Across The Ocean In A Dash 8: Icelandair To Resume A Greenland Route

Icelandair is resuming flights between its home country and South Greenland. The carrier will fly over the Atlantic using one of its DHC Dash 8-400s, which can seat 76 passengers. Flights to Narsarsuaq will start on April 1st, 2022.

Icelandair is bringing forward the route resumption by two months due to stronger demand. Photo: Ronnie Robertson via Wikimedia Commons


According to, Icelandair is bringing back its route to South Greenland after a pause due to the pandemic. Starting April 1st, the flag carrier will resume flights to Narsarsuaq from either Reykjavik or Keflavik. A final decision on the route and timings will be made in the coming weeks.

Icelandair Dash 8
The Dash 8 will make a short 750-770 mile hop between Iceland and Greenland (formally a part of Denmark). Photo: ERIC SALARD via Flickr

While the Iceland-Narsarsuaq route was set to resume in June, the airline has decided to bring it forward by a full two months. In a statement, the Chairman of Innovation South Greenland, Hans Peter Hansen, said,

“It is not an April Fool’s joke, but really good news for South Greenland when Icelandair resumes flights to Narsarsuaq on 1 April. So far, Icelandair has indicated that it is willing to start on 1 April instead of in June, as first planned. But we need a route all year round, so we are continuing to work on getting it started even earlier.”

Up to the job

Icelandair is planning to use one of its two de Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s on flights to southern Greenland. With a range of nearly 1,500 miles, the turboprop is more than capable of flying the 750-mile journey across the Atlantic. Moreover, the Dash 8 has an optimal capacity of 78 seats for the journey, laid out in a 2-2 configuration across 20 rows.

The aircraft was operated by subsidiary Air Iceland Connect, the flag carrier’s regional arm. However, with the two arms merged earlier this year, the planes will fly under Icelandair’s branding and livery in the coming months.

Across The Ocean In A Dash 8: Icelandair To Resume A Greenland Route
The Dash 8 fleet will soon carry the Icelandair livery, ending the Air Iceland Connect subsidiary. Photo: Matasjauu via Wikimedia Commons

In recent months, Icelandair has been deploying its Dash 8s further from their home base. The aircraft has been deployed routes to the UK, including a three-hour hop to Manchester that’s over a thousand miles. As global demand recovers, expect to see the Dash 8 fly some more important routes in addition to its usual services.

Iceland’s big year

2021 has been a strong year for aviation in Iceland. The island nation in the Atlantic is home to a new low-cost carrier, PLAY, and has seen a flurry of flights from the US due to its early reopening to vaccinated travelers in May. This pace is set to continue into 2022, as PLAY expands into the North American market and airlines see strong demand for leisure travel next year.

PLAY is Iceland’s newest low-cost airline and looking to fill in WOW Air’s absence from the market. Photo: PLAY

For now, the route to Greenland will be a major boost for the local community and open up new destinations for visitors.

What do you think about Iceland’s growing market? Let us know in the comments!


ZIPAIR Operates First Flight To Los Angeles

Japan Airlines’ subsidiary Zipair has completed its inaugural flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles. The low-cost carrier completed the Christmas Day service in just under 10 hours using one of its Boeing 787-8s. Let’s take a look at this flight and what we can expect from the airline when it comes to this route.

Zipair has three Boeing 787-8s in its fleet. All come directly from its parent company, Japan Airlines. Photo: Zipair

Three flights per week

On Saturday Zipair completed its inaugural flight to Los Angeles after announcing the service roughly six weeks prior. For now, the service will run thrice-weekly but will eventually ramp up to once daily in February 2022.

A relatively new carrier having started during the global health crisis, the budget airline has only served a handful of destinations in its one year of commercial operations. Zipair has mainly flown to other major cities in the region like Seoul, Singapore, and Bangkok, as well as the major US leisure destination of Honolulu.

The airline’s president offered the following statement at the time of the route’s announcement:

“Ever since the introduction of ZIPAIR, one of our key goals was to establish a flight across the Pacific and I could not be prouder to stand here today to announce the launch of our Los Angeles route. Our mission is to define a new standard in the air travel industry by offering a unique low-cost business model on long-haul international routes,” -Shingo Nishida, President of ZIPAIR Tokyo

Welcome @ZIPAIRTokyo! Today the airline begins its much-anticipated non-stop service between Narita International Airport in Tokyo and #LAX. ZIPAIR will initially offer 3 flights per week to LAX and plans to offer daily service starting in February.

— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) December 25, 2021

Flight details

Using the aircraft registered JA822J, one of the airline’s three 787s, Zipair flew its inaugural service to LAX from Tokyo Narita (NRT) at December 25th at 15:02 local time. Heading over the Pacific Ocean with a flight time of nine hours and 18 minutes, the Dreamliner touched down in Los Angeles at 07:20- 10 minutes ahead of its scheduled arrival time.

JA822J is an 11-year-old Boeing 787-8 which originally flew with parent company Japan Airlines between 2012 and 2019. Originally configured with 30 business and 176 economy class seats, the jet was reconfigured for a denser layout of 290 seats. This consists of 18 premium “ZIP Full-Flat” seats and 272 standard economy class seats.

flight zg24
The service will begin with a frequency of three times per week. Photo:

Joining a small group of airlines

While most budget airlines tend to fly “closer to home” with a fleet of narrowbody jets, Zipair is part of a small club of airlines that have dared to operate low-cost transoceanic and long-haul services. Other budget carriers currently doing the same include LEVEL, Scoot, AirAsia X, and Jetstar. A notable low-cost carrier that recently exited this sector is Norwegian, which ended its transatlantic long-haul services due to the global health crisis.

Zipair only has a fleet of three aircraft at the moment. Photo: Zipair

Despite these airlines focusing on offering low fares, there is still a premium offering in most cases- something that even budget travelers are willing to go for with these lengthy services. In the case of Zipair, the Japanese airline’s business class product features a 180-degree reclining leather seat equipped with reading lights and charging equipment.

Would you fly a budget airline across the Pacific between Tokyo and Los Angeles? Let us know by leaving a comment.


India’s Oldest Active Commerical Aircraft

There are over 1500 registered commercial airplanes in India of which more than 600 are actively flying, according to ch-aviation. With some existing airlines inducting newer planes into their fleets, the country is home to many young aircraft. However, there are some that have been flying for decades, serving in all kinds of roles.

While most of India’s 600+ active commercial planes are fairly young, there are some that have been around for decades. Photo: Venkat Mangudi via Wikimedia Commons

More than half a century old

The oldest aircraft in India is 51.04 years old. Flying for the Indian Air Force (IAF), it’s not involved in commercial service anymore but it does have a commercial history. The Boeing 737-200 first entered service in January 1971 with former domestic carrier Indian Airlines. It had a registration number VT-EAJ and serial number 273. In 1993 it was acquired by the IAF and its registration changed to K3187.

The next two oldest planes on the list are also former Indian Airlines B737-200s bought by the IAF with registrations K2412 and K2413 and both around 38 years old. These older refurbished 737s are mainly used as VIP aircraft to fly top politicians in the country.

India’s Oldest Active Commerical Aircraft
While not in commercial service anymore, the three oldest active airplanes in India fly for IAF but flew commercially in the past for former Indian Airlines. Photo: John Wheatley via Wikimedia Commons

Cargo dominates the list

The next few airplanes down the list are all from cargo operators. That’s hardly a surprise since cargo airlines often go for older planes that no longer fly for passenger carrying services. The oldest among these all belong to Blue Dart Aviation, a cargo airline based in the southern Indian city of Chennai.

All six Boeing 757-200(PCF)s make up the entire fleet of Blue Dart Aviation and are between 24 to almost 30 years old. The oldest of the six VT-BDO (29.68 years) entered service in 1992 with Britannia Airways and was converted into a freighter in 2002 for Boullioun Aviation Services. After flying cargo for a couple of other carriers, it entered Blue Dart’s fleet in July 2012.

The other five Blue Dart 757s with registrations VT-BDN, VT-BDM, VT-BDQ, VT-BDB, VT-BDA are 29.44, 26.25, 25.81, 25.08, and 24.73 years old, respectively.

