British Airways suspends direct flights to mainland China amid virus fears

LONDON: British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China, one of the most important names in aviation to do so, as concerns about the impact of an expanding coronavirus on global travel increase.

BA.com, the airline’s website, shows that there are no direct flights to mainland China available to book in January and February, but the airline said in an email that cancellations were in effect until January 31 while assessing the situation .

Direct flights to the autonomous region of Hong Kong governed by the Chinese were not affected.

The BA measure followed some cancellations of flights to China by the US airline United Airlines Holdings Inc, which blamed a sharp drop in demand.

Fears about the spread of the flu-like virus, which originated in the central city of Wuhan, are growing as the death toll rose to 132 and countries warned their citizens about trips to China.

On Tuesday, Britain’s Foreign Ministry advised against “almost essential” trips to mainland China due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

BA said that customers traveling to or from China in the coming days could get more information on their website.

“We apologize to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and the crew is always our priority,” BA said in a statement sent via email on Wednesday.

British airline Virgin Atlantic said its flights to Shanghai will continue to operate as scheduled.

British Airways generally flies daily between London Heathrow Airport and Beijing and Shanghai.

The temporary suspension of flights occurs days after BA offered passengers the possibility of canceling or re-booking tickets to China during February, a measure that could have resulted in their large long-distance planes flying half empty.

According to analysts, IAG, the owner group of BA and Iberia, is less exposed to the Asia-Pacific region in terms of capacity compared to rival European airlines such as Air France-KLM and Lufthansa.

Asia Pacific accounts for approximately 19% of the available kilometers of Air France-KLM and Lufthansa seats and 8% of IAG in 2019, Goodbody analysts said.

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British Airways-owner lifts possession restrictions, boosting shares

LONDON: British Airways-owner IAG lifted a restriction on non-EU buyers’ capacity to purchase its inventory, serving to enhance its share value by greater than 5%.

Final February, IAG, which additionally owns Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus, set the utmost degree for possession of its shares by non-Europeans at 47.5% in a bid to take care of its standing as a European-owned airline.

IAG stated on Friday that non-EU possession had dropped to 39.5% and as such it was eradicating the cap which had been in impact for 11 months.

Shares within the firm rose 5.3% to 672 pence at 0858 GMT, their highest degree since September 2018.

Bernstein analyst Daniel Roeska stated the change meant a big overhang had now gone. “We view this information very positively,” he stated.

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British Airways warns of extra disruption as pilot strike ends

LONDON: British Airways warned it will take a while for its flight schedule to return to regular after a pilots strike this week left plane and crew within the fallacious place, threatening additional disruption for passengers.

Owned by Worldwide Airways Group (IAG), British Airways was pressured to cancel 1,700 flights to and from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports throughout two days of motion this week, in its newest high-profile setback.

The motion was introduced by the British Airline Pilots Affiliation (BALPA) members in a dispute over pay. The union needs a pay deal to incorporate revenue sharing for BA pilots.

“We’re working arduous to get again to regular and to get our prospects to their locations,” the airline mentioned in a press release.

“The character of our extremely advanced, world operation means that it’s going to take a while to get again to a totally regular flight schedule nevertheless, we plan to fly greater than 90% of our flights at this time.”

Because of the strike, almost half of BA’s fleet of over 300 plane and greater than 700 pilots will begin the day within the fallacious place. As well as, greater than 4,000 cabin crew confronted disruption to rosters, that means some might want to take day off for authorized relaxation necessities.

BALPA has estimated that the strike motion price the airline round 40 million kilos a day. It has sparked a backlash on social media from prospects who criticised the airline’s dealing with of occasions, and caps a tricky few years after a number of operational failings.

In August it suffered its third main pc failure in little greater than two years, disrupting flights through the peak journey interval. It additionally faces a document $230 million wonderful underneath powerful new data-protection guidelines after the theft of knowledge from 500,000 prospects from its web site final 12 months.

Following strikes on Monday and Tuesday, one other day of commercial motion is scheduled for Sept. 27.

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British Airways says nearly all UK flights cancelled over strike

British Airways mentioned Monday it has been pressured to cancel nearly all its flights from UK airports on the primary day of a strike by pilots.

