News roundup: BA sulks, MEA, United, FlyBair, Egypt, Corsair, Virgin Atlantic

LONDON, UK: British Airways 747 in Landor livery arrives at London Heathrow on 09 March 2019. (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

British Airways…

CEO Alex Cruz metaphorically sobbed all the way through a mealy mouthed yard of PR spin trying to explain the vicious approach the airline has taken towards its staff and the double standards its so happy to employ, described even by the UK Parliament Transport Committee as “A national disgrace”.

As if we and the legislators didn’t know airlines were in crisis, he tried to explain how bad things were, but the whole missive, which of course tried to blame unions and staff as much as Covid 19, went down like a lead balloon, garnering absolutely no sympathy from anyone but his fellow managers. BA of course thinks it has done nothing wrong, but its biggest sin may be misjudging the public mood and condemning the very staff it so lauded when it suited it and derided when it didn’t.

However you don’t see them backing down, this is a golden opportunity to shaft as many people as they can, quickly, in a cull of staff they’ve wanted to carry out since the devastating strikes of 2010. And up above the stage this sorry tale is being played out on, the man who really calls the shots, Willy Walsh, head of IAG and former CEO of BA, for whom this is more personal, is pulling the strings. Alex Cruz is just a puppet designed to take the flak.


Middle East Airlines has revealed a new livery on a new delivery, its first A321neo. Its also designed to celebrate the airlines 75th Anniversary. The tree is the national symbol of the Cedar.


United Airlines has secured a $5 billion loan against its milegae rewards scheme, MileagePlus.

this is the first time this has been done, allowing the airline to leverage the value of its loyalty and rewards programme without giving up control of it.

To put it in context, in 2019 the MileagePlus programme along with credit cards running it, have 100 million members world wide, along with a revenue stream of $5.3 billion – 12% of all of United’s total business for the year.

With money from the CARES Act and other capital raised through private sources, the airline expects to have $17 billion on hand by Q3 to ride out the rest of the Covid storm. And storm seems to be what’s coming. Americans generally seem to have given up protecting themselves and trying to avoid the impact of the virus, huge numbers of new cases are popping up all over the US and social distancing for many is just being ignored. There is absolutely no leadership from the administration and a second major spike is looking inevitable.

The fact that Covid is set to run riot through many US states will dramatically slow the ability of the airlines to begin flying long haul. While many European and Asian states are allowing travel to resume long haul, US citizens are generally not permitted in most countries because the rate of infections is so high.


Despite some witticism that the airline to be requires you to fly naked, the new Swiss virtual airline, FlyBair has postponed its start until mid July, but it will begin flights from Bern to various holiday destinations at that time. It’s hoping to take advantage of a reduction in operations by Swiss and their subsidiary, Edelweiss. It joins, CHair as a competitor to the national carrier on regional routes.

Corsair/Virgin Atlantic

F-GTUI has joined sister F-HSEA at Kemble in Gloucestershire UK, where she will be broken up and parted out. The list of 744’s that have gone to the scrap yards in the past few months is staggering. It’s expected that by the end of 2020 the number flying will have been cut by 60%. Current projections see passenger operations for the 744 completely terminated by the end of 2024.

Virgin Atlantic’s Millennium Falcon liveried 744 G-VLIP was flown to Teruel in Spain for dismantling on June 15th.


One of the worlds great tourist destinations, Egypt has started to prepare for the reopening of airports and getting Egyptair up and running again after weeks of lockdowns, which on the whole have prevented the disease getting out of hand after a shaky start.

The new airport in the West of the city is designed to bring visitors directly to the Pyramids at Giza and the Egyptian Museum has been built from scratch as a world heritage site, moving all of the artefacts from the central city museum, long past its prime (and I mean LONG past), to the purpose built facility. It will soon be the only way tourists can see the Tutankhamen treasures, as they won’t be allowed out of Egypt again.

The new Sphinx international airport is designed to allow tourists to actually visit the museum and pyramids on fly-in fly-out day trips.

At the same time the country is testing the new Capital International Airport in the East of the city at the new National Capital City in the Sinai- the administrative heart of the country, replacing the jumble of buildings in the city centre with its incessant traffic and pollution. It also makes it a lot easier to isolate from any unrest.

Sphinx International

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