BA longhaul ex LHR/LGW – new routes + Oneworld collaborations 2024/25+

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  • sparkyflier
    Participant

    Well the last BA routes discussion has run around 16 months and many points of discussion and suggestions repeated multiple times (by me included), so I thought now was a good time to … start again!

    Especially after many exchanges BA has now announced that BKK and KUL are coming back and since the last discussion started Cincinatti was announced and flights to Accra from LGW were also launched adding capacity in addition to LHR.

    Abu Dhabi also made a return from pre-Covid days as I predicted.

    But where else do you think will make a comeback and are there any brand new routes you see as viable and possible (bearing in mind how cautious/conservative/small minded BA/IAG Mngt can be ).

    And in addition where can you see collaborations with Oneworld partners increasing and thus the impact on routes, including codeshares?

    Once again I cannot see flights from the regions so please keep your suggestions to London airports.

    Of course the shortage of crew, aircraft and engineers has not gone away (but is getting better and aircraft-wise I believe more 787-10 and maybe more A350-1000 are coming) which will mean any route expansion will be cautious. And if Norse Atlantic collapses or is bought by IAG that could be an opportunity with their fleet of 789s.

    To kick off (apologies for repeating some but I do believe these should be operated) here are some thoughts:-

    North America

    Its Kansas Vs Indianapolis I think for the next USA route using 788.

    Caribbean/Central America

    Maybe Puerto Vallarta as a tag to San Jose from LGW or as a 772/787 route from LHR going on to Panama City ( a mix of leisure and business traffic). Puerto Vallarta could have demand from across Europe so BA flying from LHR could benefit from a first mover advantage.
    Or how about LHR-Belize-Puerto Vallarta giving BA first mover advantage attracting passengers from both UK and EU. I think Belize in addition to premium leisure can also get military traffic and cargo.
    I stand by Panama but cannot see it coming.

    South America

    Bogota
    Sao Paulo being A380 or an extra 3 flights

    The decision to combine Rio and Buenos Aires makes sense

    Africa

    Those who have posted here over the years will know my frustration with BA’s very limited offering, now only serving four countries in sub-Saharan Africa – Kenya, SA, Nigeria and Ghana. Anyway before I whinge more here are some suggestions which I think are plausible.

    LGW-Kilimanjaro-Dar-LGW 2 x weekly 772
    LGW -Zanzibar-Dar-LGW 2 x weekly 772.
    Perhaps also LGW-Entebbe-Dar-LGW

    All above as “triangle” routes and crew would rest in Dar due to relatively limited accommodation options in the other stations.

    In my subject line I mentioned Oneworld and so I wonder if Rwandair enters Oneworld it could provide many opportunities to serve new destinations in central, eastern, southern and even west Africa.

    Indeed Virgin has just entered into a codeshare agreement with Kenya Airways and so BA could do a similar thing with Rwandair.

    Durban could also make a come back.
    Luanda combined with Kinshasa could also get very high end business traffic and Luanda used to be very profitable indeed and was only dropped when the oil price crashed.

    Levant/Gulf

    Dammam is still not back and Muscat is not either. Perhaps the latter could come back depending on when Oman Air enters Oneworld, either on their own metal and/or in partnership with Oman Air.

    Cannot see Beirut resuming and wonder why they bother with Amman when RJ have a far superior product offering.

    South Asia & Asia Pacific

    Goa or Kerela were rumoured last year but no news on that yet but given the Pound is still lousy wonder if BA and BA holidays should be looking more at premium leisure destinations in countries where the Pound goes further.

    Now that KUL and BKK are back cannot see any more new routes in the Far East – except HKT from LGW maybe 2 x 772 weekly.

    Once resources allow I do think BA may be thinking of Melbourne and Auckland but in conjunction with QR and MH.

    But what do you think? Any feelings of ripe opportunities or anyone heard juicy rumours?

    Sorry for any typos!

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    jwhi56
    Participant

    I think BA needs to start flights from London to Honolulu: non-stop.
    If not on their own aircraft, then code-share on a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft. Hawaiian Airlines was recently bought out by Alaska Airlines: already in the OneWorld global airline alliance.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    MarkivJ
    Participant

    North America: Kansas, Indianapolis and Sacramento. I also predict (or I wish!) increased frequencies to Seattle and Dallas and depending on how the UK economy (exchange rate, etc.) picks up, increase in leisure routes like Orlando

    Caribbean/Central America: None. they seem happy with their network. At most, a few tweaks to existing routes.

