Posts

British Airways further expands its US network

British Airways is ramping up its US route network this summer, taking its direct US routes to London to 26. 

BA 267: Portland, Oregon International Airport welcomes British Airways and the only direct route between London (Heathrow) and Oregon.

Portland, Oregon has become the newest destination on the British Airways route map, providing the city’s only direct route to the UK.

Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ Director of Networks and Alliances said: 

This summer British Airways will be flying from 26 US cities to London and we’re very excited to be adding Portland to our list of transatlantic destinations. Not only are we the only airline to offer direct flights from Portland to London, but this new route also opens a wide variety of connections for our customers. Through Alaska Airlines, our oneworld partner, British Airways will offer codeshare connections to several destinations operated by Alaska Airlines from Portland.

British Airways has also relaunched its direct route from Pittsburgh to London.  It remains the only airline to offer a direct flight from the Pennsylvanian city to London.

The airline will resume a year-round four-per-week service – Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

On 6 June, the airline launched a new, daytime flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow – its third daily flight from Newark to London, to support the return of business travel.

The daytime flight will depart at 7.55am from Newark – a convenient option for travellers wishing to spend an extra night in the New York area before departing, or for those who wish to arrive just in time for an evening in London. 

With this additional flight time, British Airways along with its joint business partner, American Airlines will offer ‘the most extensive network from the New York area to London’ with fifteen daily departures this summer, including eleven daily flights from JFK to Heathrow and one daily flight from JFK to Gatwick.

This summer also marks the return of daily direct flights from San Jose, California, to London on 13 June; and the return of A380 aircraft to more North American airports.

Chicago and Vancouver were the latest cities to welcome home the Airbus.

Meanwhile, Dallas Fort Worth is preparing to welcome the A380 for the first time on 1 July. 

The aircraft, which is British Airways’ and the airline industry’s largest, offers a choice of First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins and has a total of 469 seats. 

There are twelve A380s in the British Airways fleet. Image shows a British Airways Airbus flying over the cliffs at Dover, taken by Wing Commander Neil Frazer from the backseat of Red 10, one of the Red Arrows jets flown by Squadron Leader Mike Ling.

British Airways returns to short-haul European flying from Gatwick

After two years British Airways returned to international short-haul flying from Gatwick Airport when its first service departed for Larnaca at 6:25am on 29 March.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the airline suspended its European operation at Gatwick Airport, moving a number of flights over to Heathrow.

The restart marks a milestone in the airline’s recovery as it finally returns to international short-haul flying from the airport.

Initially services operate under the British Airways Air Operators Certificate, before moving operations to a new British Airways branded subsidiary, BA Euroflyer later in the year. The new airline will operate in a similar manner to the company’s existing subsidiary BA Cityflyer, flying under the British Airways brand and delivering a premium British Airways product.

British Airways crew at London’s Gatwick airport

On the first day of operation, British Airways operated four short-haul flights to Larnaca, Amsterdam, Paphos and Tenerife. In total, customers will have the choice of 35 destinations to fly to from Gatwick, before more destinations are added later this year.

Not only has the British Airways return to Gatwick created more choice for customers, but also helped create jobs as the airline undertook both a cabin crew and pilot recruitment campaign to fill positions at its new subsidiary.

Tom Stoddart, Acting CEO British Airways Euroflyer, said

Today marks a significant milestone for British Airways as we operate our first European services from Gatwick in two years.

I am really proud of what we have created at Gatwick, we have an excellent team with lots of new and exciting talent. I am looking forward in anticipation to see our newest subsidiary grow, adding new routes and providing customers with more options to get away on holiday with a premium British Airways service.”

Millar Smith, British Airways Euroflyer Crew member, said:

I was over the moon when I found out that I had been accepted as crew for British Airways, it is my dream job! Before this I worked as a 999 handler for the London Ambulance Service, which has been incredibly useful throughout my training with the airline. British Airways is a premium British airline and that is what excited me about the job role. My first service will be to Tenerife and I can’t wait!

