January 2014

British Airways gained momentum last year last year and expects to build on that this year.

That is the report from the Gulf Daily News, that last year BA operated 52 weekly flights during the winter, its highest ever from the region.

Mr. De Renzis, a BA executive also said that he expects strong forward bookings in the region.

“We just closed a very successful year in the Middle East and we are very optimistic about the current year,” he said.

gulf Daily News reports that over the last five years, the airline has increased regional capacity by 40 per cent with the expansion focusing on the larger markets of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait either by adding flights and flying larger planes and would continue to do so if the market demand was there, he said.

British Airways A380 Flying Above Clouds

Middle East bound

So what is driving this expansion? Greater profit per passenger, as according to industry experts, the Middle East leads the globe in growth of business and first-class traffic. The airline executive said British Airways was earning about 50 per cent of passenger revenue in the region from the high-margin premium segment, and experts say yields per premium passenger are typically around four to five times higher than those for economy class.

But competition is likely to increase as the Middle East airlines are increasing capacity.

Emirates a380

50 more of these please


Last years Dubai Airshow saw a spending spree, reported here, with orders for A380 and 777x aircraft being placed by Emirates.

BA will launch its Flying with Confidence course in Dubai next month

.. apparently in response to the results of a recent YouGov survey, Gulf marketing website Kippreport reports.

Pteromerhanophobia or fear of flying, is quite a common and debilitating problem. Famous sufferers include, Isaac Asimov (which is ironic), Doris Day, Dennis Bergkamp and Agnetha Faltskog.

So it comes as little surprise that the survey, commissioned by BA and made up of 1,000 respondents, indicated that more than one in four UAE residents have a fear of flying and that 42 per cent of nervous flyers feel that the fear diminishes their quality of life. So decided to launch its ‘Flying with Confidence’ course on February 17, to help address this.

fear of flying course

There is no way you are getting me up in one of those things…

The one day course is also currently offered in the UK and the US, and according to BA has helped more than 45,000 people over the past 25 years. The course includes a session from a BA captain who will explain the technical side of flying (including presumably how it stays up), how an aircraft operates and other issues, such as turbulence, and a specialised counsellor will provide advice on relaxation techniques, and how best to deal with anxiety and feelings of panic.

BA says the course has a 98 per cent success rate, and “the course is tailored to fit participants regardless of whether they have a mild anxiety about flying, are unable to board an aircraft or develop a sudden debilitating phobia.”

Virgin also has a course to combat the fear of flying called flying without fear held here in the UK.

Atlas Air Worldwide-”British Airways to Pursue New Opportunities”

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, a provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating solutions, today announced that, following notice  from British Airways of BA’s “strategic decision to exit dedicated cargo-freighter service” and to return the three Boeing 747-8 freighters to GSS (Atlas Air’s owner) in April 2014, it will be seeking opportunties to re-deploy the aircraft it currently operates for BA, together with the maintenance and other capacities.

747-8 freighter operated by Atlas Air in BA livery

A 747-8 freighter

In a gracious statement Atlas Air said, “We deeply appreciate our long relationship with British Airways and its cargo affiliate, IAG Cargo. We are very proud to have served them over the past 18 years, including the last 12 years through GSS. We are also focused on the continued development of our business. We are an innovative provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating solutions to the global aviation industry. And we will deploy these freighters in profitable revenue operations once redelivered to us, taking advantage of their superior fuel efficiency, range, capacity and loading capabilities. We believe these qualities create a compelling value proposition for our customers.”

Through GSS, the company also will receive contractual early termination fees from British Airways.

British Airways is has launched its Man vs Plane challenge No.II, which offers five people the chance to prove they have what it takes to beat its new A380 superjumbo in a race on the runway.

The Man vs Plane challenge is to celebrate the launch of BA’s direct flights to Johannesburg and the winners will be flown to South Africa in February to try to beat the A380 in a 200 metre sprint. Now I recall from athletics at school that 200 metres is a pretty long sprint. The A380 lost round one in 2013 to South African rugby player Bryan Habana.

To enter the competition, entrants must explain to British Airways in 50 words or less why they should be picked. The runner with the quickest time on the day will receive two return tickets on one of British Airways’ direct A380 flights to London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong or Johannesburg while revelling in their sprinting success. Mr. Habana explains…

Habana said in the promotional video “In 2013, I raced British Airways’ new A380 aircraft and won. Now, it’s your turn to accept the challenge and prove you have the strength, stamina and speed to race the plane.” The closing date for entries is 20 January and the winners will be flown to Johannesburg on 4 February.

To enter go to  ba.com/manvsplane. If anyone knows how long it takes an A380 to cover the first 200 metres let us know!

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.