India’s Oldest Active Commerical Aircraft
Blue Dart’s VT-BDO is one of the oldest airplane in the country at almost 30 years old. Photo: Venkat Mangudi via Wikimedia Commons

Joining the cargo list are five passenger-to-cargo-converted Boeing 737s of SpiceXpress, the cargo division of India’s low-cost carrier SpiceJet. Three of these converted freighters are the 737-700 variant and two -800.

All five have been flying for over two decades, with the oldest, VT-SFB, being 23.45 years old with a serial number 73. Joining Xiamen Airlines as a passenger plane and changing owners a couple of other times, it was converted into a freighter for SpiceXpress in 2018.

Passenger jets

Among the passenger jets, two of the oldest active airplanes surprisingly belong to IndiGo, known for its young narrowbody fleet. The two Airbus A320-200 with the registrations VT-IKC and VT-IHV, are fast approaching the two-decade mark at 18.88 and 17.76 years, respectively. The older of the two first flew for the Gulf carrier Qatar Airways in 2003 and joined IndiGo fairly recently in 2019.

India’s Oldest Active Commerical Aircraft
Among active passenger jets, IndiGo operates the oldest. Photo: Getty Images.

Regional carrier Star Air’s four Embraer 145LRs also make the list with all four being between 17 and 18 years old.

Rounding out the top 10 oldest active passenger jets are SpiceJet’s 737-800 (VT-SGJ, 16.88 years), an Embraer 135LR of air charter company India Fly Safe Aviation (VT-JSI, 16.83 years), AirAsia India’s A320-200 (VT-HYD, 16.13 years) and Air India’s A319-200 (VT-SCB, 16.1 years).

Special mention

Airports Authority of India (AAI) also have two of the oldest active airplanes in the country. Although not used for carrying passengers or cargo, its two Dornier 228-200 airplanes are part of AAI’s flight inspection unit.

VT-ENK and VT-EPU are well over three decades old at 35.3 and 33.79 years, respectively. AAI deploys the two airplanes to inspect airport features such as ground navigational aids, visual landing aids, etc. These airplanes have also inspected airports of neighboring countries, including Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh and Bhutan under UNDP projects and bilateral agreements.


Tata’s Air India’s Acquisition Approved: What Now For India’s Flag Carrier?

The Competition Commission of India has approved Tata’s acquisition of Air India, AI Express, and AI-SATS Airport Services. The process began a couple of months ago with the Tatas winning the bid and is now very close to being completed. The Tata Group has until January 23, 2022, to take complete control of the airline and start flying it as a private entity under their brand.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved Tata’s acquisition of Air India. Photo: Getty Images

Countdown begins

Following the signing of the sale-purchase agreement on October 25, the process for getting clearances from regulatory agencies was underway. Now that the CCI has given the go-ahead, others such as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), lenders, and third-party vendors will likely give a green signal pretty soon.

Once all the requirements are met, and the previous and new owners are happy with the balance sheet, the Tatas will pay ₹2,700 crores ($355mn) upfront to the government, as decided, and take ownership of the carrier.

What next?

Before the acquisition, the Tatas would most probably want to settle the ongoing wage issues of AI’s current employees. One of the first things the new owners would do is ensure that AI operations are kept running and even improved.

The Tatas have established a new subsidiary to handle the Air India deal, known as Talace, which is in talks with banks to secure a one-year loan to the tune of ₹23,000 crores ($3.02bn). While most of it will go towards purchasing Air India, some of it will be used for the carrier’s operational costs.

Tata’s Air India’s Acquisition Approved: What Now For India’s Flag Carrier?
The Tatas are expected to bring about many changes within the airline, including management and fleet optimization. Photo: Getty Images

Changes in the management team and working culture of the airline are all on the cards, and the Tatas have come up with a 100-day plan to improve the airline’s services, such as on-time performances, addressing customer grievances, and just raising the overall basic service standards. While it’s impossible to dust off years of malpractices in just 100 days, the Tatas will hope to bring about some improvement and set the tone for things to come.

Then there’s the big question about the merger. While there are plans to merge AirAsia India and AI Express, there’s been no official announcement about Vistara and Air India. Will the new owners eventually combine all airlines under the Tata umbrella to form one carrier or operate two separate entities – one full service (AI and Vistara) and its low-cost arm (AI Express and AirAsia India)? At the moment, the second option seems more plausible.

