Club News

JetBlue Confirms Plans to Fly JFK to London, With First Stop Aviation Club …

The Aviation Club UK

Robin Hayes and members of the JetBlue team landed at the Aviation Club lunch on Thursday 11 April 2019 just hours after confirming their intent to launch a service across the Atlantic to London in 2021.

The New York-based carrier are yet to announce which airport they plan to route into but are currently evaluating multiple options in London for its service and are excited by their future plans.

A traditional low cost carrier will celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2020.  Currently operating 1050 flights a day with over 23,000 crew members JetBlue hold strong to the original five values that formed the organisation – Safety, Caring, Integrity, Passion and Fun.  Despite being price conscious they don’t hold back on service or content.  All flights still serve complimentary drinks and snacks, were the first in the world to introduce free wifi to passengers and offer lay-flat beds on their very favourably priced MINT service, which was voted ‘Best Business Class in North America’ for the past two years.

Ahead of Jet Blue committing to serve London, the airline has been vocal about the challenges faced by smaller airlines.  JetBlue CEO, Robin Hayes is strong in his opinion that regulators need to exercise more oversight of US Legacy airlines and their international Joint Ventures, which result in the Joint Ventures controlling a significant number of slots and driving up the price of air fares.  He is adamant that JetBlue can reduce the prices on certain routes in business class offering a better service and product offering on these overpriced or routes.

British born Robin Hayes was relaxed at the Club lunch and engaged with a number of Club members and guests before departing.

CLICK HERE for report from BT News

Young Aviation Professionals event on 20 March

The Aviation Club UK

The most recent YAP networking session was held on Thursday 20 March 2019, hosted by DLA Piper in their stunning 7th floor hospitality suite overlooking the City of London.  More than 80 young professionals attended this event, which included the opportunity to network at an informal drinks reception and a 30 minute panel discussion mediated by Richard Skipper of DLA Piper.

The panel, comprising Club Chairman Karl Brunjes and Committee members Sylvain Gloux and Tony Whitty expressed their personal views on ‘Airline Bankruptcies and Consolidations’ and stimulated a great deal of interest amongst the audience. 

The Aviation Club UK’s YAP events are open to both members and non-members of the Aviation Club UK and are aimed at young aviation professionals aged between 20 and 35 years of age to help them broaden their industry connections.  Our next YAP event will be held on 12 June 2019.  Further details will be posted in the event section of the website in due course.  You can also join the YAP linked in group at

Clear Skies for easyJet

The Aviation Club UK

Johan Lundgren, CEO easyJet addressed 200 attendees at the Aviation Club lunch on 20 March 2019.  During his speech, which referenced the easyJet withdrawal from the Alitalia deal, he expressed his support for the tightening of regulation around airport alcohol sales, which he strongly believes to have a direct correlation to disruptive passengers.  The airline will operate a zero tolerance policy to disruptive passengers and fully support their staff who have to make the decision as to whether to allow passengers to fly or not.  easyJet, the 8th largest airline in the world and 2nd largest in Europe, believe that high customer service levels and communication are key to their success.  ‘Better engagement with customers and stronger boarding policies will reduce disruptive passengers.’ Lundgren told the audience.

Lundgren’s speech stimulated a number of interesting questions from a keen audience who enjoyed an interesting and topical presentation.

CLICK HERE for article from Birmingham Mail

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CLICK HERE for article from Aviation Week

CLICK HERE for article from BTN

Robert Sinclair’s ‘Airport for London’

The Aviation Club UK

The Club’s 2019 lunch programme launched yesterday, Thursday 8 February 2019, with an address from Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport.  Members and their guests enjoyed an informative presentation from Sinclair as he outlined the future plans for London City Airport, the importance of the Aviation industry to the UK economy, the sustainability challenge and touched on airport anti-drone technology systems.

Sinclair admits he is ‘concerned’ as the clock ticks toward 29 March.  ‘Our industry is high profile and should not be used as a political football’, he said, adding ‘any threat to the aviation industry is a threat to the overall economy of the UK’.

He went on to talk about the massive expansion and refurb plans for London City Airport, which include an external terminal building, enabling it to serve two million more passengers a year by 2025 and a new digital air traffic control system.

London City is the first UK airport to replace its air traffic control tower with a remotely operated digital system.  Instead of sitting in a tower overlooking the runway, controllers will be 120 miles away, watching live footage from high-definition cameras.  The new system will now be tested for a year before becoming fully operational in 2019.

He concluded, ‘We are planning an airport which celebrates modern 21st century London.  Passenger split between business and leisure is now 50/50 and with new airline partners, multiple daily connections are growing and driving inbound tourism to the capital and beyond.’

CLICK HERE for article from BT News

Willie Walsh Back On Home Turf for Aviation Club UK’s Dublin Dinner

The Aviation Club UK


On Sunday 20 January 2019 the Aviation Club UK held their first international event at the St Stephen’s Green Hibernium Club in Dublin.  The Dinner, supported by Bank of China and Airline Economics, hosted a capacity audience drawn from senior representatives from the civil aviation industry, many of whom were in Dublin to attend the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Conference.

After dinner Committee Member John Strickland informally interviewed Guest of honour, Willie Walsh, CEO IAG.  And to the delight of the room, Walsh delivered both entertaining and informative answers. To hear the full engagement CLICK HERE.  Video coverage from the Dinner was reported by Travel Extra.

