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British Airways launches a new ad campaign



British Airways has made this announcement:

After one of the worst years in aviation history, British Airways has launched a new advertising campaign, putting its people and customers at the centre of the story about its return to the skies.

“You make us fly”, which is the first TV advert since “A love letter to Britain” to mark airline’s centenary in 2019, was shared first with its colleagues and then on the airline’s social media channels. The 60 second ad will air for the first time on TV on Friday May 7 around Gogglebox, followed by Premier League football matches and F1 being shown live on Sky Sports over the weekend.

The campaign features the airline’s own people, all of whom volunteered to feature in the advert that has been designed to have an uplifting feeling and remind customers that they are at the heart of British Airways. The ad showcases the airline’s staff proudly making their way back to work with a very British sense of urgency, to do what they love most, caring for customers.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “There is a sense of huge anticipation from colleagues across the airline who are preparing to return to work after a very difficult year. The story illustrates the pride that our people tell me they’re feeling at the thought of seeing our planes in the sky once again and having the opportunity to welcome and serve our customers, to reunite them with their friends and relatives. The excitement is palpable.”

Helen Wetton, British Airways’ 777 Captain and the first colleague to feature in the advert, said: “I am tremendously proud to have been involved in creating this advert with British Airways. I played my own role as a female Captain who springs out of bed and races to get to work. I am so excited to get back to doing what I love and flying our customers around the world again, when the time is right.”

Jules Chalkley, Ogilvy UK’s Chief Executive Creative Director said: “The creative platform was inspired by the very people who make British Airways a world class brand; the pilots, the cabin crew, the engineers, the ground team – everyone.

Our creative tells the world: ‘You Make Us Fly’. When you talk to the British Airways team, this love for their passengers is their first thought, the reason they get out of bed in the morning. The whole platform is a celebration of that passion as we see British Airways colleagues getting back to doing what they do best and the thing they love so much; looking after people. It also brings a surge of excitement and sense of possibility on the cusp of a hugely important time for us all.”

The music that plays throughout the advert is Flower Duet from Delibes’ opera Lakme, which first featured in British Airways’ advertising over 40 years ago and is still proudly used as the airline’s boarding music.

A behind the scenes video of the advert being filmed featuring interviews with the airline’s staff can also be viewed here:

British Airways has introduced a number of measures at the airport and on board to look after the safety and wellbeing of its customers and crew. These include social distancing measures, the wearing of face masks and hand sanitizer stations. Prior to travel customers will also receive details of how they can prepare for their next flight.

The airline is cleaning all key surfaces including seats, screens, seat buckles and tray tables after every flight and each aircraft is completely cleaned from nose to tail every day. The air on all British Airways flights is fully recycled once every two to three minutes through HEPA filters, which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with over 99.9% efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating theatre standards.

Customers booking with British Airways can do so with absolute confidence, thanks to the airline’s flexible booking policy. Customers are able to exchange their booking for a voucher or move their dates without incurring a change fee if their plans change. British Airways Holidays’ customers also have access to a range of additional flexible booking options, as part of the company’s Customer Promise, including securing a holiday with a deposit from just £60pp.

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EU Poised To Lift Travel Restrictions For US Travelers



The EU could be about to lift restrictions on travelers from the United States. The decision on a proposal to add the US to the EU-wide white-list is expected today – June 16th. This would be a welcome next step in removing severe travel restrictions in place for over a year.

American United Tail
Airlines in the US are keen to get back to Europe and vice-versa. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

As reported by Bloomberg on June 15th, Portugal (which currently heads the EU) has recommended the addition of the US to the so-called ‘white list’ of approved countries. It proposes adding nine countries to the list – the US plus Albania, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Macau, the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, and Taiwan.

This would allow travelers from the US to enter an EU country without quarantine requirements and travel freely within the EU. Entry would be controlled by individual countries, with the country of arrival responsible for issuing a digital vaccine passport. Crucially, the addition to the white-list would be an EU-wide rule – whereas, at present, only a few EU countries allow entry.

The inclusion on the white-list would also improve the situation for transit passengers. Currently, it is very difficult for US passengers to transit at a European airport – this restriction would also be lifted.

European airlines such as KLM and Air France will welcome the ability for passengers to transit their hubs. Photo: Getty Images

Decision expected soon

The proposal is expected to be voted on by EU government envoys in Brussels on Wednesday, June 16th. If there are no objections, it will be passed, and the US added to the white-list. But there could be objections or further delays.

While the possible inclusion is good news for US residents and airlines, the full benefit won’t be seen until the US reciprocates with its ban on entry from the EU.

