Industry News 15.08.22


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British Airways resume selling tickets for short-haul flights from Heathrow.

The airline confirmed it will resume sales following an unprecedented 14-day moratorium that was triggered by restrictions on passenger numbers. Heathrow has controversially capped the number of daily passenger departures at 100,000 until Sept 11 after a staffing crisis led to huge delays and scenes of chaos earlier this summer.

It forced BA to reassess how many seats it could sell and led to a total halt of short-haul ticket sales out of the ­airport until Aug 8. The pause was ­subsequently extended until Aug 15.’ While the ban has been lifted, a spokesman cautioned that the situation remains “dynamic” and BA will continue to trim ticket sales where necessary to comply with Heathrow’s curbs.

Global flight and hotel prices forecast to rise next year

Flight and hotel prices are forecast to rise by more than 8% year on year in 2023 following a sharp recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

That is according to the 2023 Global Business Travel Forecast produced by travel management platform CWT and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

CWT and GBTA forecast business travellers will see air fares rise by 8.4%, hotel rates by 8.2%, and car rental charges by 6.8% next year. The increases will come on top of an estimated 48.5% rise in air fares this year on last, together with an 18.5% increase in hotel rates and a 7.3% rise in car rental charges.

However, CWT and the GBTA estimate air fares fell 26% year on year in 2021 following a 12% fall in 2020, meaning fares this year will still not have returned to the level of 2019 despite a 48.5% hike. Read full article here

Heathrow says passenger experience improving since capacity cap

Heathrow has published an update on passenger traffic, with over six million customers travelling through the airport in July. Earlier this month Heathrow said it expected 13 million people to travel through the airport between July and September – this figure has now been revised upwards to 16 million.  But a capacity cap remains in place, limiting passenger numbers to around 100,000 per day, and Heathrow said that this cap was bearing fruits in terms of improving the customer experience.

The airport said there had been fewer last minute flight cancellations, and better aircraft punctuality and baggage delivery.  It added that an additional 1,300 staff members had been recruited, bringing security resources back to pre-pandemic levels and resulting in 88% of passengers being able to clear security in 20 minutes or less.

Emirates outlines $2 billion customer experience investment

Emirates has provided details of what it says is a $2 billion investment in its inflight customer experience.  A significant part of this is taken up by plans to upgrade cabin interiors across all classes, with retrofitted or reupholstered seats, and new panelling and flooring.  The works also include the continued rollout of the carrier’s premium economy seating, which will eventually feature on over 120 A380 and B777 aircraft.

Hong Kong cuts arrivals hotel quarantine to three days

Hong Kong has announced plans to further ease its arrivals quarantine requirements.  From 12 August overseas visitors are subject to three days of compulsory hotel quarantine, down from the current seven.  However they will also have to undergo a further four days of “medical surveillance”, during which they must test daily.  Provided they test negative each day, they will be free to take public transport, go to work and visit shopping centres, but will be restricted from visiting venues where the checking of vaccine passes is required, including bars.

Deal struck to allow UK-China flights to resume

Direct flights between the UK and China are set to resume after the UK government agreed a deal with the Chinese aviation regulator.  According to the British embassy in China, an agreement has been reached to allow two-way flights between the two countries to restart – Chinese airlines will initially offer these UK-China services.  More details to follow.

Travel news as a glance:

  • Spanish high-speed rail operator Iryo to launch in November
  • Avanti West Coast’s schedules to return to sparse pandemic levels
  • Travelodge opens first new build “budget luxe” properties in London Docklands
  • Jetblue launched its Gatwick-Boston route on 4 August
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