Entries in Heathrow (17)

Tuesday
May222012

Nine BMI routes get BA numbers as integration proceeds

British Midland International routes flown between London's Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL) and nine European and African destinations will acquire British Airways flight numbers tomorrow, as part of the integration process first announced late last year.  The nine routes affected will be those flown between Heathrow, and the BMI destinations of Agadir, Morocco; Basel, Switzerland; Bergen, Norway; Casablanca, Morocco; Hanover, Germany; Marrakech, Morocco; Nice, France; Stavanger, Norway; and Vienna, Austria.  According to British Airways, all departure and arrival terminals at Heathrow will remain the same, as will estimated departure and arrival times.

On April 19 this year, International Consolidated Airlines Group, led by former British Airways CEO Willie Walsh, bought BMI from Lufthansa.  BMI withdrew its membership in the Star Alliance last month.  British Airways is part of the Oneworld airline alliance.

Also, Virgin Atlantic will launch a four times weekly non-stop round-trip route between Heathrow and Vancouver International Airport (IATA; YVR; ICAO: CYVR) Thursday.  The route will operate in both directions on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.  According to results returned by the search engine on Virgin Atlantic's website, the route will be operated with the Airbus A340-300.  The flight is approximately ten hours long in both directions.

related story

BA and Iberia respective shareholders both approve merger (Nobember 29, 2010)

original stories

bmi flights changing to BA flight numbers (British Airways)

BMI to be 'integrated quickly' into British Airways (Airport Watch UK)

Virgin Atlantic Launch Flights to Vancouver (Virgin Atlantic)

Click on the Google +1 button below if you like the article!

Saturday
Dec182010

London Gatwick suspends flights due to heavy snow, others delayed

One of the larger snowfalls western Europe has seen in a long time forced Greater London's Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK) to close its runway, suspending all flights in to or out of the facility indefinitely.  The airport's website currently notes that British Airways, which uses the facility as a hub, has cancelled all "domestic and European" Gatwick flights today (coming and going) between the hours of 10:00 in the morning and 5:00 in the afternoon, local time.

The airport's website asks passengers with plans to travel through Gatwick soon, to check with their operating airline for details on the delay or cancellation of their flight.  The BBC reported that "regulations require [Gatwick] to suspend flights if snow lies thicker than 3cm on the ground."  Up to 20 centimeters of snow (8 inches) is forecast for some places in and near London, according to the BBC.

Greater London's busiest airport, Heathrow (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL), also expects that it might have to suspend flights because of the weather, according to Yahoo News.  In addition, other airports throughout northwestern Continental Europe are faced with cancellations and delays due to snow.

original stories

Heavy snow hits air travel, roads across Europe (Yahoo News)

Heavy snowfall closes runway at Gatwick Airport (BBC)

Thursday
Sep232010

British Airways resolves Iberia merger concern over deficit

Earlier today the largest airline based in Spain, Iberia Airlines, cleared another obstacle to its anticipated merger with British Airways (BA).  Iberia announced that it was happy with British Airways' plan for dealing with its 3.7 billion GBP pension deficit (4.36 billion EUR; 5.8 billion USD).  The United Kingdom's highest-profile airline showed Iberia how it plans to put 330 million GBP (388.55 million EUR; 517.67 million USD) annually into pension funds for the next sixteen years.

The anticipated merger would unite the two airlines under the same holding company, called International Airlines Group.  However, each of the two airlines would retain its long-established logos and branding schemes.  British Airways CEO Willie Walsh would become CEO of International Airlines Group, while Iberia CEO Antonio Vasquez Romero would become Chairman of the Board.  The holding company's operational headquarters would be in London, and its corporate headquarters would be in Madrid.  Iberia claims the merger will allow visitors from Europe to obtain inexpensive airfare to Central America.  The website www.beatthebrochure.com reports that the merger will make available "a vast array of services offering cheap flights" between destinations all over the globe.

British Airways was formed in 1974 with the merger of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.  It is the United Kingdom’s highest-profile airline, and is headquartered very near its main hub Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL) in the London borough of Hillingdon.  British Airways flies a fleet of 237 aircraft to destinations on all six permanently inhabited continents, and also maintains a hub at Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK) southeast of London.

