British Airways restarts flights to Beijing

British Airways has announced the resumption of its flight services from London to Beijing since a pause in services in January 2020, when the route was suspended due to the pandemic.

The resumption will restore the airline’s exclusivity as the only British carrier operating a direct service between Beijing and the UK.

The British Airways flights will operate four-times-a-week between Beijing and London, departing Daxing Airport on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Tickets are on sale now, on: ba.com and all British Airways customers have the option to purchase premium carbon offsets from certified climate projects and sustainable aviation fuel.

Commenting on the resumption, Louise Street, British Airways’ Director of Worldwide Airports, said: ‘The restart of one of our most important routes after more than three years is a long-awaited moment for all of us at British Airways. Following the successful resumption of flights between Shanghai and London in April, we’re excited to be back in Beijing too, reuniting families and friends and facilitating international student and business travel once again. We are looking forward to working hand-in-hand with our joint business partner China Southern, to provide wider transit options and various benefits to our customers in China and the UK.’

British Airways and partner China Southern both operate from Daxing, giving customers greater connectivity between the UK and China, with a wide choice of onward flights.

Onboard, customers can now access the airline’s newly designed Club Suite (business class) cabin, with direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy and flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The Suite has 40 per cent more storage, including a vanity unit and mirror, WiFi, 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens, high-definition gate-to-gate programming and PC / USB power, new furnishings, new amenity kits and a reworked dining experience.

More London flights to Goa, India for the adventurous

London Gatwick has said that Air India will be launching four new routes to Goa, Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Kochi (Cochin), starting from March 26.

In addition, Air India has also announced five additional services to London Heathrow Airport. These new routes strengthen the established links between the UK – particularly London – and India.

The Indian airline will be operating 12 flights a week between London Gatwick and the four Indian destinations on 787-8 aircraft, with 256 seats across business and economy classes. These include:

* Three flights a week to Goa, on the western coast of India, famed for its beaches and Portuguese heritage

* Three flights a week to Ahmedabad, in western India, and the largest city in the state of Gujarat

* Three weekly flights to Amritsar, the second largest city in the state of Punjab in north-western India

* Three flights a week to Kochi (Cochin), a major port city on the south-western coast, known as the financial, commercial and industrial capital of Kerala

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport said: ‘The arrival of Air India and its four routes to London Gatwick is fantastic news for the airport and passengers across London and the south-east.

‘India not only offers wonderful cities and beach destinations to explore but provides a wealth of opportunities for businesses and wider connectivity. These connections are also hugely important to our local and regional communities, with people looking to visit family and friends across India.’

Tickets for these new flights are now on sale and can be booked via the Air India website.

To Heathrow, Air India will add 5 additional weekly frequencies with Delhi increasing from 14 to 17 times a week and Mumbai from 12 to 14 times a week.

London Gatwick Airport announces double daily service to Frankfurt with Lufthansa

London Gatwick Airport has announced a new service from April 2023, as Lufthansa launches a double daily service to Frankfurt, Germany.

From 23 April 2023, the German airline will operate twice daily between the UK’s capital and Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt. Home of the European Central Bank, Frankfurt is one of the largest global hubs of passenger and cargo traffic. It is currently the fifth busiest European airport and seventh busiest in the world for international passengers.

The new route will offer important onward connectivity for passengers, including to other key financial hubs such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Singapore, Beijing and Shanghai, among many other destinations across North and South America, Africa and Asia.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Lufthansa back to Gatwick Airport next year, providing passengers across London and the south-east with a vital connection to Frankfurt.

‘The city is not only a hugely important financial hub, but offers excellent onward connectivity and opportunities. It’s also a great place for tourists too, with fantastic museums and architecture.’

Heinrich Lange, Senior Director Sales Northern Europe, Lufthansa Group Airlines said: ‘Lufthansa is happy to operate to London Gatwick next summer to connect this major airport with our hub in Frankfurt. We come closer to our customers in the south of London and will ease the access to our global network. We are glad to have Gatwick as our third London airport served in our timetable.’

