London City Airport predicts strong passenger recovery in 2022

London City Airport expects pent up passenger demand to fuel a surge in growth in 2022, with the introduction of new routes and the return of top-selling destinations, resulting in more than three quarters of 2019 routes operating at the airport this year.

The prediction follows the announcement of a busy summer schedule for British Airways, the airport’s biggest customer, and the easing of Covid restrictions, which is helping to fuel a return to business and leisure travel.

Flights to Milan, one of the airport’s top performing routes, and which alone carried 275,000 passengers from the centre of London to the centre of Milan in 2019, will be reinstated this year.

Barcelona will return to the London City network for the first time in almost a decade, while new routes such as Thessaloniki join established summer favourites like Split, Mykonos and Faro.

The upturn in confidence at the airport reflects the easing of travel restrictions and the proactive role London City Airport has played to work with and support its airline partners as the industry looks to bounce back from the worst of the pandemic.

Business traffic will be further strengthened in 2022 with British Airways moving the majority of its Luxembourg traffic to London City Airport, to complement the five daily flights soon to be offered by Luxair.

The impact of Covid-19 can be seen in the airport’s 2021 results. 714,000 passengers used London City, down 21% on 2020 and 86% on 2019. However, in the first six months of the year, when extensive global travel restrictions were in place, the airport handled only 75,184 passengers. In the last six months, as restrictions were eased, 638,785 passengers used the airport and very strong month on month growth was achieved.

Business travel returned strongly on all domestic routes in 2021, with Edinburgh the best performer. Internationally, Amsterdam was the airport’s busiest route, with KLM growing to four rotations per day in the autumn, with high passenger load factors. Other key business routes have included Zurich and Geneva, operated by SWISS and Frankfurt, operated by Lufthansa.

In October and November last year, business travel accounted for over 46% of all London City Airport journeys, which was the total year average in 2019. Between late September and late November, over 30,000 passengers used the airport each week, peaking at 37,000 in late October.

The announcement of additional testing and self-isolation requirements by Government to combat the Omicron variant saw passenger demand fall by 40% in December.

Commenting on the year ahead and on the 2021 passenger figures, airport CEO Robert Sinclair said:

At the start of the pandemic we made a conscious decision to work with and support our airlines, as we recognised they were facing the same challenges as we were. Investing in these relationships in the hard times has facilitated what we believe will be a strong bounce back starting with a really exciting summer schedule from London City.

2021 was certainly tough for everyone. However, despite predictions from some to the contrary, we did see the emergence of positive business travel trends, which we believe will continue in 2022 and will be so critical for the economic recovery of London and the UK more widely.

I am optimistic that the restrictions that remain today, particularly for vaccinated passengers, will be eased and in time, removed altogether so we can return to the simple and affordable ways of flying before the pandemic.

London City will be a huge asset for London in the years ahead and we look forward to welcoming more passengers and building relationships with new airlines so we can connect the capital to more destinations and opportunities across the world.

Your Concierge – the AI-based business travel essential

Global Travel Management has launched an artificial intelligence traveller companion service that provides bespoke travel advice and information, delivered directly to business travellers in real time, as they need it.

Your Concierge is an artificial intelligence-based business travel essential.
Business travellers are provided with bespoke, on-demand information and assistance pre-trip and en route. Your Concierge is available for all GTM customers’ travel bookings.

Your Concierge is a service that provides on-the-move travel service information from the time a business trip is booked to the moment it ends.

Created in conjunction with travel tech start-up company ReTravel, Your Concierge delivers bespoke trip information to any business traveller or travel booker.

Scott Pawley, Managing Director of GTM explained

Your Concierge is a concept we created in order to ensure every GTM customer has all the information they need to hand with them at every part of the trip. But Your Concierge only provides useful information, timed perfectly for when the traveller needs it.

Scott gave an example of how it works

If you book a flight from, say, London to Chicago, Your Concierge will send you a message to remind you to check-in online. It will provide you a link and take you straight to the right page so you can do it straight away, whether that’s on your phone, laptop, PC or whatever works best for you. And the machine learning built into Your Concierge will mean that the message is sent to you at exactly the right time – Your Concierge learns how and when to send the message to you.

But there are other services built into Your Concierge, which Scott explained

The link you get will take you straight to the check-in page. But it will also offer you the chance to look at other information relevant to your trip, like the Covid status of the destination, what vaccination and testing requirements are currently in place, a link to book a test. So you will know that you have all the information and all the testing you need, in place, as you approach the day and time of your flight.

And the information is always provided in real time. This means if, for example, the Covid information on a specific destination is updated after the traveller receives the link, they will still see the most up to date information when they click it. It’s the right, reliable information at exactly the right time.

But that’s not all:

Your Concierge will also give you the chance to book parking at the airport you’re leaving from; book hotel accommodation. Of course, if you have already booked these, then Your Concierge will know, and not offer you the service. But if Your Concierge knows you need it, Your Concierge will give you the info you need to take care of everything on your trip.

Your Concierge also takes care of some of the other items you may have on your wish-list for your trip

Say it’s your first trip to Chicago. You have a spare afternoon. What should you do? Your Concierge will give you a run-down on where to go and what’s on. You can even book tickets to events through Your Concierge.

Scott explained that further additions to Your Concierge are in planning. For example, a restaurant booking service:

Stuck for somewhere to eat on your trip to Chicago? But you also want to try out French-style, Asian inspired food, suitable for vegans? Your Concierge will be at your service and you may soon be enjoying your reservation in the splendour of Le Colonial in Oak Street.

Your Concierge is available to GTM customers on every business travel booking. Contact your Account Manager for more details.

Virgin Atlantic launches new services to Austin, Texas

Virgin Atlantic is launching new direct services to Austin, the capital of the Lonestar state of Texas and the airline’s first new route to the US since 2015.

The four times a week service will launch on 25 May 2022 and will operate on the airline’s 787-9 aircraft boasting 31 Upper Class, 35 Premium and 192 Economy Delight, Classic and Light seats.

Austin is the fourth most populated city in the state with 7.7million passengers travelling through the airport in 2019. The city is known as the “live music capital of the world” and is famed for its art and foodie scene as well as a wide range of outdoors activities.

Austin is also known as a growing tech hub with businesses such as Apple, Tesla, Facebook, IBM and Oracle all opening up bases, giving the city the nickname “Silicon Hills”.  This booming region is a key focus for Virgin Atlantic and its expanded joint venture partners, with Delta Air Lines offering connections from Austin to 10 US cities, Seattle, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Detroit, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Raleigh Durham, JFK. KLM also looks forward to launching three-times weekly services from Amsterdam to Austin on 28t March 2022 offering even more choice for customers both side of the Atlantic to connect between the US and Europe.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented: 

We are incredibly excited to launch this new service to Austin, Texas. With an impressive food, arts and music scene, we know it’s a destination our customers will love to explore.

The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years since our first flight to New York City in 1984. Since US borders opened to UK travellers on 8 November, it feels extra special to be launching new flying, especially to the fantastic city of Austin.

There are so many synergies between Virgin Atlantic and the city of Austin. We love their philosophy and desire to celebrate local brands, businesses and communities and we cannot wait to welcome customers, both existing and new onboard, flying them safely to explore this fabulously quirky city.

Jacqueline Yaft , CEO, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport commented:

We are thrilled to welcome Virgin Atlantic to Austin and Central Texas. This exciting new partnership helps meet our goals of continued recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and furthers our commitment to being the Gateway of Central Texas for both leisure and business travelers alike.

As Virgin Atlantic recovers from the pandemic, the airline continues to work towards its vision of becoming the most loved travel company. With new Caribbean services to St Vincent and the Grenadines, Bahamas and St Lucia as well as new flying from Edinburgh to Barbados launching tin 2021, the airline is focussed on serving the destinations we know our customers love to visit. Later this year, Virgin Atlantic will be the first UK airline to receive the A330neo aircraft which not only boasts a step change to its Upper Class Suite and social space for customers but will help transform the fleet into one of the quietest and most fuel efficient in the sky.

Flights are on sale from Wednesday 12 January.

To help customers book with confidence, Virgin Atlantic has extended its policy of unlimited free date and flight changes for new bookings, giving further flexibility to customers to support future travel plans.  The updated flexible booking policy enables Virgin Atlantic customers making a new holiday or flight-only booking for travel up to 31 December 2022, to make as many changes as necessary to their travel dates, origin or destination, with the change fees waived, as well as one free name change.

easyJet partners with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) on development of zero-emission aircraft

easyJet has announced it is working with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions to support the development of its hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system for commercial aircraft, as part of the airline’s ambition to ‘de-carbonise aviation’.

Cranfield Aerospace Solutions is developing its hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system for an existing 9-seat Britten-Norman Islander aircraft, which is planned to be flying by 2023, and is now working with easyJet to understand how the adoption of zero-carbon technologies could integrate with an airline operations for future introduction of the technology.

easyJet will support Cranfield Aerospace Solutions on the project, providing an airline operator’s perspective on the development of hydrogen propulsion and internal expertise, to assist in the development of this technology for commercial aviation.

David Morgan, Director of Flight Operations, easyJet, said:

easyJet remains absolutely committed to sustainable flying and a towards a future with zero-emission flying.  We know that technology is a key driver to achieve our decarbonisation targets with hydrogen propulsion a frontrunner for short-haul airlines like easyJet. We are dedicated to working with industry leading partners to support the development of these promising new technologies and we look forward collaborating with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions to support bringing this technology to maturity as early as possible.

Paul Hutton, Chief Executive Officer, CAeS, said:

CAeS is committed to ensuring the wide-spread adoption of zero-emissions aircraft and for this to succeed, the solutions must be commercially viable. We are delighted to be working with easyJet which, as Europe’s leading airline, is ideally placed to help shape our development with the end user in mind. Our 9-seat hydrogen fuel cell powered B-N Islander development is a vital first step in our journey to design and manufacture larger, longer range, regional aircraft between 19 and 100 seats. To have easyJet come with us on this journey is a great example of how organisations large and small must come together to secure the future of our industry and the planet.

easyJet is working with partners across the industry like Cranfield, as well as Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Wright Electric, to accelerate the development of zero-emission technologies and supporting infrastructure.

The airline claims it is optimistic that it ‘could begin flying customers on planes powered by hydrogen-combustion, hydrogen-electric or a hybrid of both by the mid to late-2030s’.

In November, the airline announced that it has joined Race to Zero, a global UN-backed campaign to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. In joining Race to Zero, the airline is committing to set an interim science-based target for 2035 as well as to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, of which technology for zero-emissions flying will play an important part.

In 2019, easyJet became the first major airline worldwide to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all its flights at no additional cost to its customers.

easyJet is also focusing on reducing plastic as well as reducing waste within its wider operations and the supply chain.

The airline recently introduced new crew uniforms made from recycled plastic bottles. With 45 bottles in each uniform this has the potential to prevent 2.7 million plastic bottles from ending up in landfill or in oceans over the next five years.

Aer Lingus and Emerald Airlines announce accelerated plans for launch of regional routes

Aer Lingus and Emerald Airlines have announced details of the commencement of Aer Lingus Regional flights.

The flights operate under a franchise agreement by Emerald Airlines and will commence on 17 March as Aer Lingus Regional. The announcement means Emerald Airlines flying over 340 flights per week across 11 routes, with further route announcements to be made.

High-frequency routes, including Dublin-Edinburgh and Dublin-Glasgow, will be served up to four times daily. The announcement sees the re-establishment of services to regional points across the U.K including Newquay, Exeter, and Isle of Man. Emerald Airlines will be the only airline offering these services from Ireland.

Critically, the announcement adds over 60 UK – US routes on the Aer Lingus network connecting via Dublin including connections from UK regional airports to New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle.