Iberia Airlines is the Spanish flag carrier, and was founded in 1927.  It is based in the national capital of Madrid.  Iberia maintains its largest hub at Barajas Airport in Madrid (IATA: MAD; ICAO: LEMD).  Spain's second-largest city Barcelona is a focus city for the airline.  Iberia flies 116 aircraft to 120 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.

related stories

DOT grants anti-trust immunity to BA-Iberia-AA alliance (July 22, 2010)

BA-Iberia merger approved by the EU (July 14, 2010)

original story (www.beatthebrochure.com)

Monday
Aug022010

British Airways and cabin crew union adjourn without agreement

A new attempt at negotiations, hosted by the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), and involving representatives from British Airways and Unite, the union representing British Airways’ cabin crew workers, adjourned without agreement today.  According to the BBC, no progress has been made in the negotiations.  However, a British Airways spokesperson said there are plans to meet again next week.

Over the period of April 2010 to June 2010 inclusive, during which Unite staged 22 days of industrial action, British Airways recently reported a loss of 164 million GBP (198 million EUR; 259 million USD).

The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service is a Crown non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom.  It is based in London, but has eleven ancillary offices throughout the island of Great Britain.  British Airways was founded in 1974, from the merger of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.  It is headquartered in the borough of Hillingdon in London.  Its largest hub is Heathrow International Airport (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL).  Unite is a British and Irish trade union formed in 2007 with the merger of Amicus the Union, and the Transport and General Workers’ Union.

related stories

BA links CEO’s bonus to ending labor disputes (June 10, 2010)

Unite says it will strike through summer if demands not met (June 9, 2010)

British Airways will expand its immediate-term flight schedule (June 4, 2010)

British Airways will expand its immediate-term flight schedule (May 26, 2010)

Unite the Union begins strike series against British Airways (May 24, 2010)

The Unite strikes against British Airways are back on (May 21, 2010)

Unite is barred from going forward with BA strike action (May 18, 2010)

British Airways has released its contingency plan for the first strike (May 15, 2010)

British Airways and cabin crew union are trying to avert strikes (May 12, 2010)

original stories

Fresh BA cabin crew dispute talks adjourn (BBC)

Q&A: What's the BA dispute about? (BBC)

Friday
Jun182010

United Airlines and Jet Airways agree to codeshare

Air travelers between the United States and India will enjoy smoother connections between flights on United Airlines and Jet Airways, beginning June 30.  Starting today, travelers on one or the other (or both) of these airlines will be able to book certain flights on each airline through the other airline.

Jet Airways will put its code (9W) onto the United Airlines flights between Heathrow Airport in London (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL) and the United hubs of Chicago-O’Hare International (IATA: ORD; ICAO: KORD), Denver International (IATA: DEN; ICAO: KDEN), Los Angeles International (IATA: LAX; ICAO: KLAX), San Francisco International (IATA: SFO; ICAO: KSFO), and Washington-Dulles International (IATA: IAD; ICAO: KIAD).

Moreover, United Airlines will put its code (UA) onto three international routes flown by Jet Airways.  Those are the Jet Airways flights between (1) Heathrow and Mumbai-Shivaji International (IATA: BOM; ICAO: VABB); between (2) Hong Kong International (IATA: HKG; ICAO: VHHH) and Mumbai Shivaji International; and between (3) Hong Kong International and Delhi-Gandhi International (IATA: DEL; ICAO: VIDP).  United Airways will also put its code onto five Jet Airways routes flown domestically within India.

