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British Airways Ditches 747 For Airbus A380


September 27, 2007

British Airways ended decades of loyalty to Boeing's 747 jumbo with a switch to Airbus's new A380 superjumbo on Thursday as it announced a mixed plane order worth up to USD$8.2 billion.


The order for 12 superjumbos from Airbus and 24 787 Dreamliners from Boeing will replace 34 of the airline's older long-haul planes.


BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh told reporters the airline would use the superjumbo to make best use of its limited take-off slots at London's crowded Heathrow Airport.


He denied the company had experienced political pressure to buy the superjumbo, the wings and engines of which will be built in Britain.


"There was absolutely none," he told reporters. "There was no contact, be it formal or informal. The decision was made in the best interest of British Airways. In the engines, the choice of Rolls-Royce was because British is best."


The A380 is the biggest airliner in production, and its first delivery due next month, to Singapore Airlines, comes after wiring troubles triggered a costly two-year delay and management upheaval at Airbus.


The double-decker has a maximum seating capacity of 853 passengers, though most airlines plan to use configurations of fewer than 650, which is still a jump from Boeing's jumbo, which BA currently flies with a maximum of 351 seats.


BA took delivery of its first jumbo on April 22, 1970, becoming just the fifth airline to get one.


"It's an excellent boost for UK manufacturing, with Airbus and Rolls-Royce plants benefiting," said Tony Woodley of Britain's biggest union, Unite. "This order will secure many thousands of jobs."


Analysts said BA had probably received significant discounts as Boeing and Airbus battled for the high-profile orders.


"With the A380 likely to have been heavily discounted, and a reasonable discount on 24 787s also applied, we'd estimate the real value of the order at around GBP3 billion pounds (USD$6 billion)," said analyst Andrew Fitchie at Collins Stewart.


Walsh declined to discuss discounts, which are common in the industry, but said: "I'm very pleased with the way Boeing and Airbus approached this."


The superjumbo will fly on routes from London to Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa and the west coast of the United States.


The 24 mid-sized 787 Dreamliners, a model whose rapid sales have revived Boeing's fortunes, will be used to open up new routes and increase the frequency of flights on existing ones.


The 787 breaks new ground with a fuselage made of light-weight carbon composite, and is due to enter service next year.


The two types of new aircraft will be delivered between 2010 and 2014, and BA said it had also taken options for a further seven Airbus superjumbos and 18 of Boeing's Dreamliners.


The airline said both aircraft types would be powered by engines from Rolls-Royce, which said it could make up to USD$5 billion from the deal if all options become firm orders.


BA said it was considering aircraft to replace a further 37 Boeing 747s and is examining the Boeing 777-300 ER, the Airbus A350XWB, as well as a stretched version of Boeing's 787, the 787-10, which the planemaker has yet to launch.


"This puts big pressure on Boeing to actually launch the 787-10," said one London-based brokerage analyst.


Another said that while Airbus had scored a major victory in selling the superjumbo to BA, it had missed a key opportunity to secure a deal for its newest plane, the A350 XWB, and selling it to BA would remain a priority for the planemaker.


BA has arranged for a group of banks to provide USD$1.5 billion of debt financing to cover its firm orders to the end of 2011.




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With the 787 order I'm holding out hope that BA will continue flying to SYD. Surely they can spare us that one flight on a lean aircraft. It'd also be in their desire to look prestigious (ok maybe clutching at straws with this one) - so win-win. Pretty please! :pardon:

Nothing wrong with flying QF or CX to Asia and Europe - but I do like some choice. :)

Edited by Keith T

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QF back to FCO...temporarily - JUL 2008


Qantas on passenger pilgrimage to Rome


Steve Creedy | September 28, 2007


AUSTRALIAN travellers will next July get their first chance in five years to fly to Rome on Qantas, thanks to a surge in demand from pilgrims wanting to attend World Youth Day.


Qantas will return to Rome for the first time since 2003 to pick up the pilgrims, and the public will have a chance to buy seats on "positioning flights" going in the opposite direction.


Prices start at $1711 one way, including taxes with a return fare costing $2752 all inclusive.


"It's kind of backwards to forwards," said Qantas spokesman Lloyd Quartermaine.


"The World Youth Day ones will have all the pilgrims on them and the flights going there initially from Australia will be open to the public."


The airline announced yesterday it would fly three services to Rome and one to Los Angeles to bring passengers to the event.


As many as 600,000 pilgrims are expected to congregate at Sydney's Randwick Racecourse to see the Pope celebrate mass.


Qantas said it was prepared to add even more flights if demand warranted.


Qantas executive general manager John Borghetti said: "Qantas is a major sponsor for World Youth Day and we have already seen a large number of advance bookings from overseas for this important event. There is demand for pilgrims to attend World Youth Day across the Qantas network, but it is particularly strong from Italy and the United States."


Qantas will operate flights from Rome on July 5, 8 and 12, returning on July 21, 25 and 28.


This means the public will be able to buy tickets on flights between Sydney and Rome on July 4, 7 and 11 and on the return leg on July 22, 26 and 29.


The Sydney-LA leg open to the public will be on July 9, returning on July 23. The flying kangaroo was last seen in Rome in 2003 but the Qantas group has not given up on the city as a destination.


Jetstar is looking closely at possible destinations in southern Europe for one-stop services for its Boeing 787 Dreamliners after they begin arriving next year.


Rome and Athens top the list of potential destinations but the airline has not ruled out flying as far as Germany.


For those who don't know - World Youth Day is a triennial pilgrimage of Catholic youths from all over the world, hosted in a different city each time. MH was the major sponsor for Australian pilgrims for the last World Youth Day - Germany in 2005.

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Airbus's release:


British Airways to buy 12 Airbus A380 aircraft for long haul fleet

27 September 2007


British Airways will buy 12 Airbus A380 aircraft as part of the airlines’ long term fleet modernisation. The announcement marks the first time British Airways has selected to introduce Airbus aircraft for the company’s long haul fleet. The decision vindicates Airbus’ product strategy. The A380 is a key part of the solution for sustainable growth and eco efficiency in air transportation.


The aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce engines.


“The Airbus A380 will provide a great solution for our high density markets and get the most out of scarce London Heathrow slots. We said that environmental considerations would feature highly in our choice and our decision to buy these aircraft is consistent with this”, said Willie Walsh, British Airways Chief Executive.


“British Airways’ decision is another breakthrough for our flagship Airbus A380. After an intensive year-long competitive evaluation British Airways’ choice is proof our product is the right aircraft to tackle growth, airport capacity constraints as well as environmental concerns. We are delighted British Airways will be flying Airbus aircraft for the first time on their long haul routes”, said Tom Enders, Airbus CEO.


Being greener, cleaner, quieter and smarter, the A380 is already setting new standards for transport and the environment. The aircraft is the most fuel efficient aircraft flying today. The combination of extra passenger capacity without increasing the number of flights, excellent environmental performance and lower operating costs is an ideal solution for the airports and the airlines that serve them.


For passengers, the A380 offers wider, more comfortable seats in all classes and the quietest cabins in the sky. Its unique double-deck wide body architecture also gives airlines flexibility to economically offer improved comfort standards without reducing fleet capacity. To current standards for larger premium class products, the A380 can typically carry 525 passengers in three classes in unprecedented comfort on flights of over 8000 nm (15 000km).


British Airways first became an Airbus operator in 1988, when it began flying A320s. The airline added the A319s to its fleet in 1999 and the A321 in 2004. British Airways currently operate a total of 68 A320 family aircraft.


Airbus is an EADS company.










Boeing's release:


Boeing Statement on British Airways Fleet Selection


SEATTLE, Sept. 27, 2007 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] is honored that British Airways has selected the 787 Dreamliner as a key element of its long-haul fleet renewal.