Aer Lingus recently announced an ambitious schedule for Summer 2022, which reflects the airline’s goal to build to pre-pandemic levels of flying and anticipates continued momentum in customer demand. This commencement of the Aer Lingus Regional routes operated by Emerald Airlines will greatly increase connectivity between the UK, Ireland and the US, and accelerates Aer Lingus’s strategy to expand Dublin Airport as a hub airport.

Lynne Embleton, CEO of Aer Lingus said:

Opportunities for our UK customers to connect with ease to Aer Lingus flights to North America and to take advantage of the US preclearance facility. Opportunities for customers across UK and Ireland as we develop the Aer Lingus regional network. And opportunities for the Irish economy and Irish aviation as we expand our hub at Dublin.

It has been a pleasure to work with the team at Emerald Airlines to accelerate this partnership and start operations 10 months ahead of the original schedule. We are all looking forward to welcoming our customers on-board Aer Lingus Regional services, operated by Emerald Airlines.

Conor McCarthy, CEO of Emerald Airlines said:

We’re delighted to be able to commence operations under our franchise agreement with Aer Lingus well ahead of plan in line with the recovering customer demand. The time is right for Emerald Airlines to begin operations under the Aer Lingus Regional brand and we truly look forward to welcoming our customers onboard our flights as soon as February next.

Our customer-focused schedules will offer choice, convenience and great value for both regional and transatlantic air travel. This announcement is a great boost for connectivity from Ireland to the U.K, including cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Isle of Man, Newcastle, Bristol, and Leeds. Emerald Airlines will be offering a high-frequency schedule with convenient flight timings to facilitate both business and leisure passengers.

“Emerald has also established an airline company in Northern Ireland (Emerald Airlines UK Ltd) and has applied to the UK CAA for a UK AOC and Operating Licence. We are very confident that this will result in long-term connectivity being maintained across the Irish Sea and will boost business and leisure travel between Northern Ireland and Britain. We have already reached a long-term commercial agreement with George Best Belfast City Airport and look forward to connecting Belfast to many cities in the UK as soon as possible in 2022. Further details, routes and launch dates in relation to the Belfast operation will be announced in the New Year.”  

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

Given a very challenging 2021 for the airline and wider travel industry, I’m particularly encouraged by this very positive announcement from Aer Lingus.

By re-establishing services from various UK regional airports, such as, Newquay, Exeter and the Isle of Man, to multiple US destinations, Aer Lingus has really shown its determination to connect the UK & USA for leisure and corporate travellers.

Emerald Airlines is continuing with the expansion of its fleet of ATR72-600s. The ATR72-600, the latest generation of turboprop aircraft combining environmental and economic performance, has a significant environmental advantage over regional jets and other turboprop aircraft emitting up to 40% less CO2 on short, regional flights.

The year in review: 2021

2021 will be remembered as the first, full-year of global pandemic.  Economies around the world suffered consumer decline.  Travel was restricted, regulated and, in some cases, banned altogether. 

But, while many travel companies suffered intolerable operating conditions, Global Travel Management used the year as an opportunity to build the business with a strategy of innovative solutions and careful investments aimed at meeting customers’ current and future aspirations. 

And we had fun doing it. 

Here’s a look back at the highs and even-highers of an eventful year. 

In January, the UK’s relationship with the European Union changed, again. So we prepared a briefing document, UK Business Travel in Europe to show the new rules impact British citizens doing work in the EU.

The comprehensive document covers Entry Requirements, Passport Requirements, Healthcare Cover, Mobile Roaming, Professional Qualifications, Personal Goods and Driving Documentation.

Also in January, Scott Pawley and Paul Baker also made their inaugural appearance on “Football Focus”.

The duo put together a Match of the Day style preview of a football match at Marine FC, a club sponsored by a Focus Travel Partnership travel management company.

Marine played Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup. Scott and Paul’s predictions pre-match analysis was well received. But their predictions were terrible.

In February, we launched the innovative, industry-leading, GTM Carbon Offset Programme, with our friends from Trees4Travel.

