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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 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.


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Comments (49)

  • Don says:

    The right decision in increasing their green credentials.

  • Hardpack says:

    I’d love to have used lba-lhr but the times and frequencies were just no good for anything

    • Phat Git says:

      After the cuts, the times were useless. Depart LBA at 9:15 and return from LHR about 17:15, leaving around 5 hours tops in London. Too short for a day of meetings, and arrival at LHR a bit late for a lot of the transatlantic flights. Also, only 1 flight north a day at weekends, leaving before most flights from anywhere else arrive. Became a pointless service
      The original schedule was far better and allowed decent connections or 8 to 9 hours in London
      Could be time to return to KLM

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Maybe BA’s feedback from cabin crew is that they won’t have enough re-signing to staff such routes?

    So ghost flights to slot sit?

  • Stuart says:

    BA continue to disappoint and continue to let down the UKs travelling public. No appolgy during the phone call just get on with it and associated costs of travel from other hubs is your issue. Also if you want to change we can only change your connecting flight for a cost. Oh and one last thing your connecting flights on a 747. We can’t help you with that either and you’ll just have to deal with it when it happens.

    Complete and utter disgrace of an airline.

    • Anna says:

      Are you not entitled to EU261 refund or re-route if one leg of the flight is cancelled?

      • Lady London says:

        Yes, anyone with the first leg of their ticket departing from LBA and connecting at Heathrow on BA to long haul, has the right to be rerouted onto another airline flying from LBA to their same destination. Even if it means…cough!cough! changing in Amsterdam where Gilbert has reported the airport shops are open :-).

        BA cannot refuse to ticket you on another airline that’s flying from your departure point even it’s not OneWorld. They for sure won’t like it. But as they are legally obliged to do this if you request under EU261/2004, I am sure they took that into account when they decided to cut LBA.

        • Lady London says:

          *reroute on,say, KLM,would not cost you anything at all underEC261/2004.

          • Blenz101 says:

            Presume they have the same obligations even if the first leg has been flown? Have a ticket later this year which was due to return me to LBA for a trip home.

          • Lady London says:

            Yes you’ll need to ask them for a reroute,if necessary on another airline,back to LBA which you are entitled to.It should cost you nothing and I would be very wary of anything that involves you in ground arrangements – I’d insist on being flown back to LBA and not have to schlep or re-check luggage….in fact I’d want KL via AMS for a lot of routes.

        • Nick says:

          Don’t talk rubbish. There’s no rule at all that says BA has to put you on KLM via Amsterdam just because you’re too lazy to get the train to NCL or MAN. They would have to pay for this if pushed, absolutely, but a right to rerouting CAN include land transport where appropriate. And realistically a short hop such as this is appropriate.

          • Charlieface says:

            No if it’s not reasonable you can refuse, i.e. an extra change, a longer journey, more uncomfortable etc

          • Lady London says:

            charlieface is right. you have a right to depart from the airport you booked on another airline’s flight if there’s one running that will get you to your destination. BA is not entitled to refuse to provide this.

            Of course other than BA likely bullying people and denying passengers their statutory right to this, because of course BA would prefer not to give even the relatively low interline price for this to another airline, there’s also the point that the revenue from an air ticket belongs to the airline on which the first flight on the ticket is flown.

            This means that even if first flight on a ticket is, say, Lufthansa and the other 3 or 7 flights are all on, say, Air France, then tough Lufthansa keeps all the revenue for the ticket and Air France will receive a much lower part of each of the remaining flights.

            So by canning LBA, if a passenger is well informed enough to request to still depart from LBA on an airline that does have a reasonably adjacent flight and to request BA to orovide that ticket free of charge, then BA under all circumstances in loses all or close to all of the revenue for anything else on that ticket even if it’s their flights. Go for it.

            Also worth mentioning that the airline you book has an obligation to get you from your departure point to your destination and which stops in between are not part of the obligation. LH sanctimoniously pointed that out to me when they royally messed up one of my itineraries. So KL via AMS and then whatever works to get you to your destination is your right.

    • BJ says:

      Sounds like a rubbish agent to me. BA should have no difficulty reporting you from MAN or NCL, and with no cost for doing so. I would call again and request to be put on a conducting flight from whichever is more convenient for you.

  • Anna says:

    Hopefully BA funnels too much trans-Atlantic business from MAN to tinker with MAN-LHR, especially if things are looking bad for Virgin. I know people on here say the northern market is negligible, but the flights to and from LHR always seem to be full.

  • Roy says:

    I never used LBA to LHR for business – 2 hours on the LNER Azuma from York was much less hassle – but always use LBA to LHR for holiday long-haul connections. I have an avios 2-4-1 from LBA-LHR-AUH in October so I guess I’ll need to get a partial refund of avios and fees.

  • yorkieflyer says:

    The schedule had been cut to be practically useless, try as I might to use it I usually would LNER or BA ex MAN

  • Blenz101 says:

    Another factor making LBA difficult was that after cutting the frequencies to the bone it must have burned through some serious EU261 compensation for connecting traffic.

    Slightest issue at LHR and was the first domestic route for the chop. The airport itself is also prone to weather resulting is plenty of cancellations.

    I only used it to connect to LH and most others seemed to be doing the same when I used the service, the timing at the end made it unviable for much else.

    Maybe 15%+ of the times I used the service I would claim full EU261 LH compensation as a result of issues making or the actually running of the domestic leg. Plenty of flights of a reroute too MAN making me ineligible went to arbitration.