British Airways announces new route to Kefalonia, other sun destinations for summer

British Airways has announced a new route to Kefalonia from Heathrow as well as more seats on its sunshine services, offering customers more choice of holiday destinations for summer 2018.

Starting May 15 until October 6, 2018, customers will be able to fly direct from Heathrow Terminal 5 to the island of Kefalonia, known for its beautiful beaches, traditional fishing villages and the idyllic setting featured in films such as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The Myrtos Beach located in the region of Pylaros, in the north-west of Kefalonia Island, is one of the world’s most photographed stretches of sand.

This will be the first time the airline will operate to the Greek island. Operated using A380 aircraft, the Kefalonia flights will depart on Tuesday and Saturdays, with return fares starting from £118 in Euro Traveller and £398 in Club Europe.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and chief executive, said: ‘We’re always developing our leisure offering from Heathrow so are incredibly pleased to be adding Kefalonia to our network. The launch of our new summer routes, which also include Figari in Corsica and Almeria, mean we will be flying 39 more routes in 2018 than we did in 2016 – an increase of 17 per cent. We’re also further improving our schedules and increasing the number of flights to European destinations such as Ibiza, Santorini and Split.’

In addition, British Airways said last month that it would start flying between Heathrow and Corsica, with direct flights to Figari airport operating every Sunday from May 27 until October 7, and return fares starting from £98. Additionally, a new route to the historic Spanish city of Almeria will start services from March 27, 2018, with fares starting from £66 return.

Further, for summer 2018, services to Ibiza will be increased to daily service from four per week presently, Mykonos will be served six times a week from four, while an additional weekly flight will be added to the airline’s schedules to Olbia and Split, the British airline said.

British Airways announces expansion to Inverness-Heathrow service

British Airways has announced recently that it is planning to expand its Inverness – Heathrow service from seven to ten flights a week, from March next year.

As per the plan, the airline will operate a double-daily service between Inverness and Heathrow on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from the week beginning March 25, 2018.

Phyllis Stuart, British Airways’ manager at Inverness said, ‘We’re delighted to be able to offer our customers more flights from the highland capital, offering more seats on the route after a successful first 18 months operating the route.

‘Our new schedule, which will come into operation at the beginning of the summer 2018 flying programme, will mean that on three days of the week, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, British Airways will offer customers a double daily service between the capital of the highlands and islands and London.

‘We, and our partners at Inverness Airport and the business communities in Inverness and the highland region, have worked tirelessly to encourage business and leisure travellers to use the new route for the benefit of the businesses and individuals in the region.

‘The increased frequency on the route is the result of that partnership and further demonstrates British Airways’ long-standing commitment to the highlands and islands of Scotland.’

Inglis Lyon, managing director of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) said: ‘This announcement is excellent news for the highland community and Inverness Airport.

‘We have worked closely with British Airways to further improve connectivity and the new schedule provides additional two-way connectivity with destinations such as Atlanta, San Diego, Phoenix, Berlin and Mexico City.

‘We can also anticipate more than ten per cent additional inbound passengers to the highlands and islands to experience all the north of Scotland has to offer.’

The new Inverness-Heathrow schedule, which will see a 30 per cent increase in capacity on the route, comes after the airline’s agreement with Scottish airline Loganair of an extended code share agreement, which came into effect at the beginning of September.

Crossrail in legal wrangle over Heathrow stop

A legal row between the developers of London’s £15 billion Crossrail underground railway project and the operators of Heathrow Airport could result in trains not stopping at the nation’s busiest airport.

Currently, Heathrow Express trains run on 5 miles of track that the airport laid at a cost of £1 billion. Crossrails’ arrival means that that service will no longer be viable. The Times has reported that because of this, the airport’s investment fund owners are looking to recoup their investment by charging £570 for every Crossrail train that uses the track, in addition to standing fees of around £107 per train.

According to transport officials and the rail watchdog, such charges have no justification and they fear that their imposition would cost Crossrail £42 million per year and result in higher ticket charges. A decision on the wrangle is now with a High Court judge whose judgement is expected imminently.

If the decision goes against Crossrail, Transport for London have drawn up contingency plans to terminate the trains a few miles short of the airport, forcing travellers to change to alternative trains but meaning that Crossrail would avoid paying the fees. In fact, Crossrail is already believed to have earmarked a location somewhere near the airport where the trains could be turned around for the return journey or continue travelling west.

