British Airways Upgrades Tokyo-Narita Flight During 2020 Olympics

British Airways has increased the number of seats it will offer to Tokyo-Narita next year. The extra capacity on the service coincides with the 2020 Olympics held in the Japanese capital.

British Airways Upgrades Tokyo-Narita Flight During 2020 Olympics
British Airways will be swapping its 787 for 777. Photo: British Airways

The details

According to Routesonline, British Airways will change its aircraft each way on the route from London Heathrow to Tokyo-Narita in Japan next year. The reason is to support the expected additional demand for the 2020 Olympics next summer.

British Airways will be swapping its Boeing 787 aircraft for Boeing 777. It will be flying the Boeing 777-300ER.

However, this aircraft change will only operate for a specific period of time. Passengers will be able to book the service between 1st July 2020 and 24th October 2020.

The flight schedule is as follows:

  • London Heathrow (LHR) departure at 15:40, arriving into Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) at 11:10 + 1 day.
  • Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) departure at 12:55, arriving into London Heathrow (LHR) at 17:20.

Why the Boeing 777-300ER?

Boeing’s 777 is a bigger aircraft model than the 787. British Airways’ 787-9 aircraft has a passenger capacity of 216, whilst its 777-300 can seat a maximum of 299 passengers. This means that the airline will be able to offer seats to around 83 additional passengers.

British Airways Upgrades Tokyo-Narita Flight During 2020 Olympics
The Boeing 777 offers the airline more passenger capacity. Photo: British Airways

Whilst both aircraft operate four classes with the airline, that will change over summer 2020 to ensure passengers who want to go to the Olympics don’t miss out. It will offer first class seats as business class.

In a recent press release regarding its Holiday Hotlist, British Airways revealed that it had seen increased demand for flights to Japan. It said:

“Tokyo has also seen a significant boost for 2020 bookings, as sports fans flock to the city during the year it will host the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games.”

More seats, not more services

Although British Airways has spoken of the boost in sales for the Tokyo-Narita service ahead of the Olympic games, it has only chosen to offer more seats. The airline will not be providing additional services. But why?

For one, the airline has only experienced a spike in bookings ahead of the sporting games, not consistently. The airline already offers multiple flights to Japan. Although it only offers one direct route to Tokyo Narita, its partnership with Finnair and Japan Airlines means that it can service Tokyo Haneda Airport, the more popular destination, with ease.

British Airways Upgrades Tokyo-Narita Flight During 2020 Olympics
British Airways already offers many non-direct flights to Tokyo-Haneda. Photo: British Airways

What’s more, the decision to offer more seats suggests that the interest in the Tokyo-Narita route has not spiked exponentially. There are simply more passengers in need of a ticket, but not enough to warrant profitability for British Airways if they opened an additional service.

Instead, the airline is putting its money elsewhere. In October, British Airways expanded in other regions of Asia. It took its first flight to Beijing Daxing, making history as the first international airline to arrive at the airport since it opened in September 2019.

British Airways’ Executive Vice President in Greater China and the Philippines said it was important to strengthen the connection between the two countries. Noella Ferns said:

“We are very excited to be moving to Beijing Daxing…it will also support our ambition to increase leisure and business travel between China and the UK.”

Do you think the Boeing 777-300ER will fill the demand? Will you be flying British Airways to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games? Let us know in the comments.