Well, we all know the press are reporting how things are in Egypt.

BMI has updated it’s booking advice and flight times for BD771/BD772 for the next few days. See http://www.flybmi.com/bmi/en-gb/flight-and-airport-info/flight-information/travel-news.aspx#294 with a stop in Beurit for a crew change. Rebookings are being accepted to the end of March.

British Airways in the meantime has modified it’s travel advice with flights operating within curfew hours, but add rebookings are now accepted to end of February, but also to cancel the booking for full refund, or use the value of the ticket to toward the purchase of a new ticket to any other destination. Sharm El Sheikh remains open for now.

For other carriers, check their website or contact their call centre as you may be able to cite any travel to Cairo as a reason to change your ticket.

The Forigen and Commonwealth Office advise:

We advise against all but essential travel to Cairo (all four governorates, including Giza), Alexandria, Luxor and Suez.  The nationwide curfew has been extended from 1500-0800 local time.  We recommend that British nationals without a pressing need to be in Cairo, Alexandria or Suez leave by commercial means where it is safe to do so.  British nationals in other areas of Egypt where there are demonstrations should follow the advice below and stay indoors wherever possible.

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/egypt 

Again – if you have issues with your carrier – cite the FCO advice.

Good luck and safe travels

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A lot of rumor has been going around, and alas, it appears to be true with British Midland International axing the Glasgow to London Route

Confirmation comes from the Glasgow Evening Times

The route leaves British Airways to run the Glasgow to London route, with BMI pulling out saying it is quitting to focus on more-profitable long haul services.

A spokeswoman said:

“Unfortunately, due to the suspension of the route a number of employees at Glasgow will be at risk of redundancy.


“The company has today commenced a 30-day formal consultation process with employees and the relevant unions to try and reduce the number of redundancies as much as possible and will offer a large number of redeployment options within bmi.”

This decimates the timetable from five return flights a day to nil, with service terminating on March 27th. BMI cite the costs of landing fees at Heathrow are too high for Domestic passengers which increases from April 1, from £13 to £20.

The route whilst loss making in the first place, now make the route unsustainable.

BMI Complain:

“They are now the same charges a passenger would pay on an international flight to an EU destination, despite the fact domestic passengers do not use the same facilities as international passengers, such as customs and immigration channels.”

There have been talks in the background trying to prevent the axe falling, but these seem to have failed.

This has been discussed quietly and not so quietly in forums and the press, but it isn’t surprising in the “new” BMI. If a route isn’t making money, cut it. In addition, BMI has made itself no favours with its Revenue Department seemly charge odd numbers for flights that seem to have come out of a lotto machine.

Indeed, the changes are already loaded into the BMI booking tool:

And so ends a piece of history – what British Midland Airways fought for against BA in the 1980′s ends after 30 years or so, creaking open the first open skies agreements.

The big question is what domestic operation is next to cut?

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The Foriegn and Commonwealth Office has updated it’s advice on travel in Egypt:

We advise against all but essential travel to Cairo (all four governorates, including Giza), Alexandria, Luxor and Suez.  The nationwide curfew has been extended from 1500-0800 local time.  We recommend that British nationals without a pressing need to be in Cairo, Alexandria or Suez leave by commercial means where it is safe to do so.  British nationals in other areas of Egypt where there are demonstrations should follow the advice below and stay indoors wherever possible.

Airlines are updating their advice, with BMI running a service to Cairo tomorrow on revised times and routes (with rebookings being given to end of March). 
British Airways is operating services to change travel up till 28th February, or rerouting to Sharm El Shek.

Again – check with your carrier and safe travels.

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It’s Sunday, so it must be time for some more Airplane p0rn.

Today, it’s an Aer Lingus A320 at Dublin Airport, fresh after a little shorthaul leg from Birmingham Airport.

More of course next week!

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With the coming of the Rugby World Cup (and Air New Zealand being a sponsor), Air New Zealand have been busy at the Airbus paint shop, building and painting up one of it’s new birds in a stunning “All-Black” Livery.

And here’s a video to prove it…

Nicely done as usual.

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As the situation in Egypt beings to degenrate further, the impact is being felt.

The UK Forgien and Commonwealth Office has followed the following advice:

  • In light of the ongoing demonstrations, we advise against all but essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez.  This does not affect transits through Cairo airport for onward travel to other destinations, although there is some disruption to flight schedules.  A nationwide curfew is in place from 1600 to 0800 local time.  The Egyptian authorities have  blocked mobile telephone and internet communications. 
  • If you are already in Egypt, you are strongly advised to stay put and follow the advice set out below. We are not, at present, advising British nationals to leave the country.  If you are travelling to or through Egypt, you are advised to check with your airline to confirm your flight.
  • Over the past week there have been violent demonstrations in Cairo and other locations across Egypt and particularly in central Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez. The police have been using tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse demonstrators. There have been a number of deaths.  You should avoid these areas.  The situation is unpredictable and may change quickly. You should also avoid any political gatherings, demonstrations or large crowds and respect any advice or instruction from the local security authorities. We advise people in Cairo or other large cities to follow the news on TV and radio and not to go out in central Cairo or other areas where demonstrations are taking place. See Safety and Security – Political Situation.

And in particular:

We advise against all but essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez. This does not affect transits through Cairo airport for onward travel to other destinations, although there is some disruption to flight schedules. A curfew is in place across Egypt from 1600 to 0800 local time.


Over the past week there have been violent demonstrations in Cairo and other locations across Egypt, including Suez, North Sinai, Rafah, the Delta region and some areas of Upper Egypt, including Luxor. The police have been using tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse demonstrators. The situation is unpredictable and may change quickly. You should follow news on the TV and radio closely and stay away from demonstrations and large gatherings of people, public buildings or other sites which may become the focus of demonstrations, such as Tahrir Square in Cairo. You should respect any advice or instruction from the local security authorities and tour operators. If you are in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez or Luxor we advise you to remain indoors whenever possible.


The British Embassy in Cairo is located close to the main site of demonstrations in Cairo, making access difficult. If you intend to visit, please call the Embassy in advance to confirm that it is safe to do so, on (002)(02) 2791 6000.


Mobile phone and internet networks have been cut across Egypt, including in tourist resorts close to the Red Sea.

See: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/egypt/

In other related news:

  • British Airways is chartering a service to carry people who wish to return from Cairo
  • British Midland International has cancelled Flight BD772, whilst BD771 which is forming the London – Cario Flight has turned around and is heading back to London
  • Delta has scrubbed all services to Cairo
  • EgyptAir is running limited services, but if suffering suspension out of it’s Cairo hub
  • Air France is running services subject to local conditions.

Check with your carrier before you set off, and cite FCO advice if you feel you don’t wish to travel.

And safe travels to all

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Let’s go back in time, and see how Trans World Airlines did a safety video. Ah how times have changed…. .

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Star Alliance has announced more carriers are to join it’s upgrade scheme where can you can pay with points for an upgrade.

The new joiners to the scheme are Air Canada, TAM and US Airways.

Now, before you get excited and consider redeeming your hard-earned miles for upgrades 1) Not all members of Star Alliance participate in the scheme and 2) These are related to High Value fares/Full Price Fares (for those of your who understand fare language, typically Y and B fares in economy and full C in business) and may not represent best Value if you’re after bang per mile.

The full list of carriers is:

  •  Air China (PhoenixMiles)
  •  Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  •  Air New Zealand (Airpoints)
  •  ANA (ANA Mileage Club)
  •  Asiana Airlines (Asiana Club)
  •  Austrian (Miles and More)
  •  Brussels Airlines (Miles and More)
  •  Continental (OnePass)
  •  LOT Polish Airlines (Miles and More)
  •  Lufthansa (Miles and More)
  •  SAS (EuroBonus)
  •  Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)
  •  SWISS (Miles and More)
  •  TAM (Fidelidade)
  •  TAP Portugal (Victoria)
  •  THAI (Royal Orchid Plus)
  •  Turkish Airlines (Miles and Smiles)
  •  United (Mileage Plus)
  •  US Airways (Dividend Miles)

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As delays to the 787 project continue to mount up, Airlines are beginning to disclose how the 787 delays are affecting them

First up is LAN who has an outstanding order of 26 ordered frames and 6 leased frames with the first two due this year. As Boeing hasn’t got a hope in hell of getting them out of the factory in time, LAN is looking to acquire more 767′s in the mean time.

