Category Archives: British Airways

British Airways doubles up in Pakistan with direct flights to Lahore


(Photo by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

British Airways has today announced it will begin flying from Heathrow to Lahore, Pakistan, four times a week from October 12, 2020.

The ‘City of Gardens’, Lahore, is known for its rich culture and will be the second city in Pakistan that British Airways will operate to, following the relaunch of services to Islamabad.

Flights will be operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners departing from Heathrow Terminal 5, landing into Lahore’s International Airport.

In response to COVID-19, British Airways has introduced a range of measures to keep its customers safe. Prior to travel, they will receive information on changes at their airport and onboard experience and tips on how to prepare for their journey. Customers will also be asked to help manage the wellness of everyone travelling by:

  • Checking-in online, downloading their boarding pass and where possible self-scanning their boarding passes at the departure gate.
  • Observing social distancing and using hand sanitisers that are placed throughout airports.
  • Using new contactless, automated features at our lounges, including a new online food and drink service.
  • Wearing a facemask at all times and bringing enough to replace them every four hours for longer flights.
  • Ensuring they have everything they need from their hand luggage before departure, and where possible, storing their carry-on bag under the seat in front of them.
  • Not travelling if they think they have any symptoms of Covid-19.

On board, all cabin crew will wear PPE and a new food service has been introduced which reduces the number of interactions required with customers. Surfaces including seats, screens, seat buckles and tray tables will be cleaned after every flight and each aircraft is completely cleaned from nose to tail every day.

The air on all British Airways flights is fully recycled once every two to three minutes through HEPA filters, which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with over 99.9% efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating theatre standards.

British Airways says goodbye to the first of its last Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jets

British Airways on August 18 is retiring its first Boeing 747 since announcing last month that all 31 of its jumbo jets had sadly flown their last commercial services.

The Boeing 747-400, registration G-CIVD, departed from London Heathrow on Tuesday, August 18 at 9am local time under flight number BA9170E after more than 25 magnificent years of flying.

British Airways Boeing 747-436 G-CIVD (msn 27349) (Oneworld) LHR (SPA). Image: 935730.

Above Copyright Photo: British Airways Boeing 747-436 G-CIVD (msn 27349) (Oneworld) LHR (SPA). Image: 935730.

British Airways aircraft slide show:

British Airways’ fleet of 747s are being retired at an accelerated rate as a result of the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector, which is not predicted to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024*.

Al Bridger, British Airways’ Director of Flight Operations, said: “All of us at British Airways and so many of our customers will have fond memories and special moments from our travels on the iconic jumbo jet.

“As a pilot who was lucky enough to fly the aircraft, the sheer scale of it was unforgettable, you literally looked down on other aircraft. It changed aviation forever when it arrived in the skies and I know I speak for our customers and the global aviation community when I say, despite rightly moving to more sustainable ways of flying, we will still miss the 747 dearly.”

A full fact file on G-CIVD is below.

British Airways 747 – G-CIVD fact file:

Date it entered service 14 December 1994
Retirement date 19 August 2020
Popular / recent routes Last flight was to Lagos, part of the repatriation effort, on 18 April 2020
Liveries worn Landor – ‘City of Coventry’

Current: Union Flag / Chatham Dockyard with oneworld logo

Seating configuration First: 14

Club: 52

World Traveller Plus: 36

World Traveller: 243

Facts and stats (approximate) Top speed: 565mph

Take off speed: 180mph

Length: 70.6m, Height: 19.41m, Wingspan: 64.4m

Weight: 184 tonnes, maximum take-off weight 378 tonnes

4 x Rolls-Royce RB211-524 engines

Flown 115,276.8 hours, 13,364 flights and over 50 million miles

The 747 has been an iconic part of British Airways’ fleet for nearly fifty years. At one point the airline operated 57 of the aircraft, with the jumbo jet’s first flight to New York in 1971.

