sandyb123
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British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:50 pm

Just been a report on ITV News (Uk independent TV channel) about British Airways flying transcontinental flights with no passengers because of "staffing problems".

The article goes on to comment that over 7 flights in the last week between the US and the UK have flown with flight deck crew only and freight, commenting on the "environmental impact" of this.

It also goes onto make the comparison between this "huge waste of fuel" and the BA fuel surcharges increased this week.

Is this comon practice?
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SInGAPORE_AIR
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:03 pm

British Airways have cancelled a few flights over the last few days (I remember to ORD, BWI amongst others) due to crew shortages.

Could you link us to the article or was it on the evening news on TV?
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sandyb123
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:07 pm

I am uploading it to youtube. Will be ready in a minute.
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BAOPS777
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:13 pm

Quoting Singapore_Air (Reply 1):
British Airways have cancelled a few flights over the last few days (I remember to ORD, BWI amongst others) due to crew shortages.

The flights to ORD and BWI were cancelled due to a shortage of longhaul 767 a/c due to tech problems within the fleet.

There has been a couple of shorthaul flights ex lgw cancelled due to cabin crew shortage within the LGW fleet.
 
David_itl
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:14 pm

Quoting Sandyb123 (Thread starter):
The article goes on to comment that over 7 flights in the last week between the US and the UK have flown with flight deck crew only and freight, commenting on the "environmental impact" of this

If that is 7 one-way flights I can see no problem; if they able to staff the return sector then how elseare they supposed to transport those passengers back? Even if its 7 return services, the value of the cargo may be such that it is still profitable for them to operate the service in their own right rather then subcontract out to Global Supply Systems or Atlas Air. Or in even more general terms, what about all the cargo operators...do they not have the same "environmental impact" if they route x to y to z and back to x, with only cargo being carried between y and z, with the x to y and z to x sectors being empty positioning services.
 
BAOPS777
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:18 pm

Cargo is a huge part of BA business. So it would not suprise me if they where operated as cargo flights. If that is the case they cant be called ghost flights as they are carrying cargo revenue
 
sandyb123
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:23 pm

Here you go:

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SInGAPORE_AIR
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:30 pm

Very interesting. Simon Calder popping up as always.
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sandyb123
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:34 pm

Quoting Singapore_Air (Reply 7):

Yes, he's always getting his bit in  Smile

So is this comon practice? BA are claiming this is unschduled / unintentional because of crew problems. Do other airlines do the same?

Also, I wonder what Richard Branson would say if he saw one of his A340s in the end frame there. I suppose Joe public wouldn't notice.
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JER757
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:55 pm

Its positioning of aircraft... OK its not ideal but sometimes it has to be done.

If the flights hadn't operated at all, the return leg would have been cancelled as well leaving two sets of pretty pissed passengers instead of just the one. Airlines also don't think in terms of the environment, (despite what Public Relations may have you believe) they think of money. So if it worked out cheaper to cancel the return sector and compensate the passengers I'm sure they would have done that.

Wasn't there also something in the news last year about BA ferrying a 744 LHR-CWL-LHR every few days just to keep a slot open for them at LHR?
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LHR777
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:02 am

Quoting JER757 (Reply 9):
Wasn't there also something in the news last year about BA ferrying a 744 LHR-CWL-LHR every few days just to keep a slot open for them at LHR?

....which was complete B.S. BA ferries aircraft to and from CWL all the time - it's our major 747/777 and powerplant maintenance base. How else are we supposed to get aircraft there?
 
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:05 am

Quoting JER757 (Reply 9):
Wasn't there also something in the news last year about BA ferrying a 744 LHR-CWL-LHR every few days just to keep a slot open for them at LHR?

Close, but no cigar. It was a KJ A320. I think this was related to flights to a Middle Eastern destination, of which KJ used to fly to many, being too dangerous to offer service to.

Brian.
 
halls120
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:06 am

Quoting LHR777 (Reply 10):
Quoting JER757 (Reply 9):Wasn't there also something in the news last year about BA ferrying a 744 LHR-CWL-LHR every few days just to keep a slot open for them at LHR?
....which was complete B.S. BA ferries aircraft to and from CWL all the time - it's our major 747/777 and powerplant maintenance base. How else are we supposed to get aircraft there?

On the motorway? It would be more environmentally friendly, of course.  Wink
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JER757
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:06 am

Quoting LHR777 (Reply 10):
BA ferries aircraft to and from CWL all the time - it's our major 747/777 and powerplant maintenance base. How else are we supposed to get aircraft there?

I know that.

