British Airways is the largest airline at London City and London Heathrow airports. It also has a substantial presence at London Gatwick.
It is a subsidiary of International Airlines Group which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling who all have a presence in London.
BA is also a member of the Oneworld alliance and many of its fellow members such as American Airlines and Cathay Pacific have a substantial presence in London. BA therefore features very heavily on this site.
Quite a mixed picture for BA in Africa at the moment. Yesterday, BA announced that its route to Lusaka was being dropped and this followed the suspension of its route to Dar es Salaam earlier this year.
On a more positive note, BA is to increase flights to Accra from daily to 10 weekly from Sunday 27 October 2013. Furthermore, the daily flight will be upgaged from a Boeing 777 to a Boeing 747 from Sunday 30 March 2014. This is no doubt a competitive response to Virgin Atlantic withdrawing from this route.
Just under a year ago, as part of a reshuffle of flights between London Heathrow terminals as British Airways digested its acquisition of bmi, BA decided to move all of its flights to Tel Aviv from Terminal 5 to Terminal 1, with all flights operated by an Airbus A321 aircraft.
This proved to be unpopular with passengers for three main reasons:
1. The switch to Terminal 1 meant no access to BA’s Galleries Club and First lounges in Terminal 5 and a change in terminals for the majority of transfer passengers.
2. The switch from three/four class widebody aircraft to a two class, economy and business class, aircraft.
3. The change in aircraft meant that no premium economy product was available on this route and members of the British Airways Executive Club could not use frequent flyer miles (“Avios”) to upgrade to business class (Club World).
BA has now reversed this decision and from Sunday 30 March 2014 all flights to Tel Aviv will operate from Terminal 5. Flights will operate twice daily, with an Airbus A321 aircraft and a four class Boeing 777 aircraft.
It has not been confirmed whether any routes will move from Terminal 5 to 1 to accommodate the move.
Terminal 1 is due to close in Spring 2016, at which point it is expected that BA’s flights will be consolidated in Terminals 3 and 5.
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.
British Airways completed its first long-haul passenger flight on the Boeing 787 yesterday, 1 September 2013, when BA93 departed London Heathrow Terminal 5 for Toronto Pearson airport.
The flight landed at approximately 14:55 local time and departed for London the same evening around 19:20 as flight BA92.
Flights to Newark on the Boeing 787 start on 1 October 2013. British Airways has yet to announce which destination will next be served by the Boeing 787. However, it is likely to be another transatlantic route currently served by a Boeing 767, possibly Philadelphia or Washington Dulles.
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.
Some good news for British Airways passengers at London Gatwick. The airline has announced that, from the start of the Summer 2014 season on 30 March 2014, it will increase the frequency of flights on the following routes:
Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) increases from 2 to 3 flights a week
Antigua increases from 5 to 6 flights a week
Kingston increases from 3 to 4 flights a week
St Lucia increases from 6 to 7 flights a week
Orlando increases from 10 to 13 flights a week
The increase in frequency has been enabled by the addition of one more Boeing 777 aircraft, taking the number of Boeing 777s stationed at London Gatwick to 10. This is itself something of an achievement for BA at London Gatwick bearing in mind the number of slots that now need occupying at Heathrow.
It is a little disappointing that BA has not chosen to use the extra capacity to launch a new route, particularly to the East where BA has previously expressed the potential for growth in long-haul leisure routes from London Gatwick. However, there is a logic in adding frequencies to routes not served by daily flights to increase the number of outbound/inbound options for passengers.
Of note is the increase in flights to Orlando, which increase once again to 13 weekly and has historically been something of a stronghold for Virgin Atlantic. It is also interesting to note there has been no increase in flights from London Gatwick to Las Vegas which remain at thrice weekly, and complemented by daily flights from London Heathrow.
Hopefully the trend of steady growth in BA’s long-haul leisure operation at Gatwick is one that will continue.
Following the fire at Nairobi airport in Kenya yesterday, British Airways has provided details of the options available to passengers whose flights to Nairobi have been cancelled, or are booked to fly to Nairobi over the next few days.
British Airways has announced it is to suspend its thrice weekly London Gatwick – Tunis route from 27 October 2013.
No reason has been given for the cancellation, but unsatisfactory commercial performance is a likely reason and the route suspension is an indication of the ongoing commercial pressures BA faces in the short-haul market at Gatwick.
At this stage, passengers booked on services after 27 October 2013 only have the option of a refund or moving their booking to an earlier date, as there are no direct or indirect alternatives on BA.
British Airways has confirmed that Johannesburg will join Hong Kong and Los Angeles in its network of destinations served by the Airbus A380.
BA will operate an A380 service on three weekly return flights from London to Johannesburg from 12 February 2014 and six weekly return flights from 10 March 2014.
Full details of the exact flights are on the BA website.
What all these destinations have in common is that no other airline operates a direct service from London using an Airbus A380 which provides some pointers as to what additional destinations may be served by the A380.
Update January 2018:
BA operates the Airbus A380 on both of its twice daily services from London Heathrow to Johannesburg until Saturday 24 March 2018. From Sunday 25 March 2018, flights BA55 and BA56 continue to be operated with the Airbus A380. Flights BA57 and BA54 are operated with a Boeing 747.