British Airways Launches 54 Mile Flight To Saudi Arabia

Filed Under: British Airways

British Airways has today announced that they’re launching daily flights to Dammam, Saudi Arabia, as of December 1, 2019. This will be British Airways’ third destination in Saudi Arabia, after Jeddah and Riyadh.


Dammam, Saudi Arabia

While British Airways’ other services to Saudi Arabia are nonstop, the catch is that this flight won’t be. Rather it will operate as a one-stop service via Bahrain, so will be marketed as a “direct” flight. British Airways will use a 777-200 for the route, featuring first, business, premium economy, and economy.

British Airways operates several short flights with very big planes, but this is the shortest yet. This flight covers a distance of just 54 miles, making it British Airways’ shortest flight yet.

The flight will operate with the following schedule:

BA125 London to Bahrain departing 11:30AM arriving 8:55PM
BA125 Bahrain to Dammam departing 9:55PM arriving 10:45PM
BA124 Dammam to Bahrain departing 12:30AM arriving 1:10AM
BA124 Bahrain to London departing 2:20AM arriving 6:40AM

As you can see, currently the flight sits on the ground in Bahrain for several hours (in order to optimize connections), so I guess they figured they might as well operate continuing service to Dammam from there.

From London to Dammam, the gate-to-gate block time is 8hr15min eastbound and 9hr10min westbound. The flight between Bahrain and Dammam is blocked at 40-50 minutes.

Currently British Airways offers a limo service between Bahrain and Dammam, which apparently takes 2-3 hours on weekdays and 3-4 hours on weekends. Currently Gulf Air is the only airline to fly the route nonstop, so British Airways won’t even be the only airline to operate this short flight.

The previous shortest flight was British Airways’ service from Antigua to St. Kitts, also operated by a 777, covering a distance of 62 miles.

For those of you not familiar with Dammam, it’s the capital of the Eastern Province, and is the heart of the country’s petroleum industry.

British Airways isn’t the only European airline to fly to Dammam, as Lufthansa flies from Frankfurt via Kuwait City, and KLM flies nonstop from Amsterdam, with continuing service to Muscat. Interestingly KLM has fifth freedom rights while Lufthansa doesn’t.

What do you make of British Airways’ new service to Dammam?

Comments

  1. The plane currently sits on the ground in Bahrain for 4 hours to optimise for US connections so it’s using some of this time

  2. > Lufthansa flies nonstop from Frankfurt

    Lufthansa stops in KWI both ways for fuel and pax. No 5th freedom rights for local traffic.

  3. About a decade ago, KLM used to fly the triangle routing AMS-BAH-DMM-AMS (or vice versa, depending on the day of week), so I’ve already gotten to fly this short leg as part of a BAH-DMM-AMS flight. Not counting an air return, this remains my shortest flight leg ever flown.

  4. This route used to be served by LH (wet leased from Privat Air). FRA-DMM-BAH, I was on the flight once, and the actual flight time between the city pair was 19 minutes. On the return from BAH-FRA, we did not touch base in Saudi.

  5. And here I thought my Phoenix to Tucson flight was short…but that’s almost twice the distance of this flight!

  6. debit – ever hear of google?

    it’s easy to use and means you don’t ask stupid questions

  7. The best ba route was nyc-toronto 757 service, when they utilized “raid the larder” in club world.

  8. I just love how the Dammam airport is bigger than the entire country of Bahrain. (in terms of land area)

  9. Nothing surprising. BA used to operate LHR-BAH-DOH and flew the route a couple of times. A bit longer than BAH-DMM, but basically it was a short 20-minute hop on BAH-DOH (and a 5th freedom route) and there was a packed orange juice service in Y.

  10. That ground time in Bahrain from 8.55pm to 12.45am is hardly sitting on the ground. Lots of airlines at YYZ do the same though also to capitalise on connection times. Though I doubt they could go anywhere in the time they are at the ground in YYZ 🙂

  11. @Occasional Reader: Dunno if that snippy response was really warranted. But if you ARE going to call people out for not doing their own web searches, may I suggest checking out lmgtfy dot com? It allows for much more effective, time-efficient, condescension.

  12. Used to fly the Dhahran to Bahrain route back in the 70s when working in Saudi. Gulf Air….flight time approx 5 minutes.Also when leaving on Concorde the ticket included for a night in a local Hotel..Late night bar…but .early morning start….those were the days…

  13. Will there be 5th freedom traffic rights between Bahrain and KSA? If so, I’d imagine it would be a good Tier Point run in Club/First.

  14. I was also on the Dhahran to Bahrain Gulf Air flights ‘back then’. That was before they opened the Causeway between Khobar and Bahrain and before they built the King Fahad International Airport in Dammam.

    Served by 737s, they would not even pressurize the cabin and we flew at a very low altitude. That was also when smoking was allowed aboard aircrafts and at times, it looked like we were in a flying smoking room.

    Dammam airport (King Fahad International Airport) is a bit of a white elephant. The only reason KLM flies to Dammam is because they won’t allow them to fly to Riyadh. (As far as I know).

    Before KKIA (King Khalid International Airport) opened (very late 1982) only Saudia was allowed in Riyadh. They shared the old terminal with the Saudi Air Force. Many people would fly to the coast to catch their international flights. Flight PA/SV 025 (Riyadh to JFK) comes to mind. First leg RUH to DHA was on Saudia and second leg was on Pan Am. PA 025 used a special 747 for what was one of the longest flights at that time. Because the aircraft was Pan Am, it was a wet flight. At times, very wet…

    *

  15. Pan Am 025 DHA / JFK. I too remember that flight well. Leaving Dhahran at 2359 and landing JFK 0610 the following morning. 12 hours 10 min flight time. It was usually a party flight as oil workers and U.S expats headed home. Took it more times than I can remember. So sad of Pan Am’s demise considering the pioneering routes they opened up across the Pacific, South America,and beyond.
    I took the DHA/BAH weekly. I smoked back then, but I could never finish a cigarette before the ‘No smoking’ sign pinged on before landing. They got me every time.
    Your right Rob – the booze did flow on PA 025 – for the entire flight……….and a few hangovers on arrival at JFK – Happy days……………!!

  16. Until recently BA customers flew to Bahrain and then crossed the causeway into Saudi by car or bus. Recent visa changes have made this difficult on several visa categories which I suspect is a motivator for the new tag.

  17. My sister-in-law and her family live in Dammam, I’m surprised at this flight since they do the causeway drive to Bahrain very frequently.

  18. We used this flight living in Khobar. Customs and immigration are faster in the airports than on the causeway. We would go to Bahrain to stock up on pork products and carry them back in the ladies’ toiletries bags, which were never opened by the male customs officers.

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