Customers flying on the airline’s new subsidiary 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 at -24 hours and frequent flyer benefits which include lounge access.

All of the airline’s services will have a Club Europe (business class) cabin setting it apart from its no frills competitors. Customers flying in this cabin will have access to a premium check-in experience, exclusive lounges and a complimentary gourmet meal and bar service on board.

Customers in the airline’s Euro Traveller (economy) cabin will be able to purchase food before travel which will include fresh options from Tom Kerridge as part of the airline’s ‘Speedbird Café’ menu and/or order ambient products and drinks onboard via their mobile phone.

The return of European short-haul flying from Gatwick came a day after the airline returned to its home at Gatwick South Terminal following its reopening.

To mark the occasion the airline also showed off its new dedicated World Traveller Plus check-in zone which is available for customers flying on a long-haul service with the airline.

The new zone which sits alongside the airline’s Club World desks gives those travelling in its World Traveller Plus cabin (premium economy) an exclusive check-in experience.

They will shortly be rolled out at Heathrow, followed by the rest of the British Airways network.

Qatar Airways to resume flights to London Gatwick

Qatar Airways is to resume flights to London Gatwick Airport from 5 June, 2022.

The airline will operate a daily service from Gatwick to Doha using a state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.

The resumption of the London Gatwick service complements recently launched flights to Doha from Gatwick by Qatar Airways’ Joint Business partner British Airways, meaning the airlines can now jointly offer more options between London and Doha and beyond, earning Avios frequent flyer points as they go.

UK customers will now have access to four gateways including five-times daily services from London Heathrow, 18-times weekly from Manchester and four-times weekly from Edinburgh rising to daily from 2 June.

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

Our commitment to the UK market has been unwavering and we operated continuously and reliably throughout the pandemic, so I am pleased we can resume our popular service to London Gatwick. We offer excellent connectivity to and from the UK, providing travellers with more choice and convenience. This year is very special for us, not least as it is the 25th anniversary of the start of our flights to London Heathrow in March 1997.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was announced as the ‘Airline of the Year’ at the 2021 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. It was also named ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Onboard Catering’ and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’. The airline continues to stand alone at the top of the industry having won the main prize for an unprecedented sixth time (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021).

Flights from the UK

London Gatwick – Twice daily (one daily Qatar Airways’ flight, one daily British Airways’ flight)

London Heathrow – Five times daily

Manchester – 18 flights a week

Edinburgh – Four flights a week, rising to daily from 2 June, 2022

How is Gatwick reducing turnaround times?

Aircraft turnarounds are being transformed at Gatwick with a new handheld digital platform that allows ground handlers to update air traffic controllers about changes to the turn process – in real time, direct from the apron – optimising efficiency, reducing delays and unnecessary fuel burn on the ground.

The new AirTurn platform means that information can be communicated quicker on changes to turn events – such as updates on baggage loading, refuelling or other aircraft preparations – giving the control tower a more accurate, real- time departure or Target Off-Block Time (TOBT) to feed into the airport’s overall flying programme.

Without the system, changes to aircraft turn events are updated through paperwork and radio communications – sometimes between several individuals at different locations – before being recorded into the system and communicated to the control tower and EUROCONTROL, the agency that manages air traffic management across Europe.

The AirTurn platform is accessed directly through Gatwick’s Community App which is already widely used by ground handling staff across the airport. It is also used by many other airports worldwide, including airports in VINCI Airports global network, and therefore has the potential to be rolled out across many other airports.AirTurn is the latest in a number of innovative solutions pioneered by Gatwick and highlights VINCI Airports’ commitment to innovation and improved stakeholder and passenger experience.

The innovation is part of VINCI Airports’ strategy to improve airport infrastructure and management, including the dissemination of innovative ideas across its network of 53 airports in twelve countries. Gatwick is an innovation centre of excellence for VINCI Airports and AirTurn is the latest in a number of innovative solutions pioneered by the airport that are now used in other airports in the VINCI Airports network, including the Airport Community App.

Both AirTurn and the Airport Community App were developed in partnership with AirportLabs.