Fleet and network

Another key issue, and a pressing one, facing the Tatas is fleet and network optimization. They’ll have to take a call about Air India’s grounded planes and how to turn around the poor conditions of the interiors of many of its aircraft.

A little over 80% of AI’s fleet is functional. This means that many planes are sitting on the ground, gathering dust and not bringing in any money. Refurbishment alone would cost millions, with up to $300,000 per widebody aircraft. Many of its planes from the A320 family are also awaiting new engines, the costs of which are expected to run into hundreds of millions.

The Tatas may not be ready to foot such expensive bills to get all the old planes flying again. Instead, we could see fresh aircraft orders, both from Airbus and Boeing.

Tata’s Air India’s Acquisition Approved: What Now For India’s Flag Carrier?
Many of AI’s planes need new engines and maintenance, something that will cost the Tata Group millions. Photo: Getty Images

In the long run, a private Air India will have to up its game in network expansion, not just in India but also internationally. There’s a huge demand for direct non-stop flights after the pandemic, but AI has to add more destinations in the future to compete with foreign carriers.

AI currently flies to five airports in the US and eight in Europe; Emirates flies to 15 in the US and more than 40 in Europe. While the two airlines have very different structures, AI will have to think about expanding its fleet and network eventually, which will again cost billions to the Tatas in long-term investments.

How excited are you to see Air India acquired by the Tata Group? What expectations do you have from future AI operations? Please comment below.


What Happened To British Airtours?

Anyone flying out of or into London Gatwick or Manchester during the 1970s and 1980s may remember British Airtours. This was a charter airline operating Boeing 707, 737, 747, and Lockheed L-1011 Tristar aircraft. The brand existed until 1988 when it became Caledonian Airways. Part of it lived on into Thomas Cook Airlines until 2019.

British Airtours was a major operator of the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar. Photo: Rob Hodgkins via Wikimedia

Starting as BEA Airtours

British Airtours started life as BEA Airtours, a charter subsidiary of British European Airways (BEA), in 1969.

The airline offered a way for the government-owned BEA to expand in the growing charter and inclusive tour market. BEA offered scheduled flights, and BEA Airtours offered charter holiday flights. It started service out of Gatwick airport, using a fleet of de Havilland Comet aircraft. These were switched for Boeing 707s in 1971.

The airline was short-lived, as BEA merged with BOAC in 1974 to form British Airways. At this time, the airline was renamed British Airtours and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the new British Airways.

BEA 707
BEA Airtours started with the Boeing 707, which became British Airtours. Photo: Steve Fitzgerald via Wikimedia

subsidiary of British Airways

At the time it became British Airtours in 1974, it operated a fleet of nine Boeing 707 aircraft. Under British Airways, these were later replaced by new 737-200 aircraft (ordered alongside aircraft for the main airline).

It also introduced one new Boeing 747-200 aircraft in 1984. This replaced the last of the Boeing 707s on the airline’s North American routes. These routes, known as Advance Booking Charters (ABC), had started in the mid-1970s as a way to meet demand on US routes not met by schedule airline options.

British Airtours 747
British Airtours owned one 747-200. Photo: Tim Rees via Wikimedia

Fleet expansion and variation continued under British Airways, with a move away from Boeing to Lockheed. The larger Lockheed L-1011 Tristar was introduced in 1981 and operated alongside the Boeing 737, flying to the more popular destinations with higher capacity. It went on to operate 32 Tristars in total – its most operated type, with the Boeing 737 coming next at 29 (data obtained from AeroTransport Data Bank,

Becoming Caledonian Airways

British Airways merged with British Caledonian in 1988. At this time, British Airtours was renamed as Caledonian Airways. It continued to operate as a charter airline and continued the brand of Caledonian, with a modified Caledonian Airways livery with elements from the British Airways’ Landor livery.

Caledonian Airways 737
Caledonian Airways took on the 737s initially. Photo: Ken Fielding via Wikimedia

Fleetwise, it replaced the 737s over time (they moved to British Airways) with further L-1011 Tristar and Boeing 757 aircraft. It also introduced the DC-10 and the Airbus A320.

