BA longhaul W2019/20+ – new A350s & 787s – new routes, changes & opportunities

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This topic contains 39 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  ConstantFlyer 25 May 2019
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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 40 total)

  • sparkyflier
    Participant

    It has been a while, but recent changes and developments have made me wonder if now was a good moment to start another BA route discussion, focusing on what posters think are potential and viable longhaul routes from LHR and LGW- to which destinations and on what aircraft.

    I think it is not likely they will start flights from the regions so please keep posts purely to ex- London routes.

    BA has recently gone back into or announced previously served routes which were heavily suggested in previous discussions, such as Osaka, Islamabad, Mahe, Pittsburgh, Dammam and Durban, and been innovative with new routes to New Orleans, Nashville and Charleston (US routes generally have very attractive incentives…), has pulled out of some routes (Fort Lauderdale, Tehran, Luanda, Oakland) and very recently switched capacity to a route following the suspension of services by a major rival ( Joburg to Mumbai 4 flights a week).

    BA has recently gone back into or announced previously served routes which were heavily suggested in previous discussions, such as Osaka, Islamabad, Mahe, Pittsburgh, Dammam and Durban, and been innovative with new routes to New Orleans, Nashville and Charleston (US routes generally have very attractive incentives…), has pulled out of some routes (Fort Lauderdale, Tehran, Luanda, Oakland) and very recently switched capacity to a route following the suspension of services by a major rival ( Joburg to Mumbai 4 flights a week).

    With no clear picture of Brexit yet, route planning around that change element is still difficult..

    But going back to some markets is a change of strategy, and aided by the many new aircraft coming in (and also hindered by 787 engine problems). New aircraft coming in include 787-10 and A350-1000. We know 2 routes for the A350 -Dubai and Toronto once the crew have familiarised the new aircraft on the Madrid route.

    So where do you think BA should be heading in the next year, and in the next 2-3 years?

    As per usual I have started with some ideas below, and am doing these in continent/region order..
    North America

    Kansas City, St Louis and Ohio cities are often suggested as being 787 type routes,but how about Albuquerque, New Mexico, from LHR?

    Miami & SFO from LGW, maybe freeing up some LHR slots.
    Also maybe Chicago or Philadelphia, perhaps by AA, using LGW to tap into BAs extensive Gatwick network.

    Latin America/Caribbean

    St Vincent as a tag to Barbados ex LGW once/twice weekly
    Havana from LGW, maybe with a tag to Belize, twice weekly.

    Bogota 4 weekly 787/772 ex LHR ( this is a Latam hub and major economy). This could also be tagged as en route to Lima, enabling that current seasonal LGW route to go year round.
    Panama City 4 x 788 ex LHR.
    Fortaleza & Recife from LGW -perhaps a triangle routing, tapping into the huge Brazilian diaspora in London, desire from UK passengers for different beach destinations (where the pound will be further), and also tapping into Latam’s (Oneworld partner airline) vast network for further connections to Brasilia, Salvador & Belo Horizonte etc. Twice weekly to start with?

    Africa

    Freetown & Monrovia to return, but as triangle routings with Abidjan, twice weekly each and with crew resting in Abidjan..772 ex LHR.

    I do not believe RAM entering Oneworld as being an attractive or reasonable option for UK originating travellers, due to their schedules (arriving in west African cities from 1-4 in the morning – no thank you) and aircraft (737s on long flights – no thank you). These are not competitive versus AF or SN.
    Entebbe to return along with Kigali, or codeshare with Rwandair. This is a decent airline with a decent and wide network in Africa, and in my opinion should join Oneworld. Qatar will probably block that however.

    Tanzania but from LGW- twice weekly triangle routings to Dar via Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar, using 772.

    I would also suggest Lusaka, Harare, Windhoek and maybe Gaborone, but for example with the Zim economy still being bad, recognise these are rather unlikely. Indeed as one BA representative told me a few weeks ago when I asked about potential Africa routes “not really interested, and if anything there will be further consolidation”..

    Buy maybe Rwandair could tick the Africa box in Oneworld in the way that Ethiopian does for Star Alliance and Kenya Airways for Skyteam.

    Gulf/Middle East.

    Maybe give up on their ( now) seasonal Muscat service, or change the schedule. Who wants to arrive there at 6am? Hard to compete with Oman Air now.

    India

    With Jet Airways potential total demise, can you see BA changing strategy here and using 747s and A380s into Mumbai and Delhi?

    Asia/Pacific

    With many new additions in recent years (KL,Seoul, Osaka), not many major desinations left, and of course major competition from ME3 and decent national carriers, but Vietnam and Jakarta are missing.
    Re CGK, with Garuda being totally inconsistent with their offering etc, I do not recognise that their CGK-LHR shambles is a sign of no demand, but maybe not enough for a direct nonstop. So how about a 4 x weekly 772 service via BKK on a densified 772 (10 across Y and improved J & Y+) from LHR, and on other days that route goes on to Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi). This could also bolster the BKK route, I know the current schedule and aircraft puts many business travellers off.

