Virgin Australia has announced that it won’t be starting a service between Perth and Abu Dhabi as was originally planned. Instead, the carrier intends to focus on international routes to North America and Asia. But one flight to the USA didn’t go to plan this week when a British Airways jet bound for San Francisco was delayed by a mouse.
Elsewhere, Emirates has hit back at claims made by Lufthansa and Air France-KLM that Gulf carriers are using unfair business practices to the detriment of European airlines. It hasn’t been a good week for European aviation as hundreds of flights were delayed following a series of strikes across the continent.
The full summary continues below.
British Airways Flight Delayed 4 Hours – Because of a Mouse
02nd March 2017 – Courtesy The Points Guy
A British Airways flight bound for San Francisco was held up at London Heathrow for nearly four hours when a mouse was spotted on the plane. The BA285 was due to depart on Wednesday 01st March but passengers were forced to disembark the plane and wait for a replacement jet to be sourced following the discovery of the rodent.
Mice are known to chew through airplane wiring so this seemingly small problem could of had devastating consequences. A BA spokesperson said of the delay: “We know almost everyone wants to fly with us to San Francisco, but on this occasion there was one very small customer who we had to send back to the gate. Everyone with two legs is now on their way to California, and we are sorry for the delay.”
Emirates Hits Back at Allegations Made by Lufthansa and Air France-KLM
02nd March 2017 – Courtesy Reuters
Last week the CEO’s of Lufthansa and Air France-KLM wrote to the European Union, complaining that competition from Gulf carriers had forced them to terminate services to Asia. The two airline groups asked for the EU to step in over what they called unfair business practices on the part of Middle East airlines.
However, Emirates, which is one of the airlines at the heart of this dispute has hit back to refute the allegations. In a statement, a spokesperson for Emirates said: “It is baffling why two of the largest legacy airlines in Europe are alleging that Gulf carriers have caused them to contract their Asian services when the opposite is true,”
The statement continued: “We have repeatedly disproved all allegations of subsidies, and demonstrated that we operate on a fully commercial basis,”
The TSA is to Make Pat-Down Searches Way More Intimate
03rd March 2017 – Courtesy Skift
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has warned airports and local law enforcement agencies that their security screeners are about to start a new, more invasive pat-down search. Speaking about the new search regimen, TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson said: “I would say people who in the past would have gotten a pat-down that wasn’t involved will notice that the [new] pat-down is more involved,”
Around 2 million passengers are screened everyday at U.S. airports by the TSA. There are currently 5 types of pat-down search used by screeners based on a risk-based assessment of the passenger. Although the new search is more invasive and will take longer, the TSA is confident that overall wait times won’t increase.
Strikes Across Europe Lead to a Week of Flight Cancellations
06th March 2017 – Courtesy The Independent
It was a busy week for strike action across Europe, which “wrecked” the travel plans for tens of thousands of air travellers. In the first French air traffic control strike this year, British Airways was forced to cancel 40 flights in just one day. Other BA flights were cancelled or delayed due to continuing industrial action by the carriers own cabin crew.
As would be expected, Air France was worst hit with Ryanair – who fly more services than any other airline in Europe – also badly affected. The Independent reported that passengers won’t be eligible for generous cash compensation as a result of the strikes. But airlines will need to provide meals and accommodation in the event of lengthy delays and cancellations.
Virgin Australia Shelves Plans to Start Perth to Abu Dhabi Service
28th February 2017 – Courtesy Australian Aviation
Virgin Australia has announced that it will no longer go ahead with its planned Perth – Abu Dhabi service that had been slated to start in June. The new route was only originally announced in September 2016 but it now looks like the Australian carrier will focus on international routes to the USA and Asia.
This isn’t the first time Virgin Australia has withdrawn services from the UAE. It first started flying to Abu Dhabi in 2011 with services stopping and starting ever since. Virgin also suspended its Sydney to Abu Dhabi service in February.
As an equity partner of Etihad Airways, Virgin has struggled to get seats on Etihad flights for connecting flights beyond Abu Dhabi. As a destination in itself, Abu Dhabi just hasn’t made waves with Australian travellers.