Good news

It may be difficult to find, but, if you look hard enough, there are still some items of good news in the business travel industry. So, every week, we curate some of the better “good news” stories. We can’t promise green shoots of economic recovery, but we can promise to highlight some of the better, encouraging and happier pieces of news in business travel. After all, we’re all looking forward to travelling again.

And, if you want to share the good news, please feel free to use the share links at the bottom of the page.

Monday, 21 September

We reported on a number of hotel businesses demonstrating confidence in the long-term future of the hospitality industry this week. Including Hilton, which has opened a new Hampton property in Ealing, the Lux Collective, signing an agreement to manage a five-star resort in Chongzou, Guangxi, HRS and Radisson extending their partnership, Intercontinental Hotels Group launching two new loyalty club promotions, and, back in London, Locke has opened Bermonds Locke in London Bridge.

We report on hotel news every weekday at noon, on Twitter. Follow us here https://twitter.com/GlobalTravelMgt.

Vietnam Airlines has started one-way flights to Japan. Singapore Airlines will launch no-destination flights, from Changi Airport. Etihad is introducing artificial intelligence to reduce in-flight food wastage. Air France is investing in electric ramp equipment. Icelandair has joined Worldwide by easyJet. Aer Lingus Regional is introducing flights from Belfast to Birmingham and Manchester. British Airways has increased flights to Lahore, Pakistan. Delta Air Lines flew its first flight out of Salt Lake City Airport. Qatar Airways is now serving 90 destinations, with more than 650 weekly flights and has fitted 100 aircraft with high-speed broadband. Air Canada is offering free covid insurance.

And the BBC reported on Europe’s first Covid-free flights.

Monday, 14 September

Emirates has announced plans to resume flying to Accra and Abidjan and has completed more than $1.4bn in passenger refunds. Flydubai is offering passengers free global cover for Covid-19. Alitalia has received European Commission go-ahead for a grant of almost €200m. Air France is moving towards all-electric ramp equipment. Vietnam Airlines will resume six domestic routes.

Qatar Airways now has 100 aircraft equipped with high-speed broadband.

The aviation industry is collaborating on a biomimicry project to demonstrate operational feasibility of reducing aviation emissions using Wake Energy Retrieval.

Dubai International Airport has reopened smart gates at T3.

And Eurostar has resumed onboard catering.

Monday, 7 September

The last couple of weeks have seen more good news for business travel and business travellers.

Eurostar has announced the long-awaited launch of the direct, return trips between London and Amsterdam, starting on 26 October. The German government and Deutsche Bahn will work together to refresh 167 stations throughout the country. GWR has brought back its Night Riviera service.
ÖBB will launch Amsterdam-Vienna Nightjet. And Avanti West Coast has introduced “At Seat Order”.

JAL will increase flights to Singapore and restart the Sydney route, meanwhile, the carrier has introduced touchless check-in at Tokyo. Virgin Atlantic has introduced a new Covid-19 insurance cover and announced plans to launch flights from London and Manchester to Pakistan , as well as announcing plans to increase its routes further, with changes to its inflight catering services. Brussels Airlines has been given the EU go-ahead for a stabilisation package and the airline’s parent Lufthansa Group has announced the removal of rebooking fees until the end of 2020. Emirates announced plans to increase its network of African destinations and resume flights to Warsaw, while KLM announced plans to add Poznan to its network. Qatar Airways is continuing to rebuild its network, and now operates 550 weekly flights to more than 85 destinations. Air New Zealand will resume all its domestic Auckland flights. Singapore Airlines has announced further easing of status requirements for its PPS Club and Krisflyer loyalty schemes. United has announced that it will permanently drop change fees for US flights; and Delta Air Lines has announced exactly the same measure.

At Heathrow, Plaza Premium has reopened two of its lounges and the airport has started trials of rapid Covid-19 testing. Berlin Airport has announced its opening will comprise a parallel landing of a Lufthansa and easyJet flight, at the end of next month. And Doncaster Sheffield Airport has the good news that Wizz Air will be expanding its operations at the airport.

And, finally, Singapore has eased travel restrictions and quarantine periods for travellers from several countries.

Monday, 24 August

There was good news from one UK airport last week, which claimed to have seen the “strongest recovery of any major airport in the UK”. Which one? You can see, here.

Aspire Lounges is gradually reopening facilities across the UK, including in Bristol, Manchester and Luton.

IATA has releases self-assessment checklists for airline’s measures against Covid-19. Delta Air Lines is ramping up staff virus testing.

