British Airways Wants To Fly To Indianapolis

British Airways Wants To Fly To Indianapolis

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It looks like British Airways’ next destination in the United States may be… Indianapolis?!

British Airways requests slots for Indianapolis flights

Airport Coordination Limited (ACL) has released its initial slot report for the summer of 2022, which reflects the slots that airlines are requesting. British Airways is London Heathrow’s largest carrier, and the airline has a lot of slots to play with.

The latest filing contains an interesting finding, as noted by @SeanM1997 — British Airways has requested slots to fly between London Heathrow (LHR) and Indianapolis, Indiana (IND), as of the summer of 2022. Now, there hasn’t yet been an official announcement from the airline, and flights aren’t yet on sale, though this tells us that British Airways has the desire to operate this route, and given how many slots the carrier has at the airport, this should be feasible. Personally I’d mark this as highly likely to happen, but not a sure thing.

If this route does launch, it would mark the first time that a European airline operates regularly scheduled service to the airport — Delta launched a flight from Indianapolis to Paris in 2018, and that route was suspended in early 2020, around the start of the pandemic. While Delta claimed at the time that it would restart the route, that hasn’t happened yet, and isn’t scheduled for any dates in the future.

Delta used to fly from Indianapolis to Paris

My take on British Airways flying to Indianapolis

While a London to Indianapolis route might sound random, I can see how it makes sense, and fits into British Airways’ overall transatlantic business model:

  • British Airways is part of the oneworld transatlantic joint venture, so the airline shares revenue and coordinates schedules with American, Iberia, Finnair, and Aer Lingus
  • Before the pandemic, British Airways had increasingly launched service to secondary cities in the United States that didn’t previously have much transatlantic service, including to Charleston, New Orleans, Portland, etc.
  • I would imagine that the state of Indiana and the airport are providing significant incentives to any airline launching transatlantic flights; when Delta launched a transatlantic flight from Indianapolis, we learned that $5 million had been set aside for attracting transatlantic flights

If the flight does launch, it’s anyone’s guess how long it sticks around. Hopefully it will perform well, but even if it doesn’t, I imagine the right subsidies could get British Airways to operate the route for at least some amount of time. Given the strength of the oneworld transatlantic joint venture, it also shouldn’t be too hard to fill the plane, at least with a seasonal 3-5x weekly service.

British Airways may launch London to Indianapolis flights

Bottom line

British Airways intends to launch a flight between London and Indianapolis as of the summer of 2022. At least the airline has requested slots from Heathrow to operate the route, so we’ll see if this comes to fruition.

This would fit into British Airways’ strategy of offering nonstop flights to smaller transatlantic markets that didn’t previously have much service to Europe. If Indiana is offering the right incentives, this seems pretty low risk as well.

What do you make of British Airways’ desire to fly to Indianapolis?

Conversations (38)
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  1. john Guest

    Indy flyer here
    this flight would be great for the state. Our previous Paris flight was very successful went from 3x weekly to daily in a little over a year! London has more demand for a European dest from IND! Plus throw in our business community, Eli Lily, Rolls Royce, Anthem ETC. Plus the European race teams we have here. And the Month of May traffic! as well as every October we have a...

    Indy flyer here
    this flight would be great for the state. Our previous Paris flight was very successful went from 3x weekly to daily in a little over a year! London has more demand for a European dest from IND! Plus throw in our business community, Eli Lily, Rolls Royce, Anthem ETC. Plus the European race teams we have here. And the Month of May traffic! as well as every October we have a 8 Hour International Endurance race. I attended and asked drivers what was the worst part about the race being here and they all said getting here was a pain due to no Europe Flights. so this would be a big Success!

  2. Brent Guest

    Delta’s nonstop flights between Indianapolis and Paris (suspended due to the pandemic) exceeded expectations, with the original schedule of three flights a week expanded to five flights per week. I would predict BA’s IND-LHR flight would be equally successful.

  3. Dale Workman Guest

    The wife and i live in Indianapolis and travel to England and the continent just about every year. It would be great to have have direct service from our home town.

  4. Tom Guest

    IND is international primarily as a freight destination. It get daily FEDEX flights from Asia and Europe. Seasonal service to Mexico and year-round flights to Toronto are also available but it’s Customs for international freight that is the main reason. BA to LHR would be a major passenger expansion. Hope it happens!

  5. Keith Guest

    BA may be looking at this as a toe in the water experiment, 5 a week service, probably with a B787.

    They would not want to dilute the LHR ORD service just up the road, but also probably will use it to connect to AA which has about 40 flights a day out of IND.

  6. Remy Navarr Guest

    Great if it happens

  7. Cwyfan Guest

    I believe that this filing also includes the restart to Calgary.

    Anybody know when this would be likely to start?

    Thanking you in anticipation.

    1. Bas Guest

      We will be very happy to go by that direct flight saving time

  8. Emily Guest

    @Lucky - I have mentioned this in an earlier post. Please treat it as constructive criticism. It helps to do a little research on the commercial and strategic interests, especially in regions you are frankly unfamiliar with, before using sarcasm ("...Indianapolis?") or providing your take. It's your blog so it doesn't matter to me what you write, but I think a little research around an action would make a stronger article and provide more weight...

