BA – initial Florence-London LHR service encounters problemsBack to Forum
No problem AndrewinHK.
Your word “bean counters” is an apt because obviously the more passengers BA can lift out of FLR to LHR the higher the revenue.
One must consider that BA will be concentrating on sixth-freedom traffic and especially those high revenue travellers bound for North America via LHR.
Indeed the timings of that single BA FLR flight from/to LHR are geared for North American connections.19 Apr 2023
Yes Alex however its as I recall a 20 minute walk to the station or Euro 8 or so in a cab. A train links the 2 but with baggage its not the best. Of course once you get to the station there is the wait or the train to Florence and the journey from the station to the hotel…..
1 user thanked author for this post.19 Apr 2023
One Mile At A Time has an interesting analysis here : https://onemileatatime.com/news/british-airways-florence-route/
My own take, is that given all the variables at Florence airport and the obvious struggle to operate anywhere near a reliable service using an A320NEO, why doesn’t BA use an A319 from it’s IAG partner Vueling to operate the route?20 Apr 2023
Thanks JamesTC for the comment.
I have thought about the aircraft BA is using.
Would Vueling’s A319 be able to provide business class ? It’s not just the seating … what about galley space ? Could it fit the BA network at LHR ?
As noted in previous postings BA is after sixth-freedom traffic with this service.
Lots of North Americans visit Florence. BA has the most extensive North American network of any European airline.
Last Sunday, the day of BA’s first A320neo flight, I did ask Julia Buckley about connecting passengers and this is her reply.
Yes it was full of Americans – but then they had to read out a list of 6/7 US connections that had been missed, and had to tell angry people they'd been rebooked on flights tonight. Just feels shortsighted.
And yes, I'm obvs no expert but was also surprised at the announcement!
— Julia Buckley (@juliathelast) April 16, 202321 Apr 2023
Why use a A319 from Vueling when British Airways have 30 of them in their own fleet? At least some them are based at Heathrow. I flown on them regularly on domestic and European routes.21 Apr 2023
Good point Frequent Traveller. Thanks for your comment Alex, too. It’s a complete mystery then! I can only assume that the BA bean counters got greedy, and considered the risk of cancellations and diversions worth it, for the the extra capacity of the NEO and pumping more high yield American travellers onto their transatlantic flights
1 user thanked author for this post.21 Apr 2023
If business is that good on the route for BA then perhaps additional flights using suitable aircraft is the answer. This is a formula that is often successfully used by other airlines.
I know a reasonable amount re Cathay who among the larger world airlines did not purchase the 380 instead preferring to use smaller aircraft and more frequent flights. This seemingly worked well with Cathay cleaning up on HKG-LHR route with often six flights a day against the one or 2 BA flights using the 380. This strategy worked well also on other routes including SYD with 5 daily flights with the A330 (and later the A350) against Qantas A380.
It also seems to be working well on the Phuket and other thinner Asian routes with Cathay now flying twice a day frequently using their new single isle airbuses against previously Dragon Air A330s once a day or less.
BA is the airline that I grew up with and I find it sad to see how badly it has lost its way in recent years and probably now almost eredimabely so with this Florence fiasco being but the latest incarnation of an inept clumsy management.22 Apr 2023
For those asking why BA are not using an A319, it it not quite as simple as that.
The airline will have assessed the performance of its fleet and chosen the S320 neo because of its specific performance.
Vueling appears to use a mixture of A320-111 and -112s, which are powered by CFM56 series engines, whilst BA’s are A319-131 which have IAE V2500 series engines.
I am not a jet pilot and do not have the performance data for these airliners, however I’d counsel against assuming that they are equally capable – it may well be the case that BA’s A319 is not suitable for operating to FLR.22 Apr 2023
The A319 is more suitable for landing in Florence it being a considerably smaller (some 3.8M shorter) lighter aircraft than are any versions of the A320. These are old scruffy (average over 21 years) leased aircraft but good for the route if not for the BA image .
Of the over 60 flights due to land today at Florence (23rd April) BA’s 320 is the largest and least suitable aircraft with most others choosing the far more suitable A319 A318 or one of several types Embraer.
Although my licences have long expired it is obvious to me FDOS and to most I would expect that BA is using an aircraft that is unsuitable for commercial operations into Florence airport.23 Apr 2023
@cwoodward, I don’t think getting in is the problem, it’s getting out when the wind is from the NE.
I’m assuming that the A320 neo has better take off/climb out performance than the A319-131 (not necessarily the A319-111/112, which BA doesn’t operate) and that is why BA chose it, however when the winds are unfavourable, there is a payload price to pay.
Unsuitability is an interesting concept, it’s certainly unsuitable on wind challenged days, but viable on others, therefore it is an aleatory (random) risk.
Put it this way, I wouldn’t be booking on that service, there’s an element of crap shoot to it.23 Apr 2023
It seems that the other airlines using the airport disagree that getting is not a problem -it sometimes is.
The other 17 airlines landing today all used the smaller equipment mentioned in my above post. The climb rate is not a major issue but the quality and reliability of the service offered is.
The weather and the short runway that are the significant issues that are seemingly recognised by all but BA and perhaps yourself.23 Apr 2023