More BA routes from Heathrow …. to key business destinations …. Palma and Ibiza

Anyone reading the statements from Heathrow about the capacity crisis and how there is a need for more flights to the emerging markets might be puzzled by recent news from British Airways. Back in February 2012 Willie Walsh said he planned to expand IAG  into lucrative emerging markets, such as Latin America and he hoped to use the extra Heathrow take-off and landing-slots from BMI to accelerate growth into emerging markets. But BA has now announced that it is putting on new flights from Heathrow to Palma (Majorca) from March, and to Ibiza. These are in addition to Mexico and Alicante, as well as  Bologna and Marseilles announced earlier.  There are also new flights to Leeds Bradford (and a mention of links for business connnections) and a new flight to Chengdu in China, announced earlier, as well as Almaty (Kazakhstan), Dublin, and Seoul among others, where there is likely to be a business component.  It is hard to believe there is much business benefit from weekend flights to Alicante or Palma or Ibiza.



17.1.2013 (British Airways press release)
British Airways is set to make a number of changes to its summer 2013 schedule (from March 31) including a new route, terminal changes and frequency increases.

The airline will start weekend services* from Heathrow to Ibiza from April 27 thanks to the popularity of the services the airline already operates to the White Isle from both London City and Gatwick airports. The flights are on sale now from £66 one-way.

This is in addition to new Spanish flights from Heathrow to Palma (starting March 31) and from Gatwick to Lanzarote (starting March 31) and Tenerife (starting March 29). Prices to Tenerife and Lanzarote start from £83 one-way return and to Palma from £99 one-way.

The airline will also move its new Heathrow flights to Leeds Bradford and
Zagreb from Terminal 1 to Terminal 5.

The Leeds flights will also be re-timed to better suit business travellers
with earlier morning departures in both directions**. [ A mention of business at last ! not merely holiday destinations ].

From the start of the summer programme on March 31 the schedule from Leeds Bradford will be reduced from four to three flights a day, with the lunchtime and early afternoon slots combined. However, the move to T5 and the new timings will benefit both business and leisure travellers who will be able to easily connect with some of the important long-haul and European destinations.

The winter schedules to Dublin and Tripoli will continue into the summer offering up to 53 flights per week to the Republic of Ireland’s capital and three flights a week to Libya’s.

Travellers booking a shorthaul fare with British Airways can take advantage of the airline’s hand luggage allowance and carry on a good-sized suitcase (56cm x 45cm x 25cm) with no weight limit, plus a handbag or laptop bag as well as checking in a bag weighing up to 23kgs.

The airline also offers customers allocated seating in advance, priority boarding for families, complimentary food and drink, flights to convenient airports, high levels of customer service and a frequent flyer programme that rewards them with Avios and tier points.

On the airline’s longhaul network, Almaty [Kazakhstan] will receive a non-stop service from April 2, 2013. The route will also be moved from Terminal 1 to Terminal 5 and benefit from the introduction of a three-class aircraft.  Customers will now be able to select the World Traveller Plus cabin, as well as Club World or World Traveller.

As previously announced, British Airways is also due to start flights from Gatwick to Sri Lanka from March 31 with prices starting from £604 return, and flights from Heathrow to Chengdu in China from September 22 with prices starting from £742 return.
January 17, 2013

* The Heathrow – Ibiza flights will fly on Saturdays and Sundays. The Saturday flights will depart from Heathrow at 11.20am, arriving at 2.45pm, then return at 3.30pm arriving at 5pm. The Sunday flights will depart Heathrow 7.05am, arriving at 10.30am and the return flight will depart at 11.15am and arriving at 12.45pm.
** The Heathrow – Leeds Bradford flights will now depart from Terminal 5 at 7.55am, 12.35pm and 7.30pm rather than from Terminal 1 at 9.40am, 2.10pm and 6.55pm. The Leeds – Heathrow flights now depart at 9.30am, 3.05pm and 9.15pm, rather than 11.35am, 4.05pm and 9pm.


Comment from an AirportWatch member:

In view of the comments on the benefits of transferring the Leeds flights from Terminal 1 to Terminal 5, might we consider the disbenefits of having to transfer from Terminal 6 to other terminals if another runway got built. ( I’m sure there is lots of business demand for weekend traffic to Ibiza.)





Contrast this with Willie Walsh’s statement last year:

IAG’s Willie Walsh targets emerging markets

Willie Walsh’s plans to expand International Airlines Group (IAG) into lucrative emerging markets, such as Latin America, will dominate the carrier’s annual results this week as it announces a doubling of operating profits.

The group, owner of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, hopes to use the extra Heathrow take-off and landing-slots that will be gained through its proposed BMI takeover to accelerate growth into emerging markets.

……. and so on …. (Telegraph 25.2.2012) at





Heathrow finds space for new flights to Mexico – and Alicante

October 19, 2012     The Telegraph writes that it has taken Aeromexico four years to get some slots at Heathrow, and makes out that this is because Heathrow is full etc etc. There are already 4 flights per week to Mexico, and these new flights will bring the total number to 7 per week. The Telegraph compares this to Paris with 14 and Madrid with 19. In reality, due to the BA link with Iberia, there are relatively few flights from Heathrow to south America, as they go via Madrid. Looking at Heathrow’s website, and its new destinations, one could be forgiven for thinking the airport is only looking to attract tourists, as all its publicity about new destinations is about their tourism potential, and delightful things to go and see and experience. Not one word about their business potential, or the chances for business to drive UK exports. And Heathrow has found room for as many new flights per week to Alicante as there will be to Mexico. Driving UK exports via Alicante ? Really?    Click here to view full story…


Comment from an AirportWatch member:

It is not that airlines cannot get slots at Heathrow.  It may be the case that they cannot get slots at the time they want, but they could have other slots, when the airport is less busy. This is, however, not the way this issue is either described by the industry, or reported in the media.  The journalists probably don’t know the details.




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

June 27, 2012    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 – 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), or Zagreb, Las Vegas, Barcelona, Bologna, Marseilles, Phoenix, Zurich and Bologna. So that is where the money is. So much for the 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.  Click here to view full story…



IAG signs non-binding MOU with Ryanair for some 19 Heathrow slot pairs belonging to Aer Lingus

December 15, 2012     Ryanair, which owns 29.8% percent of Aer Lingus, in June renewed its effort to buy the rest of Aer Lingus, to boost its Irish operations. The EU blocked a previous takeover attempt 5 years ago, saying it would create a monopoly for Irish flights. Now IAG has signed a non-binding agreement to buy landing slots at Heathrow airport from Ryanair as part of its takeover bid for Aer Lingus. This is subject to EC approval, and Ryanair hopes the sale of the slots will help its bid to buy Aer Lingus. Ryanair proposed selling more than 85 % of Aer Lingus’s Heathrow slots and the FT says Ryanair has reached agreement with BA. Aer Lingus already has 23 daily slot pairs at Heathrow, which amounts to 3.5% of the total. It currently flies to Heathrow from Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast. It recently tried – but failed – to get some of the 14 pairs of slots that had been owned by BMI. Let’s see if BA uses its new slots for flights to the emerging markets – or just more lucrative tourist routes.    Click here to view full story…