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BA- Why The Split Hub?  
User currently offlineBOStonsox From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1989 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6141 times:

As we all know, BA has hubs at both LGW and LHR. But some airports have service on BA to LGW and some on BA to LHR. LGW has some long-haul routes like ATL and IAH but tends to serve relatively smaller European markets while LHR has the bigger European markets and more long-haul routes. While there are probably more people travelling to the big cities like FCO, BCN, etc., there are others who get the shaft. For example, if I want to fly to Sicily to visit family, I would fly from BOS-LHR and then take the shuttle or subway to LGW and then catch my flight to CTA. BA is the only major European airline to do this (although at least in my case LH flies to CTA from MUC only and that route is currently seasonal from BOS, I don't know about other cities). While I know there was the Bermuda I and II agreements, Open Skies, if I am not mistaken, abolished this, so why don't they just pick one and use that as their hub? By the way, both times I went to Sicily I didn't fly BA but that was because there were cheaper flights. I don't know if I would've because of the London problem.


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26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22911 posts, RR: 20
Reply 1, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6135 times:



Quoting BOStonsox (Thread starter):
Open Skies, if I am not mistaken, abolished this, so why don't they just pick one and use that as their hub?

Unfortunately, Open Skies does not make LHR slots grow on trees. BA has too many flights in and out of London on a daily basis to consolidate its operations at one airport.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineBOStonsox From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1989 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 6026 times:

I saw that LHR may build a new runway. Maybe if this goes through we'll see them move some of the LGW routes over there? The problem is if it is approved it won't be built until 2020.


2013 World Series Champions!
User currently offlineGSM763 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5857 times:



Quoting BOStonsox (Reply 2):
I saw that LHR may build a new runway. Maybe if this goes through we'll see them move some of the LGW routes over there? The problem is if it is approved it won't be built until 2020.

A new runway at LHR is hugely ontroversial as it would involve the demolition of several hundred homes and I think a few historic buildings. A new runway would allow some routes to move back over but I think that BA may still want to keep leisure dominated routes like MCO and TFS at LGW.


User currently offlineBCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5784 times:

Like Cubsrule says OpenSkies do not make LHR slots grow on trees. However BA does not have too many flights in and out of London, rather they have too few slots for a major airline at their principle hub. Compare the percentage of total slots that BA has at LHR with those held by LH at FRA, AF at CDG and KL at AMS, you will see that BA lags way behind.

Apart from their domestic services to the Channel Islands, the flights that the UK Government compulsorily ordered from LHR to LGW in the 1970s, and British Airtours (their charter subsidiary) BA did not have significant presence at LGW until 1988 when they merged with British Caledonian who was then the main scheduled carrier at LGW. BA had two main reasons to buy out BCal – to stop any competition on their home turf (had BA not taken over BCal it is possible that SAS might have brought the airline, or even another UK independent might have stepped in), and because there was limited scope for further expansion at LHR.

Because of its location and smaller catchment area than LHR, there is less demand for premium traffic at LGW. The long-haul services from places like ATL and HOU were former BCal routes which under Bermuda 2 could not operate to/from LHR. OpenSkies will enable BA (and other airlines serving LGW from US cities) to transfer these services to LHR, subject to slot availability at LHR. Although there have already been announcements that some services will go to LHR, I think that NW, US etc will find that LHR is not the Holy Grail of airports they thought it would be. The majority of BA's routes from LGW are also routes formerly operated by BCal and other UK independent airlines. With the slot restrictions at LHR, new routes that are less likely to attract premium passengers (but still justify development) are therefore normally to/from LGW.

There is no "shuttle" or "subway" between LHR and LGW. To transit between the airports you must either take a slow coach along the UK's most congested motorway (M25) with an average journey of time of 80 minutes (providing there are no traffic jams), or travel into the centre of London and then onwards to LHR or LGW (horrendously expensive and inconvenient). Furthermore LGW is only accessible to 40% of London's population – the other 60% would find it quicker and easier to get to LHR.



MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
User currently offlineGemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5635 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5767 times:

While lack of slots at LHR is the major obstacle to consolidation into one hub, to understand the reasons behind it you have to consider the historical, political & international relations aspects.

British Airways is a relatively young airline. It was formed by merging two government owned airlines, BOAC (British Overseas Airline Corporation) & BEA (British European Airways), then privatising them. As the names imply BOAC was the long haul operator & BEA the short haul operator.

From the opening of LGW as London's second airport the UK government had a policy that long haul flights would be concentrated at LHR and European flight at LGW. So LHR was the BOAC hub and LGW was the BEA hub, there was some overlap, particularly with BEA. This policy generally worked well, although there were some hiccups, I remember that THY & the Turkish government had big problems with it at one point.

Of course in those days LHR was NOT the transfer hub it has since become. The government owned/sponsored flag carriers of the time had their own services to just about everywhere significant. As an example have a look at Pan Am's route network from the 50/60/70/80s. Some maps are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimyvrroutemap/250209242/

This has, of coursed changed, with LHR becoming a very significant hub. But that MAY change again with the coming of open skys on 1/4/08.

You also have to consider that one airport is not enough for all of London's O&D traffic. It currently has 4 major ones and most of the big players serve more than one.

Gemuser



DC23468910;B72172273373G73873H74374475275376377L77W;A319 320321332333343;BAe146;C402;DHC6;F27;L188;MD80MD85
User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3569 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (6 years 7 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5744 times:



Quoting Gemuser (Reply 5):
From the opening of LGW as London's second airport the UK government had a policy that long haul flights would be concentrated at LHR and European flight at LGW. So LHR was the BOAC hub and LGW was the BEA hub, there was some overlap, particularly with BEA. This policy generally worked well, although there were some hiccups, I remember that THY & the Turkish government had big problems with it at one point.

Very incorrect. Both BOAC & BEA were LHR based. In their latter days BEA was at LHR T1 & BOAC at T3. I believe that before the terminals were numbered they were named, T2 was the Europa building and T3 the Oceanic, thus BEA would have been at the Europa & BOAC at the Oceanic.

In addition both BEA and BOAC had their own maintenance bases at LHR


User currently offlineBCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5453 times:



Quoting Gemuser (Reply 5):
From the opening of LGW as London's second airport the UK government had a policy that long haul flights would be concentrated at LHR and European flight at LGW. So LHR was the BOAC hub and LGW was the BEA hub, there was some overlap, particularly with BEA. This policy generally worked well, although there were some hiccups, I remember that THY & the Turkish government had big problems with it at one point.

Like Bongodog1964 says, very incorrect. BEA started their operations at Northolt and moved to LHR shortly after it opened. Similarly BOAC (and BSAA) moved their operations from Croydon to LHR immediately it opened to civilian use and since those early days LHR was both BEA's and BOAC's respective hub. After starting from what is now Terminal 2, BOAC moved to Terminal 3 when it opened and BEA moved their bulk of their operations to Terminal 1 when it opened.

The UK Government never intended that LGW should be a short-haul or European hub. It was initially opened as an alternative to LHR. In those days the UK state airlines had a monopoly at LHR and the UK independents and charter airlines were relegated to LGW. It did have one advantage over LHR in its early days - it was located next to the main London/Brighton rail line and therefore had its own rail station (LHR was not even linked to the London Underground until the late 1970s, and the Heathrow Express came years later).

In the early days BEA only used LGW for domestic flights to the Channel Islands and this was followed by BEA Helicopters establishing their main maintenance, engineering and operations base at the airport. In the late 1960s BEAirtours, a charter subsidiary that became British Airtours after the BOAC/BEA merger, was established and LGW was chosen as their main base. This decision did not go down well with the independent charter operators already established at LGW.

