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.
With the arrival of the Airbus A350, the A380 has been superseded as one of the most popular aircraft in BA’s fleet, particularly for passengers flying in Club World.
However, BA’s critical mass of 12 Airbus A380 is still the preferred choice of aircraft on many routes it operates from London Heathrow.
Here’s our guide to where the Airbus A380 is due to fly in 2020. The one significant change from previous years is that the A380 no longer flies to Miami and there appear be no plans to reintroduce the aircraft to this route.
Please note that schedules are subject to change throughout the course of the year. Aircraft can also be substituted at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances. Flights are now on sale at ba.com
One of BA’s four daily flights from London Heathrow and Boston, flights BA213 & BA212, will be operated with the A380 for the summer season from Monday 30 March 2020 to Saturday 24 October 2020.
The BA A380 will fly to Chicago O’Hare daily on flights BA297 & BA296 for the summer season from Sunday 29 March 2020 to Saturday 24 October 2020.
BA flies the A380 on one of its two daily flights between London Heathrow and Hong Kong, flights BA27 & BA28.
From Sunday 29 March 2020 until Saturday 24 October 2020, the two flights swap and BA31 & BA32 will be operated with the A380. It then swaps back to BA27 & BA28.
Welcome to our updated guide to British Airways’ plans to refurbish and renew its short and long-haul fleet for 2020.
The main theme for 2020 is the delivery of new Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 777-300 and 787-10 aircraft, as well as the refurbishment of Boeing 777-200 aircraft at London Heathrow.
As BA now has clear plans to replace all of its Boeing 747 and much of its Boeing 777-200 fleet, no wide body aircraft orders are expected this year.
BA’s fleet plans are under constant review. In the short term, they are subject to aircraft manufacturers meeting delivery deadlines. In the medium term, they will also be influenced by economic and geopolitical events.
Here’s a run through of recent and forthcoming deliveries and refurbishments by aircraft type:
BA has started to take delivery of the Airbus A350-1000, of which there are 18 on order. As at 1 January 2020, four aircraft are in service.
The first Airbus A350s are in a three class configuration, with no First Class. There are 56 Club World “Club Suite” seats, 56 World Traveller Plus seats, and 219 World Traveller seats.
The first long-haul routes are London Heathrow – Toronto (BA93 / BA92), London Heathrow – Dubai (BA107 / BA106), London Heathrow – Tel Aviv (BA163 / BA162) and London Heathrow – Bengaluru (BA119 / BA118).
BA will take delivery of further aircraft in 2020, with all expected to be delivered by 2022. The airline also has options for 36 more aircraft.
Please see here for details of the new Club World cabin and here for internal and external pictures of the Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.
BA has 12 Airbus A380s in service.
It currently operates on selected flights to destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Boston (summer seasonal), Chicago (summer seasonal), San Francisco, Vancouver (summer seasonal) and Washington Dulles.
BA had options to acquire a further 7 A380s. However, these have now lapsed. With Airbus suspending production of the A380 in 2021 it is now a given that BA will not be acquiring any more aircraft.
There was talk some time ago of BA’s leasing second-hand Airbus A380s but this has not come to anything due to the cost of reconfiguring aircraft.
BA will also begin retrofitting its new “Club Suite” to A380 aircraft from 2023.
2019 was a busy year for BA with its centenary celebrations, the launch of its first new long-haul business class cabin in nearly 20 years, and the delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.
The delivery of new long-haul aircraft and retrofitting the new Club Suite to its existing Heathrow fleet will be a continuing theme throughout 2020, as well as potentially significant changes to its relationships with alliance and codeshare partners.
Here are some of the major known changes to aircraft, routes and partnerships for 2020:
Long-Haul Fleet – New Aircraft Deliveries
In 2020, BA will take delivery of new Airbus A350-1000, Boeing 777-300 and Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
As at December 2019, BA has taken delivery of 4 of its order of 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. These will continue throughout 2020 and all aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2022.
BA will also take delivery of four new Boeing 777-300 aircraft and the first 6 of its order for 12 Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
The Boeing 787-10 aircraft will feature an 8 seat First Class cabin, 48 Club Suites, and 35 seats in World Traveller Plus and 165 seats in World Traveller. The first aircraft is due to arrive in January and the first confirmed route is Atlanta.
Long-Haul Fleet – Aircraft Refurbishments
BA has now completed the refurbishment of its Gatwick based Boeing 777-200 aircraft.
