BA Longhaul 2017+ ex LHR & LGW, where to…?

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This topic contains 123 replies, has 42 voices, and was last updated by  AnthonyDunn 27 Mar 2017
at 16:24

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  • Anonymous


    Yes it is another of my BA route discussions! But the previous one has gone beyond its timeframe, it has had over 600 contributions and so not easy to see what has already been said(including my own posts), and also because surprisingly, a fair amount has happened since the previous thread started over a year ago.

    In the past year we have seen long haul flight start to Kuala Lumpur, Lima, San Jose and San Jose, Gatwick to JFK, and announcements of Tehran and this week (after years of forecasting), Santiago and CPT from LGW.

    It seems that BA is changing its business plan, and looking to do more from LGW, partly because LHR is quite full, because the economy has improved and thus more holiday routes, but maybe also to stall Norwegian (with recently announced Cape Town route part of that new strategy).

    But is there a new boldness at BA? Has it stopped being so formidably risk-phobic ? Are there more super surprises out there? With the 788s having arrived, and 789s arriving at a fast rate, with perhaps more A380s on the way, what routes can we see happening? And can we see more 777s being transferred to Gatwick, indeed could some 788s go there, perhaps with slightly less J seating, with more Economy?
    In previous BA route threads I have focused on LHR, but this title includes LGW as there are opportunities there, and it is interesting to see what BA thinks it can do with it.

    In previous discussions there has always been a heated debate about BA operated long haul flights from the regions. This is very unlikely to happen, so if you want to raise those suggestions, perhaps do that in a separate thread.

    There have been changes geopolitically in the past year, the oil price has crashed, (and dependent economies have also, along with most commodity-based economies, Brazil is in crisis, Malaysian Airlines have formed their own alliance with Emirates, China is no longer booming, the Chengdu route gets by, there are rumours of some kind of alliance with a mainland Chinese carrier, Lan and Tam have merged and will become the same brand, and BA/IB are likely looking at a pact with them.

    Re Iberia that is really turning around, but what we are seeing is that IAG recognise that both Madrid and London need direct access to key markets and not having to rely on each other – Iberia is starting China and Japan and BA Peru, Chile and Costa Rica. Aer Lingus also impacts on BA operations, as some routes are easiest served by them via DUB, for example Hartford.

    So what you YOU think? Where will BA go which you think is feasible, realistic and desirable, and with what?

    I will give a few ideas (some of you will know I have strong opinions on this!) to start the discussion off and look forward to your thoughts. Much of what we have mentioned before has now happened, so who knows, maybe they are listening!

    North America
    Portland 788 4 times a week from LHR
    New Orleans 788 3 times a week from LHR

    Havana 3x 772 from LGW
    St Maartin and St Vincent will be added as tags.

    Central South America
    I believe not much more will happen here as Lima, Santiago and San Jose have all been added. Bogota and Panama I see as there being plenty of demand, but unlikely now. If there is a pact with Latam who knows what could happen, but if there is a north Brazil hub, that will be interesting.

    Africa – It seems BA is just not interested. They confessed that Freetown and Monrovia were profitable before Ebola came along, but still these routes have not been resumed. How about a mix of Dakar, Freetown, Abidjan and Freetown. Perhaps these could be done from LGW using 772 in-between their longer hauls to CPT, Lima etc?
    I would love to see eastern, central and southern Africa being added, but again I do not see it happening. Maybe contributors can change BA’s mind!

    How about Kigali, Dar, Kilimanjaro and Seychelles from LGW (triangle routes and Mahe stopping in Kigali), but with Kigali and Dar being the crew rest stops.

    Middle east/Gulf

    Muscat, Bahrain, Doha and Abu Dhabi are all standalone now, or will be soon.

    Asia Pacific

    Osaka 789 5 x weekly
    Jakarta 789 4 x weekly
    Vietnam routes –maybe Vietnam Airlines will have scared BA away?
    I cannot see new China routes unless there is some kind of alliance with a local carrier.

    So what do you see ahead? What insight do you have…?


