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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.

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.


Betty Buzz launched in BA’s US lounges

Betty Buzz, a range of non-alcoholic sparkling mixers is set to be rolled out across British Airways’ US lounges, starting with JFK and San Francisco airports.

Betty Buzz is a range of non-alcoholic sparkling mixers launched in September this year by Blake Lively. Made with clean ingredients like real juice and with no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners, they are ideal for serving with spirits or tasty enough to be enjoyed on their own.

Blake Lively, Betty Buzz Founder said:

Team Betty Buzz and I couldn’t be more excited to partner with Sean Doyle and the entire British Airways crew to bring Betty Buzz to all British Airways lounges in the US. 

British Airways is a brand who’s earned great respect for their standards of quality and experience. Betty Buzz shares the same values, while also bringing a bit of new life and energy.

I appreciate Sean and the British Airways team for championing a female-founded business in such a meaningful way. Can’t wait to fly with you all!

On Monday 8 November, British Airways marked the reopening of borders between the US and UK, with a one-off return of its prestigious BA001 flight number which was previously used for Concorde.  And, the Empire State Building was lit up in red, white and blue to honour this historic day.

Read about BA001 – the first British Airways transatlantic flight since the US travel ban was lifted

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO said:

As the US lifts its travel restrictions after 19 months of separation, we are already seeing the benefits of doing face-to-face business.  Following the successful introduction of Betty Buzz at the Aviation Gin bar in our JFK lounge, we will be rolling it out across all our US lounges.

As more of our lounges re-open, we continue to excite our returning customers with exclusive partnerships like Betty Buzz.


Transatlantic take-off, synchronised

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic made history today, when their first flights of the day took part in a fully-synchronised joint take-off from London’s Heathrow Airport.

British Airways Flight BA001 – a flight number previously reserved for Concorde – left Heathrow at 08:30 this morning, 8 November, in a first-ever synchronised take-off with Virgin Atlantic flight VS3.

The spectacular double take-off were the airlines’ first flights to the United States since the restrictions on UK and EU passengers were first imposed in March 2020.

British Airways flight BA001 and Virgin Atlantic VS3 performed a synchronised joint take-off from London’s Heathrow Airport this morning

The first British Airways flight to the United States since the lifting on that country’s restrictions used sustainable aviation fuel.

The British Airways A350 flight was directly powered by a 35% blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) provided by bp and made from used cooking oil. The airline claims it is believed to be the first commercial transatlantic flight ever to be operated with such a significant level of the fuel blended with traditional jet fuel.

In September, British Airways announced a collaboration with bp to source sustainable aviation fuel in
respect of all flights between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh during the UK COP26 conference.
British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group recently committed to operating 10% of
its flights using SAF by 2030.

Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive thanked the UK government and the Biden administration for their work to remove the barriers to transatlantic travel

The lifting of US restrictions after more than 600 days means that fully vaccinated Britons are now able to travel freely between the two countries – something that has not happened since 16 March 2020.

The changes have enabled British Airways to re-start direct services to 17 US destinations. The airline is set to extend its services to 23 US airports this winter, with up to 246 flights a week. Flights to New York will increase from five to eight per day in December. There will also be double-daily services to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Dallas, Miami and Toronto, as well as daily services to Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Atlanta, Denver, Houston and Vancouver.

UK Ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce DCMG, said:

Today is an incredibly exciting and meaningful day for the UK-US relationship. We can all once again travel to each other’s countries to visit families, take holidays, and conduct transatlantic business. I am absolutely thrilled that safe and sustainable travel can fully resume between the UK and the United States.

Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive said:

Today is a time for celebration, not rivalry.  Together with British Airways we are delighted to mark today’s important milestone, which finally allows consumers and businesses to book travel with confidence.  The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years and we are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic.  We’ve been steadily ramping up flying to destinations including Boston, New York, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and we can’t wait to fly our customers safely to their favourite US cities to reconnect with loved ones and colleagues.

As the UK forges its recovery from the pandemic, the reopening of the transatlantic corridor and the lifting of Presidential Order 212F acknowledges the great progress both nations have made in rolling out successful vaccine programmes. The UK will now be able to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, the US, through boosting trade and tourism. We are thankful to Prime Minister Johnson and the UK Government, the Biden administration and our industry partners for their support in removing these barriers and allowing free travel between our countries to resume.

