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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.

Heathrow works with British Airways and partners to demonstrate how aviation is moving towards the “Perfect Flight”

Britain’s aviation industry has come together to operate a net zero flight.

The short flight – British Airways BA1476 from London Heathrow to Glasgow Airport – was powered directly by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), provided by bp, blended at 35% with traditional jet fuel in accordance with technical aviation specifications. The remaining emissions produced by the flight were offset.

The aim of the flight was to show how far the aviation industry has progressed in its efforts to decarbonise over the last decade. Several factors within the journey were calibrated to achieve minimal emissions – from British Airways’ Airbus aircraft being pushed back by electric Mototok vehicles powered by Heathrow’s supply of 100% renewable electricity, to flying on the most direct routing and optimal flight level.

The flight was operated by an Airbus A320neo, the quietest and most fuel-efficient short-haul aircraft currently in British Airways’ fleet.

Air traffic controllers at NATS directed the aircraft on its continuous climb from Heathrow and descent into Glasgow, avoiding any levelling off, which causes an increase in fuel burn. The most direct routing was provided by NATS as well as the most optimal flight level and the aircraft was able to land without airborne holding; techniques that successfully saved fuel and reduced emissions.

The flight achieved a 62% CO2 emissions reduction compared to a decade ago – 34% from efficient aircraft and operations, 28% from the use of sustainable aviation fuel and the remaining 38% offset using high quality, verified carbon offsets.

This move towards the ‘Perfect Flight’ showcases a number of the solutions that can help to reduce emissions associated with flying. The industry can use sustainable fuels, reduce fuel consumption by using more efficient routes in the air, and utilise electric plug in power while on the ground to make flights more sustainable. Airports can also follow Heathrow’s lead by offsetting remaining emissions, using natural solutions such as tree planting and peatland restoration to remove carbon.

SAF is a proven technology that can work across the world to decarbonise aviation. While the solutions exist, the UK Government needs to urgently implement policies to scale up SAF, encourage the production of sustainable fuel and have the right price incentives for airlines to use it. This includes setting escalating mandates that requires a minimum of 10% SAF use by airlines by 2030, which British Airways and its parent company IAG committed to recently, increasing to at least 50% by 2050.

Heathrow has been at the forefront of advocacy and change on reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector. In addition to incorporating the first shipment of SAF into its fuel supply system back in June, the major airport has been running on 100% renewable electricity for almost 5 years, with ongoing plans to switch from gas heating by the mid-2030s, becoming fully zero carbon. 90% of the airport’s cars and small vehicles are electric, with £7m invested in electric charging points. Heathrow’s one of the best-connected airports in the country by public transport with Crossrail soon connecting travellers through central London in addition to the tube and Heathrow Express.

Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye told us:

The Perfect Flight shows that the solutions to deliver net zero flight exist, we just need to scale them up. The faster we scale up supply and use of sustainable aviation fuels, the faster we can decarbonise aviation and protect the benefits of flying in a world without carbon. What is needed urgently is for Government to introduce policies to increase the supply of SAF and to provide the right price incentives for airlines to use it.

British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, Sean Doyle said:  

This flight offered a practical demonstration of the progress we’re making in our carbon reduction journey. By working together with our industry partners we’ve delivered a 62% improvement in emissions reductions compared to a decade ago. This marks real progress in our efforts to decarbonise and shows our determination to continue innovating, working with Governments and industry and accelerating the adoption of new low carbon solutions to get us closer still to the Perfect Flight of the future.

With BA Better World, we’re making progress on our journey to a sustainable future and have adopted a range of short, medium and long-term initiatives to get us to net zero emissions. Together, we can build a future for aviation that delivers the wonders of air travel while reducing the impact on the environment.

Airbus’ Executive Vice President Corporate Affairs and Communications, Julie Kitcher, told us:

The A320neo is a great example of how far our industry has come.  It meets all the ICAO environmental standards thanks to advances in engines, aerodynamics, cabin and flight operations. The A320neo burns 20% less fuel, which means less CO2, compared to its predecessor and is 50% quieter. 

BP Aviation Division CEO, Martin Thomsen said:

We are honoured to join forces with British Airways on this important initiative. At bp we are focusing on working with hard-to-abate sectors, such as aviation, as part of our ambition to be net zero by 2050 or sooner and to help the world get there too. By working collaboratively with industries, we can help to accelerate decarbonisation and we believe SAF will be one of the key solutions to fulfil this for the aviation sector.

Glasgow Airport CEO, Derek Provan said:

This flight demonstrates the progress the industry has made during the last decade and how we can work collectively to decarbonise aviation. As one of the UK’s largest airport groups, we are committed to achieving net zero by mid 2030s. This involves decarbonising our own infrastructure, including the roll out of fixed electrical ground power (FEGP), which is powered using 100% renewable energy sources.

NATS CEO, Martin Rolfe said:

Live demonstrations like this show just what is possible and are an important step on the aviation industry’s path to net zero by 2050. We can learn a lot from flights like these, as they help us understand how to redesign the airspace over the UK and play our part in making flying sustainable for the future.