    Extend another LHR-SIN flight in to Melbourne. Travel to Australia from the UK is higher than it has ever been. Competition with the traditional Asian carriers and the new upstart ME3 is strong, but BA,s flights in to SYD are strong, and the Melbourne economy and ex pat community there should make it viable. I know BA have 5th freedom rights on SIN-SYD and that could be the difference.


    I think we will definitely hear more announcements but I can’t imagine much more starting this year or next.

    This year 8 new 787-9’s arrive as well as one A380. But four 767’s and three 747’s are retiring. So it’s a net gain of two aircraft. Factor in the new SCL route and that doesn’t leave a lot of room to start another route. I guess an A380 could always consolidate two frequencies on another route freeing up another aircraft.

    I would love to see more cities in Australia served but I really doubt it. The competition is fierce, the yields are not great and the route is resource intensive. To retain a daily frequency takes up just too much aircraft and crew.

    I think Jakarta will happen as well as another japanese city. And of course, more US cities. I’d imagine BA will remain fairly cautious and launch routes with 787’s where they can have a Joint Venture (ie with AA or JL).


    Cincinnati is crying out for direct flights (though Delta may beat them to this on this one).

    Dammam on a 3/4 weekly basis.

    Otherwise agree with some of the other suggestions.



    I’d love to see MEL happen but I don’t think BA have any intention whatsoever to return there. Sydney’s attraction, if anything, is prestige. Various members of the LH fleet have expressed their concerns regarding a potential cancellation of the SYD service.

    If BA do cancel SYD, there is no way MEL will be reintroduced. BA are also closing their Singapore hub and so any MEL flight would only be 3x weekly owing to crew supply.


    @ sparkyflyer – 19/05/2016 23:59 BST

    Some Great Ideas as always from Sparky and others. The ones I can see having merit include Portland, Havana, Bogota, Dar es Salaam, Osaka and Jakarta. I would also add Durban to the list. I can’t see New Orleans anytime soon. Sint Maarten/St. Martin would surprise me as a BA destination. Kigali and Kili are very limited traffic opportunities in my opinion. I would hope Freetown and Monrovia would be back on line sometime soon.

    @ MrMichael – 20/05/2016 05:50 BST

    I think Melbourne would be a brilliant addition, and nice to see BA return there.

    @ TimFitzgeraldTC – 20/05/2016 09:26 BST

    Fully agree, Cincinnati is desirable even if ‘fortress’ Delta, their hub there has been diminished drastically, and point to point traffic must justify this as a destination.

    I would disagree with Dammam only that speaking to many friends living in Dhahran, they much rather take the causeway to Bahrain and deal with that border crossing, than deal with immigration and customs at Dammam Airport which having done it once, I can say is a disaster. But on paper, looks logical for sure.


    Sint Maarten (SXM) will come, BA have continually expressed their interests in serving the route and I can imagine the airport authority on the island are already vying to encourage a British airline to the airport. There is an extent to which BA can increase Caribbean services at LGW though, so I imagine a new route will be an add-on to an existing service from Providenciales etc. You can’t be too ambitious with 12 772.

    Save for the odd South African leisure route and perhaps some of the more profitable cities in West Africa, BA have abandoned Africa. Freetown and Monrovia were ‘profitable’, they were a good feeder to onward US flights and yet the route still hasn’t been restarted. CS still regard it as a ‘suspended service’, but quite frankly it’s more a ‘cancelled and never coming back’ service.

    With regards to the USA, the word of the day will be expansion. Ft Lauderdale; Charleston; Charlotte – they’ll all happen one day I imagine. However, I can’t see New Orleans or Detroit happening. In some respects, I’m glad they’re so ambitious with regards to North America but it’d be nicer to see expansion to Indian cities like Jaipur or Kerala.