Just did a bit of research, it was a BMED a/c operating LHR-CWL-LHR, reported on March 12th this year:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6441103.stm

[Edited 2007-11-12 16:09:47]
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Bongodog1964
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:12 am

In general this seems a sensible move on the part of BA. Its a quiet time of year for the North Atlantic, the flights mentioned included LAX - LHR where one flight of three was flown with no passengers, and JFK - LHR where one flight of eight has been flown empty on occasions.
If you are faced with a cabin crew shortage, and low passenger numbers, surely it makes sense to consolidate the passengers.
One flight travels with cargo only, and thus does not need to be staffed, catered, or cleaned.

The best use for Simon Calder would be as reinforcement inside a concrete foundation for LHR T5.


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albird87
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:35 am

I dont think the media are properly understanding how airlines work... All UK news companies seem to report from just one side of the story and dont look into why BA actually need to fly a plane out to a destination.
They surely wont have an aircraft leave unless it has a purpose. BA i think also wont fly a flight out uness they have to.. What a waste of money also!! They are going out as they probably have passengers on the return segment and are booked on a flight that may of gone out empty but on the way back that may not be the case.
As for BA flying aircraft just to pick up Staff.... i again find that very odd. They would just put them on other flights as non-revs as far as i can see. Why waste again an aircraft to fly out and just pick up staff to get them back!!

This is just another load of media BS in my opinion.
One thing tho that i am interested is tho is if that one flight from JFK-LHR (and back- it seems to be the 777 flight) is maybe then that BA should re think on where this aircraft could be used better.

I also find it strange how these aircraft are completely empty... i would always think that someone would be on it!!
 
thesandbender
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:24 am

I have absolutely no background in commercial flight planning but I had a few thoughts about this:

1. As some people have mentioned, there might be high value cargo on the flight. If there are few pax it makes sense to me to strip the pax, the service crew and even drain the pax lavs and get the flight as light as possible to save on fuel.

Is that viable or no?

2. The other advantage of not having pax is that you can take a route that is not pax friendly... with turbulence and such. It may be a rough ride but it is more direct saves fuel and money. Say it's just a completely crappy day over the Atlantic.

Are these things ever factored in by ops?

T
 
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:44 am

What got me was the line "No point in waving because this British Airways aeroplane might very well be empty". Yes because what, at most a dozen flights in almost as many days out of the how many hundreds of BA flights operated everyday?

Yellow journalism at its finest.

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upperdeckfan
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:44 am



Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 14):
In general this seems a sensible move on the part of BA. Its a quiet time of year for the North Atlantic, the flights mentioned included LAX - LHR where one flight of three was flown with no passengers, and JFK - LHR where one flight of eight has been flown empty on occasions.
If you are faced with a cabin crew shortage, and low passenger numbers, surely it makes sense to consolidate the passengers.
One flight travels with cargo only, and thus does not need to be staffed, catered, or cleaned.

I don't see here the "consolidation" thing here as BA cancelled all the ORD flights on Nov 8th, consolidation on a multifrequency station means cancelling some of the flights but still keeping some to get pax to their destination with minimal disturbance.
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AlanUK
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:43 am

Crew at BA have known about this for a while, but it's always fun to see how the media use wording such as "We can REVEAL, we have UNCOVERED..." Yet, as usual, a lot of this story is reported in a way that will make maximum TV impact, even if it means by-passing a lot of the facts and reasoning.

It's nothing new, and happens occasionally, not just due to crew shortages. Let's face it, BA was never going to win this one. Fly some empty sectors so the schedule remains undisturbed and customers largely unaffected =Greenpeace (quite rightly of course) are up in arms about it...

Cancel the flights altogether, lose thousands of pounds of Cargo revenue, and pay fines for not flying as schedule =Which? Magazine and other customer organisation would scream at BA's poor performance...

Of course, the answer would be to have estimated the right amount of cabin crew required for the operation in the first place, but our managers have never been quite good at doing that, partially due to the sheer size of BA's crew community.

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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:54 am



Quoting Sandyb123 (Reply 6):

'
Wow, they have really something against BA.
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LHR777
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:27 am

I've being doing load and balance on some of these so-called 'ghost' flights. They are all operating as freighters, carrying several tonnes of valuable cargo, and actually making shed-loads of money. So, by the media's definition, a FedEx or UPS dedicated freighter must also be a 'ghost' flight, as it too does not carry passengers.  Yeah sure
 
planesavvy
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:33 am

The whole report by ITV was very poor. I find it very annoying that they are happy to put some greenpeace activist with zero credentials on national tv, but not get an informed spokesmen from BA to give us the true story.

It is an everyday occurance on all other forms of transport for empty services to go on. It happens to me often while waiting for a bus or tube and it just flies on by with a big sign in the window "Sorry, Not in Service".
 
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:34 am

This is called positionning operations.

Is ITV stupid enough not to explain that ?