The superior efficiency and economics of the 787 will directly contribute to British Airways' financial objectives. The advanced engines and cutting-edge design will significantly reduce CO2 emissions by 20 percent as well as significantly reduce community noise. The noise footprint of the 787 is more than 60 percent smaller than those of today's similarly sized airplanes. The unprecedented cabin environment of the Dreamliner will enable British Airways to offer breakthrough travel experiences for its passengers.


"Boeing has been a supplier and partner to British Airways for more than 50 years. We are honored that British Airways has chosen to join the 787 family of operators," said Marlin Dailey, vice president of Sales for Europe, Russia and Central Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.


Boeing looks forward to finalizing the contractual details of British Airways' selection.

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TPG/BA Bid For Iberia Seen Late October


September 28, 2007

A formal bid for Iberia is likely to be made towards the end of next month as US private equity firm TPG and British Airways look to seal one of Europe's biggest airline takeovers, sources familiar with the deal said on Thursday.


The consortium, which also includes two Spanish partners, finished due diligence checks on the company in early September and has invited banks to join the financing, the sources said.


Despite a global credit crunch jamming up leveraged buyout deals all over the world, financing for the acquisition of Iberia is progressing smoothly, the sources said, although it may have some impact on the price.


The consortium submitted an indicative offer of 3.60 euros (USD$5.10) per share in March, valuing the airline at around EUR3.4 billion, but concerns over global credit and the airline's initial reluctance to open its books has kept Iberia's stock below the approach price since July 26.


"The group has all the excuses to lower its offer," one of the sources said on Thursday, adding that recent turmoil in the credit markets increases the cost of debt.


The biggest risk in cutting the bid value would be a counter-offer from Air France-KLM, which has never ruled out being interested in the airline. A Spanish media report on Wednesday said it was preparing for a bid.


British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh said on Thursday he was "pleased" at the way due diligence had gone after the group spent over a month looking over the books in Madrid.


Despite this, the consortium was denied access to detailed information on the profitability of key routes, because its rival, BA would see them.


But if they fail to get a clear picture, the group may hold off making an outright bid and instead ask for more information, one of the sources close to the deal said.


Alternatively the group could announce a bid price range and wait to fix the exact price until after it has seen further information on profitability.


"The price will be decided at the last minute. It depends not only on current profitability but also trends within the sector," the same source said.


The source added that the outlook for Madrid-Barcelona flights -- the world's busiest route -- was key as a high-speed rail link between the two starts late this year.


A rival bid could still emerge from Air France-KLM, which is talking to Spanish investment firms Torreal and Inversiones Hemisferio, controlled by business entrepreneurs Juan Abello and Jose Manuel Lara respectively, one source familiar with the situation said.


However, Air France's possible interest in ailing Italian airline Alitalia is delaying a decision on whether to launch a bid for Iberia, the source said.


"Air France may take a close look at Iberia but in the end we think it is unlikely they will make a bid. There is just too much overlap on Latam routes. It already operates in those markets so it is not gaining anything," BNP Paribas analyst Geoff Van Klaveren said.




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Apparently, BA feels threatened by the AF-DL pact and upcoming flights between LHR-LAX v.v. :rofl:


British Airways Circles bmi And American


October 18, 2007

British Airways is looking at merger opportunities that could create a trans-Atlantic super-carrier in response to a joint venture between Delta and Air France, a British newspaper said.


The Times said on Thursday that aviation sources believed British Airways (BA) was in talks with Michael Bishop, the controlling shareholder of bmi, about buying the British carrier.


It also said that BA was considering a renewed attempt to merge with American Airlines, despite two previous attempts being struck down by competition regulators.


"American Airlines is a key partner for us and in the long term we would like a closer relationship with them," a BA spokesman said.


"We have never said that we are in talks with bmi," he added.




AMR Profit Up On Capacity Cuts, Higher Fares


October 18, 2007

American Airlines parent AMR's third-quarter profit rose as it raised fares and cut the number of seats it had in the air.


The results came in slightly stronger than expected and initially sent AMR's share price up more than 4 percent. But the carrier warned that some costs were likely to rise in the fourth quarter and some of the gains were retraced.


The positive earnings from the world's largest airline followed results from Delta Air Lines, which on Tuesday reported a stronger-than-expected profit on cost controls.


AMR Chief Executive Gerard Arpey said in a statement that the earnings were solid despite soaring oil costs and volatile weather. He said, however, that oil prices are a serious concern for AMR.


"We have led several (ticket) price increases with the run-up in oil prices lately, and we'll have to see where all that settles out in the market. But I think it is fair to say we are alarmed at the level of oil prices as we see them today," said AMR Chief Executive Gerard Arpey.


Profit increased to USD$175 million, from USD$15 million a year earlier, when the airline recorded a USD$99 million non-cash charge.


AMR said special items in the third quarter included a charge of USD$40 million related to salary and benefit expenses from prior quarters.


The airline industry has been recovering from a years-long slump, due largely to low-fare competition and increasingly high costs. Top carriers, however, have managed to cut capacity and raise fares.


American cut the number of seats on flights it owns and operates by 2.8 percent in the quarter, compared with the third quarter of 2006. Meanwhile it flew fuller planes, selling 83.9 percent of its seats, which the company said was a record.


AMR's yield, which represents average fares paid, increased 2.3 percent from the year-ago period. The company ended the third quarter with USD$5.8 billion in cash and short-term investments, including a restricted balance of USD$447 million.


"I'm relatively positive on their earnings for 2007," said Hannes Smarason, chief executive at FL Group, an Icelandic private equity firm that owns about 9 percent of AMR.


Smarason noted AMR's "demand outlook for the fourth quarter and their ability to push through price increases to offset some of the fuel increases."


But he said that AMR needs to be more aggressive in pinpointing ways to increase shareholder value. FL Group urged AMR to consider strategic alternatives last month such as spinning off its frequent flyer program.


"They need to be more concerned with speed," Smarason said. "I just think that they're a little bit complacent."


A recent surge in the price of crude oil has cast a shadow over the airline industry as it struggles in its recovery.


The price of jet fuel is directly affected by the price of crude oil. NYMEX crude futures have traded at record highs touching USD$89 a barrel on Wednesday, a sign that airlines may have an even bigger fuel bill in the fourth quarter.


Carriers, however, have hedged their exposure to energy markets, often locking in prices below the market.


AMR said it has 40 percent of its anticipated fourth-quarter fuel consumption capped at an average crude oil equivalent of USD$69 per barrel, which is the jet fuel equivalent of USD$2.01 per gallon.


AMR said it expects to further cut capacity 2.2 percent in 2007 with a 2.4 percent reduction in domestic capacity and a 1.9 percent reduction in capacity on lucrative international routes, where American faces less competition.




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From my personal (and admittedly selfish) point of view- I may finally get to earn my AAdvantage miles on BA flights to the US! :drinks:


From a more rational point of view - such a merger might have adverse effects on competition. On the other hand with the open skies agreement mergers might be ok if in the long run it helps the airlines to operate more efficiently and thereby still providing low fares but with a higher standard of service due to improved economies of scale.

Edited by Keith T

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BA to limit carriage of sporting equipment.




Sporting equipment we do not carry (effective from 6 November 2007)


Due to the large size and handling complexities, some sporting equipment cannot be accommodated through the airport baggage system or within the aircraft hold. Therefore we no longer accept the following equipment at check-in as part of your sporting equipment allowance.


* hang gliders

* windsurfing boards and sails

* surfboards

* kayaks or canoes

* pole vaults

* javelins


Please contact your local freight company to arrange carriage for any items that exceed the permitted weight and size.


Times article:




BA bans surfboards and canoes

The airline has provoked fury with a ban on sports equipment including surfboards, kayaks and windsurfers


Steve Keenan


A British Airways ban on bulky sports equipment could wreck the fast growing holiday world of independent active travel, it was claimed today.


From November 6, the airline will refuse to carry hang gliders, windsurfing boards and sails, surfboards, kayaks, canoes, pole vaults and javelins.


