British Airways has been expanding their transatlantic route network like crazy lately. This is for a couple of reasons — it’s partly because they’ve taken delivery of 787s, which make a lot of routes possible that weren’t previously feasible (like Austin, Nashville, New Orleans, San Jose, etc.), and it’s also because Norwegian has been expanding significantly, and British Airways is trying to maintain their market share best they can.
British Airways has just announced their latest expansion, this time out of London Gatwick. In 2018, British Airways will be launching flights from London Gatwick to both Toronto and Las Vegas.
As of March 27, 2018, British Airways will be launching 3x weekly flights between London Gatwick and Las Vegas, with the following schedule:
BA2277 Gatwick to Las Vegas departing 11:55AM arriving 2:45PM [Tue, Fri, Sun]
BA2277 Las Vegas to Gatwick 4:35PM arriving 10:35AM (+1 day) [Tue, Fri, Sun]
The route will be operated by a three cabin 777, featuring 40 business class seats, 24 premium economy seats, and 219 economy seats.
Meanwhile as of May 1, 2018, British Airways will be launching 3x weekly flights between London Gatwick and Toronto, with the following schedule:
BA2271 Gatwick to Toronto departing 11:55AM arriving 2:45PM [Tue, Fri, Sun]
BA2270 Toronto to Gatwick 7:45PM arriving 7:50AM (+1 day) [Tue, Fri, Sun]
The route will be operated by a mix of the three cabin 777s and four cabin 777s. The latter feature 14 first class seats, 48 business class seats, 40 premium economy seats, and 122 economy seats. That’s a premium heavy configuration for Gatwick, but I suspect that’s simply because the plane is being transferred from Heathrow, as Heathrow gets more 787 aircraft.
In general the growth out of London Gatwick is a competitive response to Norwegian, though in this case Norwegian doesn’t yet fly to Canada. So it seems like that route is more a response to WestJet’s longhaul growth, as this complements British Airways’ 2x daily London Heathrow to Toronto flights.
As far as Las Vegas goes, British Airways used to operate a flight between London Gatwick and Las Vegas, so there was just a short service gap here. Furthermore, British Airways already flies 11x weekly from London Heathrow to Las Vegas. On the surface you’d think that Las Vegas would be a city British Airways would primarily serve out of Gatwick (given that it’s a leisure destination), though British Airways doesn’t have nearly as much connectivity within Europe out of Gatwick, and I suspect this flight is popular with people coming from all over Europe.
British Airways’ transatlantic growth out of London is extremely impressive, both out of Gatwick and Heathrow. While this is largely just a competitive response, they serve more US destinations than any other non-North American airline. What’s especially impressive isn’t just the number of frequencies they have in certain markets, but rather the markets they’ve expanded to, which otherwise haven’t seen much transatlantic traffic.
In this case they’re just duplicating some existing routes that are currently available out of Heathrow, in order to compete with both WestJet and Norwegian.