BA to cut flights between Heathrow and Leeds Bradford from 20 to 10 per week – they are not profitable
British Airways says its flights from Leeds Bradford Airport to Heathrow are being cut by 50% “to match demand”. The changes are due to start in summer 2018. BA has not been making money on these flights. A spokesman for Leeds Bradford Airport said the cut in BA flights from 20 to 10 per week was a blow to their hopes that Heathrow’s ongoing runway expansion plans would have attracted more people to Yorkshire. “As the international gateway for Yorkshire and given our continued support for a 3rd runway at Heathrow, this news is disappointing for the largest region in the UK. …. “We hope the people of Yorkshire will still fully support the route, enabling us to prove to British Airways that the largest region in the UK can support a viable and profitable service going forward.” The Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, Paul McGuinness commented that the pledges Heathrow had made to increase its number of domestic links are not credible. It is not in the gift of an airport to determine which air links exist – that is up to airlines, which will only fly routes that are profitable, unless they receive continuing subsidies to run routes at a loss. “It also reminds us of the short-sightedness of those who have been lulled into supporting Heathrow’s campaign to concentrate (yet again) all the best tax payer funded infrastructure in the already, disproportionately well endowed South East of the country.”
So much for “carrot” of increasing domestic air links …. to get 3rd runway support …
Letter to the newspapers, from the No 3rd Runway Coalition, on the news of the cuts to flights between Heathrow and Leeds Bradford airport:
Amongst other unrealistic pledges to win backing for their third
runway campaign, Heathrow’s “promise” to increase the number of
domestic routes, from 6 to 14, has been primarily designed to win the
support of regional airports, businesses and politicians.
And although some of these regional figures do appear to have fallen
for it, the snag is that such a promise can never be in Heathrow’s
gift. Because – as has been amply demonstrated by BA’s announcement
that it will reduce its Leeds Bradford to Heathrow connection by 10
flights a week – regional connectivity can only be determined by
airlines, and not by the airports which they use.
Regional businesses which contributed to the CBI’s 2016 report
“Unlocking Regional Growth” would seem to understand this. For, while
recognising the need for better links to international markets, they
also stated that flights need to fly directly to centres of trade and
commerce (rather than relying on a transfer at a hub, such as
Heathrow, before reaching their destination).
BA’s decision on its Leeds Bradford/Heathrow service doesn’t only
demonstrate this truth. It also reminds us of the short-sightedness of
those who have been lulled into supporting Heathrow’s campaign to
concentrate (yet again) all the best tax payer funded infrastructure in
the already, disproportionately well endowed South East of the country.
Chair, No 3rd Runway Coalition
Leeds Bradford Airport ‘disappointed’ as British Airways announces flight cuts to and from Heathrow
8.1.2018 (Telegraph & Argos)
By Vivien Mason
FLIGHTS from Leeds Bradford Airport to Heathrow by British Airways are being cut “to match demand” a spokesman for the flight operator has said.
The Telegraph & Argus has today learned that airport staff were told this afternoon of the changes, believed to start this summer, when 50 per cent of flights from Leeds Bradford to Heathrow through BA would be cut.
The anonymous caller said they were worried about potential job losses and also the sale of the airport.
In October it was announced an Australian asset management company AMP Capital had increased its interest in the UK by buying Leeds Bradford Airport.
The airport is understood to be the country’s 15th busiest, handling around four million passengers a year.
The caller said BA was claiming it was not making any money from the flights and were cutting them by half.
The caller added that no indication was being made of any job losses as a result of the cuts, or whether the cuts could affect the sale of the airport and the proposed parkway station which they feared may end up a “white elephant”.
In June, Leeds City Council’s executive board gave outline approval for a scheme to build a parkway station on the Leeds-Harrogate railway line; one of several schemes in the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme.
The executive claimed it was “a really important initiative and one that will improve connectivity across the region, as well as help people travelling to and from the airport”.
A spokesman for Leeds Bradford Airport said the news that BA was reducing the number of weekly flights from twenty to ten in each direction was a blow to their hopes that Heathrow’s ongoing runway expansion plans would have attracted more people to Yorkshire.
He said: “We are disappointed with the decision of British Airways to reduce the frequency of its services to Leeds Bradford Airport.
“As the international gateway for Yorkshire and given our continued support for a third runway at Heathrow, this news is disappointing for the largest region in the UK. We have previously stated that we believe Heathrow expansion will enable Yorkshire to attract even more inward investment, exports and tourism by providing greater reach to key international markets via our own air link to Heathrow.”
“We hope the people of Yorkshire will still fully support the route, enabling us to prove to British Airways that the largest region in the UK can support a viable and profitable service going forward.”
Confirming the reduction in service, Sean Doyle British Airways’ director of networks said:” We are maintaining the important air link between Yorkshire and Heathrow, but have had to take the difficult decision to reduce the frequency of flights to match demand.
“We will maintain a daily service and on the busiest days of the week there will be two flights a day to and from Heathrow.
“We appreciate that the connections from Heathrow are important for business and leisure travellers and we are re-timing the morning flight so that customers can more conveniently connect to more of our long-haul flights.”
Heathrow cuts domestic flights in 2016
Data from the CAA
and comparing 2015 and 2014
Leed Bradford Domestic air passengers were down -9% in 2016 compared to 2015, but up by +20% in 2015, compared to 2014.