British Airways expands London Gatwick Airport network without significant increase in flights; New York and Lima highlights for S16
Having lost its position as leading airline at London Gatwick to easyJet some years ago, British Airways (BA) has, in the last couple of years, decided to once again grow its network from the UK’s second busiest airport. However, it has achieved this without a significant growth in aircraft movements, instead reducing the average number of flights per week on each route. With easyJet serving over 100 destinations from Gatwick and relative newcomer Norwegian already serving more than 30 destinations (including long-haul flights to the US and Caribbean), British Airways will this summer serve more than 50 destinations non-stop from Gatwick for the first time since 2008.
New routes starting this summer include the return of daily flights to New York JFK and the addition of two more long-haul services to Lima in Peru and San Jose in Costa Rica. Flights to Porto launched late last week. Despite the increase in destinations served non-stop from 42 to 53 in the last two years, the average number of daily flights operated this summer is only up from 66 to 70 during the same period.
The dramatic reduction in destinations served came about because many of BA’s leisure routes in 2006 and 2007 were operated on its behalf by GB Airways. The airline, which had been struggling financially, sold itself to easyJet in late 2007, simultaneously shrinking BA’s presence at the airport and growing easyJet’s.
US destinations lead ASK rankings
Looking at BA’s routes from Gatwick this summer and examining the leading routes in terms of ASKs (Available Seat Kilometres), which takes into account sector length, frequency and aircraft size, reveals that three of the airline’s top four routes are to the US (shown in light green), with Orlando leading Tampa. All three of the airline’s new long-haul routes this summer break straight into the top 15 as measured by ASKs. The leading European routes (shown in bright green) are Malaga, Naples and Venice, all of which are served with multiple daily flights.
In addition to this summer’s new long-haul flights, in the last two years BA has either launched, or re-launched, flights from Gatwick to Bodrum, Cagliari, Dalaman, Friedrichshafen, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Grenoble, Heraklion, Punta Cana, Rhodes, Seville, Valencia and Vienna, though some of these are only seasonal services. It is worth noting, that in total BA has served well over 110 destinations from Gatwick at some point or other during the last decade.
Routes to Italy and Spain offer most seats during summer months
In terms of leading country markets as measured by weekly seats, eight of the top 12 are in Europe, with Italy leading Spain and the UK. The leading non-European markets (shown in bright green) are led by the US in fourth place, ahead of St. Lucia, Barbados and Bermuda. In total BA will serve destinations in 26 countries from Gatwick this summer. While the three US routes represent just 5.5% of BA’s flights at the airport and 9.2% of its seat capacity, they represent a significant 24% of all ASKs.
Analysis of OAG schedule data for this summer reveals that while easyJet accounts for about 46% of flights and 42% of seat capacity, for BA these figures are 17% and 16% respectively. Norwegian is third with around 8.5% of flights and 9% of seats.