Category Archives: British Airways

Qatar Airways acquires a stake in IAG

Qatar Airways (Doha) has bought a 9.99 per cent stake in British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group (IAG), becoming the company’s largest shareholder.

The move will cement a close commercial relationship between BA and the airline, whose owner, the Qatari government, is a significant investor in Britain.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, the BA owner, said in : “We’re delighted to have Qatar Airways, one of the world’s premier airlines, as a long-term supportive shareholder. We will talk to them about what opportunities exist to work more closely together and further IAG’s ambitions as the leading global airline group.”

BA sponsored Qatar’s entry into the Oneworld airline alliance, and they also have a cargo partnership. Qatar has indicated it would seek to extend ties following the investment, which could include codeshares on flights via the Gulf state, allowing the airlines to sell tickets on each other’s planes.

Akbar Al Baker, the Qatar airline’s CEO said: “IAG represents an excellent opportunity to further develop our westwards strategy.”

Qatar Airways is prohibited from owning more than a minority stake in IAG under EU ownership rules and said it does not currently intend to increase its 9.99% shareholding.

Report by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Qatar Airways’ second Airbus A380, the pictured A380-861 A7-APB (msn 143) completes its final approach to London’s Heathrow Airport, the home of IAG’s British Airways.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show:

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Will Aer Lingus now accept IAG’s new raised cash bid to acquire the Irish carrier?

Aer Lingus (Dublin) is now expected to recommend a takeover by the International Airlines Group-IAG (London) (British Airways, Iberia and Vueling Airlines) according to a report today by The Irish Times. This change of heart comes after the IAG raised its bid for the flag carrier to a €2.50 ($2.80) a share cash bid. The offer could face opposition from the Irish government. If accepted and approved, Aer Lingus would join the Oneworld alliance.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus controls valuable slots at London’s Heathrow Airport. Airbus A320-214 EI-DEF (msn 2256) completes its final approach to Heathrow.

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show:

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IAG reveals failed Aer Lingus bid

International Airlines Group (IAG) (London), the parent company of British Airways (Heathrow), Iberia (Madrid) and low cost carrier Vueling Airlines (Barcelona), has revealed that the board of Aer Lingus (Dublin) has rejected a potential takeover attempt.

IAG confirmed in a stock exchange disclosure it had “submitted a proposal” to make an offer for Aer Lingus, but it added that this was “rejected by the board of Aer Lingus.”

IAG added: “There can be no certainty that any further proposal or offer will be forthcoming. A further statement will be made if and when appropriate,”.

“The board has reviewed the Proposal and believes that it fundamentally undervalues Aer Lingus and its attractive prospects. Accordingly, the Proposal was rejected on 16 December 2014,” Aer Lingus said in a stock market disclosure. “Shareholders are strongly advised to take no action.”

This is not the first time Aer Lingus has been the target of a takeover bid. Irish competitor Ryanair (Dublin) has made several attempts to acquire its fellow Irish carrier, but each of these efforts has been blocked on competition grounds.

Last September, a UK Competition Commission (UKCC) investigation into these unsuccessful Ryanair bids revealed that Aer Lingus was looking to combine with another carrier in 2012 and has more recently explored a variety of merger and acquisition scenarios. They also revealed that several sets of talks relating to Aer Lingus acquiring, merging and forming strategic initiatives with other airlines.

Ryanair was ordered to sell its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus down to 5% by the UKCC, partly based on concerns the shareholding could jeopardize Aer Lingus’ consolidation with other carriers. Ryanair responded by putting its entire stake up for sale, with certain conditions. More recently Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has bemoaned a total lack of interest in the Aer Lingus stake.

O’Leary, speaking at the release of Ryanair’s first-quarter results this summer, said: “We’ve had depressingly received no interest in Aer Lingus stake, which has been up for sale for about 18 months.”

The takeover bid from IAG could have could have valued the Republic’s flag carrier at at least €1 billion, industry sources estimate. Earlier, Aer Lingus shares had jumped 14% after the Financial Times reported that IAG was considering a bid.

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus A320-214 EI-DEN (msn 2432) approaches the runway in London (Heathrow).

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

British Airways announces new flights to Greece from London City Airport

British Airways (London) has announced new flights to Greece from London City Airport for the summer of 2015. The British flag carrier announced seasonal services to Mykonos and Thira (Santorini) for operation from June 29 to September 6, 2015. The routes will be operated with Embraer ERJ 190s by BA CityFlyer.

