British Airways’ Queens of the Skies will continue to inspire aviation enthusiasts across the UK for years to come, after permanent homes have been found for its remaining retro-liveried Boeing 747 aircraft – the last to leave the British Airways fleet.
The aircraft, registrations G-BNLY and G-BYGC, are this month due to depart from British Airways’ engineering base in Cardiff, where they will be waved off by the British Airways engineers who for many years have proudly maintained the 747 fleet. The pair were among several aircraft painted in heritage liveries to mark the airline’s centenary last year.
Named ‘City of Swansea’ and adorned in the iconic Landor livery, used between 1984 and 1997, G-BNLY has been given a new lease of life as a permanent exhibit at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey. It will join its sister 747, G-CIVW, which was retired in late October and features the current Chatham Dockyard livery.
G-BYGC, painted in the BOAC ‘Gold Speedbird’ livery used between 1963 and 1974, will make the short journey from Cardiff Airport to the Bro Tathan business park in the Vale of Glamorgan. It will be maintained as a heritage piece by aviation specialists eCube Solutions to showcase the pre-eminent contribution British Airways’ 747 fleet made to UK aviation.
Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said: “While we will miss seeing them grace our skies, we are delighted to have found permanent homes for our remaining centenary 747 aircraft.
“We think they have great historical importance, not only to British Airways but to the entire aviation industry, and we are pleased they will be preserved for future generations in locations in the UK.
“As the final 747s to leave our fleet, their departure will be an emotional moment for former and current British Airways staff, including our engineering team in Cardiff who have lovingly looked after our jumbo jets for decades.”
G-BNLY and G-BYGC are the last two British Airways 747s to be retired, with G-BYGC being the final 747 to leave the British Airways fleet. The Negus-liveried 747, registration G-CIVB, was one of the last two 747s to depart Heathrow Airport in October and has also been found a permanent home at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire.
(Feature image: British Airways 747 in Landor livery arrives at London Heathrow on 09 March 2019. Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)
Wizz Air scraps most Cardiff flights from September
Popular low cost airline Wizz Air has announced that it is cancelling most of its flights from Cardiff Airport between September and April.
Around 40 of its staff are being offered positions at other UK airports over the Winter.
Services affected include destinations such as Alicante, Corfu, Heraklion, Faro, Larnaca, Lanzarote, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el-Sheikh, and Tenerife.
The airline blamed the “challenging macro-economic environment” for the cuts, which kick in from 19 September.
Wizz Air will continue to fly from Cardiff to Milan and Bucharest as part of its Winter schedule launching on 30 October.
Marion Geoffroy, managing director, Wizz Air UK, said: “We are very disappointed to have to suspend several routes from Cardiff Airport for the winter season.”Though these routes have proved popular through the summer season, it would not be commercially viable to continue to operate them through this coming winter due to the challenging macro-economic environment. This leaves us with no option but to pause these routes until next spring.
“We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience this will cause customers who already booked flights with us. We are in touch with all affected customers to explain their options.The airline currently bases a single Airbus A321neo at the Welsh gateway with up to 40 staff.
“We continue to value our close working relationship with Cardiff Airport and plan to resume base operations at the airport next year… It takes time to build up sustainable operations at any base and we are prepared to build up operations at Cardiff over the long term.”
Cardiff Airport announced the launch of Wizz Air to great fanfair in December 2020, however due to the pandemic flights did not actually start until April 2022.
Spencer Birns, Chief Executive Officer of Cardiff Airpot, said: “It is disappointing and frustrating for our customers whose travel plans are disrupted as a result of Wizz Air’s reduction of operations at Cardiff Airport over the winter, which we understand is due to economic factors.
“We always encourage airlines that fly from Cardiff to ensure that they look after their customers who are booked to travel in the event of disruption and understand that Wizz Air have put steps in place to do this for those passengers who have already booked to travel in the period of the pause.
“We have seen great demand for travel to and from Wales this year and our teams have been working really hard to ensure our customers have been able to take safe journeys through the Airport facilities with minimal disruption.
“We remain confident that the people living in Wales really want to make use of flight services that are cost effective and convenient. Our efforts to work with airlines to deploy more capacity on high demand routes will certainly continue.
“The announcement today of the two new routes to Italy and Romania commencing this autumn along with the summer 2023 schedule is welcome news. We look forward to Wizz Air increasing its operations to popular holiday destinations from Cardiff again next spring”.
Julie James MS, Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, said: “Whilst this is disappointing news for Cardiff Airport, the airline has stressed to the Airport Board that this is a temporary change to its operations at Cardiff Airport, which was launched in April this year, following a 12 month delay due to the pandemic, and that it remains committed to resuming its scheduled summer timetable from Cardiff Airport from April 2023.