The fuel-hungry aircraft were slowly being phased out by British Airways as they reached the end of their working life in order to help meet the company’s commitment to net zero by 2050. The airline has invested heavily in new, modern long-haul aircraft including six A350s and 32 787s which are around 25 per cent more fuel-efficient than the 747.

British Airways adds more destinations this month

British Airways has made this announcement:

Throughout August, British Airways is resuming flying to more destinations, albeit with continued low frequencies while the impact of COVID-19 remains felt across the globe.

In Europe flights will resume to the holiday destinations of Bari, Bastia, Bodrum, Bordeaux, Catania, Figari, Frankfurt, Genoa, Kefalonia, Lyon, Luxembourg, Malta, Paphos and Pula, while further afield Antigua, Islamabad and Nairobi join the long-haul line-up.

Safety is at the heart of British Airways’ business and the airline has introduced a range of measures, which it requires customers and crew abide by. These include:

  • checking-in online, downloading their boarding pass and where possible self-scanning their boarding passes at the departure gate
  • observing social distancing and using hand sanitisers that are placed throughout airports
  • wearing a facemask at all times and bringing enough to replace them every four hours for longer flights
  • asking customers not to travel if they think they have any symptoms of Covid-19
  • cabin crew wearing PPE and a new food service, which reduces the number of interactions required with customers
  • asking customers to ensure they have everything they need from their hand luggage before departure, and where possible, storing their carry-on bag under the seat in front of them

The airline is cleaning all key surfaces including seats, screens, seat buckles and tray tables after every flight and each aircraft is completely cleaned from nose to tail every day. The air on all British Airways flights is fully recycled once every two to three minutes through HEPA filters, which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with over 99.9% efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating theatre standards.

British Airways retires the Airbus A318, Iberia to retire the A340-600 as IAG reports first half results

Iberia Airbus A340-642 EC-JPU (msn 744) KBP (Robbie Shaw). Image: 950772.

International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) today (July 31, 2020) presented Group consolidated results for the six months to June 30, 2020.

The results for the six months were significantly impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19, which has had a devastating impact on the global airline and travel sectors, particularly from late February 2020 onwards.

COVID-19 situation and management actions:

  •   Most Group aircraft grounded in quarter 2, with small programme of passenger flights for essential travel and repatriation
  •   1,875 additional cargo flights operated in quarter 2 to transport critical equipment and essential supplies
  •   Additional operating procedures implemented to protect customers and staff including facemask use and additional cleaning
  •   Liquidity boosted by actions including accessing Spain’s Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) facility and UK’s Coronavirus Corporate Finance Facility (CCFF). Also, British Airways’ Revolving Credit Facility extended and additional one-year bridge aircraft financing facilities agreed and implemented in quarter 2
  •   Multi-year renewal signed with American Express on July 24, including €830 million payment, a significant part of which is Avios pre-purchase
  •   Cash operating costs for quarter 2 reduced to €205 million per week, with April and May slightly lower than previously estimated at €195 million per week, despite additional cost of operating cargo-only flights
  •   Current capacity planning scenario for an increase through quarter 3 and quarter 4, to -74 percent and -46 percent versus 2019 respectively, but plans highly uncertain and subject to easing lockdowns and travel restrictions
  •   Based on our current capacity planning scenario, IAG would reach breakeven in terms of Net cash flows from operating activities during quarter 4 2020
  •   Government wage support schemes accessed in main employee bases and other measures agreed to reduce employee costs due to much-reduced flying program
  •   Capital spending for 2020 reduced by €1.5 billion, against the original plan, with 2020 fleet capital expenditure covered by committed financing
  •   Deliveries of 68 new aircraft due in 2020 to 2022 deferred and certain legacy aircraft retired early, including 32 Boeing 747s and 15 Airbus A340-600s
  •   IAG expects it will take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels and is restructuring its cost-base to reduce each airline’s size, with consultations being undertaken locally as required
  •   Active discussions remain ongoing with Globalia regarding a potential restructuring of the Air Europa acquisition, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Any agreed transaction would remain subject to regulatory clearances IAG period highlights on results:
  •   Passenger capacity operated in quarter 2 down 95.3 per cent on 2019 and for the six months down 56.2 percent on 2019
  •   Second quarter operating loss €1,365 million before exceptional items (2019 operating profit: €960 million) Note: Iberia is currently operating 3 A340-600s to Latin America: EC-IZY, ECJLE and EC-JNQ.
  •   Operating loss before exceptional items for the half year €1,900 million (2019 operating profit: €1,095 million)
  •   Exceptional charge in the half year of €2,137 million on derecognition of fuel and foreign exchange hedges for 2020 and impairment of fleet
  •   Loss after tax before exceptional items for the half year €1,965 million, and 2020 statutory loss after tax and exceptional items: €3,806 million (2019 profit: €806 million)
  •   Cash of €6,016 million at June 30, 2020 down €667 million on December 31, 2019. Committed and undrawn general and aircraft facilities were €2.1 billion, bringing total liquidity to €8.1 billionProposed capital increase:

 Proposed capital increase of up to €2.75 billion, to be supported by irrevocable commitment from largest shareholder and underwritten, subject to approval at General Shareholders’ Meeting in September

For definitions refer to the Alternative performance measures section.
1 The 2019 results include a reclassification of the costs the Group incurs in relation to compensation for flight delays and cancellations as a deduction from revenue as opposed to an operating expense. There is no change in operating profit. The amount reclassified for the period to June 30, 2019 was €63 million. Further information is given in note 1.
2 The prior year comparative is December 31, 2019.

Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive Officer, said:

“In quarter 2 we’re reporting a record operating loss of €1,365 million before exceptional items compared to an operating profit of €960 million last year. Total operating losses including exceptional items relating to the early retirement of British Airways’ Boeing 747s and Iberia’s Airbus A340s came to €2,177 million.

“We operated 1,875 cargo-only flights using passenger aircraft in quarter 2 which was an important cash contributor to the Group.

“All IAG airlines made substantial losses. As a result of government travel restrictions, quarter 2 passenger traffic fell by 98.4 per cent on a capacity reduction in the quarter of 95.3 per cent. We have seen evidence that demand recovers when government restrictions are lifted. Our airlines have put in place measures to provide additional reassurance to their customers and employees on board and at the airport.

“We continue to expect that it will take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels. Each airline has taken actions to adjust their business and reduce their cost base to reflect forecast demand in their markets not just to get through this crisis but to ensure they remain competitive in a structurally changed industry.

“IAG continues to take action to strengthen its balance sheet and liquidity position including more than halving its operating cash costs and significantly reducing its capital spending. At the end of June liquidity stood at €8.1 billion. Based on our current capacity planning scenario, we would reach breakeven in terms of Net cash flows from operating activities during quarter 4 2020.

“Subject to shareholder approval at our AGM on September 8, IAG will undertake a capital increase of up to €2.75 billion which will enhance the Group’s resilience, balance sheet and liquidity position. We’re delighted that our largest shareholder, Qatar Airways, has already committed to support the proposed capital raising. This will best position IAG to continue executing its strategic objectives and capitalise on its existing market leading position and future growth and consolidation opportunities.”

In other news, British Airways has decided to drop the London (City) – New York Airbus A318 business route. The 32-seat A318s will be retired immediately. The unique route was last revenue flight was operated on March 18, 2020 (BA2 JFK-LCY with G-EUNA).

Video:

Top Copyright Photo: Iberia Airbus A340-642 EC-JPU (msn 744) KBP (Robbie Shaw). Image: 950772.

Iberia aircraft slide show:

 

British Airways starts new route to Montego Bay and returns to Antigua, Barbados, Kinston and St. Lucia

British Airways has made this announcement:

British Airways is to start a new route between Gatwick and Montego Bay in Jamaica from October 13, 2020.

Demonstrating its commitment to the Caribbean, the airline has also now resumed flying to Antigua (from August 1), Barbados (from July 18), Kingston (also Jamaica, from July 20) and St Lucia (from July 25), albeit with reduced frequencies.