    @Lucky - I have mentioned this in an earlier post. Please treat it as constructive criticism. It helps to do a little research on the commercial and strategic interests, especially in regions you are frankly unfamiliar with, before using sarcasm ("...Indianapolis?") or providing your take. It's your blog so it doesn't matter to me what you write, but I think a little research around an action would make a stronger article and provide more weight to your conclusions. Just my two cents.

  9. Emily Guest

    This is a good development. There are several IT (Salesforce), pharmaceutical (Eli Lilly) and manufacturing giants (Cummins, Rolls Royce) located in Indiana. Until now, most have had to travel to use O'Hare (air or car) as their Int'l hub. Indiana has one of the highest population of international students at some of the most prestigious R1 institutions (Purdue, IU, Notre Dame) in the country. BA will surely capitalize on this seasonal traffic as well. Having...

    This is a good development. There are several IT (Salesforce), pharmaceutical (Eli Lilly) and manufacturing giants (Cummins, Rolls Royce) located in Indiana. Until now, most have had to travel to use O'Hare (air or car) as their Int'l hub. Indiana has one of the highest population of international students at some of the most prestigious R1 institutions (Purdue, IU, Notre Dame) in the country. BA will surely capitalize on this seasonal traffic as well. Having lived around the greater Indy area for a while, my experiences in flying into and out of IND have always been pleasant; efficient, fast, clean and courteous. This is a good regional Int'l airport and a fantastic development!

    1. DA Guest

      And Lilly has a manufacturing facility in Kinsale, Ireland. Makes good sense.

  10. Nitin Singh Guest

    Does IND have port authority center? To interview international travellers and provide I94 with a stamp?

    1. DCharlie Guest

      Yes. It is an Int'l Airport since it has services to Canada and Mexico.

  11. Sue Fritz Guest

    I’d love this to happen as I fly to the UK 2-3 times a year to see my family and have to get a flight from Indie to Chicago with quite a long layover. Please please please!!!!!!

  12. Leigh Guest

    I find it surprising. I wonder if AA has a large FF base in IND (that's just one of the reasonings AA is using for their ongoing Austin expansion; though obviously AUS is also growing through the roof....Indy, by comparison?)? You'd think cities like St Louis or Kansas City had larger AA FF bases given their place in AA/TWA history, and comparable populations.

    Anyways, glad to see the US Midwest getting some international airline interest. Grew up in KC...

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      A few months ago, I was on an AA flight that had to divert to Indianapolis due to weather. AA does not have a full-service ground team and support for a diverted flight was wanting. But, the entire airport seems "small town" -- all services (staff, restaurants, etc.) within the terminal effectively shut down when the sun goes down.

      Add to that, there is no One World affiliated lounge. There is a sports bar in...

      A few months ago, I was on an AA flight that had to divert to Indianapolis due to weather. AA does not have a full-service ground team and support for a diverted flight was wanting. But, the entire airport seems "small town" -- all services (staff, restaurants, etc.) within the terminal effectively shut down when the sun goes down.

      Add to that, there is no One World affiliated lounge. There is a sports bar in the middle of one terminal that is affiliated with Priority Pass . . . but it shuts down with everything else. Logistically, a very odd choice.

  13. Weymar Osborne Gold

    Love seeing international expansion from the midwest. I'm hoping some airlines will start to pick up on Cincinnati or Columbus too. Delta just announced they're bringing back their CVG-CDG service next August, and it'd be cool to see another route or two across the Atlantic added. KLM service to Amsterdam would be cool, or Delta/BA adding a London flight could open up a lot of connection opportunities. Columbus feels like more of a stretch, but...

    Love seeing international expansion from the midwest. I'm hoping some airlines will start to pick up on Cincinnati or Columbus too. Delta just announced they're bringing back their CVG-CDG service next August, and it'd be cool to see another route or two across the Atlantic added. KLM service to Amsterdam would be cool, or Delta/BA adding a London flight could open up a lot of connection opportunities. Columbus feels like more of a stretch, but they have decently sized Indian, Somali, and Ghanaian populations, and both airports are about an hour away from Dayton as well.

    1. DCA Will Always Be "National" Guest

      I keep holding out that MCI (KCI to locals, though technically incorrect from an IATA perspective) will get something beyond Toronto and various Mexico destinations. Alas, ORD/ATL/DFW are a short hop away so I'm not so sure they'll start adding long-haul international flights any time soon...even with that brand new terminal.

  14. Andrew Guest

    Having used CDG to IND before I found it easy to clear customs there. With current UK to IND flights being very expensive compared to UK to ORD flights they can charge a small premium without much issue. Just wonder what they mean by summer at the moment.

