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?