Covid-19 testing facilities are up and running at Heathrow. Dubai Airport announced pioneering steps in the detection of Covid-19 – by use of man’s best friends. Elsewhere in the Gulf, Sharjah Airport has become the first carbon-neutral airport in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Cathay Pacific passengers numbers are up. Emirates are adding destinations, and changing aircraft types to meet demand. Air Asia has resumed its Kuala Lumpur to Singapore flights. KLM‘s resuming its flights to Poznan. And Qatar is resuming flights from London Gatwick.

Travel between Zurich Airport and Geneva has now become more efficient thanks to SWISS and SBB. Etihad has expanded the number of rail and coach tickets that can be purchased in conjunction with its air fares. And, in the UK, if you’re travelling by train on a Friday, LNER has some good news for you.

And, finally, passengers from Portugal will no longer have to agree to self-isolate for fourteen days, thanks to changes announced by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Monday, 17 August

Last week, there was good news on airlines adding services as well as more good news on how airlines are ensuring trips are safer and more secure.

Qatar Airways is continuing to rebuild its network, and will offer 56 flights a week to the United States by next month, increasing flights to Pakistan while flights to Gatwick resume next week. Emirates is resuming passenger flights to Birmingham. Eastern Airways will regain its link to Heathrow, with flights from Teesside launching next month. Wizz Air has announced plans to create a second UK base, at Doncaster Sheffield. Virgin Atlantic is resuming flights from India.

Etihad has launched an antimicrobial snood for its business class and first class passengers. JetBlue is extending its seat distancing policy. United is using UV lights to to clean flight decks.

Schiphol Airport plans to open Covid-19 testing at Arrival Hall 3, while British Airways are considering offering pre-flight testing. Delta Air Lines is testing more of its workforce.

And in other news, American Airlines is bringing back hot food to its lounges.

Monday, 10 August

We will be honest. Last week, the focus of our attention, at least in the middle of the week, was on the events happening here.

But we also produced this article looking at what aircraft manufacturers are doing to keep planes safe from Covid-19.

Elsewhere, there was more good news items in the world of business travel:

And a couple of airlines gave some information about how they go about disinfecting their planes:

Monday, 3 August

There was good news last week for one UK-based company. Delta Air Lines has selected Lysol, the disinfectant brand from Slough-based multi-national Reckit Benkiser to enhance its cleaning regime and protocols. You can read about this new partnership, here.

British Airways, is rolling out a new voucher scheme. LNER has resumed onboard catering. AirAsia has introduced a WhatsApp chatbot, called AVA. The BTA has called on the government to provide more transparency on its quarantine decision-making process, while Heathrow has backed the idea of passengers being able to buy Covid-19 testing at the airport.

But, probably the best piece of business travel-related news came from the Focus Travel Partnership. CEO Abby Penston reported the findings of the latest Covid-19 Recovery Survey and the results are clear: booking numbers are up, thanks, in part, to the introduction of air bridges. This means more businesses are getting back to business travel to restart and fire up the economy.

Monday, 27 July

Last week saw airport re-openings, countries being dropped from the mandatory quarantine list, more flights being resumed and a guide to getting back to business travel being published.

Passenger numbers at Manchester Airport have continued to increase, leading to the re-opening of Terminal 2. This came in the same week that the UK Government dropped its requirements for passengers returning from five countries to self-quarantine on arrival for fourteen days.

Among airlines resuming services in response to passenger demand are Finnair and Etihad Airways (to Shanghai), and Qatar Airways (to Guangzhou) while British Airways announced new flights from Gatwick to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Finally, in response to the gradually-increasing demand for business travel, particularly from the UK, we have produced a comprehensive document giving details of what companies should to when they start to plan their return to business travel. You can read about this – and downloand a free copy – here.

Monday, 20 July

After last week’s several “good news” items, we thought we would concentrate on just one this week. The great news for one of the biggest airlines in transatlantic travel, Virgin Atlantic. The airline’s future has been protected thanks to a solvent recapitalisation. This is great news for the airline’s staff, for the sector as a whole and, of course, to any businesses looking to ensure they have enough choice of airlines to two, key business markets: the United States and South Africa.

Monday, 13 July

Last week, there were several, new items of good news.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has revised its global advisory against all but essential travel, opening the way for more business trips to be possible. Delta Air Lines has re-opened lounges in Chicago, Denver, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix and San Francisco.

Swissport and Priority Pass are looking at a “test on arrival” system at UK airports and Air Canada are looking to explore rapid Covid testing. Meanwhile, Aspire Lounges has begun re-opening its airport lounges and KLM has re-opened Schengen Crown Lounge at Schiphol.

