British Airways today announced (February 16) an increase of just over eight per cent in capacity across its international route network this summer.
Bob Ayling, British Airways’ Chief Executive said: “Our expansion plans for summer ‘98 reflect our determination to provide the most comprehensive and competitive world-wide schedule for our customers, consistent with improving our profitability.
“Despite the downturn in some markets, others continue to grow. Our summer timetable will take advantage of those trends and, together with the efficiencies that are being delivered by our Business Efficiency Programme, will help to create the thousands of new jobs we have already announced.”
The biggest increase in capacity is on flights to South America, Central America, the Caribbean and to North America. In June, a new daily service from Gatwick to Denver will be launched (subject to government approval) and new services to Cancun and Tobago will begin with the start of the summer schedule on March 29. In addition, new frequencies are being added to Buenos Aires, Santiago, Barbados, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Tampa, Nassau and Grand Cayman.
The airline is re-aligning capacity to Asia-Pacific with an increase in some services and the trimming of others, to reflect current market conditions. Flights to Singapore and Brisbane will be increased from five to seven a week and an extra weekly service will be added to Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Beijing.
In Korea, where the airline has seen a fall-off in demand, three weekly flights to Seoul will be suspended from the end of March, until the market improves. The airline will retain a presence in the Korean market, by offering travellers a choice of convenient, daily connections via Tokyo and Hong Kong through a special arrangement with Asiana Airlines.
Flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka, which have also experienced a fall in demand, will be temporarily suspended from the end of March. A planned sixth weekly flight to Kansai has been suspended because of a drop in Japanese tourism and a weakened yen.
In the Middle-East and Africa, the airline is continuing to grow its network with the launch of a new daily service to Doha, Qatar and a twice- weekly service to Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire (subject to government approval). The airline is also increasing capacity to Dubai and launching non-stop services to Abu-Dhabi.
Europe will also see a significant increase in flights with more than 40 extra flights a week added to the existing network. Highlights include the launch of services from Gatwick to Ljubljana in Slovenia and to Trieste in Northern Italy.