British Airways Expands Their Transatlantic Route Network Out Of London Gatwick

British Airways has been expanding their transatlantic route network like crazy lately. This is for a couple of reasons — it’s partly because they’ve taken delivery of 787s, which make a lot of routes possible that weren’t previously feasible (like Austin, Nashville, New Orleans, San Jose, etc.), and it’s also because Norwegian has been expanding significantly, and British Airways is trying to maintain their market share best they can.

British Airways has just announced their latest expansion, this time out of London Gatwick. In 2018, British Airways will be launching flights from London Gatwick to both Toronto and Las Vegas.

As of March 27, 2018, British Airways will be launching 3x weekly flights between London Gatwick and Las Vegas, with the following schedule:

BA2277 Gatwick to Las Vegas departing 11:55AM arriving 2:45PM [Tue, Fri, Sun]
BA2277 Las Vegas to Gatwick 4:35PM arriving 10:35AM (+1 day) [Tue, Fri, Sun]

The route will be operated by a three cabin 777, featuring 40 business class seats, 24 premium economy seats, and 219 economy seats.


British Airways business class

Meanwhile as of May 1, 2018, British Airways will be launching 3x weekly flights between London Gatwick and Toronto, with the following schedule:

BA2271 Gatwick to Toronto departing 11:55AM arriving 2:45PM [Tue, Fri, Sun]
BA2270 Toronto to Gatwick 7:45PM arriving 7:50AM (+1 day) [Tue, Fri, Sun]

The route will be operated by a mix of the three cabin 777s and four cabin 777s. The latter feature 14 first class seats, 48 business class seats, 40 premium economy seats, and 122 economy seats. That’s a premium heavy configuration for Gatwick, but I suspect that’s simply because the plane is being transferred from Heathrow, as Heathrow gets more 787 aircraft.


British Airways first class

In general the growth out of London Gatwick is a competitive response to Norwegian, though in this case Norwegian doesn’t yet fly to Canada. So it seems like that route is more a response to WestJet’s longhaul growth, as this complements British Airways’ 2x daily London Heathrow to Toronto flights.

As far as Las Vegas goes, British Airways used to operate a flight between London Gatwick and Las Vegas, so there was just a short service gap here. Furthermore, British Airways already flies 11x weekly from London Heathrow to Las Vegas. On the surface you’d think that Las Vegas would be a city British Airways would primarily serve out of Gatwick (given that it’s a leisure destination), though British Airways doesn’t have nearly as much connectivity within Europe out of Gatwick, and I suspect this flight is popular with people coming from all over Europe.

Bottom line

British Airways’ transatlantic growth out of London is extremely impressive, both out of Gatwick and Heathrow. While this is largely just a competitive response, they serve more US destinations than any other non-North American airline. What’s especially impressive isn’t just the number of frequencies they have in certain markets, but rather the markets they’ve expanded to, which otherwise haven’t seen much transatlantic traffic.

In this case they’re just duplicating some existing routes that are currently available out of Heathrow, in order to compete with both WestJet and Norwegian.

Comments

  1. Given the option to fly up to Toronto to get to Gatwick vs. taking the bus from Heathrow and schlepping my own bags on the bus, I think I’d prefer the connection in Toronto. But, only if the connection costs the same or less than the bus, of course.

  2. I am not sure I have seen it on this site but BA has new service FLL to Gatwick as well. I was driving around the departures and was surprised to see an electronic sign for BA. Norwegian had the only service there till now from FLL.

  3. Apart from on very occasional days (e.g. June 15th) the Toronto service is actually also a 3-cabin 777, with no First.

  4. “On the surface you’d think that Las Vegas would be a city British Airways would primarily serve out of Gatwick (given that it’s a leisure destination), though British Airways doesn’t have nearly as much connectivity within Europe out of Gatwick, and I suspect this flight is popular with people coming from all over Europe.”

    So, what’s the real point of the new flight from LGW? If most intra-European flights on BA require a connection through LHR anyway, then it seems like LGW-LAS is a strict point-to-point flight for Britons wanting to go to Vegas, *not* for other Europeans connecting through to Vegas. How can that be profitable?

    Why not just price the LHR-LAS flights closer to Norwegian instead of starting a whole new (pointless) flight? I’m having a hard time seeing the rationale behind this new addition given the existing 11x weekly flights from an airport that’s in the same general vicinity but with more connection options. Am I way off base?

  5. PIT-LHR would be a dream BA route given my travel habits. There was a day when that seemed like a possibility (hell, it may have even existed before my time!) but with all the tech growth in Pittsburgh, maybe it’ll be a possibility in the future, again!

  6. @AdamR – LAS sees a lot of point to point traffic – in fact, BA is mostly after that traffic and not low yielding European one. Also, LGW is significantly cheaper to operate from than LHR, not to mention it would free slots for more business flying.

  7. Also, @Lucky, BA doesn’t give squats about market share… Just like legacy carriers do in the US, going h2h with LCC is mostly a way to try to limit their growth and financial results. Short term loss for long term gain.

  8. @AdamR
    I suspect the 787s are arriving much more quickly than they expect, and the 777 leases haven’t run out yet.

  9. WestJet gets 2 mentions? Really? Maybe once they acquire those 787s, but how can you not mention AC, which offers Rouge service out of LGW to YYZ & YVR already. Did ACr out if LGW in June and had not only a great flight, but enjoyed NOT having to use LHR!

  10. @Carrie – actually I loathe both LHR and LGW – although the non-EU immigration lines at LGW move quicker, and it’s quicker for me to get home from LGW when Southern Rail aren’t on strike or reduced services with the volume of drivers off ill.

    It’s just a pity there’s only the 2 trans-Atlantic flights out of LCY.

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