It expects to be able to attract enough passengers wanting to fly to London and beyond to be able to fill the extra seats without having to cut ticket prices.
The British carrier will see its weekly seat capacity on its London-Singapore service increase by 12.5 per cent when it debuts the double-decker Airbus A380 here. The massive aircraft is already flying to Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Johannesburg and will start services to Washington in September.
Flying direct three times a week from Oct 28, the A380 London-Singapore route will yield more than 4,000 extra seats a month, the carrier said. Currently, BA flies from Singapore to London twice a day on Boeing 747s and 777s. The new A380 service will not add more flights, but instead replace some of those on the Boeing 747.
“It’s about planning where we think the extra capacity will be most useful, and where we need it, and we recognise that we have the demand for some extra capacity in this market,” the company’s Regional General Manager for South-east Asia Robert Williams said. He added that BA had evaluated sales on the route before deciding if it could absorb the extra capacity and he was confident the extra seats would be filled without the carrier having to resort to cut ticket prices to stimulate demand.
Besides passengers wanting to fly only to London, there is strong demand from passengers from Singapore looking to transit in Heathrow Airport as they make their way to other destinations in Europe, the United Kingdom, and North and South America, he said. “We recognise that people see the value in stopping in London … We have a lot of customers who want to stop in the city for more than just a quick transfer to other destinations.”
Singapore Airlines’ withdrawal of direct services to New York is also expected to benefit BA’s A380 service, as passengers looking to fly to New York now have no choice but to stop somewhere en route, he said.
Mr Brendan Sobie, Chief Analyst at the market research firm Centre for Aviation, noted that Qantas’ pull-out from the Singapore-London route last year has given other carriers a chance to fill that gap.
This should also put BA in a good position to fill the extra capacity when the A380 is introduced, he said.
“As Singapore Airlines and BA are the only airlines on this route offering non-stop flights, the direct competition is actually pretty small,” Mr Sobie said.