The UK Government decided in the 1970s that to relieve some congestion at LHR, some services would be compulsorily moved to LGW. Among those selected were services to/from the Iberian Peninsular. BEA and TAP moved their operations but IB refused point blank. The Spanish Government retaliated by banning any UK aircraft from landing at their airports, so the UK government were forced to do a U-turn. Services to Scandinavia were also among the routes relocated to LGW. THY was rather a latecomer and did not start direct flights to the UK until the early 1970s. As a "new" airline they were initially forbidden access into LHR so the Turkish Government threatened to ban British aircraft from landing in Turkey.

LGW was also regarded as the main airport for links to South America and West and Central Africa. However, BOAC could not operate the routes without massive state subsidies and still incurred large losses so the route licences were given to BUA who was then the UK's second-force airline and the largest scheduled carrier at LGW. BUA was taken over by Caledonian and became British Caledonian who was later given route licences to central USA - i.e. ATL, HOU and DFW.

As mentioned already, BA did not become a significant carrier at LGW until they merged with BCal.



MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
User currently offlineChase From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1054 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5406 times:

Silly question: If the ground transport options for LGW-LHR are so horrible...has any air carrier ever flown the route?

User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3569 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5387 times:



Quoting Chase (Reply 8):

BA flew an airlink by helicopter back in the 1970's. I believe the government somehow tied the approval for this into the building of the M25 motorway which links the two. The airlink had to cease within something like 12 months of the motoway opening. I may have the details slightly wrong on this, but I think I'm somewhere near.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22911 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5311 times:



Quoting BCAL (Reply 4):
Because of its location and smaller catchment area than LHR, there is less demand for premium traffic at LGW. The long-haul services from places like ATL and HOU were former BCal routes which under Bermuda 2 could not operate to/from LHR. OpenSkies will enable BA (and other airlines serving LGW from US cities) to transfer these services to LHR, subject to slot availability at LHR.

Isn't ATL staying at LGW for now?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineDoona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3769 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5237 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 1):
Open Skies does not make LHR slots grow on trees

One could argue that Open Skies actually makes it harder to use the precious slots at LHR for smaller markets, as there is more long-haul traffic.  smile 

Cheers
Mats



Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
User currently offlineBCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 16
Reply 12, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 5192 times:



Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 9):
BA flew an airlink by helicopter back in the 1970's

BA did not operate it but British Caledonian did.

The service commenced in 1977 and (according to what I have been able to find) the lucrative service ended in 1986 on "environmental grounds" - people living near the airports complained the helicopters were too noisy. In any event the licence to operate a helicopter link was only valid whilst the M25 was being constructed - the Department of Transport believed that once the M25 was completed, transfers by car and coach between the airports would be quick and easy. Transfer time on the helicopter was 12 minutes - it takes over 60 minutes by road today.

Some of the feeling that Gatwick is an unsatisfactory alternative to Heathrow would disappear if there were a reliable fast link between the two airports to allow efficient interlining.



MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25154 posts, RR: 22
Reply 13, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5007 times:



Quoting BCAL (Reply 12):
Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 9):
BA flew an airlink by helicopter back in the 1970's

BA did not operate it but British Caledonian did.

More on the LGW-LHR "Airlink" service. The Sikorsky S-61 helicopter used was registered G-LINK.
http://www.cue-dih.co.uk/tiam/pix/dih/ac_glink00.html


User currently offlineKaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12432 posts, RR: 37
Reply 14, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4941 times:



Quoting BCAL (Reply 12):
Some of the feeling that Gatwick is an unsatisfactory alternative to Heathrow would disappear if there were a reliable fast link between the two airports to allow efficient interlining.

Quite possibly; there is apparently a rail link, but I think the key problem for LGW is that it takes so long to access from the city of London; there were plans (not sure if there still are) to scrap the Gatwick Express from Victoria (or to combine it with another service) ... When you consider that LGW was one of the first airports in Europe to have train access to the city, it's indicative of how far it's slipped behind.