Frankfurt is first of the several new routes expected to be announced by London Gatwick for the new year, the airport said.

London Gatwick to serve 90% of pre-pandemic destinations this half-term

London Gatwick Airport – part of VINCI Airports’ network – has said that during this October half-term the Airport will serve almost 90% of the destinations it served during the same period in 2019.

London Gatwick will serve 172 destinations during the forthcoming holiday period, compared to 197 (87%) in the same period in 2019. Top destinations for holidaymakers looking for a short break or some autumn sun this half-term include Dublin, Barcelona and Malaga, while Dubai, New York and Orlando top the long-haul charts.

London Gatwick’s Chief Commercial Officer, Jonathan Pollard, said: ‘We are really excited to see the number of destinations we fly to almost returning to pre-Covid levels for the October half-term.

‘The summer was incredibly busy, and we took steps to provide more certainty for passengers, including recruiting more than 400 new security staff, so we are well resourced for half-term and beyond. It’s great to see our departure lounges busy again with people eager to jet off and enjoy our fantastic range of destinations, across Europe and further afield.’

At the end of half-term, Gatwick will welcome new airline Bamboo Airways, with a new route to Hanoi, Vietnam. JetBlue is also adding a second daily service to New York – which adds to over 50 weekly flights to the US currently on offer from Gatwick.

Passengers will also be able to shop at Gatwick’s retail outlets, which include the new Lego stores in each terminal, which opened in July, alongside other brands such as Ted Baker, Hugo Boss, Superdry, Harrods, Hamleys and World Duty Free, the Airport said.

BA Cityflyer announces new London City route from Aberdeen International Airport for winter

British Airways has introduced a new route to its Aberdeen International Airport network operating to London City for winter.

The new route will be operational from November and provide stronger domestic connectivity to London. Flights will begin operating on Tuesday November 1, 2022 and run until Sunday January 22, 2023 on the Embraer E190 aircraft.

Matt Hazelwood, Chief Commercial Officer for AGS Airports Ltd, which owns Aberdeen International Airport, said: ‘This announcement is welcome news and will provide even more choice for passengers between the Granite City and London.

‘We look forward to working with BA Cityflyer to establish the route.’

Mark Beveridge, Operations Director at Aberdeen International Airport said: ‘It is great to see British Airways growing its offering and presence at Aberdeen International Airport with this new daily flights to London City.

‘Routes like London City are important to help drive the economy connecting the business community to key markets.

‘It also provides a great opportunity for people to come see the great area our corner of the country is with fantastic food and drink offerings.’

The route will complement the several daily flights with British Airways to London Heathrow.

Qatar Airways enhances passenger experience at London Heathrow Terminal 4

Qatar Airways is looking to enhance its passenger experience at London Heathrow Terminal 4, with a new Frequent Flyer Lounge, as well as with the reopening of its Premium Lounge.

Situated in Terminal 4, the Frequent Flyer lounge is open to Qatar Airways Privilege Club members, with access available to Joint Business Partners like British Airways Executive Club members, and other oneworld Alliance loyalty members. Eligible customers can indulge in a menu comprising of a hot and cold buffet selection and a range of beverages.

Qatar Airways’ Premium Lounge in Terminal 4 has also recently reopened its doors to Qatar Airways First and Business Class passengers. The premium lounge features a martini bar, a dedicated family area, prayer room and diverse dining options including a full buffet and an a la carte menu both for fine and casual dining.

In addition, Qatar Airways has introduced a new enclosed Premium Check-in Area exclusively for its First and Business Class customers. Within the check-in lobby area, customers may relax in the lounge with beverages while check-in formalities are completed.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: ‘We are proud to be opening our first Frequent Flyer lounge outside of Doha, offering passengers across the oneworld Alliance network an oasis of calm and comfort in one of the world’s busiest airports. Qatar Airways is committed to serving passengers travelling from Heathrow with world-class facilities, and we hope that they will enjoy the warm Qatari hospitality offered at the Premium Lounge, FFP Lounge and the dedicated Premium Check-in area.’

