As we’re about to enter 2012, I thought I’d look at some of the aviation stories we may be reading about over the coming year. These will hopefully bring good news for the aviation enthusiast, but nothing is guaranteed!
1. The Future of BMI
It was announced a week ago that Lufthansa has agreed terms with IAG – owner of British Airways and Iberia – for the sale of BMI British Midland International. What this will look like in the long term is still unclear, but by the end of March 2012 we are likely to see the brand disappearing, and more BA presence at Heathrow. What this means for domestic travel in the UK or the niche routes to the Middle East from Heathrow we just don’t know. It will be sad to see this well-loved name disappear.
2. Airport development in London
Will Boris Johnson get his Thames Estuary airport in London? Will the government back down and allow expansion to Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted’s runways? What’s certain is that a lot of people and airlines have strong opinions on this, and a solution needs to be found to keep the UK competitive and to reduce congestion at London’s airports.
3. More 787 Operations
Big news in 2011 was the start of Boeing 787 Dreamliner operations by ANA All Nippon Airways, and the initial routes. But 2012 will see Air India, China Southern Airlines and Japan Airlines all receive examples in the first half of the year. Keep an eye out for announcements of routes to be flown.
4. Berlin Brandenburg Airport opening
It’s been the biggest airport building project in Europe over recent years, and will finally open it’s doors in 2012. Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which incorporates part of the existing Schonefeld Airport, will open its doors on 3rd June. Schonefeld and Tegel airports will close the same day. There’s already and impressive line-up of airlines and routes for the modern airport.
5. Airline closures
As sad as it is, the inevitable truth is that in the current economic climate teetering above recession in many countries, and with air passenger duty an off-putting factor for many travellers, we will see airlines disappear during 2012. Which ones I can’t say, but there will no doubt be some surprises, and some which we expect.
Which stories do you think we’ll hear about in 2012? Which airlines are likely to disappear? Will we see lots of new aircraft orders?