BA’s long farewell to the Boeing 747-400 jumbo

BA is retiring the Boeing 747-400. However, it will still have a presence at London Heathrow for many years to come.

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

On 11 August 2014, flight BA78 arrived at London Heathrow from Accra in Ghana. For the aircraft operating the route, a Boeing 747-400 (registration G-BNLI), this was its last passenger flight after more than 24 years’ service at the airline (Source: The BA Source.)

G-BNLI is the 11th 747 to be withdrawn from service at BA. This marks a continuation of a process that started some five years ago.

The 747s were initially withdrawn in response to the financial crisis, but more recently to be replaced by more efficient Boeing 777-300s and Airbus A380s which have seen the BA 747 removed from routes such as London Heathrow to Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Sydney.

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BA tactical Winter 2014/2015 long-haul cancellations

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

British Airways parent company, International Airlines Group, released its half year results last Friday.

The results were, overall, very positive. All three IAG airlines (BA, Iberia, and Vueling) reported increased profits year on year.

However, IAG, did sound a note of caution. The group will moderate planned capacity growth for the rest of the year with BA and Iberia in particular shaving off a couple of per cent of their growth.

In the case of BA, this will not be done by way of route suspensions or cancellations, but by tactical cancellations of flights during quiet periods.

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Ebola: BA suspends Freetown and Monrovia

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

As has been widely reported in the UK media, British Airways has suspended its flights from London Heathrow to Freetown and Monrovia from Wednesday 6 August until Sunday 31 August 2014 at the earliest, following an outbreak on Ebola in the region.

BA has provided details of rebooking and cancellation options for affected passengers.

Passengers are entitled to a full refund or to rebook their flights at a later date.

Alternatively, passengers can travel between London Heathrow and alternative BA destinations in Africa. These are Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria, Accra in Ghana and Nairobi in Kenya. Any additional consequential costs must be met by passengers.

Update: Flights are now cancelled until 31 March 2015. BA is no longer allowing reroutings to Lagos, Abuja, nor Nairobi. Passengers booked to travel up to 31 December 2014 also have the option of an alternative routing to Freetown or Monrovia via Brussels on SN Brussels airlines.

Update: This route has since been suspended permanently

BA to show “Soccer AM” & Premier League highlights

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BA World Traveller Cabin, Boeing 777-300 aircraft (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways to show Sky Sports’ popular weekly Soccer AM on some of its long-haul flights from 19 August 2014.

The airline will also show weekly highlights of Premier League games from the 2014/2015 season of the Barclays Premier League.

Furthermore, from September, the airline will also show Red Bull’s archives of sport programming ranging from freestyle moto-cross and mountain biking, to surfing and underground cave explorations.

BA say the above programming will be on “some” long-haul flights. We infer this is likely to mean Airbus A380, Boeing 787, Boeing 777-300 and some Boeing 777 aircraft which have the airline’s more advanced Thales in-flight entertainment system.

BA moves to São Paulo Guarulhos Terminal 3 on Thursday 7 August 2014

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Sao Paulo, Brazil
Sao Paulo, Brazil (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

British Airways will move its daily flights from London Heathrow to São Paulo Guarulhos airport from Terminal 1 to the new Guarulhos Terminal 3 from Thursday 7 August 2014.

BA currently flies daily to São Paulo and will increase its flights to ten weekly from early September.

BA will share the terminal with its IAG sibling Iberia. Eligible passengers will be able to use a third party VIP lounge until a dedicated Oneworld lounge opens.

On a related note, we are expecting BA to announce a codeshare relationship with its relatively new alliance partner TAM airlines, but nothing has been forthcoming.

London Heathrow – Tripoli cancelled indefinitely

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

The Foreign Office is currently advising against all travel to Libya and encourages Britons in the country to leave.

This is in response to a high threat to foreign nationals from terrorist incidents such as kidnappings. BBC News is currently reporting on a fire at a fuel storage facility in Tripoli.