To meet the increased demand for international travel, Qatar Airways operates to more than 150 destinations worldwide, connecting through its Doha hub, Hamad International Airport. Qatar Airways offers UK passengers a wide range of destinations on the airline’s global network, including Australia, Thailand, India, the Maldives and the Philippines.

Qatar Airways currently operates from four UK airports, which includes five daily flights from London Heathrow increasing to six daily flights from London Gatwick, up to three daily flights from Manchester, and a daily service from Edinburgh. In addition to the UK frequencies, the airline operates to Dublin with 11 weekly flights.

UK holidaymakers look for memory-making family trips to save money

According to research conducted by London North Eastern Railway (LNER), family leisure trips, memory-making experiences and time spent together really matter for nine in 10 families, who are looking for summer savings to offset rising cost of living.

The online survey conducted for LNER by UK parenting network Mumsnet, showed that 91 per cent of people agree that leisure trips are important for bonding and making memories, leading to 85 per cent looking for deals.

London tops the list of places families want to visit most along the 900-mile LNER network, followed by York and Edinburgh. The Northumberland coast, Newcastle, Leeds, Harrogate and Lincoln also feature among the top ten destinations.

On the choice of destinations, 82 per cent of people opted for a coastal escape, while 76 per cent were looking to visit organised attractions.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty also proved popular destinations with 63 per cent of respondents, along with visits to towns and cities to make the most of the cultural, tourism and shopping scene.

David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said: ‘At LNER we’ve been welcoming more people back to travel with us faster than any other train company in Britain. We want to help even more people take advantage of ways to save money for a great value getaway. From booking direct to enjoying some of the many free experiences and attractions at the fantastic selection of destinations we serve, there’s many ways people can save money and have a low-cost, highly memorable trip away.’

Justine Roberts, CEO and founder of Mumsnet, said: ‘We know from Mumsnet users that spending quality time together is one of the most important elements of family life. With the cost of living rising and parents therefore budgeting harder, getting the best value for money possible will be more important than ever for those considering a family day out.’

Around 42 per cent of respondents said that day trips will replace some of their long breaks as a way of saving money. LNER’s Family Return tickets offer fixed price travel for up to two adults and four children between a variety of destinations, with fares starting from £49 for the whole group.

Customers who plan ahead and book direct via the LNER website or app are able to secure Advance fares with no booking fee. There are also savings for those with Railcards offering up to a third off and by joining LNER’s loyalty scheme LNER Perks, members can earn £5 credit for signing up and two per cent credit back on each LNER journey.

London retains position as a top global travel destination for North American travellers in 2022

London continues to be one of the top destinations for global travellers, particularly North American travellers, with the UK capital reporting its strongest hotel occupancy numbers and flight bookings since the pandemic, London & Partners has said.

The destination celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this past spring with record crowds, entertainment and royal family sightings. Visitors from North America continue to outdo other international markets, ranking London among the top destinations on their travel bucket list.

According to the latest Traveler Insights Report from Expedia Group Media Solutions, London was the third most booked destination globally in the second quarter of 2022 and the second most booked international destination by North American travellers. London also ranked as the number one booked destination for travellers from the Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa regions.

Separate research from ForwardKeys reports that North American travellers are showing a strong appetite for visiting London this Autumn, with flight bookings up by 227 percent compared with the same time period last year.

Laura Citron, CEO at London & Partners, which runs Visit London, said: ‘London has been brimming with energy and excitement and it’s fantastic to see visitors from all around the world returning to our city. So far, 2022 has been a massive year for London which saw us celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, as well as the return of major sporting events, festivals, theatre shows and our world-class museums and galleries. We’re seeing a huge pent-up demand for North American travellers to visit London this fall and winter, with lots of opportunities for visitors to enjoy some of our world leading cultural and festive activities for the rest of this year.’

A number of airlines have recently launched new air routes to London making it an easier trip to plan for many. In June, British Airways became the first airline to offer a direct route to London from Portland adding a new route for visitors from the west coast. British Airways also resumed flights from Pittsburgh and San Jose to cater to increased demand. In the first week of August, JetBlue commences flight from Boston to London.

