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News Roundup – 25th May 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

News Roundup – 25th May 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

News Roundup – 25th May 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

The parent company of British Airways has expressed its displeasure with what it sees as an unnecessary plan to extend Heathrow Airport, the airline’s home in West London.  Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group said: “Airlines were never consulted on the runway length”.  He has called for a shorter and less expensive runway to be built instead.

An Emirates airline passenger received an email from the carrier which she wasn’t quite expecting.  The email which read: “Wtf” “…is she on about?!?” has been condemned by a spokesperson for Emirates.  The airline has said that the matter has been dealt with internally.

In other news, Cathay Pacific is set to shed 600 middle management roles.  A Qantas A380 aircraft was forced to return to Los Angeles airport after an engine shutdown.  And London City airport has unveiled a completely digital air traffic control tower.

A full summary continues below.

British Airways Campaigns for a Shorter, Cheaper Runway at London Heathrow

24th May 2017 – Courtesy Bloomberg

International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways has once again expressed its displeasure with Heathrow Airport’s proposal for a third runway.  This time, IAG is asking for a plan to build the new runway over the M25 motorway be scrapped.  They claim the design will add £3 billion ($3.9 billion) to the cost of expansion at the airport.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s CEO said of the plan: “Airlines were never consulted on the runway length and they can operate perfectly well from a slightly shorter runway that doesn’t cross the M25,”

He continued: “We will not pay for a runway that threatens both costs and delays spiralling out of control.”

Heathrow has put forward plans for a runway with a ramp that would go over London’s orbital motorway.  On Thursday, the airport is expected to comment on the plans to a public planning inquiry.


Emirates Customer Service Agent Sends Crude ‘WTF’ Email to Passenger

24th May 2017 – Courtesy The Daily Telegraph

This isn’t the kind of email you would expect to receive from an international airline.  Certainly not the World’s Best Airline.  But Emirates has taken a lot of flak this week for sending a crude and inappropriate email to one of its customers.

When Claire Finch’s flight was delayed she applied for compensation from the airline under well-established EU rules.  Claire received an email from Emirates saying that her application for €600 had been successful but soon after a second email from the airline was sent.

The email subject line read “Wtf” with the first line saying “…is she on about?!?”.  Perhaps realising the mistake a third email quickly followed: “The sender would like to recall the message, ‘Wtf’…”.

Miss Finch made a complaint to Emirates but waited over four and a half weeks for a reply.  A company spokesperson eventually responded when The Independent newspaper contacted the airline.

The spokesperson said: “Please be assured that we do not condone such actions and this is not indicative of our high standards and the image which Emirates wishes to portray. I can confirm that this matter has already been dealt with internally with the employee concerned,”


Mid-Air Drama on Qantas A380 Jet Forces Diversion and Delays

21st May 2017 – Courtesy

A Qantas A380 aircraft was forced to return to Los Angeles airport on Friday night after an ‘engine issue’.  The Australian airline has denied the engine ‘blew up’ in the incident which led to 480 passengers being forced to spend the night in an airport terminal.

Flight QF94 was a few hours into the 15-hour flight to Melbourne when the problem came to light.  Passengers aboard the aircraft reported seeing sparks coming from the engine, some said the engine “blew up midair”.

However, a spokesperson for the airline denied this was the case: “Reports that the engine was ‘on fire’ aren’t correct; passengers may have seen some sparks before it was safely shut down by the flight crew.”

The statement continued: “The pilots followed standard procedure, shut down the engine, and the flight landed normally in LA at around 3 am local time on Saturday. Engineers are inspecting the aircraft,”

A replacement aircraft was flown to Los Angeles and passengers continued their journey on Saturday afternoon.

Study:  Passengers Should Pay Each Other to Recline Seats

19th May 2017 – Courtesy Stylist Magazine

Here’s an interesting idea that has emerged from a new study in the U.S. looking at ways to prevents fights over reclining airline seats –  Use behavioural economics.  New York-based law professors Christopher Buccafusco and Christopher Jon Sprigman found that airline passengers would be willing to accept payment from fellow travellers to recline their seats.

So how much would be enough?  Well, the majority of travellers would accept $18 USD – or the equivalent amount in snacks.  The study authors wrote: “Nobody likes the recent turn toward airlines charging for every service, but maybe what we need is more of that.”

“Everyone wins. Seat recline space is efficiently allocated. Airlines are marginally further from bankruptcy. And no one gets punched in the face.”


London City Airport Gets Digital Air Traffic Control ‘Tower’ – 100 Miles From the Airport

21st May 2017 – Courtesy Mashable

London City Airport, a small but popular airport to the east of the City of London is building a completely digital air traffic control tower – 100 miles from the airport.  The system will employ high-definition video, transmitted to a 360-degree video wall.

NATS, the company behind air traffic control at the airport explained the advantages of the system:

“They (air traffic controllers) will also have real-time information, including operational and sensory data, to build an augmented reality live view of the airfield. For example, the ability to overlay the images with weather information, on-screen labels, radar data, aircraft call signs, or to track moving objects.”

The new air traffic control ‘tower’ is certainly high-tech but it’s not a world first – There are already two airports in Sweden that employ a similar system.

News Roundup – 23rd May 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

Cathay Pacific Announces Job Losses – 600 Head Office Workers to be Made Redundant

22nd May 2017 – Courtesy Skift

As part of Cathay Pacific’s ‘transformation plan’, 600 employees at the airline’s head office in Hong Kong will be made redundant.  Asia’s biggest international airline has decided to take the drastic action after making its first loss in eight years.  The plans which will largely affect middle management are set to save 30% in HQ staff costs.

The affected employees were informed of the decision Monday and the restructuring is set to be complete by the end of the year.  Shares in the airline rose 2.3 percent to HK$11.58 as the news broke.

“We’ve had to make tough but necessary decisions for the future of our business and our customers,” said Rupert Hogg, Cathay Pacific’s CEO.  He continued: “We will have a new structure that will make us leaner, faster and more responsive to our customers’ needs. It is the first step in the transformation of our business.”

Cathay Pacific has said no front line employees will be affected by the redundancy programme.

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