However, to answer the main question, I think that the days of BA operating to LGW may well be numbered - at least as far as short haul is concerned. They'll probably keep some of the long haul 777 routes to TPA, MCO and the Caribbean, but when you look at the age of their 737s at LGW, the cost of replacing them and the competition the airline faces at LGW, I think BA will probably look very seriously at the viability of this. Frankly, I think BA short haul at LGW is a dead duck. Ultimately, when they get enough slots of LHR - which will take a long time, they'll transfer the whole kit and kaboodle from LGW.

It was anticipated that the BA A319s based at LHR might be transferred down there, but I don't see any sign of that happening.


User currently offlineTristarSteve From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 4000 posts, RR: 34
Reply 15, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4914 times:



Quoting Kaitak (Reply 14):
It was anticipated that the BA A319s based at LHR might be transferred down there, but I don't see any sign of that happening.

The first two will move end of March.
There will be 12 by summer 2009.


User currently offlineHumberside From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 4918 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4898 times:

Can BA at Gatwick really be called a hub. Looks to me more like a focus city aimed at serving local traffic on many routes. The number of destinations served multiple times daily is fairly small


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User currently offlineLHR777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4862 times:



Quoting Kaitak (Reply 14):
there were plans (not sure if there still are) to scrap the Gatwick Express from Victoria (or to combine it with another service)

It's not being scrapped - rather, some services will continue onward to Brighton. The Gatwick Express service will be retained as a non-stop service every 15 minutes, during rush hour it will also run beyond Gatwick to Brighton - doubling the number of express services between the Sussex town and London Victoria.

The Gatwick Express franchise will transfer from National Express in May 2008 - three years early - and switch to the rival operator Southern, which runs the rest of the Brighton mainline service.

Quoting Kaitak (Reply 14):
It was anticipated that the BA A319s based at LHR might be transferred down there, but I don't see any sign of that happening.

What makes you think it wont happen? We're replacing LHR-based Airbus fleet with new-build airframes from Airbus, and slowly transferring the A319 fleet to LGW. This wont happen yet though - there's still a couple of months of the winter schedule to fly ex-LHR with the current A319's. The plan is for 14 LHR-based A319's to move to Gatwick, replacing the oldest aircraft in the B737 fleet.


User currently offlineR2rho From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2614 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4840 times:



Quoting BOStonsox (Thread starter):
so why don't they just pick one and use that as their hub?

Basically because LHR is so congested that not even a pigeon would be granted a slot! If BA could consolidate operations, they probably would.

Quoting BOStonsox (Thread starter):
I would fly from BOS-LHR and then take the shuttle or subway to LGW and then catch my flight to CTA.

No, don't do it! I did that once... and never again! Prepare to sit on a bus for no less than 1hr, get ripped off (19pounds ONE-way IIRC - I don't dare say the price in dollars). Plus, you get to go through the security check nightmare at London airports twice. Oh, and of course your luggage is NOT transferred, you have to carry it along. Per BA recommendation, "the minimum connecting time between Heathrow and Gatwick is 3 hours". Do yourself a favor, fly through any other EU hub, take any other combination, but avoid transferring LHR-LGW.

Quoting BCAL (Reply 12):
Some of the feeling that Gatwick is an unsatisfactory alternative to Heathrow would disappear if there were a reliable fast link between the two airports to allow efficient interlining.

Indeed, the inconveniences I mention above could disappear if there were a convenient high-speed rail link with baggage transfer between the airports, making LGW almost be a "third runway" for LHR.


User currently offlineBasrabob From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 54 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4778 times:

A question I have often pondered in respect of the fragmentation of the airtraffic in the SE of England , is how much capacity is enough ? You currently have at least 5 airports in the region , all full to bursting - LHR , LGW , LTN , STN & LCY . It also has been announced today that Southend has been sold , with an agreement with the local council of traffic of upto 2 million pax . The current through put of passengers in the London area is something of the order of 130-140 million passengers , unless somebody could advise me otherwise , this is the largest city passenger throughput in the world . BA would give their eye teeth to be able to have all their flights on one airport . The current status of the split between LGW & LHR seems to be becoming LGW - tourist traffic & LHR business traffic . The evolution as has been stated earlier has been through amalgamations firstly BOAC/BEA & then BA/BCAL . Is anyone aware of what the throughput of passengers has been forward projected at for the next 30 yrs or so . I reckon of figure of close on 200 million passengers is the likely figure and will be realised as soon as 15 years time . Staggering that effectively the equivalent 80% of the population of the US would have effectively used the SE of England as an airport . It is mind blowing trying to estimate how big an airport would have to be to cope with that amount of passengers !

