British Airways Cancels Fort Lauderdale Flights

Filed Under: British Airways

In 2017, British Airways added two routes to compete directly with Norwegian:

Both were routes that Norwegian operated as well, and this came at a time when Norwegian was viewed as a big competitor, and British Airways was even interested in taking them over (while nowadays Norwegian is hanging on by a thread).

Well, British Airways had already canceled flights to Oakland as of October 2018, which frankly didn’t come as much of a surprise, given the amount of capacity the airline offers to both San Francisco and San Jose.

Now British Airways has closed reservations for their London Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale flight as of September 8, 2019. For what it’s worth, the flight currently operates with the following schedule on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays:

BA2169 London to Fort Lauderdale departing 10:20AM arriving 2:45PM
BA2168 Fort Lauderdale to London departing 4:55PM arriving 6:30AM (+1 day)

So the airline has now canceled both of the flights that they added to compete with Norwegian.

As I said at the time, Norwegian is losing a lot of money, and on top of that British Airways can’t compete with Norwegian’s costs, so I’m not sure how they thought these routes would work. I guess the goal was to try to take down Norwegian, and largely I’d say that has worked.

In the meantime I’m sure British Airways views Norwegian as much less of a threat. Beyond that, keep in mind that Norwegian’s flights from London Gatwick no longer operate to Oakland and Fort Lauderdale, as they’ve swapped their services to San Francisco and Miami, respectively.

Bottom line

This is no doubt unfortunate news for those in the Fort Lauderdale area, given that nonstop options to Europe are limited without driving to Miami.

However, the writing was also on the wall for this. Launching a route to compete with a money-losing airline rarely works well, and with Norwegian having now even pulled out of Fort Lauderdale, this is even less surprising.

Are you surprised to see British Airways pull out of Fort Lauderdale?

Comments

  1. I know a certain airline with the hub there that wants to get into London flights that offers a significantly better experience than British Airways.

  2. @Lucky- any clue if people who live north of Miami see the Tri-Rail service as a viable way to get to MIA? Seems like they did a nice job overall with the integrated train station/rental car center/people mover system. I wonder if many people use the Tri-Rail service to get to the airport. I remember using a few times when visiting family in West Palm Beach and flying back out of MIA.

  3. @alpha, B6 is not launching London flights from FLL anytime soon. That would require plans they don’t have and business customers that don’t exist in FLL. BOS and JFK are tech, finance, education hubs. There is a reason those cities are both huge international gateways, with BOS punching way above it’s weight re population.

  4. Norwegian will still fly to these destinations from FLL:
    Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo.

    Ps, Norwegian are now the biggest none-American airline flying in/out of New York area. (JFK, Newark, Stewart) 2.078.847 passengers Feb 2018- Feb 2019. They passed Air Canada (and all European, Asian, South American) in the last 12 months update from Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

  5. @Dan, BOS is also the main gateway for most of New England (especially ME, NH, VT, MA, RI). We live just south of Portland Maine, but always use BOS for flights to anywhere other than New York basically. Flights are cheaper too. I also had a friend in VT who used the shuttle bus in the region to use BOS. So essentially it has a huge catchment area.

  6. Hi, sorry for the off topic, but i find interesting to know that (acording to airlineroute) turkish Airlines Will opérate their new 787-9 on the bizarre route of intanbul-havana-Caracas and i would like to know your opinion. Greetings

  7. Dan is right and Alpha is wrong. There is no way JetBlue is a competitor to BA. it’s like a mouse comapred to an elephant.

  8. emirates flies to FLL instead of MIA to codeshare w/ B6 on US domestic flights (B6 does not fly to MIA)
    also, qatar flies to MIA so it would duplicate MENA flights (not counting el al here for obvious reasons)

  9. I would say, from BA’s perspective, “mission accomplished”. It prevented Norwegian (apparently) from becoming profitable on these routes and ultimately forced a shift by Norwegian to the more “premium” and expensive nearby hubs, where BA holds a massive lead in frequency and capacity… BA management probably regards this outcome as worth the brief investment in money-losing routes.

  10. This was BA’s plan all along and has hurt the airport and the people in the FLL area that were Norwegian’s target customers. Regulators and airports should keep these scenarios in mind before approving large airlines seeking to move into small airports that they had no interest in serving before a low cost carrier started service. Make them sign a long-term commitment if you don’t wan’t to be accused of being anti-competitive.

  11. DCJoe: I guess it works OK if heading into MIA, as there is the platform right at the airport as you said. The true disaster is trying to take it into FLL, where the station is way out on Griffin Road and involves a completely unreliable shuttle service to get you to the airport from there.

    VirginTrains USA (formerly Brightline), the high-speed rail on the “Eastern” FEC Tracks is currently looking into a station directly in front of FLL. Tri-Rail studied this years ago when they proposed a commuter line on the FEC tracks (think stations in great spots like Downtown Hollywood, Aventura, Midtown Miami, Wynwood, etc). Rumor is Virgin may do it themselves, which would be HUGE for South Florida and to get traffic off I-95. Maybe then the bigger carriers could find FLL to be a feasible option.

  12. Anyone want to bet as to when BA will ax service to PIT, BNA, MSY & especially GSP? I’d imagine it’ll be the day before the taxpayer subsidies run out.

  13. I kind of suspect that BA’s competition did little to neutralize Norwegian on these routes. They were probably already unprofitable, and Norwegian is hemorrhaging cash.

  14. Not surprised by this move. Gatwick lacks connections.

    Would not be surprised if BA made Pittsburgh seasonal along with New Orleans. I think BA will do fine in Nashville, as the city is rapidly growing. BA’s service is clearly doing just fine, as they have increased capacity.

  15. Live south of MIA but used FLL for years as it was not crowded, had cheap long-term parking and you didn’t have to hike miles to get to your gate…

    Now it is as crowded as MIA, the cheap parking is long gone. Only perk is the compact terminals.

    Now, I choose based on airfare (with SWA in FLL, a lot of domestic destinations are cheaper from there).

  16. FLL has far too many international flights – more than it can handle. When people get stuck on planes for (literally) hours waiting for a gate then another 1-2 hours in immigration, it’s no surprise this was not a popular route. I live close to the airport, but will always drive to Miami for a ‘real’ international airport. FLL is ok for short domestic trips, but anything else is like trying to make a Hyundai Accent drive at 130 MPH on the highway – it’s going to operate very badly and is not a good idea.

  17. while BA’s behaviour is clearly anti competitive … is attempting to bankrupt a competitor illegal under US law ?

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