London City Airport has re-opened. Automatic quarantine requirements have lifted for travellers coming into the UK, from some destinations.

And last, but not least, one particularly important #businesstravel journey reached a critical point, when Test cricket finally returned…

Monday, 6 July

This week, the good news came in threes.

First, the government confirmed that there would be a list of countries that will be exempt from last month’s quarantine requirements, starting this week, on 10 July. Read the story here.

Second, the government produced its list of 59 countries – and it contained some surprises. See the full list here.

Third, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office released updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. This came into effect at the weekend. You can read about this, here.

Monday, 29 June

This week, there is really only one, big piece of business travel industry news. The government’s lifting of quarantine restrictions for passengers arriving (or returning) from some countries. Click the link below to find out about the government’s intentions, Foreign Office advice changes and the latest information about air bridges. The story is moving forward very quickly, so keep checking back to see regular and ad hoc updates.

Monday, 22 June

A number of airlines announced increased services this week, including:

Manchester Airport introduced pre-booking for security screening and London City Airport re-opened yesterday.

Intercontinental Hotels Group announced the introduction of a new pricing model, Hyatt plans to open a hotel at Gatwick and Ruby confirms plans for a 173-room hotel in Notting Hill.

Monday, 15 June

There was more good news in the last week from the business travel sector, yet again. As the industry prepares for more companies to return to travelling on business, we were able to bring a range of good news items to our Twitter followers.

  • Turkish Airlines launched a discount scheme for health care workers
  • Iberostar plans to re-open several hotels, while OYO and Premier Inns build new ones
  • Japan Airlines and Air Transat re-start international services; Virgin Australia re-starts domestically
  • Austrian Airlines have secured rescue funding, while agreeing environmental commitments
  • You don’t have to wear gloves at Manchester Airport any more…
  • …and you don’t have to keep your distance on Air New Zealand flights
  • And, if you’re worried about losing your tier status on British Airways Executive Club, there’s good news for you, too

Monday, 8 June

In the last week, a number of news items have, again, pointed to recovery in the business travel sector.

But most people’s attention was rightly focused on the 50 Leading TMCs list being revealed by industry publication BTM Europe…

Monday, 1 June

United Airlines is upcycling old staff uniforms into face masks

Hilton is producing 50,000 meals a month for those in need

Iberia will increase flights next month…

…while Lufthansa Group has announced increased long-haul routes

Air New Zealand has opened a number of its lounges as it resumes domestic flights

Monday, 18 May

Lufthansa Group is amongst a raft of airlines announcing schedule increases having publicised 1,800 additional roundtrips per week to its schedules from next month…

…but Delta Air Lines isn’t even waiting that long to restart flights to Heathrow:

Meanwhile, across Europe, steps are being taken to open up borders again:

And Qatar Airways has generously donated 100,000 free tickets to healthcare professionals as a big “thank you”:

Monday, 11 May

In a week where the news mainly concerned messages from Her Majesty the Queen and the Prime Minster as well as celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in Europe, we also found some good news in the business travel sector.

International Airlines Group – the owners of British Airways – has announced it is planning a “meaningful return” to service in July. However, a number of airlines have announced an increase in flights even sooner than that

  • American Airlines will resume some European and South American flights from 4 June.
  • British Airways will return to Beijing Daxing out of Heathrow from 14 June and several other routes during the same month.
  • Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will increase their capacity from 21 June.
  • KLM continues to have longhaul flights to Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Mexico City, Toronto, Curacao, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Tokyo Narita, Osaka Kansai, Seoul and Hong Kong; as well as daily flights to Barcelona, Budapest, Helsinki, Madrid, Milan, Prague, Rome and Warsaw.
  • Korean Air intends to resume flights to cities including Washington, D.C., Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Frankfurt, Singapore, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur.
  • Qatar Airways says it will increase flights to 80 cities by the end of June.
  • Forbes has reported that United Airlines plans to “pencil in” four flights to Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai from June.
  • While Vietnam Airlines plans to resume all domestic flights in June.

Capturing the mood of a nation that is looking forward to the end of “lockdown”, the Daily Mail reported that one-third of Britons will be travelling more than ever, once the restrictions end.

And while the airlines’ planning continued to gather pace, we at Global Travel Management took some time to commemorate VE Day…

Monday, 4 May

In the last week, Virgin Atlantic have shared some of the great stories of how their staff are helping to repatriate British people from abroad, helping to deliver food, helping staff in NHS hospitals, helping to handle NHS 111 calls and lots more. But they’re not just helping, they’re taking time to say thank you – a big, red thank you – to other people and organisations and the work they are doing.