Caledonian Airways continued until 1995, when British Airways decided to move out of the charter market. It was then sold to the UK tour operator Inspirations.

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Eventually merging into Thomas Cook Airlines

Inspiration continued to operate charter flights from the UK, under the Caledonian brand, as well as Peach Air (which operator flights for the tour operator Goldcrest). It kept the Tristar fleet, but the 757s moved to British Airways,

Inspiration was part of the Carlson Leisure Group. This merged with Thomas Cook in 1999, with the Thomas Cook brand being retained. Thomas Cook’s airline Flying Colours and Inspiration’s airlines were merged to form JMC Air. This was rebranded as Thomas Cook Airlines in 2003.

What Happened To British Airtours?
British Airtours eventually ended up as part of Thomas Cook Airlines. Photo: Getty Images

Under Thomas Cook Airlines, the fleet, destinations, and UK operating bases were significantly expanded. But some of the legacies of British Airtours remained. This continued, of course, until 2019, when the Thomas Cook Group declared bankruptcy and the airline ceased operations.

British Airtours was a significant UK operator until the brand was lost in the 1980s. Do you have any experiences working or traveling with the airline? Let us know more in the comments. 


Jet Airways Seeks Debt Settlement Ahead Of Planned Flight Relaunch

The new owners of Jet Airways want to restart operations early next year and have approached the relevant authorities, requesting to fast-track the debt settlement process. In order to commence domestic operations, the Kalrock-Jalan consortium wants to start clearing the payments due to various stakeholders, including ex-employees and ticket claimants, and complete other formalities ahead of flight relaunch.

Jet Airways’ new owners want to start the resolution process immediately. Photo: Getty Images

Early restart in 2022

In June, the National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved the insolvency resolution plan of Jet Airways, allowing the carrier to restart its revival process. Saddled with heavy debt, the consortium plans to gradually pay off creditors over the next few years.

The carrier has approached the NCLT again and, in its latest filing, has informed December 22, 2021, as the “effective date” when they want to start implementing the plan, which was approved back in June.

The consortium wants to infuse funds into the carrier to start the resolution process in order to commence operations without any further delay. Murari Lal Jalan, lead member of the consortium and proposed promoter and Non-Executive Chairman of Jet Airways said,

“The Consortium is ready with its investments and given the progress the team has made operationally since NCLT Approval in June 2021, we feel it is time to fund the company immediately for the revival of the business, without delay. We are aiming to start Domestic Operations at the earliest in 2022 as a Full-Service Carrier and look forward to creating history with Jet Airways revival.”

Jet Airways Boeing 777
The team at Jet wants to restart operations early next year. Photo: Getty Images

OC being revived; slots being discussed

The Jet Airways team is hopeful of clearing all other hurdles in time for an early 2022 relaunch. One of the first things that Jet needs is a valid Air Operator Certificate (AOC). The company has been working for months to get the certificate revalidated and thinks that the process should be completed soon.

Jalan pointed out that Jet is not applying for a fresh AOC but instead reviving the carrier’s existing AOC, which is valid until 2023 and was suspended in 2019 due to the company’s financial woes. He feels the time taken to remove the suspension will be substantially less compared to applying for a new one.

Then there are the slots. Jet commanded a substantial hold on airport slots in the country at the peak of its operations, but that has since changed. The airline faced a setback this year when India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA, declined its request to reclaim old slots, which have since been redistributed to other airlines. But the consortium is currently engaged in several discussions with key airports and is hopeful of getting the required slots before the summer schedule next year.

jet airways
People at Jet are busy getting the AOC revived and reclaiming important airport slots ahead of the relaunch. Getty Images

Modest fleet to begin with

As previously reported, Jet is looking to add 100+ narrowbody aircraft in the next five years, but for immediate operations, it will start with a modest fleet of six planes.

For its larger restructuring program, the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium is in conversation with both Boeing and Airbus for an order of at least 100 narrowbodies, which is said to have a budget of around $12 billion.

Many believe the potential order to go in favor of Boeing’s MAX series, given its keen interest to re-establish itself in India’s narrowbody market and offering lucrative discounts to edge out Airbus. A strong 737 fleet would mirror Jet’s first outing, which relied mainly on the Boeing narrowbody for the bulk of its domestic operations. An A320 carrying Jet’s livery would be quite a departure from how people have been used to seeing Jet Airways.