Heathrow told the Times: ‘We need to ensure that track access charges are fair, and are waiting on a ruling from the courts.’

Crossrail is expected to be ready to operate by December 2019.


Flybe to commence service from Heathrow with flights to Scotland

Flybe, the UK-based European regional airline, has become the first domestic carrier to begin operating at Heathrow Airport since 2013, according to a release by Aberdeen Airport.

The move comes after the UK’s hub announced a GBP10 reduction in domestic passenger charges in January in an attempt to enhance domestic connections at the airport. The move opens up a network of onward connections for travellers from Scotland globally and also enables inbound tourists and investors to visit Scotland’s capital and the Granite City. As per the plan, Flybe will operate up to four daily services to Edinburgh and three to Aberdeen, with fares starting from GBP29.99 and GBP34.99 one-way, respectively.

Flybe CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener, said: ‘We are so pleased to confirm further our commitment to Scotland by offering even more flights to London with our two new routes from Edinburgh and Aberdeen to Heathrow’s Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, giving passengers greater choice and also linking them with our range of codeshare partners through our ‘One Stop to the World’ approach.

‘Passengers can, for example, fly onwards with Virgin Atlantic to Los Angeles or New York, or fly east with Singapore Airlines – all on one ticket from Edinburgh or Aberdeen. Early bookings show this is an increasingly important part of the booking profile for these two new routes and we look forward to adding even more codeshare partners shortly.

‘Flybe is the UK’s leading regional airline, with more routes connecting local communities than any other carrier. Our new flights offer the best value for money for those flying between Scotland and Heathrow and mean we can now better serve our passengers in both Scotland and the South East.’

Heathrow Operations Director Derek Provan added: ‘Earlier this year, Heathrow reduced domestic passenger charges by GBP10 and it’s great to see the benefits of that coming through with Flybe’s new services to Aberdeen and Edinburgh boosting choice for our passengers.

‘More airlines flying routes to Scottish airports means more flights, more competition and choice for families, and more visitors to Scotland. With Flybe operating from the award-winning Terminal 2, Scottish passengers and businesses now have direct access from Heathrow to over 180 global destinations including some of the fastest growing export markets around the world. We’re delighted to welcome them to the Heathrow family.’

Flybe services will operate from Heathrow’s Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal, and will provide passengers with connections onto Star Alliance’s network of 44 global destinations served directly from Heathrow. Passengers will also have transfers onto flights from Flybe’s codeshare partners Emirates, Virgin, Etihad and Singapore Airlines from Terminal 3.

Conservative Minister urges Heathrow night flight ban

Chelsea and Fulham MP and chief secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands, has urged transport chiefs to ban all night flights at Heathrow airport, LondonNewsOnline has reported.

Citing research from international health bodies, including the World Health Organisation and the British Medical Journal, regarding the damaging impact on people’s wellbeing of sustained sleep deprivation, the Conservative minister has called for a night-time flying ban between the hours of 11pm and 6am. He said that he was frequently woken up at night by noise from aircraft passing over west London, adding that people’s lives were being unfairly disrupted.

His concerns were laid out in a letter to Lord Ahmed, the parliamentary undersecretary of state for transport, in which he stated that there should be a ‘comprehensive’ ban on night flights at Heathrow. He reportedly added: ‘For the past 27 years I have lived beneath the Heathrow flight path and, like many hundreds of thousands of Londoners, I am frequently woken up by aircraft noise. These Londoners have jobs to do and families to look after, for which they require a good night’s sleep. Accordingly, not only are people losing sleep because of being disturbed by aircraft noise during the night, but their daily lives are being indirectly affected by it.’

Mr Hands said that banning night flights for a seven-hour period each day would ‘lessen the detrimental impact on hundreds of thousands of Londoners living beneath the flight path’. He cited the example of Frankfurt airport, Europe’s fourth busiest airport, which has banned night flights between 11pm and 5am since 2012.

Heathrow cuts domestic passenger charges by over a third

London Heathrow has announced a discount of £10.00 to domestic passenger charges to support affordable domestic routes starting January 1, 2017- the highest cut ever by the airport.

