|British Airways wide-bodies on the ramp at their global hub at London Heathrow|
From October 27th, London based full service carrier British Airways will be up-gauging its services between Hyderabad and its global hub at London Heathrow to daily flights utilizing Boeing 777-200ER aircraft configured in a 275 seat 3-class configuration (48J/24Y+/203Y), including flat beds in Club World. The flights are currently served with 3-class Boeing 767-300ER aircraft configured with 189 seats (24J/24Y+/141Y) 6 times per week, and an up-gauge was already planned to 6 weekly flights on the 777-200ER for IATA Winter 2013-14.
Said Christopher Fordyce, British Airways Regional Commercial Manager India:
For British Airways, Hyderabad is truly a key market in our South Asian network. We have witnessed tremendous growth in the market since 2008, resulting in concerted growth in the outbound business and leisure tourism…. Our customers from Hyderabad will now be able to enjoy daily service to the UK whilst enjoying British Airways’ unmatched inflight services and flying experience,
British Airways is the only European carrier remaining with service to Hyderabad, where yields for long haul connections to Europe and North America are coming under increasing pressure from the MEB3 carriers Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways (plus potentially an entrance from Turkish Airlines). Since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-9, business traffic to and from Hyderabad has largely plateaued while leisure and VFR traffic has continued to grow. But such traffic is by and large, too low-yielding to sustain the European carriers with their ever increasing cost bases. KLM ended its short-lived Hyderabad services in 2008 after launching in 2005, while Lufthansa ended its Frankfurt – Hyderabad flights in 2011.
Hyderabad is still a massive demand center for services to North America. In 2011, Hyderabad had 481,748 passengers worth of origin and destination demand (O&D) demand to and from the United States. With 21 North American destinations served through its London Heathrow hub (plus Raleigh Durham through the joint venture partnership with American Airlines) – British Airways appears to be doing good business connecting passengers between Hyderabad and the US, and it has an advantage over the MEB3 who only serve 7-8 passenger destinations in North America.