BRITISH Airways has trounced rival CityJet by announcing the launch of an Aberdeen-London City Airport route, which experts believe will also stymie any new competition between the Granite City and Heathrow.
• BA have trumped rival CityJet by announcing a new Aberdeen-London City route
• The route is expected to take advantage of oil firms based near the Docklands airport
• CityJet had planned to operate the route but were delayed by its parent company’s plans to restructure the airline
BA subsidiary CityFlyer will operate three return flights a day between Aberdeen and London City from 24 September, BA chief executive Keith Williams announced in Edinburgh tonight.
The move comes three months after it was revealed that CityJet planned to operate the route to cash in on traffic from oil firms near the Docklands airport, and ahead of an expected cut in Aberdeen-Heathrow flights from BA parent IAG’s takeover of BMI.
However, aviation experts have told The Scotsman that CityJet failed to get its plans off the ground because of restructuring this spring by its Air France parent.
They also said BA’s move would reduce the appeal of the Aberdeen-Heathrow landing slots which were surrendered by BA as part of the BMI acquisition. They will be used for other IAG flights if they are not sold.
BA CityFlyer competes with CityJet on the Edinburgh-London City route, flying eight times a day compared to CityJet’s four.
Commercial manager Luke Hayhoe, said: “Aberdeen has been an important part of the British Airways network for many years and continues to be so.”
CityJet denied its Aberdeen plans were affected by restructuring. A spokeswoman said: “CityJet has been exploring opportunities to run a service to Aberdeen airport from London City since the start of the year, but unfortunately due to scheduling challenges, this is not a route we can run in time for summer.
“The airline will however, continue to look at this route as an option for winter scheduling, in the hope of providing a competitive service for our business travellers to the heart of the city in London.”