In a statement on its website, BA blamed the decision on the "large size and handling complexities" of carrying the sports equipment - and advised travellers to contact a freight company. The decision follows months of luggage backlogs at BA and an internal debate on how to minimise the problem.


But the decision has unsurprisingly provoked a furious reaction, with Times Online surf blogger Alex Wade leading the charge. In a scathing ironic attack on his blog, he rants: "It is, of course, a complex matter, lifting a six-foot surfboard in a board bag into the hold. It weighs oh, all of nothing and, laid on top of other luggage (in a fantasy world), takes up barely any room."


A Facebook site has also been set up to highlight the surprise development. "It may be too late with BA but we don't want other carriers following their lead," said one entry. And bloggers have highlighted Oceansource.net which has a ratings guide to airlines and their surfboard policy.


Holiday firms are stunned by the decision and say BA has made a tactical blunder by introducing the ban. Chris Thomson, managing director of Errant Surf Holidays, said the company organises hundreds of surf trips within the UK and internationally every year.


"Until now, we have continually recommended British Airways as they have always taken an extremely understanding view on surf board transportation. We are shocked to hear about their new decision to completely ban surfboards, and fail to understand this new position.


"BA's view that "the large size and handling complexities" of a surfboard makes boards impossible to transport is absurd - especially given that there is no ban on golf clubs, bikes, large musical instruments or a whole range of other sporting equipment. We already have many of our clients due to fly with BA this winter, and if the airline continues with this policy, we will be doing all possible to ensure that they refund these flights so that our clients can fly with a more understanding airline.”


Karen Walton, national director of the British Surfing Association, also called the decision "inexplicable" and said the BSA felt badly let down - especially as the association has used BA in the past to carry national sporting treams abroad.


"We have over 10,000 members and hundreds of them have contacted us today about this new decision, expressing their disbelief and anger at what they see as a marginalisation of the sport and everyone within the surfing community," said Walton.


"Surfing is one of the fastest growing mainstream sports in this country with tens of thousands of people taking to the waves for the first time every year, then continuing to develop and hone their skills in a whole range of surf destinations.


"International surf travel companies are expanding every day as British people look to pursue their new found passion abroad, particularly in the winter months and BA has recently reopened its route from Gatwick to Newquay, no doubt keen to capitalise on the growing number of British people heading for the surf."


BA is to continue carrying golf clubs and other sporting equipment, including fishing rods and bicycles, further angering the British Surfing Association. "Most people would fit into a double bass case and a full set of golf clubs would certainly weigh more than your average surfboard so how BA can justify these ridiculous statements is beyond us.


"We can only imagine that many more of BA’s frequent flyer executive club members are golfers or musicians than surfers and that the decision to ban surfboards is a commercial one made on this basis."

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Some tidbits from the latest 'aword from oneworld' :




Malév raises frequencies between oneworld hubs Budapest and Madrid: Malév Hungarian Airlines is increasing frequencies between its Budapest home and the Madrid hub of oneworld partner Iberia, adding four more round trips a week to give a total of 11 from the end of this month. Flights will be timed to provide smooth connections at Madrid with Iberia's Latin American services and at Budapest with Malév's East and Central European network.


Japan Airlines to launch Premium Economy fourth cabin on 1 December: Japan Airlines is to start rolling out its new Premium Economy class on flights between its Tokyo Narita hub and London Heathrow on 1 December - when it also introduces First Class on Japanese domestic routes for the first time.


Its Premium Economy - to be offered alongside its existing First, Business and Economy - will be extended to Tokyo Narita routes serving Frankfurt and Paris during 2008, and then onto other European and US flights.


The new fourth cabin will feature the ew JAL Sky Shell Seat, the world's first shell-shaped seat in any premium economy class. With 120 degrees of recline, they will offer 20 per cent more room than the airline's regular Economy, with a 38 ins (97 cm) pitch. They will be layed out in a 2-4-2 configuration on its Boeing 777s, with capacity for 40 or 44 passengers, depending on aircraft type. Each seat will have its own power outlet.


Other amenities will be similar to those offered in Business Class - noise-cancelling headsets, and video and audio on demand with a personal 9 ins screen, ear plugs, eye mask, toothbrush set, moisturizing mask, slippers and large-sized blankets and pillows.


On the ground, there will be dedicated check-in counters at Tokyo Narita, while overseas passengers will be able to use JAL Executive Class counters. Passengers will be offered the use of JAL's Sakura Lounge before departure.


Its new domestic First Class will make its debut on seven round trips a day between its Tokyo Haneda and Osaka Itami hubs, expanding as soon as possible to other departures between the two airports. It will be extended during 2008 to Tokyo Haneda routes to and from Fukuoka and Sapporo.


The new cabin will offer seats upholstered in the finest leather, reclining to a maximum angle of 132 degrees with 130 cm of leg room and a width of 53 cm. They will be laid out on its Boeing 777-200s in a 2-2-2 configuration, with a wood-finished centre partition between each pair of seats to provide maximum privacy. In-flight meals will be created by some of Japan's leading restaurants. On the ground, passengers will be able to check in at dedicated First Class counters and use lounges before being offered priority boarding.


Qantas to up-grade New Zealand domestic services: Qantas is to up-grade its New Zealand domestic product from November 2007 with a specific focus on business travellers. It will include extending to NZ for the first time its Cityflyer brand, which is already available on key Australian domestic routes.


Cityflyer will operate on the major business routes of Auckland-Wellington, Auckland-Christchurch and Wellington-Christchurch. It will offer speedier check-in processes, including on-line check-in and self-service airport kiosks, and complimentary morning newspapers, a free bar service from 4pm on weekdays, and an enhanced food offering.


On the ground, it will invest $3 million to upgrade its domestic Qantas Club lounges in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.


BA to standardise minimum check-in times from Heathrow and Gatwick: British Airways is standardising its minimum check-in time for all flights from London Heathrow and Gatwick to 45 minutes from the start of the new flying season, on 28 October, "to ease (passengers') journey through the airport and provide a consistent check-in time". On-line check-in is not affected and will continue to close 60 minutes before departure. Check-in times for flights from all other airports, both UK and worldwide, remain unchanged.


Cathay Pacific takes delivery of first of 23 new 777s: Cathay Pacific has taken delivery of the first of 23 new Boeing 777-300ERs it has on order. Configured in a three-class lay out, the new fleet is being taken on board to enable the airline to fly more passengers non-stop to major longhaul destinations. Four more of the twinjets will be delivered to the airline this year, another five in each of the next two years, three more in 2010 and the remaining five in 2011.









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For those who don't know - World Youth Day is a triennial pilgrimage of Catholic youths from all over the world, hosted in a different city each time. MH was the major sponsor for Australian pilgrims for the last World Youth Day - Germany in 2005.


I went to World Youth Day in Germany in 2005 with the Sydney school contingent, but too bad we had Gulf Air... Yea we departed Frankfurt at the same time as MH, which was depressing.

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Easyjet agrees to buy GB Airways


Budget airline Easyjet has expanded further by buying UK carrier GB Airways for £103.5m ($212m).


GB Airways currently operates services under the British Airways brand to Southern Europe and North Africa under a franchise agreement with BA.


GB services fly from Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester, although the purchase by Easyjet does not include the Heathrow take-off and landing slots.


The franchise agreement between BA and GB will come to end in March 2008.




GB Airways operates a total of 39 routes - 28 from Gatwick, six from Manchester and five from Heathrow - and has a fleet of 15 Airbus aircraft.


Easyjet said the deal was consistent with its expansion strategy and would improve its position at Gatwick.


"This is an acquisition which both strengthens our customer offering at London Gatwick, our biggest base with an attractive catchment area, and allows us to fully capitalise on the potential of the airport through a larger number of slots," said Easyjet chief executive Andy Harrison.


