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 ba.com 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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.