Well that’s a bit awkward.
BA’s flagship London City-JFK service has just been cut in half with the removal of the BA 3/4 rotation from the system starting October 30 this year. BA 1/2, the flight numbers of the previous Concorde service from London to New York, remain as is.
A large draw of this service was US immigration pre-clearance in Shannon which due to US budget cuts has now been discontinued (it’s still available on BA 1) – it’s not a far fetched assumption to think that demand has dropped as such. The convenience of departing from the City and arriving to JFK as a domestic passenger despite the brief fuel stop in Ireland enabled BA to charge a massive premium for the flight – coupled with the fact that the plane only seats 32 passengers and the airline only requires you to arrive 35 minutes before departure. Perfect for the business passenger.
But as of late discounted I class fares have been popping up on the BA 3/4 rotations, something that was previously impossible to come by – hinting at a sharp drop in demand. Load factors remain reasonable but yields have dropped.
What this means is that BA is essentially parking half of their exclusive A318 all Club World sub-fleet based out of London City – what this means for the future remains to be seen. Does this mean that they open a new trans-Atlantic port with this service? Is Boston or Washington DC on the cards? Or maybe they go East towards a flight to Dubai or Jeddah? Or is this just a temporary seasonal suspension, or something related to heavy maintenance on these birds?
Many questions, very few answers as yet.