“London Airways” reinstates European flights from UK regions

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

A few years ago, British Airways earned itself the moniker “London Airways” amongst some frequent flyers.

A long struggling regional operation, latterly known as “BA Connect”, offering flights from Birmingham, Manchester, Southampton and other regional airports was sold to Flybe in late 2006.

BA’s sole remaining international flight from a non-London UK airport, Manchester to New York JFK, was cancelled a couple of years later. This left BA, excluding franchise partners, operating international flights only from London airports.

Whether this was the right move strategically depends on your point of view. There is the argument that BA is right to focus on London which is one of the largest centres of premium business traffic in the world. There is also the argument that BA failed to make the necessary moves to adapt its cost base to changing market conditions and maintain its resonance in the UK market.

Yet tonight, Sunday 1 June, the very last departure of an any airline at Edinburgh airport is a BA Airbus A320 operating as flight BA8990 direct to Ibiza.

The flight will arrive on the white island shortly after 02:30. One hour later it will return to Edinburgh as BA8991 to land in Edinburgh at 05:40. Just in time for one of the first of 25 flights BA will operate from Edinburgh to London Heathrow, Gatwick and City airports on Monday.

So what’s going on?

For some clues, we can look at the Civil Aviation Authority statistics on aircraft utilisation by different airlines.

An easyJet Airbus A320 aircraft spends, on average, 10.9 hours a day in the air. The equivalent number for British Airways is 8.4.

The difference can in part be explained by Heathrow. Parking and slot restrictions and the need to offer business friendly timetables for “out and back in a day” business travellers mean that not all aircraft can return to Heathrow overnight.

Nonetheless the difference is significant as far as profitability is concerned. Legacy carriers have traditionally lost money on short-haul operations but have relied on more profitable long-haul operations to offset them. Rising fuel prices and intense competition from new entrants means this is no longer possible.

Some airlines, like Lufthansa, have transferred some short-haul operations to lower cost subsidiaries. In Lufthansa’s case this is Germanwings.

BA seems to be opting for a number of initiatives to improve short-haul profitability. And this is one of them. By flying from Edinburgh to Ibiza overnight the aircraft is working for six hours that would otherwise be spent idle on the ground in Edinburgh.

The one downside is of course that if the aircraft decides it doesn’t want to leave La Isla Blanca there will be a lot of disgruntled commuters in Edinburgh on Monday morning!

At the moment this is just a tentative step with two weekly return flights to Ibiza, increasing to three later in the peak of the Ibiza season. However, if this is considered a success then expect the initiative to be extended to other regional airports next summer.

Thailand Coup: Thai Airways & BA Heathrow flights scheduled to operate

As has been widely reported in the media, on 22 May, the Royal Thai Army imposed Martial Law in Thailand. The military authorities in Thailand have imposed a nationwide daily curfew between the hours of 10pm and 5am. Broadcasters such as the BBC and CNN have also been taken off air.

British Airways and Thai Airways fly daily and twice daily respectively from London Heathrow to Suvarnabhumi International airport Bangkok under the following flight numbers:

Continue reading “Thailand Coup: Thai Airways & BA Heathrow flights scheduled to operate”

BBC2 goes behind the scenes at BA in “A Very British Airline”

London Air Travel » British Airways

BA Boeing 747 approaching the coast (Image Credit: British Airways)
BA Boeing 747 approaching the coast (Image Credit: British Airways)

After a long hiatus, the “behind the scenes” documentary of large public and private sector organisations has been back in fashion of late.

Over the past couple of years the BBC and others have gone behind the scenes at the London Underground, Claridges, First Great Western and East Coast Trains.

Now, it is British Airways’ turn to open itself to the cameras.

Continue reading “BBC2 goes behind the scenes at BA in “A Very British Airline””

BA suspends Heathrow – Agadir from 26 October 2014

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Tailfin (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)
British Airways Tailfin (Image Credit: Nick Morrish/British Airways)

British Airways has announced it is to suspend its twice weekly service from London Heathrow to Agadir from 26 October 2014.

No specific reason has been given for the cancellation. However, we assume that poor commercial performance is a factor.

