BA Sale

Bits: Heathrow’s 3rd runway delayed, IHG’s voco Reading opens, Loganair launches City to Dundee

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News in brief:

Heathrow’s third runway is delayed …. again

Heathrow has pushed back its construction plans for the third runway following a move by the Civil Aviation Authority.

It is a complex discussion, but in simple terms:

Like most regulated utilities, Heathrow is allowed to earn a guaranteed minimum return on its investments.  If it spends £100 on improving the airport, it is allowed to increase annual charges to airlines by (say) £8 to reflect this.  This always leads to claims of ‘gold plating’ since, literally, it encourages Heathrow to install gold-plated taps in the toilets because the more it spends, the more it can charge.  To stop the taps getting too shiny, the CAA arbitrates on whether expenditure is reasonable.

This debate with the CAA is over how much Heathrow can reclaim in charges in terms of pre-construction costs if the runway is eventually cancelled.  The CAA has imposed a cap on what can be reclaimed from airlines (£1.6bn, vs Heathrow’s demand to reclaim £2.8bn).  This means that the airport will proceed more slowly with its plans and minimise expenditure in advance of full planning permission and financing being secured.

The bottom line is that the opening date for the third runway has been pushed back to somewhere between “early 2028 and late 2029.”

This Independent article has more information.

If you’re not familiar with where it is going, click to expand the image below.  Say goodbye to many of the hotels on Bath Road, the entire village of Longford, half of Harmondsworth, part of Sipson and BA’s HQ …..

Heathrow third runway

Loganair launching London City to Dundee

Loganair has announced that it is moving its London Stansted to Dundee service to London City.

The route operates 11 times per week, with two flights per day during the week and one on Sunday.  The aircraft, an ATR42-500, only seats 48 people so it is not over ambitious.

The change will kick in from the launch of the Summer timetable on 29th March.

The Government is underwriting the cost of the route as part of its ‘Public Service Obligation’ programme, which supports flights to London from parts of the UK where they would not otherwise be economically viable.

Loganair is also launching Dundee to Belfast from April 2020.

Our review of Clan Loganair, Loganair’s loyalty programme, is here.  Note that the airline recently tightened up its expiry policy as I covered here.

Loganair launches London City to Dundee

voco Reading now open

IHG’s new ‘conversion brand’, voco, has opened its first hotel the South of England.

The old Millennium Madejski Hotel in Reading, by the Madejski Stadium, has been rebranded as voco Reading.  The hotel website is here.

voco was launched by IHG last year as a brand with minimal brand standards, like Hilton’s DoubleTree or Marriott’s Delta.  This allows existing hotels to switch over to it very quickly, since they do not have to make many changes to their bedding / showers / restaurant hours / lobby / parking / air conditioning / fitness facilities etc to meet ‘brand guidelines’.

That said, the hotel is doing some minor room refurbishments between now and June 2020.  This is described, slightly worryingly, as “adding charming touches that make a world of difference, to create moments you’ll remember long after check out”.  It is being done a few rooms at a time to avoid interference to guests.

Our review of voco Cardiff, the old Principal Cardiff hotel by the harbour, is here.  You can learn more about voco Reading here.

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  1. Shoestring says:

    & in at No1 T3, x5, didn’t bat an eyelid that we are earlier than booked & didn’t press the point it’s 3hrs max 🙂

    LHR sort of deserted at the mo, though they told me it was busy as Hull this morning (No1 humming, though)

    now this is no time to berate people who have Priority Pass for not ponying up the £5 reservation fee to secure admission, but I’d sooner pay £5 & be in here in the warm with decent wifi than be sitting out there in the cold 🙂

    • I missed you then. My partner and I were there since 8am this morning starting our lounge crawl with excellent breakfast in Cathay lounge.

      • Shoestring says:

        honest, I exist! 🙂

        • Shoestring says:

          I gather Rhys is setting up a live feed for the January party so that we can hear Raffles’ wise words?

          did I get that right?

          if so, we could make it a conference feed and those of us stuck in the sticks could join in the jollity, alas from afar – but there in spirit if not in body

          • Shoestring says:

            we could get baby Anika junior to contribute a beautiful face and a wee gaga! 🙂

          • Shoestring says:

            now some of you have said: Raffles will not wish his wise words to be broadcast! he is shy; his voice needs voice tuition (apparently according to some bugger out there; sounds fine to me but I always loved honest Yorkshire vowels and lack of consonants, grammar, making your voice heard clearly and coherence).

            but I implore Raffles to listen to Rhys: the voice of 2020 and a younger man than us

            Raffles can get ‘woke in a stroke’ and I’m not talking dirty

            just a live stream of the wise words come HfP part 2020 – that’s all I ask

          • Er, no.

