Posts Tagged ‘BA’

WestJet confirms interline deal with BA

Friday, December 10th, 2010

WestJet, Canada’s number two airline, has confirmed an inbound interline deal with British Airways. The pact will mean passengers will soon be able to travel across both airlines on a single itinerary. Passengers and their baggage will be transferred from their BA flight onto WestJet’s services without having to purchase a separate ticket.

Although an official press release is still to be drawn up, spokesman for WestJet, Robert Palmer, confirmed that a deal was in place. He said that more details would be forthcoming as tickets go on sale after Christmas.

WestJet already has interline agreements with American Airlines in the US and Europe’s Air France-KLM. The Calgary-based carrier also has a codeshare deal with Cathay Pacific. It is not unusual for interline pacts to turn into codeshare agreements which allow both carriers in the partnership to sell tickets for one another’s services. The advantage of codeshare pacts is that airlines can offer their customers a wider range of destinations without having to pay for the upkeep of their partner’s fleet.

Chris Murray, an analyst with the firm PI Financial Corp, said that at present there had been no discussion about upgrading the relationship. He added that the deal with BA was ideal for WestJet given the travel patterns between Canada and the UK. He went on to say that the deal was likely to increase that value of shares in WestJet.

WestJet hopes that the partnership with BA will not only offer more opportunities to boost revenues, but also provide a way in to the business market.

OpenSkies keen to expand operations

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Premium travel only carrier OpenSkies has announced that it would be keen to add capacity to its fleet. Currently flying four Boeing 757s between Paris and New York, and Paris and Washington, there are plans to add a third route some time in the New Year. Currently being considered are transatlantic destinations including Boston and Montreal.

Chief executive Dale Moss recently said that he would be keen to expand the fleet by up to another 20 aircraft. He added however that he was in no hurry and would probably wait until the business market had fully recovered from the economic problems caused by the global banking crisis.

OpenSkies will be able to capitalise on parent British Airways’ relationships with American Airlines and Spanish carrier Iberia. The airline has been operating since the middle of 2008 and has outlasted other premium-travel transatlantic carriers including Silverjet, Eos Airlines and MAXjet.

Doug McNeill of Charles Stanley Securities points out that it is not unusual for a second generation operator to capitalise on the failures of the first. He said that this is what BA had done with OpenSkies. He added that he was confident in the venture and that if it eventually folded BA was big enough to shoulder the loss.

According to Moss, around 10 per cent of the airline’s sales are to customers wishing to charter the whole aircraft. Recent passengers include pop singer Beyonce Knowles and the AC Milan and Real Madrid football teams. Christine Lagarde, the French minister in charge of finance, took a delegation on OpenSkies to China.

British Airways announces passenger increase

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Following the devastation of the world’s banking crisis in which business travellers all but disappeared, British Airways has announced that, in October, it carried 4.6 per cent more premium class passengers than in the same month a year ago. Overall, passenger numbers were up for the airline by 3.9 per cent on last October. However, load factor was reduced by a percentage point for the month to 79.8 per cent.

Total passenger numbers increased from 2.76 million last October to 2.95 million this year. The number of passengers travelling in non-premium seats was also up by 3.7 per cent on a year ago.

The Court of Appeal this week delivered its ruling on BA’s decision to reduce the number of cabin crew it dedicates to services flying out of London’s main airport, Heathrow. A year ago, BA announced it would be reducing staff numbers as a cost cutting measure. Cabin crew union Unite rejected that plan claiming it would be in breach of contract and brought the case in front of the High Court.

The High Court found in favour of BA, but Unite was not content. The matter was then sent to the Court of Appeal. On Wednesday, the appellate court announced it would be upholding the decision of the High Court.

British Airways said it was pleased that its modest changes to crew numbers could remain in place and that it had been vindicated over the contracts issue. However, Unite is soon to ballot cabin crew members over possible future strike action.

Airlines attack Air Passenger Duty

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Airlines have been hitting out at Air Passenger Duty (APD). British Airways said that on some long-haul flights APD could mean a fare increase of up to 55 per cent. The UK government has called APD an environmental tax. BA claims it is already paying twice over for the amount of carbon it emits, even before the new charges come in to play. In a press release, BA pointed out that taxing the airline industry excessively could damage both the economic and social advantages of air travel.

The airline added that Aviation was responsible for allowing UK businesses to perform on a global stage as well as providing employment for around 500,000 people across the UK.

Rivals Virgin Atlantic has also criticised APD saying it could result in fewer families being able to afford to fly. EasyJet pointed out that a £12 rise on the ticket price of a European flight would mean that since 2007, the tax will have gone up by 140 per cent. The budget carrier also attacked the government’s argument that APD was an environmental tax by pointing out that there is no correlation between emissions and price.

Transfer passengers will be exempt from paying the duty as will those who can afford to fly on a private jet, according to the carrier; meaning the overall cost will have to be absorbed by ordinary passengers.

During the election, both coalition parties said they would be changing the duty into a per-flight tax. This would better reflect the affects of the airline industry on the environment.

British Airways’ cabin crew fight returns to the courts

Monday, September 20th, 2010

As neither side seems to be gaining any headway in the dispute between British Airways and cabin crew union Unite, the fight looks set to return to the courts. Unite said it intends to go to the Court of Appeal with a claim that BA’s staff reduction plans, the catalyst for the ongoing arguments, was actually a breach of contract.

BA has strongly denied to accusation pointing out that in February, the High Court ruled that the cost cutting measure was an acceptable one. A spokesman for the airline said it was prepared to fight against the accusation in the strongest possible terms.

As well as approaching the Appeals Court, Unite said it would be asking the European Court of Human Rights to look into how the Government deals with union ballots. BA was able to get an injunction against a proposed walk out because it claimed a number of the voting papers had been spoilt by union members making the whole vote invalid.