Regardless, an official announcement about an aircraft order is likely to happen sometime next year. For now, all eyes are on Jet’s initial performance as it sets out to relaunch flight operations in one of the most tumultuous eras in Indian aviation.


What Happened To Air India’s L-1011 Trijets?

Several aircraft types have become synonymous with Air India’s international fleet over the years. Back in the 1960s, the Boeing 707 did quite a bit of heavy lifting of the airline’s long-haul routes. Then came the 747s, the A300s, and today, it’s the 777s and 787s that the carrier relies on for most of its international flying.

Air India flew two Lockheed TriStar L-1011 jets in the mid-90s. Photo: Torsten Maiwald via Wikimedia Commons

However, Air India’s fleet has often been peppered with short stints of other widebodies, which quietly entered operations and left just as quietly. One of them was the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar.

Failed attempt

Although the TriStars flew for Air India in the 1990s, the carrier almost made a deal with Lockheed in the early 80s for the three-engine jets. In 1980, Air India had started looking for other options to phase out its older 707s. Boeing 747SP, the TriStar L-1011-500, the DC 10, and the Airbus A300 were all considered, but the TriStar was the front-runner.

According to a 1981 report published by India Today, Air India even issued a letter of intent for the estimated $200 million deal for three L-1011s with the option of purchasing three more. However, the carrier’s decision to put its faith in the TriStar raised quite a few eyebrows at the time.

What Happened To Air India’s L-1011 Trijets?
Air India initially considered the trijet in the early 1980s, but the deal with Lockheed did not materialize. Photo: Felix Goetting via Wikimedia Commons

Lockheed’s TriStar program was already in deep waters by then, with Air Portugal being its last customer in 1979. Lockheed Chairman Roy Anderson himself admitted at the time that a weak market for commercial airliners threatened its TriStar program. Air India also planned to deploy the L-1011s on its Africa routes, which accounted for less than 5% of its international seats. Many saw this as an unwise investment.

Although Lockheed tried padding the deal with an offer to train 30 crew members and position spares at Bombay airport, it did not work out eventually.

Second chance

In the mid-90s, Air India management had a change of heart and decided to give the trijets a shot. In 1995 – 15 years after the first letter of intent – Air India leased two Lockheed L-1011-500s. Both airplanes were some of the last L-1011s ever built.

With registration numbers V2-LEJ and V2-LEK, the airplanes were leased from Caribjet in 1995. During their very short stay with Air India, the trijets flew to some popular destinations in Europe and were often spotted in Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Amsterdam.

The trijets, however, departed quite swiftly from the carrier’s fleet, with the lease ending after a year.

What Happened To Air India’s L-1011 Trijets?
In 1995, Air India leased two L-1011s from Caribjet, which flew for the airline for a very short while. Photo: G B_NZ via Wikimedia Commons

Where are they now?

Before serving Air India, V2-LEK flew for a few airlines, including the Royal Jordanian and TAP-Air Portugal. After its lease expired, it went back to Caribjet and served other airlines over the next few years, including Novair and Air Luxor. According to, the plane now rests on the ocean floor as a diving wreck in Aqaba, Jordan.

V2-LEJ, too, went back to Caribjet and had subsequent stints with Air Transat and GlobeJet. Since 2007, it has been stored in Montreal (YUL).

Did you miss our previous article…


They’re Back: British Airways Puts Portland And Pittsburgh Flights On Sale

British Airways has put on sale three more US routes. Taking off next summer will be London Heathrow to Portland (the first time it’ll operate), Pittsburgh (resumption), and Gatwick to New York JFK (resumption). They come as BA pushes back the start of San Jose, pulls Gatwick to Las Vegas, removes the A380 from Los Angeles, adds the A380 to three more US airports, and makes various other changes to its US network.

BA is finally set to introduce Heathrow to Portland, which it had expected to begin in June 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

What’s happening?

Resuming on May 28th will be Gatwick to JFK. Operating once-daily, it’ll variously use the 332-seat and 336-seat B777-200ER, according to its schedule submission to OAG. It’ll be followed on June 3rd will be Heathrow to Pittsburgh and Portland, both by 214-seat B787-8s.

