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Bits: A380s to Iberia and Aer Lingus?, Qatar Airways raises stake in IAG

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News in brief:

Aer Lingus and Iberia to be A380 customers?

In this interesting article, Willie Walsh – Chief Executive of BA’s parent IAG – says that he is considering A380 aircraft for both Iberia and, as a one-off, Aer Lingus.

The last of the 12 aircraft ordered for British Airways will arrive next month and, back in January, Walsh also spoke of adding another 5-6 to the BA fleet.

Malaysia Airlines was looking to offload its A380 fleet of six aircraft.  These come with the Rolls-Royce engines which IAG is insisting upon in order to match the existing fleet.  This deal is now apparently off the table with Malaysia deciding to hold on to the planes.

Amazingly, Emirates is already planning to sell it first batch of A380s as being ‘too old’ but these are primarily GE / Pratt & Whitney powered.  Five early Singapore Airlines A380 aircraft with Rolls-Royce engines may also become available soon if, as is believed, Singapore does not renew their lease.

BA A380

Qatar Airways raises its stake in IAG

Qatar Airways announced yesterday that it has raised its stake in IAG, parent of British Airways, to 12%.

The airline had held 9.99% of IAG since last January.  Under European Union law, Qatar Airways is not allowed to buy more than 49.99% of IAG although there is no sign at the moment that it is interested in going that far.

Some commentators believe that Qatar is looking for ‘open skies’ slots in order to launch additional routes to the US and that Heathrow would be an obvious stopping point if BA can be persuaded to help out.

Comments (50)

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  • James67 says:

    Not hard to imagine what BA cabin crew might think of increasing Qatar influence on IAG.

  • Charlie says:

    Raffles for CEO of BA. You know it makes sense!

    • Adam says:


    • Nick says:

      I hope not after reading his comments in the Southend article today. If Raffles was CEO, free food and drink would be removed from BA short haul and we might as well be flying easyjet. I enjoy my BA breakfast en route to Glasgow. Returning during the day they offer some rather delicious lemon biscuits from a small bakery on the Isle of Mull. If in the evening, I enjoy a whisky, small bottle of wine or perhaps a beer with some crisps. The BA short haul economy catering is so much better than in the days of the dreaded “All-Day-Deli” a few years ago

      • Rob says:

        BA short haul economy food is a joke as we all know. I am sure some people actually choose ‘buy on board’ airlines in preference to BA because they would rather pay a few quid for something decent rather than get a free pack of pretzels.

        I have no interest in running BA! It would have been interesting to have Frank Van Der Post’s old role as ‘head of consumer experience’ although I also think I would have followed Frank out of the door when I realised I was simply a PR tool for the airline and they refused to actually put up the money required to do the things I wanted to do.

        • Nick says:

          I don’t know why you think it is “a joke”. It is not fair to compare it to a business class meal. I normally fly business long haul and economy for short haul. The cooked English breakfast on the GLA and EDI routes is rather tasty but perhaps not good for the waistline. Nevertheless always welcome on an early morning flight and I would rather have an extra 30 minutes in bed than going to the Galleries lounge for a bacon roll at that time in the morning. Their biscuits from Isle of Man are very tasty mid morning. On a recent flight from
          LCY to Zurich I had a rather tasty light lunch served including couscous salad…and washed down with some white wine. On an evening flight a whisky or gin and tonic is always very welcome with a pack of nibbles on the side. I don’t understand why you think this is a “a joke” in the economy cabin. I think it is a real benefit. On the low cost carriers you have to wait an age to get served (unless in front or back row) whilst passengers find right change, look for credit cards etc. Then on Easyjet etc, business people have to go to bother of submitting an expenses claim or picking up cost themselves. Long Live BA economy class catering – it is most definitely not “a joke”.

          • Callum says:

            Perhaps you would if you accepted the entire planet doesn’t share your particular culinary tastes… I think the lemon biscuits are disgusting and don’t drink alcohol during the day, so I generally end up with just a juice. On other flights I often get a mini wrap with an edible but bizarre flavour (yogurt and falafel for example).

            I now take my own snacks on BA flights just like I do with Easyjet. If I was more “frivolous” I’d therefore much rather have the choice of a range of hot and cold food than whatever BA come up with. A US style offering would be best, free soft drinks then pay for alcohol/food.

          • Genghis says:

            So as long as that meant a corresponding reduction in price (which it probably wouldn’t)?

          • Callum says:

            Or deciding not to increase the price instead – effectively the same thing, though invisible.