United Airlines traces its origins to 1926, and a company called Boeing Air Transport.  It is based in Chicago, and its main hub is at O’Hare International.  Jet Airways commenced operations in 1993.  It flies to 67 destinations both within India, and internationally.  Its main hub is at Mumbai-Shivaji International.

related stories

Malév and Etihad sign a codeshare deal (June 9, 2010)

The United-Continental merger is not yet a sure thing (May 19, 2010)

Two airlines looking for awards in Hamburg next week made a deal (May 12, 2010)

United and Continental will probably merge (May 3, 2010)

original story (Business Standard)

Thursday
Jun102010

BA links CEO’s bonus to ending labor disputes

The strike series recently launched by Unite, the union representing British Airways’ cabin crew employees, ended yesterday.  But with continued industrial action threatened, the airline’s remuneration committee recently made Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh’s bonus contingent on his ending the series of strikes that has plagued the United Kingdom’s highest-profile airline for months.  The strikes have cost British Airways more than 154 million GBP (186.8 million EUR; 225 million USD), a figure estimated by the airline during the early stages of the strikes, and not disputed by Unite the Union.  (The amount lost must be even higher now, one imagines.)

An aviation consultant at JLS Consulting Ltd. in London suggests that Mr. Walsh’s recent rejection of his 334,000 GBP merit-based bonus (405,180 EUR; 488,040 USD), earned for (1) high ratings of on-time arrival and departure of British Airways flights and (2) overall customer satisfaction, allows Mr. Walsh to retain a  talking point that he would have sacrificed otherwise.  Presumably, Mr. Walsh could not accept the bonus, and then talk about the airline industry slump or the global recession, and retain credibility.

Indeed, union leaders have said that acceptance of the bonus would have created an “uproar” among the members and officials of Unite, the United Kingdom’s largest union, which also represents workers in the Irish Republic.  Unite was formed in 2007 with the merger of Amicus the Union and the Transport and General Workers’ Union.  British Airways is the United Kingdom’s flag carrier, and was founded in 1974 with the merger of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.  It is based in the London borough of Hillingdon, near its main hub Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL).

related stories

Unite says it will strike through summer if demands not met (June 9, 2010)

IATA Chief Executive slams unions for striking (June 8, 2010)

British Airways will expand its immediate-term flight schedule (June 4, 2010)

British Airways will expand its immediate-term flight schedule (May 26, 2010)

Unite the Union begins strike series against British Airways (May 24, 2010)

The Unite strikes against British Airways are back on (May 21, 2010)

Unite is barred from going forward with BA strike action (May 18, 2010)

British Airways has released its contingency plan for the first strike (May 15, 2010)

British Airways and cabin crew union are trying to avert strikes (May 12, 2010)

original story (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

Friday
Jun042010

Concorde engine tests were a success

For seven hours last Saturday, engines from the supersonic airliner Concorde were tested and found to be in perfect condition, according to Ben Lord, the Vice Chairman of Save Concorde Group, a United Kingdom-based association of Concorde enthusiasts.  An approximately equivalent French group called Olympus 593, arranged for the tests to be conducted at the Air and Space Museum just off the premises of the general aviation airfield (IATA: LBG; ICAO: LFPB) in Le Bourget, a suburb of Paris.  The engines were taken from Sierra Delta, a former Air France Concorde.

Shortly after the engine tests, the Vice Chairman wrote, at the group's website, www.save-concorde.org.uk, "I want to pay tribute to the fantastic workmanship that has taken place in France today with my British and French colleagues.  The Anglo-French effort is replicating history from 40+ years ago, and I am so proud of the work that each and every individual from the world of Concorde has done in recognition of their contribution today."  The other engines from Sierra Delta will be similarly tested over the coming weeks.

As the Vice Chairman of Save Concorde Group points out, Concorde is, and for more than forty years has been, an Anglo-French project, resulting in the highest-profile and most popular supersonic commercial passenger transport vehicle ever.  Concorde flew frequent, regularly scheduled flights among only four airports in the world, Heathrow Airport in London (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL), Charles de Gaulle International in Paris (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG), Kennedy International in New York (IATA: JFK; ICAO: KJFK), and Dulles International in Washington, D.C. (IATA: IAD; ICAO: KIAD).