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 trials ‘world first’ 25-second Covid-19 test

British Airways is the first airline in the world to conduct a trial with medical tech company Canary Global, to assess how its Pelican Covid-19 Ultra Rapid Covid-19 test, which displays a result within 25 seconds, can play a role in opening up travel. 

The airline will be inviting flight and cabin crew to take the Pelican Covid-19 test and will compare the performance of the result against existing tests that they are already taking.  Recently approved for use in Europe and UK, the test is currently going through U.S. FDA approval and the airline is the first in the world to trial the new technology. Subject to successful evaluation the airline hopes to be able to offer the test technology on applicable routes where tests have to meet the stated specificity and sensitivity standards.



Pelican Covid-19 Ultra Rapid Covid-19 test: Highly intelligent saliva test can detect symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2, including variants

The test is a non-invasive saliva ultra-rapid digital antigen test that delivers 98% sensitivity and 100% specificity in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2. Users simply take a sample of their saliva into a disposable sensor unit, shake and insert it into a re-usable digital reader which is connected to a blue-tooth enabled device like a smartphone, and then wait for the results that appear through a mobile app. The test which probes for both the S and N SARS-Cov-2 protein is optimized to detect variants that have originated across the globe.

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

As we  start to see the opening up of travel we remain committed to exploring easy and affordable testing solutions to help our customers travel again, whether it’s for business, to reunite with family and friends or take a much-needed break abroad. We think this new ultra-rapid test is a game changer so we are delighted to work with the team at Canary to begin initial trials with our flight and cabin crew, before exploring what role it could play as a customer testing option.

Raj Reddy, Canary’s CEO and inventor of the technology said:

Raj Reddy is CEO of
Ontario-based Canary Global

Combining the power of nanosensor and digital detection technology, the Pelican CV19 test is the first ultra-rapid test that can return a PCR-like accuracy of 98% sensitivity and 100% specificity. We developed the test with the travel industry in mind where speed, accuracy and ease of use are paramount. We are very excited to partner with BA as pioneer and industry leader to trial this test; and we hope the Pelican test can soon be used as a standard test for travellers and crew around the world.

Canary Global is in discussions with other travel, hospitality and events organisers around the world to help them safely open up with the Pelican ultra-rapid Covid-19 test. The test could also help to safely open up other business and schools. Canary is currently ramping up its production to meet the global demand.

British Airways has consistently championed testing as a way to re-open travel safely, and has ensured its customers have access to a wide range of discounted Covid-19 pre-departure, return to the UK and arrivals testing options.

British Airways is flying 27 tonnes of medical aid to Delhi

As the humanitarian crisis in India worsens, British Airways has announced it will fly a Boeing 777-200 aircraft loaded with emergency aid to Delhi to support the Indian government as the country continues to battle rising Coronavirus cases with dwindling oxygen supplies.

1,349 items of aid will depart on an aircraft specially chartered by British Airways and supported by volunteers from the airline to ensure life-saving supplies reach the country urgently. British Airways Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle says the airline has offered the support free.


Khalsa Aid is an international NGO with the aim to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world

The airline commissioned a special project team to organise the flight, due to leave on Wednesday 5 May at 5pm, landing in Delhi at 5.45am (local time) on Thursday 6 May. The aircraft is loaded with more than a thousand items from the High Commission of India and charities including Khalsa Aid International and the largest Hindu Temple outside of India, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, in Neasden, London.

The load includes hundreds of urgent life-saving oxygen cylinders and shipments of oxygen concentrators, respirators and blood oxygen saturation monitors.  British Airways is also donating care packages for families in need.

While IAG Cargo and British Airways have maintained a vital air link between London and India throughout the pandemic, sending aid on scheduled flights, this air lift is a special charter, fully funded by the two companies.  


Captain Minesh Patel, commanding the relief service, is a member of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chief Executive and CEO, said:

The British Airways family has been deeply affected by the terrible scenes in India of the deepening humanitarian crisis that has impacted the lives of many of our people. We are fortunate to be in a position to help transport aid and I am so proud of the volunteers from across the airline and IAG Cargo who have stepped up to make this happen. We continue to stand with our friends in India as the country endures one of the worst crises it has ever known.

British Airways works in partnership with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which is organising the UK’s humanitarian response.  Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, said: 

The DEC brings together 14 leading UK aid charities to respond quickly and effectively to disasters, with the fantastic support of partners in the corporate sector, including British Airways. We are hugely grateful to British Airways for springing into action to support our emergency appeals, enabling us to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to people in India and elsewhere across the world when disaster strikes.

Captain Minesh Patel has been instrumental in helping to organise the flight and is commanding the relief service.  He said:

It seemed natural to connect British Airways with the wealth of aid and relief material amassed by BAPS in the UK to enable the medical supplies to reach the organisation’s volunteers in India who can provide relief, medical and social aid to the victims in the worst affected regions.

The airline’s people have also raised several thousand pounds for the DEC’s appeal through internal online donations.  

You can find out more about the Disasters Emergency Committee coronavirus appeal here:
www.dec.org.uk/appeal/coronavirus-appeal