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British Airways cancels all flights from Leeds Bradford Airport

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Judging by a raft of cancellation emails sent out to our readers this afternoon, British Airways has, permanently, suspended flights from Leeds Bradford Airport to London Heathrow.  I cannot see any flights on for any future date.

Leeds Bradford was an experiment that, unfortunately, never fully worked.

Leeds Bradford to Heathrow had historically been a successful bmi British Midland route until rail improvements led to the service being axed in 2009.  British Airways revived it in 2012.

We know that, in 2016, the route carried 165,000 passengers across 20 weekly flights, so an average load of around 80 passengers each way.  This isn’t huge, of course, but the real value would have been in the connecting traffic onto the long-haul network.

In February 2018 it dropped to 10 flights per week.  There comes a point where the frequencies simply aren’t good enough for business travellers who require flexibility and this may have been a cut too far.

What is a shame is that Leeds Bradford is currently undergoing a major period of expansion.  Construction work is about to start on a new terminal building and Leeds Bradford now has three (!) airport lounges.

To be honest, I would have expected British Airways to support or even grow its regional network over the next year or so.  Realistically it will need to do quite a bit of slot-sitting if it is to retain its full Heathrow slot portfolio.  Shuttling aircraft up to Leeds and back is a quick and easy way to do that whilst pulling in connecting traffic.

Looking at the list of other carriers on the airport website, it will continue to be served by Aer Lingus, Aurigny, Jet2, KLM, Ryanair, Tui and Eastern as well as holiday charters.

The big winner here is KLM which retains multiple daily flights and can go back to scooping up the local long-haul business traffic and funnelling it through Amsterdam.

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Comments (49)

  • Linda Adamiak says:

    Treat all employees with the respect and pay they deserve So why now has these pay cuts and layoffs being done. Travel will return to normal. And these employees will be needed more than ever
    Your only making it worse for travelers. Because they won’t get the great service that was offered before

  • Stagger Lee says:

    As a leisure traveller from Leeds LBA to LHR was brilliant until they hacked back the schedule. My trip to the Seychelles was supposed to be from LBA but the return connecting flight was axed meaning I had to switch to MAN. It took me ages to persuade BA that I shouldn;t have to pay extra for the privilege of swapping the outgoing flight from LBA to MAN.

    It’a real shame as the 15 min taxi ride to the airpot is a lot less hassle than the drive and parking hassle over to MAN.

    If I didn’t get the 2-4-1s I’d be pretty much a KLM user for almost everything.

  • Jonny Price says:

    A great shame. I think this was a bit chicken and egg – the route wasn’t successful because it never had a decent schedule. If there was a daily early morning departure from LBA, it would’ve been perfect for daytrippers as well as increasing the number of connection possibilities. I was hopeful the slow growth of air travel demand would mean UK domestic flights out of LHR would get good schedules once more (even if only in the short term to sit on slots that weren’t being used for long haul).

    • Rob says:

      Given that, in theory, it should have been successfully siphoning long-haul traffic off KLM it seems odd to run it down.

      With long-haul flights hard to fill for a year or so, you would imagine that improving regional connectivity (and so increasing connecting passengers) would be important. There are many, many UK airports which KLM serves to Amsterdam which BA ignores.

  • David S says:

    Is BA genuinely starting to fly from Gatwick from 1st July ? I’ve just had my flight from FAO to LHR cancelled yet again and on the first day we can get a flight, all the flights listed are going to LGW

  • Alex Marunchak says:

    BA continues to disappoint. Leeds Bradford airport may be expanding but it is still losing out to Manchester big time.
    Doncaster/Sheffield Robin Hood airport serves Leeds-Bradford, Sheffield, Doncaster, Hull and most of North, West and east Yorkshire perfectly well. Unfortunately all its attempts at attracting scheduled commercial flights have been stymied by Manchester which continues to tout for passengers from Yorkshire.
    Doncaster Robin Hood is the future for air transport in Yorkshire and BA should get a move on in recognising this inevitability.