It also won’t help UK-bound passengers or British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, either. The UK seems to be heading in the opposite direction, with a decision to extend domestic re-opening until later in the summer and no further progress with additions to its so-called green list for approved travel. It has launched a taskforce to consider a UK-US travel corridor.

Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, UK-US Travel Corridor
British Airways is pushing for a UK-US travel corridor. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Improving EU restrictions

There have been extensive and complicated travel restrictions in the EU since the start of the pandemic. This affects not just travelers from outside the EU but also intra-bloc travel. There have been attempts to simplify the restrictions, but different rules have been applied by different countries for much of the pandemic.

The travel industry is desperate for simplification to these rules, as well as extension outside Europe. From July 1st, travel within the bloc for vaccinated EU citizens should be possible using digital COVID certificates.

The current white-list for EU entry includes Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. China is also included, but only if it confirms reciprocal agreements with the EU. This proposed extension to the white-list would be a welcome next step in this opening up.

Are you frustrated by ongoing EU and US travel restrictions? What would the removal of restrictions on US citizens mean to you? Feel free to discuss this in the comments. 

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The Simple Flying Podcast Episode 71: American And Virgin Bet On Air Taxis, Biden Arrives In The UK



Simple Flying’s latest podcast is live and ready for you to enjoy. Hosted this week by Tom Boon, our Content Manager, and Jo Bailey, our Editor, our 71st episode is now available for your listening pleasure.

The Simple Flying podcast is released weekly and is hot off the press for you today. We aim to cover some of the most important commercial aviation stories of the week, with commentary and occasionally a little bit of fun!

In episode 71, Tom & Jo discuss

In episode 71 of the Simple Flying podcast, your hosts Jo and Tom discuss,

Vertical Aerospace Virgin Atlantic
American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic are betting on air taxis for the future. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Listen to episode 71 now

The Simple Flying podcast is available on the following platforms.

Get involved

As our podcast is growing, we would love to hear what you think! Please leave any feedback or suggestions in the comments section of this article.

Additionally, if you have a question you’d like answered on next week’s episode, leave it down in the comments or contact us on social media.

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Airbus Isn’t Planning An A322 Anytime Soon



The notion of stretching the A320 family to create what’s been dubbed an A322 isn’t an unrealistic prospect. It would require some fettling to get right, for sure, but is something that could be done. However, despite the rumors getting the aviation world all hot under the collar, Airbus has put its foot down, telling media that there is ‘no such thing’.

It’s a nice idea, but it’s just not true. Photo: Simple Flying

There is no such thing

With the A321XLR on track for a 2023 launch, the world is wondering what Airbus will do next. The company has regularly released new products for its lineup, starting with the A300 in the 1970s and progressing through to its smallest aircraft to date, the A220.

Within those new products, there have been new variants and engineering. For example, the A330neo launched in 2014 at the Paris Air Show, and at the same forum in 2019, the planemaker unveiled its forthcoming A321XLR.

Given the regularity of product launches, it’s likely Airbus is beavering away in the background on something new or improved to be revealed in the coming years. Plenty of people put their money on an A321 stretch, dubbed the A322.

UA 757
An A322 would serve as a modern replacement for the B757. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Indeed, sources speculated that studies were underway into a bigger version of the popular A320 family of jets, effectively allowing Airbus to fill the ‘middle of the market’ niche and offer a suitable replacement for the out-of-production Boeing 757.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer clarified Airbus’ position on the rumors. He said,

“Regarding the stretch … I wish I had more earlier availability of the existing A321neo, the A321LR and the XLR. I do not feel that there is a need at this particular point to stretch their planning.”

Right now, with a sizeable backlog of orders, Airbus is focussed far more closely on ramping up production of the A320 family of aircraft. Indeed, the planemaker is targeting ambitious growth, to take it to as many as 75 aircraft per month by 2024.

Airbus Hamburg
Right now, Airbus is focused on upscaling production rates of its existing aircraft. Photo: Airbus

Pressed again on the point later in the conversation, Scherer again reiterated,

“Regarding the 322 I think we answered the question there. There is no such thing.”

While that’s certainly clarified the position right now, does it mean that no such aircraft would be on the cards anytime ever?

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

What started the rumors?

The notion of a 322 kicked off when Sue Partridge, leader of the company’s ‘Wing Of Tomorrow’ program, told media that there was a new wing under study. This wing, she said, would be composite, lightweight and affordable, while also being longer and thinner than existing wings.

This would provide additional lift for a narrowbody plane, and due to its increased span, it would require folding wingtips, just like the 777X. Airbus already has its own patents in place for folding wings, so from that perspective, it’s a conceivable concept.