LAN is hoping for the delivery to occur in 2012, but isn’t holding it’s breath as no new delivery schedule has been announced.

“There have been additional delays in this plane but we have not yet confirmed a new delivery schedule,” LAN CFO Alejandro de la Fuente explained to analysts during a 26 January conference call.

“Nevertheless we are evaluating alternatives to bridge this gap caused by this delay of the aircraft and compensate the impact it will have on our long-haul growth plans.”

Whilst the 767 is an option on the table, other types are being considered dependning on the mission they’re needed for – so this could open the way for 777-200′s, A330′s or A340′s in the mean time.

Alas, if LAN wanted compensation for the order, the only way they’d get it is to cancel their order with Boeing. Which isn’t going to happen.

Meanwhile Jetstar is in exactly the same boat, with it’s deliveries of Boeing 787′s delayed to late 2013 with Boeing informing them of a 6 month delay to their aircraft.

Qantas ordered 50 frames – 25 for mainline, 25 for Jetstar, with the first frames brought forward to a 2012 delivery date. Now it seems things are slowing down due to the continued problems of the 787 project.

Jetstar is planning to cope as it has A330 capacity arriving before the 787′s turn up – with 4 frames being delivered to the airline.

As expected, the new delays are coming out. However – these aren’t “the big blows” that are expected. I’m still awaiting the thoughts of Middle Eastern and other Asian airlines who have big orders riding on the 787 project, and who are seeing planes delayed day by day…

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Lufthansa have announced they are to operate an Airbus A380 to San Fransico from Frankfurt.

The equipment change occurs from 10th May 2011, replacing the 747-400 equipment that currently runs on this route.

Timings are:
LH454 DEPT FRA 09:35 ARRIVE SFO 11:55
LH455 DEPT SFO 14:20 ARRIVE FRA 10:05+1

San Francisco becomes the 5th A380 destination for Lufthansa who currently serve Beijing, Johannesburg and Tokyo (with New York service commencing in late February).

Whilst the 747-400 service is being swapped over with an A380 service, the A340 operated from Munich will remain.

It goes without saying that the clamour for redemption seats and seat blocks has probably begun…..

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Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airlines – both of Greece have had their request to merge blocked by the European Commision.

The orignal proposal was annouced in 2010 when Aegean was joining Star Alliance, but has now been refused on the grounds it would

(create a)”quasi-monopoly on the Greek air transport market”

and

“would have led to higher fares for four out of six million Greek and European consumers travelling on routes to and from Athens each year”.

To quote:

“Together the two carriers control more than 90 per cent of the Greek domestic air transport market and the Commission’s investigation showed no realistic prospects that a new airline of a sufficient size would enter the routes and restrain the merged entity’s pricing. The companies offered to cede take-off and landing slots at Greek airports, but Greek airports do not suffer from the congestion observed at other European airports in previous mergers or alliances.”

Fears of a monopoly on various routes include Athens and Thessaloniki, and eight island airports, namely Herakleion and Chania, (both in Crete), Rhodes, Santorini, Mytilini, Chios, Kos and Samos.

Aegean are unhappy stating an opportunity to consolidate has been lost, but will adjust and continue. Meanwhile Olympic states it will have negative effects for consumers, the country and benefit competitors outside of Greece.

Both are studying the judgement, and are considering appeals where possible.

In the light of the Greek fiscal situation, this is a blow to both of them. Aegean is hoping to push it’s expansion via Star Alliance, and had hoped to benefit the extra routes. Meanwhile the current version of Olympic Air is still “growing up” after the failure of Olympic Airways (and the subsequent privatisation) and could had done with the merger to boost it’s long term credentials.

Some how or other, there is still time to run with this I think….

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