The schedule for all three routes is shown below (all times are local). The different departure times on different days reflect slot availability.

BA171: Heathrow to Pittsburgh, 16:45-19:50, Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun; B787-8BA170: Pittsburgh to Heathrow, 21:50-10:10+1BA267: Heathrow to Portland, 15:10-16:59, Tue, Sun; B787-8BA267: Heathrow to Portland, 15:15-17:04, Mon, Wed, Fri; B787-8BA266: Portland to Heathrow, 18:45-12:10+1, Mon, Tue, Wed, FriBA266: Portland to Heathrow, 18:50-12:15+1, SunBA2273: Gatwick to JFK, 15:00-18:00, once-daily; B777-200ERBA2272: JFK to Gatwick, 20:01-08:00+1, Mon, Tue, FriBA2272: JFK to Gatwick, 20:10-08:10+1, Wed, SatBA2272: JFK to Gatwick, 20:25-08:25+1, Thu, Sun
BA Pittsburgh, Portland, JFK
There is no sign whether Charleston, introduced in April 2019, will resume. Image: GCMap.

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First time for BA to Portland

It’ll be the first time that BA has served Portland. It announced the route in December 2019, with it set to begin on June 1st, 2020, on a five-weekly, year-round basis, but it was understandably suspended. Had it launched in 2020, it would have been head-to-head with Delta’s summer-seasonal Portland-Heathrow offering. There’s no indication if or when Delta will resume the route.

BA inaugurated Pittsburgh in April 2019, nearly a year before the impact of the pandemic started to be felt. It had four weekly flights by the B787-8; the same as it’ll have next summer. Across all airlines, Pittsburgh-London had over 40,000 round-trip point-to-point passengers in 2019, booking data shows, together with around 270,000 to/from Europe generally. Meanwhile, it will be the third time since 2008 that BA has served Gatwick to JFK.

BA Pittsburgh
BA began Pittsburgh in April 2019. Photo: via Beth Hollerich, Communications, Allegheny County Airport Authority.

Other key US changes

BA will no longer use the A380 to Los Angeles from January 10th onwards. However, Boston, Chicago, and Washington will again see the double-decker quadjet next summer. The restart of San Jose has been pushed back from March 27th to June 14th, while Gatwick to Las Vegas (which was to be three-weekly from March 29th) has been cut next summer. Will it return?

BA A350-1000
In summer 2022, BA will use the A350-1000 (its largest aircraft) to Austin, Chicago, Denver (now from September 4th), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix, and San Diego. Photo: Getty Images.

Other notable changes include Nashville becoming once-daily from May 6th, up from five previously planned, with the larger and more premium B787-10 replacing the B787-8. New Orleans gets a fourth-weekly service, while Houston and Seattle return to twice-daily from May 8th. However, JFK to Heathrow reduces to seven-daily.

Will you be flying across the North Atlantic next year? Let us know in the comments.

Did you miss our previous article…


Late Start Diverts American Airlines Delhi-New York Flight To Gander

An ultra-long-haul flight, a substantially late start, and a longer-than-usual route – not the best of combinations when flying between cities pretty much on opposite sides of the world. But that’s precisely what happened to an American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER flying from New Delhi (DEL) to New York City (JFK) on November 29th. The otherwise non-stop flight had to make a stopover at Gandor airport before continuing on to JFK. Let’s find out more.

American Airlines’ 777 flying from Delhi to NYC had to be diverted to Gander due to the crew timing out. Photo: Getty Images.

Late start leads to diversion

American Airlines flight AA293 has a scheduled departure time of 12:55 am from New Delhi to New York JFK. The daily non-stop service between the two cities was recently inaugurated on November 12th, marking the official return of the airline to India since 2012.

The ultra-long-haul flight cannot use the Russian airspace for now (more on that later), which means that the aircraft has to take a longer route both ways, with the return flight to NYC being the longer of the two. Any significant delay for this particular flight risks the crew timing out and not completing the entire flight.

And that’s what happened on November 29th, when the flight to NYC was delayed by almost four hours. As reported by One Mile At A Time, the crew had two options – to cancel the flight or divert it to an intermediate point and have a crew change. The carrier chose the latter.

