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Old 25th Feb 2009, 19:34
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BKS were not replaced by Northeast. BKS "became" Northeast airlines ( a part of British Air Services later to be swallowed up by BEA). Cant remember the LHR frequency though, although I think it was quite regular. Good times.
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 20:43
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As with Heathrow, most pax were interliners, my guess would be 90% minimum. So competition, wasnt with the railways as previous posters have suggested, as pax were using the service for onward travel around the globe.
galaxy68 - I can certainly believe that a substantial part of the traffic from Leeds to Heathrow would have been onward connections. A figure of 90% seems a little high, but in the absence of any figures of my own, I can't claim otherwise.

However...
A single slot pair has in recent years become worth a very large sum of money. An airline always has the option to sell the slot to another airline and just put the money it gets on deposit in the bank, so we can consider the value of the slot pair as a sort of investment - not dissimiliar to owning outright a brand new 737 (i.e. no interest or lease payments involved).

An airline can choose to use that LHR slot pair on a low yielding route, but may well believe it can get a much higher return on the value of its LHR slot by flying a different route instead. bmi is thus choosing between a LHR-LBA route or a LHR-KBP route which would probably bring in much more profit per slot.

Yes, Leeds, Durham, Belfast, Liverpool, Inverness, and plenty of other places in the UK regions need and deserve to get direct connections to LHR for the good of the country's economy, but for this to be economically worthwhile to airlines, LHR needs a drastic increase in capacity, which means a 3rd runway. Further, unless bmi merge with Virgin, the only carrier for whom flights from LHR to the regions would be sufficiently profitable is probably BA.
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 22:04
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davidjohnson6.... I totally agree ----- many regions are without air connections to Britains premier international airport, Heathrow and this is not good for these regions and for Britains economy. It is a great pity that some slots used by BA and BMi from the likes of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester could not be reduced so that Liverpool, Leeds, Inverness and Durham which are sufficiently distant from Heathrow could have at least a double daily link. The code share with BA for LBA flights seemed a step in the right direction and possibly a take over by BA in the future. But now..what next?
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 10:35
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I always thought that if LBA lost the Heathrow service it would be for good. Sadly I expect this will be the case, unless BA do a remarkable about-turn and resume the route after a twenty-nine year absence. Fat chance but we can dream.

I would guess a "new" Gatwick route would the least unlikely outcome for a link to the capital. The loss of the Heathrow flights means the country's second financial centre would have no air link to London which for many folk is an unthinkable scenario.

Three, possibly four, rotations to Gatwick on weekdays with perhaps a couple on weekends may be the best we can hope for. Given there will be no competition to London as a whole, it could even work. As for the operator, my money would be on Flybe with a Q400, but an easyjet A319 would be nice. Might get up PM's nose though. Time will tell.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 10:55
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shuttle to LHR?

I used to have old timetables etc, but gave them away to an enthusiast. However a websearch on BKS, revealed an informative site that quotes up tp 14 per day. I do remember they offered extra flights on Mondays and Fridays. Another route that amazed me was the number of flights on the summer Channel Islands run, but I cannot remember the actual figures (BUA Heralds?, pre BUIA and then BIA). People went there before Spain really got going. Also BKS used to run Viscounts on overnight flights to Alicante and Palma, departing around 2130. Wow!
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 12:31
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galaxy68 - you mentioned a time when there were 14 rotations to LHR per day from LBA. Would you be kind enough to tell us which year, or even better provide a weblink to this information ?

It may be coincidence, but around 1980, British Rail introduced new express trains between King's Cross and Leeds which cut about 30 mins off the journey time.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 13:06
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14 rotations a day! Surely not unless that includes LGW.

I recollect ten rotations but never more than that.

LBA-LHR has been killed because:

1) The primary reason - the slot value is of greater profitable use to BMI elsewhere.

2) Getting to Heathrow for domestic trips is only for those seeking purgatory.

3) Ditto LBA.

4) Rail finally got its act together and competes very well with air on price, speed, comfort and Wi-Fi access.

5) Competition for interlining from Manchester (direct) and Amsterdam, Paris (indirect).

A silver lining for domestic journey makers would be the restoration of either LCY and LGW that now become more attractive without an LHR route.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 14:24
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LHR -LBA
The domestic traffic for a day trip to London (or Leeds) is not the main reason for concern. The value of a Heathrow link is for international originating passengers. For instance a business person wishing to visit say Leeds or York checks the nearest airport with a connection to that city. Therefore the Heathrow connection is important for business and the general economics of the area. For domestic traffic Gatwick provides links into London, but also the south east. For LBA a direct link to JFK would be ideal but in the recession this may be some time off now.
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 16:53
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Consider this....