“Despite this difficult commercial decision, I welcome the news that Wizz Air will continue to offer services from Cardiff over the winter season to Milan and Bucharest.”
Welsh Conservative spokeswoman for transport Natasha Asghar MS said: “This is incredibly disappointing news for Cardiff Airport, which has already seen falling passenger numbers and continues to make a loss.
“Wales needs an airport that will attract airlines in order to boost the economy and show Wales off to the world.
“Labour ministers need to monitor the situation and provide urgent clarity as to when the services will resume and what alternative routes are being planned from other airlines”.
Aer Lingus restarts Cardiff to Belfast flights
Through its partner Emerald Airlines, Irish airline Aer Lingus has restarted domestic UK flights between Belfast in Northern Ireland and Welsh capital, Cardiff.
Aer Lingus Regional operator, Emerald Airlines will link the two capital cities five times weekly from 7 July.
Flights are now on sale and available to book at aerlingus.com, with fares starting from £39.99.
Emerald Airlines opened its base at Belfast City, just five minutes from the city centre, earlier this year. Cardiff’s inclusion in the airline’s latest expansion at the Welsh Government owned airport, which it says is great news for passengers wanting to re-unite with friends and family, fly for business and sports travel or explore Belfast on a city break.
“Thanks a million to Emerald Airlines for announcing that it will restart the critical connection between Cardiff and Belfast under the Aer Lingus banner,” said Marc Watkins, Aviation Development Manager at Cardiff Airport.
“It’s great that our customers looking to fly between Wales and Northern Ireland no longer have to travel via England. The schedule and days of the week that flights are being operated are fantastic – whether you’re catching up with friends and relatives, needing to travel between the two cities for work, or for tourists visiting Belfast to enjoy the craic.”
With the recent opening of the highly anticipated Game of Thrones Studio Tour in nearby Banbridge, the timing of the start of the service could not be better. Other attractions in Belfast and the surrounding area include the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction and the natural beauty of the Giant’s Causeway near Coleraine.
Commenting on the announcement, Ciarán Smith, Head of Commercial at Emerald Airlines said: “As we near the peak summer months, the launch of our Cardiff services will provide those travelling to Belfast with more choice when planning their holidays. When quick getaways are on the top of everyone’s mind, we are offering convenient timings and low fares, increasing connectivity to and from Northern Ireland.
“We are extremely pleased with the feedback we have received since beginning our operations from Belfast City Airport and believe Cardiff is a great new connection that will cater to both business and leisure travellers with direct, convenient and cost-effective flights to the Northern Irish capital.”
Flights from Cardiff to Belfast depart at 12.00pm on Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week.
Flights from Belfast depart at 10.10am on the same days.
(Lead image: Cardiff Airport / Aer Lingus / Emerald Airlines)
Low-cost airline Vueling launch new Cardiff to Paris flights
Low-cost airline Vueling has announced a new service from Cardiff to Paris, taking off on 2nd November 2021 – with flights starting from less than £10!
The route will operate twice a week with flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Flights are now on sale and available to book.
The news comes as a result Vueling’s acquisition of slots at Paris Orly, enabling the airline to expand and operate 32 new routes from November. Cardiff’s inclusion in this expansion is great news for passengers wanting to re-unite with friends and relatives, explore Paris on a city break, and for business and sports travel.
Since the collapse of Flybe in 2019, it has been Cardiff Airport’s priority to re-instate key routes lost due to the impact of the pandemic. Earlier this year, routes to Belfast and Edinburgh resumed, operated by Eastern Airways and Loganair, and Ryanair will be launching a 4-weekly service to Dublin from the end of October.
Flights to Paris Orly are currently on sale at special fares, with flights available for under £10.
Spencer Birns, CEO at Cardiff Airport said: “We are delighted that Vueling has stepped in to provide a much-needed service to Paris from Cardiff Airport. The announcement will be welcome news for our customers wanting to travel to visit family, to explore one of the world’s greatest cities, and of course for large sporting events. Paris is also hugely popular with families wanting to visit Disneyland, and it is fantastic that this will once again be easily accessible for passengers.
“I’d like to thank Vueling for their continued confidence and partnership with Cardiff Airport, and we very much look forward to launching the route later this year.”
The Cardiff-Paris route will be the fourth route in Vueling’s Cardiff programme, which currently consists of scheduled flights to Palma de Mallorca, Malaga and Alicante.
(Lead image: Cardiff Airport)
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