Flights to Montego Bay, which will be operated by a three-cabin (World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World) Boeing 777, will depart on Tuesdays and Saturdays and are now on sale on ba.com, with prices starting from as low as £427 return.

Safety is at the heart of British Airways’ business and the airline has introduced a range of measures to keep its customers safe and is asking customers to abide by the new measures to help manage the wellness of everyone travelling.

These include:

  • checking-in online, downloading their boarding pass and where possible self-scanning their boarding passes at the departure gate
  • observing social distancing and using hand sanitisers that are placed throughout airports
  • wearing a facemask at all times and bringing enough to replace them every four hours for longer flights
  • asking customers not to travel if they think they have any symptoms of Covid-19
  • cabin crew wearing PPE and a new food service, which reduces the number of interactions required with customers
  • Asking customers to ensure they have everything they need from their hand luggage before departure, and where possible, storing their carry-on bag under the seat in front of them

The airline is cleaning all key surfaces including seats, screens, seat buckles and tray tables after every flight and each aircraft is completely cleaned from nose to tail every day. The air on all British Airways flights is fully recycled once every two to three minutes through HEPA filters, which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with over 99.9% efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating theatre standards.

British Airways aircraft photo gallery:

British Airways aircraft slide show:

https://airlinersgallery.smugmug.com/frame/slideshow?key=24XPSC&speed=3&transition=fade&autoStart=1&captions=0&navigation=0&playButton=0&randomize=0&transitionSpeed=2

British Airways decides to retire its grounded Boeing 747-400 fleet

British Airways has told the BBC it has reached the conclusion that airline traffic will take years to recover and that its grounded Boeing 747-400 fleet will be retired immediately. The 747-400s will not return to service.

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect,” a BA spokesman told the BBC.

The “Legacy Fleet”:

Read the full article.

For the record, the last regularly scheduled revenue flight was operated with G-CIVO on May 11, 2020 as flight BA9116 between Lagos and London (Heathrow).

British Airways issued this statement on July 17, 2020:

Today, Friday, July 17, 2020) British Airways announced, with great sadness, that its fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft, fondly known as ‘The Queen of the Skies’, are likely to have flown their last scheduled commercial service.

After nearly five decades of service and millions of miles flown around the globe, it is proposed that the airline’s remaining fleet of 31 747-400 aircraft will be retired with immediate effect as a result of the devasting impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector, which is not predicted to recover to 2019 levels until 2023/24.

Just a year ago, British Airways lovingly re-painted four of its jumbo jets in heritage colors to mark the company’s centenary. The BOAC jet put in a guest appearance with the Red Arrows much to the delight of spectators at the Royal International Air Tattoo, and sadly the aircraft will shortly be heading towards its final resting place alongside 30 others.

The fuel-hungry aircraft were slowly being phased out by British Airways as they reached the end of their working life in order to help meet the company’s commitment to net zero by 2050. The airline has invested heavily in new, modern long-haul aircraft including six A350s and 32 787s which are around 25 per cent more fuel-efficient than the 747. As part of the airline’s £6.5 billion injection into customer experience in recent years, existing aircraft have been refurbished and the brand new arrivals have come into the British Airways’ fleet complete with a luxurious business class Club Suite product.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “This is not how we wanted or expected to have to say goodbye to our incredible fleet of 747 aircraft. It is a heart-breaking decision to have to make. So many people, including many thousands of our colleagues past and present, have spent countless hours on and with these wonderful planes – they have been at the centre of so many memories, including my very first long-haul flight. They will always hold a special place in our hearts at British Airways.

“We have committed to making our fleet more environmentally friendly as we look to reduce the size of our business to reflect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on aviation.  As painful as it is, this is the most logical thing for us to propose. The retirement of the jumbo jet will be felt by many people across Britain, as well as by all of us at British Airways.  It is sadly another difficult but necessary step as we prepare for a very different future.”

BOAC operated its first 747 London to New York service on April 14, 1971 and in July 1989 the first British Airways 747-400, the aircraft type the airline still flies today, took to the skies.

