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BA to drop LGW-GCI?

Old 17th Oct 2002, 17:23
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Question BA to drop LGW-GCI?

Guernsey press reporting 'route review' of BA LGW-GCI next year when the ATR leases are up:

Transport Board president Mike Torode has aired his concerns that the airline might be lost to Guernsey.
But BA said it would carry on with the route this year.
‘We have an option to return the ATR72 to the leasing company in autumn 2003,’ said a spokesman.
‘We will review the route performance, market conditions and aircraft type available to us nearer that date before deciding which is the best aircraft to meet the demand.’
At the Institute of Directors conference last week, Deputy Torode questioned the airline’s commitment to the island.
‘There is a very real risk of losing British Airways out of Gatwick,’ he said.
‘That would be a shame because of the interlining capability they offer. But of the sort of equipment they keep at Gatwick, only a 737 can operate to Guernsey.
‘I don’t know if they have got the dedication to continue a Guernsey service with planes of that size.’
He also questioned the commitment of Flybe, which was denied by Ian Taylor, general manager Channel Islands.
Mr Taylor said the airline would still be operating in three years’ time and said it made a profit on the Guernsey-Gatwick route.
‘I will give a guarantee, as much as I can,’ he said.
Flybe is privately-owned by a family trust and was rebranded recently after suffering heavy losses in the last couple of years.
There are doubts that it will want to continue operating a low-profitability route.

Apart from local politicians 'expertise' on what aircraft BA use (I could swear I've seen BA 146s at LGW...) whats the betting....
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Old 17th Oct 2002, 17:57
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kunnigan - The 146's are actually RJ100's (very similar!) and all are planned to leave LGW by next year (going to BHX and MAN). That just leaves the 737. How long is GCI anyhow?
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Old 17th Oct 2002, 18:51
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I rather imagine that Mike Torode is slightly unusual for a transport board chairman since he has a great deal of airline experience .I think it may safely be assumed that he is likely to know what aircraft BA operate.He probably also knows that GCI has a runway length of 4800 feet ( 1463Metres)
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Old 17th Oct 2002, 18:52
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Old 17th Oct 2002, 19:35
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We would probably put another 146 on the route but if the loads were poor then there's always the Dash -8 !
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Old 17th Oct 2002, 22:28
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LH have been operating 735's at GCI for many years.
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Old 18th Oct 2002, 09:18
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LH 737s

LH operated 733s, 4s (very rarely and when they had them in the fleet) and 5s into GCI but stopped around 2000. GCI was always scheduled a 735 but generally got as many 733s. This was only twice per week in the (peak) summer season.

They were the 'good old days' though - although I'd love to see it, I can't see 4x BA 735s a day in addition to FLYBE's many 146-200/-300 rotations.

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Old 18th Oct 2002, 10:28
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GCI transport board should have used a lot more common sense with Air UK when they were there.

"JEA have a 146 on the Gatwick route so we want a 146 on the Heathrow route"

"JEA charge £29 each way to Gatwick so we expect Air UK to charge £29 each way on the Heathrow route"

etc, etc

Air UK also used to stick the locals in mainland hotels till the next morning if they diverted back to SOU or LHR on the last flight of the day which they were not obliged to do - something the competition never used to do. Their passengers ended up on an uncomfortable seat in the South Terminal overnight.

Sums just did not add up - the rest is history.
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Old 18th Oct 2002, 12:50
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WP - indeed GCI transport board have regularly shown naivety in their general dealings with mainland carriers - after all, airlines are businesses not charities... but let's not forget the main issue of slots at London airports - B747 or ATR, a slot's a slot and if you can sub a GCI with and AMS which will carry far more high yield pax, then ultimately, airlines are likely to do just that - especially at the moment!

I'll be really sad to see GCI lose another carrier - if that happens - although it will of course be good for Aurigny who seem to be doing a great job of building their network to protect locals' mainland links. Will a GR monopoly be good for the island though? - just look at the price of getting to Jersey and back...!

I still think that there will be a market for another carrier on the LGW route in the next few years - but 2? That remains to be seen.

I wonder if GCI would ever consider a no-frills carrier link....although I suspect not (with doubtless much added pressure from GR and BE/BA etc.) - and would there be a sufficient market to tempt a B737/A319 operator anyway?

It'd be good to see that runway stretch a bit to @1700M at least which would offer a better margin for some specific aircraft types - although I think that's been counted out.

Fingers crossed for GCI

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Old 18th Oct 2002, 19:21
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Recently the Institute of Directors addressed this subject at a conference here in Guernsey.

Tim Jeans of Mytravellite, formerly of Ryanair, said Ryanair had looked at GCI for a number of years but the landing charges & taxes were too high for them to be viable. Also they weren't happy with the length of the runway.

Looks like we in GCI might have missed an opportunity.

Jersey were talking to one of the low cost operations but refused to reduce charges so the deal fell through.

Ryanair would suit me fine as it costs a fortune with FLYBE every time we want to go and see the inlaws in Ireland
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Old 20th Oct 2002, 11:24
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There is no way that BA will operate a 737 into GCI.
They could use the 737-500's but they only have a few.
For instance,the '500 is used on the JER along with the RJ.But they regularly don't have one available so stick in a '400 instead.
Now the'400 is tight into JER,especially onto 09.(I know,I did it for many years).It would be VERY tight into GCI.It's ok for the occasional charter/weekly LH,but not four times a day !We were weight restricted and could just about scrape back to BOH after one attempt !.We didn't even have perfomance figures for GCI,as it wasn't considered suitable.
The '500 would be ok into GCI if BA could dedicate it to the route.
But my mate runs the 737 fleet at LGW and has told me that at the moment,he has heard of no plan whatsoever to use a 737 on the route.
My bet is that BA will pull out when the ATR lease expires and hopefully Aurigny will take over,possibly leasing a couple of extra ATR's.
That prat xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx still has his head in the sand and will be "shocked" when BA announce the pull-out.If he had half of Mike Torodes' knowledge of aviation,GCI would possibly still have a service into LHR.

