BA 2023+ ex LHR/LGW – Where should they “expand”?/Can they really expand?Back to Forum
I had thought BA would have an overnight stop in Nuremburg so as to operate a morning feeder service.
But I now see that the return NUE-LHR flight operates in the late evening so is useless as a feeder unless one overnights at LHR.
No wonder the route is being dropped.
Latest news re QR’s Akbar Al Baker stepping down may well mean some changes to BA’s schedules to the Gulf etc.23 Oct 2023
In the piece by Mark in the BT news section today highlighting BA’s new LGW-Accra and LHR-Riga routes, he quotes BA’s Director of Network and Alliances, Neil Chernoff.
Part of that quote was “We are always looking at routes and regions where there is potential to growth and Accra is one of those routes and Africa is one of those regions”.
Maybe I am being over hopeful and looking too much into that, but this struck me as a relatively bold thing to say (whilst saying nothing really), but given Abu Dhabi is coming back in 2024, I wondered which other former BA African routes could be making a return. Of course geopolitics and the evolving economic situation of different nations has evolved, and tourist wise some countries may be more in “fashion”.
No doubt BA is still very plane, pilot and cabin crew short, but do participants have any views on which cities would be higher in the pecking order of restored or even new routes?
As detailed in the opening post I started in this now long thread, I feel most demand on the North Atlantic is perhaps mainly US/Canada driven with the weak Pound surely impacting on travel choices, so I do wonder if BA may re-evaluate their priorities and look again at other continents.31 Oct 2023
My guess is that of former BA destinations in Africa, Durban is most likely to be the first to return. Possibly followed by Seychelles? I’d like to see Lusaka and Dar es Salaam return but quite possibly unlikely. Emirates, Qatar and Turkish now serve both regularly. Perhaps they will consider a return to Freetown.31 Oct 2023
Hi SenatorGold – yes re Lusaka Qatar and Emirates operate daily – both combining the route with Harare.QR uses smaller 788 and EK 77W. I think a friend who used to be cabin crew with EK said Lusaka had more demand.
But the TK offering is pretty puny and very unattractive – twice weekly 737 stopping at DAR and arriving in LUN after 1am and leaving after 2 am. And not timed from IST for easy connections either.
I agree Durban must be one of the favourites to come back but wonder if Luanda might return – it was cancelled when the oil price was super low but had been one of their most profitable routes. Price is much higher now so they could bring that back.1 Nov 2023
Accra has hugely increased the volume of international flights since I came here in 2018 and since the post-COVID return to travel. We now have 35-40 international arrivals per day and a lot more transit passengers.
I would think there is considerable scope for Accra to increase traffic further – certainly the ‘new’ terminal still has ample capacity for more traffic, except at peak times in the early/mid evenings when most of the long-haul flights arrive and depart. Onward connections to west and central Africa would seem to be the obvious opportunities. I can see Accra and Lagos competing for this growing market.
I am not sure what the additional LGW flights will provide in terms of onward connection traffic from London but the flight will land at 04.00 into Gatwick so plenty of flights, including all the Easyjet and BA European destinations.
I will be on the Accra-Gatwick flight next week so look forward to landing into an otherwise pretty deserted South terminal, as I think the next arrival isn’t til after 5am.1 Nov 2023
DavidSmith2 interesting to hear about Accra Airport and how it has grown. And I think if there was one city in West Africa that could have a successful hub airline it would be Accra with a new “national” airline there. I gather opportunities were missed over the last decade or so- not helped of course by politicians.
I know Asky is a hub airline using Lome as its main base (stand to be corrected), but given the size of the Ghana population, its wealth and location I feel an “Air Ghana” could do very well with a long and regional route network using A330s, 7373 and E190s for example. It could be the ET for West Africa.6 Nov 2023
You are spot on Sparky. Asky is the main regional airline that I use for places like Banjul, Cabo verde, Sierra Leone & Liberia. But for some of the desinations (those east and south of Accra) you have to transit through Lome, which isn’t ideal. The Asky fleet is all 737s I think, although they are becoming a bit shabby. BUt they are continually adding to their range, with Nairobi added last month and Luanda earlier in the year. But I think only Brussels Air and Air France fly directly into Lome from Europe, wheras Accra also has BA, TAP, KLM, Turkish, Emirates & Qatar.
The obvious solution would be to switch many of the Asky flights to Accra and consolidate the transit market, but of course political sensitivities and economic interests may come into play there.
There is AWA (Africa World Airlines) which is based in Ghana but they mainly run domestic routes (plus Abuja and Lagos) using ERJs.
There is definitely an opportunity for consolidation and expansion though and I would imagine that a direct route to China also has to be in the pipeline, given China’s ever-growing economic interests in the region.6 Nov 2023
DavidSmith2 – I guess you have to comment AWA – Africa World Airlines for ambition with a name like that 😉
Re major airlines operating into Accra there is also Delta and United flying from NY and DC, and soon ITA will be starting from Rome (Alitalia flew there for many years).
It does seem Ghana has missed a trick.
Back on the BA flights into Accra I reckon LGW flights were added for mainly VFR traffic so that the LHR flight could be used for transfer traffic onto US Canada and other destinations as well as plentiful business traffic.6 Nov 2023
British Airways modifies aircraft for several U.S. flights from LHR:
Nashville 777-200ER replace 787-8 from Mar. 31
Philadelphia 787-10 replace 777-300ER from Mar. 31
Portland 787-8 from Mar. 31, 787-10 from July 2 replacing planned 777-200ER29 Nov 2023
I heard something about BGI also going 787 in the Summer timetable.
Guess the 788s are being refitted, new 350 and 787-10 will take over some 772 routes and the 772s will look after the 788 routes, more or less!29 Nov 2023
According to Airways Magazine, easyjet will ‘surrender’ (ie return) 3000 slots to BA at Gatwick next year. According to the article, that relates to the equivalent of 3 aircraft.
Depending on times, aircraft availabilty etc, it will be interesting to see what BA do.
With new 787-10S and A350 joining the Heathrow fleet, might some of the existing (but old) 777-200s currently operating out of Heathrow be switched to Gatwick? The Heathrow fleet is generally too premium heavy to be used out of Gatwick but perhaps they can squeeze a few more years out of them.
In a slightly related vein, TUI have recently announced that they are pulling out of Cuba from summer 2024 which means that there will be no direct flights between the UK and Cuba and only a limited number of (very expensive) indirect options. I wonder whether BA will be tempted.30 Nov 2023
BA needs to move more UK domestic & European flights from LHR (London Heathrow airport) to LCY ( London City airport)as long
as the Elizabeth Line Heavy Railway station is built at London City airport. I’m aware there is already a DLR (Docklands Light Railway) station at LCY. This new heavy railway station would allow passengers to use just 1 railway line between 2 major London airports. And I’ve now heard the local London council that LCY is in is now reducing its speed limits on all its roads to 20mph: even more reason to build this Heavy Rail station at LCY!
Newham Council: Some major roads are not included in the 20mph programme and will retain their existing speed limits. These are:
Newham Way (A13)
Royal Docks Road (A1020)
Woolwich Manor Way
Sir Steve Redgrave Bridge and Albert Road (A117)
Lower Lea Crossing (A1020)
Private streets (e.g. in developments or estates) and streets that are not managed by the Council are also excluded from the Newham 20mph programme.1 Dec 2023
For East Africa (Dar, Kampala etc) I think Emirates has taken so much market share that BA would struggle.
For other markets (Zimbabwe and Zambia) there are also issues with getting money out. That is the reason why EK has pulled Nigeria I believe.3 Dec 2023