British Airways today announced changes to its winter schedule for 2002 which include increased services to profitable destinations and further route transfers from London Gatwick to London Heathrow.
From October 27, services to San Diego, Denver and Phoenix in the USA and Harare in Zimbabwe and Lusaka in Zambia will move from Gatwick to Heathrow’s Terminal Four, a move which will concentrate British Airways’ African network at Heathrow. Flights to New York’s JFK airport from Heathrow will increase from six to seven daily sub-sonic services.
Three shorthaul routes, St Petersburg in Russia, Tripoli in Libya and Sofia in Bulgaria, also move to Heathrow where they will be served from Terminal One.
The route transfers are in line with the airline’s Future Size and Shape strategy, unveiled in February 2002, to switch routes to Heathrow to improve network profitability. Since December 2000, the airline has been transforming its operation at Gatwick into a base for direct shorthaul flights with a smaller longhaul network.
An extra daily Athens service will be introduced at Heathrow bringing the total to three a day. To further reduce duplication across the network, the daily Athens service from Gatwick will be suspended for the winter season.
Frequencies from Gatwick to the Caribbean will be increased with the addition of two services per week to Antigua, resulting in a daily service to the island. This will be complemented by extra onward services to Tobago (from two to three per week) and Grenada (from one to two per week).
Flights to Cape Town from Heathrow will be increased from seven to 10 per week. Some Middle Eastern and Asian routes from Heathrow will get a boost with increased capacity in the form of larger aircraft. Cairo, Dhaka and Calcutta will be served by the larger Boeing 747-400 aircraft instead of a Boeing 777. On the Jeddah route, the Boeing 767 will be replaced by the larger Boeing 777. Overall capacity for the network, however, will remain static compared with the winter schedule, 2001.
Although still committed to reintroducing the service at some point, flights to Islamabad from Heathrow will remain suspended for the winter season. British Airways suspended services following the events of September 11.