British Airways announced yesterday that it is closing its route to Chengdu in China after three years.
I have been calling out this route since it launched. I was told by a BA employee that the plug was very nearly pulled before a single flight had departed, so poor were forward bookings. I am not sure how it has limped on for three years, although I am sure that cargo must have played a part.
The last flight to Chengdu will depart on 12th January.
If you were far more cynical than me, you may link this news to reports that the Government was due to finally decide on Heathrow expansion today although the decision has now been delayed a few days longer.
British Airways is very keen for the third runway plans to be scrapped. The chance of BA being given additional slots equal to its current % of slot control at Heathrow is somewhat lower than nil. It faces both a massive increase in landing fees and a sharp increase in competition. Is BA sending a message to the Government? If we cannot make flights to China pay (along with all the routes to India launched and closed during the last decade) then where are the extra flights from a third runway going to go?
This is all speculation, of course.
As – it must be said – is the rumour that New Orleans will be the beneficiary of the slots and aircraft freed up from closing Chengdu.
There have been local press reports of a major airline announcement so this would make some sense, as would BA dropping back to a ‘safe’ US destination.
Have a think about whether you would be interested in a New Orleans holiday next year. If the route is announced – and I stress that it isn’t certain – there will be two Club World seats immediately available on EVERY service. You would have little trouble getting your preferred dates if you moved quickly.