British Airways is to reinstate a connection between London Gatwick and Manchester after a hiatus of many years.
The route was suspended during a long process of “de-hubbing” BA’s operation at Gatwick with a focus on point-to-point traffic. It was a one of a number of domestic routes suspended at Gatwick including Aberdeen and Newcastle.
At present, timetables indicate that the route will operate once-daily. An early morning departure from Manchester will facilitate connections to long-haul flights at Gatwick.
BA is also transferring long-haul flights from London Heathrow Accra and to Gatwick from 28 March 2021.
More broadly, this does suggest that BA is intent on restoring its short-haul operation at Gatwick next summer and preserving its slot portfolio.
That said, as ever in the current environment everything is subject to change at short notice.
Last week we reported that BA had scheduled Boeing 747 aircraft on selected UK domestic flights from London Heathrow to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on the day of its centenary, Sunday 25 August 2019.
This did come with the caveat that BA had made no official announcement about these flights. These flights have attracted a lot of interest and a week later BA has today, Friday 7 June 2019, issued the following statement to the travel trade:
We’ve been exploring a number of options to put our customers at the heart of our birthday weekend celebrations, but we still haven’t confirmed any plans.
We haven’t revealed any of the details of our birthday weekend so far. Some aviation websites made a guess at what we were planning, but we were very clear that this was speculation.
We are still considering our options for that weekend and will release details in due course.
Clearly, some passengers may have booked these flights (in some cases for the cost of a transatlantic flight) hoping for special celebrations on board.
BA is now offering passengers who booked a Boeing 747 flight from London Heathrow to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on Sunday 25 August between 30 May and 7 June 2019 and no longer wish to travel a refund.
Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.
Update: Many passengers are now receiving e-mails from BA advising that these flights will no longer be operated with a Boeing 747 aircraft. So the plan for special flights appears to have been cancelled entirely.
British Airways is to launch a new route from London City to Manchester.
Interested? Well don’t get too excited. There’s just one return flight a week and it only operates from Sunday 21 May to Sunday 1 October 2017!
However, there is method behind the madness. Allow us to explain:
London City is closed from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. As this would leave BA’s fleet of Embraer aircraft otherwise sitting on the ground, last year it ran a successful experiment of summer weekend leisure flights from Stansted. BA is now looking to extend this to other UK airports and Manchester is the latest airport to gain weekend leisure routes.
BA will offer weekend leisure flights from Manchester to Alicante, Ibiza, Malaga, Mykonos, Nice and Palma from late May to October 2017.
As BA needs to move aircraft from London City to Manchester to operate the flights, it has also opened this flight for sale to passengers.
Flights from Manchester are on sale now at ba.com. The only exception are flights between Manchester and London City which go on sale on 21 February 2017.
Please note that the timetables below are indicative only. There may be changes to the schedule depending on the strength of forward bookings.
Whilst food & drink should initially be complementary in EuroTraveller, at some point in the summer BA is expected to extend its Marks & Spencer Buy-On-Board to all London City flights and London Stansted and Manchester weekend leisure flights.
With the exception of Alicante, all of these routes are also served by BA from Heathrow and it should be possible to “mix and match” direct flights with indirect flights via London Heathrow (or via Iberia in Madrid in some cases). If booking connections take care not to book connections from different London airports as any travel between London airports will be at your own expense and not recommended. Continue reading “BAs launches London City – Manchester (sort of..)”
Virgin Atlantic has today, 31 March 2016, announced that it is to launch new routes from Manchester to Boston & San Francisco from late March 2017.
Boston will initially operate twice weekly (Wednesdays & Saturdays) and San Francisco will initially operate thrice weekly (Tuesdays, Fridays, & Sundays).
Flights will be operated by Virgin Atlantic’s fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft with Upper Class (business), premium economy and economy seating.
Virgin Atlantic has of course long had a presence in Manchester. It flies to Orlando, Barbados, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. The latter being the hub of its transatlantic partner and minority shareholder, Delta Air Lines.
However, what is noteworthy about today’s announcement is that first these routes seemingly are geared to attracting business as well as leisure traffic.
Furthermore, Virgin will, for the first time we believe, offer a significant number of short-haul connections at Manchester with Flybe from a large number of airports in the UK and Europe such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Exeter, Southampton and Newquay.
As such, today’s announcement could presage the development of small, but growing, hub for Virgin Atlantic at Manchester.
It is also good to see Virgin Atlantic expanding after a period of contraction at London Heathrow with the closure of its “Little Red” domestic flights to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester, as well as the closure of a number of routes such as Cape Town, Mumbai, Tokyo and Vancouver.
It also points to a very growing and competitive transatlantic market in the UK. Indeed, Boston and San Francisco are two recently announced routes by Norwegian at London Gatwick.
In terms of competitive response from carriers in London, we don’t expect any immediate response from British Airways or its parent company IAG.
BA attracted considerable criticism many years ago for withdrawing its final non-London international route, Manchester – New York JFK. BA would no doubt point to its growing transatlantic network in London, its codeshare partner American Airlines flights from Manchester to New York JFK, Chicago and Philadelphia and its IAG sibling Aer Lingus flights to North America from Manchester via Dublin (with the benefit of pre-clearance). That said, we have no doubt today’s developments will be watched with interest.
Virgin’s flights from Manchester to Boston and San Francisco are on sale at Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin Atlantic’s has suspended its “Little Red” short-haul flights between London Heathrow and Manchester as of late March 2015. Virgin Atlantic “Little Red” will continue to fly between London Heathrow and Aberdeen and Edinburgh until Saturday 26 September 2015.
The winding down of Virgin Atlantic’s short-lived UK domestic operation “Little Red” has started with the London Heathrow – Manchester route now suspended, some two years after it first launched.
Virgin Atlantic’s “Little Red” operation will continue to fly from London Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh three and six times daily until Saturday 26 September 2015.
It’s also worth adding that holders of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles can redeem their miles for Virgin Little Red flights from 7,500 miles. Flying Club members can also earn bonus miles on Little Red flights.
What will happen to the “Little Red” Heathrow slots?
Some of the slots used by Little Red were from Virgin Atlantic’s existing slot portfolio, so some will revert back to Virgin Atlantic.
Many of the slots (at least nine) were forfeited by British Airways as a consequence of the acquisition of bmi by its parent company, International Airlines Group.
The trustee appointed to oversee the release of slots has re-advertised the slots. The deadline for applications is 2 April 2015.
If there is no bidder, the slots will revert back to British Airways.
There are no obvious candidates for the slots. However, a potential candidate would be easyJet if it felt inclined to launch flights at Heathrow to support its increased targeting of the business market.
Virgin Atlantic has announced the closure of “Little Red” short-haul flights from London Heathrow. Flights to Manchester will cease on Saturday 28 March 2015 and flights to Aberdeen and Edinburgh will cease on Saturday 26 September 2015.
The business section of today’s Sunday Times leads with a story (subscription required) that Virgin Atlantic is to close its “Little Red” domestic operation from London Heathrow to Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
It’s been over four months since Virgin Atlantic launched its short-haul operation from London Heathrow to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester and, so far, we have only anecdotal evidence to rely on to judge the performance of these routes.