BA’s new aircraft – what it means for long haul routes

Image: A British Airways Dreamliner over Astana, the new Kazakh capital
The airline has ordered 24 787s (+18 options) to start new routes and increase frequencies on existing markets. Here’s some other places that British Airways does not fly to but could with its new long haul planes: Muscat, Colombo, Karachi, Cancun, Osaka, Macau, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh City, Las Vegas, San Diego, Buenos Aires, Bogota, or anywhere in Uzbekistan.

Last week’s announcement by British Airways (BA) that it has finally ordered some new long-haul aircraft is good news for both Airbus (12 firm and seven A380 options) and Boeing and its still-to-fly 787 (24 firm and 18 options).

BA says these aircraft, which will be delivered between 2010 and 2014 will primarily be used to replace existing 747-400s and 14 767s. The A380s are envisaged as helping to provide additional capacity on key existing routes while the 787 will be used to start new routes and increase frequency on existing markets.

Long-Haul: 80% of ASKs

In August BA’s long-haul network contributed around 38% of the airline’s passengers but generated 80% of its available seat-kilometres (ASKs). This demonstrates just how critical the long-haul operation is to its overall business.

BA’s long-haul network is focussed on Heathrow and this week takes a closer look at these operations. Latest schedule data shows BA operates at least two flights per day to 17 long-haul destinations (over 4,500 kilometres) from Heathrow. These are:

Destination Weekly Frequency Distance Aircraft used
New York JFK 51 5,538 km 744, 777
Hong Kong 21 9,626 km 744
Los Angeles 21 8,755 km 744
Chicago O’Hare 21 6,340 km 744, 777
Washington Dulles 20 5,898 km 744, 777
Boston 20 5,236 km 744, 777
New York Newark 20 5,559 km 777, 767
Toronto 17 5,704 km 744, 767
Mumbai 14 7,210 km 744
Johannesburg 14 9,071 km 744
Miami 14 7,104 km 744
Tokyo Narita 14 9,596 km 744
San Francisco 14 8,612 km 744
Dubai 14 5,495 km 744, 777
Singapore 14 10,876 km 744, 777
Delhi 14 6,729 km 777
Philadelphia 14 5,686 km 777
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 01 Oct 07

A mix of aircraft types are used on these routes. BA also serves a number of long-haul destinations from London Gatwick including Houston (14 flights per week), Barbados (10 per week) and Atlanta, Bermuda, Orlando and Dallas/Fort Worth (all daily). BA has already revealed plans to move the Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth flights to Heathrow from next summer requiring three of the 10 777s currently based at Gatwick to move as well.

Daily services from Heathrow to Australia (Sydney) are provided via Bangkok (744) and Singapore (777).

Morning peak for long-haul arrivals

The time difference between the UK and BA’s leading long-haul markets means that there is a morning peak of arrivals between 06:00 and 07:00 at Heathrow. Departures are staggered more evenly during the day.

Chart: BA Long Haul Operations at Heathrow
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 01 Oct 07

Scheduled arrivals before 06:00 include daily flights from Hong Kong (two flights separated by just 30 minutes!), Singapore (two flights separated by just 40 minutes) and regular flights from Nairobi and Lagos.


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