BA: Where should they start to in Americas, Africa and Asia with their new slots?

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  • VintageKrug

    It’s a good idea; I tend to write things like FLL Fort Lauderdale the first time I write them; helps everyone (especially those not so familiar with other regions) know what you’re on about.

    Where routes are not currently served direct from the UK, it’s especially helpful.


    For all the talk about expansion into emerging markets, I think expectations need to be managed.

    If you look at BA’s recent long haul expansion, it’s largely involved expanding the existing schedule (extra JFK, JNB & MIA, EZE direct, HND in addition to NRT). There has also been a fair amount of slot sitting.

    Also, for cultural and economic reasons as well as BA’s location in Western Europe North America remains BA’s main market. The AA joint venture is performing well and we’ll probably see more North American routes when BA has sufficient 787s online and bedded in.

    New routes to emerging markets will come but only when the right aircraft are in place.

    There is probably also a lot of value to be extracted from the 56 slot pairs simply by tweaking the overall schedule to improve connectivity on the existing route network.

    Some slots may also be leased to IAG partners such as American, Finnair and Japan Airlines.

    As an aside seeing the bmi EDI-LHR schedule nested in all the BA EDI-LON frequencies on really does show what a minnow bmi has become.


    I certainly didn’t suggest to fly to all the Chinese cities I mentioned, if BA are interested in dominating the subcontinent then they should fly to one in each major area. Wuhan, Urumqi and Chengdu are my personal recommendations, though yields might be an issue.

    Urumqi is an interesting choice in particular as it is a major hub for all domestic airlines including Hainan and Southern, has runways long enough for 747s and serves a remote province with mining riches, near Mongolia and a provincial population of 30 million.


    Should TAM in LATAM join 1’Wmthen there are a number of Brazilian cities that should be added. Focusing on BRIC would be a smart move. I think that takes us down the road of Chinese carriers in 1W.


    Thats true Hippo.

    The 787 will be ideal for many of the emerging markets BA wishes to serve in terms of the range, configuration and operating costs.

    But until a sufficient number do come online BA do have some capacity to play with.

    Rumour has it that a number of the short-haul 767’s will be re-configured to a long haul design boosting the long haul fleet as a short term measure. The 767 does not though have the range to fly non-stop to most of the destinations mentioned so it would probably be a juggling around of aircraft types if the 767 scenario was to happen.

    In terms of asian routes, I wouldnt be suprised if another japanese city comes online, especially once the 787’s begin arriving. BA and JAL are becoming increasingly close as partners or UK-Japan routes and have applies for a JSA similar to the AA/BA deal.

    I think BA should definitely go double daily on the GRU (sao Paulo) also. The route is configured with a High J configured jumbo and loads are constantly very healthy. BA did operate a second GRU frequency a few years ago at around 4-5 flights per week in addition to the other daily GRU flight. It was canned around the time of 9/11 and never re-launched.

    Capacity to LATAM has increased a bit in the last few years. Buenos Aires was increased from a four times per week one-stop flight via Sao Paulo to a daily direct flight from London. Rio was also ‘de-linked’ as a three times weekly tag on to the Sao Paulo flight to receiving a three times weekly non stop from london. Flight frequencies have since doubled to a six times weekly flight.

    I think the missing link in LATAM is Santiago. LAN’s main base. LAN has no flights from London. There are no other airlines that serve the route. Other Oneworld airlines American and Qantas also fly into Santiago (QF recently switching their Buenos Aires flights over to Santiago). Would make an interesting option to fly to Sydney from London!


    Thank you for your replies thus far. Le Tigre you have good knowledge of the China market but I feel not all would work. A local partner is needed in the area as having HKG as the hub is out the way and against the flow of traffic. Hainan would be an ideal partner, but they own Hong Kong Airlines who are the main rival to CX. In theory Cathay should be in Star Alliance as their key partner is Air China!

    I do not see any flights starting from UK regions, BA may even be considering dropping LGW to have just one hub! But flights to Pakistan were I think dropped maninly for security concerns, so if that is better that could be possible. In India, do you think Kolkata could make a return? Maybe as an extension to Amritsar, currently operated via Almaty on BMI A330.

    Both A330 are leaving, which ply Freetown + Almaty/Kazakhstan and the other the Saudi routes.

    Flight oracle interesting to increase schedules with those routes. Sao Paulo is aI think one of their most profitable routes. Maybe a second frequency 3 days a week with a tag to Santiago or Belo Horizonte.

    I think Sao Paulo would be a possible A380 route when that arrives.

    Caracas, would Pres.Chavez welcome a BA plane landing?

    Rfurguson thank you for your inside knowledge. Seoul would be tough with excellent competition (Korean and Asiana) and Jakarta I certainly agree. Maybe direct, or take it step by step with KL being the stop. Had Malaysia decided to join one world already when you heard Willie speak?

    I think most Central Asian places, Baku, Almaty etc will stay. As indicated, very high prices etc.


    Makes sense, AA and JL started such an arrangement a while back. KIX Kansei Osaka would be a logical step, Inthought BA flew there. In my home market flights are opening up to Nagoya and Fukuoka.


    America is so 20th Century right now, BA need to be imaginative.

    In addition to the Chinese routes I mentioned, in Asia Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Incheon are a must. It would be interesting to see if Kota Kinabalu also works out well, though perhaps a bit too ambitious.

    Lufthansa makes Busan in South Korea work and Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are all fast developing at the moment.