Scheduled to last up to twenty years, the discount is part of Heathrow’s plan to promote growth outside London by making it cheaper to travel beyond the capital. The new domestic charge of £19.10/passenger is over a third cheaper than 2016.

In September 2016, Heathrow also announced a plan to get UK regions connected to give all of Britain a ‘Brexit boost’. With the move, domestic passengers flying from Heathrow will be able to collectively save nearly £500m over the next 20 years, it said.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: ‘Earlier this year Heathrow promised to do more to help Britain’s economy grow stronger. This morning I’m delighted that we’re able to come good on that promise with our new £10 domestic discount. Putting over £500 million back into the pockets of British families and businesses will help to spur growth in every part of the UK.’

Airlines have already expressed interest in launching services at Heathrow’s cheaper domestic charges. Starting from March, Flybe will start operations from Heathrow for the first time. The UK-based European regional airline will add 40 new weekly flights to Edinburgh and Aberdeen. In addition, Flybe and easyJet have also expressed interest in using the additional capacity to serve additional domestic destinations – including Newquay, Liverpool and Dundee.

Heathrow’s move to discount domestic charges will also reduce pressure on airlines operating existing domestic services by making their routes more commercially attractive, it added.

Hyatt Place opens in London Heathrow Airport

Hyatt Place has opened in London Heathrow Airport recently, marking the second Hyatt Place hotel in the city.

Following an extensive renovation of the existing building, Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport is located at the entrance of Heathrow Airport. The hotel offers casual hospitality and service in a high-tech and contemporary environment.

The 358-room hotel, managed by Cycas Hospitality, joins four Hyatt Place hotels in Europe, including Hyatt Place Jermuk and Hyatt Place Yerevan in Aremnia; Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport in The Netherlands; and Hyatt Place London Heathrow/Hayes in the U.K.

‘We are delighted to collaborate with Cycas Hospitality and M&L Hospitality to bring the second Hyatt Place hotel to the U.K.,’ said Peter Fulton, group president – Europe, Africa and Middle East and Southwest Asia for Hyatt. ‘The opening of this hotel marks a significant milestone for Hyatt as the Hyatt Place brand continues to expand worldwide and offer more choices to our guests in key gateway cities like London.’

‘We are proud to welcome the first guests to Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport, a hotel that truly reflects the needs of the modern traveller,’ said Ingrid van Veen, regional manager for Cycas Hospitality. ‘We believe Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport will exceed guest expectations while visiting or passing through London.’

Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport will offer 358 guestrooms, including media and work centre with a 42′ flat-panel HDTV; meetings spaces offering seven flexible, high-tech meeting/function space that can accommodate 2-100 delegates; Free Wi-Fi and public computers with remote printing throughout the hotel; a 24-hour StayFit Gym featuring fully stocked exercise equipment; Coffee to Cocktails Bar featuring specialty coffees and premium beers, as well as wines and cocktails among other conveniences and luxuries.

Multi-lingual advertising campaign launched by Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express, the airport rail link between London Heathrow Airport and Paddington, is joining the #LondonIsOpen campaign with the first advertising campaign to be translated into six languages.


Heathrow Express’ smart screens, which are situated in the baggage re-claim area at Heathrow and show live price and journey time comparisons between taxis and the airport’s train service to central London, now shows Cantonese and five European languages.


Fraser Brown, Heathrow Express director, said: ‘We want to extend a warm welcome to visitors from across the globe, for whom English is not the first language, by providing them with useful information in their own language to help them make the fastest and cheapest choice of onward travel. Heathrow Express is and always has been, an outward looking company, readily able to engage internationally. Our updated screens completely align with London mayor Sadiq Khan’s campaign that #LondonIsOpen and we are keen to support it.’


Heathrow Express analysed passenger arrival statistics into the airport and their own customer data and are using the top languages spoken by Heathrow Express passengers.


Five out of the six top languages are European, with an approximate 3.2 million German speakers flying into the UK on an annual basis, followed by Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Cantonese, and Finnish.


The service will be monitored and reviewed with the plan that more languages will be added in 2017.


The screens provide live journey time comparisons between taxis, tube and Heathrow Express from key locations including Kings Cross Victoria and Liverpool Street stations.

