Where Will British Airways Fly The Boeing 737 MAX?

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Back in June, British Airways parent company IAG announced its intention to purchase up to 200 Boeing 737 MAX jets. Taking place at the Paris Air Show, the announcement was significant as it came at a time when confidence in the aircraft is shaky. So if the announcement of intention becomes a firm order, where would British Airways fly the 737 MAX (if IAG assigns the aircraft to the airline)?

British Airways Comair Boeing 737 MAX 8 landing
Comair flying under the British Airways colors and livery. Photo: Boeing

We should emphasize that this is a purely hypothetical situation. Two things first have to happen in order for us to see British Airways operating the Boeing 737 MAX:

  1. IAG needs to firm up its order. Currently, it only stands as an announcement of intention.
  2. IAG would have to assign the newly delivered MAX jets to British Airways rather than other subsidiary airlines. Other brands include Aer Lingus, Iberia, LEVEL, and Vueling. Any one of these other brands could take the jets instead of BA.

It also goes without saying that the grounding/ban of the 737 MAX needs to end as well. So holding the above two (three) assumptions in place, let’s proceed with our hypothetical situation…

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What British Airways uses now

According to Wikipedia, British Airways narrowbody fleet currently consists of planes from the Airbus A320 family. This includes a single A318 for its specialty route (between London City Airport and John F. Kennedy International) and goes all the way up to the stretched version – the A321.

These aircraft currently fly intra-Europe routes. These routes include London Heathrow to Prague and Heathrow to Helsinki (and on and on). However, we have seen the stretched versions fly as far as Cairo.

BA A320neo
The BA narrowbody fleet consists of variants from the A320 family as well as smaller Embraer regional jets. Photo: British Airways

From Gatwick and Heathrow

The majority of BA flights depart from London Gatwick and London Heathrow except for a handful of exceptions, such as BA2347 (Edinburgh to Palma de Mallorca) and BA7319 (Manchester to Mykonos). Yes, there are flights out of London City but they wouldn’t be able to handle the 737 MAX – hence the reason BA should get the A220.

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Looking at the map below, we can see that the 737 MAX 8 would open up a lot of the world to BA for lower-capacity flights.

The range of the 737 MAX 8 from London Gatwick. Photo: GCMaps

We could see British Airways using the 737 MAX on routes currently operated by its A320 fleet. That’s a lot of flights. Here are a few examples from London:

  •  Heathrow to Cairo
  •  Gatwick to Algiers
  •  Gatwick to Thessaloniki
  •  Heathrow to Faro
  •  Heathrow to Frankfurt

Maybe we could see new routes develop to far-flung low-demand routes. Perhaps destinations in far Eastern Europe and Central Asia like:

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  • Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • Astana, Kazakhstan
  • Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Tbilisi, Georgia

It would be amazing to see BA develop routes from airports like Manchester and Edinburgh so that passengers originating in Northern England and as far up as Scotland don’t have to connect through London to go further with the airline.

Conclusion

Like we said above, it would take a few steps first before we see a British Airways 737 MAX flight. Are there any routes that you would like to see British Airways operate with an advanced narrowbody aircraft like the 737 MAX? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Comair 737 MAX
A 737 MAX in British Airways livery operated by Comair. Photo: Boeing
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