BAA announced it will have to break up its network of airports after a court rejected its bid to challenge a sale order by the competition watchdog (Reuters, 17-Feb-2011). In Mar-2009 the Competition Commission ordered BAA to sell London’s Stansted Airport and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports within two years. BAA successfully challenged this motion however the Supreme Court has since reconsidered it.
BAA to break up its network of airports
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WestJet forges crucial deal with pilots for long haul expansion, but unionisation threat looms large
Canada’s second largest airline WestJet has eliminated uncertainty over its widebody expansion as 2016 has come to a close, reaching a deal with its pilots that allows the company to move forward in adding Boeing 767 widebodies to its fleet. The latest agreement follows a rejection of an earlier agreement by Westjet's pilots in Nov-2016, which placed in doubt the company’s ability to fully execute its long haul ambitions.
At the same time as pilots rejected the previous offer the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) was amping up efforts to unionise WestJet’s pilots. Independent entities have attempted to unionise the airline’s pilots in the past, but ALPA’s scale and resources offer a different level of heft to a potentially unionised workforce at WestJet.
Although WestJet can now move forward in crystallising its long haul strategy, the threat of unionisation among the company’s pilots and flight attendants looms large, and the airline could be a prime target for larger, more powerful unions.
Flybe at Heathrow: Europe's largest regional airline enters Europe's largest airport, gets new CEO
On 20-Dec-2016 Flybe announced its first ever routes from London Heathrow and the appointment of a new chief executive. Europe's largest regional airline will launch Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh at the start of summer 2017. Former CityJet head, Christine Ourmieres-Widener, will become CEO of Flybe from 16-Jan-2017, replacing Saad Hammad, who left on 26-Oct-2016.
Flybe already operates to the two Scottish cities from London City in competition with British Airways. Its Heathrow turboprop services will compete directly with BA's narrowbody jets, and there is also competition from Ryanair and easyJet from other London airports on the city pairs. Flybe has previously baulked at Heathrow's high charges, but has now changed its mind.
Flybe's new Heathrow services will use slots previously used by Virgin Atlantic's Little Red on the same routes. Little Red failed to fill its aircraft and ceased operating after two years. Flybe will be hoping that its smaller aircraft and lower frequencies will be easier to fill. Extending its codeshare agreements with its long haul partners to include Heathrow routes would help. It will also do Flybe no harm that it already participates in the Avios loyalty scheme owned by IAG, the parent of Heathrow's largest airline British Airways.