BA halts Sydney, Bangkok flights to Oct 2021, axes Kuala Lumpur

British Airways now won't return to Australian skies until the back end of 2021.

By David Flynn, December 17 2020
BA halts Sydney, Bangkok flights to Oct 2021, axes Kuala Lumpur

British Airways will suspend its London-Sydney flights until at least October 30 2021 in a sweeping 'right-sizing' of the airline's international network.

London-Bangkok flights will also be halted until the end of October, although the daily London-Singapore service will remain open.

However, BA's footprint across Asia will be cut by a third as Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Osaka are scrapped entirely.

Earlier this month the Oneworld member adjusted its scheduled to show a March 28 restart for Sydney, which was also being downgraded from a Boeing 777-300ER to a Boeing 787-9.

A British Airways spokesman told Executive Traveller the extended delays for returning to Sydney and Bangkok were "due to the current Coronavirus pandemic and global travel restrictions."

"We will be in touch with any customers whose flights are affected and advise customers to check for the latest flight information."

BA's ongoing flights to Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai will rely on either a Boeing 777 or a Boeing 787, although none are currently listed as featuring the airline's latest Club Suites in business class.

Other destinations dropped in the network revamp include Abu Dhabi, Durban, Calgary, Charleston, Muscat and Pittsburgh, while direct flights to Buenos Aires will be replaced by an onwards 'tag' flight from Sao Paulo.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

08 May 2020

Total posts 36

KL was a great connection, sorry to see it go.

09 Aug 2015

Total posts 90

Not surprised to see BA up stumps until the end of 2021, they can always come back sooner but realistically it will take until then for the bulk of Australians and Brits who want to travel to be vaccinated. Qantas has also said it doesn't expect to bring back London until the end of next year.

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 95

I wonder what happened to the rumoured 3rd daily to Mumbai 

Hope that when BA comes back to Sydney it'll have some of the 777s or 787s with Club Suites.

04 Sep 2019

Total posts 30

Until BA bring the good business and first products to Australia. They can continue to fly elsewhere.


03 May 2013

Total posts 657

........and use the A350/787-10...because even with the suites the 777 is plain horrible for a 22 hr leg. Get off tired, notably jet lagged, parched and ears ringing compared with new technology. 

Face facts Joe, BA has a lot of Boeing 777s and not as many A350s or Boeing 787-10s so somebody will end up in the 777s. Apparently BA is going to be going 'all Club Suites' between London and New York so that's where many A350s and 787-10s will end up. Unfortunately Sydney doesn't seem to be as high on BA's priority list but at least it seems you'll be getting the 787-9 when BA15/16 returns , so that's one less thing to complain about eh?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 470

You could always go to sleep .........

04 Jun 2018

Total posts 27

BA used to fly the GRU-EZE (Buenos Aires) 'tag route' on a 747 back in the day, thanks to fifth-freedom rights to allow Brazilians and Argentinians to travel between the two countries. Over the years, as options evolved, BA exited that leg and was replaced by Qatar, Turkish and plenty of Brazilian and Argentinian carriers. It will be interesting to see how long BA's revamped 'tag route' lasts for this time round.


03 May 2013

Total posts 657

Does this bode not so well for Qantas reintroducing international flights by July then?

Qantas has said it doesn't expect to bring back flights to London or the USA until the end of 2021, by mid-2021 we are probably only going to see New Zealand plus a few Asian countries in 'travel bubbles' like Singapore and Japan.


17 Dec 2020

Total posts 3

Sad to see KUL go as it was only in 2015 that they recommenced the route after more than a decade of hiatus. I think they were doing quite well on this route with onward connections to the other parts of Europe and North America and not to mention London (and generally the UK) is a very popular for Malaysians as a holiday destination and place to study. I know for now this is permanent but hopefully when things would have improved post-pandemic they will come back.

I would have thought that most of the Malaysians headed to London would fly with Malaysia Airlines? Wasn't it doing double daily A350s on KUL-LHR? I think Qantas was looking at KL on and off but if it never worked back during the BC 'before covid' era then it definitely won't work now.


17 Dec 2020

Total posts 3

Yes you are right the double daily A350s were generally more popular since they provided more flexibility to passengers although I reckon the late evening flight (MH 2 KUL to LHR) is a more popular choice since you would arrive LHR early in the morning the following day. Ideal for transitting passengers and business travellers. The BA flight also had a similar schedule since this would allow passengers to connect onwards to other BA flights. And BA was the only carrier that offered the Premium Economy product on this route. Before this announcement BA was operating their B789 before downgauging it to B788 recently. 

I also heard about Qantas wanting to start operations to KL (and the rumour about setting up an Asian-based offshoot) but guess it never took off. QF would have been a nice addition to KUL even if it was just a daily SYD-KUL. 

Well, QF and BA have already established a strong foothold in Singapore and particularly for BA, it would probably work out better now to just concentrate on one hub to service the other parts of the region.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 410

Ive thought for a while that BA will withdraw from Sydney,  period.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 526

In the unlikely event (though it could happen) that travel restrictions are further eased before October, I suspect BA will return to both Sydney and Bangkok before that time. Of course, BA is not absolutely needed for now, given there is sufficient capacity offered by THAI's once weekly flights to London starting in January, which revert to daily from March 28, 2021 onward (assuming no further postponement happens).

No surprises about axing Kuala Lumpur, which isn't a large market (and is already serviced by Malaysia Airlines), but I am surprised about the suspension of Seoul and to a lesser extent, Osaka.

There are major travel restrictions for anyone heading to China, so I can't see BA filling any planes, unless there are sufficient numbers of returning Chinese (or British citizens heading home) to justify the airline operating these flights now. Of course, if they primarily carry cargo then it makes sense.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2017

Total posts 21

I suspect BA tickets between LHR / SYD will be moved to Qatar metal from Doha, and it may take longer than the next northern winter schedules before they fly beyond SIN.


09 May 2020

Total posts 502

COVID-19 the perfect cover for dropping non profitable or borderline routes esp for BA with high base costs but am surprised it took so long for them to announce it but probably they want to delay the refund and reroute costs via other partner airlines as long as possible.

Certainly until recently Japan, South Korea and Malaysia were considered as success story in controlling COVID-19 (when compared to UK) although they all now are having another spike in numbers like UK

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