GB's chief executive Kevin Hatton said the deal brought "an end to a period of uncertainty" about the future direction of the airline.


"We will fulfil our outstanding obligation as a franchise partner to British Airways and then look forward to a smooth operational merger with Easyjet," Mr Hatton said.


Franchises end


British Airways said it would end its franchise agreement with GB Airways in March 2008 and then intended to start its own services on some of the routes operated under the franchise.


"UK franchises have outlived their purpose," said BA chief executive Willie Walsh.


"Easyjet has made an offer to buy GB Airways and this has enabled us to end the franchise agreement early. We had an option to buy GB Airways but we rejected it," he added.


BA said that the deal between GB Airways and Easyjet was expected to be completed within eight weeks.


During this period flights, will operate as normal. When the deal is completed, passengers can either rebook on Easyjet or will be entitled to a full refund.


BA also said that it would be ending its franchise agreement with Scottish carrier Loganair from October 2008 and begin a codeshare agreement with the airline.



Flights to all GB Airways destinations will continue to operate normally with the full British Airways service up to and including 29 March 2008. Customers booked to travel up to and including this date will not be affected. Detailed information on GB Airways route network can be found below, under the 'Further information' links.


Customers holding a booking on a GB Airways flight after 30 March 2008 will be re-booked onto easyJet flights. Alternatively, they can obtain a refund.


GB Airways also has announced it will no longer operate flights from London Heathrow after 30 March 2008. Customers booked to travel from this date will be re-booked onto flights to the same destination from London Gatwick with immediate effect.


This comes after BMED fell off the oneworld radar after the bmi takeover, further decreasing the choice of destinations available for oneworld RTWs. :angry:


I'm currently booked on a GB Airways flight but thankfully before it ceases being a BA franchise. Wouldn't want to accidentally find myself on Sleazyjet!

Edited by Keith T

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Cathay Pacific To Wait On Next-Generation Planes


October 31, 2007

Cathay Pacific Airways will wait at least another two years before ordering any of the new wide-body planes offered by Boeing and Airbus, its chief executive said, despite the promise of cutting fuel costs and predictions of a surge in Asian air travel.


Hong Kong's flagship airline, which is the third-biggest in Asia, is in no hurry to make a decision and is happy to avoid the hassles experienced by rival Asian carriers of being the first to fly such revolutionary aircraft.


"If you are one of the early customers, you can be almost certain that it's going to go wrong," Tony Tyler, Cathay's chief executive said. Airbus's A380 superjumbo, the largest commercial plane in the skies, entered service only last week after two years' delay, while Boeing just announced a six month delay in producing its new 787 Dreamliner.


Given the inevitable teething problems, Cathay is shying away from billion dollar commitments for new planes that won't be delivered for five years or more.


"I don't think we are comfortable ordering that far ahead on a new aircraft type," said Tyler, who took over as Cathay CEO in July. "I don't think we'll be making a decision on any of these aircraft for at least two years."


Cathay has a mix of large Airbus and Boeing jets in its 110-strong wide-body fleet, and is taking delivery of another 23 Boeing 777s over the next four years or so to cope with expected growth in traffic to Hong Kong and China.


Airbus's A380, which made its maiden commercial flight for Singapore Airlines last week, is not an option for Cathay right now.


"In our current fleet and network, it doesn't make as much sense as getting more 777-300ERs," said Tyler, referring to Boeing's extended range mini-jumbo, which seats about 385 people, fewer than the 500 or more that the double-decker A380 can accommodate.


"All our financial modeling shows that we are better off offering more frequency with a very efficient aircraft like the 777 than simply adding more capacity to an existing frequency, which is what we would be doing if we introduced the A380," he said.


Cathay is also wary of being an early customer on an unproven commercial plane. "We want to see that aircraft (the A380) in operation for a bit first," said Tyler. "It's no fun being an early customer."


Singapore Airlines, which is Asia's largest carrier, had to wait longer than expected for its first A380 after wiring problems pushed the schedule back.


In the last month, Boeing has been telling its first 787 customers -- led by Japan's All Nippon Airways -- that they will have to wait at least six months more than planned as it wrestles with out-of-sequence work and a shortage of bolts.


Despite his caution over the A380, Tyler said that if Airbus stretched the plane to fit more passengers, or increased its take-off weight to extend its range, Cathay might buy.


"Either of those options would make it more economic and more competitive from our point of view," said Tyler, who wants a bigger plane which can carry more cargo and is more suited to very long trans-Pacific routes.


Airbus has mentioned a stretched version of the A380, but there are no plans to build it yet.


Tyler said Cathay was also interested in Boeing's 787 and Airbus's A350 XWB -- the new generation of mid-sized, long range, carbon-composite planes -- but gave no estimate of when a decision would be reached.


"That promises to be quite an interesting bit of work, to look at both those aircraft," he said. Cathay would be interested in the stretched 787-10 version of the Boeing plane, Tyler said, which Boeing has been considering but has not yet committed to build.


Cathay is keeping its eye on the market for new planes as air travel through its Hong Kong hub -- from which it serves mainland China destinations -- is set to grow dramatically over the next few years, spurred by the Beijing Olympics next summer.


Although Cathay's capacity is set to grow only about 3 percent this year, new planes in its fleet will help produce a year-on-year increase of about 12 percent next year, said Tyler.


"All carriers from around the world are increasing their frequency into the mainland (of China)," said Tyler. "Even in the face of increased direct competition, I'm still very confident of our ability to carry our fair share -- or more than our fair share -- of traffic."




CX & KL have the same approach to new aircraft types...... :pardon:

(just look at the 777 and 330 order dates/years for KL after launching these types on the market :blink: )


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Dragonair now officially part of oneworld:



China's best airline Dragonair now part of oneworld alliance

01 November 2007


Dragonair - regularly named in customer surveys as the best airline serving China - today becomes part of oneworld®, greatly enhancing the leading quality global airline alliance's Chinese network.


As a oneworld affiliate member, Dragonair now offers the alliance's full range of services and benefits. This means its frequent flyers can from today earn and redeem mileage awards on all other oneworld carriers. Top-tier members now have access to the 500 airport lounges worldwide offered by the alliance's airlines.


Members of other oneworld airlines' frequent flyer programmes can also now earn and redeem awards and receive all other oneworld benefits on Dragonair.


Dragonair's network - which covers more destinations in Mainland China, at 19 in total, than any other airline not based there, with some 400 flights a week - is now also covered by oneworld's extensive range of alliance fares.


Twelve of those Mainland China destinations - Chongqing, Changsha, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Haikou, Kunming, Guilin, Ningbo, Nanjing, Shenyang, Sanya and Wuhan - are new to the oneworld network, taking the number of destinations the alliance serves in Mainland China to 22.


Three Dragonair destinations elsewhere are also new to the oneworld network - Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Phuket (Thailand). By adding Phnom Penh, oneworld will connect with one new country - Cambodia. From 2 December, it will serve Nepal's Khatmandu - adding one more country and destination to oneworld's timetable.


While it is now part of the Cathay Pacific group, Dragonair has retained its own brand and identity, market positioning and separate "KA" flight code.


It is the 11th carrier to board oneworld this year, in the alliance's biggest expansion programme since its launch. Japan Airlines and five of its affiliates, Malév Hungarian Airlines and Royal Jordanian Airlines all joined on 1 April, along with affiliates LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador.


oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch said: "Since its launch eight years ago, oneworld has been the only alliance with a member from greater China, in our Hong Kong-based founder member Cathay Pacific. The addition of Dragonair means that oneworld will maintain its lead in this important, fast-growing region. With our combination of Dragonair, Cathay Pacific and the award-winning Hong Kong hub, it means that oneworld will offer the best quality airline service for travel to or from the whole of China."


Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: "We are delighted that Dragonair is now an affiliate member of oneworld, offering alliance passengers greater access to a wider range of destinations in Mainland China. As one of the founder members of oneworld, Cathay Pacific recognises the value of being part of this grouping of high-quality airlines and we are sure Dragonair's joining will add value for alliance customers and fellow member airlines alike."


Dragonair Chief Executive Officer Kenny Tang added: "Becoming an affiliate member of oneworld is an exciting development for Dragonair and is yet another benefit to result from our joining the Cathay Pacific group. We are pleased that oneworld customers will be able to connect through Hong Kong to our extensive network of destinations in Mainland China, along with the other business and leisure destinations we serve within the Asia Pacific region."


OW joint lounge opens in LAX TBIT (after several delays):



British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas open first lounges developed as oneworld project - at Los Angeles

31 October 2007



The first airport lounges in the world developed as a oneworld® alliance project open their doors tomorrow (Thursday 1 November) - at Los Angeles International Airport's Tom Bradley International Terminal.


British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas collaborated to design and develop the facility. It includes separate lounges for First and Business Class passengers flying with any of these carriers.


The lounges will also be available to premium passengers flying with the alliance's other two carriers operating from the terminal - Japan Airlines and LAN - and oneworld Emerald or Sapphire tier frequent flyer cardholders from any oneworld member airline when flying on any of the alliance's carriers.


The other oneworld airline serving Los Angeles, American Airlines, operates from Terminal 4, adjacent to the Tom Bradley building, where it also offers lounge facilities.


Although many lounges have been established around the world by individual pairings of the alliance's airlines, this is the first time a joint lounge has been developed from scratch on a oneworld basis.


The new oneworld lounges have been created to complement, rather than reflect, the carriers' own individual designs, employing a spacious "outside in" concept to evoke California's sea and sand culture. Their fresh new, modern and contemporary design aims to mirror and enhance the premium brand positioning of each airline.


Signature design features include a bank of plasma screens in the reception area and a relaxing bar. The facility also includes nine showers, internet café-style work stations equipped with PCs and buffet areas. Customers will be offered complimentary refreshments, wi-fi access, newspapers and magazines. First Class passengers will be provided with personalised service.


Located on Tom Bradley International's Level 5, the 1,360 square-metre facility has space for 90 First Class and 210 Business Class passengers. It will be open from 9 am to 2 am.


oneworld Vice-President Customer Experience and Airports Ken Gilbert said: "oneworld's usual approach is to deliver our alliance services and benefits, including lounges, through our individual member airlines, but with the space available at Los Angeles, combined with the redevelopment of Tom Bradley International Terminal, the best option all round was for our member airlines to develop a joint lounge. It has enabled them all to offer their most important customers a facility that is much bigger and better equipped than any of the airlines could provide individually."

Edited by Keith T

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Weak Dollar Helps British Airways Cut Costs


November 2, 2007

British Airways reported record first-half profit on Friday, up 26 percent due to cost cutting, but its shares fell after it cut its full-year revenue guidance due to the weak US dollar.


Profit before tax was GBP593 million pounds (USD$1.23 billion) in the six months to September 30, GBP122 million more than a year earlier after it slashed GBP150 million off costs.


"Our cost performance was excellent, helped by the weak US dollar," said Chief Executive Willie Walsh.


The market focused not on the way the weak dollar would help cut costs, but on the way it would reduce revenues after BA cut its view of full-year revenue growth to 3 to 3.5 percent from earlier guidance of 4 percent.


"What we see is premium bookings remaining strong," Walsh told reporters. "The North Atlantic non-premium market is still soft but other non-premium markets are more encouraging."


Walsh said BA remained committed to the consortium looking at buying Spanish airline Iberia.


"We're still working on finalizing the financing on Iberia," added Finance Director Keith Williams.


The airline said it was on track with its goal of keeping operating margins at 10 percent or more, having hit 12.5 percent in the first half.


It predicted costs excluding fuel were now expected to be GBP100 million lower than previously forecast in the full year due to the weak dollar.


But fuel costs are expected to be up by GBP100 million on last year.


"Fuel costs remain a major challenge and our fuel bill for the year is expected to top GBP2 billion for the first time," said Walsh.


"The fuel surcharge is constantly under review, but there's no plans to adjust it at this moment," he added.


Walsh brushed off media reports that BA's plans to start flights to the United States from European cities could be threatened by opposition from its pilots or by plans to cut flight capacity at New York's JFK airport.




Well done BA !!! :drinks:

Certainly, bigger generates more income due to bigger market-share...(Look also at AF-KL and LH)

About time, MH is joining an Alliance in order to enhance theirs :pardon:


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About time, MH is joining an Alliance in order to enhance theirs :pardon:


The next question is which alliance wants MH to join them? *A, One World or Skyteam? :pardon:





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Qantas has commenced sale of its Premium Economy cabin. The new product will be available from April 2008 on all B744 services to HKG, SIN, BKK, LHR and JNB, and eventually to the US. The new product will also feature on all A380 services.




Looks very promising thus far:

- Pre take off champagne/OJ/water

- Premium crockery and glassware

- Premium menus and wine lists

- Priority boarding and check in

- Noise canceling headsets

- Dedicated Premium Economy cabin crew


Prices are a wee bit more expensive than BA's WTP product, but you're also getting a lot more as BA's product only features a wider seat but is otherwise the identical to cattle class.


As a guide, Premium Economy return fares* from Sydney (including taxes, levies and charges) will start from:


* Hong Kong $1999

* Singapore $2189

* Bangkok $2552

* Johannesburg $4217

* London $4567


Pretty good value fares, only a small mark up from BA's WTP fare but you're also getting a whole lot more than what BA offers in WTP.


At a time when a lot of airlines are succumbing to pressure from low cost carriers, I'm glad that QF has got its priorities right by delegating low cost flying to JQ, and concentrating on the needs of premium pax by enhancing the offerings of its mainline brand. :good:

Edited by Keith T

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Heathrow update to aid airline alliance


Steve Creedy, Aviation writer | November 17, 2007


THE opening of London Heathrow's Terminal 5, and the move into Terminal 3 by Oneworld alliance airlines such as Qantas, should solve the problems plaguing one of the world's passenger horror spots, alliance officials believe.


Terminal 5 is due to open on March 27 and Oneworld expects it to transform the troubled airport's fortunes.


British Airways will move its operations into the new terminal. Operator BAA is spending hundreds of millions of pounds transforming Terminal 3 into a Oneworld hub that will allow Oneworld carriers like Qantas, Iberia and Finnair to join alliance partners such as Cathay Pacific and American Airlines under one roof.


The alliance is now encouraging BAA to speed up the transformation and says this is the key to returning Heathrow to its position as a world-leader.


"Heathrow has a lot of catching up to do, the repatriation is terrible, and we know that people are avoiding it," Oneworld managing partner John McCulloch said in Sydney yesterday.


"That's terrible for us because it's one of our biggest transit points.


"So the shorter time frame in which it continues, and we as carriers can help reverse that, the better."


Oneworld, which held a meeting of chief executives in Sydney this week under the chairmanship of Qantas boss Geoff Dixon, has had a record year which has seen it add 11 airlines, including Cathay Pacific subsidiary Dragonair and Japan Airlines.


Officials says this means Qantas frequent flyers now have a much bigger network on which they can enjoy their benefits.


Mr McCulloch said Oneworld was on target to generate about $US700 million ($790 million) through alliance sales products.


He said it would be spending "a lot of time" in India and mainland China, as well as Russia, figuring out how the markets would grow.


However, these were three to five-year plans and it would take some time to see the full picture.


On the industry in general, Mr McCulloch said the massive aircraft orders being announced at the moment prompted worries about what would happen when the aircraft hit the market in about three years.


"If the industry has any history, it's going to hit just when the next downturns takes place," he said. "So I think there are going to be cycles."


But he agreed with Mr Dixon that the legacy carriers had their businesses in much better shape to survive the downturn.