This has primarily involved “densifying” its World Traveller economy from 9 to 10 seats abreast as well as fitting new in-flight entertainment systems and new World Traveller Plus seats.
BA is now refurbishing its fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft at London Heathrow. As well as “densifying” its economy cabin, the airline is also retrofitting its new Club Suite to the aircraft and reducing the size of the First Class cabin to 8 seats. It also expected that some four class aircraft will also be converted to three class. Some of BA’s 12 Boeing 777-300 aircraft will also be refurbished in a similar fashion this year.
Long-Haul Fleet – Aircraft Retirements
BA will continue to retire aircraft from its Boeing 747 fleet, with the number of aircraft in service at Heathrow expected to reduce from 32 to 25 by the end of 2020.
The airline also plans to retire 3 Boeing 777-200 aircraft at London Heathrow. These are known as the “odd-ball” aircraft with registrations G-ZZZA, G-ZZZB, and G-ZZZC and 17 First Class seats which typically operate to the Middle East and US East Coast.
BA is expected to continue to take delivery of new Airbus A320neo and Airbus A321neo aircraft to replace its oldest Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft.
In June 2019, BA’s parent company IAG announced it had signed a Letter Of Intent with Boeing to acquire up to 200 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for delivery to BA at London Gatwick and Vueling from 2023.
This was in part intended to introduce competition between Airbus and Boeing for short-haul aircraft and mitigate the risk of delivery delays from Airbus. Given Boeing’s decision to suspend production of the Boeing 737 MAX and its well documented problems bringing the aircraft back to service, IAG will have to make a decision shortly whether to order alternative aircraft from Airbus.
2020 is a relatively quiet year for new routes.
BA is to introduce just one new long-haul route, from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Portland, Oregon from 1 June 2020.
Given the number of long-haul aircraft deliveries, refurbishments and retirements at Heathrow it is likely that there will be a significant reallocation of aircraft between routes during the course of the year.
BA will launch new summer seasonal short-haul routes from London Heathrow to Bodrum, Dalaman, Perugia, Podgrica, Pristina and Rhodes. BA’s summer seasonal service from London Heathrow to Nantes will not return in 2020.
At Gatwick, BA will launch a new summer seasonal route to Antalya. However, summer seasonal services to Gibraltar and Limoges will not return. It is noteworthy that, despite the acquisition of slots from Monarch, BA has not added new long-haul routes at Gatwick for some time.
To London City, BA will launch a new summer seasonal service to San Sebastian. However, summer seasonal service to Granada will not return in 2020.
It’s highly unlikely there will be any radical changes to BA’s approach of targeted investment, focused on premium cabins.
Given the retirement of Boeing 747 aircraft and the planned conversion of some four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft to three class, it is inevitable that First Class will continue to be removed from some routes.
Taking into account planned aircraft deliveries and refurbishments above, it is estimated that the new Club Suite will be fitted to a third of long-haul aircraft at Heathrow by the end of 2020.
As far as ground services are concerned, automation and efficiency is likely to be a continuing theme. BA will even trial robots to guide passengers at London Heathrow Terminal 5.
A new BA uniform, designed by Ozwald Boateng OBE will also be introduced in 2020.
As 2019 draws to a close, so does BA’s centenary year.
At the start of the year, there was always a suspicion that however well BA could try to choreograph its celebrations, they would inevitably be disrupted by “events”.
And so it proved to be. After an initially successful start with the launch of centenary liveries and special product launches an industrial dispute with its pilots which had been simmering for some time exploded on the exact weekend of its centenary. The dispute has since been settled but it has undoubtedly cast a shadow over the end of its centenary year.
To mark the occasion we published a 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines. If you want to read the full countdown in numerical order you can do so here.
Rather than simply repeat the whole list here, the 100 articles have been grouped by some of the major themes below:
British Airways has launched a new summer seasonal route from London City Airport to San Sebastián in the Basque Country region of Spain.
BA will fly from London City to San Sebastián twice weekly on Monday & Friday from Friday 10 July 2020 to Friday 4 September 2020.
Flights will be operated with Embraer E190 aircraft in a two class Club Europe business class and Euro Traveller economy configuration.
This will be the only direct service to San Sebastián from London. BA already serves San Sebastián indirectly through an onward codeshare from Madrid on Air Nostrum. It is of course possible to mix and match London airports, albeit with an element of backtracking. Bilbao airport (served by BA from Gatwick) is also around 100km from San Sebastián.