Plane spotters who lined Heathrow’s perimeter fences would watch as the magnificent 747-400 would typically take off at 180 mph and reach cruising speeds in the sky of up to 565 mph.

For the next decade the airline took delivery of 56 more of the aircraft, with its final plane delivered in April 1989. At the time, it was the largest commercial aircraft in the world, and it remained so until the Airbus A380 first took to the skies in 2007.

At one point British Airways operated 57 747-400 aircraft. The original aircraft featured 27 First Class seats and 292 Economy seats. Initially, the upper deck, widely described as the bubble, contained a lounge, with lounge chair seating. It was known as the ‘club in the sky’ and the aircraft also played host to the world’s very first flat bed seat which British Airways pioneered in 1999.

Today’s aircraft can seat up to 345 customers in four classes – First, Club World (Business), World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) and World Traveller (Economy).  British Airways recently refreshed the interiors of a number of its 747 aircraft which were expected to remain in service for several years to come.

The airline’s jumbo jets are currently grounded at various locations in the UK and are now only expected to reach heights of 35,000 feet as they make their final journeys.

Facts and stats:

  • Boeing has been manufacturing 747 aircraft for more than 50 years
  • BOAC flew its first 747 flight on April 14, 1971
  • British Airways took delivery of its first 747-400 in July 1989 and its last in April 1999
  • At its height, the airline had a fleet of 57 747-400s
  • British Airways is currently the world’s biggest operator of 747-400 aircraft
  • The average age of British Airways’ fleet is 23 years old
  • The 747-400 has 6 ft high winglets on the tips of its wings to improve efficiency
  • It has 16 main wheels and two landing nose wheels
  • The wings of a 747-400 span 213 ft and are big enough to accommodate 50 parked cars
  • The tail height of 64 ft is equivalent to a six-storey building
  • The 747-400 is 231 ft long

British Airways aircraft photo gallery (Boeing):

British Airways aircraft slide show:

https://airlinersgallery.smugmug.com/frame/slideshow?key=24XPSC&speed=3&transition=fade&autoStart=1&captions=0&navigation=0&playButton=0&randomize=0&transitionSpeed=2

Want to fly on a Boeing 747-400? – Hurry up, your options are narrowing

Large wide body airliners (like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747) have been hard to fill for airlines since the COVID-19 pandemic exploded around the world this spring. Many airlines have parked their Jumbos and some have moved up the planned retirement dates of the Boeing 747-400.

If you want to fly on the passenger type you better hurry. Other than governments and cargo operators, finding a passenger Boeing 747-400 flight is a challenge right now.

Some aircraft in storage will probably become active again when the passenger demand dictates the use of large wide body aircraft again. If the demand does not come back quickly it will probably mean the end of those aircraft in storage.

Above Photos: Boeing.

Below is the current situation based on the latest information for passenger airlines (corrections and additions are always welcome) (subject to change depending on returning traffic):

Air Atlanta Icelandic – The charter and ACMI specialist airline has five passenger 747-400s. Three are currently stored and two are operating on ACMI assignments.

Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747-412 TF-AMI (msn 27066) LGW (Antony J. Best). Image: 928104.

Above Copyright Photo: Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747-412 TF-AMI (msn 27066) LGW (Antony J. Best). Image: 928104.

Air China – Two 747-400s are operational (B-2445 and B-2447) but they stay mostly in China these days. Another aircraft (B-2472) is operated for the government. Air China also continues to operate the newer 747-800.

2 operational (B-2445 and B-2447) + 1 VIP (B-2472)

Above Copyright Photo: Air China Boeing 747-4J6 B-2445 (msn 25882) JFK (Ken Petersen). Image: 902765.

Asiana Airlines – Only one 747-400 passenger aircraft (HL7428) is active these days so the type is probably ready to be retired this year.

Passenger version being retired by Asiana, down to one aircraft (HL7428)

Above Copyright Photo: Asiana Airlines Boeing 747-48E HL7428 (msn 28552) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 910887.

