British Airways has confirmed today that its (near) daily flight to Bangkok, BA9, will undergo a change of departure terminal at Heathrow, aircraft type and timing from the start of the Winter 2013 season on Sunday 27 October 2013.
The flight which currently departs from Heathrow Terminal 3 at 22:05 to arrive in Bangkok at 15:20 will transfer to Terminal 5 from 27 October 2013.
The operating aircraft will also a change from a four class Boeing 747 to a three class Boeing 777.
Furthermore, the departure time will change to 15:05, arriving in Bangkok at 09:20 and returning from Bangkok at 10:55 to arrive at Heathrow at 16:55. This is also the last BA operated long-haul flight to transfer from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5.
We can surmise a number of reasons for the change of time and aircraft downgrade. The Bangkok flight used to continue on Sydney and was timed to accommodate the early morning curfew on arrival at Sydney airport. However, the Bangkok-Sydney leg ceased in 2012 which has also no doubt had an impact on traffic numbers. Furthermore, BA no longer codeshares on this route with Qantas. Finally, there is increased competition from carriers such as Emirates offering indirect routings with competitive fares to Bangkok which are particularly attractive to leisure travellers on this route.
The change of timing is likely to be unpopular with some business travellers. However, there are plenty of departures to Asia during the day on other successful routes. The release of a valuable late night Heathrow departure slot and early morning arrival slot may also enable a new route to launch. BA has a long history of flying to Bangkok and it would ultimately be a shame to see the airline cease flying to the city.