British Airways launches new routes from Gatwick, cuts back Maldives and Buenos Aires

British Airways released a flurry of route announcements last week.  These things tend to come out in bursts, since every route cancellation will eventually be matched by a new route or capacity addition.

Here is a summary of the announcements.  All of these changes will commence from the week of March 29th.  Seats can be booked now at ba.com.

Short-haul:

Seville (from Gatwick), see photo.  This will run 5 days per week all year round.  This is a great place to visit if you have never been.  It is officially the ‘hottest major Metropolitan area’ in Europe!

Las Palmas (from Gatwick).  This will run 2 days per week all year round.

Funchal (from Gatwick).  This will run 3 days per week all year round.

BA has already announced the launch of Cagliari, Crete, Rhodes, Bodrum and Dalaman for next Summer.

Seville

Long-haul:

Colombo to be dropped.  This is currently an add-on to the Maldives service.  This was on the cards since SriLankan joined the oneworld alliance – they offer a direct service to Colombo with no need to stop in Male on the way, and you still earn Avios and tier points.

Maldives to become ‘Winter only’.  This is a bit of a surprise since I assume there is a decent volume of premium business on this route, even in Summer.  They won’t be selling many fully-flexible tickets but I would have expected it to out-yield plenty of other routes.  Flights will end on 29th March and not resume until October.

Antigua to be increased to a daily service from 5 per week

Orlando to be increased from 13 to 14 departures per week

Port of Spain to be increased from 5 to 6 departures per week

Grenada, Kingston, Las Vegas and Mauritius will see changes to flight times

Buenos Aires (served from Heathrow, all of the above changes are from Gatwick) is to be reduced to five flights per week from the current seven.

American Express Gold Business charge card reviewed - is it worth a look?
Reminder: British Airways American Express bonus offer ends September 30th
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Very intresting, I can not help but think their business plan must have changed somewhat with all thier short haul flights.

    What is of real interest to me is that flight times from Mauritius will be changing as we are honeymooning there in March 2015 and coming back on the BA flight to LGW. When I look at my booking the flight times are still showing the same but wonder if the changes have not filtered through yet.

    • Flight times back from Mauritius are currently 7.45am departure. That’s a horrible time, especially since most of the hotels are some distance from the airport. We chose BA redemption flights to Johannesburg on the A380 with an onward connection via South African / Air Mauritius instead (not that there was much if any direct redemption availability anyway).

      I hadn’t noticed an upcoming schedule change but it’s got to be better than that.

      29 Degrees Sud is my hotel recommendation for anyone not wanting a large resort hotel. It would make an excellent honeymoon choice.

      I suspect the issue generally for BA with Indian Ocean holiday destinations is competition from the middle eastern carriers, Emirates in particular especially for anyone not starting in London.

  2. Darn it, I was planning a 2-4-1 redemption to Sri Lanka in 2016 :(

    • So were we, so disappointed …

      • I am guessing that Qatar flies it so you could 241 to Doha and then use Avios on Qatar for the final hop. SriLankan also flies to other places in the region and of course you can redeem on them too for a hop from India or the Middle East, using BA for the first bit.

  3. It was wierd because there was often seats avaliable for redemption on coolumbo but not male.
    And coolumbo was often cheaper when booking a cash ticket. I did this in April and there was 20people left of for the male -coolumbo leg. Jamie cAlumn and Sophie Dahl got on and sat in row 4 in club. (I was in row 1)
    I can see why the extension has been dropped , especially with the addition of ssrilanka to oneworld.
    Surprised about no summer flights to male though.
    Redemption on ssrilankam airlines might be your best bet.

  4. When would it be possible to book on the new flights? You mentioned March is when the changes come into effect.

  5. The retirement of the 737s and replacement with Airbus A320s and A319s has changed the economics on some of these short routes.
    Remember that BA at Gatwick is getting a sub fleet with even more seats crammed on board the A320 than the newly refurbished aircraft at Heathrow…

    As regards the withdrawal of the summer service to Male, it seems that BA have been upsetting a lot of customers by not offering a re-routing on another one world carrier (I.e Sri Lankan or Qatar)
    Considering Male is a special holiday and Honeymoon destination, this is likely to be remembered by those effected for a long time. It has been posted on flyer talk that even Gold Guest List (BA’s highest level of recognition obtainable unless you have boardroom approval for a Prem. Card) are not being looked after, and being told that the only option is a refund, which is contrary to EU legislation. Surely when. BA look to pull a route, they should properly look after the booked passengers?

