Topic Author
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British Airways And London

Mon Aug 06, 2001 1:34 pm


I was wondering what determines which markets British Airways serves out of Heathrow vs. Gatwick. I know they serve some markets from both airports, but many are exclusive to one airport or the other; e.g. Beunos Aires, Abijan, Lagos, Dallas, and many others are only served from Gatwick. What's the deal on this? And don't people get confused about which airport to go to? Your thoughts please.
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RE: British Airways And London

Mon Aug 06, 2001 1:47 pm

Well, I am not sure how they decide which markets are served from which airport. However, as for, "And don't people get confused about which airport to go to?" Think about it. How could you get confused. Look at your tickets, it will say London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW). Chicago, New York, Houston, Washington, Dallas, etc., etc., they all have two or more airports and not to many people get confused.
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RE: British Airways And London

Mon Aug 06, 2001 8:59 pm

For services to the US, an agreement called BermudaII lists the cities that can be served (by any carrier) from LHR. All others must originate at LGW.

For other services, I think it may be a historic thing, or just the way BA percieves its markets. I think LGW serves more 'leisure' routes, and LHR is aimed more at business travel. Oddly enough BA (at the last count) served more destinations from LGW than LHR.

As for getting confused - the codes usually make that impossible. London has lots of airports - LHR. LGW, STN, LCY, etc. People cope!

Hope this helps,

cheers, Phil.

RE: British Airways And London

Mon Aug 06, 2001 11:03 pm

Ideally I would imagine BA would rather serve ALL longhaul services from Heathrow.

I imagine there are three reasons

1) Bermuda II

2) Slot Constraints

3) As a consequence of 1) and 2), less high-yield markets are served from LGW.

Interestingly, services to Nairobi, the Seychelles and BA's two Brazilian destinations (Sao Paulo and Rio) have recently switched back to LHR.

N.B. African and Latin American services "historically" used to be flown from LHR.

The decision to develop Gatwick as a twin hub apparently has not worked very well, as per BA management talk.

I would have thought there would be a minimal amount of confusion as concerns getting to either LGW or LHR.

In fact, no more than there might be in getting between EWR and JFK, or ORD and MDW in the US.

Topic Author
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RE: British Airways And London

Tue Aug 07, 2001 1:17 am

Some stats for you:

Excluding their affiliate and code-share partners, BA serves: 52 destinations from Gatwick and 55 destinations from Heathrow. They operate roughly 185 daily flights from LHR, compared to roughly 85 daily flights from LGW. I think whoever said that LGW was used primarily for leisure travel was right. When I look at the destinations, that does appear to be true. At Gatiwck, the 737 predominates to the European & GB markets, while the larger A320, 757, and 767 are used out of Heathrow. I don't think you will see a BA 757 at Gatwick.

BA serves 11 US destination from Gatiwck and 11 from Heathrow. But there are 28 LHR-USA flights compared to only 12 LGW-USA flights.

I addressed the issue of "confusion" because the less-seasoned BA traveler may associate British Airways with Heathrow. Particularly if they have only flown out of LHR in the past. I'm sure plenty of novice travelers have shown up at the LHR counter checking in for Gatwick departures. If they use e-tickets over there, that may make it worse.
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RE: British Airways And London

Tue Aug 07, 2001 2:02 am

BA is reducing long-haul flights from LGW, most non-leisure travellers prefer LHR.
I live very close to LHR and have been asked by confused foreign travellers more than once 'is this Gatwick?'
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RE: British Airways And London

Tue Aug 07, 2001 4:19 am

Some of the routes from Gatwick are historical in the sense they were inherited from B.Cal when the merger took place.
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RE: British Airways And London

Tue Aug 07, 2001 5:14 am

Confusion may come from the BA timetable which includes all its London airports under one destination section 'London'. You can only distinguish which airport your actually flying in to by identifying the terminal number (i.e. 1 - 4 for Heathrow, North or South for Gatwick, etc.).

I have flown into both Gatwick a couple of times with passengers who's connecting flight has been from a different airport and they havent been aware of it - At least they got to enjoy the bus journey round the M25 that awaited them !!
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RE: British Airways And London

Tue Aug 07, 2001 9:23 am

As far as I remember the Bermuda agreement says that only two American and only two British carriers can serve a specific route between any pair of American and British airports. I do not think the agreement specifies which airports in the US you can fly to from LHR. It says that e.g. only 2 British and only 2 American carriers can fly LHR-JFK.
Regarding which markets are served from LGW - those that are less profitable, and that require lighter aircraft because the runway at Gatwick is not long enough, which is a restriction on the weight of aircraft and thus on the destination (longer distances require more fuel, which makes aircraft heavier and you need longer runway for heavier aircraft). And ultimately all of the above affect the type of connections you can make at LGW, and that is why BA wants to keep LHR to itself because it can serve more people making connections via London. It is still possible to connect via LGW/LHR but it is more expensive and inconvenient. For comparison take FRA - only one huge airport where connecting is exceptionally easy. No hassle for transfer, and accordingly LHR is loosing to FRA, and that is why the management of BA has been heard to cry loud for T5 at LHR.
For those interested, there is a very good study published by Harvard Business School on the building of Charles de Gaulle and Gatwick airports that details public projects planning and national mentality. I do not remember the name but for those interested I can dig up the name.
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RE: British Airways And London

Tue Aug 07, 2001 9:28 am

I don't know, but both times we've flown to London from Arizona it's been at Heathrow and Gatewick.
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