The GTM Carbon Offset Programme enables businesses to offset their carbon emissions. We calculate the carbon cost of each individual trip and the number of trees that would need to be planted in order to sequester that amount of carbon in the lifetime of those trees. We then arrange to collect the cost of those trees and arrange – through Trees4Travel – for them to be planted, in sustainable reforesation projects around the world.

Find out more about the Global Travel Management Carbon Offset Programme
Grant Shapps solicited input into the Global Travel Taskforce

In March, we provided input into the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP was commissioned to provide an updated report to steer government’s decisions on the best way to manage a safe return to business travel.

We spoke to customers and gathered input via surveys which helped us to frame our input, which covered testing, travel corridors, the safe implementation of the traffic light system and a reduction in cumbersome regulations which exacerbated issues for business travellers.

In April, global travel technology company Travelport used our comments to promote their latest travel agency product.

Scott Pawley surprised Travelport when they asked whether he would recommend their product

Scott Pawley was interviewed by the company to give them feedback on the use of the Travelport Smartpoint product.

His response? “Absolutely, categorically not”.

But he gave further insight into the business travel sector.

Scott told Travelport he believes the business travel sector has changed permanently in the last year,  and so GTM has had to change as well. Scott says that in addition to being a manager of travel, GTM has also become a trusted, authoritative source of business travel information. 

We’re using a combination of our expert knowledge and the Travelport products to instil confidence in every client, every time they want help determining when, where, and whether to travel.

Our managing director Scott Pawley made more news in May.

He was asked to be the star guest in the latest episode of the the Business Travel Magazine podcast series “Checking In With…”.

You can download the episode here, and find out about how well he’s able to work with his wife; what his most embarrassing flight booking was; how he works up a sweat on his Peloton and how he has become an expert barbecue chef.

The travel industry media were pleased to be able to report some good news in May

Elsewhere, we made more news when we closed the purchase of assets from travel management company Baxter Hoare, rescuing one of the oldest brands in the travel industry and securing the on-going management of several customers who otherwise would have had no travel management.

Scott explained

Global Travel Management now offers all former clients of Baxter Hoare a continuation of the service they are used to receiving, while ensuring they continue to benefit from corporate discounted air fares. In addition, since both Baxter Hoare and Global Travel Management have provided access to fares and rates negotiated by the Focus Travel Partnership, clients transferring business to GTM continue to benefit from such savings.

In June, we launched another ground-breaking, technology first.

reTravel and GTM work together to provide trip-critical information at exactly the right time

Working with reTravel, we put together a behind-the-scenes process that ensures trip-critical information is provided to every traveller, at precisely the time they need it.

We are now able to ensure that every traveller is supported en route with the precise information they need at the time. But, harnessing the machine learning and artificial intelligence experise of reTravel, we are able to determine the precise moment on a trip when the traveller is most likely to engage with that message.

reTravel anlyses, in real time, millions of messages that are sent to travellers. And, from the output of this data, we are able to ensure each message we send to a traveller – whether it’s trip-critical information, crisis alerts, flight detail changes, accommodation alterations or simply terminal and gate information, we’re able to ensure it’s delivered in the most useful format at exactly the right time.

In July, we participated in the nationwide #TravelDayofAction.

A team from GTM took centre stage in Whitehall as the travel industry gathered to make its demands for the protection of the sector clear.

We joined travel journalists, travel agents, tour operators, pilots, cabin crew and members of Parliament to make clear what was required to support the industry.

In July, we joined hundreds of other travel industry participants in a protest at the Houses of Parliament

In August, we rolled out enhancements to our industry-leading product PinPoint.

PinPoint is our online Duty of Care, Traveller-tracking and Covid resource tool, that provides out customers with a 360-degree of the status of their staff travel.

See a demo of PinPoint

In the same month, we re-vamped our weekly news video service, Business Travel News.

Every Friday, we produce a short video clip that highlights some of the most important – or fun – items of news for business travellers.