The route schedule released by BA is as follows:

London City – Mykonos: Four Times Weekly

BA2221 LCY 1040 – 1615 JMK E90 134
BA2221 LCY 1245 – 1820 JMK E90 7
BA2220 JMK 1705 – 1900 LCY E90 134
BA2220 JMK 1920 – 2115 LCY E90 7

London City – Thira: Twice Weekly
BA2223 LCY 1040 – 1620 JTR E90 25
BA2222 JTR 1705 – 1900 LCY E90 25

BA’s general manager commercial at London City, Luke Hayhoe, said to wharf.co.uk: “London City is no longer just a business airport as our growing leisure schedule shows.

“In recent years we have launched new flights to many popular summer sun spots in Spain, Italy and France, now we are delivering what our customers have asked for – some Greek Island destinations.”

Reported by Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: Nik French/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100SR G-LCYM (msn 19000351) taxies at Manchester.

British Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

British Airways-BA CityFlyer aircraft slide show:

British Airways fits ZEUS, a volcanic ash detector, on a Boeing 747-400

British Airways (London) has issued this statement concerning its part in volcanic ash detection research:

In response to the Icelandic volcanic eruption in 2010 which caused widespread flight disruption to travellers, scientists at the Met Office and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have developed a prototype ash detection device, capable of detecting small amounts of ash in the atmosphere. In time, this research could aid ash forecasting and also help airlines more accurately plan their flight and engineering operations.

The device, aptly named ZEUS after the Greek God of the skies, has been fitted on a British Airways 747 and data has already been successfully downloaded from its first flight to Johannesburg and will be analysed by the Met Office. It will continue to fly on long-haul routes around the world for a year, collecting data for analysis.

ZEUS was developed after a pilot in a research aircraft noticed that static levels created by low levels of volcanic ash in the atmosphere caused his hair to stand on end. Met Office and NERC scientists seized on this phenomenon to develop and patent the device which uses measurements of static as a tool to detect ash.

An early prototype of ZEUS has been flying on the NERC/Met Office dedicated research aircraft and a Flybe Bombardier Q400 passenger aircraft since 2012, gathering background data from around Europe. This data was used to demonstrate that the ZEUS sensor can distinguish between the levels of electrostatic charge on the aircraft when flying in normal conditions and when volcanic ash is present.

The advanced ZEUS prototype will be on the British Airways aircraft for a year and will build up a picture of background electric field in normal atmospheric conditions around the globe. When information from ZEUS is downloaded and correlated with flight data – including weather conditions, speed, altitude, location – it can help scientists build a picture of volcanic ash distribution. Aircraft engineers can also use this data to schedule post-flight inspections of engines and aircraft systems.

British Airways’ Captain Dean Plumb said: “We were very keen to be involved in this pioneering research which will be of great value to the aviation industry and beyond. Aircraft regularly encounter small quantities of ash in flights around the world, perfectly safely, and pilots use expert forecasts to plan their routes to avoid more dense ash clouds. ZEUS has the potential to provide a clearer picture of ash distribution and could be used to inform decision making-processes in the event of future volcanic eruptions.”

Ian Lisk, Met Office Head of Natural Hazards said: “This is a very exciting development and a great result of cross-industry collaboration, including British Airways, Flybe, NERC and the Met Office. While further development is still required, we are delighted with progress with this prototype volcanic ash sensor to date and the findings we have so far received from the tests are very promising.”

The Met Office is an expert in aviation forecasting, with responsibility for providing international aviation meteorological services and advice. The London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), one of nine VAACs worldwide, is hosted and run by the Met Office as part of its aviation forecast operations. London VAAC provides advice on the likely dispersion of ash clouds emitted from eruptions originating in Iceland and the North East Atlantic, and this information is used by the aviation industry to help make decisions on airspace management.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-436 G-BNLE (msn 24047) climbs away from the London (Heathrow) hub.

British Airways aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

British Airways to add Airbus A380 service to Miami on October 25, 2015

British Airways (London) will introduce the Airbus A380 on the London (Heathrow)-Miami route on October 25, 2015. The new type will be operated on the route twice-daily.

Today, British Airways made it official with this announcement:

British Airways today announced that Floridians planning to travel to Europe next year will have the chance to experience British Airways’ new state-of-the-art Airbus A380 superjumbo. From October 2015, the premium British airline will offer two daily A380 services from Miami International Airport to London Heathrow, with onward connections to more than 100 destinations.

The largest commercial airliner in the sky, British Airways’ A380 can accommodate up to 469 customers across two decks and four cabins.

The First cabin features 14 luxurious suites with 30 percent more personal space than the previous generation. Customers in First will be able to enjoy a la carte dining or try the A380 exclusive five course taster menu.

