Bits: BA brings in long-haul Qatar Airways planes for 787 cover, new BA Aberdeen lounge opening

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BA news in brief:

British Airways applies to wet lease three Qatar Airways A330 aircraft

As cover for its troublesome Boeing 787-9 fleet, British Airways has applied to the CAA for permission to wet lease three Qatar Airways long-haul aircraft for the period of 1st June to 30th September.  (A ‘wet lease’ is where the aircraft comes with crew.)

There is no guarantee that the request will be granted.  My understanding is that BA has to show that there are no comparable aircraft available for wet lease within the EU.  Clearly BA pilots and cabin crew would only want the airline to use significantly lower-paid Qatar-based crew in exceptional circumstances.

The three aircraft involved are Airbus A330.

It is not clear what BA is getting.  Here is the ‘Our Fleet’ page of the Qatar Airways website but if you believe that then you will see that no A330 aircraft have fully flat Business Class seats.  That is not true.  In reality, most (all?) now have a fully flat seat in a 2 x 2 x 2 forward facing formation.

What IS certain is that there is no Premium Economy on these aircraft so anyone who has booked World Traveller Plus will have to accept a downgrade, a refund or a different flight.  As these aircraft will be used on flights departing in as little as three weeks, customers will struggle to find a replacement at a sensible price.

It is not clear at present which routes will use these aircraft.  As the Business Class cabin is small (5 rows) I doubt it will be a straight swap for routes currently flying the Boeing 787-9.  One option could be that the new aircraft go to Gatwick and are used on leisure routes, freeing up aircraft for use at Heathrow.

There is a little more information on FlightGlobal here.

British Airways leases Qatar Airways A330

The new British Airways lounge in Aberdeen opens soon

Reports on Flyertalk suggest that the new British Airways lounge in Aberdeen will open at some point next week.

Aberdeen has been without a dedicated BA lounge since the old facility closed in August.

This is good news for British Airways Silver card holders who were not allowed to use the third-party Northern Lights lounge.

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  1. Mzungu says:

    O/T: I’m getting close to triggering a Lloyds upgrade voucher, and Mrs Mzungu is not far behind (both got the cards just before the shutters came down). We’re unlikely to reach the threshold before 20th May, so I’m wondering how we’ll know if/when we receive vouchers.

    I’ve just re-read the email from Avios about the scheme closure, and it says “Any Upgrade Vouchers or Worldwide Companion Tickets you may have are still valid but won’t show in your British Airways Executive Club account online”

    I understand that Lloyds are pretty rubbish about advising when a voucher has been triggered, so any thoughts about how this will work?

    I’m assuming of course that vouchers will still be issued…


    • I’m sure in the past I’ve eventually received a letter. You should also be able to add up your spend from past statements (which is really the only way to work how close you are to triggering the threshold), though its a bit of a pain.

      I guess you could periodically phone up the BA executive club once the transfer has gone through and ask them – might encourage them to make the necessary change to showing them online as with the Amex 2for1s. 🙂

    • You can also ring Lloyds and ask them if they have applied the voucher to your account.

  2. MattP says:

    What does this ETOPS-60 mean for routes? Will they fly further or will 787s stop flying certain routes altogether?

    • You can never be more than 60 minutes from a runway that can handle a 787. Which is bad news, clearly.

      • Probably worse news for other airlines. At least BA has a range of routes it can use them on, and they only make up a small proportion of the fleet. It is their 787-9s that are affected, of which BA currently has 17.

      • Lady London says:

        Wow. No wonder they are hiring planes in for Transatlantic then?

      • Ollie says:

        Could be worse – Air New Zealand must have planes that they cant use for anything but domestic.

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