Heathrow slots that should be ‘ring fenced’ for Scottish flights redeployed for leisure routes to Spain, Italy & France

Simon Calder reports that precious landing slots at Heathrow that had been “ring fenced” for Scottish routes are being redeployed by British Airways to open new routes to Spain, Italy and France – leaving Scotland with one million fewer seats a year. When BA bought BMI, it was forced to hand 9 daily slot pairs specifically for use on routes connecting Heathrow with Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The so-called “remedy slots” had been used by BMI to operate flights from Heathrow to Scotland, and were taken up by Virgin Atlantic, which ran them for 2 years as “Little Red”.  But last month Virgin scrapped Little Red. Therefore the slots revert to BA, which is using them to launch routes to Menorca, Biarritz and Palermo (starting next spring) – as opposed to the “emerging markets” in Asia, Africa and Latin America that are often cited in support of a 3rd runway at Heathrow. There will also be increases in the number of departures to long-established destinations such as Berlin, Stockholm and Venice. ie more holiday destinations.  If another contender were to come forward for the “remedy slots”, BA would be obliged to hand them over. It is difficult to see, though, an airline that could make a success where Virgin Atlantic failed.
.

 

Heathrow landing slots ‘ring fenced’ for Scottish flights redeployed for routes to Spain, Italy and France

Virgin Atlantic has been forced to throw in the towel over the so-called ‘remedy slots’ after sustaining heavy losses

By Simon Calder Travel Correspondent (Independent)

22.10.2015

Precious landing slots at Heathrow that had been “ring fenced” for Scottish routes are being redeployed by British Airways to open new routes to Spain, Italy and France – leaving Scotland with one million fewer seats a year.

When BA bought its rival BMI, it was forced to hand nine daily slot pairs specifically for use on routes connecting Heathrow with Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The so-called “remedy slots” had been used by BMI to operate flights from Heathrow to Scotland, and were taken up by Virgin Atlantic, which ran them for two years under the “Little Red” brand. But last month Virgin threw in the towel after sustaining heavy losses.

As a result, the slots revert to BA, which is using them to launch routes to Menorca, Biarritz and Palermo – as opposed to the “emerging markets” in Asia, Africa and Latin America that are often cited in support of a third runway at Heathrow.

The flights begin next April and May, along with increases in the number of departures to long-established destinations such as Berlin, Stockholm and Venice. They follow a pattern that British Airways has established over the past few summers of serving a range of holiday destinations from its main business airports, Heathrow and London City, during the summer.

The airline is believed to be testing out the latest routes for possible long-term operations, rather than commit to another long-haul destination from Europe’s busiest airport.

If another contender were to come forward for the “remedy slots”, BA would be obliged to hand them over. It is difficult to see, though, an airline that could make a success where Virgin Atlantic failed.

The two most successful low-cost airlines in Europe are Ryanair and easyJet. Ryanair has said it has no interest in flying to and from Heathrow. And while Britain’s biggest low-cost airline, easyJet, has pledged to fly from Heathrow to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, it depends on the Airports Commission recommendation of a third runway at the airport going ahead.

BA has also announced that it will restart services from Gatwick to New York after a gap of seven years. The airline will compete against its low-cost rival, Norwegian, on the route to JFK and has chosen timings that closely match its competitor. Opening fares start at £390 return.

The airline is to transfer its Las Vegas flights from Gatwick to Heathrow in April next year.

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/heathrow-landing-slots-ring-fenced-for-scottish-flights-redeployed-for-routes-to-spain-italy-and-a6703191.html

.


.

Earlier:

 

Virgin Atlantic to start domestic flights between Heathrow and Edinburgh & Aberdeen as well as Manchester

Virgin Atlantic will be operating daily domestic flights from Scotland to Heathrow from spring 2013 after being offered all the remaining slots that BA was forced to relinquish after its takeover of bmi. The flights to Edinburgh and Aberdeen are in addition to flights to Manchester (3 per day), starting in April 2013, that were announced in August.  They will use an A320 that carries around 150 passengers. European competition authorities compelled BA to give up 14 slot pairs at Heathrow as a condition of approving its merger with bmi – that was opposed by Virgin. These domestic flights could be considered as boosting passenger numbers on transfer flights to destinations such as the USA out of Heathrow. However, Virgin has also said it will be using some of its new slots for point to point flights to Nice. [This appears to be evidence that scarce slots at Heathrow are not urgently needed  for flights to the emerging or new economies for businessmen.  The slots are instead used for whichever route is most profitable]. Virgin is also to trying to get a pair of slots for flights to Moscow, which the CAA recently granted to easyJet.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/11/virgin-slots/

.

.

 

 

BA uses its new BMI slots at Heathrow, not for emerging economies, but largely leisure destinations. As usual.

BA got 42 daily Heathrow slots from taking over BMI. And it said very publicly, in March, that it would be using these to fly to the emerging economies – in  Asia, Africa and Latin America – which is part of the myth that the aviation industry is peddling at present. So what are the slots actually being used for?  One flight per day to  Seoul. The rest are domestic UK (Aberdeen Edinburgh, Belfast, Manchester, Leeds Bradford), or Zagreb, Las Vegas, Barcelona, Marseilles, Phoenix, Zurich and Bologna – with more flights to some.  So that is where the money is.  So much for the allegedly desperate need for slots to fly to second tier Chinese cities. This really proves what a lot of misleading PR is being put out by BAA and the airlines at Heathrow.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2012/06/slots/

.

.

.

.

.