London Heathrow prepares to become world’s first dementia friendly airport

London Heathrow has announced its commitment to becoming the world’s first dementia friendly airport.

The UK airport is collaborating with Alzheimer’s Society to change social attitudes towards dementia as part of the charity’s Dementia Friendly Communities programme. The airport is looking to enhance dementia awareness among the 76,000 people working at the airport through the provision of ‘Dementia Friends’ sessions, training and online resources.

Part of the Prime Minister’s 2020 Challenge on Dementia, the programme encourages businesses to become dementia friendly so that people with the disease feel understood and included. Heathrow is working on transforming air transport in this area.

It is estimated that over 47 million people have dementia globally, which is projected to rise to over 135 million by 2050. In England alone nearly 700,000 people are affected, impacting the lives of over half a million carers and costing the UK #26 billion per year, the airport noted.

Heathrow has already implemented several initiatives in the area, working with Omniserv which provides assistance for passengers with special requirements. Initiatives include providing training for all frontline staff and the wider Heathrow team based on Alzheimer’s Society courses; training the frontline Special Assistance team, who interact with passengers affected by dementia as ‘Dementia Friends’; the creation of STAAR (Senior Trained Additional Assistance Role) teams to assist passengers who have bespoke needs, including passengers affected by dementia, autism as well as deaf and blind passengers; and providing quiet lounges areas in terminals.

Chief Executive of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, said: ‘Our vision is to give passengers the best airport service in the world. Airports can be particularly stressful for passengers with dementia so we are delighted to be working with the Department of Health and Alzheimer’s Society to make sure that they get the support they need. We have started training our colleagues and making improvements so that we can be the world’s first dementia friendly airport’.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘Everyone has the right to be able to travel comfortably and with ease, and we all have a role in helping air passengers with dementia feel like they’re able to continue flying.’

‘Dementia Friends and Dementia Friendly Communities aim to change the way people think, act and talk about dementia. Alzheimer’s Society is delighted to be working with Heathrow on their commitment to become the world’s first truly global dementia friendly airport. We hope their pioneering work will pave the way for all airports the world over to transform the air travel experience for people with dementia and their carers.’

Sofitel London Heathrow offers Priority Pass members access to Club Millesime lounge

Sofitel London Heathrow, the premium hotel directly connected to the airport’s Terminal 5, is offering Priority Pass members access to its exclusive Club Millesime lounge, according to an online report by ITCM.

The hotel has partnered with Collinson Group, owners of Priority Pass, to offer the Pass to customers.

As per the plan, effective immediately Priority Pass members will have access to the luxurious executive lounge whether travelling to or from Heathrow’s Terminal 5, including a full continental breakfast range, complimentary snacks, spa treatments, and fine wines and canapes.

James Berry, General Manager at Sofitel London Heathrow, commented: ‘We are delighted to be able to offer Priority Pass members’ access to our Club Millesime. We are constantly looking at ways to expand our reach as we continue to grow our business and Priority Pass gives us access to our core market of frequent flyers using the hotel as a convenient base whilst travelling. It therefore made sense to partner with one of the most recognised brands in executive travel.’

‘Club Millesime offers a blend of comfortable seating and casual dining areas set in a chic private lounge. Situated on the ground floor offering a quiet, relaxed and exclusive setting, the lounge is extremely popular with our guests, renowned for its welcome additional benefits and its calm and luxurious offer. I’m sure that Priority Pass members will find it a very welcome addition to the programme and we’re delighted to have welcomed our first guests,’ Mr. Berry added.

Sofitel London Heathrow is directly connected to Terminal 5 by a covered walkway and 5 minutes’ drive from both the M25 and the M4. The hotel features 605 guest rooms including 27 suites and extensive conference and events space accommodating up to 1,300 delegates in its largest function room.

The hotel has three restaurants, including the 3 AA rosette winning La Belle Epoque, located alongside the Champagne Bar, Vivre, which offers a hot wok, deli, grill and pizzas, and the Tea 5 Salon serving traditional afternoon tea seven days a week. Guests can also enjoy Sphere Bar & Lounge and a 24-hour gym and luxurious day Spa featuring five treatment rooms, steam, sauna and high tech Vitality pool.

Additional services at the hotel include Park & Fly packages offering up to 15 days parking, 24-hour concierge and 24-hour room service, among others.