Atlas Air – The charter and ACMI specialist airline currently has three active passenger 747-400s (N464MC, N465MC and N480MC). Assuming charter demand continues this airline could be one of the last passenger operators.

Atlas Air Boeing 747-446 N465MC (msn 24784) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 921869.

Above Copyright Photo: Atlas Air Boeing 747-446 N465MC (msn 24784) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 921869.

British Airways – The former largest 747-400 passenger operator has stored all 28 aircraft pending a return of passenger demand. For now, G-CIVO operated the last revenue flight (BA9116 LOS-LHR) on May 11, 2020.

British Airways Boeing 747-436 (Tails) LHR (Dave Glendinning). Image: 908409.

Above Copyright Photo: British Airways Boeing 747-436 (Tails) LHR (Dave Glendinning). Image: 908409.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – As previously reported, PH-BFT operated the last regular revenue flight (KL686 MEX-AMS) on March 29, 2020. However the Jumbo was brought out of retirement to operate special medical cargo flights (along with PH-BFV and PH-BFW) during the pandemic. All 3 are expected to be re-retired again this year.

Type Retired: March 29, 2020 (flight KL686 MEX-AMS with PH-BFT)

Above Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-406 PH-BFT (msn 28459) (100 Years) AMS (Ton Jochems). Image: 949485.

Lufthansa – The company was originally planning to retire the 747-400 fleet in 2025. That all changed with the pandemic. All 8 that remain operational are now in storage pending a return of passenger demand. D-ABVX operated the last 747-400 passenger revenue flight (LH637 RUH-FRA) on May 8, 2020.

8 stored. For now last revenue flight: May 8, 2020: LH637 RUH-FRA with D-ABVX.

Above Copyright Photo: Lufthansa Boeing 747-430 D-ABTK (msn 29871) YYZ (TMK Photography). Image: 938088.

Rossiya Russian Airlines – The Russian carrier parked all nine of its Boeing 747-400s. EI-XLF operated the last revenue flight (FV5876 HKT-SVO) on March 29, 2020.

Rossiya Airlines Boeing 747-446 EI-XLF (msn 27645) AYT (Ton Jochems). Image: 943781.

Above Copyright Photo: Rossiya Airlines Boeing 747-446 EI-XLF (msn 27645) AYT (Ton Jochems). Image: 943781.

Wamos Air – The Spanish carrier has four active Boeing 747-400s. The carrier is planning to operate the type until 2023 but this could change with lower demand.

Wamos Air Boeing 747-412 EC-KSM (msn 27178) ARN (Stefan Sjogren). Image: 937680.

Above Copyright Photo: Wamos Air Boeing 747-412 EC-KSM (msn 27178) ARN (Stefan Sjogren). Image: 937680.

Boeing 747-400 Photo Gallery.

Recent 747-400 fleet retirements:

Air India – Four 747-400s are parked and not likely to return. VT-ESO operated the last revenue flight (AI966 HYD-BOM) on March 15, 2020.

China Airlines – Four passenger 747-400s are in storage and are not likely to return. B-18215 operated the last revenue flight (CI916 HKG-TPE) on March 15, 2020.

Corsair International – The French carrier parked its three passenger Boeing 747-400s in March and they are not likely to return. F-GTUI operated the last revenue flight (S5 927 PTP-ORY) on March 26, 2020,

El Al Israel Airlines – 4X-ELC operated the last passenger 747-400 revenue flight (LY1747 FCO-TLV) on November 3, 2019.

Iraqi Airways – The last passenger Boeing 747-400 (YI-ASA) operated the last revenue flight (IA3114, MED-BGW) on February 2, 2020.

Korean Air – HL7402 operated the last 747-400 passenger revenue flight (KE630 DPS-ICN) on February 29, 2020. Korean Air continues to operate the newer 747-800.

Mahan Air – The Iranian airline was recently again operating EP-MNB (February 2020) but it appears to be no longer flying, probably due to the embargo.

QANTAS Airways – The flag carrier decided to early retire the type due to a much lower demand. VH-OEE operated the last revenue flight (QF28 SCL-SYD) on March 29, 2020.

