British Airways has today announced that it is to suspend its thrice weekly route from London Heathrow to Lusaka in Zambia from 25 October 2013.
The final flight, BA255, from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Lusaka will operate on Friday 25 October 2013, and the return flight from Lusaka to London, BA254, will operate on Saturday 26 October 2013.
No reason has been given for the suspension of the route. However, it is a safe assumption that unsatisfactory commercial performance is the reason.
British Airways has provided rebooking guidelines which include re-routing options via other BA gateways in Africa. Additional options may be added in due course if BA can reach commercial terms with other airlines.
British Airways has today confirmed that it will launch a new direct route from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Austin, Texas (Austin–Bergstrom International Airport) from Monday 3 March 2014, just in time for the SXSW festival!.
The route will initially operate five times weekly (not Wednesday and Saturday) until 5 May 2014 when it will operate daily. The precise flight times depend on the day of operation until the flight goes daily.
Austin is one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. The announcement is significant in not only providing London with a direct route to Austin, but also this is the first new route to be launched that will be operated with the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
Although BA has made much of how the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will open up new routes to Asia, this announcement does demonstrate how much potential there is in BA’s traditionally strong transatlantic market.
The route announcement also follows a trend of BA launching new transatlantic routes to US cities where it is either the sole operator of the route to London Heathrow, and in some cases, Europe. This may provide some clues as to which new US cities will announced next.
Qantas published its annual results for the year ended 30 June 2013 last week. The airline posted a modest net profit of AUD$6 million after tax, which was a significant improvement over last year’s loss of AUD$206 million.
This was primarily due a reduction in losses at Qantas’ International division, which prompted a significant reduction in capacity to Europe and the jettisoning of Qantas’ partnership with BA in favour of Emirates, by almost half to AUD$246 million.
Whilst the partnership between Emirates and Qantas is still very much in its infancy, it is curious that Qantas seems to have declined to give any clear revenue guidance on the partnership. In its results it gave only vague operational measures such as “2 times increase in codeshare bookings on EK network” and “3 times increase in EK bookings on Qantas Domestic network” compared to the partnership with British Airways and others. It is hard to draw any conclusions from such claims without seeing the detail behind the headlines.
Meanwhile, British Airways has remained upbeat on the performance of its last remaining Australian route, London-Singapore-Sydney.
British Airways has today confirmed that it is, with immediate effect, to offer codeshares with Bangkok Airways on flights from Bangkok to Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, and from Singapore to Koh Samui. These are three of the eight destinations in Thailand served by Bangkok Airways.
The move is not surprising. Both Bangkok and Singapore have previously acted as a “scissor hub” for British Airways and Qantas to provide onward connections to numerous cities in Australia. Although these codeshares between British Airways and Qantas are still in place, these are less competitive for passengers arriving from London. This is because Qantas has retimed its Australia bound flights from Bangkok and Singapore after ceasing to fly from London to Bangkok and Singapore.
BA has also downgraded the Bangkok route from a four class Boeing 747 to a three class Boeing 777 from 27 October 2013, indicating under performance on this route.
British Airways has announced it is to upgrade its London Heathrow – Rio de Janeiro route from a three class Boeing 777-200 aircraft to a four class Boeing 777-300 aircraft from Sunday 27 October 2013.
When London Heathrow Terminal 5 opened a little over five years ago (the opening was a day many will never forget!), much was made by BA of the introduction of its “Galleries” lounge concept. At Heathrow, this comprises the “flagship” Concorde Room for first class passengers and Concorde Room cardholders, a Galleries First lounge for BA Executive Club Gold cardholders, three Galleries Club lounges and a Galleries Arrivals lounge for arriving passengers. The lounges were designed by what was then known as Davies & Baron. The lounges feature bespoke Osborne & Little patterns, bold statements such as horse lamps as well as more subtle art and design statements.
British Airways has confirmed changes to its London Heathrow short-haul timetable for the Winter 2013 season, which starts at the end of October.
The changes are relatively modest and mainly concern small increases and decreases in frequencies on certain routes.
– Agadir increases from two flights a week to three.
– Basel increases from 21 to 26 flights a week.
– Amsterdam, Athens, Hamburg and Nice also benefit from small increases of 1-2 flights a week.
– Flights to Manchester reduce from 72 to 68 a week.
– Prague also reduces by five flights from 33 to 28 flights a week.
– Aberdeen, Barcelona, Budapest, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Paris Charles de Gualle, Rome, Stockholm and Zurich also reduce by 1-3 flights a week.
The daily flight to Larnaca also reverts back from a night-time departure to a day-time departure from London Heathrow, with the flight from Heathrow leaving at 12:05 and returning to Heathrow at 19:40.
There are also timetable changes to Rotterdam with BA’s three daily flights moved to earlier times. There are also relatively modest changes to timings for BA’s twice daily flights to Bergen and Stavanger.
Summer Seasonal Flights
BA’s weekly summer Saturday flights from London Heathrow to Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca also finish on Saturday 26 October 2013. The airline will continue to fly all year round to Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca from London City airport.
British Airways continues to surprise with its choice of new routes to occupy the 50 or so extra Heathrow slot pairs it has to fill following the purchase of bmi.
Following the launch of Leeds Bradford, Rotterdam, Zagreb and seasonal summer flights to Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca, the airline has now launched a weekly return flight from London Heathrow to Las Palmas airport Gran Canaria from Saturday 26 October 2013.
Flights depart London Heathrow Terminal 5 and are operated with Airbus A320 aircraft in a two class Club Europe business class and EuroTraveller economy configuration.
When BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group, bought bmi last year much was made of how the extra slots would enable BA to expand its long-haul network. So it was something of a surprise when last May BA announced it would launch new routes to Leeds-Bradford (initially 4 daily) and Rotterdam (3 daily) from 9 December 2012.
Neither are the most exciting destinations on the BA route network but both seem like a clear move to capture traffic from KLM.