Secretary of State, Grant Shapps said

Thanks to the work of industry and the US-UK Experts Working Group, these vitally important flight routes will help boost the economy, protect and create British jobs and through the work of the Jet Zero Council help to build back greener.

British Airways’ Club Suite rollout

British Airways is extending the roll out of its newest business class seat, Club Suite, as it continues to retrofit the seat across its Boeing 777 fleet, with the deployment expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

The airline already has retrofitted a number of its Boeing 777 aircraft with the latest seat and will be working with Collins Aerospace to ensure the rest of the airline’s 777 aircraft are fitted with the new cabin.

The sophisticated Club Suite was initially fitted out in July 2019 on the first A350 and since then has been installed on the Boeing 787-10 aircraft.

The seat offers

  • direct-aisle access
  • a suite door for greater privacy
  • luxurious flat-bed seats
  • a 1-2-1 configuration
  • 40% more storage
  • a vanity unit and mirror
  • WiFi
  • 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens
  • high definition, gate-to-gate programming
  • PC/USB power

As part of the airline’s commitment to the North Atlantic, all British Airways flights to New York JFK will be operated by aircraft that have the airline’s Club Suite product.

Sajida Ismail, Head of Inflight Product at British Airways, said:

When we launched our Club Suite product, it was a huge hit with our customers who loved the privacy the new seat offers. We are focused on the roll out of this product and other cabin enhancements to ensure we deliver on our commitment to provide the very best British quality, style and comfort for our customers.

Trevor Skelly, General Manager Integration Engineering for Collins Aerospace, said:

The upgraded Club World cabin raises British Airways’ already high standards and provides commonality across their fleet of aircraft. Our Integration Engineering team has worked closely with British Airways designers for several years to bring the latest in business class comfort, style and privacy from concept to reality.

As part of the upgrade, the airline’s Club Kitchen is also getting a makeover with new Club chillers and built-in storage for snacks, drinks and other refreshments, allowing customers in Club World to help themselves to refreshments at their leisure.

British Airways is continuing with the roll out of its newest business class seat, Club Suite, as it continues to retrofit the seat across its Boeing 777 fleet, with the roll out expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
Collins Aerospace is a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defence industry. Manufacturing of the new suite seat is being completed at the company’s facility in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland.

The latest generation of the First cabin including the introduction of the First suite door will also continue to be rolled out across the airline’s B777-300 aircraft. The First suites were meticulously designed based on British Airways customers’ feedback, the cabin puts comfort at the heart of the experience and makes the very best use of the generous space designed for just a few customers at a time.  The First suite includes a fixed 23-inch high definition inflight entertainment screen that can be controlled with an integrated handset.

Travel industry leaders explain how they plan to meet their carbon targets

This month, world leaders are gathering in Glasgow to determine policies and commitments to reduce global warming, reverse climate change and ameliorate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Leading the way in these efforts are some of the world’s leading airlines and travel suppliers, including Global Travel Management.  

We asked a number of airlines and travel companies to tell us how they intend to meet their emission targets.  And we asked them to do so in a very brief video clip.  Below, you can see each of the responses.  

First was British Airways who intend to meet their self-imposed target of net zero emissions by 2050 thanks to fuel efficient aircraft, carbon offsetting and sustainable aviation fuel. 

Lufthansa Group aims to cut its CO2 emissions by 50% by the end of this decade as a step to becoming net zero by 2050.  Kevin Young explains how passengers can select the way their preferred method of delivering these targets. 

United Airlines aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 by using sustainable aviation fuel, carbon sequestration and the use of new aeroplanes, including electric aircraft.  

Emirates intends to drive down CO2 emissions by the use of modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, as well as the use of more efficient logistical and operational techniques, such as the use of ground-supplied power where possible. 

Air Canada highlights aircraft and engine efficiency as the most important factor in driving down greenhouse gas emissions.

And it’s not just airlines that are driving down carbon emissions in the travel sector.  Travel data supplier Travelogix is on track to becoming net zero as soon as 2025, including the exclusive use of green, renewable energy across global data centres.  