Boeing 777X Folding Wingtip Getty
Airbus has also patented folding wing technologies. Photo: Getty Images

However, at the media briefing, Philippe Mhun, Executive Vice President Programmes & Services for Airbus, said that the studies being done into future wing concepts were not related to the single-aisle product offering. He said,

“We’re very happy with the current wing … What is true is that we, as part of the technologies that we want to further mature, have a ‘Wing Of The Future’ program. But I can tell you that we’re very happy with our combination of current wing and current engine.”

While Airbus is keeping mum on any developments within the A320 family of aircraft, a further stretch is certainly something that could be on the cards for the future. The world is still looking for the perfect NMA, something to replace the workhorse 757, and with Airbus’ talent in commonality and product, it could corner the market with a stretch in the future.

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Inside SWISS’ Airbus A340 Operations



SWISS’ widebody fleet is comprised of the A340-300, A330-300, and B777-300ER. Its A340s have operated 113,000 flights in the past 17 years, almost exclusively from Zurich. We look at the most important destinations for the A340, and where the type is flying for the rest of this year.

This A340-300, HB-JMA, is active. It departed Zurich on June 15th to Johannesburg and will leave South Africa tonight, June 16th. Photo: Kambui via Wikimedia.

SWISS currently has five A340-300s, shows, of which four are active. The fifth aircraft is currently undergoing maintenance. SWISS’ leisure subsidiary, Edelweiss, has a further four A340-300s, all ex-SWISS, two of which are presently active.

SWISS’ five 343s have an average age of just under 18 years, and all were delivered new to the full-service carrier. It owns them itself,’s database indicates, and all have the same three-class configuration: 223 seats spread across 168 in economy, 47 in business, and eight in first.

Tokyo Narita has been SWISS’ leading A340 destination since 2004. Photo: Getty Images

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Over 113,000 A340 flights

If the period 2004-2021 is combined, SWISS has had over 113,000 flights operated by the A340, data from Cirium, the data company, shows. The type had nearly four in ten (36%) of SWISS’ widebody flights. Only the A330-300 has had more (38%), despite entering service much later.

Now, in 2021, SWISS has just 1,600 A340 flights planned, about half as many as the A330-300 and B777-300ER. Indeed, the decline of the quadjet is very clear to see, unhelped by higher fuel burn and maintenance. This was sped along by the transfer of aircraft to Edelweiss a few years ago – which still currently operate some flights for the parent.

While a retirement date of the 343 isn’t yet known, it is likely to be fairly close, especially as the wider Lufthansa Group increasingly focuses on smaller twins.

The decline of the A340 is clear to see. Still, it’ll be used to nine destinations from Zurich across the rest of this year. Source: Cirium

Where has the A340-300 been used most?

In the past 17 years, SWISS has used the 343 almost exclusively from its Zurich hub. (Just 39 scheduled services operated from Geneva – mainly to Zurich, but also to New York JFK.) Some 52 destinations have seen the 343 from Zurich, including a raft of one-offs (especially across Europe) and infrequent services. We recently looked at where Air France flew its A340s.

This year, SWISS has used its own A340s and also those of subsidiary Edelweiss on numerous services to Heathrow. The most recent, on June 14th, is shown here. They’re scheduled to operate until August. Image:

Top-15 destinations from Zurich

The carrier’s top-15 A340-300 destinations by flights in this 17-year period are as follows. There is perhaps little surprising here, although the 1,747-mile (!) service to Tel Aviv stands out. The A340 has served it for years, although it is now really all about the A330.

  1. Tokyo Narita
  2. Johannesburg
  3. Sao Paulo
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Bangkok
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Shanghai
  8. Tel Aviv
  9. Singapore
  10. Cairo
  11. San Francisco
  12. Boston
  13. Miami
  14. Chicago
  15. Santiago

More ‘exotic’ destinations have been served by the aircraft type, including Yaounde and Douala in Cameroon. The A340 last served them in 2010, before they were cut from SWISS’ network two years later.

Boston, where this photo was taken, was the A340’s 12th-largest destination from Zurich. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

The A340-300 this year

For the remainder of 2021, SWISS has planned the 343 to nine destinations, all non-stop to save on airport costs and fuel consumption. These nine, shown below, include Mumbai, with just one service round-trip bookable on October 30th/31st. London Heathrow, meanwhile, will continue to see both SWISS and Edelweiss machines until August, presumably partly driven by freight reasons.

The A340 will operate one round-trip from Zurich to Mumbai. Image: Google Flights.
  1. Johannesburg
  2. Chicago
  3. Miami
  4. Boston
  5. Shanghai
  6. Bangkok
  7. London Heathrow
  8. Dubai
  9. Mumbai

Will you be flying SWISS this year? Or have you flown its A340s? Let us know in the comments.

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