    South America – again, none. They don’t seem that invested in SA

    Africa – There’s a lot of untapped potential. Why they don’t even fly to some of their own former colonies like DAR when other EU competitors like AF do, I’ll never know. My wife and I have booked ourselves for the Kili hike in Aug – the best fares are either TK or Skyteam. QR, the only big oneworld carrier to this part too has awful frequencies, timing and prices.

    Levant/Gulf – Muscat (from lgw)

    South Asia/India & Asia Pacific – additional daily to DEL (to make it triple daily) given the new agreement by both Govts (to see if they’ll intro additional flights to BOM as they’re already at triple daily). My understanding is that the current uk-india airline agreement only allows 14 total to LHR, but with AI’s planned LGW and VS debuting on the BLR route end of March, BA may petition for additional slots and try to sneak in during the peak BLR EU traffic (1am-3am).

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    MarkivJ
    Participant

    Have to add: yes, the Alaska-Hawaiian merger may mean more BA metal flights from LHR given that AA has pulled out completely of the LHR-SEA market.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    @jwhi56

    I wish BA would operate LHR-HNL (either non-stop or direct) and then continue to SYD.

    It would be a riposte to Qantas and its Sunrise project (should the latter ever launch).

    I have fond memories of my early days in the trade when BOAC used to operate a daily Super VC=10 from LHR to SYD via the transpacific with several en route stops. (These refuelling stops were needed because the Super VC-10 had a limited range and, unlike the 707, it couldn’t operate LHR-LAX non-stop).

    However I realise this won’t happen until, maybe, BA were to operate the route and then link to Hawaiian Air for the final sector.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    justloveflying
    Participant

    PIA’s nonstop UK-Pakistan links were invaluable.
    The Airline is trying to come back and hopefully they do.

    Looking at the massive Pakistani population in the United Kingdom, it is a mystery as to why BA were not able to make Lahore viable.

    BA should evaluate ( with their Route Planning Team ) ;

    LHRLHE
    BHXISB
    MANISB
    MANLHE
    GLALHE
    LBAISB

    That is a lot of revenue all year round that BA are happy to overlook. Same for Virgin Atalantic who pulled out of Pakistan altogether.

    I definately love the Honolulu idea but would personally prefer to fly Hawaiian for a more authentic experience.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    Not a lot that is ‘authentic’ about the Hawaiian experience
    My two experiences with them were very ‘ordinary’—- and I am being kind.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    MarkivJ
    Participant

    One region I’ve always wondered why BA doesn’t expand much is Japan. There are just 4 dailies (2 each BA and JL) to HND. BA used to operate to Osaka before but hasn’t resumed. I understand the russian air space is challenging…but the japan market is still a big cash cow, so they should potentially consider resuming Osaka, and perhaps start a new daily to NRT as well (their former schedule was 1 daily each to NRT and HND)

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    MarkivJ
    Participant

    with the russian airspace challenges, finnair no longer has the “shortest distance to japan from eu” advantage , so BA might as well increase their own frequencies/cities to Japan


    dkc94
    Participant

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but many of the proposed routes are dreams that will never come to fruition. Despite the dislike of BA / IAG management, let’s not forget that they run the most profitable and highest return on capital legacy airline group in Europe despite higher levels of competition at IAG’s main hubs. As to why many of these routes will never come, LHR is the most slot restricted airport in the world and airlines around the world including BA are struggling with shortages of aircraft, aircraft parts, and crews. There are not the slots, the labor, nor the aircraft to fly marginal routes to far-flung destinations.