    • I am pretty shocked by the some of these Maldives stories, I admit. People will be locked in to pre-paid hotels and may be in trouble if they cannot find reasonably priced alternatives. If they had booked on Avios because they did not have the ££ to pay cash for flights (especially if in Business) they are really stuffed.

    • Lady London says:

      Am I right in thinking that “Oh Yes they can” get away with cancelling the flights and not rebooking you, provided they have given at least two weeks notice? I was royally *****ed over last year by LH when they cancelled flights ruining an entire itinerary. I was told they were not obliged to do anything to help with rebooking the rest of my shattered itinerary as they had given enough notice.

      I’d really appreciate if anyone knows if airlines can just cancel anything they like at two weeks notice leaving the passenger with the problem on an itinerary that’s been booked for months.

  6. Off topic but I got one of the a320 new seats aircraft on a flight to Warsaw yesterday. Only 67 people on board on a 28 row aircraft.
    Why rant they using these on the busier routes for maximum impact.
    They look a lot better that the old seats and business looks quite classy.
    I gave up 4c for a whole row in row 20 so I could sleep for 2hours. And can confirm the arm rests do go up all the way.

    • Not ranting, the seats are better in ET behind the exit rows with slightly more space.
      The real issue is the tight pitch extending to the CE part of the cabin.
      Unlikely to cause me a problem as I have downgraded a lot of my flights to ET and pre assigned the exit row.
      But then I have long legs!

      • Iv just landed back from wawsaw. I can agree the pitch in club is just as tight as economy. You are right that exit rows have more leg room. I was in 1d and had to change because the bulkhead was giving me cramp after 20mins in the air. I took up 2c which was slightly better as legs have somewhere to go. However for business class its way too tight. I think they should have gone for a fixed system and removed the middle seat all together. Yes it wouldn’t be as flexible as the moveable partition but it could have ended up being a product that people were actually willing to pay for. As It is I think ba will end up loosing out with this new tight pitch and totally useless middle seat.

        • I am booked on my next two short haul flights on seat 11/12 -exit row- do you think that it will be good for my legs (i am pretty tall). This is the best i could choose after all.

          Re the CW i agree that seat in the middle is completely unuseful they could just have enlarged the seat in first place!

          • I find the exit row seats pretty decent on BA shorthaul economy and always opt for them if I can (apart from on domestic flights where I just want to be as far forward as possible)

          • Book row 11 to be sure……
            If you are in 12 and a non refurbished A320 turns up you will no longer be in the exit!

  7. Lady London says:

    following

  8. I am actually very disappointed by the (almost) non existing redemption availability for London-Buenos Aires over the full year!

  9. Damn! That MLE-CMB hop was really useful if you know what I mean, anyone got any similar ones that give similar results?

  10. I was booked on a LGW to Male flight in May 2015. This was a 2-4-1 redemption in business. Had 2 very frustrating conversations last Thursday after I was informed that the flights were cancelled. No sympathy regarding my hotel booking and no confirmation that my voucher would be re-instated with the full 12 month validity. I was told that ‘we will fully refund your Avios points and tax money and give you the voucher back’ frankly I wouldn’t have expected anything else!
    Now hoping there will be reward availability for October 2015 once booking opens in a few weeks time. Or perhaps we will go somewhere else, good job we are flexable.

    • Not sure I would accept this. Follow developments on flyer talk? What do the EU regs actually say?
      Why can’t BA re route you via Doha or Colombo on their one world partners!?
      Can’t be that many people affected…?

      • I read through all the Flyer Talk comments last night. There are quite a few with reward & 2-4-1 seats affected. Seems that no one is having any luck with re-routing. Every time I have called BA I get the overspill to the main call centre and they just seem to read from a script. ‘ Very sorry about that Mrs B’ i have resigned myself to either a different destination or fingers crossed for reward seats in Oct/Nov. good job we are flexible.