Global Travel Management’s Carbon Offset Programme enables businesses to offset the carbon cost of their business travel by sponsoring reforestation efforts.
You can find out more about the GTM Carbon Offset Programme, above.


British Airways adds former red list countries to its network

Following the welcome news that a significant number of countries have been removed from the UK Government’s red list, British Airways is resuming services and increasing frequencies to a number of destinations.

British Airways is set to ramp up services to popular winter sun destination South Africa, with double daily services to Johannesburg expected by mid-December. The airline will also restart services to Cape Town, offering three flights a week in November, before moving to a double daily service in December.

The airline’s services to Mexico City will also be increasing to five services a week from November 6, and Cancun flights will resume from October 22 and operate daily.

Elsewhere popular South American destinations Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires are set to return in time for Christmas.

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

It finally feels like we are seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel. Britain will benefit from this significant reduction in red list countries, and now it’s time to turn our attention to eradicating testing for fully vaccinated travellers to ensure we don’t lose our place on the global stage.

Once we have a firm date for the reopening of US borders in November, we look forward to reconnecting our two countries, reigniting transatlantic businesses and reuniting families who have been separated for the best part of two years. We are ready, and we look forward to operating our first flights and welcoming back our customers.

The news of frequency increases and additions to its flight schedule, follows an announcement from British Airways yesterday that is planning on operating its biggest schedule since March 2020. Despite no firm date from government on US borders reopening, the airline is planning to increase flights to the US from early November and will even be bringing back its much loved A380 to operate some of these services.

Customers booking with British Airways can do so with absolute confidence, thanks to the airline’s flexible booking policy. Customers are able to exchange their booking for a voucher or move their dates without incurring a change fee if their plans change.

Seven of the best

Twenty five years ago, Frankie Dettori achieved the remarkable feat of riding seven out of seven winners at British Champions’ Day at Ascot Racecourse.

Dettori’s achievement – winning aboard Wall Street, Diffident, Mark of Esteem, Decorated Hero, Fatefully, Lochangel and Fujiyama Crest – became known as The Magnificent Seven.

And now, to help Ascot Racecourse and Frankie Dettori to celebrate the quarter century anniversary, we have asked our clients, partners, colleagues and friends to tell us their favourite airlines and airports, in order to produce our own Magnificent Seven.

Here’s what they came up with…

Magnificent Seven airlines

British Airways, easyJet, Lufthansa, Qantas, Qatar Airways, SAS, Swiss

And some selected comments about these airlines

British Airways “I like to travel with British Airways personally especially for long flights as I find them more comfortable and they provide  decent food and drinks”.

easyJet “Of course low-cost is what it is, but I believe they are a cut above the rest in how you are treated, and how fair and clear they are about their policies and extra charges. With most of the other low-cost carriers, I always get the feeling that they are trying to somehow trick you into spending extra at every single step, be it online check in, or lack thereof, constantly changing cabin bag size limits, etc, but easyJet are much more upfront about everything, and you know where you stand”.

Lufthansa “Lufthansa offers everything I need for business trips and seems to get better and better every year”.

Qantas “Modern cabins, good schedules, but above all, their people are amazing throughout, from check in to baggage reclaim through, of course their cabin crew. I´ve flown both business and economy with them, and they treat you like a star all the way, every time, every class of service”.

Qatar Airways “Long haul I like Qatar Airlines – definitely the best business class I have experienced.  Only once been upgraded to first which was brilliant!”

SAS “Efficient. On time. The routes serve my purposes perfectly”.

Swiss “I have only ever had excellent services when flying on Swiss”.

Some of the other airlines mentioned in the favourite category include Virgin Atlantic, Ryanair and, pre-pandemic, Flybe.

Magnificent seven airports

London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Dublin, Manchester, Singapore Changi, Southampton

The poll was unscientific and based entirely on opinions. Do you agree with the lists? Do you have a different favourite airline or airport? If so, join the conversation on Twitter, with the hashtag #MagnificentSeven and tweet us on @globaltravelmgt

British and Irish Airways

British Airways welcomed the 37-strong British & Irish Lions squad on board a special charter flight, as they travelled from Edinburgh to Johannesburg for the start of their eagerly-awaited South African Tour.