Concorde first flew in 1969, and first carried paying passengers in 1976.  The only blemish on Concorde's safety record occurred in 2000 outside Paris, when one crashed into a Charles de Gaulle International airport hotel, killing all aboard, and four on the ground.  Rising maintenance costs were cited as one reason why Concorde was grounded three years later.  But it is sincerely hoped that Concorde will be fully functional in time to fly over the opening ceremonies in London, of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

related story

Plan launched in Anglo-French joint effort to fly Concorde again (May 30, 2010)

original stories

Test Shows Concorde Engine Is Sound (www.avweb.com)

Concorde to take to the air again? (The Daily Dust)

Le Bourget Air and Space Museum (official site - in French)

Le Bourget Air and Space Museum (unofficial site - in English)

Friday
Jun042010

British Airways will expand its immediate-term flight schedule

On Tuesday, British Airways announced via its website that it will once again fly a greater number of originally scheduled flights than what it later predicted it would fly in light of threatened strike action by Unite the Union.  British Airways cabin crew employees, represented by Unite the Union, continue to show up for work in greater numbers than what the airline initially anticipated that they would.  The third of three scheduled strikes will commence tomorrow, and will run through next Wednesday, June 9.  The airport chiefly affected by the strike action will again be British Airways’ main hub London Heathrow (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL).  Heathrow is the U.K.’s busiest airport.

In light of the planned series of strikes, British Airways had initially planned to fly sixty percent of its long-haul schedule throughout the planned strike series, ending June 9.  When more cabin crew employees turned out for work than the airline expected, that percentage was increased to seventy percent for the second strike (May 31 through June 4, inclusive).  British Airways announced Tuesday that this percentage will again be increased for the third five-day strike (June 5 through June 9, inclusive), to eighty percent.  In light of the planned series of strikes, the airline had initially planned to fly fifty percent of its short-haul schedule throughout the planned series of strikes.  That percentage was increased to fifty-five percent for the second strike.  British Airways announced Tuesday that this percentage will again be increased for the third five-day strike, to sixty percent.

Today is the final day of Unite’s second of three planned strikes against the U.K.’s flag carrier.  Once again, according to its website, British Airways does plan to fly all flights with other carriers that have a British Airways codeshare number.  And once again, flights to and from London Gatwick (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK) and London City (IATA: LCY; ICAO: EGLC) will not be affected.  In the announcement released Tuesday, British Airways expressed the possibility of adding to this schedule depending on the number of cabin crew employees that show up to work during the final scheduled strike.

British Airways was founded in 1973, from the merger of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airlines.  It is headquartered in the borough of Hillingdon in London, near Heathrow.  Unite is a British and Irish trade union formed in 2007 with the merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers’ Union.

related stories

British Airways will expand its immediate-term flight schedule (May 26, 2010)

Unite the Union begins strike series against British Airways (May 24, 2010)

The Unite strikes against British Airways are back on (May 21, 2010)

Unite is barred from going forward with BA strike action (May 18, 2010)

British Airways has released its contingency plan for the first strike (May 15, 2010)

British Airways and cabin crew union are trying to avert strikes (May 12, 2010)

original story (British Airways)

Sunday
May302010

Plan launched in Anglo-French joint effort to fly Concorde again

Research on the feasibility of flying the supersonic passenger jet Concorde again has begun at Le Bourget Air and Space Museum in the Parisian suburb of Le Bourget, and near the general aviation airport of the same name (IATA: LBG; ICAO: LFPB).  Preliminary research is an Anglo-French joint project that is anticipated to cost around 15 million GBP (17.7 million EUR; 21.8 million USD).  A British association called the Save Concorde Group, and a French association called Olympus 593, are behind the effort.

“Major tests” have been done at Le Bourget on multiple Rolls Royce engines that once powered the supersonic airliner.  These engine tests are the first step, and it was always unknown whether or not the engines could even be safely started.  Nevertheless, the Vice Chairman of the Save Concorde Group called the developments “amazing,” and proclaimed in a press release that the process is moving along supersonically.  How fast, then?  London hosts the Summer Olympics in 2012, and it is hoped that Concorde, fully-functional, could be shown off in connection with that event.  The next step in getting Concorde back in the air is to perform a ground taxi with the aircraft.