Thai Airways International – The flag carrier is in reorganization and is cutting costs and reducing aircraft types. HS-TGA operated the last 747-400 revenue flight (TG476 SYD-BKK) on March 26, 2020.

Virgin Atlantic Airways – G-VROS operated the last revenue flight (VS608 LAX-LHR) on March 31, 2020.

Poll. Who do you think will be the last Boeing 747-400 passenger airline operator?

British Airways plans to cup up to 12,000 jobs due to the drop in air travel

IAG, the parent of British Airways, reported its first quarter results:

International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced its preliminary results for the first quarter of 2020 and continues to assess further cost reduction and cash flow initiatives across the entire Group. British Airways is to consult over redundancy and restructuring proposals with its trade unions.

First quarter results

Total revenue declined by 13 percent to €4.6 billion compared to €5.3 billion in the prior year period. Operating result before exceptional items was a loss of €535 million compared to a profit of €135 million last year. In addition, IAG’s pre-tax profit was impacted by an exceptional charge of €1.3 billion resulting from the ineffectiveness of its fuel and foreign currency hedges for the rest of 2020 due to over-hedging. This exceptional charge is measured as at the quarter end date. Detailed results for the first quarter will be released as planned on 7 May, accompanied by a presentation and conference call for analysts and investors.

The operating result in the first two months of 2020 was similar to that of last year, despite the suspension of flights to China due to COVID-19 from the end of January. All of the reduction in the operating result in the quarter compared to last year came in March. The majority of the reduction in IAG’s operating result was incurred by British Airways, followed by Iberia and Aer Lingus, while Vueling experienced a modest increase in operating loss.

Capacity

Passenger capacity, expressed in terms of available seat kilometres, declined by 10.5 percent in the quarter. Passenger traffic in terms of revenue passenger kilometres declined by 15.2 percent in the quarter. Seat load factor for the quarter declined by 4.3 points to 76.4 per cent.

IAG has reduced passenger capacity in April and May by 94 percent compared to last year, only operating flights for essential travel and repatriation. Between March 22 and April 26 IAG Cargo undertook around 350 additional cargo only return flights, primarily on long-haul routes with passenger wide body aircraft. Passenger capacity from June will depend on the timing of the easing of lockdowns and travel restrictions by governments around the world.

British Airways redundancy consultation

In light of the impact of COVID-19 on current operations and the expectation that the recovery of passenger demand to 2019 levels will take several years, British Airways is formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy program. The proposals remain subject to consultation but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them.

As previously announced, British Airways has availed itself of the UK’s COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme and furloughed 22,626 employees in April.

Outlook

As announced on 28 February 2020, given the uncertainty on the impact and duration of COVID-19, IAG is not currently providing profit guidance for 2020. However, the Group expects its operating loss in the second quarter to be significantly worse than in the first quarter, given the substantial decline in passenger capacity and traffic and despite some relief on employee costs from government job retention and wage support schemes.

Total cash and undrawn general and committed aircraft finance facilities amounted to €9.5 billion at the end of March, including €6.95 billion of cash, cash equivalents and interest-bearing deposits.

Recovery to the level of passenger demand in 2019 is expected to take several years, necessitating Group-wide restructuring measures.

British Airways also made this announcement:

Letter to colleagues from Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO at British Airways

On April 27, British Airways flew just a handful of aircraft out of Heathrow. On a normal day we would fly more than 300. What we are facing as an airline, like so many other businesses up and down the country, is that there is no ‘normal’ any longer.

The global aviation body, IATA, has said that the industry has never seen a downturn this deep before, and that full year industry passenger revenues could plummet 55% compared to 2019, while traffic falls 48%.  Many airlines have grounded all of their planes. Sadly, we will see some airlines go out of business with the resulting job losses.

Our very limited flying schedule means that revenues are not coming into our business. We are taking every possible action to conserve cash, which will help us to weather the storm in the short-term. We are working closely with partners and suppliers to discuss repayment terms; we are re-negotiating contracts where possible; and we are considering all the options for our current and future aircraft fleet. All of these actions alone are not enough.