Sensationalism is paying more off I guess...
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StarGoldLHR
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:29 am



Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 14):
The best use for Simon Calder would be as reinforcement inside a concrete foundation for LHR T5.

I think he's a bit too structurally weak for this.
He could maybe hold up the A380 model at T123
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Bongodog1964
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:50 am

Quoting StarGoldLHR (Reply 24):
I think he's a bit too structurally weak for this.
He could maybe hold up the A380 model at T123

Yes he should be up to keeping a model plane up; he is after all full of hot air.

Quoting UPPERDECKFAN (Reply 18):
I don't see here the "consolidation" thing here as BA cancelled all the ORD flights on Nov 8th, consolidation on a multifrequency station means cancelling some of the flights but still keeping some to get pax to their destination with minimal disturbance.

All three Ord flights cancelled on the same day ?. I thought I heard mention of seven in total over a week. What happened to the booked passengers ?

Edit Iv'e just listened to the clip again and it makes no mention of ORD - LHR on Nov 8th. were these flights cancelled for different reasons ?

[Edited 2007-11-13 03:05:13]
 
Baron52ta
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:42 am

Quoting JER757 (Reply 13):
Just did a bit of research, it was a BMED a/c operating LHR-CWL-LHR

Although I am no fan of BA the fact this flight was BMED lets BA off since BMI owns Bmed
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/mai...xml=/money/2007/02/03/cnbmed03.xml



[Edited 2007-11-13 03:46:03]

[Edited 2007-11-13 03:58:19]
 
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:39 pm



Quoting Halls120 (Reply 12):
On the motorway? It would be more environmentally friendly, of course.

Still, having a 747-400 blasting along the motorway sounds pretty dangerous...  silly 

Cheers
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Jasondn
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:45 pm

Just a thought, what about all the business jets running alot of "dead legs" after dropping pax off and can't wait the 3 or 5 days for the pax before their next flight? They charge the pax for these dead legs of course, but no one has made mention of that in the media excepting if they want to put mud on a parliamentarian wasting tax payers money!

Just my 2 cents worth for the day!  Smile
 
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:32 pm

Countdown with Keith Olbermann showed this piece... I lost track of how many times he used the phrase "It'll make you want to punch someone in the face" in his intro. That grossly inaccurate piece earned him a deletion from my Tivo! I'm still trying to comprehend how air headed the whole thing was, it's painfully obvious that the flights were flying people on the other half of the trip. I hope these guys get bumped a few times..ahem..not suggesting PNR tampering or anything  Smile
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sparkingwave
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:41 pm

I'm a wonderin' if BA is gonna pull off this maneuver when they get their A380s.

Can you imagine an empty A380 flying from LHR to somewhere longhaul?
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theginge
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:13 pm



Quoting SparkingWave (Reply 30):
I'm a wonderin' if BA is gonna pull off this maneuver when they get their A380s.

Can you imagine an empty A380 flying from LHR to somewhere longhaul?

It will happen at some point.

This is another example of the media not having a clue about anything to do with Aviation, and also for that matter people like Greenpeace not having much idea either!
 
SkyexRamper
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:39 pm



Quoting Sandyb123 (Thread starter):
flown with flight deck crew only and freight, commenting on the "environmental impact" of this.

It also goes onto make the comparison between this "huge waste of fuel" and the BA fuel surcharges increased this week.

Seriously though, the freight itself probably paid for the flight or they were at least able to break even. Airlines don't skimp on freight charges and might have been able to fly more than usual because of having no bags for the flight.
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:48 pm

Wonder how the environmentalist nut jobs would feel about all the sports team charters here in the US and their many empty positioning "ghost" flights spewing out all those terrible greenhouse gases.......  hissyfit 
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b752fanatic
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:53 pm

Fuel consumption is lower when its operating without pax, therefore the argument of the environmentalists are not that well founded. Considering also that the aircrafts would be operating cargo, it wouldn't completely be a ghost flight.

And picking BA for a smear campaign is just too much, perhaps they would have done some research and find out that it happens very often with the other airlines.
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JER757
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:53 pm



Quoting Baron52ta (Reply 26):
Although I am no fan of BA the fact this flight was BMED lets BA off since BMI owns Bmed

For most of the time this was occuring (October-March) BMED was not owned by BD. The deal only went through in Feb.

I'm not a huge fan of BA either!
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CoolGuy
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:44 pm

So apparently no one in the media has heard of positioning flights.

Check out www.v-flyer.com, where you can see the positioning flights for Virgin Atlantic. More than I expected for VS, but less than I would have thought for BA (if it's only 7 flights out of their thousands of flights in that period).