Karl Sulsh, Innovation and Commercial IT, Gatwick Airport said

We are delighted to offer our new AirTurn platform more widely to our partners at Gatwick Airport, in what is a step forward in reducing delays and improving on-time performance. We created the platform after listening to our ground handlers and have delivered a digital solution that improves communication and provides fast, accurate information from the airfield in real time.

Gatwick and VINCI Airports are committed to creating innovative solutions for our partners and AirTurn is one of the key digital building blocks we are deploying to make the airport more efficient as we gear up for a busy 2022.

Keith Fogarty, Chief Operating Officer, Fenix/Red Handling UK said

AirTurn is a fantastic tool which supports our digitisation and sustainability agenda. Instead of radioing in the control room, we can now update the target off block time directly on our smartphones and that is immediately relayed to air traffic control tower and EUROCONTROL. Vitally, we have reduced our carbon footprint by eliminating the paperwork related to turn that would traditionally be printed off and stored in the trip files.

We are sure this will be an important tool for us, especially during the summer peak.

Steven Moore, Head of ATM Network Operations, EUROCONTROL said

In our role as EUROCONTROL Network Manager, we are currently embracing the digital transformation of our operational systems, so it is exciting to see innovative projects from our partners such as this new digital platform at Gatwick. The new app will allow A-CDM communication from the aircraft stand to EUROCONTROL, resulting in more accurate estimates of take-off time being provided to the Network Manager, benefitting the Network and it all its users.

Gatwick is the UK’s second largest airport and flies a range of both short and long-haul point-to-point services. The airport is a vital piece of the UK’s national infrastructure and is also a major driver for both the regional and national economies. In 2019, a new long-term partnership was formed with VINCI Airports which purchased a 50.01% stake in the airport.

Gatwick’s recovery continues with Vueling’s expansion at the airport

Gatwick has announced that Vueling is to expand their operations at the airport – including five new routes – which are now available to book for a well-earned Easter or Summer holiday, city break or trip to see friends and family.

Vueling’s expansion will see two aircraft based at Gatwick and – in addition to increased frequencies to its existing direct routes from Gatwick to Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, Santiago de Compostela, Paris-Orly, Rome and Florence – the airline will fly the five new routes to Malaga, Menorca, La Coruña, Sevilla and Granada. Two daily services to Malaga. 

Vuelling’s expansion builds on other recent announcements supporting Gatwick’s recovery with British Airways, Wizz Air, Emirates, TUI, Turkish and Westjet also increasing their schedules toward pre-pandemic levels, in addition to easyJet increasing the number of slots they will fly from the airport during the summer season.

Stephanie Wear, Vice President of Aviation Development, Gatwick Airport said: 

We are delighted to welcome Vueling’s expansion at Gatwick Airport. Their commitment to Gatwick is really positive news for both the airport, our partners and the local economy, as we continue to grow back following the impacts of COVID. The news also shows how attractive airport slots are at Gatwick.

The additional services Vueling will now be able to offer to Spain and Italy – including new routes to Sevilla, Granada and Menorca – is excellent news for passengers across London and the South East, providing more choice and competition to popular destinations.

Gatwick is the UK’s second largest airport and flies a range of both short and long-haul point-to-point services.

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.

Gatwick harnesses AI to improve passenger flow

London’s Gatwick Airport is to utilise artificial intelligence to make journeys through the airport quicker and easier.

Gatwick has selected Veovo’s Passenger Predictability solution to optimise security operations and improve passenger flow. The partnership will allow the airport to handle increasing passenger numbers and build ‘a more sustainable, passenger-centred travel experience’.

Veovo’s AI-powered technology gives Gatwick real-time awareness of people’s movement and experiences in the North and South terminal security areas. This insight guides the airport to plan layout and lane openings, predict bottlenecks and make informed decisions on the go.

This flexibility allows the airport to integrate and protect its existing stereo vision camera investments with new IoT sensors and data sources, thereby enhancing its understanding of customer behaviour across the airport.