    Just running through the list:
    Kansas / Indianapolis / Sacramento does align with BA’s secondary US city strategy, so that is very well possible
    Puerto Vallarta tag is unlikely, once it’s a tag it has no advantage vs any other 1-stop connecting options that are available from any number of other carriers.
    Bogota and Sao Paulo are unlikely to be added / upgauged, as Bogota is better handled by IB given the common language and all of South America is better handled by IB given the geographical advantage of Madrid for connections. BA flying South America routes only makes sense if there is significant premium O&D demand from those locations to London.
    Various marginal Africa destinations simply don’t have sufficient premium O&D demand to justify a direct flight by BA to those destinations. Given the limited slots at LHR, not only do those routes need to be profitable, but they need to be more profitable than other potential routes such as additional frequencies to or new destinations in North America.
    Why would BA bother flying to secondary Middle Eastern destinations when it could simply funnel those passengers through Doha onto QR flights? BA is flying to the key business destinations in the area and the local carriers tend to be better.
    Secondary Indian destinations and just about any Pakistani destination also don’t make sense to fly direct, but rather to simply funnel those passengers through Doha once again.
    Melbourne, Auckland, and other ANZ destinations besides Sydney on BA15/16 are all better served by Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian carriers that have hubs at natural stopover points. QF doesn’t try to “win” in the UK-AUS market (market share leadership has long been lost to EK and SQ), they just try to pick off some premium traffic, mostly in SYD but some in MEL as well, that has loyalty to the national carrier. Air New Zealand has given up on AKL-LHR despite vociferous protests from New Zealanders. BA still serves SYD on BA15/16 for some corporate traffic and premium leisure from BA loyalists, but otherwise once again is better off funneling passengers into Doha and onto QR connections.
    HNL is a dream as well, the direct flight would be barely shorter than LHR-SCL, which is the longest flight in the BA network and to one of the most important business centers in South America. The idea of an ultra-long haul direct leisure flight out of slot-constrained LHR when there’s any number of feasible connection points through the US onto AA/AS flights is not practical at all.
    KIX is not a particularly good market for long-hauls, if you just compare KIX flights from North America (YVR and YYZ on AC, SFO on UA, SEA on DL, and LAX on JL, some of these seasonal) vs HND or NRT, it’s clear just how much less long-haul demand there is into Kansai vs Tokyo. Similarly, if one compares the KIX flights to Europe (HEL on AY, CDG / AMS on AF/KLM, and MUC on LH) vs the Tokyo flights, a similar picture emerges. Part of that is due to the frequent and highly efficient connecting flights that JL (and NH) can offer from Tokyo, and part of that is that the corporate traffic is overwhelmingly stronger out of Tokyo.

    The only realistic additional routes / frequencies suggested so far are the secondary US cities and the the DEL triple-daily suggestion.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    transtraxman
    Participant

    I have always understood that Durban was the biggest unserved city (by any airline) in Africa. Luanda was excellent and Kinshasa was good except for the problem of repatriating money. What happened to the markets of West Africa? They were always considered worthwhile. Anyway, in my view, serving the markets of Africa is always going to be more beneficial to BA (or Virgin) from North and Central America. The Middle Eastern carriers should not be able to compete. To/from Asia and Australasia are always a different kettle of fish.
    With limited resources stick with what you do best. What is wrong in buying second-hand aircraft? Aren´t The A380s etc. being sold off? perhaps it is time to think less of the bottom line and more about strategy.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Olneyflyer
    Participant

    I have always been confused why BA still fly bucket and spade flights out of LHR. Surely freeing up these slots to fly higher yield routes and transferring summer sun demand to their low cost LGW station would be logical. I agree with Kansas and Indianaplois. These seem logical with Manila and Jakarta possibles in Asia. Outside of this I agree with increasing frequency to Seattle and Dallas and maybe supplementing AA’s one daily 777 frequency to Charlotte with one on its own metal.


    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    I tend to be in the camp that would see BA likely increase frequencies to the US and possibly add / re-introduce routes there. As opposed to say Africa or the Caribbean.

    They used to fly to FLL from LGW.
    Could this route return?
    Flights to MIA (30 miles away) always look full when I’ve flown to / from and the fares are always on the high side compared to other BA US routes.
    FLL is an efficient airport, car hire walkable from the terminal, and it’s sandwiched between US1 and I95, so easier to get to and from compared to often gridlocked MIA.
    Though I wonder if they only flew there as Norwegian did.

    Re: CLT, AA have increased their frequencies to 3 x daily.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    AndrewinHK
    Participant

    Those bucket and spade routes are likely high margin. BA serves Barbados with a premium heavy configuration on the 77W and soon the 781, and continues to also serve from LGW, premium long-haul leisure routes are booming, with many of the majors outlining this in earnings calls.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    With Africa now clearly the fastest growing aviation market with a growth/recovery of over 38% in 2023 and a projected annual passenger market growth of about 8% it looks to me to be a region where BA should look for long term stable growth.

    According to a recent IATA report Europe is by far the most popular destination from the continent and the UK being the most visited. Ethiopian is the largest and fastest growing with Air France the largest of the European full service carriers.
    BA does not feature in the top 10.

    Under served Durban looks to be the low hanging fruit with OW member Royal Air Maroc’s home base of Casablanca being worth consideration, offering an excellent network for West Africa as well as excellent mid market tourist traffic potential.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
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