According to the International Federation of Airline Pilots in January 2020 there were 185,143 airline pilots in the world. Of these 9,746 were women of whom 2,630 were captains. Age 29, Megan Bowden, an SGACP Trustee, is a qualified commercial pilot.
2 May 2022
Howard Mustoe in The Telegraph reports that the world’s longest commercial flight has moved a step closer to reality after Qantas bought 12 Airbus jets that can travel from London or New York to Sydney in a single trip. It intends to add an extra fuel tank to the 12 Airbus A350-1000 long-haul jets in order to start operating the flights from 2025. The development brings the airline’s long-held ambition for the 11,000 mile route close to the finish line after it began working on the proposals in 2017.
26 May 2022
Oliver Gill in The Telegraph reports that Boris Johnson has opened the door for Heathrow to build its third runway as ministers commit to support necessary airport expansion. He goes on to write that in a move that risks angering opponents of Heathrow’s £14bn expansion, ministers are vowing to “support growth in airport capacity where justified” in a ten-point plan for aviation.
The programme will be unveiled by aviation minister Robert Courts at Heathrow today. Other commitments include the setting up of an aviation council designed to allow industry executives to influence Government policy. Mr Courts said: “By working closely with the sector to focus on sustainable growth, powered by the latest innovations, we can ensure aviation creates jobs and opportunities across all four nations of the UK.”
Airports treated the proposals with caution, however. A spokesman for Heathrow said: “We need the Government to bring pace to the policies that will allow the sector to fulfil the ambitions they are setting out today. Failure to do this, will only see this plan grounded.”
31 May 2022
Holidaymakers are once again suffering from chaos at Britain’s airports during school holidays, just weeks after a series of grovelling apologies by both airports and airlines that followed widespread disruption at Easter. Hours-long queues snaking their way from terminal buildings into car parks, long delays and cancellations at short notice have further blotted the copybook of aviation chiefs.
This time, however, the blame game is in full swing. Ministers are accusing bosses. Airport chiefs are blaming their counterparts at airlines, and airlines are blaming less well-known ground handling operators responsible for check-in staff and baggage handlers. Ground handling operators are, in turn, blaming airlines and airports.
14 June 2022
After the pain of the pandemic it’s a good time to be an airline worker, but not a traveller. So writes Tim Wallace and Louis Ashworth in The Telegraph. They go on to say that the travel industry is in chaos for one very big reason: airlines and airports cannot get enough staff.
17 June 2022
Faced with being overwhelmed during the crucial summer months, Gatwick took the unprecedented step of placing a restriction on flights in and out of the airport. With the airport its biggest base, the move would have a profound impact on easyJet’s summer, too. Under pressure from investors post-pandemic, this was the year for easyJet’s board to deliver. But amid severe sector-wide staffing shortages, plans have come crashing down.
25 June 2022
Since Easter, easyJet and its airline rivals have been bombarded with criticism over chaotic scenes at Britain’s airports. Queues snaking out of terminal buildings, last-minute cancellations and passengers stranded abroad have become commonplace, heaping misery on holiday makers starved of trips abroad for nearly two years.
28 June 2022
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have advised that the cap on landing fees charged per passenger at Heathrow Airport will fall from £30.19 to £26.31 by 2026, following a furious lobbying effort by the airport and airlines. Airlines have long argued that Heathrow is one of the most expensive airports in the world and urged the CAA to resist its demands to raise charges to more than £40 per passenger. Heathrow, meanwhile, has said that it needs to raise the fees to make sure the airport does not fall into disrepair.
Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the CAA, said: “Today’s announcement is about doing the right thing for consumers. We have listened very carefully to both Heathrow Airport and the airlines who have differing views to each other about the future level of charges. “Our independent and impartial analysis balances affordable charges for consumers, while allowing Heathrow to make the investment needed for the future.”
In the July edition of AERO SPACE, Charlotte Bailey looks at the UK Government’s public commitments to protecting and stimulating Britain’s provincial general aviation airfields, and asks whether its deeds have matched its words.
1 July 2022
Oliver Gill, Gurpreet Narwan and Charles Hymas report in The Telegraph that Summer holiday plans are set to be thrown into chaos for tens of thousands of passengers as airlines prepare to announce a new wave of cancellations next week. The Telegraph can reveal that airlines using Heathrow, Britain’s busiest airport, are this weekend racing to rework their schedules. They have to tell officials which flights will no longer be running by Friday – just as schools begin breaking-up for the summer holidays.
British Airways is expected to bear the brunt of the cancellations, triggered by an amnesty on take-off and landing slots. It previously planned to carry 1.8 million passengers across more than 9,000 flights from Heathrow during July alone.
4 July 2022
Three days later Charles Hymas writes that British Airways is axing flights for up to 105,000 holidaymakers this month. Britain’s biggest airline has told airport slot authorities that it is cancelling more than 650 flights from Heathrow and Gatwick in order to avoid a repeat of last month’s travel chaos. More than 76,000 seats are being axed from Heathrow and 29,400 from Gatwick on flights to more than 70 destinations including Malaga, Ibiza, Palma, Faro and Athens. This comes ahead of a further series of cancellations to summer flights, due to be announced this week and aimed at minimising disruption in the peak holiday season. A Government “amnesty” on the rules on airport slots is in place until Friday, allowing airlines to change schedules without facing a potential penalty. Ministers told carriers to review their plans after chaos in May was blamed on a shortage of airline and airport staff and an overselling of seats to meet demand.
Monday saw the first major casualty of the growing anger over flight disruption when Peter Bellew, easyJet’s chief operating officer, resigned from his post. The airline has been one of the worst hit by cancellations in recent months and has axed thousands of flights, many on the day they had been due to depart. EasyJet cancelled 742 departures in June compared to 295 axed by BA, according to airline industry data. The 650 cancelled BA flights notified to the slot authorities last week for July represent 14 per cent of those scheduled from Gatwick and nearly seven per cent from Heathrow.
5 July 2022
Furthermore, BA, easyJet, Ryanair, Lufthansa and SAS are now advising possible strike action by ground staff during the peak holiday period.
7 July 2022
Plans for around 700 British Airways check in staff to walk off the job have been dropped after BA improved its wage offer in talks with unions. It is understood the new pay deal largely meets demands for a reversal of a 10pc pay cut imposed during the pandemic.
21 July 2022
Flight Daily News at the Farnborough Airshow included an article entitled ‘The giant is back’ which advised that British Airways has reinstated four of its A380s. Other airlines that had furloughed their A380s, but not retired them, and are bringing them back to service, are Lufthansa, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air and Asiana.
25 July 2022
Oliver Gill also reports that “British Airways pilots are clamouring for a ballot on strike action after airline chiefs rejected demands for a new pay deal. Under growing pressure from members, the pilots union Balpa is preparing to threaten industrial action after a wave of ballots secured wage increases for check-in and baggage staff. A walkout could come as soon as this summer in a further blow for thousands of holidaymakers who have already endured waves of cancelled flights, as well as traffic jams at Dover”.
27 July 2022
European airlines need to hire more than 6,000 new pilots a year to meet an industry shortfall, warns Boeing. The US plane maker said resurgent demand for flying means 122,000 new pilots need to be found between now and 2041. The figures are similar to a projected shortfall across North America of 128,000 and 126,000 in China.