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Posts Tagged ‘British’

When KLM-Air France can merge, then why not American Airlines and British Airways? They already have a great alliance and together can make the biggest airline in world in every respect. Though I think it is nothing more than wishful thinking, since neither a foreign carrier can have 20% or more stake in a US Airline and moreover antitrust/competitive/workforce merging issues will thwart any effort towards the direction.

So, let us say that with some strange turn of events, the two Airlines merge. So how would the merged airline look? (Red for American Airlines and Blue for British Airways)

  • NameAmerican-British Airlines or British-American Airways
  • Headquartered inFort Worth TX USA and Waterside, Harmondsworth, England, United Kingdom
  • HubsDallas-Fort Worth, Chicago (O’Hare), Miami, St. Louis, San Juan and London Heathrow, London Gatwick
  • Secondary Hubs/Focus CitiesNew York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Boston Logan, Los Angeles, Raleigh Durham
  • Fleet Size675 and 235(+62 orders) = 910 (+62 orders)
  • FleetAirbus A300; Boeing 737, 757, 767, 777; MD-82, 83 and Airbus A318, A319, A320, A321, A380 (orders); Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787 (orders)
  • Majority FleetAmerican has 336 MD80s and 47 Boeing 777 and British has 57 Boeing 747 and 42 Boeing 777
  • AllianceOneworld (same for both)
  • Member LoungeAdmirals Club and Galleries First,
    Galleries Club, Galleries Arrivals, Terraces Lounge, Arrivals lounge, First Lounge, Concorde Room (LHR and JFK Only)
  • Destinations158 and 147 (75 countries)
  • Frequent Flier ProgramAAdvantage and Executive Club, Premier (Invitation only)

What do you think? Isn’t it better then letting US airlines go into this endless cycle of losses and ultimately succumb to bankruptcy? Consider this, an outside airline can raise enough capital to change/substitute all gas guzzling aircrafts for American Airlines. On the other hand American Airlines can get British Airways the most coveted American Network to feed into their existing network and hence a better ticket pricing/loyalty program for consumers.

So, if this dream comes true, what will be next? Jetblue – Luftansa? Continental-KLM-Air France? I know, DREAM ON! 🙂

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Events in order –

  • Terminal 5 Opening day (/week/month) Chaos with bags misplaced/mislaid, passengers mis-connected and a lot of delays. Since January 2008, BA has mislaid 28.9 bags per 1,000 passengers.
  • American Airlines’ Head of Customer Services (Europe) Don Langford slamming the airport as “bit of a dump” and “worst among major European hubs”

Now it is British Airways’ Chief Wille Walsh’s turn. He told at an Annual Conference at at the Royal Albert Hall that Heathrow, “state of London’s Heathrow Airport was damaging the country’s reputation and economy“. “I believe it is in the interest of the country that the reputation of
Heathrow is restored on a lasting basis as quickly as possible
“.“For the sake of the UK economy and London’s place as a business capital, Heathrow has to catch up”.”If things continue to decline, UK businesses will lose competitiveness and might be forced to consider relocating abroad”. “Businesses will also find it difficult to attract inward investment.”


Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t he also involved in the current state of events? Is there a big disjoint between the dominant carrier (BA) and Airport Authority (BAA)?

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There are talks between American Airlines, British Airways and Continental Airlines for a partnership (not to be confused with a merger). If the partnership talks go through, they will all retain their names, headquarters, etc. but will end up with possible ties on – frequent flier program and code sharing. American Airlines and British Airways already have an alliance, and this partnership might get them “antitrust immunity” and the existing alliance.

Personally, I think it is a good idea, especially since Continental Airlines and American Airlines are the best (operations and customer service) of all the US legacy carriers. With British Airways, the partnership will enjoy one of the strongest networks in the world.

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British Airways has announced that it will delay the shift of its long haul flights (and other flights from Terminal 4) to Heathrow’s Terminal 5. BA will postpone the move from April 30th 2008 to June 5th at the earliest.

Though this delay will cause problems to other airlines’ plans (taking BA’s place at Terminal 4) like Air France-KLM, Alitalia, Russia’s Aeroflot and CSA Czech.

Overall, I believe that this delay will at least cause the airlines to push BAA (Heathrow’s owner) to get the problems fixed as soon as possible!

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The chaos at London Heathrow Airport’s $8.5 billion Terminal 5 has caused British Airways to reconsider moving its remaining long haul flights to and from USA. Earlier, it was planned, starting April 30th 2008, to move all British Airways long haul flights to and from USA to Terminal 5. Currently the only trans-Atlantic flights on the terminal are to from Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. The Terminal 5 turmoil has already cost $32 million to the airline with a feeling of “acute embarrassment”.

It is still reported that the bag problem has still not been resolved. Passengers checking in bags might consider keeping a change of clothes in their cabin luggage, just is case there bags do not arrive on time.

People from top management at Heathrow Airport are supposed to appear before a special meeting of UK MPs to explain the opening day chaos.

More Baggage Woes –
A lot of living souls have been affected, but now even the dead are facing the Terminal 5 woes. The airline is still missing the luggage of a passenger who died on a British Airways’ flight on April 2nd 2008. The son wrote on a crew website – “My father died on this flight. He was a commercial
travelling in World Traveller Plus, I believe a bulkhead seat, and
collapsed after coming out of the toilet. I’m
ex-BA groundstaff at London Heathrow and if any crew who assisted him
in his last moments would be kind enough to share their experiences of
what happened, please message me.

In Summation –
Every project has a a very important component that is called “Quality Control”, “Quality Assurance” or just “Testing”, so that you make sure that at least on opening day you run “tip-top”. I fail to understand, how a project of this proportion, size and expense failed on it. A possible explanation can be a possible push from management to get it started ASAP (as soon as possible) and finish on time at any costs. The word “ASAP and finish on time at any costs” might be responsible, though only time will tell.

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British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said that the $8.4 billion Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport has become a source of “acute embarrassment” over passenger woes over bags and cancellations due to snow (worst April snowfall in 19 years). The pilots demanded resignation of BA’s CEO Willie Walsh over the fiasco. Mr. Walsh took “responsibility for what happened” but did not offer his resignation.

It has been reported that around 28,000 of bags
are still awaiting discovery (some in Scotland, Italy and elsewhere) or delivery
that are being sorted manually!

BALPA pilots are planning a strike (tentative June 2008) in its fight with BA management over “pay and working conditions”.
(You can read more here and here.)

For what actually went wrong on Thursday read this


(from a blog at zdnet)

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Earlier today (April 3rd 2008) British supermodel Naomi Campbell was arrested for investigation of assaulting a police officer at London’s Heathrow Airport. She was arrested after she boarded a British Airways flight to Los Angeles.

Facts –

  • This might be the first arrest on newly opened Terminal 5 of the Airport
  • This might be the first celebrity incidence on Terminal 5
  • Naomi Campbell has a history of legal problems due to anger driven assaults.
  • She has been notorious for misusing cellphones for assault (first her assistant and then the housekeeper)

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