Schedules Suggest BA Could Relaunch Many Long Haul Routes In 2022

Could multiple long-haul routes removed by British Airways be coming back next summer? The carrier has uploaded schedules for them, although it does not automatically mean that they’ll be returning. Only one is currently bookable.

BA 787
Could long-haul routes be returning, especially in hard-hit Asia? Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

What might be happening?

British Airways has submitted schedules to OAG for nine formerly operated long-haul routes to operate next summer, seven from Heathrow and two from Gatwick. They were culled during the pandemic. However, only one (Bangkok) is currently bookable.

  1. Heathrow to Abu Dhabi: from March 27th, once-daily, 272-seat B777-200ERs
  2. Heathrow to Bangkok: from March 27th, once-daily, using 275-seat B777-200ERs
  3. Heathrow to Durban: three-weekly, 214-seat B787-8s (maybe scuppered by omicron)
  4. Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur: once-daily, 216-seat B787-9s
  5. Heathrow to Pittsburgh: March 27th, four-weekly, 214-seat B787-8s
  6. Heathrow to Seoul Incheon: from March 27th, once-daily, 214-seat B787-8s
  7. Heathrow to Seychelles: twice-weekly, 216-seat B787-9s
  8. Gatwick to JFK: once-daily, 332 and 336-seat B777-200ERs
  9. Gatwick to Lima: three-weekly, 332-seat B777-200ERs

There is currently no sign of other routes, such as Calgary, Charleston, Jeddah, Osaka, and Portland, that were also removed. WestJet is beginning Heathrow-Calgary in the wake of BA’s exit.

Long haul routes from Heathrow and Gatwick
Yellow = Heathrow; orange = Gatwick. Note that shows that BA is flying to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, but they aren’t bookable via normal channels. Image: GCMap

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Other routes are now bookable

Islamabad will shift from Heathrow to Gatwick. It’s bookable and will operate on March 1st (rather than 27th) and will run six-weekly using high-density B777-200ERs to counteract lower yields. This is probably what Gatwick’s Chief Commercial Officer meant when he said he expects more visiting friends and relatives markets.

From March 27th, British Airways will again serve Sydney, with the once-daily service via Singapore. The B787-9 will replace the higher-capacity B777-300ER, which has operated for years and replaced the iconic B747-400.

There’s no sign of Indianapolis, for which BA obtained slots for next summer, although they could easily be used for another route. Nonetheless, in the last normal year, Indianapolis had good point-to-point (P2P) demand to/from London and 210,000 passengers to Europe as a whole. Delta launched Indianapolis to Paris (a smaller P2P market) in 2018, although it’s not bookable.

British Airways Boeing 777-236(ER) G-VIIB (2)
The B777-200ER will play an important role if these routes do resume. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

The ups and downs of Gatwick to JFK

The 3,470-mile (5,584km) link from Gatwick to JFK has undergone big changes in recent years. Unserved until November 2006, it operated non-stop for almost three years, initially by Delta (November 2006-August 2008) and Zoom (July 2007-August 2008). BA entered the readymade market in October 2008 and served it for a year before consolidating at Heathrow.

Gatwick-JFK returned in July 2014 with Norwegian (until March 2020) and then BA (March 2016-March 2020). It had 841,000 annual seats and up to four daily departures at its peak, Cirium data shows. JetBlue entered the market in September this year, and Norse Atlantic will likely begin it in 2022, although it currently has no Gatwick slots. Could BA join them?

What do you make of it all? Let us know in the comments.