Concorde flew its first test flights in 1969 and flew its first passengers in 1976.  Only two airlines ever flew the supersonic aircraft on regular schedules, British Airways and Air France, the flag carriers of the United Kingdom and France respectively.  For regularly scheduled trans-Atlantic flights, Concorde used Heathrow Airport in London (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL) and Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG).  The two American airports used regularly by Concorde were Dulles International in Washington, D.C. (IATA: IAD; ICAO: KIAD), and Kennedy International in New York (IATA: JFK; ICAO: KJFK).

Concorde was grounded in 2003 three years after the fatal crash of Air France 4590, a Concorde flight from Charles de Gaulle International to Kennedy International.  On takeoff, the aircraft ran over a piece of metal dropped by a jet that had recently departed Charles de Gaulle.  Just minutes into the flight, the Concorde captain attempted, but failed, to land the crippled aircraft at the airfield in Le Bourget.  A little more than a week ago, it was revealed that the former leader of the Concorde program at Aérospatiale, Henri Perrier, faces a two-year suspended jail sentence in connection with the crash.

original stories

Work starts in £15 million plan to get Concorde flying (BBC)

Experts begin £15 million project to get Concorde flying again (UK Daily Mail)

Save Concorde Group (United Kingdom)

Olympus 593 (France - in French)

Le Bourget Air and Space Museum (official site - in French)

Le Bourget Air and Space Museum (unofficial site - in English)

clarification from www.dictionary.com

definition of "Anglo-French"

Wednesday
May262010

British Airways will expand its immediate-term flight schedule

Today, British Airways announced that next week, it intends to fly a greater number of originally scheduled flights than what it later predicted it would fly in light of the second of three anticipated cabin crew strikes by Unite the Union.  This decision was made in part because this week, a greater number of British Airways’ cabin crew employees have shown up for work than what the airline anticipated.  The second strike is scheduled to run Monday through Friday of next week.  The airport chiefly affected by these decisions by British Airways is its main hub London Heathrow (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL).  Heathrow is the U.K.’s busiest airport.

In light of the planned series of strikes, the airline had originally planned to fly sixty percent of its long-haul schedule.  But because of the higher than expected number of cabin crew employees that have shown up for work this week, that percentage has been increased to seventy for next week’s strike.  In light of the strikes, British Airways had originally planned to fly fifty percent of its short-haul schedule.  But that percentage has been increased to fifty-five percent for next week’s strike.

Today is the third day of Unite’s first of three planned strikes against the U.K.’s flag carrier.  However, British Airways has announced no plans via its website to increase passenger capacity for the remainder of this week.  According to its website, the airline does plan to fly all flights with other carriers that have a British Airways codeshare number.  Flights to and from London Gatwick (IATA; LGW; ICAO: EGKK) and London City (IATA: LCY; ICAO: EGLC) will not be affected next week.  British Airways hopes to be able to add to this schedule, presumably depending on the number of cabin crew employees that show up for work during the remaining scheduled strikes.

British Airways was founded in 1973, from the merger of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airlines.  It is headquartered in the borough of Hillingdon in London, near Heathrow.  Unite is a British and Irish trade union formed in 2007 with the merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers’ Union.

related stories

Unite the Union begins strike series against British Airways (May 24, 2010)

The Unite strikes against British Airways are back on (May 21, 2010)

Unite is barred from going forward with BA strike action (May 18, 2010)

British Airways has released its contingency plan for the first strike (May 15, 2010)

British Airways and cabin crew union are trying to avert strikes (May 12, 2010)

original story (British Airways)

Monday
May242010

Unite the Union begins strike series against British Airways

At midnight local time (7:00 in the evening yesterday, EDT) Unite the Union, which represents the cabin crew employees of British Airways, commenced the first of three planned strikes against the United Kingdom's highest-profile airline.  As a result, British Airways must begin coping with the economic effects of the inevitable cancellation of a significant minority of their long-haul and short-haul flights, to and from the airline's main hub, Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL).  Unite was initially barred from striking, by a High Court judge.  But on appeal, that ruling was overturned and the series of scheduled strikes was allowed to proceed.  British Airways expects that despite the strike, sixty percent of long-haul flights and fifty percent of short haul flights in to and out of Heathrow will take place as normal.  However, it has resorted to leasing planes, pilots, and cabin crew members from other airlines to do what it can to make up for the personnel shortage caused by the strike.