You can see the Business Travel News playlist on our YouTube channel here. Subscribe to receive alerts for each of our episodes of Business Travel News, which appear every Friday morning.

In September, we participated in a very special movement designed to help travel industry employees suffering from mental health issues.

We took part in the first #ribbonfortravel campaign

The #ribbonfortravel initiative was put together bu travel industry leaders to give an opportunity for those suffering from mental health issues to discuss and share their thoughts with others from within the industry.

We shared a story centred on mental health every day during the Mental Health in Travel Awareness Week with the sole aim of bringing attention to the week’s events via the #ribbonfortravel campaign.

The stories we shared were How Are You?, Time. Travel., Duty of Care, Removing the Stress of Travel and Forget About It. You can see these stories on our LinkedIn page, here.

For the second time in 2021, we closed a deal to acquire assets of a former travel management company, in October.

Our acquisitions made the news again in October

Flightline Travel customers were assured of a continuation of service when we took over the accounts previously managed by the southeast England-based company.

Scott Pawley talked to the media about the acquisition,

It is very sad that the brutal effects of the global pandemic have removed another great name – and a superb SME TMC – from the business travel industry. But we are looking forward to working hand-in-hand with new customers from 1 November 2021.

In November the eyes of the world were on Glasgow and the COP26 meetings taking place to agree the targets and strategy to drive carbon emissions lower and to reduce the man-made effects of global climate change.

As the travel sector is leading the way in carbon emission reduction and developing new techniques, processes and solutions to meet the global challenge, we invited leading travel suppliers from around the world to go on record to share how they’re looking to solve the problem.

We issued a challenge: tell us what you’re doing to meet your own carbon emission targets, in just ten seconds.

We called this the GTM COP26 Challenge. You can see the results from from some of the best travel suppliers in the world on our YouTube channel.

See how British Airways, Lufthansa Group, United, Emirates, Air Canada and Travelogix met the GTM COP26 Challenge

In December, we were able to share the biggest piece of news yet.

Global Travel Management has been shortlisted in the prestigious TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies awards for 2022.

We’re obviously delighted to be in the short list of just 100 names for the 50 places. And even more delights that we are one of just five travel management companies to have been nominated in the category BEST BUSINESS TRAVEL AGENT 2022.

Nomination for these huge honours is a really big achievement for us and it’s recognition for some of the very hard work our team has accomplished in a very difficult year for the industry.

The winners will be announced in an event in Birmingham in March 2022. But, for now, we are ecstatic to have our work acknowledged in this way.

Roll on 2022.

GTM shortlisted for prestigious nationwide award

Global Travel Management has made the shortlist for the prestigious TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies 2022 award.

The awards recognise the achievements of travel agencies around the UK and are organised by highly-respected travel trade publication group TTG.

The Top 50 Travel Agencies 2022 comprises several categories, split both regionally and by agency type. But there is only one nationwide category devoted to business travel agencies.

GTM is one of just five nominated travel management companies in the category, receiving its first-ever nomination.

Following the release of the shortlist, Scott Pawley, Managing Director of Global Travel Management praised the staff of the business in a special video message.

Scott said,

I would like to thank all the staff at GTM for their hard, enthusiastic work throughout the year.  We have achieved an incredible amount in very difficult circumstances this year. But there’s lots more to come in 2022.

The shortlisting recognises the formidable advances GTM has made during 2021. The business has remained focused on the day-to-day management of customers’ business trips and travel-related requirements and aspirations. But GTM has also enhanced and developed its set of products and services, often with ground-breaking initiatives.

Scott added,

We are ambitious enough to ensure that we continue to innovate and bring industry-leading tools and technologies to our set of products. But we insist on ensuring every customer receives expert, careful and meticulous support before, during and after every trip, every time.

We can only achieve this by having a great team. And I would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to everyone at GTM who continues to ensure we provide through, studious and scrupulous attention to every element of our customers’ business travel.

400 companies participated in this year’s awards. The shortlist of 100 companies was published by TTG, but was limited to just five companies in the Business Travel category. You can see the full list, here.