Bronwen Jones, Development Director, Gatwick Airport, said,

Veovo’s cloud solution will help to make our business more resilient by allowing us to accurately measure passenger flow so that we can respond quickly and efficiently to any changes. The new technology will not only lead to smoother journeys for our passengers by increasing automation and optimising our processes, but it is also future-proofed, scalable and, by being cloud-hosted off-site, supports our commitment to sustainability by reducing our energy footprint.

Veovo claim their cloud software platform bundles analytics and ‘rich visualisations’ to ‘deliver historical, live and predicted insights into passenger density and flow by flight’. It provides metrics such as actual and forecasted waiting times, occupancy, and passenger throughput. This allows airports and their partners to prevent congestion, minimise wait times and comply with service-level agreements.

James Williamson, Veovo CEO, said,

We are delighted that the airport has chosen Veovo technology to help make the security checkpoint experience as efficient and smooth as possible. Harnessing all available data, together with behavioural science, will enable the airport to learn from the past, predict the future, and make more informed decisions. We are confident that it will present a unique opportunity for the airport to optimise processes and improve people flow.

London Gatwick joins a host of other major airports, including Manchester, Newark and Amsterdam Schiphol, that have adopted the queue and flow management solution. It enables the airports accurately to plan operations, provide situational awareness and make intelligent decisions in real-time to balance performance, customer experience and efficiency.

British Airways invests millions on reimagined and improved menus on flights from Gatwick

British Airways has made a multi-million pound investment in its catering on flights from London Gatwick, with “reimagined and improved” food across its short- and long-haul cabins.

Now available on all flights, the catering brings in new menus featuring new dishes and recipes as part of the airline’s £6.5bn investment for customers. The new food has a focus on provenance with the provider, Newrest, working closely with suppliers in the south of England to source the best quality ingredients.

Customers can enjoy the benefits across all long-haul cabins – World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy), Club World (business) and First – as well as Club Europe (business) on short-haul. 

A range of Marks & Spencer products continues to be on offer to Euro Traveller customers.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said:

This is the latest development in continuously improving our catering. We’re incredibly proud of this new offering, and we hope our customers enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed developing it.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

British Airways flies to more than 70 destinations from Gatwick, offering a variety of routes to suit both business and leisure travellers. So it’s great to see an improved selection of great, locally-sourced food being served on routes from London’s second airport.

As part of its £6.5bn investment for customers, British Airways has refreshed its Boeing 777 fleet at Gatwick. So, as well as Panasonic in-flight entertainment on 10″ (World Traveller) and 12″ (World Traveller Plus) screens, offering more choice of movies, television and audio programmes, British Airways passengers now have choices from superbly-improved menus.

If you’re flying on business from London Gatwick, contact your GTM Account Manager.

M23 closures may cause travel delay for Gatwick passengers

Passengers flying into or out of London Gatwick next week could face delays to their journeys as work continues in order to upgrade the M23 to a “smart motorway”.  During this period, there will be closures on the M23 as well as no access into Gatwick Airport from junction 9. 

Highways England have scheduled roadworks which will close parts of the M23 as well as the westbound spur of the M23.

  • On Monday 13 May, there will be a full southbound carriageway closure from the M23 Junction 8 to Junction 9. The southbound carriageway will be open from Junction 9, allowing traffic leaving Gatwick to use the motorway. Southbound traffic will be diverted via M25 Junction 6, A22 and A264 to join the M23 at Junction 10. Traffic for Gatwick will then follow a secondary diversion via Crawley (A2011, A23 and Airport Way) to reach the airport. And full northbound closure Junction 10 to Junction 8. Northbound traffic for Gatwick will be diverted off the motorway at Junction 10 and via the Crawley diversion.
  • On Tuesday 14 May, there will be a full closure of the southbound carriageway between Junction 8 and Junction 9. The southbound carriageway will be open from Junction 9, allowing traffic leaving Gatwick to use the motorway. Southbound traffic will be diverted via M25 Junction 6, A22 and A264 to join the M23 at Junction 10.
  • On Wednesday 15 to Thursday 16 May there will be a full northbound closure on the M23 from Junction 10-8 for two nights. Traffic will be diverted off the motorway at Junction 10. Traffic for Gatwick will follow the diversion route via Crawley (A2011, A23, Airport Way) to reach the airport. Traffic for the M25 will follow a signed diversion via A264 and A22 to join the M25 at Junction 6.
  • On Friday 17 May to Sunday 19 May the southbound exit slip and northbound exit slip from the M23 to Gatwick will be closed for traffic. There will be no access into Gatwick Airport from junction 9. The M23 main carriageway in both directions will be open for traffic. There will be a fully signed diversion route in place. Traffic for Gatwick will then follow a secondary diversion via Crawley (A2011, A23 and Airport Way) to reach the airport.

