BA cuts transatlantic flights

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The Independent Online

British Airways today announced big cutbacks in the number of flights to the US and Europe in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

A total of 190 services will be scrapped or suspended, including 36 fewer flights to America.

BA's services between London Heathrow and Belfast, which have lost £38 million over the past four years, are to be withdrawn.

The changes follow last week's announcement by BA that 7,000 jobs are to be cut and capacity reduced by 10% because of the impact on demand following the September 11 outrage.

The withdrawal of the Heathrow-Belfast service will result in the closure of BA's operating base at Belfast International Airport.

David Spurlock, BA's director of strategy, said: "The current difficult market conditions demand we take firm action. Our focus has to be on making best use of our assets."

The announcement made no mention of any delay to the planned resumption of Concorde services, which is earmarked for next month.

The changes mean a reduction in flights from Heathrow to New York from six to five a day.

Services from Heathrow to Boston will be reduced from three to two a day, while flights to Washington will be cut from 19 to 14 a week.

The daily London Gatwick to New York service will be suspended and Gatwick services to San Diego and Houston will be reduced.

Middle East flights from Heathrow to Dubai, Bahrain, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Jeddah and Kuwait will also be scaled back, while the suspension of the Heathrow-Islamabad service will continue.

Services from Gatwick to Stockholm, Zurich, Gdansk, Shannon, Cork, Gothenburg, Rotterdam and Montpellier will be suspended and there will be cuts in flights to other European destinations.

The Gatwick-Lyon service will transfer to Heathrow, while the Heathrow-Bologna service will switch to Gatwick.

BA said there will be a total of 190 fewer scheduled services a week after the changes, will come into operation in October.

There will also be an accelerated transfer of services from Gatwick to Heathrow.

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