British Airways appears to have suspended its all business class Airbus A318 flight between London City and New York. Tickets for the service are no longer available from the 25th of March onwards, as was first spotted by God Save The Points.
British Airways’ London City to New York is one of the carrier’s flagship routes. In fact, the route holds the prestigious BA1 flight number, once held by Concorde. However, while usually a popular choice, the unique nature of the flight means that it is not suited to the current travel climate given decreased demand.
What do we know?
At the time of writing, British Airways has not confirmed that the route has been suspended. However, the airline did offer us the following statement on the matter:
“This is a fast moving situation, and we recommend all customers check for the latest on their flight on ba.com.“
However, we do know what the booking engines tell us. According to Google Flights, tickets are available up to and including the 24th of March. However, no more tickets are available for the flight until the 1st of September.
As demand has fallen globally, logic would tell us that the flight isn’t fully sold out for five whole months. As such, the logical conclusion is that British Airways has indeed suspended the flight, at least for the time being.
Why would British Airways suspend the flight?
Flights BA1 and BA2 are very niche flights, catering to a very niche market. The flights are operated by the smallest member of the Airbus A320 family, the Airbus A318. The aircraft is equipped with just 32 seats, all of which convert into lie flat beds.
The Airbus A318 would be too heavy to take off from London City with enough fuel to get across the Atlantic. As a result, the aircraft lands at Shannon. Here it is refueled while passengers clear US immigration and customs. As such, the aircraft lands as a domestic flight in New York.
There isn’t much difference in price between the A318’s business class and that of the Boeing 777 and 747. However, because of the low number of seats on the aircraft, a high load factor will be needed to make it profitable. On larger aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and 777, missing business passengers can be offset by economy passengers.
Additionally, business travel, the prime market for this service, has been significantly cut globally as meetings are moved online to avoid face to face contact. As such, it makes sense for the service to be suspended for the time being. Passengers can easily be accommodated on other British Airways services.
Were you due to fly on BA1 and BA2? What do you make of the suspension? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.