"Jobs, pay, and working conditions" are the three main, long running issues of contention between British Airways and Unite the Union, the BBC reported this morning.  British Airways flights to and from Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK) and London City Airport (IATA: LCY; ICAO: EGLC) will operate as normal.  The airline does not operate regularly scheduled flights into Stansted (IATA: STN; ICAO: EGSS) or Luton (IATA: LTN; ICAO: EGGW).

British Airways was founded in 1973 with the merger of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.  Unite the Union was founded in 2007 with the merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers' Union.  It represents workers in both the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic, and is the United Kingdom's largest union.

related stories

The Unite strikes against British Airways are back on (May 21, 2010)

Unite is barred from going forward with BA strike action (May 18, 2010)

British Airways has released its contingency plan for the first strike (May 15, 2010)

British Airways and cabin crew union are trying to avert strikes (May 12, 2010)

original story (BBC)

Friday
May212010

The Unite strikes against British Airways are back on

Unite the Union have won their appeal of the recent High Court decision barring them from striking against British Airways.  As a result, what was originally planned to be the second of four strikes against British Airways, involving cabin crew employees of the U.K. flag carrier, will commence next Monday, May 24, and will cease on Friday, May 28.  A representative of Unite hinted at even more strikes to come (barring some kind of settlement with British Airways), but acknowledged that such action would still have to be voted on by the union.  Representatives from British Airways expressed confidence that the airline would still be able to fly as many as 70 percent of the originally scheduled flights during the strike period set to begin next Monday.  This prediction by the airline relies upon enough cabin crew employees ignoring Unite’s call to strike.

British Airways still plans to run “a full programme” at Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK) and at London City (IATA: LCY; ICAO: EGLC) next week.  The airline estimates that its operations of long haul flights at its hub, Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL), will be cut to 60 percent of the regular schedule.  It estimates that its operations of short haul flights will be cut to 50 percent of its regular schedule.

British Airways was founded in 1973, with the merger of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.  Unite the Union serves workers in both the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic.  It was founded in 2007 when Amicus merged with the Transport and General Workers’ Union.  In 2008, Unite signed an agreement to merge with the North American union United Steelworkers.

related stories

British Airways has released its contingency plan for the first strike (May 15, 2010)

British Airways and cabin crew union are trying to avert strikes (May 12, 2010)

original story (Daily Telegraph)

Tuesday
May182010

Unite is barred from going forward with BA strike action

Unite, the union representing cabin crew employees of British Airways, plans to appeal a decision made yesterday by a High Court judge, granting a temporary injunction barring the union from striking.  British Airways is now scrambling to re-schedule more than 100 flights that had been cancelled in anticipation of the strike.  Officials from the airline say only about half of the cancelled flights can be realistically put back on the schedule.  More flights cancelled in anticipation of the cabin crew strike involve arrival at or departure from Heathrow, the airline’s main hub (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL), than any other airport.

The first in a series of four strikes by cabin crew employees of the U.K.’s highest-profile airline, had been scheduled to start today, and continue through May 22.  Representatives from Unite were disappointed and angry with the decision.  Unite plans to appeal.

related stories

British Airways has released its contingency plan for the first strike (May 15, 2010)

British Airways and cabin crew union are trying to avert strikes (May 12, 2010)

original story (Daily Telegraph)

original story (Daily Telegraph)

