How Does An Airline Prepare For A New Route?

Airlines launch new routes all the time. In fact, just this afternoon we reported about two new Alaska Airlines routes to San Luis Obispo in California. However, have you ever wondered what goes into launching a new route? As part of its 24/7: Access All Areas documentary, British Airways shed some light on the topic.

British Airways, tv series, documentary
British Airways has produced a four-part documentary. Photo: British Airways

Launching a new route can be a stressful time for an airline. While passengers simply purchase a ticket for a route and show up, things are different for an airline. Lots of hard work, preparation and some negotiation are required to make the first day a success.

London to Osaka

The documentary takes a look at the launch of British Airways’ route from London to Osaka. The route was launched in late March and sees a Boeing 787 flying to the destination four days a week. In fact, the first flight departed on the 31st of March 2019.

To board the flight, passengers just had to purchase a ticket for the flight and turn up at London Heathrow on the day. However, the flight was the culmination of months of preparation by British Airways. From contract negotiations to aircraft scheduling, nothing would have been left unturned by the carrier.

Firstly, British Airways would need to have assigned one pair of its Heathrow slots to the flight. Additionally, the airline would’ve had to make sure that it has the number of aircraft to support the new route. This shouldn’t be hard, as elsewhere in the episode we learn what goes into delivering a brand new Boeing 787.

British Airways, Osaka, New Route
British Airways operates a Boeing 787 to Osaka. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The airline will also have had to organize everything in Japan. From the documentary, we can see that the airline has chosen oneworld partner Japan Airlines to handle their Boeing 787 on the ground.

The program also shows the rush to ensure that all of the airline’s stationery arrives at the airport in time for the service. Indeed, the airline’s staff had some trouble constructing a baggage sizer that was dented in transport. All went well, however, as we later see the red ribbon cut at the departure gate to officially open the route.

Paul Jarvis

The inaugural flight to Osaka was completed by one of British Airways’ two aircraft with a name painted on the hull. While the Boeing 747 wearing the Landor livery is named City of Swansea, one Boeing 787 is named Paul Jarvis.

British Airways, Osaka, New Route
Paul Jarvis was the curator of the British Airways Heritage Collection. Photo: British Airways

The Boeing 787 is named Paul Jarvis as a tribute to a special member of British Airways staff. Paul Jarvis was the curator of the British Airways Heritage Collection. According to Surrey Live, Mr. Jarvis was an inspiration to IAG CEO Willie Walsh.

Did you watch the documentary? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!