          • Lady London says:

            Nothing personal, but now I’m going to puke ! 🙂

          • SlothFace says:

            How about a cardboard cut out of Alex Cruz and attach an iPad on it for a live feed from the shoestring house

    • Where are you off to?

      • Shoestring says:

        that place of ours in the sun! slightly wintry

        here’s the thing: when snow lies thick upon my 4000m sq garden, there are good points facing south but with a ‘sun trap’ bit of wall & wind protection, in the midst of Xmas/ New Year, when you can sunbathe and get a decent tan! the snow seems to double the effect of the rays

        • I haven’t figured out where your place in the sun is.

          • Shoestring says:

            yours is in Spain, right? 🙂

          • Shoestring says:

            [marcw through grated teeth] er yes, how did you gather that? my place in the sun friend?

            er – when you thought I was merry in August! I still absorbed facts

          • Shoestring says:

            OK if somebody wants to come up & say hello – no problem No1 T3

            I’m the guy who looks like Marco Van Basten when he was 30 – long hair and a devilish smile – do you fancy a drink on DragonPass? lol

          • Wasn’t it in a heat-wave (Off) topic? Yes Spain, but just administratively. Goign there tomorrow – not excited to take an intercontinental flight with Iberia Express. Thanks god emergency exit seats are free on Avios redemptions.

          • Shoestring says:

            I hope you have a great Xmas!

          • Merry Christmas Shoestring and Feliz Año Nuevo.

            For all of us travelling in cattle class…

          • Our place in the sun is so wet I been thinking of buying a canoe..
            Andalusia has been hammered for the last 2 or 3 days. Its drab and grey currently, but as Harry flys from T3 ( and probably not to GIB ) I doubt he is with 200 KMS of Casa Bob.

  2. OT: Amex Offer & HSBC WE
    I’ve a £1,000 off for £2,000 at Yoko Jewellers. Might be useful.

    Reached the 1st anniversary of my HSBC World Elite. The bonus 40k points posted same day I received the statement and second fee.

  3. Gillydee says:

    OT: Is a Qatar sale to the Far East due any time soon? Not travelling until November but the spend would help me reach my Amex Gold 10k target by the end of January…..

    • memesweeper says:

      Their ‘normal’ fares from Scandinavia in J are consistently good if you’re flexible with dates. Not sure it’s worth waiting for a sale.

      • Gillydee says:

        Thanks – even factoring in additional flights & hotels, it’s about £1500 cheaper. All I have to do now is convince the OH that it’s worth the longer overall journey time and faff 🙂

        • Def worth it, if you can wait for the sale. The best planes, best seats. Yes, it’s not direct but for the TPs, the best option. Even with a plane swop you still get good planes from scandi.

  4. OT: I was flying from Edi yesterday and once we past security I saw that our flight was delayed 1.5 hours, went to the O2 priority app and registered the flight at that point for the Smart Delay offer, got two lounge entries within 5 mins (valid for N°1 or either of the Aspire lounges, it was late so plenty of space). I read about the offer here, so thanks to whomever highlighted it!

    • Shoestring says:

      hope you drank a few

      • Wasn’t able to as I was driving on the other side, I mainly did it for the Aspire points to be honest. I was glad to see that I didn’t need to register the flight before departure though.

  5. Shoestring says:

    No1 &proud of it! who would not pay the £5 I ask you?

  6. OT: Lots of Scots posters here so asking for a bit of help – partner doing first ever TP run tomorrow to get silver back – LHR to GLA and return. Simple question, does he need to go through security and back in again? He’s checked in both ways already. Got PP so can access the Upper Deck. As he has 590 points and will get 10 with the flight up there (he’ll have his BP for that) would there be any point asking at the BA lounge? Cheers in advance.

  7. OT:
    Found some seats for a Peak first class return to Cape Town from London, using a 241. The Avios is pricing as 200,000, which is correct. However the taxes are pricing up as £3953.90.

    This seems very very high – any thoughts as to what is going on here? I think the taxes should be closer to £1000.

    Also having some issues with BA refusing to find these flights if I put that I want to start my journey from Inverness and connect in LHR. The flights show if I book them as direct from LHR or starting from NCL. Grateful for any thoughts on this too.

    • Strange – had a play around and I found the taxes to be £606.95 for a return in first on a few peak dates..

    • If there’s no availability on the INV-LHR route the system will say there’s no availability full stop. It’s annoying that it can’t tell you exactly what the issue is!

      • Lady London says:

        This is happening because BA has made a deliberate decision not to offer those seats in combination. Nothing to do with availability.

        Its been more common in the past that a seat through to a domestic destination would be available via London but only to London, not.

        So BA is either doing this in reverse or passenger is looking far enough forward for some other issue with Inverness to come into play.

    • Lady London says:

      Get to final screen and tax rubbish like this sometimes clears? Unless BA’s now testing truly dynamic pricing on some dates.

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