity at Heathrow by building a 3rd runway. The Mayor of London disagrees with a new runway being built at Heathrow and instead wants a brand new, 4 runway airport built to the east of London.

Against this, regional airports and business leaders have, for some time now, argued against what they see as an entirely London-centric debate and sought to attract many more, direct, long-haul flights from the Midlands, North of England Scotland. Securing such flights from the likes of Birmingham & Manchester would, they argue, shift pent-up demand away from the south east and negate much of the need for new airport capacity in or around London.

If Emirates was to secure rights to carry passengers between the UK and US it could, in theory at least, flood the market with A380s (it will eventually have a fleet of over 90, by far the largest in the world) on flights between Dubai, Manchester & the US.

That is the theory, the reality is more complicated. Even if Emirates was granted permission to fly between the UK & the US, both New York & Chicago, its main targets, also suffer from capacity constraints and Emirates might not be able to secure the slots it requires. If it didn’t, is there really enough of a market for Emirates to fly passengers between Manchester and say Washington, Boston or Miami, especially on such large aircraft?

One of the reasons that British Airways stopped flying between Manchester and New York wasn’t a lack of leisure passengers; it was a lack of business traffic, especially at the front of the aircraft, the part where pretty much every airline in the world makes the majority if its profits. Nothing that Emirates can do will change this.

If Emirates were to secure traffic rights between the UK, and if they could gain the necessary slots in New York, and both are very big ’ifs’, there may be some mileage in offering flights between Manchester & New York. Beyond that, we don’t expect to see an armada of Emirates aircraft en-route to the US anytime soon.

** Update 26.07.13 – a statement this morning from an Emirates spokesperson reads as follows: “We have no immediate plans to operate a direct service between the UK and US.”

 

Emirates A380

 

 

Heathrow Airport has submitted new proposals for slightly lower charges at the UK’s busiest airport.

Due to its near monopoly position, the fees that Heathrow can charge airlines are capped by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and set over 5 year periods. The currrent pricing regime ends in March 2014 and, earlier this year, Heathrow set out proposals that would have seen it raise its prices by RPI plus 5.9% over the 5 year period from 2014-2019.

A poll tax on flying

Willie

Not surprisingly, these proposals were met by howls of derision from airline groups, most vocally British Airways, who claim that Heathrow is already too expensive. Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways parent company IAG, submitted a counter proposal that charges at Heathrow should actually grow by RPI minus 9.8%.

Although Heathrow could easily brush off such a stark proposal from British Airways, it was unable to hide its dismay when, in April of this year, the CAA published its initial findings which suggested a cap in charges of RPI minus 1.3%. Only now, some 3 months later, has the airport responded with a counter-offer, this time of RPI plus 4.6%.

British Airways Terminal 5 Check-InAnnouncing their new proposal, the airport published the results of a survey of some 1,178 Heathrow passengers. In this survey, it is claimed, passengers said that they would rather see improved services and investment than lower fares. At the same time, Colin Matthews, CEO of Heathrow Airport Holdings warned that global investors would no longer be prepared to invest in Heathrow, or other UK infrastructure projects, if they were unable to make a fair return on their capital.

On Monday, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and other airlines operating to Heathrow again rejected Heathrow’s proposals for a rise in fees and reiterated their call for an overall reduction.

Ironically, this heated disagreement about airport charges, which net Heathrow some £1.3 billion a year, comes at the very same time that Heathrow and its major customers are in full agreement over the need for a 3rd runway at the airport.

The CAA will publish its next report in October.

Heathrow Terminal 5

Heathrow Terminal 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first of British Airways A380s made its first official appearance at the weekend as it took part at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

The tattoo took place at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire and involved the A380 flying in formation with the world-famous Red Arrows.

Captaining the aircraft was British Airways pilot Charles Everett although it was senior first officer Peter Nye who was at the controls. Earlier last week, the A380 and Red Arrows were seen practising for the show in the skies above Manston Airport in Kent where the aircraft is based for final training and trials.