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oneworld voted world's leading airline alliance for fifth year running

13 December 2007


oneworld®has been named the world's leading airline alliance for the fifth year running in the World's Travel Awards - described by the Wall Street Journal as the "travel industry's equivalent of the Oscars".


The award is the culmination of a record year for the grouping, with 11 carriers joining, expanding its network to around a hundred more destinations, and with more co-location at key airports to smooth customers' journeys and more revenues than ever before generated for its member airlines.


The World Travel Awards, presented last night at a gala ceremony in the Caribbean's Turks and Caicos, are based on votes cast by some 170,000 travel professionals and agents worldwide.


oneworld has retained the award for leading airline alliance every year since this category was introduced in 2003.


In the top worldwide categories, besides oneworld take the leading alliance title, member airline British Airways was named the world's leading airline overall for the third year running, Cathay Pacific was named as being the world's leading first class airline, American Airlines was honoured for the world's leading economy class.


Cathay Pacific had already been named by the awards as Asia's leading airline, American as North America's leading airline, LAN as South America's leading airline and Qantas as Australasia's leading airline.


oneworld Vice-President Corporate Communications Michael Blunt said: "oneworld is delighted to have received this tremendous vote of confidence once again from some of the most knowledgeable people in the travel industry worldwide. It reflects the quality of our airline members and our commitment to deliver alliance customer service better than any one else. It's a wonderful way to end what has been a record breaking year for the alliance."


oneworld last month completed its biggest expansion since its launch eight years ago, with the addition of China's Dragonair, following the recruitment earlier this year of Japan Airlines and five of its affiliates, plus Malév Hungarian Airlines, Royal Jordanian, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador. Together, they expanded the alliance's network to some 700 destinations in almost 150 countries.


Also last month, the grouping opened its first lounge worldwide developed as an alliance project, at Los Angeles, following the consolidation earlier this year of its airlines' operations at new oneworld hub Tokyo Narita.

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AMR To Shed Regional Carrier American Eagle


November 29, 2007

American Airlines parent AMR plans to shed regional carrier American Eagle, it said on Wednesday, a move which could generate cost savings and boost its share price.


High oil prices and a slowing economy threaten an industry recovery, and these uncertain market conditions coupled with falling shares have led some investors to call for AMR to boost its value. Responding to the announcement, AMR shares rose 6.9 percent to $21.98 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.


"The decision comes after a careful and deliberate evaluation of the strategy that will best enable us to continue to create value for our shareholders," AMR Chairman and Chief Executive Gerard Arpey said in a statement.


The company said it is evaluating the form of divestiture, which could involve a spin-off to AMR shareholders, a sale to a third party, or some other form of separation from AMR.


Chief Financial Officer Tom Horton said the move would open up growth opportunities for American Eagle that are impossible now and sharpen AMR's focus on its core operations.


"It really just means that we'll be zeroing in on our mainline business," Horton said.


American Eagle operates about 300 aircraft, with 1,700 daily flights to more than 150 cities throughout the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Mexico. In 2007, American Eagle expects to generate revenue of USD$2.3 billion.


The planned divestiture would include both American Eagle, which feeds American hubs in North America, and its affiliate, Executive Airlines, which flies to destinations in the Bahamas and Caribbean from Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico.


One expert said a sale of American Eagle at this point could be difficult for AMR. "I think it's a tough market in which to sell it because of the overhang of 50-seat aircraft," said airlines consultant Robert Mann.


"Whoever buys it is going to want an ironclad buy/sell arrangement with American, and American may want exclusivity, so there's a whole series of issues that have to get ironed out," Mann said.


Once the two airlines are separated, American Eagle would continue to provide American with regional flying, AMR said.


AMR has been under pressure to consider spin-offs as a way to boost its share price, which is down 27 percent this year. In September, FL Group, an Icelandic private equity group that owns 9.1 percent of AMR, called on the company to consider spinning off its frequent-flyer program.


"We welcome any initiative that looks to enhance shareholder value," an FL Group spokesman said on Wednesday.


In past sales of regional carriers, the parent airlines have derived some cost savings for mainline operations, said Morningstar analyst Brian Nelson.


"You're monetizing an asset in the face of an uncertain domestic market as well as very high jet fuel prices, so doing this could also help raise some cash in a time of need," he said.


Other airlines also are considering divestitures. UAL, parent of United Airlines, has said it might spin off part of its frequent-flyer program. Delta Air Lines has said it is considering the sale of regional unit Comair.




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British Airways buys 24 787s :yahoo::


Boeing and British Airways Finalize Contract for 24 787 Dreamliners

787 Program reaches 787th order milestone with British Airways order

SEATTLE, Dec. 27, 2007 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] and London-based British Airways have finalized an order for eight Boeing 787-8s and 16 787-9s, raising the total number of 787s ordered worldwide from 766 to 790 and taking the 787 order book past the 787th mark. The order is valued at $4.4 billion at list prices. British Airways also placed options for 18 787s and purchase rights for an additional 10.


Willie Walsh, British Airways' chief executive, said, "The 787 is a fantastic aircraft and will be a welcome addition to our fleet. It will provide major environmental improvements in terms of global emissions, local air quality and noise.


"With lower operating costs and the range to fly to all our destinations, it will give us more flexibility when planning our route network and we are confident that our customers will enjoy flying on the aircraft," Walsh said.


British Airways first announced its selection of the 787 Dreamliner as a key element of its long-haul fleet renewal last September. The carrier also announced in September that it will power its 787s with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000.


"This order is a vote of confidence from one of the world's leading global network carriers in the 787's unprecedented performance," said Marlin Dailey, vice president of Sales for Europe, Russia and Central Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "No other airplane in its category offers British Airways the superior efficiency, economics and passenger comfort while also fitting so easily into its medium- and long-haul twin-aisle fleet."


"Reaching the 787th order is significant for the program, and it's great that we get to celebrate it with British Airways. Their leadership in the industry validates our momentum in the marketplace," said Patrick Shanahan, vice president and general manager, 787 Program.


The 787 will help British Airways meet aggressive environmental performance targets. It will reduce CO2 emissions and has a noise footprint that is more than 60 percent smaller than those of today's similarly sized airplanes.


Common elements between the 787 and British Airways' 777 flight deck will allow for 777 pilots to train for 787 certification in only five days.


The 787 also offers more cargo-revenue capacity than the 767 and similarly sized airplanes.


With 790 orders in three years, the 787 remains the most successful airplane launch in aviation history.


Boeing developed the 787 for the mid-sized jetliner market, estimated at 3,500 aircraft over the next 20 years. The 787 will be more than 50 percent advanced carbon composites which allow the largest windows in the industry, higher cabin humidity and a lower cabin altitude that reduces the fatigue often experienced by passengers.


High-efficiency engines combined with a lighter airframe and improved aerodynamics mean the 787 will produce seat-mile costs normally associated with much larger aircraft.



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As Nationwide is affiliated to BA/OW, I'll post this news here:


South Africa Grounds Nationwide Air's Flights


November 30, 2007

South Africa's Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said on Friday it had grounded Nationwide Airlines flights, raising fresh concerns after an engine fell off one of the airline's planes earlier this month.


SACAA said the company could not guarantee continued safety and that it had suspended approval for the unlisted airlines' maintenance organization, which had failed to comply with regulations to meet the authority's safety standards.


SACAA also suspended the certificates of airworthiness of all aircraft maintained by Nationwide. Both suspensions took effect at midnight, November 29, the SACAA said in a statement.


"As a result of this action the aircraft that constitute the Nationwide air fleet will not be permitted to undertake any further flights until their airworthiness status has been verified," the air authority said.


On November 2 South Africa's Civil Aviation Authority grounded all Boeing 737-200 aircraft in the country for safety checks after an engine fell off the wing of a Nationwide Airlines aircraft carrying 106 passengers in Cape Town. There were no injuries sustained by anyone on board or on the ground.