The union also intends to take up the matter of travel concessions with the High Court. Originally a dispute over staff reductions the fight between BA and Unite is now about the loss of travel perks to some 7,000 union members. BA initially told its staff that if they decided to walk out, they risked losing non-contractual concessions. Unite has been demanding that these perks be given back before any peace deal can be reached.

A spokesman for Unite said it was regrettable that the dispute would be returning to the legal arena, but added that BA’s unwillingness to compromise left no other choice.

AAIB recommends takeoff review for BA after St Kitts gaffe

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has told British Airways that it should review its practices regarding takeoffs and landings after the regulatory group finished its investigation of an incident last year which saw a BA aircraft depart from the wrong runway. According to the report issued by the AAIB, the flight, which departed on 26 September from St Kitts, resulted in a Boeing 777 taking off from a runway which was too short to support aircraft of that size.

A representative for the AAIB said that the report shows several factors which contributed to the potentially catastrophic mistake, including BA not conducting a physical survey of the airfield prior to takeoff, as well as the captain and co-pilot not discussing taxi routing. In addition, the report said that St Kitts did not adequately post signs identifying taxiway or holding points at the facility.

The report went on to say that during the incident, the co-pilot noticed there was a problem when the plane began to ascend, as he immediately noticed grass underneath the nose of the plane. The AAIB said that further mistakes could be avoided if BA conducts reviews of the processes by which inspections are made at all its destination airfields.

Iberia enjoys strong second quarter performance

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Spanish airline Iberia announced profits of €31 million during the second quarter of 2010, which the firm attributes to the successful implementation of cost savings initiatives as well as increased demand for international travel. The successful second quarter is a significant departure from the €73 million loss the firm suffered during the same period in 2009, and company executives hope the strong performance is a prelude of things to come once Iberia merges with British Airways later this year. The two firms announced the intent to consolidate this past April, and once completed, the newly-formed International Airlines Group will be among the largest airlines in the world.

According to a representative for Iberia, the financial recovery enjoyed by the firm during the second quarter is directly related to a substantial increase in international business travellers, as domestic demand fell short of expectations. The spokesperson went on to say that cost-cutting initiatives at Iberia helped decrease overall expenditures by 5.9 per cent, another factor which contributed to the firm’s success.

The highly anticipated merger with BA is expected to be completed by November, after which the company headquarters will be in London, with BA shareholders controlling 55 per cent of the firm. Although the two companies will be consolidated under one corporate umbrella, both BA and Iberia will continue day-to-day operations as separate and unique entities.

BA strike may take place in February

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

UK flagship carrier British Airways is likely to face further strike action in February 2010 as flight attendants prepare for another ballot.

Unite, the union representing the BA crew, is said to be in the planning stages for a strike ballot as soon as January, which could possibly see the airline hit by strikes in February 2010.

Unite is making sure the next ballot will not be ruled as unlawful and is required to give the airline with seven days’ notice of any industrial action.

A 12 day strike was anticipated to take place over the Christmas peak travel period from December 22, but the High Court granted the airline an injunction on the basis that some of the employees who voted had already taken voluntary redundancies.

The strike was planned as a response to changes in the terms of working conditions, pay freezes, as well as the number of cabin crew being cut by at least one on all long-haul flights.

However, it is business as usual at BA, who has recently launched a new sale for around the same time as the strikes.

British Airways denies rumours of a Christmas strike

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

In the shadow of the Royal Mail’s industrial action British Airways have been desperate to tell customers that it will be business as usual in the period leading up to Christmas. Unite, the union that represents the interests of the airline’s cabin crew, has announced that it may be asking 14,000 members to take part in industrial action. The decision comes in the wake of BA announcing that it intends to put a two year freeze on pay and reduce cabin staff by one in eight.

A spokesperson for British Airways says that the airline has no intention of going on strike and wished to assure customers that they were doing everything in their power to avoid any disruption. BA said that it would be running its full operation throughout the festive period. BA has also said that they would stay on course and push the unpopular decisions through by November 16th.

The airline has reported losses this year of £401 million and its chief executive, Willie Walsh says that it is battling to survive. The new pay freezes and staff cuts are predicted to save the airline in the region of £140 million each year.

Joint general secretary of Unite, Derek Simpson has said that whilst being prepared to negotiate with BA in order to avoid any industrial action, they are not prepared to accept terms imposed on union members by the airline. He also said that the union would fully support members who chose to take action.

BA has defended its moves by saying that its cabin crews are already the best paid in the country and that many other airlines were taking similar cost cutting actions in the light of the economic downturn.

British Airways announces daily flights to Las Vegas

Monday, October 26th, 2009

British Airways has announced that as of today it will be offering passengers daily flights to and from Las Vegas. BA has also announced a four day ticket sale on its non-stop flights to encourage passengers to take advantage of the new route.

Executive Vice President Americas for British Airways, Simon Talling-Smith said that the Boeing 777 flights to and from Las Vegas were being rolled out despite of the recession. He went on to say that the flights showed that BA was still investing in its customers and that it would continue to look into new areas for growth.

The British Airways Boeing 777s can accommodate 214 people in World Traveller, 24 in World Traveller Plus and 36 people in its Club World seats. The flights will be between McCarran International Airport and Heathrow Terminal 5.

Talling-Smith says that Las Vegas will now be the nineteenth city in the U.S. that will accommodate daily flights to and from the U.K. and hopes that the latest destination will benefit from having BA land there as well as being of benefit to the airline.

BA also say that customers travelling to Las Vegas will be able to take advantage of extras such as hotel booking and sightseeing tours through their website.