    Another option could be the 2 Vietnam cities from LGW twice weekly as one route.

    China..many changes going on here, with many new entrants and Chinese carriers staring flights into London. I do not expect BA to start new routes there on their own planes, but maybe in conjunction with China Southern as codeshares.

    And Taipei? Could this be an option – other European carriers have started there, without separate “Asia” branding or it seems worry about mainland China government concerns.

    Australia – Melbourne – I recall from previous similar discussions that there was thinking that this could be a feasible A350 route, given the success of Singapore/Sydney having switched from 747 to 77W.
    And if BA brought in new aircraft different to what each base (LHR or LGW), what should these be and where could they service a new market profitably? I wonder if A321s from LGW could bring in new routes in premium leisure and business markets – Egypt beach resorts, Eilat/Dead Sea, Banjul/Dakar (UK Foreign secretary Hunt is visiting Dakar this week to bolster trade), Azores/Sal, and could 2-3 788s going to LGW be a way to supply new markets where densified 772s are just to much aircraft?

    So what are your thoughts? Where do you think is feasible, likely, should happen or gonna happen? Any real insight or rumours..?
    And where do you think the 787-10s & A350s will head (in theory to replace 747, but maybe not directly).

    Once again, given that BA have returned to old markets, have also been innovative, have many more aircraft coming in and the UK needing to bolster trade in new markets, perhaps they could now be more open minded and less conservative than they have been for many, many years.

    I look forward to your thoughts, suggestions and any insight..


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Thanks for a starting this thread, sparkyflyer.

    Gulf/Middle East.

    Maybe give up on their ( now) seasonal Muscat service, or change the schedule. Who wants to arrive there at 6am? Hard to compete with Oman Air now.

    What about Abu Dhabi ? It’s not sure whether or not Etihad will continue with its capacity boost for the winter schedule (see today’s news) but if it does the extra capacity is likely to affect yields.

    China..many changes going on here, with many new entrants and Chinese carriers staring flights into London. I do not expect BA to start new routes there on their own planes, but maybe in conjunction with China Southern as codeshares.

    China Southern is understood to be seeking to start PEK-LHR in September. Maybe that would be a code-share opportunity for BA.

    And Taipei? Could this be an option – other European carriers have started there, without separate “Asia” branding or it seems worry about mainland China government concerns.

    KLM is the only European carrier to have lasted. Its service is branded KLM Asia. Other European carriers tried and failed. Of these only Lufthansa did not operate under an “Asia” brand. It services were operated by Condor. BA, Air France and Swissair (who operated to TPE at that time) all incorporated Asia or Asie. For example, Air France Asie, Swissair Asia, British Asia Airways.

    Would BA wish to operate such a long route non-stop given the low yield ? One solution, which it did in the past, would be to serve TPE as an extension from HKG … but that was in the days when Hong Kong was a Colony. Would mainland China allow that today ?


    SenatorGold
    Participant

    Latin America/Caribbean

    St Vincent as a tag to Barbados ex LGW once/twice weekly

    Havana from LGW, maybe with a tag to Belize, twice weekly.

    Bogota 4 weekly 787/772 ex LHR ( this is a Latam hub and major economy). This could also be tagged as en route to Lima, enabling that current seasonal LGW route to go year round.

    Panama City 4 x 788 ex LHR.

    Fortaleza & Recife from LGW -perhaps a triangle routing, tapping into the huge Brazilian diaspora in London, desire from UK passengers for different beach destinations (where the pound will be further), and also tapping into Latam’s (Oneworld partner airline) vast network for further connections to Brasilia, Salvador & Belo Horizonte etc. Twice weekly to start with?

    My suggestion would be Georgetown, Guyana possibly as an extension to LGW-St Lucia-Port of Spain or combined with another destination in the Caribbean.


    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    Interesting topic @sparkyflier so apologies for beginning with this old chestnut: Heathrow is full.

    There are lots of places that BA would like to fly to from Heathrow but, with almost no new slots available, starting a new route (cue fanfare) means losing routes or frequency elsewhere (cue hushed silence). The best example of this, as reported on BT, is BA adding frequency to Mumbai but at the expensive of Jo’burg.

    Gatwick is perhaps more interesting. When BA bought up the slots of Monarch they weren’t in a position to make significant, immediate changes to their network hence an increase in services to a (mostly) number of European destinations. It takes time to get the long-haul aircraft, crew in place so, perhaps this winter, or next summer, we wil see BA add to their Gatwick long-haul route network. As BA don’t see much of a future in Africa and struggle to compete with the ME3 on flights heading east, I would expect any new long-haul routes to be concentrated on leisure routes heading west. Remember too that many US cities are more than happy to, er, induce BA to connect them to merry England.