97 Club World (business class) seats that convert into full flat beds

The popular World Traveller Plus (premium economy) cabin will have 55 seats and 303 seats will be available in World Traveller (economy).

The new A380 route to Miami is part of British Airways’ plans to enhance the usage of facilities in Terminal 3 and Terminal 5 by combining its operations in two terminals and moving out of Terminal 1.

In the coming 12 months, flights to 20 British Airways destinations, including Miami, will change terminals at Heathrow and by the middle of October 2015 all of the airline’s services will depart from either its flagship home of Terminal 5 or the main oneworld alliance Heathrow base in Terminal 3.

Copyright Photo: Airbus A380-841 G-XLEF (msn 151) taxies at London (Heathrow).

British Airways: AG Slide Show

 

IAG reports a third quarter net profit of $751 million

International Airlines Group (IAG) (British Airways, Iberia, Iberia Express and Vueling Airlines) (London) reported a third quarter net profit of €598 million ($751 million) up 3.1% from €580 million ($728.4 million) in the same quarter a year ago.

The airline group issued this full statement:

NINE MONTHS RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) presented Group consolidated results for the nine months to September 30, 2014.

IAG period highlights on results:

  • Third quarter operating profit €900 million (2013: €690 million) before exceptional items, €210 million better than last year
  • At constant currency, third quarter passenger unit revenue down 0.9 per cent and non-fuel unit costs down 4.5 per cent
  • Revenue for the quarter up 8.5 per cent to €5,866 million, up 6.9 per cent at constant currency
  • Fuel unit costs for the quarter down 7.5 per cent at constant currency
  • Operating profit for the nine months €1,130 million (2013: €657 million) before exceptional items, €473 million better than last year
  • Exceptional charge of €82 million for currency re-evaluation
  • Cash of €5,064 million at September 30, 2014, up €1,431 million on 2013 year end
  • Adjusted gearing down 4 points to 46 per centPerformance summary:

Nine months to September 30

Financial data € million

2014

2013

Higher / (lower)

Passenger revenue

13,435

12,299

9.2 %

Total revenue

15,155

14,113

7.4 %

Operating profit before exceptional items

1,130

657

Exceptional items

(82)

(309)

Operating profit after exceptional items

1,048

348

Profit after tax and exceptional items

694

77

Basic earnings per share (€ cents)

33.4

3.2

Operating figures

2014

2013

Higher / (lower)

Available seat kilometres (ASK million)

190,234

172,234

10.5 %

Revenue passenger kilometres (RPK million)

153,537

140,220

9.5 %

Seat factor (per cent)

80.7

81.4

(0.7pts)

Passenger revenue per RPK (€ cents)

8.75

8.77

(0.2)%

Passenger unit revenue per ASK (€ cents)

7.06

7.14

(1.1)%

Non-fuel unit costs per ASK (€ cents)

5.00

5.21

(4.0)%

€ million

At September 30,

At December 31,

Higher / (lower)

2014

2013

Cash and interest-bearing deposits

5,064

3,633

39.4 %

Adjusted net debt(1)

5,547

5,701

(2.7)%

Adjusted gearing(2)

46%

50%

(4pts)

(1) Adjusted net debt is net debt plus capitalised operating aircraft lease costs.
(2) Adjusted gearing is adjusted net debt, divided by adjusted net debt and adjusted equity.

Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive Officer, said:

“This quarter we are reporting an operating profit before exceptional items of €900 million. At constant currency, revenue was up 6.9 per cent with non-fuel unit costs down 4.5 per cent and fuel unit costs down 7.5 per cent.

“We continued to grow capacity efficiently and both our non-fuel and fuel unit cost performances were strong with the latter boosted by the introduction of new, more efficient aircraft into our fleet.

“British Airways made an operating profit of €607 million, compared to €477 million last year, and grew capacity while retaining its focus on cost control. Iberia’s operating profit increased to €162 million from €74 million last year highlighting its strong cost discipline combined with the continued benefits of restructuring. Vueling continued to grow, developing new bases in Italy and Belgium, with an operating profit of €140 million compared to €139 million last year.

“In the nine months, we made an operating profit of €1,130 million before exceptional items, up by €473 million from last year”.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Iberia improved its financial performance with labor stability which was one of the main drivers for a better financial performance of the group in the third quarter. Iberia’s Airbus A320-214 EC-MCS (msn 6244) taxies at Geneva in the new look.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Iberia: AG Slide Show

Iberia Express: AG Slide Show

Vueling Airlines: AG Slide Show