It is safe to say that 2020 has been a terrible year, not just for the aviation industry which has been battered from all sides, but very much in general as COVID-19 severely put pressure on businesses and standards of living.
For British Airways, the carrier has been heavy hit as well as many other airlines around the world. The carrier had to contend with national level lockdowns and declining patronage which has seen destinations curtailed either temporarily or permanently as regular demand isn’t expected to return for the foreseeable future.
With the ever changing landscape of commercial aviation, updates in regards to route changes have been sporadic at best. However, what can be given is which routes have been added or curtailed.
From the beginning of the S21 schedule commencing 28th March 2021, routes that have been permanently cut having already been suspended and not counting their short-haul network are Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Beirut, Calgary, Charleston, Dammam, Durban, Jeddah (which will operate ad-hoc during July 2021 for the Hajj pilgrimage), Kuala Lumpur, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Muscat, Osaka, Pittsburgh, Portland, Seoul and Seychelles (ending 24th April 2021).
To compensate for those losses, British Airways will commence operating flights from London Heathrow to Barbados, Bermuda and Orlando in concurrent with their London Gatwick flights, Lahore and Malé, whilst Buenos Aires will operate as a fifth-freedom flight with a stop-over in São Paulo.
Some of the route changes will see some long-haul flights transferring from London Heathrow to London Gatwick with Accra, Doha and Islamabad amongst routes affected.
Finally, Bangkok, San Jose (California) and Sydney are expected to recommence from the start of the W21 schedule commencing 31st October 2021. With the Boeing 777-300ERs undergoing major refurbishment, it is expected both routes will go over to Boeing 787 operation.
With so much changes, there are going to be numerous fleet changes; with the Boeing 747-400s now withdrawn, it is left to the Boeing 777s as the back-bone for British Airways long-haul operation. For now, the Club Suite refurbishment programme is currently paused, although is expected to resume in the early stage of 2021.
So far, 5 General Electric Boeing 777-200ERs (G-VIIA/D/E/H/J) are left to receive new cabins, two are already in Cardiff currently in storage awaiting the call to return back into service. Just one Rolls-Royce Boeing 777-200ER has so far been refurbished with Club Suites with the rest of the fleet expected to be completed by well into 2022 at the latest. Whilst the 4 newest Boeing 777-300ERs will receive Club Suites from the start, the existing 12 have yet to be touched, also delayed.
And one more tidbit, initial plans were that once British Airways began the withdrawal of further Boeing 747-400s, those in Oneworld colours would later be applied to their Boeing 777s. Those earmarked to receive Oneworld livery were G-VIIF/K/L, G-YMMF/R/T/U although plans may have changed since.
Currently, British Airways operates 57 Boeing 777s, which includes 43 Boeing 777-200ERs (14 currently in short-term storage) and 14 Boeing 777-300ERs (one in short-term storage). British Airways have 2 more Boeing 777-300ERs on-order.
Yankee Mike Mike Juliet is one of 43 Boeing 777-200ERs operated by British Airways, delivered new to the flag-carrier on 8th December 2000 and she is powered by 2 Rolls-Royce Trent 895 engines.
Boeing 777-236/ER G-YMMJ on final approach into Runway 09L at London Heathrow (LHR) on BA182 from New York-John F. Kennedy (JFK).
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