Elsewhere, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon intend to increase flying capacity towards the end of June.

Business travel is recovering in China. The country’s strategy, which will attempt to restart what was the biggest business travel market in the world, could offer a glimpse of how business travel will recover in the future.

Scott Pawley has posted about the airline industry reaching the bottom of the curve

And these pieces of good news from Asia may reflect some positive changes in airline capacity around the world. Our Managing Director Scott Pawley posted on LinkedIn about a report suggesting the airline world may have reached the bottom of the curve. In short, there has been an increase in flight seat capacity.

It is not only business travel that has seen good news in the last week, because Dubai aims to reopen its tourism by July, according to the Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

Wizz Air have recommenced flights from London Luton Airport to airports in Hungary, Israel, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Spain.

And finally, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has released the results of a poll of more than 5,000 of its members which shows signs of optimism and recovery on the horizon. The study found that most companies are planning a recovery for 2020, with one in three planning for a recovery within the next three months.

Monday, 27 April

A British Airways flight from China, loaded with PPE and other essential kit for the NHS.

Last week, British Airways announced an increase in flights to China to London from 13 a week to 21. The flights will be able to carry up to 77 tonnes of cargo for the NHS, including PPE (personal protective equipment) which is of vital importance to health and social care workers.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “We are in a unique position to help in the global response to Covid-19, whether it is through carrying UK residents back home, transporting vital cargo back to the NHS, or through our colleagues who are offering their skills to volunteer. We’re proud to be playing our part, and I’m grateful to everyone who is working to make these flights happen in these difficult times.”

The news of BA’s increased China-London flights came the same week that the airline shared details of repatriation flights from India. As our news story shows, the airline has been helping to fly thousands of British citizens home from India. And our tweet, below, shows how welcome the repatriation flights were for the passengers – and how hard the crews are working to make this happen.

Aviation industry collaborates on emission-reduction project, fello’fly

Airbus has signed agreements with two airline customers, and three Air Navigation Service Providers to demonstrate the operational feasibility of Airbus’ demonstrator project, fello’fly, for reducing aviation emissions.

The airlines Frenchbee and SAS Scandinavian Airlines have joined Airbus, the UK’s NATS, DSNA of France and EURCONTROL to participate in the project.

Inspired by biomimicry, fello’fly is based on Wake Energy Retrieval (WER) to reduce aviation emissions. WER replicates the behaviour of birds, which fly together to reduce their energy consumption. The technique of a follower aircraft retrieving energy lost by a leader, by flying in the smooth updraft of air the wake creates, reduces fuel consumption in the range of 5-10% per trip.


How a fello’fly flight will actually work

Nick Macdonald, fello’fly Demonstrator Leader said:

In the aviation industry, achieving our emission-reduction targets will require implementing innovative new ways to use aircraft in the skies. Our collaboration with our airline partners and ANSPs on fello’fly shows that we’re making good efforts towards these goals.

Frenchbee and SAS will provide airline expertise in flight planning and operations for the collaborative requirements necessary for bringing together aircraft before and during a fello’fly operation. DSNA, NATS and EUROCONTROL will contribute air navigation expertise defining how two aircraft can be brought safely together, minimising impact on today’s procedures. In parallel Airbus will continue working on the technical solution to assist pilots in ensuring that aircraft remain safely positioned. 

Airbus explained how the system will work:

In today’s operations, aircraft are directed by ATC to enter transatlantic routes at a specific time and altitude via a designated oceanic clearance point. Pilots then use a flight management function to direct the aircraft to arrive at the designated point at the specified time and altitude.

In the case of two fello’fly aircraft, ATC will direct them to arrive at the same clearance point but on two different flight levels separated by 1,000 feet. Under the rules of today’s airspace and procedures, this is the closest aircraft can fly together.

Once both fello’fly aircraft have reached the clearance point, they will collaborate to manoeuvre into the rendez-vous position, which is when the follower aircraft is 1.5 nautical miles behind the leader aircraft and separated by 1,000 feet.

From here, pilots will use flight assistance functions to move the aircraft safely to a position in the updraft where it is saving fuel through wake-energy retrieval.

When both aircraft need to separate to head to their destinations, one aircraft will reposition itself into the spare flight level and inform ATC, which will again start identifying them as individual aircraft within the ATC system.