British Airways has launched a new long-haul route from London Heathrow to Portland, Oregon.
BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Portland International Airport five times weekly from Monday 1 June 2020. Flights will not operate on Tuesday and Thursday.
Flights will be operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft in a three class configuration with Club World business class, World Traveller Plus premium economy and World Traveller economy cabins.
Known for its environmental consciousness and independent spirit, Portland is of course close to other BA North American gateways Seattle and Vancouver, and it is possible to “mix and match” arrival and departure airports in North America. BA also codeshares with Alaska Airlines from Portland to a number of airports on the US West Coast.
This is a relatively unusual route choice for BA in that Portland is already served on a summer seasonal basis by Delta. BA has historically launched new transatlantic routes from London Heathrow to airports that do not have any transatlantic services to London.
British Airways and China Southern Airlines have announced plans to launch a joint business in respect of flights between the UK and mainland China.
Currently, BA and China Southern Airlines have a limited codeshare relationship with BA placing its code on China Southern Airlines operated flights from Shanghai when connecting to/from BA operated flights between London and Shanghai. China Southern Airlines also places its code on a number of BA short-haul flights from London Heathrow.
Under the joint-business the two airlines will offer full codesharing on each other’s routes between London and mainland China. They will also offer reciprocal benefits to each other’s frequent flyers.
Currently, BA flies from London Heathrow to Beijing Daxing and Shanghai airports. China Southern Airlines flies from London Heathrow Terminal 4 to Guangzhou, Sanya, Zhengzhou, and Wuhan.
The expanded codeshare relationship will take effect from Thursday 2 January 2020 and flights are on sale from today, Tuesday 17 December 2019. The two airlines are expected to explore further co-operation in 2020.
For BA, this does substantially improve its coverage of mainland China where it has been relatively weak compared to other European network airlines, partly due to the lack of a local alliance partner.
BA does also have a local codeshare relationship with China Eastern Airlines which does not appear to be disturbed by this news.
British Airways has launched a string of new summer seasonal short-haul routes from London Heathrow.
BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Pristina, Kosovo on Saturdays from 4 July 2020 to 29 August 2020.
BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Podgorica, Montenegro on Saturdays from 4 July 2020 to 29 August 2020.
BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Perugia, Italy on Monday, Thursday and Saturdays from Thursday 2 July 2020 to Monday 31 August 2020.
BA will fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to both Bodrum and Dalaman, Turkey on Saturday from 23 May 2020 to 24 October 2020. BA already flies to Dalaman from Gatwick and has previously flown to Bodrum from Gatwick. BA has also previously announced a new summer seasonal route from London Gatwick to Antalya.
BA will also fly from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Rhodes, Greece, complementing its existing service from London Gatwick. BA will also fly from London Gatwick to Corfu twice weekly from 1 May 2020 to 23 October 2020. This will complement BA’s existing summer seasonal service from Heathrow.
Flights will be operated with Airbus A320 aircraft in a two class configuration with Club Europe business class and Euro Traveller configuration.
Here are the timings of the new Heathrow flights. Note there are differences between the official BA press release and BA’s online timetables. The times below are based on BA’s online timetables at the time of publication.
Also note that as these are new summer seasonal routes, the operating dates may be subject to change depending on their commercial performance.
The Financial Times has reported that British Airways and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) have agreed a new pay deal for BA pilots at the conciliation service ACAS.
This follows an overwhelming rejection of previous pay offers and two days of industrial action by BA pilots in September of this year.
According to the FT, the new deal includes an improved pay offer and improvements to pilot working conditions on matters such as rostering.
As is expected, BA will also reinstate staff travel concessions removed from BA pilots who took part in industrial action.
However, there does not appear to have been any significant movement on one of the most contentious issues in the dispute which was profit sharing. One of the key reasons for the rejection of previous offers was that BA pilots wanted a much improved pay offer with more significant profit sharing following the dramatic improvement in BA’s financial profitability over the past ten years.
The new deal will be subject to a ballot of BALPA members which a recommendation from BALPA that it should be accepted. This normally takes about four weeks, so the outcome of the result should be known before Christmas. Whether it will be accepted by BA pilots will only be known when the result is announced. However, this does remove the prospect of any further industrial action in the short term.