Hospitality Ireland presents a round-up of the latest airline and aviation news from around the world.
British Airways In Advanced Talks On Low-Cost Gatwick Business, CEO says
British Airways' (BA) CEO said on Tuesday September 8 that negotiations to set up a new low-cost subsidiary at London's second biggest airport Gatwick were "advanced".
"We want to set up a subsidiary which has got a competitive cost platform," BA CEO Sean Doyle told reporters at an event at Heathrow Airport.
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"We're in, you know, advanced negotiations to try and enable that."
The airline, owned by Anglo-Spanish group International Airlines Group (IAG), first announced plans for the new business focussed on short-haul flying on Friday September 3, saying that it would be branded British Airways and would offer the same standard of service.
BA has been evaluating its position at Gatwick after stopping flights there during the pandemic and focusing on operations at its main hub Heathrow, Britain and London's busiest airport.
If negotiations with unions to set up the new unit fail, then Doyle said BA would not be able to compete at Gatwick and could look to sell its slots there.
"We would consider alternatives for the slot portfolio," Doyle said.
Asked if there would be further job losses at BA should the new unit not go ahead, Doyle said that the move was about opportunities. BA axed more than 10,000 staff at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.
Doyle was at Heathrow to launch the airline's BA Better World sustainability programme, providing further details of how the airline plans to make progress towards its parent company's longer term goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
During the global climate summit due to be held in Glasgow later this year, BA said it would buy the equivalent amount of lower-emissions sustainable aviation fuel for its London to Scotland flights.
BA passengers will also have a greater opportunity to offset their carbon footprint by directly paying for sustainable aviation fuel should they wish.
Airbus Maintains Lead Over Boeing In Deliveries; Lags On Orders
Airbus delivered 40 jets in August to bring supplies of its new jets to 384 since the start of the year, remaining broadly on course to meet an annual goal of 600 deliveries that would preserve its crown as number one aircraft manufacturer.
The European plane maker also sold 269 planes in the first eight months of the year, or 132 after cancellations, company data showed on Tuesday.
Fresh sales included 28 narrowbody jets to Latam Airlines, though South America's largest carrier simultaneously cancelled an order for two A350-1000 wide-body jets.
On deliveries, which drive most aerospace revenues, Airbus remains well ahead of US rival Boeing Co which is gradually clearing a backlog of undelivered jets following the almost two-year safety grounding of its 737 MAX.
However, after a lull caused by the MAX crisis and then the industry-wide impact of COVID-19, Boeing remains ahead in the number of new orders as U.S. carriers renew their fleets.
As of the end of July, Boeing had sold 630 planes or 270 after adjusting for actual and possible cancellations. Orders included more than 524 Boeing 737 MAX by the end of July, compared to Airbus's Jan-August tally of 234 A320-family jets.
Boeing nonetheless took a knock from one of its largest customers on Monday September 6 when Ryanair said that it had halted talks to buy up to 250 of the largest variant, the 737 MAX 10, because of a difference with Boeing over prices.
On Tuesday September 7, Boeing shares fell over 2%.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has upended many assumptions about the travel industry, analysts cautioned a shock defection by Ryanair to Airbus faces numerous obstacles.
The European firm already has a long waiting list for its competing A321neo and it claims to be commanding higher prices, meaning a price war over Ryanair could upset existing customers.
Airbus dominates the large single-aisle segment at the centre of the Ryanair-Boeing standoff, while the US plane maker has been leading contests against the smaller A320.
After the unusual public spat, Ryanair and Boeing are widely expected to wait each other out before seeing in which direction COVID pushes the battered aviation market this winter, with most market sources predicting a compromise deal next year.
But in a reminder of the unusual row involving its rival, Airbus data issued on Tuesday September 7 confirmed the sale of 36 A321neo jets to Boeing customer Jet2 - a move that much larger Ryanair has held up as evidence that Boeing needs to cut prices further.
Boeing responded on Monday September 6 that it would maintain a disciplined approach in airplane negotiations.
American Airlines Pilots' Union To Picket Over Fatigue And Overscheduling
The labour union representing American Airlines pilots has said that it will begin informational picketing in coming weeks at the carrier's major hubs to protest their work schedule, fatigue, and lack of adequate accommodation over the summer.
The Allied Pilots Association will picket at Miami International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and other locations, it said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
"Our airline needs scheduling practices that support the safety margin, respect pilots' and passengers' needs, and de-risk American Airlines to protect and improve revenue," the union said.
American did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.
In August, a union representing Southwest Airlines pilots filed a lawsuit challenging forced time off and other changes to working conditions imposed by the airline during the COVID-19 pandemic.
News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.