Last edited by Hogg; 21st Oct 2002 at 02:03.
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Old 20th Oct 2002, 11:59
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Grolsch Man,

Your mate who runs the LGW 737 fleet needs to open his eyes and read the very letters he has just published. He will then doubtless recall the one in which he advises us that we WILL be operating the 737 into Guernsey and emphasing the need for standard landings to account for the runway length. I don't really think your mate runs the 737 fleet, or he'd probably know about this :o

I guess 10 aircraft is only a 'few', but that's the number of 500s at LGW and more than sufficient a number to operate GCI. Maybe there IS a way that BA will continue to operate the route

Reviewing "How to land on the piano keys" in anticipation......
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Old 20th Oct 2002, 12:37
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I've not spoken to him for a while,but have just contacted him to get an update.Sorry if I'm out of date with the latest info,but am only going on what he told me the last time we spoke.His initials are xx,if that means anything to you.

Last edited by Hogg; 21st Oct 2002 at 02:04.
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Old 20th Oct 2002, 13:38
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Does xx have the inside track on the 737 fleet plans at Lgw?

Last edited by Hogg; 21st Oct 2002 at 02:05.
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Old 20th Oct 2002, 21:01
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stormin norman.
Quite possibly,but he is leaving the fleet in the new year
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Old 21st Oct 2002, 12:03
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With BA costs on a 737 they'll never make money on LGW-GCI. CFE could justify an ATR72 (and did very well) but not an RJ.

Once the ATR's and RJ's are all gone from LGW, the only viable option will be Dash 8's.

If BA do put in 737's (no doubt to naive cheers from the island) it will only be a matter of months before they stage a strategic withdrawal on the basis that they've just realised it's losing money....surprise, surprise!

And GCI really hasn't got the market to support a low-cost carrier with the same kind of frequency as BA (CFE) have been offering, so even if (unlikely) one did step in, it would not satisfy the business community on the island who seem to want high frequency and low fares....totally unsustainable for a market of that size.
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Old 25th Oct 2002, 16:36
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In Trim.
I agree with the basics of what you say.
But,CFE/BA have been flying in and out of GCI with 100% loads for months now.
I know a 66 seater is a different kettle of fish to the 733 with its capacity.(What is the config ?In the old days of TXL ops we ran 120 seaters.Is that still in the right ballpark?)
Just have a flick in Staff Travel and you will see that most JER flights are listed as 9+ seats available,but the GCI's are almost always
0 or 1s and 2s.
Then again,is it making money ?We ran chokka 737s into DUB for years but still lost dosh.
But for the future,the 733 is going to operate into GCI.Heard it from the horses mouth today.They will use the 733,as the smaller 735 hasn't got the poke to get out full up.(Sorry,just quoting DL.I never flew the '500,just the 2 3 and 400s.What odd rated CFM has the 5 got then ?)
The 733 will be used to provide back up for the ATR initially.Then possibly as a dedicated service,if and when the service review decrees that GCI can stay.
If not,the LGW GCI route will get picked up by someone,probably Aurigny,as there should be slots available.

In trim,
sorry,forgot to comment on the bit about "GCI hasn't got the market to support a low coast carrier with the freq that BA has run" or similar words.
So,how come BE are chokka four times a day with a 110 seat 146-300 and BA chokka with a 66 seat ATR ?
That would support a 757 four times a day (If the ****** could get in !!).
The market is there definitely.Just try and get on a flight to the rock,ANY time of year !!
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Old 26th Oct 2002, 10:52
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Grolsch man,

The rumblings I've heard have not been quite so positive. Firstly, it would seem that the 735 issue is more of a landing than take-off matter (although the engines are de-rated on the 735s but physically the same units as the other 737s BA operate currently). Secondly, the 733s are not going to be around long. I'm not sure what the fleet plans are exactly, but I do know that the ex-BAR 733s have been leaving over the past few months and continue to do so - ironically to go to Go/eJ I believe....

As for the pax loads, as you hint at, anyone call fill an aircraft up with a half decent schedule, but it's the yield that counts and for GCI I'm sad to say that I just don't think it's there. And those slots are pretty valuable at LGW now BA has far fewer of them (lots of BA / CFE slots were given back over the last year - hence the many orange tails at LGW).

There are currently 7 733s at LGW and they're all pretty busy - I'm sad to say I really can't see a 735 doing an AMS or BCN to free up a 733 for GCI.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see it, but I really don't think it's very likely.

PS - a 757 HAS been into GCI believe it or not - a private E-rated jet which was Swiss registered came in once a few years back. I'd post a link to the photo of it that's lurking somwehere on the internet but I can't find it again - can anyone help with that? Ta, FO.

Last edited by fox_trot_oscar; 26th Oct 2002 at 10:58.
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Old 26th Oct 2002, 16:25
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Good points.Agree with all you say.
I also recall that 757 in GCI.
Belonged to an oil family from Bahrain (I think) based in GVA.They also used to have a 737 (My mate used to do their sim checks).
Don't think it could have weighed much.It just had a couple of sofas and a state room in it.Suppose gold taps are quite heavy though !!
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Old 27th Oct 2002, 22:06
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HB-IEE of Privatair was the machine in question at GCI, found the piccy:

Must be a few years ago - UK & JY F27's in background
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