British Airways is conducting a verification flight to help determine procedures to continue flying in accordance with risk assessment methodology developed by ICAO, the global aviation governing body, over the last 12 months.
The flight will produce data that should help the understanding of the limitations of the models being used to forecast ash dispersal.
The flight, by a British Airways Airbus A320, departed from Manchester airport this evening to fly toward the Newcastle area and then over Glasgow and Edinburgh before heading south and arriving at London Heathrow.
The aircraft, and its flight performance, will then be subject to detailed inspection and analysis overnight by the airline’s engineers. All data will be made available to the CAA.
We regret the cancellation of today’s services between London and Scotland, and London and Newcastle. These cancellations were made entirely on the basis of the information given to us by the CAA and the Met Office.
We expect flights to all areas, including Scotland, to operate normally today.
British Airways is continuing its commitment to Brazil by doubling its weekly frequency to Rio de Janeiro from three to six flights.
Neil Cottrell, British Airways’ head of network planning, said: “We are experiencing a real increase in demand for Rio and by doubling the number of frequencies, we are able to offer our customers more choice and greater availability. Brazil is also experiencing strong economic growth and this capacity increase is a great opportunity for British Airways to be part of that growth.”
Flights will now depart Heathrow for Rio every day, except Mondays. The departure time remains at 12.15pm, landing in Rio at 9.55pm local time.
The flight will continue to be served by a three class B777, enabling customers to choose from World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premier economy) and the airline’s fully flat beds in Club World (business class).
Earlier this month, British Airways and Iberia announced the immediate start of codesharing on a new tranche of one another’s flights. This included BA putting its code on Iberia flights from Madrid to San Jose (Costa Rica) and Panama City and Iberia adding its code to BA’s Bahrain, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait and Muscat services. Iberia has also added its code onto British Airways’ services to Cape Town and both airlines are now sharing their Johannesburg flights. Iberia’s flights to Havana also started carrying the BA code on April 15.
Due to the high price of oil, British Airways has today had to announce an increase in its fuel surcharge on longhaul travel from Friday, April 8, 2011. There will be no increase in the fuel surcharge on domestic and shorthaul flights.
Nick Swift, British Airways’ chief financial officer, said: “It’s with real regret that we are having to increase our longhaul fuel surcharge. As customers will know from the price at the petrol pumps, the cost of fuel has continued to rise significantly over the past three months. For us, fuel now represents over one third of our costs and particularly affects our longhaul flights. We are very aware of the wider economic pressures on our customers at the moment and we will bear the vast majority of the recent fuel price rise ourselves to keep this increase in surcharge to a minimum.”
Longhaul non-premium tickets will experience an increase of £10 per sector.
This means that World Traveller (economy) flights under nine hours will increase from £75 a sector to £85 and flights in excess of nine hours will increase from £88 a sector to £98.
World Traveller Plus (premium economy) flights under nine hours will increase from £85 to £95 a sector and flights of more than nine hours will increase from £106.50 a sector to £116.50.
Longhaul premium tickets will increase by £20 per sector.
First and Club World flights under nine hours will increase from £105 per sector to £125. On flights of more than nine hours there will be an increase from £125 per sector to £145.