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.
British Airways took delivery of its first Boeing 787 today and the airline has confirmed that the first two long-haul routes to feature the aircraft are New York (Newark) and Toronto. This is the first of some 42 Boeing 787 to delivered over the next few years.
A daily Boeing 787 service will operate to Toronto from 1 September 2013 with a 2nd daily 787 service between 15 September and 25 October. A daily service to New York (Newark) will operate from 1 October 2013. Full details about the aircraft are on ba.com
One of the many frustrations for air travellers are inconsistent rules between airlines. One specific irritation are the rules in respect of the use of mobile phones by passengers once an aircraft has landed on the runway.
The UK, in accordance with the rules of the Civil Aviation Authority (“CAA”), has always adopted a strict approach that mobile phones and other electronic devices cannot be switched on after landing until the aircraft has reached the gate and the aircraft engines have been switched off.
Some international airlines are not bound by such restrictions and allow the use of mobile phones once the wheels have touched down.
In practice, this often leads to passengers not following crew instructions.
BA has been working with the CAA and has been able to obtain agreement that mobile phones and other electronic devices can be used once the aircraft has cleared the runway and the all clear is given by cabin crew.
This is the second time in the past year that the CAA has relaxed its rules after lobbying by BA. Last year, BA obtained agreement that its in-flight entertainment systems could, subject to some restrictions, be used “gate to gate” rather than being switched on after take off and switched off before landing.
The new policy will apply network wide from 1 July 2013. Current policies on switching off electronic devices before take off remain unchanged.
British Airways has today, 10 June 2013, confirmed that is to take delivery of its first Boeing 787 aircraft on 26 June 2013, and a second Boeing 787 aircraft a day later. It will take delivery of its first Airbus A380 aircraft on 4 July 2013 at a special media event at Heathrow to celebrate the introduction of two new aircraft types to its fleet.
British Airways has today confirmed that it is, with immediate effect, to offer codeshares with Bangkok Airways on flights from Bangkok to Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, and from Singapore to Koh Samui. These are three of the eight destinations in Thailand served by Bangkok Airways.
The move is not surprising. Both Bangkok and Singapore have previously acted as a “scissor hub” for British Airways and Qantas to provide onward connections to numerous cities in Australia. Although these codeshares between British Airways and Qantas are still in place, these are less competitive for passengers arriving from London. This is because Qantas has retimed its Australia bound flights from Bangkok and Singapore after ceasing to fly from London to Bangkok and Singapore.
BA has also downgraded the Bangkok route from a four class Boeing 747 to a three class Boeing 777 from 27 October 2013, indicating under performance on this route.