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British Airways applies to wet lease three Qatar Airways A330 aircraft

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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.

British Airways leases Qatar Airways 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.

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Comments (127)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Dan says:

    Slightly OT – but just wondered if anyone had any successes to report when claiming compensation for 787-9 flights that have been cancelled due to engine issues.

    BA are claiming extraordinary circumstances in my case (which may be valid) but the CAA guidance is unclear.

    • Nick (not Arrogant Nick aka “the Original Nick”) says:

      Dan – I flew from LHR to KUL on 23/11/17 on the BA33. The flight was not cancelled but it was delayed by over 4 hours as the BA 789-9 was unable to fly due to engine issues and a replacement aircraft had to be drafted in. British Airways promptly forked out €600 in compensation.

    • Rob says:

      Nonsense, BA should have made alternative arrangements or could have rerouted you.

    • Nick says:

      How do you know your flight was cancelled specifically because of this? Did they tell you, or are you just assuming?

      It matters… because if it is down to this, then your claim will be upheld. But flights still get cancelled for other reasons, which may or may not be related (and/or valid for a claim).

      If it helps, Expert Flyer can show you the exact delay/canx code given to the flight.

      • Dan says:

        Thanks all, will challenge their decision in that case.

        The whole thing has been frustrating! BA cancelled both my outbound and inbound from LHR to LAX which were originally booked on the 789’s. The agent on the phone didn’t know why the flights had been cancelled and thought this was unusual, but I can only imagine it was due to engine issues. I’m speaking to the BA team through twitter and they are going to tell me the exact reason why the flights were cancelled.

  • mark2 says:

    There has ben some discussion about the 20,000 MR points for spending £1,000 after upgrading Gold charge to Platinum. This morning I have received them attached to the spend going over the threshold as I would expect.
    I was not invited to upgrade.

    • Bonglim says:

      Recently upgraded from Gold to Platinum and went over the £1000 within a few days and got the expected 20000 MR as planned.

      I clicked on the link to upgrade, but not specifically invited.

    • Alex G says:

      I also recently clicked on the link to upgrade, but was not specifically invited and was accepted and customer service have confirmed that the 1k spend in 3 months for 20k MR points has been applied to my account.

  • A says:

    Unlikely to be on the Middle East routes I would have thought!

  • Zoe says:

    OT just wondering if there is any way of telling if QR907 on 8th July will be using a plane with qsuites. Thanks in advance

  • Dwadda says:

    I’ve flown on Qatar A330 business class. It is a bit narrow. It reminds me of the seat in the A320 ‘winglets’ that AA uses for business class on their transcontinental routes. On the flip side the economy seating should be better as it is 8 across rather than 9 so a boon for economy passengers. BA passengers will also get to experience the delightful QR crew who are the real reason QR won airline of the year last year (in my opinion)

    BTW, I have spoken with both BA and QR crew about their salary (I wasn’t being nosey, it just came up). I reckon that QR crew are paid the same as BA crew on the new contract (mixed fleet?). However, foreigners don’t pay tax in Qatar so they actually keep more (though they do not get a government pension of course). On balance I reckon the overall remuneration is equivalent though BA crew might not appreciate it until they retire.. not a consideration for the much younger QR crew..

    So BA crew, please smile more. It makes a big difference to the mental well being of the passengers during the flight.

    • Klaus says:

      QR Cabin Crew make 3000-5000 USD tax free a month and get paid accommodation, transfers, ID tickets etc on top. Doha is a terrible place but money wise it’s much better than in the UK.

  • Matt says:

    OT Just deciding which Amex to get next, is it still unknown whether an upgrade from Gold credit card to Platinum charge card will be possible?

    • Rob says:

      Very very unlikely.

    • Mark says:

      I applied for one last Monday and cards already arrived.

      • Roger says:

        Are you sure? From Gold Credit Card to Platinum charge card

        or From Gold Charge Card to Platinum Charge card?

  • IanMacK says:

    Lets hope that the new BA ABZ lounge manages to stock BrewDog (as did Northern Lights).
    Hoping its Monday, but knowing my luck it will probably be later next week !!
    And at least the BA fizz is free !!

    • Lumma says:

      Isn’t the beer selection the same in all the UK BA lounges? Heineken, Amstel Light, Tiger and Tribute

    • Ant says:

      I was in Northern Lights before my flight last night. The BA lounge looked very very close to open – the banners were outside and everything.

  • Jovanna says:

    How is First class on these aircraft?

    • Dwadda says:

      There is no first class on QR A330s

      • Rob says:

        Used to be, as per the seat plans in the fleet guide. Not now.

    • Adiosuk says:

      So what happens if booked on first and the a/c is swapped out to the A330?
      We are booked on BA33 in July as our first try in F with BA, what would our options likely be?

      • Rob says:

        Not much. Depends what routes – if NYC you could go on the next flight an hour later. If it is a ‘flight a day’ route you have no options as BA will not pay to put you on another airline.

        • Adrian says:

          Hi Rob do you know why this is? We had irrops last year in the USA, on AA and they were perfectly happy to put us on a BA plane back to LHR (as instructed on FT i had done my research on what was the best route home). As they share revenue why is this even an issue for BA? Just curious, thank you

        • Lady London says:

          I thnk EU261 says British Airways has to re-route you if on irrops on a flight covered by EU261.They cannot refuse to put you on another airline’s flight that is suitable if their delay goes over a certain time etc…. You might have to push but you DO have a right to be re-routed and in this kind of case provided the conditions were met British Airways would not be entitled to refuse. The requirement for re-routing on another airline to not be excluded in also relatively low in terms of delay. .There’s case law about the airlines with irrops being obliged to re-route you without undue delay, or something similar. They will resist of course but it does enhance your negotiating position to point this out and could help them decide to offer you something else decent if you make it clear where you’re flexible.

      • Nick says:

        Well as the A330 doesn’t have the range to fly LON-KUL non-stop, I think the chances are slim-to-non-existent and you really shouldn’t worry so much.

        • Adiosuk says:

          @Nick thank you, I hadn’t considered that

        • Matt says:

          Nick are you sure the A330 doesn’t have the range to do LHR to KUL? It may not be as efficient as a 787, 777 or a380 but it does have the range to do it? For example the RAF Voyager (A330) can do that route if it chose to.

      • john says:

        They will likely cascade the fleet around so they keep first on routes where they are offering first if possible.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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