787

The long awaited inaugural direct flight from London to Austin of the new 787 dreamliner landed on in Austin on Monday evening to much excitement in the “live music capital of the world”. For Austin was is a really big deal. Jim Halbrook, spokesperson for the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, said “For the city of Austin, this is a really big deal,” “This is a historic milestone for transportation in Austin. It’s the first regular non-stop trans-Atlantic service that we’ve ever had.”

The flights will make Austin one of the smallest U.S. cities having a trans-Atlantic airline service.

We think it is a big deal too, as it is vindication of Boeing and its 787 Dreamliner strategy.

Since the launch of the 787 program in 2004, Boeing argued that the lightweight Dreamliner’s modest size and fuel efficiency would open up potentially hundreds of new long-haul international routes that would otherwise not have been profitable.

BA 787 in flight

787 in flight

Boeing estimated there were about 450 new non-stop routes, many to or from smaller airports and cities that wouldn’t previously have been expected to cater for long haul flights, that could become profitable to run with an airplane with the Dreamliner’s economics.

So the landscape of longhaul aviation is changing and this will have far reaching effects, not only in the world of aviation, but for the cities and countries which are the beneficiaries of this changing landscape.

Other new routes opened by the 787 Dreamliner include: United Airlines flying to Tokyo from Denver in April 2012; All Nippon Tokyo to San Jose, Calif.; Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo to Oakland; and Orlando Sanford International Airport to London Gatwick operated by Thomson Airways.

The idea of being able to travel, longhaul directly to many more smaller quirkier destinations will hopefully catch on and open many new markets and travel possibilities.

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Longer 787 takes flight
BA to fly to Austin

British Airways this week announced that it will be commencing services to Austin, Texas in 2014.

The airline will commence flights in early March 2014, initially 5 times a week, before going daily from 5th May.

Austin will be British Airways 3rd destination in Texas, alongside Houston & Dallas, and 21st destination overall in the US, by far the airline’s most important market.

Although far smaller than both Houston & Dallas, Austin is home to a number of leading US tech companies such as ebay, Dell, Google & IBM. British Airways will also be the only airline to offer direct flights between Austin & Europe and, with its extensive route network out of Heathrow, will be able to benefit from extensive feeder traffic for passengers looking to fly to Austin, as well as numerous onward connections for anyone from Austin looking to travel onwards from London.

Even so, what has made this new route possible (and the airport authorities in Austin have made it clear that no financial inducements were offered to British Airways) is the arrival of the 787 Dreamliner. Prior to the arrival of the 787, which made its maiden British Airways flight to Toronto last weekend, British Airways had 3 long-haul aircraft in its fleet. The 767-300 is an ageing aircraft with poor fuel efficiency while both the 777 and 747 are simply too large for such a relatively ‘thin’ route.

The seating layout on a British Airways 787

The new 787-8 series, which will be configured in a 3 cabin layout without a First Class, is up to 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 as well as offering a far more pleasant inflight experience. Although fares on the Austin – Heathrow route are likely to be higher than from either Dallas or Houston, the airline is clearly confident that the convenience of direct flights, and the appeal of the new 787, will create enough demand to justify the new route.

Commenting on the news, Sean Doyle, the airline’s executive VP for the Americas stated: “We are very excited to be bringing British Airways to Austin. This new route presents an important opportunity for business growth across the Atlantic, particularly in the thriving technology sector. We know that London is among the top destinations for international travel from Austin and equally, Austin is home to some of the most important global cultural events. We are looking forward to providing a convenient and high-quality service to new and existing customers.”

 

 

As we enter a new month, British Airways enters a new era with its first scheduled 787 Dreamliner flight.

british airways 787The flight, from Heathrow to Toronto, departs on Sunday 1st September and is the first scheduled service for the new 787 Dreamliner of which British Airways has orders for 42.

Following on from Toronto, on 1st October British Airways will commence a daily 787 service between Heathrow and Newark, increasing to double daily from 27th October. These first two 787 destinations are currently included in the UK British Airways sale which ends at midnight on 24th September.

The seating layout on a British Airways 787

With an ageing fleet of 747′s and 767s, British Airways is embarking on a massive fleet renewal programme that, in addition to the 42 787 Dreamliners on order, includes 12 Airbus A380S, 18 Airbus A350s and 6 further Boeing 777-300s.

It is the Dreamliner however that is set to really dominate the British Airways fleet in years to come. Not only will the new aircraft offer far improved fuel efficiency and passenger comfort on existing routes, the same efficiency and far greater reach of the aircraft will allow British Airways to serve new routes that simply aren’t feasible at present. All that stands in the way of British Airways launching services to new destinations such as Portland, Lima and Saigon is the lack of slots at Heathrow.

The countdown has begun for British Airways first scheduled 787 flight.

The inaugural flight, BA 093, departs Heathrow for Toronto on 1st September and, as part of the airline’s marketing effort, British Airways invited Lisa Snowdon, DJ, model and ex contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, to test out the aircraft for herself.

As befits a celebrity of her standing, Ms Snowdon doesn’t seem to have bothered testing out the World Traveller cabin although she does look very comfortable in her Club World Seat.

lisasnowden

Commenting on the occasion, Ms Snowdon stated: ”As a breakfast DJ, I know the importance of a good night’s sleep – so when British Airways invited me to ‘road test’ its new Dreamliner aircraft, I couldn’t resist. Any aircraft that promises reduced jetlag, less dehydration and a smoother journey is a winner, especially as you arrive feeling refreshed and ready for action. I was really impressed with how spacious and airy it felt, with mood lighting and super comfortable seating to snuggle up in.”

British Airways has a total of 42 Dreamliners on order, split between all 3 models, the 8, 9 & 10 series. Initial orders are all for the 8 series, the smallest version, which will be used to replace British Airways ageing fleet of 767s on flights across the Atlantic to the US & Canada. So far British Airways has only announced the first 2 destinations for its new 787: starting on 1st September with Toronto and following up later the same month with Newark.

As well as being up to 20% more fuel efficient than the 767, the 787 Dreamliner should also offer a far more comfortable in-flight experience for passengers. The aircraft itself boast larger windows and over-head lockers, as well as superior atmospheric conditions which should mean that passengers arrive at their destination fresher and less drowsy. In addition, British Airways is fitting all 787 Dreamliners with its most up to date seating and inflight entertainment in all 3 cabins – World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World.

 

 

 

British Airways will today welcome its first passengers onboard the new 787 Dreamliner.

The invited members of the press and frequent flyers will board the 787 in Edinburgh as it operates a short flight to the north of Scotland and back.

Commenting on the flight, Simon Scholey, who will be at the controls of the aircraft, stated: “Serving the people of Scotland is enormously important for British Airways so it seemed right that the first-ever customer flight will take place here. We’re very much looking forward to showcasing it to the people both on board and on the ground.”

En-route to Edinburgh, the 787 will also make a stop-over at Newcastle airport. Commenting on this, Richard Tams, Head of UK Sales & Marketing stated: “We’re very excited to have flown our new Boeing 787 Dreamliner into Newcastle International Airport, which hundreds of thousands of our customers use every year to transfer onto international flights at Heathrow. Our customers in the north of England are hugely important to us, and we wanted them to be among the first to see the new aircraft and to learn about all the benefits it brings”.

British Airways offer frequent flights from both Newcastle & Edinburgh to London Heathrow so the airline will be keen to maximise this marketing opportunity.

The airline have a total of 42 787s on order, with the first scheduled service to Toronto set to commence in September of this year, followed shortly after by flights to Newark.