Nationwide's spokesman Rodger Whittle had earlier said all its domestic and international flights had been grounded by the country's civil aviation authority, but did not know how long the ban would last.


"The civil aviation authority has removed our aviation maintenance organization license, which effectively grounds our airplanes," he said.


"We do not know for what period of time, we have asked the civil aviation authority for clarification and information, and we don't anticipate that it will be a long situation."


Whittle said the airline operates about 50 to 55 flights a day, locally and internationally.


Nationwide, which has flights to London's Gatwick Airport, says on its web site that it has more than 350 domestic, regional and international weekly flights, including to Zambia.




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British Airways To Launch First US 'Open Skies' Flight


January 10, 2008

British Airways said on Wednesday it plans to fly new routes between mainland Europe and the United States from June, taking advantage of a new transatlantic liberalization pact.


The launch is the first salvo in a renewed battle for business travelers, which has seen fierce competition in recent years with business class-only carriers entering the fray.


BA said it will start with one Boeing 757 aircraft flying daily between New York and either Brussels or Paris Charles de Gaulle airports, with a second starting flights to the other destination later in the year.


"It signals our determination to lobby for further liberalization in this market when talks between the EU and US take place later this year," Chief Executive Willie Walsh said.


The move follows the Open Skies agreement last March, which will allow European Union airlines to fly from any city in the 27 nation bloc to any city in the United States and vice versa, replacing restrictive bilateral arrangements that date back to World War Two.


But European airlines have complained the deal unfairly favors US rivals, and EU states have agreed to scrap the deal if Washington does not agree by 2010 to a second phase allowing foreign airlines to buy more voting rights in US carriers and permitting them to run domestic US services.


BA plans to put six of its 757s onto routes between the US and mainland Europe by the end of 2009.


The aircraft will carry up to 82 passengers: 24 on business class seats that convert into flat beds, 28 in premium economy and 30 in economy.


Competition is fierce on transatlantic routes, forcing all-business-class airline MAXJet Airways to file for bankruptcy protection over Christmas.




Latest news: BA will operate A318 (!) flights between LCY and JFK (certainly they need a fuel-stop somewhere as LCY's runway to short for fully loaded A318 :blink:


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British Airways To Launch First US 'Open Skies' Flight


January 10, 2008

British Airways said on Wednesday it plans to fly new routes between mainland Europe and the United States from June, taking advantage of a new transatlantic liberalization pact.


The launch is the first salvo in a renewed battle for business travelers, which has seen fierce competition in recent years with business class-only carriers entering the fray.


Well, i know it's not exactly new news... but i thought i might share this with you guys...


I stumbled upon this website and found it very interesting... It's a blog about BA's new subsidiary, OpenSkies. At first I thought it was a blog by an aviation enthusiast... but apparently it's written by OpenSkies managing director... a good marketing tool it seems...



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Mexicana to join oneworld alliance


Mexicana is to join oneworld®. Mexico and Central America’s leading airline today accepted a formal invitation to become part of the world’s leading quality airline alliance after being unanimously elected on board by the grouping’s existing ten member airlines, which include some of the biggest and best names in the industry.


Its subsidiary Click Mexicana will join at the same time, as an affiliate member of oneworld.


Their joining process is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete, with Iberia supporting Mexicana through these tasks, as its prime oneworld sponsor, assisted by American Airlines.


So Mexicana and Click Mexicana will be flying as part of oneworld in 2009, when they will start offering the alliance’s full range of services and benefits to their own customers and those from their new oneworld partners.


For Mexicana, joining oneworld will strengthen its competitive offering and its financial position. For oneworld, adding Mexicana will expand the alliance’s network in Mexico and Central America, and enable it to build further on its positions as the leading airline grouping serving Latin America and the leading Spanish-speaking alliance.


oneworld is already the only global alliance with any airline members based in South America - through LAN Airlines and its sisters LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador and LAN Peru. American Airlines is the leading airline serving the region internationally, and Iberia is the leading carrier between Latin America and Europe.


Mexicana’s addition to oneworld comes after a year which has seen the alliance complete its biggest yet expansion drive, with 11 airlines joining in 2007 - Japan Airlines, Malév Hungarian Airlines and Royal Jordanian as full members and, as affiliates, LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador, Dragonair and four other carriers in the Japan Airlines group.


Mexicana’s invitation to join oneworld was sealed at a ceremony today attended by its Chief Executive Officer Manuel Borja with his counterparts from all ten of oneworld’s established member airlines and oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch during a meeting of the group’s Governing Board in key alliance hub Los Angeles.


Mexicana is the biggest non-US airline operating at Los Angeles, which is its biggest hub outside Mexico.


Mexicana with the Click Mexicana network will add 26 destinations to the oneworld map - 24 in Mexico plus Bakersfield (California, USA) and Edmonton (Canada).


With the alliance’s existing members serving 11 points in Mexico, its addition will expand to 35 points the alliance’s network in Mexico, which is the world’s 11th most populous country, the 12th biggest economy and the seventh most popular tourist destination, attracting more than 20 million foreign visitors a year.


oneworld’s existing members already serve almost 110 airports throughout Latin America. Mexicana’s addition will extend that to more than 130.


Globally, its addition will expand the alliance’s network to approaching 700 destinations in nearly 150 countries, with a combined fleet of 2,350 aircraft operating almost 9,500 flights a day, carrying 333 million passengers, with annual revenues of USD 100 billion.


In the months ahead, Mexicana will adapt key internal process to conform with oneworld requirements, link its IT systems to those of its oneworld partners and carry out an extensive employee training and communications programmes, to ensure that their staff worldwide are ready to provide oneworld’s customer services and benefits from day one.


Once all its pre-joining requirements are sufficiently progressed, an exact date in 2009 will be confirmed for it to join.


Besides Mexicana Chief Executive Officer Manuel Borja, Iberia Chairman and Chief Executive Fernando Conte and oneworld Managing Partner John McCulloch, scheduled to attend today’s ceremony were:

• Qantas Chief Executive Officer Geoff Dixon (current chairman of oneworld’s Governing Board)

• American Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Gerard Arpey

• British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh

• Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Executive Tony Tyler

• Finnair Chief Executive Jukka Hienonen

• Japan Airlines Group Chief Executive Haruka Nishimatsu

• LAN Group Chief Executive Enrique Cueto

• Malév Chief Executive Peter Leonov

• Royal Jordanian Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman Samer Majali.


Mexicana is the carrier in Mexico and Central America.


With Click Mexicana, it serves 63 destinations in 11 countries. Mexicana itself flies to 46 destinations in 11 countries, including 18 destinations in Mexico. Click Mexicana’s network encompasses 23 destinations in Mexico, plus Havana (Cuba). The two airlines both serve six destinations in Mexico, giving them a joint domestic network covering 34 airports.


Mexicana operates a fleet of 62 aircraft - 30 Airbus A-320s, 20 A-319s and ten A-318s, and two Boeing 767s - making 300 departures a day. Mexicana offers two classes - Executive and Economy - with in-flight entertainment screens throughout the fleet and complimentary in-flight meals and drinks in both cabins. It has the two-letter airline code MX.


Click Mexicana operates 18 Fokker 100s, making 115 departures a day. Its single cabin offers a 'Coach plus' style of service, with leather-covered seats at a 35 ins (89 cm) pitch. It offers complimentary in-flight drinks and snacks. Click Mexicana has its own flight code (QA) but all its flights also carry Mexicana’s MX code under a code-sharing agreement.


Mexicana boarded 9 million passengers in 2007, with Click Mexicana carrying another 2.2 million. Between them, they employ 6,725 staff.


Mexico City is the airlines’ main hub, with Cancun and Gaudalajara secondary hubs.


Mexicana has signed a contract to move its main IT platforms to Amadeus Altea - alongside oneworld partners British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, LAN, Malév Hungarian Airlines and Qantas, with Cathay Pacific also committed to transfer to this provider soon.


