British Airways has been at the positive receiving end since Jet Airways first withdrew flights to the UK, and then perished quickly after that. Given that the entire episode happened very close to the ICC Cricket World Cup, which was being held in the UK this year, British Airways managed to launch a third flight to Mumbai at short notice in June 2019. The third flight used to operate four times a week per the following schedule:
BA135 LHR1750 – 0740(+1 day)BOM 789 x146
BA134 BOM1210 – 1720LHR 789 x257
This flight was slotted till the end of the summer schedule and hence will operate for the last time from Mumbai on October 26, 2019.
While British Airways will go back to a couple of flights every day, Virgin Atlantic will launch a new flight between Mumbai and London on October 27, 2019, timing their departure very close to the British Airways flight to arrive in London in the early morning.
VS354 LHR1015 – 0040(+1) BOM 789 D
VS355 BOM0255 – 0735LHR 789 D
British carriers will be utilising 87.5% of their weekly bilateral quota with the new flight additions and will have rights to add only one more daily flight on Mumbai/Delhi – London Heathrow route.
British Airways originally had plans to bring another flight to Mumbai effective March 1, 2020. Here was the initial idea:
From March 1, 2020 to March 28, 2020, the flight will be operated by a four class 787-9 with the following schedule,
BA135 LHR1215 – 0250(+1 day)BOM 789 D
BA134 BOM0450 – 0930LHR 789 D
From March 29, 2020, the third daily flight will be operated by a four class 777-200ER with the following schedule.
BA135 LHR1710 – 0700(+1 day)BOM 772 D
BA134 BOM0900 – 1415LHR 772 D
From March 29, 2020, BA 198/199 will switch from a four class 777-200ER to a three-class 777-200ER (no first class cabin). With this British Airways will operate three daily 777-200ER flights on Mumbai – London Heathrow route.
However, it seems British Airways has landed itself another set of Mumbai flights, which it will operate for approximately 1.5 months to Mumbai from London. The first of these flights from London shows available for sale from December 26, 2019, onwards. British Airways has added another four times a week rotation right after their 20:40 departure to Mumbai at 21:35.
On the return, these flights depart within 30 minutes of each other.
Like you can see, like right now, one BA aircraft will be on the ground for a very long time in this case as well, arriving in the afternoon and departing at least 14 hours later.
Here is the schedule of the new temporary flight.
BA135 LHR2135 – 1210(+1 day)BOM 777 2357
BA134 BOM0245 – 0725LHR 777 1346
This flight is showing up for sale only through February 8, 2020.
What this indicates to me is Mumbai – London is such a vast market that British Airways is actually trying to corner as much market share as possible, while Air India, which has the only right of way to operate flights from Mumbai to London Heathrow from the Indian side right now, till Vistara jumps in the fray, is just sitting and not maximising this opportunity for themselves.
What do you make out of British Airways plans to operate extra flights out of Mumbai for the peak winter season?
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