          • flyforfun says:

            I remember my first couple of short haul flights in the early 90s. Olympic Athens to London I got a full 3 course hot meal that was really tasty, so much so that I ate smoked salmon for the first time willingly. (I normally hate most fish but was so hungry I ate it!). More surprisingly was when I flew KLM Amsterdam to London and got a similar sized hot 3 course meal for a 45 minute flight!!

            On my recent trip to BCN we got a bite sized roll and some abomination of a sweet roll, so slimy the icing stuck to the wrapping. Coming back from Paphos into LGW we got a cold box meal that was pretty poor. Very disappointing.

            It’s interesting how catering got “enhanced” to save money, but now that prices have gone up, the food element is still poor. I felt like I had to have a drink to get value for my ticket on BA. I’d rather have better food and paid for alcohol.

          • Callum says:

            You’re delusional. Flying is a fraction of the cost it was in the early 90’s…

          • Alex W says:

            For me the BA short haul catering is irrelevant when you can stuff yourself silly in the lounge for free before the flight, then take a banana, can of pop and some kettle chips on the plane with you. Can’t do that on sleazyjet, unless you have some other method of lounge access.

  • Frankie says:

    What is meant by a ‘one off’ for Aer Lingus? They are getting one?

    • Rob says:

      Walsh thinks they could use one but only one, yes.

      • Londonbus says:

        I suspect that would be DUB-JFK; this would work with Dublin taking most of its feed from UK regionals. Pre-clearance at Dublin would mean that the product would be very attractive – Terminal 2 is excellent and your overall times from check in at the outstaiton to leaving JFK would be a lot less than you’d think.

  • mark says:

    I am 50/50 about the A380 – it personally makes for a great flying experience and i know friends who will make sure they book the A380, but with the A350 – it seems to offer better fuel efficiency so airlines prefer it.

    I would love more A380’s on BA’s fleet, but the issue is – with the higher that other airline ticket prices, would BA fill them without their feeder airlines (Aer Lingus / Iberia and maybe soon Qatar – not really a feeder)?

    • Nick says:

      If passengers numbers are high enough on a particular route, the A380 makes sense. The A350 whilst smaller, is also a most comfortable aircraft. I flew with Qatar from Doha to Singapore on the A350 and really enjoyed the experience. The A350 was most comfortable and has the same spacious business class seating as the Qatar A380. I thought the plane was also noticeably quieter and with better air quality than Dreamliner which I find a most disappointing aircraft. I also walked back into the steerage cabin on the A350 which looked far more comfortable than the Dreamliner where the airlines tend to pack in nine rows across despite the width of the fuselage being too narrow.

  • Rich. says:

    Always thought IAG would get some more A380s.

  • Rob says:

    What people forget about A380s is that the vortex they create on take off means that there is a big separation required before the next take off. It does not therefore improve capacity at ‘full’ airports like Heathrow because another take off has to be scrapped due to the extra couple of minutes gap required.

    • Titus Adduxas says:

      The extra time for wake turbulence behind an A380 is 1 minute. Air traffic controllers do try to mitigate this by sending aircraft off in size order.

      • idrive says:

        You see you always learn new things!
        Though, reading some documents, it seems it depends on the type of the airplane behind and can be up to four minutes.

        Said that, when I was at the Paris Air show last year the airwaves from the A380 hit us people standing on the field just in front of the runway almost 1.30-2 mins after powering the engines and starting takeoff. and believe me, it was strong. it was raining grass all over.

        • Adrian says:

          A380 followed by another A380 = 1 minute
          A380 followed by a Heavy vortex (747/777/A350 etc) = 2 minutes
          A380 followed by a Medium vortex (A320/B737) = 3 minutes
          A380 followed by a Light vortex = 4 minutes

          Titus is entirely correct, the idea is to group all the same category together so to minimise vortex ‘gaps’

          Bizarrely it would be easier if there were MORE A380s, as now they often turn up individually so a minute is automatically lost when they depart. I have once or twice managed to get 3 to depart in a row…

  • blackberryaddict says:

    I read the Walsh interview as well – I spoke to some Iberia route planners earlier this week, and when I suggested their boss was going to send some A380s their way they were very surprised, and quite strong in their opinion it wouldn’t work on any of the routes Iberia currently operates – not even the busy ones to South America.

    Clearly if Walsh decides that this is what he wants to do, he will do it – but word on the ground was that the A380 just isn’t the right aircraft for Iberia.

  • James A says:

    The A380 is the best aircraft to fly long haul on, IMHO. As mentioned already there are a not insignificant number of people who always choose the A380 if available, even if it’s less convenient (myself included).

    I do hope IAG acquire some more.

    • Callum says:

      Specifically BA’s? I’ve been on Qatar’s and didn’t notice the slightest difference. Unless you’re referring to business.

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