Media coverage from this event can be viewed at the following links:

CLICK HERE for second link from Travel Extra

CLICK HERE for third link from Travel Extra

CLICK HERE to see article from The Independent, Ireland

CLICK HERE to see article from The Irish Times

CLICK HERE to see article from The Irish Times

CLICK HERE to see article from RTE


Fellowship Award 2018 – Tom Williams CBE

The Aviation Club UK

The Aviation Club UK annual Fellowship Award was presented to Tom Williams by Chairman Karl Brunjes at the Club luncheon on 6 December 2018.  The fellowship of the Aviation Club is granted annually in recognition of an outstanding, long-term contribution by an individual to the Civil aviation industry in the UK.

Tom Williams completed an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce Aero Engines in 1972 and went on to carry out a number of senior roles in UK manufacturing companies.  Tom joined British Aerospace in 1997 as Site Director and General Manager at the Prestwick site of the company’s Aerostructures division.  In 2000 he was recruited by Airbus UK as Managing Director and General Manager, a position he held until 2004.  Over the past 11 years he has progressed through Airbus and in January 2015 was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Airbus Commercial Aircraft.  With responsibility for overall operations including engineering, procurement and Supply Chain Management, Tom is a member of both the executive management team of Airbus and the Airbus Commercial Aircraft Executive Committee as well as being the most senior Brit in the organisation.  

Tom will be retiring from Airbus soon and its no secret that his colleagues and friends at Airbus will sorely miss him.

In January 2011 Tom Williams received a CBE. 

Previous recipients of the Fellowship include Lord Glendonbrook (Sir Michael Bishop) in 2016, Sir Ralph Robins, Ken Smart, Mike Ambrose, Danny Bernstein and Roger Wiltshire.


Aviation Club UK Looks to 2019

The Aviation Club UK


 Aviation Club UK members and guests enjoyed a farewell address from Craig Kreeger, CEO Virgin Atlantic at their Christmas lunch on Thursday 6 December 2018.  But Kreeger is not the only one looking to the future and new challenges. 

The Aviation Club UK has confirmed its speaker programme for 2019 which includes Robert Sinclair, CEO  London City Airport (07 February); Johan Lundgren, CEO easyJet (20 March); Robin Hayes, CEO jetBlue (11 April); Paulo Mirpuri, CEO Hi Fly (June); Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports (19 September); Oscar Munoz, CEO United Airlines (7 November) and Warren East, CEO Rolls-Royce (5 December). 

The Club will host their first international dinner in January 2019 in Dublin where Willie Walsh, CEO International Airlines Group will be the Club’s guest of honour.  During the evening Walsh will be addressing the room and taking questions from the floor.  As the Club broadens its international footprint, future events are also planned for New York, Johannesburg and Hong Kong. 

The recently launched quarterly programme of YAP Receptions – focused specifically for young aviation professionals, will continue with a fourth networking event in March 2019.  Aimed toward the 24-35 year age bracket, these events are proving very successful. 

Karl Brünjes, Chairman of the Aviation Club UK is focused upon delivering a varied programme of events that will offer something of interest to all members of the Club.  “I am looking forward to 2019. We are launching our international programme, broadening our membership, and increasing the number and type of events the Club hosts, busy and exciting times indeed.”

Kreeger wraps it up for Christmas…

The Aviation Club UK

On Thursday 6 December 2018 Craig Kreeger bid farewell to the UK aviation industry at the Aviation Club UK’s Club luncheon.  During what was his last official engagement as CEO of Virgin Atlantic, he spoke fondly of his time at Virgin and experiences in the UK.  Addressing  addressing a gathering of over 200 members and guests, which included his successor, Shei Weiss and a number of representatives from Airbus, Boeing and Delta.

Kreeger called for government help for the future development of sustainable aviation fuels, which he believes to be operationally viable, creating job and improving the environment.  He also urged for a revision to UK air passenger duty, which is currently the highest in the world and holds back business.

When asked whether he had achieved all of his aims and objectives he said he hoped so – through stabilising the financial position of the company and preserving the magic of the brand.  His most important future decision would be deciding where and how to spend his retirement.

CLICK HERE for full Bloomberg article

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CLICK HERE for BTNews article



CEO Of ‘Worlds Most Punctual Airline’ Makes Timely Appearance At Aviation Club UK

The Aviation Club UK

airBaltic CEO, Martin Gauss will join the Aviation Club UK as guest speaker at their next lunch event on 8 November 2018 in London. 

Projected growth is high on the agenda for airBaltic, the Latvian based airline who celebrated their 23rd anniversary at the beginning of October.  Having announced carrying 18% more passengers during the first nine months of 2018 than the same period last year to a network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia CIS and the Middle East and with a projection of continued passenger growth toward the end of 2018, CEO Martin Gauss is confident in reaching the target 4 million passengers by the end of the year. 

 Gauss joined airBaltic in November 2011 and has since executed a robust turnaround programme leading the airline back to profitability.  With plans for a harmonized fleet of up to 80 Airbus A220-300 aircraft and boosted traffic revenues by 2025, its clear he means business. 

‘We are really looking forward to hearing from Martin Gauss at our next Club lunch at the IoD on 8 November’ said Aviation Club UK Chairman Karl Brünjes, ‘there is no doubt that airBaltic are well on the way to achieving target and we are all excited to hear what the future holds for them’


Looking Forward, The Future Is Bright With Hazy Interludes

The Aviation Club UK

Steve Udvar-Hazy Executive Chairman of Air Lease Corporation, pictured above with Club Chairman Karl Brunjes, spoke at the Aviation Club UK’s lunch meeting on 13 September 2018 at the Institute of Directors, London, addressing some 180 members and guests.

Click HERE for report from FlightGlobal

Click HERE for Airfinance journal report at Leehamnews

Click HERE for report from BTNews

click HERE for link to Gettyimages