Given the high potential to make a significant impact on emissions reduction for the aviation industry as a whole, directly contributing to the sector’s sustainable growth goals, Airbus is targeting a controlled Entry-Into-Service (EIS), which is expected by the middle of this decade. 

fello’fly is part of Airbus UpNext, an Airbus subsidiary created to give future technologies a development fast track by building demonstrators at speed and scale.

Qatar Airways now has 100 aircraft equipped with high-speed broadband

Qatar Airways is celebrating the launch of its 100th aircraft to feature high-speed ‘Super Wi-Fi’ connectivity, enabling passengers to stay in touch with families, friends and colleagues while on board using the fastest broadband service available in the sky.

Qatar Airways now offers the largest number of aircraft equipped with the most superior high-speed broadband on board in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Airbus A350-900 aircraft number A7-ALC became the 100th member of the Qatar Airways fleet to feature the high-speed Super Wi-Fi service using the award-winning GX Aviation technology from global mobile satellite communications provider, Inmarsat.

The service is being rolled out across the airline’s fleet and since its launch in 2018 has enabled millions of passengers to browse the internet, check social media, stream videos and more whilst relaxing on board.

Qatar Airways passengers on flights fitted with GX Aviation can receive up to one hour free access to the Super Wi-Fi service, with the ability to purchase full-flight access if more online time is needed.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said:

As a leader of innovation within the global aviation industry, Qatar Airways already operates one of the youngest and most technologically-advanced fleet in the skies. Where other airlines are reducing their wi-fi offering, Qatar Airways is expanding it.

With connection to our loved ones and friends now more important than ever during these challenging times, we are delighted to work with Inmarsat and its GX Aviation technology to bring high-speed ‘Super Wi-Fi’ broadband to passengers on board our fleet as part of Qatar Airways’ exceptional five-star service.

Inmarsat Aviation President, Mr. Philip Balaam, said:

Qatar Airways is world renowned for offering a superior onboard experience, which is enjoyed by millions of loyal passengers across the world. We are pleased that our GX Aviation inflight broadband has become such an important component of that experience on the airline’s extensive fleet. Feedback from passengers has been hugely positive and now, with the service being available on 100 aircraft, even more can enjoy the best connectivity in the skies.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

Our customers demand stare of the art services during business trips. That includes access to fast, convenient, easy-to-use wi-fi. So congratulations to Qatar Airways for reaching the milestone of 100 aircraft fitted with ‘Super Wi-Fi’.

Along with the airline’s superb Qsuite – with Business Class double beds, and the ability for passengers travelling together to create ‘private rooms’ – and the Oryx One in-flight entertainment system, ‘Super Wi-Fi’ offers a great service to international business travellers.

With Qatar Airways being a member of oneworld, the network reach is more than 1,000 airports across 160 countries and more than 14,000 daily departures.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. It is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted ‘Skytrax Airline of the Year’ title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times.

High Life moves online

British Airways’ familiar, award-winning on board magazine, High Life, is moving online.

Created with publishing house, Cedar, the online magazine will also include a new section for Business Life which will replace the current on-board paper versions of both publications. 

Each issue will include monthly audio stories, photo experiences and live panels so customers can experience the magic of travel on the go wherever they are in the world. The magazine will continue to feature first person stories from travel experts and carefully curated guides for exploring cities across the world.  

High Life was voted one of the most important magazines of the 20th century by Campaign magazine

As well as trusted travel content, High Life digital will keep customers updated with any changes to the airline’s customer experience and route network.

The magazine will be emailed to five million Executive Club customers every month and customers can download the magazine on board, using the airline’s in-flight WiFi free. High Life will also continue to offer British Airways’ partners and advertisers new opportunities to reach the airline’s customers with products and offers, through BA media*

Hamish McVey, British Airways’ Head of Brand and Marketing said: 

Our High Life magazine has been a source for travel inspiration for our customers for nearly half a century. When we trialled moving High Life online at the beginning of this year, it was a great success.

We know our customers value technology and a contactless journey, especially in the current climate, so we are delighted to now be able to provide over five million customers a month with digital High Life.  We hope this new digital magazine will help customers plan their holidays with our expert holiday guides, as well as provide the latest information as we make important changes to our customer experience.


Sir Paul McCartney and HRH The Prince of Wales have featured on the cover of High Life.

Clare Broadbent, Cedar’s CEO said:

High Life online is now here: online, on email, and on board through your personal device, bringing wonderful and trusted travel inspiration to bigger audiences than ever before. With High Life’s mix of expert writers, photographers and audio-visual storytellers sharing the latest travel ideas from around the world, we can’t wait to help travellers to dream, plan and take off in 2020 and beyond.

