Aviation Round-Up: 27th June 2018 – New Routes, Deliveries & More

Over the last year, a cornerstone of LondonSpotter has been the signature Route Reviews and Delivery Reports. Now, with a new concept, we will combine the two. The new fortnightly ‘Aviation Round-Up’ will be your one stop shop for all the breaking news across the aviation industry – from routes to deliveries and even scandals.

So, let’s dive in, with my pick of the most recent developments in aviation…

Routes News

Norwegian Air

Norwegian will make its debut in the Canadian market, with a new transatlantic service from Hamilton to Dublin. The daily service will inaugurate on the 31st March 2019, and will be operated by a B737MAX aircraft, with 189 Economy Class seats. It will be the first direct, nonstop route between the two cities, and Norwegian’s first service between Europe and Canada. Fares start from €189 each way. It is hoped that the service will prove popular with lower-yielding travellers heading to Downtown Toronto, but also will serve communities in Niagara Falls and across the US border, in Buffalo.

Norwegian’s 787-9 will operate the new London Gatwick to Tampa route.

On a separate note, the airline has announced  a new route between London Gatwick airport and Tampa, starting from October 31st. The route will have direct competition from British Airways, who have dominated the market between the UK and South West Florida for several years. The airline will also increase its services from London Gatwick to Boston, Orlando International and Fort Lauderdale and hike capacity on its newly-launched Buenos Aries service – increasing it from four-weekly to a daily operation.

Guy Stephenson, Gatwick’s Chief Commercial Officer, said:

“Norwegian’s new Tampa service, a new daily schedule for the existing Buenos Aires and Boston routes and increases to other services, all give our passengers yet more choice and flexibility.”

Virgin Atlantic

In recent years, Virgin Atlantic has consolidated its network, ending flights to Tokyo and Sydney and focusing on its transatlantic joint venture with Delta. The daily flight from Heathrow to Dubai will cease to operate from 31st March 2019, as the airline says the route is no longer viable.

Virgin Atlantic will no longer grace the runways of the UAE. Passengers can now choose between Emirates, Etihad and British Airways to fly from the Britain to the UAE.

Hainan Airlines

Following the successful launch of the new Beijing-Edinburgh-Dublin connection, Hainan Airlines will operate its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet on the triangular operation. The route will be operated by B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft for most of July, before switching over to the lower capacity B787-8 variant from July 20 for the remainder of the summer season.

Credit to anna.aero – Hainan Airlines now serves Manchester, London Heathrow and Edinburgh in the UK.

LOT Polish Airlines

The Polish national carrier has announced a duo of new routes out of London City Airport – the most convenient airport for accessing central London. On January 9th 2019, LOT will launch a new service from Warsaw-Chopin to London City, to be operated with Embraer 190 aircraft – configured with 106 seats. The new twice daily service will add to present thrice daily flights to London Heathrow.

Just over a month later, LOT will also launch services from Budapest – the Hungarian capital – to London. Again, the service will operate with Embraer 190 aircraft on a twice daily frequency. This means LOT will serve two destinations from two London airports going forward, which is a significant presence for a small player in the industry.

Aircraft Deliveries

A350s dominated this month’s star deliveries, with the Spanish flag carrier receiving its first example of the aircraft.

Iberia receives its first Airbus A350XWB

The Spanish flag carrier has today recieved its first Airbus A350-900XWB aircraft, registered EC-MXV. This is the first A350-900 to include the new higher winglets and aerodynamic improvements.

EC-MXV departing Tolouse, bound for its new home in Madrid. Picture – Airbus.

The airline’s aircraft are equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines and will be configured with 348 seats. All seats, regardless of cabin class, will offer in-seat entertainment screens, power outlets and Wi-Fi. As this is the first of 16 A350 aircraft Iberia have on order, the airline will carry out crew familiarisation flights, with the first commercial flight taking place on the 20th July, with services from Madrid to London Heathrow and Paris CDG.

Cathay Pacific is presented with its maiden A350-1000 aircraft

In more Airbus-related news, Cathay Pacific has recieved its first Airbus A350-1000 variant, registered B-LXA. Similarly to Iberia, the aircraft will initially be deployed on short haul regional services such as to Taipei from its Hong Kong base. From then, the aircraft will stretch its legs on long haul operations to destinations such as Washington-Dulles and Manchester.

Madrid, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Manchester and Zurich will be served by the new aircraft. Photo – Cathay Pacific

B-LXA is the first of twenty A350-1000 aircraft Cathay Pacific has on order, of which eight are expected this year, four next year, with the remainder due from 2020 and beyond. Cathay Pacific is also an existing operator of the -900 variant; twenty two are in service with the airline at present.

Other Aviation Stories

British Airways cancels error fares from London to Tel Aviv & Dubai

In a spectacular PR blunder, British Airways has revoked the tickets of passengers who booked flights with the airline from London to Tel Aviv & Dubai. Two weeks ago, BA flights to Tel Aviv and Dubai were put on sale through online travel agents with what the airline called ‘manifestly incorrect’  fares: £200 return to Tel Aviv, and £220 return to Dubai. Whilst it is common for airlines to revoke error fares for long-haul first class, for example, these fares were not clearly erroneous and definitely not ‘manifestly incorrect’. For example, Wizz Air consistently offers prices from London to Tel Aviv that are well below £200.

Wizz Air offers services from London Luton to two destinations in Israel (Tel Aviv and Eliat-Ovda, the latter from Winter 2018).

Call it opportunistic but Wizz Air and Virgin Atlantic have both capitalised on the mistake. Wizz Air particularly are offering so-called ‘rescue fares’ to those affected by British Airways’ error with prices of £80 each way between London and Israel. Wizz Air’s chief corporate officer pulled no punches as he used the occasion to convince travellers to turn their backs on conventional airlines such as British Airways:

“Wizz Air is delighted to give new customers who’ve been left in the lurch following the cancellation of their BA flights to Tel Aviv the opportunity to break with tradition. We’re confident that our new customers will realise that there’s no need to pay high prices to travel to some of the most exciting destinations in Europe and beyond.”

Emirates will operate the WORLD’S SHORTEST A380 flight

Emirates has a reputation as a record breaker, and the airline is certainly not showing any signs of slowing down. Not only is Emirates the world’s largest ‘superjumbo’ operator but the airline will also break the record for the world’s shortest A380 flight this week. In celebration of Emirates’ 25th anniversary of serving Oman, the airline will roster its double-decker A380 onto the Dubai to Muscat route on Sunday.

The double-decker Airbus A380 forms the backbone of Emirates’ fleet.

The following flight will be operated by an Airbus A380, with a distance of just 217 miles:

EK862 Dubai to Muscat departing 8:25AM arriving 9:35AM
EK863 Muscat to Dubai departing 12:05PM arriving 1:10PM

This flight will beat the previous record by 18 miles and flying on the world’s shortest flight of the largest commercial aircraft will certainly be a surreal experience.

Enjoyed this article? Do let us know what you think about our new ‘Aviation Round-Up’ concept and stay tuned for the next round-up, in two weeks time.