Its two most important bilateral alliance relationships are with oneworld’s American Airlines and Iberia, including code-sharing, frequent flyer links and through check-in. It also has established bilateral relationships with four of the alliance’s other existing partners - Cathay Pacific (frequent flyer), Japan Airlines (frequent flyer, code-sharing and through check-in), LAN (frequent flyer and through check-in) and Qantas (code-sharing, frequent flyer and through check-in).


Among its most recent awards, it was named World Travel Awards’ Best Airline Mexico and Central America for the tenth year running, Best Business Class Latin America for the third year running and Best Internet Site in Latin America (all in 2007), and Best Airline in Mexico for two years running by Global Traveler magazine.


Mexicana is one of the world’s most experience airlines, opening service in July 1921.


It was privatised in December 2005, and is now owned by a consortium of Mexican private investors

Edited by Keith T

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News release from American Airlines:


Update: American Airlines Cancels Over 900 Flights On Thursday; MD-80 Aircraft Inspections Continue


FORT WORTH , Texas – American Airlines has canceled more than 900 flights on Thursday as it works to complete the inspections of its MD-80 fleet. The airline is also working to re-accommodate customers affected by this week’s activity.


As of Wednesday afternoon,


* 179 MD-80 aircraft were completely inspected

* 60 of the 179 MD-80s were returned to service

* 119 of the 179 MD-80s were still undergoing work

* 121 MD-80s remain to be inspected


These inspections were conducted to ensure compliance with a Federal Aviation Administration directive related to the bundling of wires in the wheel well of the MD-80 aircraft. American Airlines apologizes for any inconvenience this activity has created for our customers.


On Wednesday, American officially canceled 1,094 flights, in addition to the 460 canceled on Tuesday.


Customers who were scheduled on a flight that was cancelled may request a full refund or apply the value of their ticket toward future travel on American Airlines. Additionally, customers scheduled to travel on any MD-80 flight April 8-11, even if their flight has not been cancelled, may rebook without a change fee to any AA flight with availability in the same cabin as long as their travel begins by April 17.


Customers who were inconvenienced with overnight stays should go to AA.com where a link has been established to request information about compensation. Customers also are encouraged to continue to check AA.com or to contact their travel agents for flight status information.






News release from Yahoo:


American cancels 900 more flights


DALLAS - American Airlines canceled more than 900 flights Thursday to fix faulty wiring in hundreds of jets, marking the third straight day of mass groundings as company executives offered profuse apologies and travel vouchers to calm angry customers.


American, the nation's largest carrier, has now scrubbed more than 2,400 flights since Tuesday, when federal regulators warned that nearly half its planes could violate a safety regulation designed to prevent fires.


That's more than one in three flights canceled over the last three days.


Daniel Garton, an executive vice president of American, said cancellations could extend into Friday.


A return to normal operations depends on how quickly mechanics can inspect and fix the wire bundles. Airline spokesman Tim Wagner said late Wednesday afternoon that 60 planes had been cleared to fly, 119 were being worked on, and 121 planes had not yet been inspected.


The fallout could be seen at airport ticket counters, where frustrated customers bickered with American employees, and on the stock market, where shares of American's parent company tumbled more than 11 percent Wednesday.


American estimates that more than 100 passengers would have been on each of those canceled flights. That means a quarter-million people have been inconvenienced this week.


Airline executives said they thought they had fixed the wiring two weeks ago, when they canceled more than 400 flights to inspect and in some cases fix the shielding around the wires in their MD-80 aircraft.


But this week, Federal Aviation Administration inspectors, who have been conducting stepped-up surveys of airline compliance with safety rules called airworthiness directives, said 15 of 19 American jets they examined flunked. That left the airline no choice but to ground all 300 of its MD-80s, the most common jet in American's 655-plane fleet.


"We have obviously failed to complete the airworthiness directive to the precise standards that the FAA requires, and I take full responsibility for that," Gerard Arpey, American's chairman and chief executive, said at an industry event in California.


Back at American's headquarters in Fort Worth, Garton apologized for the snafu and vowed the airline would fix the problem this time.


"We simply cannot put our customers through this again," he said.


Garton added that for American, "this certainly couldn't have come at a worse time." The airline faces record fuel prices and fear of a recession, and analysts forecast that its parent, AMR Corp., lost more than $300 million in the first three months of the year.


American declined to say how much it would spend on $500 travel vouchers and hotel rooms for stranded travelers and overtime for mechanics, or how much revenue it would lose by putting some displaced customers on other airlines. But Garton said it would be "significant."


Perhaps worried about that cost, investors on Wednesday sent AMR shares down $1.15 to $9.17.


American's problem — and Alaska Airlines' cancellation of 14 flights Wednesday to inspect its nine MD-80s — stems from an FAA order in 2006 covering the bundling of wires in the backup power system for the fuel pump of the MD-80. The FAA says improperly bundled wires could rub, leading to an electrical short or even fire.


American officials said the safety of their planes was never jeopardized, and the FAA said no serious incidents have been blamed on poorly bundled wires.


Some passengers took a jaundiced view toward American's promise to fix the problems.


Kathy Neer of Santa Fe, N.M., was caught up in both waves of cancellations to and from a vacation in Paris. She and her husband were stranded in Dallas on Tuesday on the final leg of their journey home. American gave the Neers a voucher for a hotel room and seats on another flight home Wednesday.


"They say our flight is leaving at 3:55 p.m., but do you think we trust them?" Neer said. "After being burned twice, we're a little skeptical."






News release from NBC 4 Los Angeles:


900 American Airlines Flights Canceled

Wiring On MD-80s To Be Inspected


More travel headaches could be ahead for American Airlines customers. The carrier canceled more than 900 additional flights on Wednesday to inspect and fix faulty wiring in hundreds of its jets. And flights could also be canceled Friday.


On Wednesday, American canceled more than 1,000 flights, nearly half its schedule, to fix faulty wiring on MD-80 jetliners that could cause a short-circuit or even a fire and explosion. The cancellations disrupted business trips and vacations for tens of thousands of travelers.


The airline said a return to normal operations depends on how quickly mechanics can inspect and fix the wiring. As of late Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman said 60 planes had been cleared to fly, and more than 200 were being worked on or hadn't been inspected yet.


At least 208 flights were canceled Wednesday at the carrier's Dallas-Fort Worth hub, American spokesman Tim Wagner said.


American is the nation's largest carrier.


On Tuesday, American canceled about 460 MD-80 flights.


"We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our customers," said Gerard Arpey, chairman and CEO of American Airlines. "American will do whatever it takes to assist those affected by these flight changes and our employees are working hard to ensure that we remain their choice for air travel. This includes compensating those inconvenienced customers who stayed overnight in a location away from their final destination."


It's the second wave of cancellations at American over the wiring.


More than a third of the Texas-based airline's 2,300 daily flights use that aircraft, mostly out of Dallas and Chicago.


Hundreds of flights were canceled Tuesday and the airline is not sure how many more will be disrupted.


The Federal Aviation Administration is still not happy with wiring work that caused delays two weeks ago.


At issue is how the cords used to secure bundles of wires for the auxiliary hydraulic systems are spaced and lined up.


"We regret and apologize that we are once again causing inconvenience to our customers, but we will continue to work in good faith until we satisfy all of the technical issues related to this airworthiness directive," Arpey said in a news release.


Wagner said an FAA inspector checked several planes Monday and found that some of the work performed last month didn't meet the agency's standards.


The FAA has tightened inspections of planes at all U.S. carriers since the agency came under fire for letting Southwest Airlines fly planes that had missed safety inspections. American and Delta Air Lines both canceled flights in late March to perform wiring-related inspections and repairs.


American Airlines said it will try to arrange other flights for travelers.


It said it will also foot the bill for meals, hotels and ground transportation because, as a spokesman said, the delays were within the airline's control, not weather-related.

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