The airline’s on-board magazine, first took to the skies in 1973 and has provided British Airways’ customers with inspiration ever since.

The magazine has documented significant milestones in the airline’s history including the launch of Concorde and the A380, as well as featuring cover stars such as Sir Paul McCartney, Tracey Emin, Idris Elba and HRH The Prince of Wales.

JAL introduces touchless check-in

Japan Airlines has announced the decision to trial new touchless technology at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, starting 24 August.

Touchless check-in: passengers can make selections by holding their finger 3 cm from the screen

Located at Terminal 1 South Wing of Tokyo Hanadea Airport, the two kiosks have been installed for a trial period, initially until 15 September.

Developed by Mitsubishi Electric and Oki Electric Industry Co, the new kiosks are equipped with state-of-the-art touchless sensors. These enable passengers to complete the whole check-in process without having to touch the screen at any point in the process.

The kiosks use infrared technology, so passengers are able to make selections by holding their finger 3 cm away from the check-in screen.

JAL say they will continue to embrace new technology to provide customers with a safe and secure travel experience.

British Airways says goodbye to the “first of its last” 747 jumbo jets

British Airways has retired its first Boeing 747 since announcing last month that all 31 of its jumbo jets had sadly flown their last commercial services.

The Boeing 747-400, registration G-CIVD, departed from London Heathrow under flight number BA9170E after more than 25 magnificent years of flying.

The aircraft received an emotional farewell from the NATS Air Traffic Control Tower at Heathrow Airport.

British Airways’ fleet of 747s are being retired at an accelerated rate as a result of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector.

Al Bridger, British Airways’ Director of Flight Operations, said: 

All of us at British Airways and so many of our customers will have fond memories and special moments from our travels on the iconic jumbo jet.

As a pilot who was lucky enough to fly the aircraft, the sheer scale of it was unforgettable, you literally looked down on other aircraft. It changed aviation forever when it arrived in the skies and I know I speak for our customers and the global aviation community when I say, despite rightly moving to more sustainable ways of flying, we will still miss the 747 dearly.

The 747 has been an iconic part of British Airways’ fleet for nearly fifty years. At one point the airline operated 57 of the aircraft, with the jumbo jet’s first flight to New York in 1971.

The fuel-hungry aircraft were slowly being phased out by British Airways as they reached the end of their working life in order to help meet the company’s commitment to net zero by 2050.

The airline has invested heavily in new, modern long-haul aircraft including six A350s and 32 787s which are around 25% more fuel-efficient than the 747.


Airtrain now serves Geneva

You can now fly on the train from Geneva railway station to Zurich Airport, thanks to SWISS.

SWISS has added the route from Geneva Cornavin to Zurich Airport to its Airtrain rail services which it offers in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Railways.

Zurich Airport. Passengers arriving at Zurich can now take the Airtrain service direct to Geneva Cornavin

The new services help keep western Switzerland connected to SWISS’s Zurich Airport hub despite the timetable changes the airline had to make in response to the coronavirus crisis. By extending the Airtrain network to Geneva, SWISS is offering its customers more options for seamlessly combining multiple modes of transport.

The new Airtrain service is intended to supplement the existing air services between Geneva and Zurich airports, to continue to give the people of Western Switzerland the best possible connections with the intercontinental and European air services that SWISS operates from Zurich.

Under the new Airtrain service, selected SBB trains between Geneva Cornavin and Zurich Airport will be assigned SWISS flight numbers. Travel on these trains to Zurich Airport is included in the flight ticket. The new facility also extends to any SWISS travellers commencing their rail journey from Geneva Airport (Cointrin) station. The new Airtrain programme is the third of its kind: similar services are already offered to SWISS customers on the routes from Basel and Lugano to Zurich Airport.

SWISS CEO Thomas Klühr said:

Keeping western Switzerland closely connected with our global Zurich-based flight network is extremely important to us. In extending these Airtrain services to Geneva, we are offering our customers even more choice in planning their travels with SWISS. We’re also responding to a growing demand among our guests for greater combinability of their air and rail travel options.

Vincent Ducrot, CEO SBB,

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) CEO Vincent Ducrot said:

The new Geneva-Zurich Airtrain connects the Romandie with German-speaking Switzerland and the train with the plane. And as a public transport company, that is something we are pleased and proud to do.