The airplane made a stop at Gander, and American had to fly another crew to the airport to complete the remainder of the 777’s flight to New York.

Late Start Diverts American Airlines Delhi-New York Flight To Gander
American had a crew change for the second leg of the flight from Gander to JFK. Photo:

Longer route

Non-stop flights between India and the US are some of the longest in the world and mostly require rights to overfly Russian airspace for a more efficient route. Air India and United routinely take this route on their India-US flights to save both time and fuel.

One Mile At A Time reports that American Airlines currently does not have permission to use Russian airspace for this route. The airline’s management best knows the reason for this – perhaps there has been a delay in applying for airspace rights.

This has made an already long flight even longer, sometimes stretching the one back to NYC for more than 16 hours. The report suggests that Eric Ferguson, the president of the Allied Pilots Association (APA), is not happy with the new route to Delhi as the airline has been staffing the flight with just one captain and three first officers. Because of the longer route due to the Russian airspace problem and the flight almost reaching 16 hours, it should ideally have two captains.

American 777-300ER
American doesn’t have permission to overfly Russian airspace for this particular flight yet, making it take a longer route. Photo: Getty Images

Flights of this duration leave little room for significant delays. American Airlines does use the Russian airspace for some of its other flights, so it seems the carrier has had some delays in completing the necessary formalities to acquire the rights for the JFK-DEL flights. Hopefully, this is a minor hiccup along the way to what one expects to be a long and successful return of American Airlines to India.

Have you traveled non-stop between India and the US? What has your experience been like? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Emirates President Unsure When Final A380 Will Be Delivered

Emirates President Sir Tim Clark has revealed to Simple Flying that he has no visibility on when the airline’s last Airbus A380 will be delivered, a term he has previously used to describe the Boeing 777X. The Dubai-based carrier, and largest customer of the A380 had hoped to take its last of the giant aircraft this month.

Emirates isn’t sure exactly when its last Airbus A380 will be delivered. Photo: Getty Images

The Airbus A380 has become an icon of the aviation industry, though poor sales led to Airbus discontinuing the program early. Despite this, the giant of the skies is set to fly for many years yet, as Emirates won’t be looking to retire a brand new aircraft.

No clarity on the final delivery

Emirates had originally been due to take delivery of its final Airbus A380 in 2022, though earlier this year it revealed that the last one would be delivered in November. We’ve since reported that the last delivery has been delayed.

Talking about the last delivery at a Dubai Airshow round table, Emirates President Sir Tim Clark commented that he currently has no clarity on when his last A380 delivery will occur. He told Simple Flying’s Joanna Bailey,

“These aircraft should have come to us in October then November. One is meant to be coming this month, the last one next month. Now the one coming this month has also been moved.”

Emirates, Airbus A380, Deliveries
Emirates’ last Airbus A380 delivery has been delayed until December. Photo: Getty Images

Clark suggested that Emirates was eyeing December 16th for the delivery, but that this could be pushed back further. It is thought that the airline intends to make a song and dance about the aircraft’s delivery, though Clark indicated that the closer that we get to Christmas, the harder this will be.

The delivery truly will be one of a kind. There was obviously a huge celebration when the first Airbus A380 was delivered, and it seems as though Emirates wouldn’t want to not afford the end of the program the same privileges. The difficulty seems to be with the upcoming Christmas season, with Clark suggesting that anything after mid-December would be a conflict with the holiday.

Not the end yet

As mentioned, it’s not quite the end of the Airbus A380 program just yet. While Airbus has ended sales of the giant aircraft, it will continue to support them for the foreseeable future. After all, retiring a brand new jet is neither a good look for Airbus or Emirates.

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While Emirates recently scrapped its first Airbus A380, it’s still flying its younger aircraft. The airline is yet to confirm when it will phase out the giant of the skies, but the mid-2030s seems like the best guess as things currently stand.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Return
The last delivery will mark the end of an era for new passenger quad jets. Photo: Getty Images

Of course, Simple Flying will keep readers updated with any changes. While many passengers are truly interested in the cabin, the fact remains that most of the airline’s jets still lack premium economy, though this is set to change soon.

What do you make of Emirates’ Airbus A380 plans? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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