Monday
May172010

Airlines now criticizing British models of predicted ash movement

The United Kingdom’s Daily Telegraph reports that airlines forced to cancel hundreds of flights over the past several days because of the movement of volcanic ash, are now critical of scientific models used to predict where that ash will go next.  These criticisms came directly in the wake of the nightlong closure of the United Kingdom’s two busiest airports by passengers, Heathrow (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL) and Gatwick (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK).  The CEOs of the United Kingdom flag carrier British Airways and the Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, and also the managing director of Thomson Airways, the U.K.’s third-largest carrier by passengers carried, concurred that the model now in place is producing inaccurately ominous results.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh said flatly, there was “no evidence” of an ash cloud over London during the time the region’s two largest airports were closed this morning.  Michael O’Leary of Ryanair called the scientific model that prompted the closures “outdated, inappropriate, and entirely imaginary,” and current Volcano Concentration Charts, “substantially fictitious.”  Mr. O’Leary pushed for a total rejection of the model favored by the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority, and for acceptance of the American scientific model, which he described in precisely the opposite manner.  Chris Browne of Thomson Airways offered probably the mildest criticism, calling only for more efficient communication between decision-makers, and emphasizing safety.

Heathrow and Gatwick both reopened at 7:00 this morning local time (2:00 this morning EDT).  London City Airport (IATA: LCY; ICAO: EGLC) was also forced to close for six hours earlier today (local time) during the time when airspace over central London was closed to all aircraft, regardless of departure point or arrival point.  London City is now operating with only limited interruption according to its website.  The two suburban airports Luton (IATA: LTN; ICAO: EGGW) and Stansted (IATA: STN; ICAO: EGSS) did not close this morning.  However, both now caution air travelers of possible cancellations throughout today.  All Greater London airports advise air travelers to keep close contact with their operating airline for specific updates.

British Airways was founded in 1973 when the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways merged.  Its main hub is Heathrow.  Ryanair was founded in 1985 as a low-cost alternative, and has hubs at Stansted and Dublin Airport (IATA: DUB; ICAO: EIDW) in Ireland.  Thomson Airways is the product of a merger among three airlines, the oldest of which was founded in 1962.  It maintains fifteen equal hubs throughout the U.K. and the Irish Republic.  The Civil Aviation Authority is directly analogous to the American agency called the Federal Aviation Administration.

related stories

Heathrow and Gatwick closed as of 1:00 A.M. local time Monday (May 16, 2010)

Keflavík Airport is closed again due to volcanic ash (May 14, 2010)

Eyjafjallajökull damage report, and spectacular new video (May 13, 2010)

Keflavík and others might close temporarily tomorrow (May 7, 2010)

The spread of volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull over time (May 4, 2010)

original story (Daily Telegraph)

Sunday
May162010

Heathrow and Gatwick closed as of 1:00 A.M. local time Monday

The busiest and second-busiest airports in the United Kingdom are both closed for the night.  The closures are due to renewed concern about the levels of ash in the air, from the continued eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano in south-central Iceland whose eruption brought all commercial air traffic in Europe to a standstill for several days last month.  These closures will follow a day of frustration for many air travelers in North West England, where Manchester and Liverpool each closed its own major airport today.  The ash cloud is estimated to move south and settle in over Greater London during Monday and Tuesday.  It is estimated the ash cloud will have moved on through London by Wednesday.

The United Kingdom’s two busiest airports, Heathrow (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL), and Gatwick (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK) are scheduled to be closed from 1:00 Monday morning to 7:00 Monday morning local time (8:00 Sunday evening to 2:00 Monday morning, EDT).  Officials at both airports advise travelers who are scheduled to fly during the night to contact their airline for further information.

London City Airport (IATA: LCY; ICAO: EGLC) the one nearest to the center of The Metropolis, reports that London airspace is entirely closed from midnight to 6:00 Monday morning, local time.  Suburban Luton Airport (IATA: LTN; ICAO: EGGW) does not give any indication that it intends to close at this time.

Suburban Stansted Airport (IATA: STN; ICAO: EGSS) also does not yet plan to close.  But all advise air travelers to keep close contact with the operating airlines of their flights for updates.

related story

Eyjafjallajökull damage report, and spectacular new video (May 13, 2010)

original story (www.breakingtravelnews.com)

original story (CNN)

original story (BBC)

update from the BBC (BBC)

Saturday
May152010

British Airways has released its contingency plan for the first strike

Yesterday, British Airways posted information to its website about the percentage of regularly-scheduled flights during the first strike period that will operate despite the strike, and which flights those are.  As reported here early Wednesday morning EDT, Unite, the union of cabin crew employees staging the strikes, scheduled for later this month and into the first days of June, has announced initial strike dates of May 18 to May 22, inclusive.