The relationship between LBA and MAN and LPL and MAN is quite different. Analysis of the peak month in 2008, shows that 75% of LBA's passengers were carried on routes where the airline / tour operator also offered capacity ex-MAN. Just 7% of LBA's traffic was on routes not available from MAN in any capacity.

By contrast, 75% of LPL's passengers were carried on routes where the airline WASN'T offering capacity to the same destination ex-MAN and 33% of their passengers were on routes not available from MAN at all.

In short, the macro view is that there is generally appetite to compliment services between LBA and MAN. A further insight is that the ratio of LBA scheduled passenger volumes to MAN volumes on routes offered from both airports is about 1:3 - i.e. a route handling 60,000 passengers a month ex-MAN generates 20,000 ex-LBA.

So, how is all of this relevant to the 'London' debate? Well, as pointed out by many, the bmi route was primarily used by connecting traffic, with c.70% of passengers connecting at LHR. It's demise leaves KLM's service into AMS as the only genuine interlining service remaining from the airport and in its current form that delivers about 10,000 passengers a month connecting through AMS. In comparison, MAN handles about 250,000 passengers a month that are connecting through the various hubs it serves.

Using the 1:3 rule a credible case could be argued therefore that there is a market for connecting traffic to/from LBA of about 80,000 a month - somewhat higher that than 10,000 on offer by KLM. Not unrealistic given that when SN were on the LBA-BRU route and LHR was 5 x daily F100s, the total connecting market was 35,000 a month. That was in 2000 and the air market in the North is now about a third bigger.

So given the sizeable opportunity and the complimentary nature of the MAN /LBA markets, where is it going wrong? In short, it is the location of the hubs. They exist in either congested European centres like LHR, CDG or FRA where slots are difficult or in faraway places in the US or the Middle East . In some cases they are just as congested as Europe but in all cases they present restrictions on which aircraft can offer direct services from LBA.

In summary, it is hard to argue against the fact there is something to get after at LBA regarding the connecting market - a prize which is big enough that the existence or otherwise of the LHR service is only partly relevant. The LBA management team do have experience of overcoming all of the challenges of slot restrictions and short runways as a quick scan down the BRS and NCL departure boards reveals and they already have a feather in their cap at LBA regarding PIA, so who knows........
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 18:43
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682ft AMSL, an excellent post there.

I seem to remember a poster some time ago, cannot find it now though so sorry for pinching the info, suggesting that something like 85,000 passengers fly to New York ex Yorkshire (or West Yorkshire) and i think that was from MAN. The problem was that of those only a relatively modest percentage were business/ higher fare paying pax. I am aware that freight is important to these longer-haul services for yields unless i can be corrected.

I believe therefore that there is certainly a market from an NY service, though it is not as clear as the PIA services, an that LBA is the only airport in Yorkshire likely to achieve such a route. Perhaps a service to Dubai also?
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Old 26th Feb 2009, 21:02
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good post 682

I think you also have to factor in the anti LHR stance that many user's of LHR have. T5 now works well but the rest is a nightmare, two hours for luggage means you can't risk a short connection add to that bmi couldnt/wouldn't transfer luggage

LBA best hope is if and when R3 gets built
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 00:12
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As a Gatwick based easyjet pilot whose entire family live in Leeds I am, albeit selfishly, rather pleased that we may be about to see a stable LBA-LGW service. Lets hope its on a 319 and I can get my staff travel! I wonder if other people will potentially find LGW more convenient that LHR? Surely in terms of travel time to central London it must be neck and neck between the Central Line and the Gatwick express.

I do agree however that it is sad to see BMI go after all these years - I've used that service more than a few times!

V2
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 09:33
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As a user of the LHR-LBA run on and off since c1995, my observation was that there were frequently members of Cabin and Flight Deck crew of BA / bmi or Virgin commuting 'home' to the Leeds area. I bet these individuals will be upset by the loss of the route.
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 10:22
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Strelnikov, heres the link BKS Air Transport Ltd

The peak services were sometime during the mid 60s. Personally I think the 14 may have been only on one-off occasions, but 10-12 per day was regular and scheduled.
Some interesting posts here guys.
My knowledge of the shed years (360s) to LGW was that the very few non interliners were not heading for London. Most caught the train to Brighton or other south coast towns, nearby Crawley and a few to Croydon in south London. But this is what you would expect, if you want central London then take the train. Journey times were sometimes long, especially the morning outbound which usually had to hold for ages.

I remember posting that the Wardair lumps were nigh on full, 457pax plus freight, direct to YYZ during their first season, so 20 years later surely the demand is there. I have often thought that most European capitals/major cities should be able to support services, though a 737 would be too big.

