Empty BA flights, particularly USA

Old Aug 19, 20, 7:09 am
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Empty BA flights, particularly USA

How and why are BA still operating these? Looking at a few seat maps and travelling myself to the US in a few weeks, the planes have the lightest loads, I can literally select any seat in the cabin. Probably less than 20 people per flight according to EF and that’s for flights in the next few days.

BA must be operating these at a loss unless the cargo is that lucrative...?
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Old Aug 19, 20, 7:14 am
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Cargo is that lucrative, gold in the hold.
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Old Aug 19, 20, 7:20 am
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Most passengers can only select a seat at T-24. Seat maps before that may give an indication of loads, but it is not possible to say any flight is or is not well sold.
And as CIHY suggests, cargo will pay for a flight. Many flights continue to operate cargo only and as BA are not a charity, this must be for profit.
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Old Aug 19, 20, 7:40 am
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Interesting. To answer your question about seat maps, was looking at Expert Flyer which should give a better indication, no?

Also have friends and family members that have flown to the US over the past few weeks reporting near empty flights
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Old Aug 19, 20, 7:50 am
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ExpertFlyer only shows seats which have been selected by members with status or those who have paid for their seats. I's not a great guide to the number of reservations until there are fewer than 9 seats left in any cabin.

On my flight to KEF last week, I really thought that the ET cabin would be pretty much empty - for 3 months leading up to the flight until about 2 weeks to go, the 4 people in my booking were the only seats confirmed in ET. When we departed, there were 3 empty seats in ET. The return flight was even busier - just one empty seat in ET.

I do suspect that US loads will be much lower due to very few people being able to enter the US currently, but every flight I have taken in the last month (AMS, TXL and KEF) has been at least 90% full.
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Old Aug 19, 20, 8:06 am
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They were running 2 flights a day to JFK, one for pax, one as cargo only
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Old Aug 19, 20, 8:12 am
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I’d be fairly confident that BA aren’t flying low numbers of pax on certain routes at a huge loss for no reason! They’d be pulling those without doubt over these tough times, there has to be revenue generated in the belly or elsewhere
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Old Aug 19, 20, 8:55 am
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Is there cargo? Yes.
Are the US flights loss making? Almost certainly.
Why operate them? Because things are desperate.

Long haul has been dead since late March and there’s no sign of recovery for obvious reasons.
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Old Aug 19, 20, 9:00 am
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are they loss making though?

i mean you see AA making a point of talking about their cargo only flights since march, and they shut all of their international network down for a time...so it isnt like they would operate them just for show if cargo wasnt going to make the flights profitable?
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Old Aug 19, 20, 9:17 am
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I have a LHR-JFK next week - so far there are only 3 of us in the Y cabin. I should think that will increase but I suspect getting a three to myself won't be hard.
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Old Aug 19, 20, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by Brisbane Road View Post
How and why are BA still operating these? Looking at a few seat maps and travelling myself to the US in a few weeks,
To serve people like yourself??
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Old Aug 19, 20, 9:48 am
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On my recent DFW-LHR flight, cabin crew said there were only 44 passengers on board, and only 20 on the outbound from LHR.
This flight was reintroduced recently in addition to the daily AA flight, not sure why to be honest.
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Old Aug 19, 20, 9:53 am
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Also, there is loss making and loss making: A flight that makes a little more than the cost of fuel, crew, etc. can still contribute towards aircraft leasing payments or Mr. Cruz's salary. So if it makes a little more than its variable cost, it would be a loss making flight, but would still help the bottom line.
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Old Aug 19, 20, 10:00 am
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Originally Posted by skipness1E View Post
Is there cargo? Yes.
Are the US flights loss making? Almost certainly.
The question "are the US flights loss-making?" is the wrong one. From a business perspective, the more appropriate question is "does BA reduce its losses by operating these flights (vis-a-vis not operating them)?"

Why operate them?
Because BA expects to reduce its losses by carrying out these US flights. If the aircraft remained on the ground, the financing cost of the aircraft remained largely unchanged. Payrolls cannot be brought down 1:1 with a reduction in operations. Etc.

---

And, btw, SQ recently announced that operating certain intercontinental routes with as little as 30 pax on board is having a positive contribution margin for them. Part of the reason is what previous posters suggested: Cargo isn't doing so badly these days.
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Old Aug 19, 20, 10:03 am
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"Cash positive"
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