But the usual British game of dithering seems to be in full swing at the mo . And the passengers travelling through the London airports suffer increasingly worsening facilities .

Perhaps a random thought , but would welcome others observations .


User currently offlineTrintocan From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2000, 3238 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4715 times:

BA's short-haul hub at LGW is largely the result of its takeover of Dan Air back in 1992. It maintained many of the routes that Dan Air operated and used the lower cost-base that the rival carrier had to offer lower-fare services from LGW compared to LHR, alongside which it let LGW handle some of the smaller short-haul markets. BA's Caribbean services from LGW were moved there from LHR as long ago as 1985 (with the exception of Concorde to BGI which of course stayed at LHR) - BCal's Caribbean routes were solely BGI and (I think) UVF. Incidentially, BA moved NAS, GCM and PLS back to LHR because it changed the 777 on the routes to the 767 and these are all LHR based.

TrinToCan.



Hop to it, fly for life!
User currently offlineAxio From New Zealand, joined Jul 2006, 313 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4090 times:



Quoting Humberside (Reply 16):
Can BA at Gatwick really be called a hub. Looks to me more like a focus city aimed at serving local traffic on many routes. The number of destinations served multiple times daily is fairly small

I always thought LGW hosted the BA services that had very few passengers connecting internationally. Cities like DFW and ATL won't generate any international connecting traffic for BA because there are so many other options for service to Europe with other carriers - they are effectively O & D routes. Likewise some of the tourist routes to the Med.

ax



Time for a new viewing deck at AKL!
User currently offlineBOStonsox From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1989 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 3864 times:



Quoting R2rho (Reply 18):
No, don't do it!

Don't worry, I won't. I don't think I'll be back in Europe for almost another 4 years and then I think I will go to Ireland before I head down to Rome and Sicily.

I think that if BA can get the slots consolidating everything to LHR would be great for them, especially since they serve smaller markets that other airlines don't serve. For example, there are at least four cities in Southern Italy BA (Bari, Brindisi, Lamezia Terme, and Reggio Calabria) that other airlines don't serve (in fact most don't go anywhere south of Naples). Connecting these smaller cities with other international cities would make BA very competitive IMO.



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User currently offlineWukka From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1017 posts, RR: 16
Reply 23, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2589 times:

Speaking only as a tourist, since I've never had to fly to London on business purpose, LGW has always been very kind to me. LHR, on the other hand... not so much. Congestion, lost luggage, long lines, everything that you don't want from an airport.

The only gripe about LGW has been some of the parking at remote stands and waiting what seems like forever for the bus to come and pick you up as if they didn't know that your plane was arriving.

Overall, IMHO, LGW is more relaxed and tourist friendly, and faster if you get a bus to the terminal waiting for you on arrival.



We can agree to disagree.
User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1730 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (6 years 7 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2539 times:



Quoting BOStonsox (Thread starter):
BA is the only major European airline to do this (although at least in my case LH flies to CTA from MUC only and that route is currently seasonal from BOS, I don't know about other cities).

Actually they're not.

AF operates out of two Paris airports: CDG and ORY. A majority of their destinations are out of CDG, but there are quite a few, particularly in their Caribbean-Indian Ocean Network that operate ORY only.


25 BCAL : Have you forgotten the Thameslink (now First Capital Connect) services that run services from Gatwick Airport Station directly into the City - Moorga
26 Trintocan : I stand corrected BCal. Thank you for the info. TrinToCan.
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