British Airways cuts capacity to Bangkok

airlineBA777flying3British Airways has announced that it will be reducing capacity on flights between London Heathrow & Bangkok by replacing the existing 747-400 with a 747-200. While the 747-000 has a seating capacity of some 339 spread across all 4 classes (First, Club World, World Traveller Plus & World Traveller), the 777-200 to be used on this route has just 275 seats and no First Class, ie 48 seats in Club World, 24 Seats in World Traveller Plus and 203 seats in World Traveller. As well as changing aircraft, British Airways has also changed the timings of the flights. Whereas the existing flights are both overnight services, the new outbound fight ex London will still be overnight but departing at 15:05 instead of 22:05 (arriving Bangkok at 09:20 the following morning) while the return flight ex Bangkok will be a morning service departing at 10:55 and arriving back in London at 16:55 the same day.

Heathrow Terminal 5Despite the reduction in capacity, it’s not all bad news for fans of British Airways. While the current service operates out of Terminal 3, the new service, which commences on 27th October, will operate from and to the airline’s main base at Terminal 5, thereby offering passengers much easier connections to the airline’s extended route network as well as far more pleasant surroundings. With the airline already having switched its Sydney & Singapore services from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5, from this November it could be that all British Airways long-haul flights from Heathrow operate out of Terminal 5.

new wtThe other point worth making is that some of British Airways fleet of 747-400 aircraft really are beginning to show their age (hence the recent spate of new aircraft orders from the airline) and British Airways have already said that they will not be retro-fitting the aircraft with their new World Traveller & World Traveller Plus cabins. Hopefully, the 777-200 operating to Bangkok will be one of the aircraft that will be retro-fitted; alternatively, it could even be that this switch to the 777-200 is only temporary and that British Airways introduce their new 787 Dreamliner on the route next summer.

Although no explanation has been given by the airline, it would seem that Bangkok is now primarily a leisure destination (as opposed to the more business orientated routes of London to Hong Kong & Singapore for example) and the airline has been struggling to compete against more competitive Gulf carriers, such as Emirates, who have added significant capacity to the route. By operating the far more efficient 777-200, British Airways will probably carry a similar number of passengers as before but with higher loads and lower costs.



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