The proposed tie-up between British Airways and American Airlines has hit a stumbling block after two senior US transport chief have been forced to rule themselves out of the decision-making process. Both the US transportation secretary and his deputy have stepped aside over the ruling whether to grant BA anti-trust immunity.
Climate activists branded yesterday’s agreement to halve airline emission by 2050 as “complete greenwash” and were a cynical ploy to avoid new taxes that threaten to erode into the industry’s profits.
Qantas has become the latest airline to give a downbeat view of trading conditions despite being one of the few to post a profit – albeit small – for the first half of the year. The Australian flag carrier said the global outlook “remains uncertain” as it announced a fall in profits of 88% to £62.4 million. It follows numerous pieces of bad news for the aviation sector including a prediction by IATA that airlines are set to lose $11 billion this year.
Airlines have pledged to slash their CO2 emissions in half by 2050 in a move that will force up air fares. BA chief executive Willie Walsh will unveil the plan at the UN Forum on climate change today ahead of the global warming summit in Copenhagen in December. It is feared fares will have to rise as a result by as much as E40 on a long-haul return flight and E9 on short haul flights.
Airlines have been slammed for adding more and more extras onto the price of a ticket. Charging for bags and check-in is an unsustainable model according to the chairman of the National Business Travel Association, Kevin Maguire. His comments come as United Airlines becomes the latest US carrier to charge a fee for a second hold bag.
British Airways has joined American Airlines and Qantas to try and save Japan Airlines from bankruptcy. The move follows news that Delta Airlines was also looking to inject cash into the ailing carrier and by doing so force it to exit the Oneworld Alliance, of which BA is a member.
London City Airport is launching a multimillion refit of its terminal building early next year. The project, which is due to be completed next year, will expand the departure area and also increase the number of security channels. The move has been prompted by the number of passengers booking online and skipping check-in and going straight to security.
The rallying stock market could prove the catalyst for a long-awaited tie up between British Airways and Iberia. The surge in stocks over the past few weeks could help ease the Spanish flag carrier’s fears about BA’s £2.1 billion pension deficit and lead to the long-awaited link-up. The Spanish have long been concerned about the massive deficit, which could soar to nearer £3bn when the results of a revaluation of the fund are revealed next month.
For the first time, British Airways is offering customers flying on discount economy tickets the opportunity to earn Executive Club tier points to help them ascend the blue, silver and gold ranks of the airline’s loyalty scheme.
British Airways has entered talks to buy BMI, the second largest carrier at Heathrow Airport. BA Chairman Martin Broughton has held talks in Germany over the weekend with Lufthansa, BMI’s parent company.
Passengers downgrading from premium to economy was reconfirmed by British Airways, which registered another month of falling premium sales. The flag carrier reported an 11.9 percent year-on-year fall in premium-class traffic in August. However its economy figures showed signs of recovery, rising 1.3 percent.
Air passengers face stealth fare increases as a raft of airlines levy new charges for checking in more than one bag. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Delta and Continential are among those introducing charges to limit baggage in a bid to raise extra revenue. The new charges could typically add £100 to the cost of a holiday for a family of four.