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Here is the proposed British Airways operational plan going forward

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There is still a big question mark over how British Airways will operate for the next couple of months.  IAG, BA’s parent company, has said that it intends to ground 75% of flights from April but that number was not broken out between Iberia, BA, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL.

On Wednesday I spoke to a friend who works at BA and he outlined the current thinking to me.  This is NOT heresay – I have seen written confirmation of what is outlined below.  That said, the situation is clearly moving quickly and this plan could easily end up on the back burner.

Long-haul flying:

75% of the long-haul schedule will be cancelled

The ONLY long-haul aircraft which will be flying are the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 fleets – these are generally smaller aircraft and very fuel efficient, with the newest interiors

The entire A380, Boeing 777 and Boeing 747 fleets are to be parked.  The 747 retirement plan has been accelerated and many of these aircraft will never fly again for BA.

Short-haul flying:

The medium-term position of short-haul routes is not clear.  A substantial number of services have already been cancelled but a core minimum is likely to remain if the Government allows.


Terminal 5C is to be closed.  This will be used to park aircraft (there are 22 stands available).

Short-haul aircraft are already being sent elsewhere where possible.  Aircraft are already parked at Glasgow, Southend, Norwich and Cardiff.

British Airways will leave Terminal 3, with all flights moved to Terminal 5.  (There are separate rumours that Terminal 4 will be closed entirely and the 50 or so daily flights moved to Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.)

The Concorde Room lounge in Terminal 5 will be closed (this happened yesterday) and parts of the Terminal 5 check-in and security areas closed.  We already know that the Galleries North and Terminal 5B Galleries lounges have closed.

As I said above, this plan may not survive a collision with reality, but as of a couple of days ago it was the current strategy.

Comments (185)

  • Jeff says:

    Will BA use this time constructively?

    For example, to speed up the Club Suite upgrades, intensively clean all grounded aircraft, and now that lounges are closing, use this time to perform the upgrades that were already being planned?

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Where will the money to do all this come from, you know there is barely any revenue right? And someone else mentioned the factory can only make 3 suites a day. And who would invest in increasing that capacity right now? Plus that assumes people will be going to work in factories next week which is looking unlikely…

      • Rob says:

        Now is when you act. Any smart company will be doing deals now.

        Ryanair owes much of its success to the deal Boeing gave it for 200 x 737s in the weeks after 9/11. Even 15 years old their second hand value is probably more than they paid.

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          This epidemic may have saved the 737 max too. The pressure is off boeing.

        • ChrisBCN says:

          That’s for stuff that doesn’t need funding today though, different things.

      • will says:

        Contact the bank and government, tell them what you want to do, demonstrate it’s employing people now and its to build or improve capacity in the future so the future will bring in increased revenue to pay off the government backed loan.

        You have to believe in capitalism, and if capitalism fails the money you borrowed means nothing anyway along with the money you tried to protect so you really have nothing to lose.

  • Ben says:

    Regarding cancellations do the airlines HAVE to reimburse in cash? Vueling seem to only be offering vouchers

    Do they have to give cash if asked?

  • Nick Jablonski says:

    Quick question to you, Rob.

    I’m due to fly from Heathrow to Glasgow on Friday 27 March and back from Glasgow to Gatwick on the following Monday. B.A. have now told me that the return flight is cancelled, but not the outward flight. Where does that leave me as regards a full refund? I’d more or less accepted that I won’t be going, and had consigned myself to asking for a voucher, but when only half the flight is cancelled, do I still qualify for an automatic cash refund?

  • Bill B says:

    I live in New York and have a 241 BA/Chase Visa voucher expiring December 2020 which I used last October to book round-trip business class flights JFK-LHR, April 2nd through 21st.
    BA has now cancelled the outbound leg. How do I get the Avios back in my account, the taxes and fees refunded, and the voucher extended?
    Will there be any fees for this?

    • Rob says:

      No fees if the flight is cancelled. If you want the voucher extending now then you’ll need to call to trigger the cash refund. If you’re happy to wait a few months to extend it then take the refund online – the voucher will probably be extended anyway and if not you have plenty of time to call up and extend.

  • Harry T says:

    SeatSpy appears to be inventing a lot of First and Business Class availability that doesn’t exist. Reward Flight Finder is remaining accurate when compared to BAEC availability. Plenty of alerts from SeatSpy but none from RFF on the same routes.

    • Robert Norris says:

      Was going to post the same. Can’t imagine this is genuine; can you imagine BA would want their call centres flooded with attempted rewards bookings right now? I assume SeatSpy will put out some kind of correction shortly so people don’t call BA immediately?

  • James F says:

    Apologies if already dealt with, but I have had a CASH booking from LHR to MIA in F cancelled by BA in May. I click the refund option within manage my booking and it defaults to an application for a voucher – this despite the flight being cancelled!

    Do I really need to call them and spend hours on the phone to get them to process a refund?


    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      Yes. But it gave me the time to read the news and have my breakfast this morning!

    • Lyn says:

      I may be imagining it, but I thought someone (Shoestring perhaps?) said that the workaround in Rob’s “workaround article” might work also work with getting a refund for cash bookings? If so, it would be a comment under that article.. Sorry, I don’t have time to check it at the moment.

    • Lady London says:

      As you will read from multiple comments across multiple articles in the past 1-3 days @James F (I can assure you that even a cursory look has all the information you need), it seems British Airways has deliberately changed their website to try to avoid giving customers their cash back when British Airways cancels their flight.

      This is completely illegal and the CAA has issued a reminder that passengers are entitled to cash back and do not have to accept a voucher. However it seems British Airways thinks they are above the law or they are doing this because they believe they will be punished more now if they give people their cash back, than at some later point if they do get punished (ever).

  • James Watson says:

    I think Qatar Airways are now trying to avoid refunding and sainted only offering the travel voucher. I’ve been holding out for cancellation of our ARN-SIN via DOH trip on 2nd April, as I wanted a cash refund as opposed to voucher Finally today a message popped up on my booking stating the return flight had been cancelled and…..

    “If you wish to cancel and refund your booking, please click the Request a refund button and fill up the refund form accordingly”.

    However on clicking the Request a Refund button it just takes you through to the page to request a voucher for future travel. Am I right in thinking that when QR cancel the outbound ex ARN, by EU law they have to offer a refund back to original payment method?

    • Lady London says:


      Make reasonable attempts to get them to return your cash, say 3 requests that you keep a record of, then turn to your credit card co and request s.75 refund or chargeback

      • James Watson says:

        QR customers tweeting their bookings have disappeared and no longer exist / are accessible and no ability to get through to customer service. Thank goodness I paid on my Amex Plat as I don’t see any refunds forthcoming from QR. For weeks they have been promoting free date changes but their IT does not permit that online and charges £300+ per person. The free date change has been withdrawn and it’s voucher only, if you still have a booking in existence to reference.

        • Lady London says:

          Just go to Amex Plat and request money back if you’ve made a reasonable number of attempts that you’ve kept a record of

  • Patrick says:

    Rob your article discussed LHR. Any crystal ball view on LGW long haul? As I believe most of these are 777, I would assume they are toast.