Sussex Police, Surrey Police and Local Authorities have approved the following diversions:

  • From Junction 10 of the M23 to Gatwick Airport– via the A2011, A23, Airport Way leading to the North and South Terminals.
  • To the M25 – via junction 10 of the M23, A264, A22 follow signs to Godstone and join M25 at junction 6.
Contact your GTM Account Manager if you need to re-arrange your travel plans

If you are travelling to or from Gatwick Airport on 17, 18 or 19 May, it is advisable to consider how best to make your journey to or from the airport.  These options could include:

  • Leaving considerably more time for your journey, as diversion routes are likely to be congested
  • Re-arranging flights either for alternative dates or via other London airports
  • Booking Gatwick Express – or other train services – to or from the airport
  • Switching from flights to Eurostar, where appropriate
  • Hiring a private jet

The closures are part of a £164milllion major scheme to upgrade the 11mile stretch of M23 between junctions 8 and 10.  The design phase started in 2016 and work commenced in July 2018, which completion due in the Spring of 2020.  This scheme aims to:

  • reduce congestion by smoothing the flow of traffic to improve journey times and make them more reliable
  • facilitate economic growth within the region, by providing much-needed capacity on the motorway
  • maximise motorway capacity while maintaining safety

The M23 is a crucial part of the UK strategic road network connecting Crawley and Gatwick Airport to the M25 motorway, routes into London and the rest of the UK.

Contact your GTM Account Manager if you want to change your travel plans, switch flights, pre-book Gatwick Express trips, book a Eurostar journey or hire a private jet during the M23 road closures.

Gatiwck to Milan on BA

British Airways to launch Gatwick – Milan route

Customers will soon be able to reach Milan from Gatwick with a year-round British Airways route to Milan Bergamo.  The six-per-week service launches on 1 September 2019.

Milano runway

Milan is Italy’s second city and is a renowned centre for art, commerce, design, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, services, research and tourism.

Bergamo Airport is conveniently nestled between some of Italy’s most picturesque lakes and Milan.  The airport is 45km from the fashion capital.  And for customers wishing to extend their business trip and to enjoy an extended sunshine escape, Bergamo is the closest gateway to Lake Como and driving distance from Lake Garda, as well as the Franciacorta Wine Region. Bergamo also borders the Alps, providing access to a number of ski resorts during winter.

Adam Carson, British Airways’ Managing Director of Gatwick, said:

Milan Bergamo adds another exciting destination to our Gatwick network and is perfectly located for a city break, a summer visit to the lakes or even a skiing holiday in the Alps.

From Gatwick we fly to over 70 destinations as our network continues to expand we’re adding new routes designed to appeal to both leisure and business customers.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of GTM, said:

Flying from Gatwick enables BA’s Milan-bound passengers additional choice and convenience.  And, as Milan Bergamo is perfectly located for the sunshine of Lake Como and Lake Garda, it’s a great way to turn a purely business trip into a “bleisure” trip – something more people are asking us to arrange for them.

Seats are available to book from today with flights operating from 1 September, every day of the week apart from Saturday. Fares start from £25 one-way in Euro Traveller and £99 in Club Europe.  They can pick from a range of savings by destination and cabin while still collecting Avios and Tier Points on their bookings.

To book a flight to Milan from Gatwick, contact your GTM Account Manager.