In response to the Foreign Office advice, British Airways has cancelled its daily flight to Tripoli until Tuesday 5 August 2014 at the earliest indefinitely.

Passengers booked to travel to Tripoli are offered a refund or travel to alternative gateway within 300 mile radius of Tripoli, or Cairo.

Middle East Conflict: Rebooking options for Tel Aviv flights

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Following recent events in the Middle East, both US and a large number of European airlines had suspended flights to Tel Aviv on the basis of advice from regulators in the US and Europe.

The Federal Aviation Administration in the US and the European Aviation Safety Agency have subsequently changed their guidance.

British Airways continues to fly to Tel Aviv twice daily from London Heathrow. easyJet has resumed flights from London Luton and London Gatwick to Tel Aviv.

BA is allowing passengers booked to fly to Tel Aviv up to 25 July 2014 to rebook on any flight up to 7 August 2014. No refunds are available.

easyJet was also offering passengers the opportunity to rebook that but this seems to have been withdrawn.

BA to move Providenciales from Heathrow to Gatwick

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London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

British Airways is to move its weekly service to Providenciales International Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands from London Heathrow to Gatwick with effect from 29 March 2015.

The route is currently served by a weekly Boeing 767 service via Nassau in The Bahamas. When it moves to London Gatwick it will operate via Antigua, on a Boeing 777-200.

The timetable is:

Flight BA2157 Depart London Gatwick 10:45 Arrive Antigua 14:10
Flight BA2157 Depart Antigua 15:10 Arrive Providenciales 17:05

Flight BA2156 Depart Providenciales 18:35 Arrive Antigua 20:30
Flight BA2156 Depart Antigua 21:40 – Arrive 10:30 (next day)

We’re not sure what was prompted the move. It may simply be a more effective use of capacity. BA will continue to offer three classes of service (World Traveller Economy, World Traveller Plus Premium Economy and Club World Business Class) on the route.

BA launches London Gatwick – Fuerteventura from 13 December 2014

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London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)
London Gatwick Airfield (Image Credit: London Gatwick Airport)

British Airways will return to the island of Fuerteventura from December of this year, with twice weekly flights from London Gatwick.

Flights operate on a summer seasonal basis to Fuerteventura airport on Wednesday and Saturday.

Flight BA2700 Depart London Gatwick 14:30 – Arrive Fuerteventura 18:50 (Wednesday)
Flight BA2700 Depart London Gatwick 11:40 – Arrive Fuerteventura 16:00 (Saturday)

Flight BA2701 Depart Fuerteventura 19:35 – Arrive London Gatwick 23:45 (Wednesday)
Flight BA2701 Depart Fuerteventura 16:45 – Arrive London Gatwick 20:55 (Saturday)

Two points to note from this:

First, it’s a sign of return of growth by BA to Gatwick after a very long period of contraction in its short-haul network.

Second, it’s also an indication that future short-haul route launches at Gatwick are likely to be longer-range flights for holidaymakers rather than short-haul routes that are well covered by easyJet.

Flights are now on sale on ba.com.

BA adds 3rd daily Heathrow – Cape Town flight (for 9 days!)

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Cape Town
Cape Town (Image Credit: British Airways)

Cape Town has long been a popular leisure destination for UK holidaymakers, particularly in the winter months of the northern hemisphere.

BA currently serves the city ten times weekly during the UK summer season and twice daily during the UK winter season.

BA will now be adding a third daily flight for just nine days between 2 January and 11 January 2015 to meet high demand in the New Year.

These flights are:

Flight BA 45 Depart London Heathrow 16:30 – Arrive Cape Town 06:05 (first flight 2 January, last flight 10 January)

Flight BA 44 Depart Cape Town 09:15 – Arrive London Heathrow 19:00 (first flight 3 January, last flight 11 January)

It’s also worth noting that first class will be available on these extra flights. During the winter season, flights BA 43 and BA 42 will operate without first class.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com