This was a route inherited by BA from its takeover of bmi in 2012 and is one of many subsequent route cancellations.

These include Damascus (29 May 2012), Addis Ababa (10 June 2012), Dammam (16 September 2012), Bishkek, Khartoum (1 October 2012), Tehran (12 October 2012), Yerevan (13 October 2012), Amristar, Casablanca, Marrakech (28 October 2012) and Tbilisi (31 March 2013).

Affected passengers have the option of a full refund or flying to Marrakech from London Gatwick or Casablanca via Madrid. No direct alternative route is available.

BA giving away free flights at London Victoria

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways London Victoria
British Airways London Victoria

British Airways is giving away free tickets to destinations from its London Gatwick base in the Caribbean every 15 minutes at London Victoria railway station every day this week until Saturday 10 May 2014.

To be in for a chance to win you have to test your skills on an arcade-style game, with the highest scoring participants in 15 minute intervals winning tickets to the featured destination of the day.

The BA stand is located towards platforms 15-19.

From what we’ve seen the stand is popular, so do be prepared to queue for a short while if travelling to Victoria specifically for this.

Today’s (Friday) destination is Barbados. Wednesday’s destination was Saint Lucia and Thursday’s destination was St Kitts.

Full details of BA’s network at London Gatwick are available here.

“Taste Of London” returns on 18 – 22 June 2014 but without BA?

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Tailfin, Airbus 318 G-EUNA (Image Credit Nick Morrish/British Airways)
British Airways Tailfin, Airbus 318 G-EUNA (Image Credit Nick Morrish/British Airways)

We’ve been prompted to write this in response to a large number of search enquiries for the annual Taste Of London festival which returns to its home in Regents Park from Wednesday 18 June to Sunday 22 June 2014.

For many years, British Airways has been a sponsor of this event and many members of its Executive Club frequent flyer programme have taken enjoyed BA’s hospitality in a dedicated tent for BA frequent flyers.

Unfortunately, it seems that BA’s relationship with the Taste festival has come to an end and BA does not appear to be sponsoring this year’s festival so as things stand at the moment there are no opportunities for discounted tickets or complimentary hospitality for BA frequent flyers at this year’s event.

BA to codeshare with Qatar Airways from Doha to Bangladesh, Pakistan and Africa

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has today confirmed it will codeshare on a small number of Qatar Airways flights from its hub in Doha.

These are flights to Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad and Lahore in Pakistan, Dhaka, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Entebbe in Uganda, and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Continue reading “BA to codeshare with Qatar Airways from Doha to Bangladesh, Pakistan and Africa”

The merger of bmi and British Airways: Two years on

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Logo (Image Credit: British Airways)

It’s now two years since the parent company of British Airways, International Airlines Group, officially completed its purchase of bmi from Lufthansa.

The merger represented a major milestone in BA’s history and a significant shift in the balance of power at Heathrow, so it’s worth looking at what has happened to former bmi routes and the current state of play at Heathrow.

Continue reading “The merger of bmi and British Airways: Two years on”

AA, BA, Delta & Virgin to battle on London – New York

London Air Travel » British Airways

Delta, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic & British Airways aircraft at London Heathrow
Delta, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic & British Airways aircraft at London Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

If there’s one long-haul route from London that is more coveted than any other, it has to be the London Heathrow to New York route.

In 2013, some 4.2 million passengers flew in both directions between London and New York. This is more than Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami combined.

Continue reading “AA, BA, Delta & Virgin to battle on London – New York”

BA now trialling in-flight WiFi on a single Boeing 747

London Air Travel » British Airways

British Airways Boeing 747 Heathrow
British Airways Boeing 747 Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

We have to admit for having known for some time that British Airways has been trialling in-flight WiFi on a single Boeing 747 aircraft.

However, as there has been no way of knowing whether this aircraft will be available on a specific flight (we understand this was intentional) the trial has not been particularly newsworthy.

Based on this an update issued by BA it seems the trial is now being targeted to a single specific flight. That flight is BA183 from London Heathrow to New York JFK. However, we cannot currently verify that this is case.

Continue reading “BA now trialling in-flight WiFi on a single Boeing 747”