BA considers big Airbus, Boeing jets for short European jaunts

The Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 could take on routes usually flown by much smaller jets.

By Bloomberg News, March 15 2021
BA considers big Airbus, Boeing jets for short European jaunts

British Airways is considering using some of its biggest planes on short routes to sunspots like Greece this summer, positioning the carrier to capture a bigger slice of revenue from returning travelers, according to people familiar with its fleet plans.

With the U.K. among the leaders in vaccine roll-outs, Greece – a favorite destination for Britons – is making plans to welcome visitors by mid-May, and Spain is set to follow.

Airlines that have largely been idled are angling to make the most of early-summer crowds.

At its London Heathrow hub, BA has a slew of twin-aisle Boeing 787s, 777s and Airbus A350s that can carry up to twice as many people as the single-aisle jets that typically ply European routes.

Many of the larger planes are available because long-distance destinations they normally serve are still largely off-limits, and aren’t expected to open up as quickly as regional connections.

A firm decision by BA will depend on booking volumes and the U.K.’s plan to reopen leisure travel, said the people, who asked not to be identified because discussions are preliminary.

In an email, British Airways said it kept its operation under constant review, declining to comment on specific plans.

While smaller planes are more fuel-efficient on shorter hops, it’s not unheard of for airlines to draft larger aircraft into use.

Air France used the Airbus A380 double-decker to shuttle 500 people at a time between London and Paris in 2010.

Gulf giant Emirates flew A380s on 40-minute hops between Dubai and Oman before the pandemic decimated air travel.

BA itself used its A350s between London and Madrid back in 2019, when it had just taken delivery of the type and was training staff on the aircraft.

The U.K. is poised to restart international trips as soon as May 17 as part of a phased plan to end lockdown measures – ahead of Europe, which may be months away from a coordinated system.

Britain is a top source of tourists among European nations, leading carriers like Lufthansa and Aer Lingus to reposition some planes there.

Some European Union countries are also making plans.

Greece is seeking to allow all vaccinated travelers, those who test negative for the virus, and those who have antibodies to enter the country beginning May 14. Cyprus will also let in Britons who have had two Covid-19 jabs the same month.

This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

Where does Bloomberg get this stuff from?

Having regularly flown BA's LHR-ATH-LHR over the years, it is not a short-haul route. That would be Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Lisbon, Brussels, Frankfurt, Dublin etc (all under 2 hours). ATH falls into the medium haul / regional territory, along with IST.

The Athens service has invariably been flown by BA's well-loved B767 fleet and the sector length is 4 hours. Not exactly a narrow bodied frame and neither is it as 'inefficient' as many here might think. Part of the reason it has remained in Boeing's production schedule for so long. Just ask LATAM - they love 'em for both passenger and freight services.

05 Jan 2021

Total posts 24

I can understand the current A 320s flying the short haul routes but i don't regard services like LHR to  Tel Aviv  or Cairo to be in that league and single aisle planes are used on these routes. The latter is 5 hours worth.

I'm guessing that the smaller a/c fit the numbers flying and the mix of business vs leisure passengers on offer.

I would have thought if BA had bigger aircraft to spare , they would consider them for the longer European routes like the above.

British Airways - Executive Club

18 May 2017

Total posts 13


BA retired its 767s in 2018 and has since used narrow body A320s/A321s on the ATH and IST routes.


BA flies a variety of aircraft on the TLV route (or at least they did pre-pandemic). This has included A350s, 777s, 787s and long-haul configured A321s (which were ex-BMI and featured lie flat seats in business). Not sure if they still keep that A321 configuration (last I heard they were converting some of them to the short-haul configuration).

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