One major hurdle, is LBAs second mover status. Manchester has always been ahead of the game in its provision, whereas LBA has always been way behind the curve. They built an inadequate 5000 foot in the 60s that couldnt accept many prop a/c let alone jets! Then it took over 20 years to extend and it still cant accept many jets, nor can the terminal. Rwy 28 had to be closed due to inadequate parking provision, etc etc Pathetic!Previous management have alot to answer for.
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 12:24
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galaxy 68 - thats a link to BKS Air Transport - I assume you mean the information supporting davidjohnson6' request is buried somewhere within it.

Whilst I'm sure it's riveting material you'll have to point us to the amazing timetable with 14 rotations. I don't doubt it is there but I haven't got the spare day to search for it .

Incidentally I believe it is previous politicians to blame rather than management. The airport is built in its ludicrous (and therefore interesting) location due to Bradford not being happy with a new airport east of Leeds in an eminently more sensible place.

That is anathema to all on here of course but had this been done in the 1960s, sat on the ECML and XC rail routes, it might have been a rival to MAN with heavy metal travelling long haul from Yorkshire.

Last edited by Strelnikov; 27th Feb 2009 at 16:21.
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 16:02
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I hope a replacement, at least to Gatwick is forthcoming. This would give some scope for interlining, and also give a service to south London and the Kent/Sussex area. The SOU service seems to do well. There would seem to be several airlines who might be able to do this. Could I suggest:

1) FlyBe...already ops at LBA and LGW, right size aircraft, fit their business model;

2) ASW...as above, though outside their traditional territory. Are they not about to get their fingers burnt on LGW-NQY, though?

3) LS...but possibly too big an aircraft but could be ok for x2 daily.

However, BRS, EMA and BHX seem to do fine without, as far as I know, any London link at all. We would seem to be on the periphary of the viability of London flights.
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Old 27th Feb 2009, 16:10
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Flybe will not consider LBA-LGW, they are in the process of route expansion and this is not on their wish list.

I think you would be better placed with Jet2, even if it is with a B733.
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Old 28th Feb 2009, 02:30
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On a slight tangent, I think a 'modest' and well timed service to the capital would still be viable.

National Express have been making a phenomenal pigs ear of the train service since they took over from GNER (who rather hastily gave the franchise up, remember - and then regretted it massively).

I used to think these inter-city train operators were all much of a muchness, but National Express are truly, truly awful. Terrible service, terrible cleanliness, terrible catering - I see so, so many pissed off people on the London trains from Leeds these days. It really is a horrible experience, and I'm not particularly fussy. The decline since GNER gave up the franchise has been striking.

But then I hear National Express have already been stripped of the franchise and it looks likely that Virgin will get it. Think what you like about Virgin companies, but Virgin Trains have got to be better than the current shower of ****. I've been on Virgin Trains a few times and it's always been fine - far better than National Express.

I know my lady's colleagues at the DoH (and the DWP for that matter) would gladly utilise a London air service if it was cost effective enough for them to justify. The onward European connections were especially handy for them prior to the budget cutbacks which prevented them from using the plane in most cases.

Just a thought.

I'd rather take the Megabus than the train these days. And I really mean that.
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Old 28th Feb 2009, 03:32
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And have you?
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Old 28th Feb 2009, 04:44
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I flew for BKS from 1966 to 1970 on the 748 and Viscount. The normal weekday rotations were 5 - the thought of 14 is incredible - at it's height the Manchester shuttle had 10 or 11 front line services daily! (I was based there on the 1-11 from '70 onwards.) I suspect that the truth is that the total BKS operation from Yeadon was around fourteen rotations a day.

In winter 1966 it was an all 748 operation (Viscounts had been leased in for some services the previous summer). Over the next seasons the Viscounts were phased in, initially the 61 seat 700D series and eventually it moved in 1970 to an all 806x operation with 71 seats a time. This made 355 seats a day in each direction so considerably more than the 200 currently on offer but a lot less than when the A319 was on the route.

When I started BKS also served LHR-MME but that stopped in '67 I think.

At that time BKS also had a reasonable schedule to other parts of the UK and Europe as well. As I remember BFS, DUB, JER, GCI, OST, and AMS/DUS. Also the Elizabethan and later the Viscount operated NCL-LBA-LBG and v.v. but none of these except the Channel Isles in peak holiday season were more than twice daily.

Interestingly enough I was once chatting to the then CEO of BA in the late 90s who told me that LBA was the one domestic service he regretted that BA had given up.

In my last 10 years with BA I was a commuter from LBA when flying longhaul however, then as now, Manchester was a reliable alternative.
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