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British Airways launches FOUR new Heathrow short-haul routes – Avios seats wide open

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British Airways has announced four new short haul routes from London Heathrow for the winter season, which starts at the end of October.

To be more precise:

  • there are three new routes
  • there is one route new to Heathrow
  • there are two summer routes which are now being extended into the winter season
Cologne british airways

Three brand new short haul routes

The following three cities are not currently served by British Airways but will see services resume:

  • Belgrade
  • Cologne (image above)
  • Riga

You may be surprised that Cologne is not currently flown, but it isn’t. There was a London Gatwick route from 2018 until the start of the pandemic.

Riga is currently served from London Gatwick as a codeshare on the airBaltic service, but these flights are expensive and are not available for Avios redemption.

Here is the small print:


There will be three flights per week from Terminal 5, starting on 31st October. Services operate on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The route is currently only bookable for the winter season to the end of March but the intention is that it will become permanent if it performs as expected.


There will be 12 flights per week from Terminal 5, starting on 30th October. The route will operate year-round.


There will be three flights per week from Terminal 5, starting on 29th October. Services operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The route is currently only bookable for the winter season to the end of March but the intention is that it will become permanent if it performs as expected.

Turin british airways

One new route to Heathrow

Flights to Turin will launch from Heathrow on 10th December. Image above.

There will be just one flight per week (Sunday) from Terminal 5. The service will only operate until the end of March.

The existing BA Euroflyer service from Gatwick, with seven flights per week, will continue.

Two routes are extended into the winter

The existing summer routes to Ljubljana and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (SAW) are extended into the winter season.

Ljubljana will see four flights per week from Terminal 3, on Monday / Wednesday / Friday / Sunday.

Istanbul will see four flights per week from Terminal 5, on Monday / Thursday / Friday / Sunday.


Flights are bookable at now for cash or Avios.

To maximise your miles when paying, your best bet is the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card which earns double Avios (3 per £1) when you book at or via BA Holidays

You do not get double Avios if you book with the free British Airways American Express card, the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard or the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard.

Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.


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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (49)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Richie says:

    Are there skiing oportunities in Slovenia?

  • Roger W says:

    There is skiing in Slovenia.

  • Chris W says:

    Weird Belgrade is winter only.

    It’s pretty grim in winter!

  • ZF says:

    Riga will be hard for BA, but as a regular, I hope they stand and carve some ground in there. Wizz is dropping Luton from the winter schedule and basically pulling back from Riga altogether (apart from Kutaisi), which is a big change from having a base a few years back.

    airBaltic has a strong offering with 2x daily to Gatwick (disregarding their customer support or actual product). Their pricing has been absurd, but they’ve done price dumping before to push out other airlines and this might be another case where they’re willing to do that. Ryanair is obviously providing the cheaper end with 2x-3x daily flights to Stansted. BA is also coming in during the winter schedule which will be harder initself to produce stellar results.

    I’ve mostly been flyinf with a connection somewhere in Europe for the best price + performance, especially in business, but I do hope BA keeps this after the Winter (or actually starts flying as they announced it 2 years back and didn’t even start lol)

    • J says:

      I’ve never had any issue with airBaltic – the A220 is also spacious and comfortable.

      • illuminatus says:

        Their product is nice, but the pricing is borderline ridiculous, hopefully competition from BA will improve things.

      • ZF says:

        For occasional travel they’re quite good and if your travel goes smoothly, it can even be a pleasure. But once you start using/needing more – that’s where it falls apart. They are also quite often significantly delayed due to issues of their own making; the A220 is quite nice, but the PW issues have made it a gamble to get on one.

        In addition to generally ridiculous pricing of tickets any add-ons are also overtly overpriced. If you do encounter any issues they are difficult to resolve and there is no communication from them – you’re basically on your own. Any compensation that you are owed is almost impossible to get. Their technology is quite weak – most upgrades/changes that are not the very basics (luggage, food) require a phone call or an obscure online form that might or might not result in a returned email. Their FF scheme is worthless in earning, spending and benefits.

        They’re far from the worst carrier, but the above in combination with the ridiculous pricing makes a new competitor a welcome change.

        • J says:

          Interesting insight thanks. I mostly fly with them from Berlin where they are competitive (directly competing against Ryanair) and luckily smooth travels so far.

  • MM says:

    Sarajevo, rather then Belgrade, could’ve been a better pick. There are no direct UK-Bosnia flights at the moment and Sarajevo appears regularly as a new “hot” destination in travel mags

    • Krishan says:

      I agree. I think Tui have started a seasonal flight to Sarajevo from London.

    • can2 says:

      Agreed. Sarajevo has been on my list but to get there is tricky — that is tedious

    • Chris W says:

      Wizz resume flights from Luton next month.

    • Ian M says:

      I visited in 2019, it was tricky to get to then. I was in Poland at the time and had to flew from Warsaw via Vienna.

    • Londonsteve says:

      Belgrade is a far more significant destination for either leisure or business travellers and I suspect much of the motivation for opening up the route is seeking to discretely tap into the UK-Russia market whose current options to fly to Europe involve transiting in Istanbul or Belgrade.

      • Ian M says:

        Yeah good point. Belgrade is the Europen hub for Russians and people wanting to fly to Russia.

      • Keith says:

        Agreed. I was at Belgrade airport last week. There have been quite a few false bomb threats for the Air Serbia flights to/from Russia. In terms of lounge access, the Priority Pass lounge – which I presume BA will use – is pretty poor. The Air Serbia lounge is quite small but pleasant enough. Hot food and a bar. What struck me most about the Air Serbia lounge (which closes at 8pm) was that there were several families with young children. The parents kept their children in check better than I’ve seen at any U.K. lounge, where often the children are just left to run wild. Mr. Burgess take note. (Joke!!)

        • Londonsteve says:

          I can imagine the Belgrade-Moscow flights cost an arm and a leg, the demand must be enormous. Air Serbia would commercially wish to put on as many services as possible but there are political sensitivities. I believe the President stepped in when the airline sought to increase frequency to avoid the poor optics of Serbia appearing to profit from EU sanctions, so they’ve been flying their A330s as a workaround. I’m sure that’s still woefully inadequate to meet demand. BA will need to be fairly competitively priced to encourage passengers to self connect, otherwise the target market will just book a through ticket all the way to London on Air Serbia.

    • VSCXFAN says:

      Reasonably good value most days to fly one way non-stop with BA and one way one-stop connecting to/from BA at MUC, VIE or ZRH.

  • ADS says:

    any indication where these 27 slot pairs are coming from ?

  • AM says:

    The second picture is Turin (Italy)

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