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News Roundup – 02nd May 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

News Roundup – 02nd May 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

News Roundup – 02nd May 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week - British Airways to give its terminal at New York JFK a multi-million dollar makeover

It’s been an eventful week for British Airways.  First the good news – the airline plans to spend $65 million USD upgrading its space at Terminal 7, New York JFK.  But an incident onboard a BA London Gatwick to Jamaica flight brought headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Elsewhere, Gulf airlines continue to respond to the U.S. Electronics Ban.  Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and CEO of Emirates says he is “perplexed” at the ban.  Meanwhile, Qatar’s Ministry of the Interior has released independent figures to prove Hamad International Airport is safe to travel through.

Finally, Etihad has reaffirmed its support of Air Berlin as the German low-cost carrier reports mounting losses.  Rumours have emerged suggesting that Lufthansa may want to buy Air Berlin.

A full summary continues below.

British Airways to Give a $65 Million Upgrade to Its JFK Terminal

29th April 2017 – Courtesy The Points Guy

British Airways has plans for some big changes to its flagship U.S. operation at Terminal 7, New York JFK.  The airline intends to spend $65 million USD redesigning the space and enhancing the passenger experience.

Planned modifications include a spacious new check-in area, a premium check-in and Fast Track security lane, updated lounges and an upgraded shopping area.  BA also plans to introduce an “authentic New York culinary experience”.

Abigail Comber, British Airways Head of Customer said of the project: “We are currently working behind-the-scenes with top architects and designers to create a beautiful new space for our customers to relax, dine and work in before they take off.”

A rendering of the new British Airways JFK Terminal 7. Photo Credit: British Airways
A rendering of the new British Airways JFK Terminal 7. Photo Credit: British Airways

She continued: “The new environment at Terminal 7 is designed for our customers to enjoy a smoother, faster and more relaxed airport experience. This will involve significantly increasing the number of people we can seat for in-flight dining, re-styling the space and adding new lighting, bars and furniture”.


67-Year Old Cancer Sufferer Thrown Off British Airways Flight After Self-Upgrade Fails

28th April 2017 – Courtesy IB Times

The IB Times says British Airways is “struggling to maintain its reputation amid frequent customer complaints”.  This latest event won’t help matters.

On the 26th April, a BA aircraft was heading from London Gatwick to Jamaica when an Economy passenger wandered into the Business Class cabin and refused to return to his paid seat.

“The pilot decided to land in Lajes in the island of Terceira because of a dispute between cabin crew and a couple who wanted to be transferred from economy class to first class,” said an Air Force spokesman.

A witness aboard the flight has alleged that Cabin Crew treated the passenger inhumanely.  She says that after handcuffing and restraining the passenger, they refused to let him go to the toilet and only gave him a cup of water and a bread roll to eat.  It has since turned out that the passenger was diabetic and receiving treatment for cancer.

Apparently, the female witness was also booted from the flight after she tried to tamper with the disruptive passenger’s restraints.


Emirates Remains ‘Perplexed’ at U.S. Electronics Ban

25th April 2017 – Courtesy Skift

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and CEO of Emirates has made his feelings known about the U.S. Electronics Ban.  Referencing the ban, Sheikh Ahmed said he “can’t dig into somebody’s mind” to understand why the ban was introduced – and why it applied to Dubai.

Rather wrily, Sheikh Ahmed also commented that President Trump “wouldn’t want to affect American business”.

But the Dubai-based airline has plans to reverse a decline in profits.  Sheikh Ahmed hinted at introducing Premium Economy, a new First Class product and working more closely with the government-owned low-cost carrier, flydubai.


Hamad International Airport One of the Safest in the World.  Maybe

28th April 2017 – Courtesy Doha News

Qatar’s Ministry of Interior has released the results of a February audit by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO).  Hamad International Airport scored 99.1% for protecting aviation against unlawful interference such as terrorism and smuggling.

The airport also scored 96.76% for implementing safety management; and a perfect 100% in customs and immigration processes.

The average of the three scores (98.6%) is a big improvement on the 2012 result that saw an overall average score of just 78.76%.

The head of the Qatar Aviation Authority (QCAA) said the results “proved that HIA is one of the safest airports in the world.”  However, as few nations release the results of their own audits its hard to determine how true this statement actually is.


Etihad Confident in “Sustainable Future” for Air Berlin

28th April 2017 – Courtesy Skift

Air Berlin, the German low-cost carrier in which Etihad owns a 30% stake has reported mounting losses in its first quarter results.  But Abu Dhabi-based Etihad plans to stick by its embattled investment.

The airline reported an operating loss of €667 million ($739 million) last year with the first-quarter loss widening 58% to €272 million.  Air Berlin has responded by halving its fleet and cutting point-to-point routes.

James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways Group has said: “We are seeing the first structural changes that are necessary to create a sustainable future for Air Berlin.”  He believes that the airline’s strategy is “the right one”.

There is speculation that Lufthansa could be in talks to take over the struggling German carrier.

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