In addition, United Airlines also launched a new Boston to London route in March while increasing frequency of flights to London from Newark, Denver and San Francisco after data showed that London was one of the most booked international destinations, particularly amongst business clientele. In November 2022 Virgin Atlantic will launch its new Tampa to London route for the holiday season. According to latest flight data, on average there are over 100 flights a day from the US to London.

Jet2 expands services to Dalaman from London Stansted Airport

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, the UK leisure and holiday operator, has announced the expansion of flight services and package holidays to Dalaman from London Stansted Airport as the companies celebrate five years of service on the route.

When Jet2.com and Jet2holidays first launched flights and holidays to Dalaman from London Stansted Airport, the companies operated up to two weekly flights from the base to the Turkish sunshine.

With demand for flights and holidays to Dalaman increasing, Jet2.com and Jet2holiays have since expanded their Dalaman programme from London Stansted Airport to up to 12 weekly flights for Summer 22, with daily flights available and twice-daily services on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘We are delighted to be celebrating five years of operating our award-winning flights and package holidays to Dalaman from London Stansted Airport today. During this time, Dalaman has proved extremely popular, and we have seen strong demand from customers and independent travel agents in the South West looking to enjoy this Turkish hotspot. To meet with this demand, we have continued to expand our offering and have a huge programme on sale to Dalaman from London Stansted for Summer 22, giving customers and independent travel agents unrivalled choice when it comes to enjoying a holiday with our award-winning airline and tour operator. In addition to looking back over the years, we are also using today’s celebrations as an opportunity to look towards the future with confidence and positivity. We are extremely proud to have reached this important milestone and look forward to continuing to take many more happy holidaymakers to this destination for years to come.’

With the expansion, Jet2 has over 110,000 seats on sale for Summer 22 from London Stansted Airport to Dalaman, representing a capacity increase of over 1,000 percent compared to Summer 2017.

In addition to a choice of thousands of 2-5 star hotels through Jet2holidays, customers can take advantage of tens of thousands of Free Child Places this summer. The company has recently added a Free Child Place onto every single flight departing from the UK in June, July and August 2022.

British Airways to fly to 26 US cities direct from London this summer

British Airways has said that it is expanding its US route network this summer, taking its direct US routes with London to 26.

Portland, Oregon becomes the newest destination on the British Airways route map, providing the city’s only direct route to the UK. The brand-new route will operate five times per week – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Further, British Airways is also relaunching its direct route from Pittsburgh to London, becoming the only airline to offer a direct flight from the Pennsylvanian city to London. The airline will resume a year-round four-per-week service – Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ Director of Networks and Alliances, said: ‘This summer British Airways will be flying from 26 US cities to London and we’re very excited to be adding Portland to our list of transatlantic destinations. Not only are we the only airline to offer direct flights from Portland to London, but this new route also opens a wide variety of connections for our customers. Through Alaska Airlines, our oneworld partner, British Airways will offer codeshare connections to several destinations operated by Alaska Airlines from Portland.’

On June 6, the airline will launch a new, daytime flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow – its third daily flight from Newark to London to further support business travel. The daytime flight will depart at 7.55am from Newark – a convenient option for travellers looking to spend an extra night in the New York area before departing, or for those who wish to arrive just in time for an evening in London. With this additional flight time, British Airways along with its joint business partner, American Airlines will offer the most extensive network from the New York area to London with 15 daily departures this summer, including 11 daily flights from JFK to Heathrow and one daily flight from JFK to Gatwick.

The Portland route will be operated by one of British Airways’ newest aircraft, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, with return fares from $669 in World Traveller (economy) and $3,965 in Club World (business). Pittsburgh will be operated by Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. Return fares start from $740 in World Traveller (economy) and $3,565 in Club World (business).

This summer also marks the return of daily direct flights from San Jose, California, to London on June 13; and the return of A380 aircraft to more North American airports.