British Airways launches London Heathrow – Bilbao route; Vueling moves Bilbao flights to London Gatwick

British Airways has today announced it is to launch a twice daily service from London Heathrow to Bilbao in the Basque region of Northern Spain.

Bilbao is currently served from London Heathrow by BA’s IAG sibling Vueling. It will move its four weekly flights to London Gatwick.

BA’s flights will initially operate from Heathrow Terminal 1 (the airline is to move out at some point in the future).

Flight Schedule

Flight BA466 London Heathrow – Bilbao Depart 09:20 Arrive 12:20
Flight BA468 London Heathrow – Bilbao Depart 16:05 Arrive 19:05

Flight BA467 Bilbao – London Heathrow Depart 13:05 Arrive 14:00
Flight BA469 Bilbao – London Heathrow Depart 19:40 Arrive 20:35

Whilst a popular leisure destination in its own right (Bilbao is of course home to a Guggenheim museum) we understand the service has been operated to attract corporate clients in the area to BA’s London network and cargo traffic from the port of Bilbao.

Flights are currently on sale on ba.com

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British Airways suspends London Heathrow – Rotterdam flights from 28 March 2015

British Airways is to suspend its thrice-daily service from London Heathrow to Rotterdam from 28 March 2015.

BA has served Rotterdam since late 2012 and was one of three new short-haul routes announced shortly after BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group, bought bmi. The other two routes were Leeds-Bradford and Zagreb.

BA has since launched a service between London City and Rotterdam and will continue to operate this route.

It’s a reasonable assumption that an unsatisfactory commercial performance is a reason for the suspension of the route. According to Civil Aviation Authority statistics, just over 8,000 passengers flew in both directions between London Heathrow and Rotterdam in September 2014, a fall of nearly 30% year on year. August’s numbers show a similar trend.

Affected passengers have the option of being rerouted on either a London Heathrow – Amsterdam flight or London City – Rotterdam flight.

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Virgin Atlantic begins Boeing 787 operations with inaugural flight to Boston

Virgin Atlantic commenced Boeing 787 passenger flights today (Tuesday 28 October) with its inaugural flight to Boston.

Flight VS11 departed London Heathrow for Boston shortly after its scheduled departure time of 17:35. Virgin also operated a test flight from London Gatwick to Atlanta on Friday 24 October, which is pictured below.

Whilst today marks the official launch of passenger flights for the Boeing 787, according to Airline Route the 787 will not operate from 31 October to 14 November to allow for crew familiarisation flights.

The replacement of quad-engine Boeing 747s and Airbus A340s at London Heathrow with the twin-engine Boeing 787 is cited as a significant step in restoring Virgin Atlantic to profitability, together with its nascent transatlantic joint-venture with Delta Airlines.

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British Airways to relaunch London Gatwick – Sharm El Sheikh (again!) from September 2015

BA will return to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt from mid September 2015.

The airline will initially fly to Sharm El Sheikh initially twice a week on Monday and Thursdays, then increasing to thrice weekly.

This is by no means the first time BA will fly to Sharm El Sheikh. BA’s franchise partner, GB Airways, used to fly their in BA colours until it was acquired by easyJet.

BA then operated a long-haul Boeing 777 a few years ago, but a combination of brutal timings and the Arab Spring led to the route being cancelled in 2011.

BA will fly to Sharm El Sheikh using an Airbus A320, offering EuroTraveller economy and Club Europe business class, so no in flight entertainment or flat beds in business class.

The good news is that the timings are quite agreeable for in the inbound and outbound flights. This is a typical timetable. The exact timings may vary throughout the season.

Flight BA2560 Depart London Gatwick 09:00 – Arrive Sharm El Sheikh 16:20
Flight BA2561 Depart Sharm El Sheikh 17:10 – Arrive London Gatwick 20:55

Flights are now on sale on ba.com

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British Airways to fly its Boeing 747 to Denver from Sunday 29 March 2015

It’s not often you hear of first class being added to BA’s London Heathrow routes. Indeed, it wasn’t long ago BA announced it was withdrawing first class from Cape Tow, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Vancouver from later this month.

However, BA will be upgrading its single daily flight to Denver, Colorado (BA 219 and BA 218 return) from a three class Boeing 777 to a four class Boeing 747 from Sunday 29 March 2015.

This means that BA’s first class cabin will be available on this route and travellers in Club World business class will have the option of the popular 20 seat cabin in the “bubble” of the 747.

We’re not quite sure what has prompted this decision, other than that BA is the sole operator of the London Heathrow – Denver route and transatlantic traffic is buoyant at the moment.

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British Airways’ Boeing 787 to fly from London Heathrow to Montreal from Sunday 29 March 2015

British Airways has announced that Montreal is to join its network of Boeing 787 routes from Sunday 29 March 2015.

Montreal will be the third Canadian city to be served by the Boeing 787, after Toronto and Calgary.

BA’s single daily flight from London Heathrow to Montreal (BA 95 and the return BA 94) will be operated by the 787, replacing a Boeing 777 in the summer season and a Boeing 767 in the winter season.

In terms of capacity, the change from a 777 to a 787 in the summer season will result in 13 fewer Club World business class seats and 49 fewer World Traveller economy seats on each flight.

Other current BA 787 routes include Austin (to be replaced by a Boeing 777), Chennai, Chengdu, and New York Newark.

Air Canada also flies to Montreal from London Heathrow. Air Transat also flies to Montreal and London Gatwick.

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Virgin Atlantic to end “Little Red” short-haul flights from London Heathrow to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen

After much press speculation and claims by rivals about poor load factors, Virgin Atlantic has today confirmed it is to close its “Little Red” short-haul operation from London Heathrow.

Flights between London and Manchester will cease on 28 March 2015.

Flights between London and Aberdeen and Edinburgh will cease on 26 September 2015.

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