On the web, British Airways includes flights originating on May 23 in its contingency plan for the first strike, even though that is not a scheduled strike date.  Travelers with the United Kingdom flag carrier whose itineraries during the first strike period involve either London Gatwick (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK) or London City (IATA: LCY; ICAO: EGLC) will not be affected during the first strike period.  All flights departing from or arriving at one of those two airports will operate despite the strike.

London Heathrow (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL), British Airways’ main hub, the newest data from the airline indicate that it will operate “more than 60 per cent” of long haul flights departing from or arriving at Heathrow, and will operate “more than 50 per cent” of short haul flights departing from or arriving at Heathrow.

(This updates information reported here, that British Airways would run all short haul flights to and from Heathrow as scheduled.  The recent report on British Airways' website is not clear about which itineraries qualify as "short haul," and which qualify as "long haul.")

British Airways did not elaborate on the status of its flights during the first strike period not involving any of the three abovementioned airports.  Specifics on which flights involving which airports will fly during the second, third, and fourth scheduled strikes are forthcoming.  British Airways’ website has the latest information on the British Airways cabin crew union strike, as does the website of Unite.

British Airways was founded in 1973, from the merger of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.  It is headquartered in the borough of Hillingdon in London, near Heathrow.  Unite is a British and Irish trade union formed in 2007 with the merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers’ Union.  In 2008, Unite signed an agreement to merge with the North American union United Steelworkers.  Both unions will retain their current branding schemes and leadership.

related stories

British Airways and cabin crew union are trying to avert strikes (May 12, 2010)

original story (British Airways)

Wednesday
May122010

Delta is expanding at both Kennedy and LaGuardia

In its ongoing campaign to become the number one airline in the New York metro area, Delta Air Lines is adding and expanding service to dozens of destinations both domestic and international, the company announced via its website yesterday.  Expansion by the world’s largest carrier (by number of passengers) will occur at both Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK; ICAO: KJFK) and LaGuardia Airport (IATA: LGA; ICAO: KLGA).  The facilities at JFK are the focus of the company’s international expansion.  And LaGuardia, which does not currently regularly schedule departures or arrivals to or from outside North America, is the focus of the domestic expansion.  (Delta and Continental depart LaGuardia seasonally to Bermuda and Aruba respectively.  These places are considered part of North America.)

Air travelers with Delta will be able to access three more cities in the United States from LaGuardia (Nashville, St. Louis, and San Antonio) once the airline’s domestic expansion, involving both major airports in the borough of Queens, is complete.  Service between the City of New York and seven other American cities will be expanded.  Service between the City of New York and two Canadian cities, Toronto and Montreal, will also be expanded.

Internationally, Delta currently flies two year-round, daily round-trip itineraries between JFK and London Heathrow.  That number will be increased to three this September, the airline announced.  The round-trip flight added this September between JFK and Heathrow will be outfitted specifically for business travelers, and will feature full-flat beds in BusinessElite class.

Delta flights between JFK and various popular European, Eurasian, Middle Eastern, and Asian destinations will be flown with larger planes starting next month, allowing for greater passenger capacity.  Moreover, Delta will commence the only non-stop service between JFK and two northern European destinations, Copenhagen and Stockholm, later this month.

Delta commenced operations as a commercial carrier in 1929.  It has been headquartered in Atlanta since 1941.  In 2008, Delta announced a merger with Northwest Airlines, which was completed earlier this year.

related stories

Delta now praises DOT for approving non-stop flights to Haneda (May 8, 2010)

Delta is offering a free checked bag to AMEX SkyMiles members (May 5, 2010)

Delta is angry at DOT and FAA for rejecting its time slot proposal (May 5, 2010)

original story (Delta Air Lines)