Uncertainty over BA flights between Aberdeen and London

21.7.2008     (Press and Journal – Aberdeen)

Company would not confirm or deny speculation

Published: 21/07/2008


The company would not confirm or deny yesterday  that the route is part of its plans to cut capacity by up to 5%.

Concern has been growing in recent months that the popular route may face being

This follows BA’s announcement at the end of last year that it was scrapping
its Aberdeen-Gatwick flights for commercial reasons.

However, a spokeswoman for BA said yesterday that there had been no decisions
made yet on any reductions in flight frequencies or routes which could be chopped.

"We are working through our options at the moment," she added.

Long-haul flights will not be affected by the cutbacks, which are to be revealed
when the BA winter schedule is announced on Friday, August 1.

Fears that the Aberdeen to Heathrow service will be targeted for cuts were raised
again last week after BA chief executive Willie Walsh warned the airline was being
hit hard by soaring fuel bills.

BA’s annual fuel bill, some 35% of the company’s costs, has risen from about
£2billion to about £3billion.

Mr Walsh told shareholders he was "reviewing our mainline flying programme to
see where it is prudent to reduce capacity in the current economic climate".

"We will not cut flights that our customers most value," he added.

A number of US airlines, including United Airlines and Continental, have made
substantial capacity cuts this year as fuel prices have risen.

And last week budget airline Ryanair announced a 14% reduction in the number
of weekly flights for winter 2008/09 at Stansted in Essex.

The number will be cut from more than 1,850 to just under 1,600 this winter,
and the airline reckons it will carry about 900,000 fewer passengers than last

Ryanair blamed the capacity cutbacks on the huge rise in oil prices and the "expense"
of using Stansted.

The number of people flying with BA dipped last month as bosses admitted the
consumer environment was "difficult".

BA carried 2.91million passengers in June – a 2.9% drop on the June 2007 total.

In May the airline increased its fuel surcharge, with flyers on the most distant
long-haul routes paying £30 more for a return flight. The rise came just a month
after it last raised the surcharge.