Following their clash against Japan for The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup at BT Murrayfield Stadium yesterday, they were greeted with warm words of encouragement by the crew of flight BA9111, including their pilot Captain Richard Allen-Williams, British Airways’ Chief Pilot, Training.

Enjoying the safety and comfort of a British Airways’ 777-300, the players were served with a selection of hot meals and snacks during the 11-hour 30-minute flight to ensure they arrive match fit and ready to take on all-comers.

The eight-game tour of South Africa will see the best players from the UK & Ireland pitted against the World Champions, the Springboks, in three Tests. The Lions and Springboks squads will both be carried across the country during the Tour by British Airways’ franchise partner, Comair.

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

We are honoured to be flying The British & Irish Lions to South Africa ahead of their Tour. After a difficult year, we look forward to uniting the nation through sport and cheering them on. From everyone at British Airways, we wish them the best of luck and hope to carry them home as champions.

Ben Calveley, Managing Director for The British & Irish Lions, said:

We are delighted to be flying with British Airways for the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series. We know the squad and management will receive a warm welcome from British Airways staff and enjoy a safe, comfortable journey to South Africa, landing in Johannesburg ready to take on the world champions.

British Airways is also reinforcing its commitment to sport as the airline is currently the Principal Partner to Twickenham Stadium, Official Airline Partner to England Rugby and has been the Official Airline Partner to Team GB and Paralympics GB since 2008.

British Airways doubles reward seat availability

British Airways has significantly increased the number of seats that can be booked using Avios, the reward currency used by the airline, on every flight.

The airline has always guaranteed that at least a certain number of reward seats – seats available to book using Avios – will be available on each flight. The airline has doubled this guaranteed minimum number of reward seats in Euro Traveller (short-haul economy), Club Europe (short-haul business class), World Traveller (long-haul economy) and Club World (long-haul business class). It has also added guaranteed availability in World Traveller Plus, British Airways’ popular long-haul premium economy cabin, for the first time. The extra availability is on flights from 28 July 2021.

Number of guaranteed bookable reward seats available on any British Airways flight doubled: more than 250,000 additional reward seats made available, for travel from 28 July

Reward seats are seats that can be booked using Avios, paying a cash amount covering just taxes, fees and carrier charges. On short-haul, return flights start from as little as £1 plus Avios, and on long-haul, £100 plus Avios. The cash and Avios amounts can be flexed to account for people with differing Avios budgets. They are separate from Avios part payment, where Avios is used to reduce the cost of any ticket, in all cabins, on all flights.

In addition to the guaranteed seats, British Airways regularly makes millions of extra reward seats available to destinations across its network. The recent changes mean that over 250,000 extra reward seats have been added to British Airways’ booking system.

As summary of the changes is as follows

  • Cabin – change – guaranteed reward seats pre 8 July flights – flights 8 July onwards
  • Euro Traveller – doubling – 4 – 8
  • Club Europe – doubling – 2 – 4
  • World Traveller – doubling – 4 – 8
  • World Traveller Plus new guaranteed availability – 0 – 2
  • Club World – doubling – 2 – 4

Tom Stevens, Director of Brand and Customer Experience at British Airways, said

Our Members appreciate the benefits their Executive Club membership brings, but the feedback we hear is that people would like us to make it easier to book flights using Avios. We have listened and acted on this, and today’s announcement directly addresses this feedback, opening up six extra reward seats on a short-haul flight, and eight on a long-haul flight. We hope this means that a family holiday, or that big friendship group trip away, will be much easier to book using Avios.

Adam Daniels, Chief Executive at IAG Loyalty which manages the Avios currency, said

This is an exciting change that we have worked closely with the British Airways team to deliver. We hope it offers Executive Club Members even more opportunities to spend their hard earned Avios.

This is the latest step in a series of improvements British Airways has made to its Executive Club. In March, the airline announced it was protecting the Tier status of Executive Club Members for a further year. In February, British Airways announced a six-month extension to all Executive Club vouchers, due to expire before 31 December 2021. This was the third extension to have been applied, following similar extensions in March 2020 and October 2020. British Airways is also adding an additional six-months validity to all new Companion Vouchers or Travel Together tickets earned between June 2020 and the end of December 2021.

British Airways continues to reduce the amount of Tier Points needed to reach each Tier by 25% for those whose Tier Point collection year ends before July 2022.