  15. Abel Guest

    There is a good amount of Asian American population in the indianapolis metro area. This will be great addition. My family used delta flight to Paris for one stop connection to india

  16. Michael Guest

    Remember Portland was the next big U.S. destination? That was dropped in June 2020 before it started.
    Disruptive and violent events over the past year or so made it an undesirable destination for business or leisure travel, so perhaps BA went looking elsewhere. Why not Indianapolis?

    1. Hammer Guest

      BA probably intends to start PDX as shown by IAG’s quarterly report.

    2. aaway Guest

      ....Gee, just imagine how air service to D.C. would've been curtailed it it weren't for a brave & resilient multi-agency LEO response to a disruptive event that occurred on January 6th, 2021. Imagine if that event had escalated into a multi-day affair.

      In other words, Michael, to hell with your undertones.

    3. Bobsmith99 Guest

      The Portland flight is coming back at 6x frequency vs. 2x for Indianapolis.

  17. Jay Guest

    I would love to see an IAG airline fly to CLT. We have many AA flights to Europe but the more options the better.

  18. Elsie Guest

    BA won't revive CHS next summer, for what it's worth.

  19. RCB Guest

    Indianapolis has a GREAT airport, so it could easily support this. I used to live in Indy and it's frustrating flying overseas because you always have to fly to DTW, ATL, ORD, etc. first, and that adds time and annoyance, not to mention expense. With zero competition I am sure this flight will not be cheap, but it's a good option. I have several Indiana friends who went to Paris when Delta started its direct...

    Indianapolis has a GREAT airport, so it could easily support this. I used to live in Indy and it's frustrating flying overseas because you always have to fly to DTW, ATL, ORD, etc. first, and that adds time and annoyance, not to mention expense. With zero competition I am sure this flight will not be cheap, but it's a good option. I have several Indiana friends who went to Paris when Delta started its direct flight, so there is definitely some demand there, and I know the typical Hoosier would be much more interested in visiting England than they would France, so I think this flight would do reasonably well, if priced correctly.

    1. DRH Guest

      Local here...This has been planned by the business community and state of Indiana for a while. The presence of Eli Lilly and Rolls Royce Aviation in Indy is what makes this possible. They both have considerable travel volumes between Europe and Indy.

  20. Justin Guest

    Does this mean BA would put a lounge in? American doesn't have a lounge at IND for BA to share.

    1. ConcordeBoy Guest

      Very unlikely.

      In secondary US destinations where AA doesn't have a lounge, or 3rd-party lounge hours aren't conducive to use; then BA's solution has been to hand out meal/drink vouchers to whatever the nicest eatery/winery in the airport is, to their premium passengers.

      If they launch IND, that's more than likely what'll happen there.

    2. RCB Guest

      IND has some incredibly good restaurants, they chose a lot of great local places to put outposts at the airport instead of the usual chains, and it's an absolute delight. I'd take a Harry & Izzy's meal voucher over lounge access any day.

    3. Brent Guest

      Airline lounges are typically located in hub airports so as to allow “members” a refuge from the masses that congest the airport. IND is not a hub, and having been the first US airport built post 9/11 is spacious enough that it is rarely congested with too many people. Plus, Hoosiers are known for their polite hospitality, so why would anyone want to exile themselves in a lounge?

  21. OCTinPHL Guest

    Roche. Eli Lilly. Lots of travel to UK.

  22. Mike Guest

    Indy based flyer here.

    Delta had a IND-CDG flight pre-COVID which was very popular. DL used a 767 for the service, which was initially supported by the State of Indiana but ultimately supported itself. BA may be trying to get ahead of DL in establishing a European gateway. There are a few multinational companies here who used the DL flight extensively and would probably do the same with a BA flight.

    1. Anjaly Guest

      Are you a British airways pilot

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Emily Guest

This is a good development. There are several IT (Salesforce), pharmaceutical (Eli Lilly) and manufacturing giants (Cummins, Rolls Royce) located in Indiana. Until now, most have had to travel to use O'Hare (air or car) as their Int'l hub. Indiana has one of the highest population of international students at some of the most prestigious R1 institutions (Purdue, IU, Notre Dame) in the country. BA will surely capitalize on this seasonal traffic as well. Having lived around the greater Indy area for a while, my experiences in flying into and out of IND have always been pleasant; efficient, fast, clean and courteous. This is a good regional Int'l airport and a fantastic development!

1
john Guest

Indy flyer here this flight would be great for the state. Our previous Paris flight was very successful went from 3x weekly to daily in a little over a year! London has more demand for a European dest from IND! Plus throw in our business community, Eli Lily, Rolls Royce, Anthem ETC. Plus the European race teams we have here. And the Month of May traffic! as well as every October we have a 8 Hour International Endurance race. I attended and asked drivers what was the worst part about the race being here and they all said getting here was a pain due to no Europe Flights. so this would be a big Success!

0
Brent Guest

Airline lounges are typically located in hub airports so as to allow “members” a refuge from the masses that congest the airport. IND is not a hub, and having been the first US airport built post 9/11 is spacious enough that it is rarely congested with too many people. Plus, Hoosiers are known for their polite hospitality, so why would anyone want to exile themselves in a lounge?

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