Bringing the Olympic spirit to the airline industry

The Olympic Games are a global event and therefore, the link with the airline industry is unavoidable. So I thought it could be a good idea to compile a list of the airline and aviation-related news, stories and images that the 2012 London Olympics are generating.

For a start, the queues at Heathrow and other London airports, a major concern for both the authorities and air travelers that were expecting (even more) chaos...the big news, however, is that...there are no news! All seems to be working, even better than normal!

Whereas one million extra visitors are expected in London during the Olympic period (let me doubt about these figures!), some UK-based airlines seem less than enthusiastic about the extra business they might bring them: Easyjet does not expect the Games to have a positive impact on its bottom line, whereas British Airways expects a drop in business (high-yield) passengers.

Not sure why they complain, since it was BA itself that was encouraging Britons to stay at home and support Team GB. Its " Home Advantage" campaign included a cool game that allows you to direct a one of BA's Boeing 777s to your home address by making it taxi through the London streets.

In any case, British Airways is fully embracing its role as one of the Olympic sponsors and has unveiled a number of original Olympics-themed liveries to be displayed on some of its A319 aircraft in the run up to the Games, starting with the Dove, and continuing with the Firefly, painted on the plane that brough the Olympic flame from Greece to the UK.

But BA is not the only airline that is repainting its aircraft for the occasion, Qantas, JAL, ANA, LOT and South African Airways have also painted their planes in Olympic liveries.

Qantas Olympic livery for London 2012. Image:  Gabriel Tam  (under Creative Commons License)

Qantas Olympic livery for London 2012. Image: Gabriel Tam (under Creative Commons License)

More controversial were the news that, on the flight to London, Japan's delegations reserved business class seats for their male footballers, while their female colleagues had to travel in economy.

This won't be a problem for the Jordanian team, since the entire delegation will fly low cost carrier Easyjet to the London Olympics, taking advantage of the orange airline route linking Amman to London.

And, in case, you need to fly during the Olympics and risk missing any of your favourite sports, Gulf Air is going to provide live streaming coverage of the Games.

What seems to be  totally off the programme, despite some speculation, is a comeback of the Concorde during the Games...although you can always try to get this replica of the Concorde in London 2012 Olympic livery!