TOP BUSINESS TRAVEL AGENCY: Scott Pawley reacted to the news of GTM’s shortlisting.

British Airways relaunches short-haul flights from Gatwick

British Airways has revealed the initial destinations for its new Gatwick subsidiary, which will start flying from March 2022.

The airline announced its intention to create a short-haul standalone business at Gatwick in August, similar to its operation from London City Airport, which operates under the British Airways name but exists as an entirely separate entity. The offshoot will launch later in 2022, with short-haul services at Gatwick being operated by mainline BA until the new entity’s Air Operators Certificate is issued.

British Airways Airbus A320
Tickets for BA short-haul European flights from Gatwick are available from GTM now

BA short-haul flights will start operating from Gatwick at the end of March, with three Airbus short-haul aircraft initially, ramping ramp up to 18 aircraft by the end of May.

The subsidiary will herald the airline’s return to short-haul flying from the London airport, which had been suspended as a result of Covid-19 in Spring 2020. During the pandemic, several routes were moved to Heathrow, some of which will return to Gatwick, as well as being maintained at Heathrow to give customers choice, including Faro, Ibiza, Malaga, Marrakech and Tenerife. In addition, other new routes will be added at Gatwick including Athens, Berlin, Madrid, Milan Malpensa and Santorini.

The new services will be branded and known as British Airways. Customers will receive the same high level of service they expect of British Airways as well as enjoying the benefits of travelling with the UK’s flag carrier including a generous baggage allowance, free water and snacks, free seat selection and frequent flyer benefits which include lounge access.

Club Europe customers will also receive complimentary food and drink and Euro Traveller customers who want to order additional food will benefit from access to the airline’s ‘Speedbird Café’, which features a selection of products from a range of carefully selected British brands.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:

[This] is a landmark moment for British Airways. The creation of a new British Airways short-haul organisation means Gatwick customers will benefit from access to a premium service from the UK’s flag carrier at competitive prices. We are looking forward to bringing a short-haul network back to Gatwick, with a fantastic flying team in place, to serve our customers from London’s second hub airport, which we feel sure will be a success.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, said:

This significant news will be very welcome for many people connected to the airport.  Despite the ongoing public health situation, today’s announcement is a positive signal that consumer confidence is returning as people start thinking about making travel plans for next summer. Given the difficult period we have all just been through, we expect BA’s new and extensive network of services from Gatwick to destinations across Europe to be in high demand and our staff, retailers, restaurants, cafes and bars are all looking forward to welcoming BA passengers back in larger numbers from April next year.


Virgin Atlantic supports World Health Organization Foundation’s ‘Go Give One’ campaign through onboard donations

Virgin Atlantic is supporting the World Health Organization Foundation’s Go Give One campaign through onboard donations this December.

The campaign funds Covid-19 vaccines for middle and lower-income countries to help close the global vaccine equity gap. 

As the impact of Covid-19 continues globally, the campaign calls on everyone, everywhere to play their part in helping to offer much needed vaccines to the world. Created by the WHO Foundation, the money raised goes to an international financing mechanism called Gavi COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC), which buys COVID-19 vaccines, prioritising those who need them the most in countries that cannot afford them. The campaign is asking individuals to donate £4, which is the cost of a single vaccine, with the aim to get 50 million people across the world to take part.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said: 

We know that en masse vaccine programmes work, thanks to the success we’ve seen in developed nations around the world, but unless we support lower-income countries in accessing these vaccines, we will not beat this global threat.

By supporting the WHO Foundation in raising funds for the Go Give One campaign through our onboard donations this month, our teams and customers can play a part in helping to close the gap.

The WHO Foundation and Virgin Atlantic are grateful for every contribution. It costs just £4 to buy a vaccine, meaning even the smallest donations can go a long way.