    However, I wouldn’t expect BA to spend more than 10 daily slots on new routes within the next, say, three years.


    As an additional question, does the current BA planned fleet : life extended 744 and 763, 772 and 773, 32x tigther with 787, 380
    And 32x neo planned, meet the new needs for new markets? New routes tend be an evolution starting with smaller planes without First Class and then upscaling to larger aircraft with all classes. With the investment level of a 787 or a 380 making changes as routes mature needs careful planning. The other option is to play the middle ground with aurcraft of 777 size and then you add a first cabin and add multiple flights. Less efficient operationally but also less capital intensive.


    Long haul routes that have been mentioned at work are Seoul, Jakarta and K.L. from Heathrow. Other routes mentioned are Lima, Santiago and Harare. Flying back to Zimbabwe after a long absence appears a strong contender.
    Tag on flights are not that popular with BA, at the moment only Doha and Muscat are direct onestop routes. It has been mentioned that Jakarta via Singapore would be an option, but unlikely because we can fill a 747 to SIN as a standalone flight, and it makes little commercial sense to operate a Jakarta shuttle from SIN for just a handful of passengers.
    Both legacy and Mixed fleet and indeed current bmi crew can operate a double sector flight, though they are hour restricted, our flight crews do not.
    Some of bmi’s mid haul and former C.I.S. countries will certainly feature on the BA winter 2012/3 schedule, with some operated by 767 and 777.
    So do watch out, as June has been mentioned as the date BA announce new winter Long haul destinations, but i would suspect more announcements to come this autumn as we welcome the 787 and A380 into our expanding fleet for Q1 2013.


    Much as I like seeing airlines fly to every place on the globe ( think Turkish,Emirates etc ), but does no one on the BT forum ever travel to Pakistan on business ? I just find it hard to believe that I am the only one that ever pops up with Pakistan as a route that needs to be served by more m ajor airlines ( currently Thai,THY,Saudi,Emirates,Etihad,Qatar) are the only majors flying to Pakistan.
    With so much trade and investment between Pakistan and the UK , I am surprised that no one ever debates the lack of routes with airlines other than PIA ?????????


    Skyguymanchester – It’s down to lack of business opportunities. It’s down to security concerns. That’s why western carriers have pulled out of Pakistan.


    Hey LondonCity, lack of business opportunities you say ?

    Pakistan , believe it or not, has an educated population too, who are very hardworking and 21st century attuned.
    How are they going to get opportunities if no one gives them a chance ?

    There is everything from beaches to shoppping malls, fast food chains to rustic retreats in the Norther areas and almost all the population own a mobile phone and have internet access !

    Major Hotel groups have properties in Pakistan and most countries have an embassy or consulate and I have never waited more than 1 minute when ringing PIA’s Karachi contact centre ( 0800 587 1023 ) compared to waiting much longer for “quality” major airlines.

    As for security issues, BA never cut 1 frequency to Mumbai after the 2008 attacks yet with no qualm ended Islamabad flights ? Where was the business sense in that ? And why is it that Middle and Far Eastern airlines can fill aircrafts to capacity for Pakistan and yet the European airlines are a big girls blouse ?

    I am so annoyed when Pakistan is left out of every thread on this forum.


    BD had Lahore down as a future destination…now that would have been great. Diamond service to and from Pakistan…just a dream now.
    KL/LH/SR/SN have all flown to Pakistan in the past !


    Skyguymanachester, Pakistan is a major destination no doubt, but the security concerns are there -think also of the insurance premiums for planes to land there.

    Would love to go to Lahore though, I hear it is stunning.

    Well said LeTigre about USA. What do they have, 1 or 2 % economic growth? And BA have AA to partner with who are raising thier game. So why prioritise there when there are countries growing by 5/6 + %? Columbia 5% for example.

    Also about Iberia covering South America. Well, IB will probably put off customers flying with IAG airlines. UK needs direct routes, and there is demand.TP are better than IB, and do not have any real competition.

    As Rich said though, looks like TAM will joining Lan in Oneworld (but not certain yet), however, GRU is full, and it seems crazy to have to fly all that way down in order to fly back up to major cities. TAM should start services to Recife from Europe and let that become something of a hub.

    Thank you BTBAsccm for you input! Reassuring that things re going on to those key places. I would like to say though, that tag ons can be a useful way to teste the water out on some routes, to see if they are justifiable on their own, and also in some places there are security concerns, or indeed not good enough accomodation for crew rest facilities, and so a tag can ensure you serve a route without crew getting off.

    Any thoughts on triangle routes? This can save fuel and allow you to serve 2 cities without backtracking, as long as you are not after local traffic. Brussels Airlines and KLM have done this for years.

    About Harare, well Air Zimbabwe is I understand not currently operating, and there is demand, but how about security/accomodation issues. Mugabe is not exactly a UK fan. Maybe this could ba a tag to LUN (Lusaka VK) or indeed stopping at Kigali en route?

    other places
    Seychelles 767 from LGW
    Colombo from LGW 777
    Phuket with Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh/Cambodia from LGW with 3 class 777?

    With the rumoured 767s from short haul able to be converted to long haul, this could really provide a good fillip to BA. They could place 3 or 4 of them at LGW for new routes and to re-jig their Caribbean routes (San Juan non stop to feed the AA network). Maybe Bogota or caracas as a tag to an existing Caribbean flight, for example Barbados , Port of Spain, or indeed San Juan.

    Exciting times, lots of opportunities.

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