British Airways Increases Mumbai Capacity Amid Jet Airways Collapse

British Airways are moving in to take up the slack presented by the collapse of Jet Airways. From 2nd June, the UK airline will add four additional services per week to and from Mumbai.

British Airways
British Airways is adding capacity to Mumbai. Photo: Pixabay

British Airways are increasing their capacity on their Heathrow to Mumbai service, saying that it is in response to ‘increased customer demand’. With Jet Airways grounded, there are around 21 flights a week fewer between India and London than there used to be

Overall, their service to Mumbai will increase from 14 flights per week to 18 per week as a result. Reservations for these flights are already open, with the additional capacity scheduled through to 26th October 2019.

Speaking to the Independent, a BA spokesperson said:

“We regularly review our extensive global network and make changes to the schedules where necessary. We’ll be increasing our Mumbai service from 14 to 18 flights a week due to increased customer demand”

Previously, Jet Airways flew to London Heathrow twice a day from Mumbai and once daily from New Delhi.

The details of the changes

From 2nd June 2019, British Airways will increase its capacity to Mumbai with the additional following services:

  • LHR – BOM: Leaving London at 17:50, arriving at 07:40 the following day
  • BOM – LHR: Leaving Mumbai at 12:10, arriving in London at 17:20

These flights will be operated on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from London, returning from Mumbai the following day.

British Airways
British Airways will use a 787-9 on the route. Photo: BA

But where did they get the capacity from?

In order to bolster their capacity flying to India, British Airways have scrapped their daytime flights to Johannesburg or Tambo International Airport from 1st June onwards.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner previously used to service this route will be reallocated onto the Mumbai service. This means flights number BA51 and BA50 will be withdrawn, a loss of 864 seats in capacity.

BA 787-9
BA will scrap the 787-9 daytime flights from Johannesburg. Photo: BA

Speaking to the Independent about the changes, a spokesperson for British Airways commented:

“We’re committed to flying between London and Johannesburg and will continue to serve the city 14 times a week. Customers on flights that have been cancelled are being offered a number of options, including rebooking or refunds.”

The last daytime flight from Johannesburg to London will take place on the 1st June. There are still several connections between the cities, as BA and Virgin Atlantic operate two overnight flights, and South Africa Airways operates one.

Capitalizing on the demise of Jet

India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world. Over the last few years, demand for air travel has risen by 15 – 20%, both as a result of more domestic travelers looking to fly and foreign visitors choosing to travel to the country.

Prior to being grounded, Jet Airways had the largest share of air traffic in India, at one point as much as 14%. However, financial problems meant they simply couldn’t keep flying, despite their best efforts.

Jet Airways
Jet Airways can fly no more. Photo: Andy Bay via Pixabay

Since they’ve been grounded, it’s been noted how quickly other domestic carriers such as IndiGo and SpiceJet have moved in to fill the capacity. However, the nation is still facing some capacity challenges, which is seeing a number of non-domestic airlines increasing capacity to the country.

As well as BA, we’ve seen increased capacity from Air France-KLM and Etihad too, as they attempt to pick up the slack left in the network by the collapse of Jet. Both airlines used to work closely with Jet, including codeshare agreements for their passengers.

Jet Airways management remain positive about the grounding, however, stating that it is a temporary measure and not permanent. The chief executive of Jet Airways, Vinay Dube, has been quoted by EasternEye as saying they require around £110m / $144m to restart operations.

However, until the elections in India have concluded, the government is unwilling to commit to any bailout deal.