British Airways scraps daytime flights from South Africa to cash in on collapse of Jet Airways

‘Customers on flights that have been cancelled are being offered a number of options, including rebooking or refunds,’ says airline

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Saturday 27 April 2019 17:46 BST
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Boss of Jet Airways considers airline’s possible resurrection

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British Airways is to scrap its daytime flights from Johannesburg to Heathrow in order to cash in on the collapse of Jet Airways.

At present, BA has four daylight departures a week at around 8am from South Africa’s main hub. The 5,638-mile trip touches down in London shortly after 6pm.

All other Johannesburg-London flights are overnight: two on British Airways, two on Virgin Atlantic and a single departure on South African Airways.

But the last daytime flight takes off on 1 June.

From the following day, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets used for the route will be redeployed between Heathrow and Mumbai.

BA is capitalising on the collapse of the Indian carrier, Jet Airways, which suspended operations earlier this month. Previously Jet Airways flew from Heathrow twice a day to Mumbai and daily to Delhi.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “We regularly review our extensive global network and make changes to the schedules where necessary.

“We’ll be increasing our Mumbai service from 14 to 18 flights a week due to increased customer demand.

“We’re committed to flying between London and Johannesburg and will continue to serve the city 14 times a week.

“Customers on flights that have been cancelled are being offered a number of options, including rebooking or refunds.”

Jet Airways still insists it intends to start flying again, even though its aircraft have been repossessed by lessors and many staff have moved to other airlines.

The carrier’s chief executive, Vinay Dube, told an Indian television station that Jet Airways needs “a little over a thousand crores” (10bn rupees or £110m) to restart operations.

He said the money would “get a reasonable amount of aircraft flying again, which gives us the platform from which we can rebuild and we can do that a few weeks after this funding is made available.”

The airline has tweeted: “We’ve received hundreds of emails and tweets stating that people are willing and ready to take the next Jet Airways flight as soon as we commence operations.”

But social media has many complaints from stranded passengers who allege that promised refunds have not materialised.

Separately, British Airways is to end its link from Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale in southern Florida in September.

BA followed its rival, Norwegian, on the route. Fort Lauderdale is a busy cruise port and an alternative gateway to the Miami area.

But Norwegian has now switched its flights from Gatwick to Miami International Airport.

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