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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)

  • Harry H says:

    British Airways move a little closer to the associated tag of London Airways.

    • Andrew says:

      Heathrow Airways if they leave LGW too!

      • Lady London says:

        Let’s hope nothing ever happens to make LHR unuseable for any significant period.
        If that ever happened British Airways would be very, very exposed.

  • Nick says:

    Hopefully unrelated but there have been Aberdeen-Heathrow and Heathrow-Aberdeen BA flights cancelled today as well. I’ve had flights on 5th and 18th July 2020 cancelled, and I think there was at least another around 17th cancelled too as it disappeared whilst I was looking at it. Can Rob or anyone else suggest why this is?

    • Dave H says:

      They’re just usual flight trimming due to coronavirus. NCL has reduced flights too in July and back to normal (for now) in August. LBA has had all flights cancelled up to the end of the currently bookable schedule

  • Kipto says:

    Isn’t Heathrow to Leeds ba’s shortest scheduled route ?

    • Josh says:

      Manchester is shorter

    • Jonathan says:

      Manchester definitely shorter @ 151 miles vs LBA @ 173. Leeds is also beaten by LGW-Jersey @ 161miles. Not sure if there are any obscure regular routes which beat that.

      • Dezbez says:

        I’ve done Bali – Lombok which is just under 100 miles. Not BA though, obvs!

    • Josh says:

      I think their shortest flight is Damman to Bahrain…at about 50 ish miles but it was a tag on and the flight couldn’t be booked on its own.

      BA hops around the Caribbean may have been shorter than 150 miles?

      • Paul says:

        EasyJet do LPL to Douglas at just 85 miles – always amusing to watch the fast forward in flight service on this flight and no chance if seated after row 10!

  • Andy says:

    BA’s loss is KLM’s gain.

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Not surprised, what BA could have done is staggered their flight times that complement the manchetser operations. I was also surprised manchester has so few BA flight but since its around 2 hours on a train to from London.

    • Cheshire Pete says:

      Then double that time of 2 hours to even scrape getting to Heathrow from Euston to catch your onward flight! After the 35 min shuttle time, you’re probably sitting in T5 departures about 50 minutes after leading the runway at Manchester…..

    • Nick says:

      With the train offering the extra bonus of travel on the tube with luggage for a long haul trip, and the extra, extra bonus of doing it with kids if it’s a long haul holiday. Or maybe just check in at LBA, head to AMS and an easy KLM flight to wherever you are going. Not a hard decision at the best if times. For the rest of this year the tfl will be making tube travel so miserable it’s probably best avoided at almost any price.

  • Rich Jones says:

    It appears Portland (PDX) has a postponed launch away from June 2020 to next year. Shame I now I need to divert via Dallas but on the upside that involves more tier/avios.

  • BJ says:

    “permanently, suspended” ??

    • Rob says:

      ‘suspended’ is aviation parlance for ‘cancelled’

      • BJ says:

        Oh, time for an HFP glossary soon. Brings back memories of being perplexed by references to ‘enhanced’ when I first started reading Flyer Talk 🙂

  • Euan says:

    Improving regional connectivity should have been a condition of government support received by IAG or BA

    • Lady London says:

      BA’s too busy slashing the earnings and working conditions of its entire workforce (top management excepted,obviously).When they’ve finished doing that they can negotiate on other things.