British Airways expands London Gatwick Airport network without significant increase in flights; New York and Lima highlights for S16

British Airways (BA) has gradually been ramping up its route network from London Gatwick

British Airways (BA) has gradually been ramping up its route network from London Gatwick during the last couple of years. This summer, for the first time since the summer of 2008, it will serve more than 50 destinations non-stop from its second base. New routes for this summer are Lima, New York JFK, San Jose in Costa Rica (not to be confused with BA’s new Heathrow route to San Jose in California) and Porto.

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.

British Airways at London Gatwick

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for first week in August of each year.

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.

top 15 routes at LGW by ASKs

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 1 August 2016.

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.

top 12 country markets at LGW

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 1 August 2016.

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.

Last September saw the start of British Airways flights to Vienna from London Gatwick. During the winter season there were four weekly flights but this summer that will increase to six. Competition on the route comes from easyJet which has been serving the market since April 2009 and will operate 13 flights per week on the route this summer.


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Comments

  1. According to Wikipedia, GB Airways operated 29 routes from Gatwick: Agadir, Ajaccio, Alicante, Arrecife, Bastia, Corfu, Dalaman, Fez, Faro, Funchal, Gibraltar, Heraklion, Hurghada, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Las Palmas, Mahon, Malaga, Malta, Marrakech, Montpellier, Mykonos, Nantes, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Rhodes, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South & Tunis.

    Summer 2007 to Summer 2008 saw a drop of 31 destinations. These couldn’t all have been the GB Airways routes as British Airways started operating some of the previously GB Airways operated routes.

    I’m interested to know what routes were dropped from the BA timetable in Sumer 2008. Another 16 destinations were dropped in Summer 2009 and a further 24 destinations dropped in Summer 2010. What were these destinations and the reasons for them being dropped?

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