    Continuing on Asia, Chengdu won’t be cancelled contrary to what others have said, at least for some time to come. It is a prestigious route and BA have invested in the airport. However, I doubt there will be anymore Chinese cities. I doubt BA would want to tangle themselves up in the Chinese market again – unbalanced and irregular. Tehran happened in the ME, so who knows what will come next? Dammam is of course possible, seeing that Doha and Muscat now have direct flights. It’s all very well for the ME3 with regards to connections from Europe to the Far East, but I believe they’re doing relatively well with regards to flights to Bahrain and Muscat. Gulf Air is not a real competitor on the route; no one will bother taking EK via Dubai anyway.

    South America may see some more expansion. Panama is already full, too many competitors and so won’t happen. I can however imagine the addition of Bogota or even a secondary Argentinian city. What would REALLY be fantastic is Cordoba, but perhaps I’m expecting too much from BA.


    BA to SXM would be great, and a welcome addition I am sure. With the improvements to the terminal there, it would brilliant to have a direct flight to the UK.


    dutchyankee – 20/05/2016 09:50 BST

    Re Dammam, the causeway works for residents with iqama, but not single visit visas (or the first visit on a multiple), as the KSA consular section in London only issue ‘by air’ visas.

    So I guess it would depend on the traffic patterns, although if I had to fly to Damman, I’d really try to go via Jeddah or Riyadh and clear immigration there, for precisely the reasons you mention.

    Currently, It’s not a concern for me, as KSA is on my sh*t list (just got fed up of going to the horrible place.)


    I’m not sure BA will waste a slot on Charlotte especially since it is already being served double daily by its joint venture partner, the thing that might happen is BA will operate 1 of AA’s frequencies, but I am a bit skeptical on Charlotte, BA seem brave in the US I’m sure they will push for a new port, they seem to love the west coast, so Portland would be my punt. New Orleans, I am not sure the premium demand is there, New Orleans is primarily a leisure route, maybe could be a Gatwick route.

    China, the economy is slowing, and it will slow markedly in the coming year, no new china routes for sometime. Japan, if they were so keen they have had a joint venture with JAL for sometime and no new cities have launched so it cant be high on the list. OneWorld penetration with Finnair serving multiple Japanese cities and BA serving Haneda and Narita, I just dont see Osaka happening even American Airlines doesnt serve any airport outside of Tokyo, also Osaka has had capacity cuts by several airlines, including Qatar and KLM.


    @ FDOS_UK – 20/05/2016 10:17 BST

    Agree with you, residents tend to avoid Dammam like the plague, but if you don’t have the iqama, you are SOL. Like you, I prefer Jeddah, but now I try to visit my brother and his family (they have lived in Dhaharan for over 25 years) in the UAE or back in the USA or Europe as I try to avoid KSA.

    @ AndrewinHK – 20/05/2016 10:35 BST

    Every time I have flown to CLT, the flights have been overbooked, so the route could use another flight I am sure, or larger aircraft. I used to fly via DFW and on to JAX and then drive to my home in Palm Coast, but with CLT there is a direct flight to DAB which is right next door to Palm Coast. Has really worked for me, but the flights are on the USAir A330, and have always been packed. Agree with you about MSY, cant see that happening.


    DutchYankee, maybe BA could take a 747 to Charlotte and AA keep a daily a330. I suppose though with the AA joint venture they are able to shuffle transit passengers around the various hubs, so maybe the point to point hasnt been sufficient to expand service to Charlotte.


    Have always thought Kansas (MCI) would make a great route. No competition (to Europe). Huge amount of business and wealth in the surrounding area. Albeit the airport is far from ideal so not sure how it could cope.

    Interesting to see that BA, despite the LGW launch, is also going x3 daily to Cape Town from LHR for a short term period this coming Winter on certain dates:

    Other thoughts – Durban surely has to be in their sights?

    And I am sure they wouldn’t get approvals – but would be interesting to see a LHR – PVG/PEK flight continuing on to Auckland. Now that they have their new cabin crew base… traffic between China and NZ is booming… just thinking outside the box – albeit I am sure the Chinese would never allow it.

    And as a complete longshot, a return to Damascus by the end of 2017 isn’t entirely implausible depending how things pan out in Syria.

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