This weekend sees the start of the new summer timetable at London Heathrow. There are a few changes including the launch of scheduled services by BA to New Orleans, Virgin Atlantic taking over Seattle from Delta, Flybe launching Aberdeen and Edinburgh and BA launching summer seasonal routes to Murcia, Nantes and Tallin with many more routes to follow later in the summer.
One other change is that BA is now flying a Boeing 777 daily between London Heathrow and Madrid, a route exclusively operated by BA and Iberia.
Shortly after the merger of BA and Iberia under the umbrella of International Airlines Group in 2011 the two airlines put wide body aircraft on the route. BA operates a Boeing 767 on flights BA456 and BA457. Iberia operates its Airbus A340 on flights BA522 and IB3166/BA7058. The principal reason for this is not necessarily passenger demand, but the cargo capacity in the belly of the aircraft.
From today, Sunday 26 March 2017, BA will also operate a Boeing 777 on this route. Flight BA458 which departs London Heathrow at 07:20 and flight BA459 which departs Madrid at 12:20 will be operated by a Boeing 777.
British Airways is to suspend its twice daily London City – Madrid route permanently from Sunday 29 January 2017. The airline is to also not proceed with its planned seasonal London City – Alicante service this summer. This was planned to operate from Monday 26 June to Monday 4 September 2017.
No specific reasons have been given for the cancellation. However, it’s a reasonable assumption that poor commercial performance is the cause. BA has yet to announce which routes will operate in their replacement.
Affected passengers have the option of a refund or being accommodated on alternative BA flights to Madrid from London Heathrow (served by some 13 return flights a day) or Alicante from London Gatwick respectively (which operates up to twice daily at various times).
If you have not already been contacted you should contact either BA or your traval agent.
This post is perhaps for students of aviation rather than the travelling public at large, but it is something worth noting in any event.
We have written much in recent years about British Airways’ International Airlines Group (“IAG”) sibling Iberia, and the wildly divergent financial performance of the two airlines since the formation of IAG four years ago in 2011.
Since Iberia started to report very heavy losses in 2012, IAG has taken a number of steps to improve the performance of Iberia.
This has included a complete overhaul of its senior management by a new CEO and (after bitter and unedifying industrial action with some rather unpleasant anti-British sentiment) reaching new collective agreements with its pilots and other staff working groups.
Ever since the marriage of BA and Iberia a little under four years ago, we have often wondered why Iberia has not taken advantage of BA’s distribution and marketing to operate more flights from UK airports to its Madrid hub.
There have been short-lived flights from Glasgow to Madrid, but little more. Now, as part of a significant expansion of Iberia’s short-haul network (which includes the launch of flights from Manchester and Edinburgh to Madrid), Iberia is to launch twice daily flights from London Gatwick to Madrid from Sunday 29 March 2015.
On the morning of the announcement, as per standard protocol, it held a webcast for analyst and the question and answer session that follows provides a lot of useful insight into current strategic developments at the airline group.
Here is a summary of some points of interest from the call: