British Airways boss says two-hour Heathrow passport queues unacceptable

British Airways logos are seen on tail fins at Heathrow Airport in west London, Britain, February 23, 2018. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)
Updated 06 August 2018

British Airways boss says two-hour Heathrow passport queues unacceptable

  • BA boss said that queues at border controls at Heathrow were significantly worse than at other major world airports
  • British Airways is owned by IAG, the airline group which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling

LONDON: Two hour-long queues for passport checks at London’s Heathrow Airport are unacceptable and improvements are needed if Britain wants to show it is open for business after it leaves the European Union, the chief executive of British Airways said.
In a letter to The Times newspaper on Monday, BA boss Alex Cruz said that queues at border controls at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, were significantly worse than at other major world airports.
“What kind of message does this send, as we try to build links outside the EU?,” Cruz wrote.
He called on interior minister Sajid Javid to take “immediate action to address this border farce.”
His intervention came after reports that Britain was considering setting up designated lanes for British passport holders at UK airports after Britain leaves the EU on March 29 next year.
Two-hour queues have become normal at Heathrow for those visiting Britain from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), Cruz said, despite a target that the waiting time should be no more than 45 minutes. EEA citizens wait almost an hour, he added.
British Airways is owned by IAG, the airline group which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling.


Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad launches more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Updated 34 min 8 sec ago

Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad launches more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner

  • Etihad’s CEO Tony Douglas described the aircraft as a flying laboratory for testing that could benefit the entire industry
  • This year, Etihad flew the world’s first passenger flight using sustainable biofuel made from a plant that grows in saltwater

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi’s flagship carrier Etihad Airways announced on Monday it is launching one of the world’s most fuel-efficient long-haul airplanes as the company seeks to save costs on fuel and position itself as a more environmentally-conscious choice for travelers.
Etihad’s “Greenliner” is a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that will depart on its first route from Abu Dhabi to Brussels in January 2020. Etihad’s CEO Tony Douglas described the aircraft as a flying laboratory for testing that could benefit the entire industry.
With fuel costs eating up around a quarter of airline spending, Douglas said the goal of the Greenliner is to be 20 percent more fuel efficient than other aircraft in Etihad’s fleet.
“This is not just a box-ticking exercise,” he told reporters at the unveiling of the initiative at the Dubai Airshow alongside executives from Boeing.
Douglas said the aircraft “not only makes sense economically from a profit and loss account point of view, but because it also directly impacts the CO2 because of the fuel burn.”
Etihad has reported losses of $4.75 billion since 2016 as its strategy of aggressively buying stakes in airlines from Europe to Australia exposed the company to major risks.
Despite its financials, the airline continues to be among the most innovative.
This year, Etihad flew the world’s first passenger flight using sustainable biofuel made from a plant that grows in saltwater. It also became the first in the Middle East to operate a flight without any single-use plastics on board to raise awareness of the effects of plastic pollution.
Aviation accounts for a small but rapidly growing share of greenhouse-gas emissions — about 2.5 percent worldwide. But forecasters expect air travel to grow rapidly in the coming years.
Etihad says it plans to make the Greenliner a “social media star” to bring under sharper focus its developments and achievements worldwide. Douglas said anything that Eithad learns with Boeing from this aircraft’s operations will be open domain knowledge “because it’s about moving the industry forward in a responsible fashion.”
“We’re like a millennial and like all good millennials, they’re really focused on the environment and the sustainability agenda,” Douglas said, referring to Etihad’s 16 years in operation.
The Greenliner will be the only aircraft of its kind in Etihad’s fleet of Dreamliners. The company currently has 36 of the 787s in its fleet with plans to operate 50.
“This is a small step today, but in a very, very long journey,” Douglas said.