If you need to fly to Switzerland, or need further advice about travelling to or through Zurich Airport or by train in Switzerland, contact your GTM Account Manager.

City Airport hits pause on terminal extension plans

London City has provided an update on its Development Programme, including a decision to temporarily pause the development at the end of this year upon completion of new aircraft stands, a full-length parallel taxiway and new passenger facilities.

At the height of the Covid-19 crisis, the airport took the decision to suspend commercial flights, re-opening on 21 June. During that period, the airport worked with contractors to adapt working methods to meet new health and safety standards and made significant progress with crucial elements of the scheme.

Flights to Luxembourg are suspended until September. Routes will be added on 31 August (Vilnius) and 7 September (Frankfurt and Belfast)

By the end of 2020, the airport will have completed a number of projects to deliver significant new airside infrastructure and capacity. This includes eight new aircraft stands capable of accommodating the new generation of cleaner, more sustainable aircraft such as the Airbus A220, and the Embraer E2-190, along with a full length parallel taxiway providing the ability to allow 45 aircraft movements per hour, when demand returns.

A new immigration facility will be opened to passengers at the start of September which will include 10 new E-gates, further improving the airport’s ability to offer the fastest passenger proposition in London. Construction of a new baggage facility with increased capacity and resilience, and featuring the latest security screening technology, will be operational next summer.

Since recommencing commercial flights, the airport has welcomed back four airlines, including its home-based carrier, BA City Flyer, and is now connecting to 15 domestic and European leisure and business destinations. Further airlines are set to return over the next several months, and frequencies to key business destinations are expected to increase over the autumn.

The airport has decided to re-evaluate the timing of the next phases of the development programme, including the new terminal extension.

Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport said:

Robert Sinclair
Very confident about the long-term prospects of London City and the vital role in re-connecting London and the British economy

Given our location in the heart of London, and the resilient nature of aviation, the airport and our shareholders remain very confident about the long-term prospects of London City and the vital role we can play in re-connecting London and the British economy as we recover from the shock of Covid-19.
 
For the time being, we have taken the decision to focus our attention on delivering the vital additional airfield infrastructure which will provide our existing and prospective airline customers with the potential to bring new generation aircraft to this airport in greater numbers, which will be a crucial aspect of how we build a better, more sustainable airport.
 
Completing the terminal extension and new east pier very much remains part of our future, and, with the foundations for both in place, we stand ready to take those projects forward when demand returns. 
 
In the months ahead we will work with airlines and Government to help restore confidence to the UK aviation market and we will continue to support our local authority and our communities as they plan for life beyond the crisis.

If you’re planning to fly from London City Airport, contact your GTM Account Manager.

Teesside regains London Heathrow route with Eastern Airways

Teesside International Airport will regain its link to London Heathrow with Eastern Airways launching its first ever schedule flights from London’s world hub airport.

From 14 September 2020, the Teesside–Heathrow service will be served by a 76-seat E-Jet Embraer 170 aircraft, following a gap of more than a decade. The airline will initially offer a daily service to the capital which will offer passengers from Durham, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Hartlepool, Teesside and North Yorkshire hundreds of onward connections to the world.

This latest news at Teesside is a further expansion of Eastern Airways’ developing route network from the north east airport. Since restrictions have been eased following the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the airline has reintroduced Teesside flights to Aberdeen and Belfast City while starting new routes to London City and Newquay.

The daily departures are timed to maximise the array of world-wide connections available while also supporting quick and easy access to London and the South-East on the circa 1-hour flight.

Roger Hage, Eastern Airways’ General Manager Commercial & Operations, said

As the UK’s Regional Airline, the opportunity for Eastern Airways to connect Teesside to London Heathrow, the UK’s primary hub for worldwide connections is significant in the region’s economic prosperity and economic recovery. Offering an initial daily e-Jet operated service helps add further London capacity and makes reaching the capital or getting to the North East a little over an hour away, with the array of connections world-wide this opens up. We look forward with our partners at Teesside International Airport and London Heathrow Airport to restoring such a major air-link missing for over a decade.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said

Ben Houchen – we have flights to one of our most-requested destinations

Since I did a deal to take back control of our airport last year to save it from closure, we’ve announced some brilliant new daily and seasonal routes.

But whenever I’ve revealed a new service people have said, ‘that’s great, but what about a connection to Heathrow?’

Well, I can now say we have flights to one of our most-requested destinations, and it starts next month. Whether people from Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are looking to travel for business or pleasure, they now have a range of options for getting to London.

This is another massive vote of confidence in our airport and I’d like to thank Heathrow and Eastern Airways for working with us to realise a key route for any serious airport.

