Air China suspends Gatwick-Beijing service for the winter – not enough demand
Date added: September 6, 2013
Much of the clamour by the aviation industry is for more airport capacity for more flights to the Far East and the emerging economies. The claims are that the UK will be left behind economically if there aren’t frequent direct routes to numerous Chinese etc cities. However, it now emerges that Air China is to suspend its Beijing service from Gatwick from 27th October for the winter as there is not enough take up. It will probably resume in April 2014. The route was only started in 2012. Over the summer, the airline increased the size of aircraft used on its other UK route (Heathrow – daily), which has caused it to temporarily withdraw services from Gatwick for one season. The move appears to demonstrate that – despite strong load factors – the service is not viable year-round from 2 UK airports. Gatwick has suffered the loss of several long-haul routes – Korean Airlines suspended its Gatwick-Seoul route late last year and Hong Kong Airlines all-business class service was cancelled after only a few months of operation. . Tweet
Air China suspends Gatwick-Beijing service
5 Sep 2013
Gatwick is set to lose another long-haul route next month as Air China has decided to suspend its Beijing service over the winter season.
The route, which only started in 2012, will be suspended from October 27, according to the Airline Route website which publishes route information from GDSs and other sources.
A Gatwick spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Air China has decided not to operate services between Gatwick and Beijing this winter.
“Over the summer, the airline increased the size of aircraft used on its other UK route, which has caused it to temporarily withdraw services from Gatwick for one season.
“However passenger numbers on the Gatwick route have been consistently strong since its launch and we look forward to welcoming Air China back next summer.”
The move appears to demonstrate that – despite strong load factors – the service is not viable year-round from two UK airports.
Air China continues to operate a daily direct service to Beijing from Heathrow.
Gatwick believes that the carrier will return for the 2014 summer season, commencing in late March. Flights remain open for reservations from March 30, 2014, according to the GDS timetable although this may be change later in the year.
The airport has suffered the loss of several long-haul routes – Korean Airlines suspended its Gatwick-Seoul route late last year and Hong Kong Airlines all-business class service was cancelled after only a few months of operation.
Garuda Indonesia has also postponed the launch of its Gatwick to Jakarta route from November until May 2014.
But it is not all bad news for Gatwick as fellow Asian carrier Vietnam Airlines added a fifth weekly summer service from Gatwick to Ho Chi Minh City in April.
Having launched its new Gatwick route earlier this year, Korean Air (KAL) has now decided to suspend operations during the off-peak winter season.
A spokesperson for KAL explained that a good proportion of traffic on this three times a week service comprises Asian group tourists * who fly into London but return with KAL from another city in mainland Europe. There is less demand for European holidays during this period.
KAL says its last flight of the winter from Gatwick will be on January 12 and that it will resume the service on April 27 in time for the busier summer season.
Flights will continue to operate at the same flight frequency and with the same aircraft type, a B777-200 configured with eight first, 28 business and 210 economy class seats.
But perhaps one factor in KAL’s decision for the winter suspension is the fact that there will be much more capacity on the route from next Sunday when British Airways will be returning to Seoul after an absence of over 10 years.
BA’s five times a week service to Seoul begins on December 2. It will be operated out of London Heathrow with a B777-200.
Gatwick announces more profit, slightly more passengers and hopes of 2nd runway
November 29, 2012 Gatwick airport has announced increased profits, and increased numbers of passengers compared to last year. Comparing each month with the same month a year ago, passengers were up by 2.1% in October; up 2.4% in September; up 0.2% in August; down – 0.1% in July; up 4% in June and up 2% in May. Profits increased by 4.8% over the same April to September period in 2011. Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s chief executive, says the airport is opening up new long-haul routes to Russian, China, Vietnam and Korea. He says the growing numbers of passengers “is why we recently announced our plans to explore 2nd runway options as we believe growth at Gatwick is the best option for increasing connectivity for the next generation.” He says there is an over-emphasis in the UK on the need for a single hub airport and London could follow a similar model to New York, which is served by 3 key airports. Rival Heathrow says the New York model wouldn’t work in the UK as there is only one major network airline in this country – British Airways – compared to three in the US.
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.
British Airways is to begin flying six times a week to Seoul in South Korea from December 2.