    JohnnyG
    Participant

    Africa

    Freetown & Monrovia to return, but as triangle routings with Abidjan, twice weekly each and with crew resting in Abidjan..772 ex LHR.

    I do not believe RAM entering Oneworld as being an attractive or reasonable option for UK originating travellers, due to their schedules (arriving in west African cities from 1-4 in the morning – no thank you) and aircraft (737s on long flights – no thank you). These are not competitive versus AF or SN.

    Having been a frequent visitor to Freetown in the last 12 months and with more trips lined up, BA would be a welcome addition to Sierra Leone, especially as you rightly say that other carriers arrive and depart between 2 am and 4 am. RAM use their B737-800, ( 3hrs plus LHR to CMN then 3 hours to Lunghi, KLM use their 330 AMS to Lunghi then Monrovia with an uncomfortable 8 hour return to AMS. AF are to be avoided and Brussels are so so.

    However routing it with Monrovia and Abidjan would be, I think, a stop too far. Abidjan is a more logical route.

    Sierra Leone is opening up to international investment, not just China, but more importantly is making a big push for tourism. The new government is striking out at corrupt officials and bringing them to justice. BA would be most welcome.


    Olneyflyer
    Participant

    Hi

    Here are my suggestions. I created a top ten rather than separate them into regions. I based my choices on large catchment areas and underserved from London. They all should provide large interlining opportunities.

    1. Minneapolis
    2. Portland
    2. St Louis
    4. Detroit
    5. Manila
    6. Ho Chi Minh
    7. Kansas City
    8. Charlotte (AA Hub not currently overserved. Only one flight per day)
    9. Cleveland
    10.Salt Lake City

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SenatorGold
    Participant

    I’d also suggest a return to Dhaka after a ten year absence.


    bobmotto
    Participant

    I would like to see BA start or return to the following routes
    Melbourne AU
    Louisville KY USA
    Cincinnati OH USA


    barnacles
    Participant

    Just to reply to OlneyFlyer, I’ve flown many times on the direct PR (Philippine Airlines) MNL service (ex-LHR) and it has often been half-empty, in all classes. I would question whether it is viable as a stand-alone BA service. I would also question the viability of many ‘add-on’ destinations, with a short flight after a very long one. Do not most pax just want to get off after twelve or thirteen hours, rather than ‘waste’ an hour or so refuelling and another hour or so flying, being not especially well fed or watered? I wonder. Other views would be welcome.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    Perhaps:
    A return to Manila is on the cards now that the Philippines has strong growth and a fast growing middle class and a fast growing tourism industry.there is definitely now a growing premium class demand.
    The A350 would make Auckland a profitably possibility.
    Ether of the above would be of considerable hurt to BAs Oneworld partner CX so maybe other routes are more likely.


    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    Just to reply to OlneyFlyer, I’ve flown many times on the direct PR (Philippine Airlines) MNL service (ex-LHR) and it has often been half-empty, in all classes. I would question whether it is viable as a stand-alone BA service. I would also question the viability of many ‘add-on’ destinations, with a short flight after a very long one. Do not most pax just want to get off after twelve or thirteen hours, rather than ‘waste’ an hour or so refuelling and another hour or so flying, being not especially well fed or watered? I wonder. Other views would be welcome.

    I don’t know anything about MNL but agree that ‘stopping’ flights aren’t popular. BA in particular are traditionally loathe to operate stopping flights (except where necessary due to range issues, ie to Australia) so I can’t see that changing. In fact, with the exception of said flight to Australia, do BA offer any other stopping flights out of Heathrow?


    LondonViking
    Participant

    I would love Minneapolis but doubt they’ll take on that route since Aer Lingus now flies to MSP from Dublin.


    JohnnyG
    Participant

    Are there any long haul routes that BA flew from Manchester that would work now? I cannot understand why BA are loathe to go long haul from anywhere other than London, the only thing that springs to mind is feeder traffic.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    In fact, with the exception of said flight to Australia, do BA offer any other stopping flights out of Heathrow?

    London-Bahrain-Damman (from December 2019)

    British Airways to launch third Saudi Arabia route

    Are there any long haul routes that BA flew from Manchester that would work now? I cannot understand why BA are loathe to go long haul from anywhere other than London,

    One obvious route would New York. That was the sort of route for which the B787 was designed.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    Are there any long haul routes that BA flew from Manchester that would work now? I cannot understand why BA are loathe to go long haul from anywhere other than London, the only thing that springs to mind is feeder traffic.

    I’m sure that BA could fill a daily (or even double daily) 787-8 between Manchester & New York. However, in order for a second, significant national hub to be viable, (spare aircraft, engineering, crew, ground staff….) BA would probably need to offer at least 6 or 7 long-haul destinations from Manchester and that is where things become problematic.

    3 users thanked author for this post.
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