Successful vaccination programmes are the route out of the pandemic and we must all play our part in combatting this virus; together we can do our bit to offer vaccines to the world and beat Covid

Anil Soni, Chief Executive Officer, WHO Foundation said:

Getting vaccines to people who need them most is vital to help end the pandemic. We are delighted to have Virgin Atlantic support vaccine equity through the Go Give One campaign with onboard donations and the additional donation through the Foundation. The travel industry has been stepping up through our coalition efforts. Only by working together can we close the gap and ensure vaccines for everyone, everywhere.

For further information on the campaign and to donate, visit https://gogiveone.org/virgin-atlantic

Gatwick partners with GRIDSERVE to build an Electric Forecourt

A partnership between Gatwick Airport and sustainable energy company GRIDSERVE will build the Gatwick Electric Forecourt – an electric charging, net zero equivalent to a petrol station – that will be available to millions of passengers, commuters, staff, local residents and businesses that pass through the airport and its surrounding motorway network each year.

The new facility – a UK airport first – will be located on the Ring Road South approach to Gatwick’s South Terminal and adjacent to the M23 – it will enable 36 Electric Vehicles to be charged simultaneously, with high-power chargers that can deliver up to 350 kW of charging power, capable of adding 100 miles of range in less than 10 minutes. Multiple charging connectors will cater for all types of electric cars.

The site is due to open in Autumn 2022 and will host a café, comfortable waiting lounge with free superfast WiFi, convenience supermarket, children’s play area and a dedicated educational space to increase awareness around electric vehicles. As with all of GRIDSERVE’s chargers, the site will also be supplied with low cost, 100% renewable net zero carbon energy generated by GRIDSERVE’s own solar farms.

The Electric Forecourt also forms part of Gatwick Airport’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions for its internal operations before 2040 and its broader aspirations to become the UK’s most sustainable airport, including through involvement in UK industry plans to reach net zero aircraft emissions by 2050. It also contributes to majority stakeholder VINCI Airports’ global environmental action plan – the first in the industry to be applied to a network of 45 airports in 12 countries – to develop carbon-free energy for passengers and users.

Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

Gatwick is pleased to partner with GRIDSERVE to deliver this fantastic and sustainable service. We are on a journey to create a low carbon economy, and Gatwick is keen to play an important role by providing new infrastructure that everyone can use, including a transformed and well-connected railway station, so that together we can start reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Our new high-powered charging facility – delivered by GRIDSERVE – will help meet the increasing need for electric vehicle charging infrastructure at the airport, including the growing number of our passengers who own electric vehicles and need fast, convenient and effective charging facilities.

The new charging infrastructure will also benefit people right across our community, including thousands of staff who live locally, businesses looking to introduce electric vehicle fleets – even those operating busses and trucks – and also local residents who may be considering buying an electric-powered car but were undecided due to the lack of charging facilities.

Toddington Harper, CEO of GRIDSERVE, said:

Gatwick isn’t just an airport, it’s an ecosystem of commuters, travellers, staff, taxi drivers, car rental companies, local residents and businesses, all culminating in a transport hub that hosts tens of millions of drivers every single year. The Gatwick Electric Forecourt® will give these drivers and businesses the confidence to switch away from petrol and diesel cars, making electric journeys to and from one of the country’s most important transport hubs straightforward and sustainable.

For maximum accessibility, all of GRIDSERVE’s chargers offer contactless payment and require a £1 bank card preauthorisation check to activate a charge, which, the airport says, makes it ‘even more convenient to pay’.

GRIDSERVE® is a tech-enabled sustainable energy business whose purpose is to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change.

GRIDSERVE is also developing several large-scale hybrid solar + battery farms to supply renewable solar energy as part of a “sun-to-wheel” ecosystem. Every kW of energy taken out of the grid by a GRIDSERVE EV charger is netted off against a kW of zero carbon solar energy put back into the grid by a GRIDSERVE solar farm, creating a net zero carbon, low cost transport system today. GRIDSERVE claims this means it is able to provide ‘the most competitive rate for high-powered charging today’.

GRIDSERVE also leases EVs, with 100 trees planted for every EV leased, offsetting embodied emissions.