“After many months of attempting to resolve the pay dispute, we’re extraordinarily sorry that it has come to this,” BA mentioned in an announcement.

The airline mentioned it stays keen to return to talks with the British Airline Pilots Affiliation (BALPA).

“Sadly, with no element from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no manner of predicting what number of would come to work or which plane they’re certified to fly, so we had no possibility however to cancel almost 100 p.c of our flights”.

The UK flag service and its 4,300 pilots have been locked in a nine-month pay dispute that might disrupt the journey plans of almost 300,000 individuals.

Pilots are to proceed their strike on Tuesday and are threatening to strike for another day on September 27 — after which probably once more nearer to the winter holidays — ought to the dispute rage on.

BALPA has rejected a pay improve of 11.5 p.c over three years that the airline proposed in July.

BA says the supply would see flight captains obtain “world-class” pay and advantages of round £200,000 ($246,000 or 220,000 euros) a yr.

It additionally factors out that two different unions representing 90 p.c of the airways’ staff have accepted the 11.5-percent elevate.

BALPA counters that co-pilots’ salaries common round £70,000 — and that of junior ones drops down to simply £26,000.

This leaves some in heavy debt since they need to first bear coaching that the BBC estimates prices round £100,000.

BALPA additionally factors to an almost 10-percent soar in pre-tax earnings reported by BA’s mother or father firm IAG final yr.

 

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BA suspends flights to Cairo on safety grounds

LONDON: British Airways stated Saturday it had suspended flights to Cairo for seven days as a precautionary measure following a safety evaluation.

The flag service stated it could not function its plane until it felt it was secure to take action.

“We always evaluation our safety preparations in any respect our airports world wide, and have suspended flights to Cairo for seven days as a precaution to permit for additional evaluation,” the airline stated in a press release.

“The protection and safety of our clients and crew is at all times our precedence, and we’d by no means function an plane until it was secure to take action.”

Some affected passengers posted photos on social media showing to indicate a letter handed out by BA with an analogous message.

A spokeswoman for the airline stated it couldn’t instantly provide extra details about the suspensions.

In its journey recommendation for British nationals heading to Egypt, the International Workplace in London warns: “There’s a heightened threat of terrorism towards aviation.

“Extra safety measures are in place for flights departing from Egypt to the UK. You need to co-operate absolutely with safety officers at airports.”

Britain advises towards all however important journey by air to or from the Purple Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai peninsula.

“Terrorists are very more likely to attempt to perform assaults in Egypt. Though most assaults happen in North Sinai, there’s a threat of terrorist assaults throughout the nation,” Britons are warned.

“Terrorists in Egypt probably keep the intent and functionality to focus on aviation.

“The best menace is on the Sinai peninsula the place Daesh function with higher freedom, however terrorists are energetic in mainland Egypt, together with Cairo.”

The International Workplace warns that it “can’t provide recommendation on the security of particular person airways”.

An estimated 415,000 British nationals visited Egypt in 2018.

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British Airways faces $230 million positive over knowledge theft

LONDON: British Airways proprietor IAG stated on Monday the UK Data Commissioner’s Workplace (ICO) intends to impose a penalty of 183.four million kilos ($229.eight million) for the theft of buyer knowledge from the airline’s web site final yr.

The airline revealed final September that the bank card particulars of lots of of 1000’s of its clients had been stolen in an assault on its web site and app.

It stated the ICO had indicated it proposes to impose the penalty, which equates to 1.5% of its worldwide turnover for 2017.

“We’re shocked and upset on this preliminary discovering from the ICO,” stated Alex Cruz, BA’s chairman and chief govt.

“British Airways responded rapidly to a felony act to steal clients’ knowledge. Now we have discovered no proof of fraud/fraudulent exercise on accounts linked to the theft,” he stated, including an apology to clients for any inconvenience induced.

Willie Walsh, Worldwide Airways Group’s chief govt, stated BA can be making representations to the ICO in relation to the proposed positive.

“We intend to take all applicable steps to defend the airline’s place vigorously, together with making any needed appeals,” he stated.

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