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Anonymous5 Aug 2012
-BA to return to Colombo from March 2013
-3 times weekly service will be a tag on from current Male service
-Service will operate with 777-200ER
-Service will allow code-sharing on Sri Lankan’s South Asian network as soon as it joins oneworld
-It will provide a boost to Gatwick after recent service losses
-Flight times will have to be changed to allow for the roughly 1.5hr flight, current turnaround time is roughly 2.5hrs, meaning timetable change
Good to see BA committing to Gatwick airport, and this new service looks quite interesting, especially if it opens up new destinations on Sri Lankan’s network.5 Aug 2012
Nothing formally confirmed so far. I’d be very pleased to see this route come to fruition after being promised for so long.
Fares don’t seem to be loaded yet, but I’ve been recommended http://www.whyhousesrilanka.com/ which I have heard is excellent.
Well done to jet72uk for potentially correctly predicting the start date:
I’d imagine this might be a precursor to test the water for a potential 767/787 route in the longer term.5 Aug 2012
LuganoPirate – Not any longer. EK used to own a big chunk of Sri Lankan but it has now sold them.
EK had installed Sri Lanka’s CEO, a UK expat named Peter Hill, but he fell out with the Sri Lankan government and the latter cancelled his work permit.5 Aug 2012
What lovely news on Sunday evening, and we are very pleased. After so long we can once again fly BA back to Colombo, previously via Dubai. I wonder if BA will upgrade the route via Male with a First cabin, which would be appreciated. Although often from DXB I was the only passenger.
Later this month we are going to CMB with BA via MLE and then onto Sri Lankan for the final short flight into Colombo. Just change from using EK and missing Dubai airport.
Henry5 Aug 2012
Delighted to hear this but surprised that BA are choosing this ahead of other possible destinations. CMB is known as a very low yield starting point and there are threads detailing theses ultra low premium fares on other sites.
If this is not a stand alone non stop service then I can’t see what the attraction might be over a middle eastern carrier, especially if that means avoiding Heathrow.
If it is not a non stop service and is being used to boost the M class load of the MLE service ( seems that route is primarily Club and WT+) then avios availability will be a challenge.
It might be good news but is an odd decision.6 Aug 2012
I reckon this will be announced officially in October, when BA said they will be announcing the new long haul routes starting for the next Summer timetable. It is just that Le Tigre has a real eagle eye on route changes and announcements, and obviously sources wordwide!
What intriges me is that it seems it will not be standalone route, but via or stopping at Male. This implies that Male is not doing well enough on its own. If this is the case, then i reckon it will be LGW-Male-Colombo and vice versa, with the crew rest in Male.
With SriLankan entering oneworld, I wonder if they will continue with the LHR service. . .. This could be a negative development, resulting in no direct competition, and no nonstop flights. . .14 Aug 2012
I don’t think Male is suffering; it’s probably about garnering a fat subsidy from the Sri Lankan govt. eager to boost tourism, but BA not having the aircraft to service the route directly.
The main constraint right now is the lack of aircraft for BA, caused by the delayed A380/787 deliveries and lack of cash to splurge on more 777-300ERs as an interim measure.14 Aug 2012
Thanks for (what probably is a) compliment, Sparkflyer!
It’s a shame BA can’t take the radical fleet decisions that Cathay is taking, ie. willing to make a loss now in order to afford planes that in the long run will make a bigger difference to the bottom line. We’ve been waiting for another 77W order for ages!
However, I am pleased that BA are going to realise the potential of the BMI slots starting next year.
Another Sri Lankan source:
Coming from Kuoni, Virgin Hols, etc., I would not doubt it!14 Aug 2012
VK, the 77Ws should not be seen as an interim measure. It is a totally different size aircraft than the 787 or A380. More are needed just to replace aging 747s, and it’s ideal for that role.14 Aug 2012
With so much uncertainty over fuel prices, home market economies in recession and massive investment needed to pay off pensions, continue to pay salaries which are in excess of market standard, and the investment needed to manage the BA/IB integration as well as bmi, there isn’t much scope to make losses. Cathay is in a different part of the cycle and without many of those constraints (apart from the fuel price). It remains to be seen whether that is a prudent strategy.
I *think* though that there are already two more -300s on the way for BA, as part of the options. Total should be 8 once those two are delivered, and I’d be surprised if that was the last we saw in the fleet:
Bigdog. should know about it.14 Aug 2012