Over the last 48 hours, there have been a lot of rumours swirling around about the extent of the British Airways service cuts for November and early December.
Suffice it to say, it won’t look pretty. I haven’t written anything so far because there is a huge amount of speculation and not a lot of hard fact.
However, this email from Mark Muren, Head of Global Sales for BA, was just sent to the travel trade and is the first official word:
“Following the Government’s announcement of a new national lockdown for England last Saturday, we have been urgently reviewing our schedule for November. Our focus is on keeping crucial air links open, bringing home the thousands of customers currently abroad, transporting vital goods, and ensuring people who are permitted to travel in and out of the UK for work, education and other reasons stipulated by the UK Government, can continue to do so. We are doing everything in our power to best serve and support our customers, partners and colleagues during this challenging time.
In light of this announcement, we have taken the decision to implement a number of cancellations across our network. Policies are in place to ensure maximum flexibility for our customers. If a flight is cancelled, customers will be entitled to a refund as per our standard customer guidelines. Our ‘Book with Confidence’ policy continues to offer the ability to change a flight, date or destination or request a voucher for future travel.“
What is going to happen?
There was talk of the entire short haul schedule being scrapped and long haul becoming cargo only. There was also talk of the Government getting involved, allegedly because the airline – not unreasonably – didn’t see why it should run unprofitable services to keep the country open for business when it was not receiving state support.
It now appears that BA will reduce to a skeleton passenger service. It is not clear if the Government has agreed to underwrite some of these flights.
Some leisure routes will continue for a week or so to repatriate people as they come to the end of their holidays. Cargo flights will continue.
A report on Flyertalk from a BA employee states that all Gatwick long-haul leisure flights are suspended until 10th December.
EDIT: Turning Left for Less has published the following list of suspensions, which appears to be from internal BA systems and so likely to be fairly accurate. A BA employee in the comments below thinks that a couple may have changed. Routes not on this list, eg Dubai, are likely to continue for cargo reasons. This list does not include cities which had already been suspended prior to 5th November.