In the last few weeks, the outlook for the aviation industry has worsened further and we must take action now. We are a strong, well-managed business that has faced into, and overcome, many crises in our hundred-year history. We must overcome this crisis ourselves, too.

There  is no Government bailout standing by for BA and we cannot expect the taxpayer to offset salaries indefinitely. Any money we borrow now will only be short-term and will not address the longer-term challenges we will face.

We do not know when countries will reopen their borders or when the lockdowns will lift, and so we have to reimagine and reshape our airline and create a new future for our people, our customers and the destinations we serve. We have informed the Government and the Trade Unions of our proposals to consult over a number of changes, including possible reductions in headcount. We will begin a period of consultation, during which we will work with the Trade Unions to protect as many jobs as possible. Your views matter and we will listen to all practical proposals.

The scale of this challenge requires substantial change so we are in a competitive and resilient position, not just to address the immediate Covid-19 pandemic, but also to withstand any longer-term reductions in customer demand, economic shocks or other events that could affect us. However challenging this is, the longer we delay difficult decisions, the fewer options will be open to us.

I want to pay tribute to the thousands of British Airways colleagues who are playing a vital role in the global response to the Covid-19 crisis. Whether you are supporting our repatriation flights or the transport of essential cargo; or one of the hundreds of colleagues volunteering with organisations such as the NHS, you have my sincere respect and thanks.

This has been a difficult message to write and one I never thought I would need to send. I know how tight-knit the BA family is, and how concerned you will be, not just for yourself but for your colleagues, too. We must act decisively now to ensure that British Airways has a strong future and continues connecting Britain with the world, and the world with Britain.

Thank you.

Alex

BALPA had this reaction:

BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton said:

“BA pilots and all staff are devastated by the announcement of up to 12,000 possible job losses in British Airways.

“This has come as a bolt out of the blue from an airline that said it was wealthy enough to weather the COVID storm and declined any Government support.

“BALPA does not accept that a case has been made for these job losses and we will be fighting to save every single one.”
More from the BBC.

British Airways aircraft photo gallery (Airbus):

British Airways adds extra PPE flights from China

British Airways has issued this statement:

  • 21 British Airways flights a week from China to London now operating, up from 13 this time last week
  • Flights will be used to carry up to 770 tons of cargo for the NHS including PPE
  • Cargo shipped in joint effort between British Airways, IAG Cargo, the UK Government and the British Embassy in Beijing

British Airways is increasing the number of cargo-only flights from China to the UK to 21 a week, up from 13 last week, as demand continues to rise.

From May, 14 flights each week will depart from Shanghai, and seven from Beijing carrying cargo in the hold and, where possible, in the cabin too.  These flights will be able to carry up to 770 tonnes of cargo for the NHS each week, including PPE and ventilators.

In April, the airline has already operated 13 cargo-only flights from China to the UK carrying NHS supplies. The flights are operated in partnership with the UK Government and IAG Cargo. The British Embassy in China is working with the Department of Health to procure medical equipment from China and deliver it to NHS hospitals all over the UK.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “As an airline we are in a unique position to help in the global response to Covid-19, whether it is through carrying UK residents back home, transporting vital cargo back to the NHS, or through our colleagues who are offering their skills to volunteer. We’re proud to be playing our part, and I’m grateful to everyone who is working to make these flights happen in these difficult times.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “These flights will help us deliver essential equipment to the NHS and for others who are working on the front line.

British Airways works with its sister company, IAG Cargo to fly supplies around the world. Since March, IAG Cargo and airlines within International Airlines Group (IAG) including Aer Lingus and Iberia have been instrumental in bringing medical supplies to Europe to help in the fight against the impact of the Covid-19.

Last week, British Airways began carrying cargo in the cabin of its flights, as well as in the hold – the first time the airline has ever done this.

Photos: British Airways.

British Airways aircraft photo gallery (Airbus):