Our airport is much more than just flights though; it is hugely important to our local economy and it is playing a key part in my plan for jobs. I’ve always said that investment won’t come on a bus, it will come through our airport terminal which in turn will create good quality local jobs for local workers.

John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport, said

John Holland-Kaye – delighted that Eastern Airways will launch a Heathrow connection

We are delighted that Eastern Airways will launch a new connection between Teesside and Heathrow for the first time in over a decade. Adding the UK’s hub airport to Teesside’s network demonstrates the growth ambitions of the Tees Valley region, and will provide a vital levelling-up boost – unlocking a huge amount of potential for the region as we build the UK’s economic recovery.

Heathrow is committed to strengthening our regional connections across the UK with our discount on domestic routes, and we believe this new service will be a springboard for the great businesses in the region to reach out to the world. We’re looking forward to welcoming the first passengers in September.

Initially Eastern Airways’ usual complimentary on-board service will be limited to facilitate reduced customer contact.

Services continue to be carefully reintroduced since Covid-19 restrictions began to ease with extensive cleaning measures on-board and throughout all aspects of the airport. A full anti-bacterial wipe down of all touch points between every service operated and also a comprehensive aircraft night-stop sanitisation is implemented.

Eastern Airways was formed in 1997 and had moved quickly, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, to return back to its own standalone booking facilities after its former franchise partner, Flybe, went into administration earlier in March.

The Humberside Airport-based carrier offers a network of routes from airports including Aberdeen, Anglesey, Belfast City, Cardiff, Dublin, Humberside, Isle of Man, Leeds Bradford, London City, Manchester, Newcastle, Newquay, Southampton and Teesside International and a broad array of contract and ad-hoc charters with a mixed jet and turbo-prop fleet.

If you need to fly between Teesside and London – or any other route offered by Eastern Airways – contact your GTM Account Manager.

Airlines increasing routes in August

Around the world, airlines are beginning to increase the number and frequency of services, as the airline industry starts the fightback and paves the way to global economic recovery .

We’ve taken a look at what plans some of the world’s leading airlines have to bolster their schedules this month.

British Airways

Throughout August, British Airways is resuming flying to more destinations, albeit with continued low frequencies while the impact of Covid-19 remains felt across the globe.

In Europe flights will resume to the holiday destinations of Bari, Bastia, Bodrum, Bordeaux, Catania, Figari, Frankfurt, Genoa, Kefalonia, Lyon, Luxembourg, Malta, Paphos and Pula, while further afield Antigua, Islamabad and Nairobi join the long-haul line-up.

Air France

Air France plans a gradual frequency increase throughout the summer period, reaching 20% of the capacity initially planned for June, 35% in July and now, 40% this month. It is planning to reach of 80% of its pre-Covid global network having flights, with reduced frequencies, during the summer.

KLM

In terms of numbers of destinations, KLM is virtually at pre-Covid-19 levels.  Between now and October, KLM will be serving 91 destinations, just one fewer than the same period last year, and up from 72 in July.

Lufthansa

Last month, Lufthansa announced that Birmingham-Munich, Edinburgh-Frankfurt and Glasgow-Frankfurt would be reintroduced in August, while London City-Frankfurt would return in October.  However, the airline has subsequently brought forward – to 7 September – the return of the latter service.

United Airlines

United announced the return of the San Francisco route from Heathrow this month as well as Chicago to Brussels and Frankfurt, and Newark to Brussels, Munich and Zurich. Overall United will be serving 25% of its usual international schedules, up from 16% last month.

Delta Air Lines

Following the reintroduction of a number of routes in July, Delta has announced it will continue to offer a robust, connection-friendly network in August, flying more than 3,000 daily departures and serving 239 destinations worldwide, including 206 markets in the U.S. and 33 internationally.

American

American Airlines increased domestic flights and reopened Admirals Club lounges earlier in the summer, as well as resuming flights from Charlotte, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Raleigh-Durham to Heathrow, from where it now operates at Terminal 5.  The airline has also announced a strategic partnership with Jetblue which, it claims, will increase American’s schedule to further European, African, Indian and South American routes.

Ryanair

Ryanair will increase flights to over 60% of its normal schedule throughout August, following what it said was a successful resumption of services at 40% of capacity last month.

easyJet

easyJet announced earlier in the summer that it intended to increase the routes it operates to 75% of normal, in August, up from 50% in July.

If you plan to book flights on these – or any other airlines – this month, contact your GTM Account Manager.