Why were flights 176/179 empty? I've taken those flights for over 20 years and I thought they're regularly scheduled every single day.
 
theginge
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:49 pm

The flight out from LHR was empty, then the flight back a few days later that the crew would have been on would also be empty
 
GDB
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:00 pm

Ah, another load of sensationalist BS from our wonderful media, ITV really should stick to celebs for the chav audience, they know the square root of fuck all about aviation after all.
But all major UK media have it in for BA.

Said it before, but, there is no value in using the general media as sources for aviation, printed and TV.

(If only they knew how often we did Concorde positioning flights!)
 
zTagged
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:08 pm



Quoting Doona (Reply 27):
Still, having a 747-400 blasting along the motorway sounds pretty dangerous... silly

Cheers
Mats

I don't think even my trusty Tahoe could pass a 744 on the highway.. Or could it?  scratchchin 
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Analog
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:16 pm

An empty flight should not count towards the LHR slot usage requirements. It's bad enough the BA effectively gets hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free slots in the "non-discriminatory" allocation process.

I wonder if BA would operate these flights if it were not for the slot usage requirements?
 
luv2fly
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:58 pm



Quoting Doona (Reply 27):
Still, having a 747-400 blasting along the motorway sounds pretty dangerous...

Cheers
Mats

If AA can do it then BA sould have no problem.

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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:04 pm

I think alot of people are forgetting the commercial reality. It costs money to leave a B747 or B777 on the deck. It is often cheaper, even profitable to cold leg it back to LHR. The only loss is goodwill with fare-paying pax who have had their flight cancelled.
 
LHR777
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:20 pm



Quoting JER757 (Reply 35):
For most of the time this was occuring (October-March) BMED was not owned by BD. The deal only went through in Feb.

I'm not a huge fan of BA either!

More importantly, BMED was not owned by BA at any time in their history either!
 
BritPilot777
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:55 pm



Quoting JER757 (Reply 35):
I'm not a huge fan of BA either!

And what exactly have BA done to upset you in your 16-20 yrs on this earth??

BritPilot777
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bmiexpat
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:40 pm



Quoting JER757 (Reply 35):
For most of the time this was occuring (October-March) BMED was not owned by BD. The deal only went through in Feb.

And a perfect example of how little the media know about airline operations....

http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/...-empty-jet-flights-91466-20093849/

"But Wales on Sunday can reveal that the flights were scrapped a fortnight ago as part of changes made following the takeover of BMed by bmi baby.

Green campaigners have welcomed the move but say the damage has already been done

A spokesman for bmi baby confirmed: “The ghost flights no longer exist.”"
 
David_itl
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:53 pm



Quoting Analog (Reply 40):
It's bad enough the BA effectively gets hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free slots in the "non-discriminatory" allocation process.

I'm pretty sure the BA has had to pay for some slots over recent years or given "compensation" to various airlines for giving them slots in return for transferring operations from LHR to LGW ( Adria, Croatia Airlines and possibly Malev spring to mind as likley candidate for the "compensation" payments)
 
antonovman
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:01 pm



Quoting David_itl (Reply 46):
Quoting Analog (Reply 40):
It's bad enough the BA effectively gets hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free slots in the "non-discriminatory" allocation process.

I suppose Analog thinks all the slots that BA have held for years should be taken away from them and given to the tinpot rubbish US carriers who are clammering to get in to LHR
 
JER757
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:08 am



Quoting BritPilot777 (Reply 44):
And what exactly have BA done to upset you in your 16-20 yrs on this earth??

Worked for their handling agent in JER (with a brief stint in MAN) for nearly 5 years, 2 years on check-in/gate staff and almost 3 years on dispatch or as a 'TRC' as BA prefers us to be known. Not as long as some but certainly long enough for an opinion to be formed.

Too many petty rules that do nothing but upset the passengers. "Sorry sir, I can't reprint your boarding card, accept your surfboard, accept a bag more than 23kg ... its BA policy." OK we all know its in the terms and conditions but it is embarassing sometimes to say this to passengers travelling on what they perceive as a full class airline.

But anyway... this is another story for another thread.
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ikramerica
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RE: British Airways Flying Global 'Ghost Flights'

Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:14 am



Quoting Planesavvy (Reply 22):
It is an everyday occurance on all other forms of transport for empty services to go on. It happens to me often while waiting for a bus or tube and it just flies on by with a big sign in the window "Sorry, Not in Service".

This is a great point.

From limos to taxis to trains to buses to ferries, all these modes of transport routinely operate dead head routes and empty routes. Taxis even troll around the city empty! Trains cover whole routes empty, to get them to the place they need them faster due to another plane out of service.

The impact of any one of these events is less than the impact of an empty jet, but the shear number of taxis running around empty in any one day has to be a greater impact. That's of course if you even believe there is an impact...
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.

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