View Full Version : British Airways Shuttle dates

19th Jul 2013, 20:51
Can anyone help with the start and end dates of the BA "shuttle" service.

The Shuttle was the guaranteed seat, backup flights provided as required, no reservations, every hour/2 hours service from London Heathrow to Glasgow, and then (I think the right sequence) to Belfast, Edinburgh, and Manchester. All routes it started on had previously been normal BA domestic flights.

I believe the first route, to Glasgow, started 12 January 1975. What were the start dates of the remaining destinations ?

There was a relaunch in the early 1980s when "Shuttle" became "Super Shuttle", with decent catering and bar (previously there was none), and the end of pay-on-board. Did this happen to all four routes on the same date ?

The Shuttle approach seemed to just fizzle away without any publicity, back to regular scheduled services. What date did the whole no reservations guaranteed seat service finally get given up ? What was the last ever backup ? The callsign on these routes is still "Shuttle", but the concept is long gone.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
20th Jul 2013, 11:24
It must have been very expensive to operate - a second aeroplane and crew standing by just in case the first one filled up. I remember it well at Manchester, operated by Tridents and 1-11s.

I remember the free bar, as well. If you got a second G&T on the short sector MAN to LHR and didn't go into the hold, you ended up landing with table tray folded, seat upright, and G&T still in hand, to be finished off as we taxied in!

20th Jul 2013, 12:01
It was not unusual at Glasgow for the backup to operate ahead of the scheduled flight which confused the pasenegers no end.
I vaguely thought that slots or atc permission to operate was one reason that backups became impossible.

I actually flew on the Eastern Shuttle DCA/EWR in 1964,paying on the plane.
My only trip on a Super Constellation.

20th Jul 2013, 12:45
It must have been very expensive to operate - a second aeroplane and crew standing by just in case the first one filled up. I remember it well at Manchester, operated by Tridents and 1-11s.

I remember 'back in the day' (seems odd to say that about the 80s) there was a story that on just one occasion only a Concorde was used as a reserve on one of the shuttles, either the Manchester or Glasgow one. If true, it must have cost a few bob.

20th Jul 2013, 12:50
It must have been very expensive to operate - a second aeroplane and crew standing by just in case the first one filled up.
I can assure you that the control team were experts at demand prediction for each flight, and certainly did not just hang around to see what happened. There were a whole range of techniques to handle it. Nor was there just a second aircraft - I can recall on occasion there needing to be third ones - which were always to hand.

I understand the key reason it was wound down was the whole approach was just incompatible with yield management. Certainly at the beginning I understood they had a special arrangement with the slot co-ordinators for backups to be accepted.

The worst "disaster" was the first year of the Belfast Shuttle, on Christmas Eve. Traditionally people had booked to go home to Ireland for the holiday, and as flights filled they would have to go one or two days earlier. This wasn't necessary of course once the Shuttle started. The control team saw it coming but not the extent to which everybody turned up right at the end on the last evening, with the whole of BA European then shutting down for Christmas Day and about 600 people left at the end of the evening. The Long-haul division, who still had ops going on, came to the rescue, and operated two 747s over to Belfast early on Christmas morning.

Concorde was used as a reserve on one of the shuttles, either the Manchester or Glasgow oneThese did happen from time to time, generally as some form of promotion to get the attention of the press (which it always did). I believe it was just mixed in with some Concorde training requirement. The PR team never revealed that they didn't loop out over the sea to go supersonic, so the journalists generally made this up !

20th Jul 2013, 12:59
For some reason the only airline that has been able to operate a shuttle (Puente Aereo) over the years is Iberia between MAD and BCN, although I would question whether, against the competition on the route not only from other airlines, from themselves, and from the AVE, it makes a profit. It is expensive.

Iberia doesn't seem to have had much success with anything except the Puente Aereo.

20th Jul 2013, 13:23
The cost of the Shuttle backup was sometimes ameliorated by a reciprocal agreement with British Midland to take excess BA passengers. BA in turn carried BMA pax when the destination weather was below limits for the Midland DC9s that were only CAT II capable. This happened to me two or three times between LHR and GLA when I was tranferred onto a CAT III equipped Trident or 757.

The Super Shuttle's improved in-flight service was I believe a direct response to BMA's excellent 'Diamond Service' catering.

20th Jul 2013, 15:23
It was not unusual at Glasgow for the backup to operate ahead of the scheduled flight which confused the passengers no end.IIRC, this was even more prevalent on the Belfast service, hence the technique in general was referred to as an "Irish backup".

Incidentally, I don't know if he's still around, but if he is then Rod Lynch would be the obvious guy to ask about the history of the BA Shuttle.

20th Jul 2013, 16:27
IIRC, this was even more prevalent on the Belfast service, hence the technique in general was referred to as an "Irish backup".
Yes, I remember the crew announcing it as such. In print it was described more officially as "We can leave once we are full; no point in a planeload of passengers waiting for the official time".

The technique worked where, for example, you had a 1700 departure from Glasgow due Heathrow at 1810, and also an 1800 departure the other way from Heathrow to Glasgow, both of which were expected to be requiring backups. If you could get the first section of that 1700 departure away at 1640 you could hope to be at Heathrow at 1745, turn round in 25 minutes, and be away as the backup to that 1800 flight at 1810.

One of the things of this hourly service was that passengers tended not to go for a specific flight but turn up in more of a steady stream. If a backup was operating, typically 10 minutes after the main section, the gate was kept open until the last moment and there were always a number more passengers turned up, which in turn relieved the next flight.

All the ground crew were on their mettle to achieve this sort of operation; great pride was taken in getting everyone away on time. I sometimes think of this when I arrive inbound at T5 to find that, yet again, we have to stop and hold on the taxiway because there's nobody manning the gate to turn the stand guidance on. :ugh:

20th Jul 2013, 16:38
Not sure of the date, but the 757 entered BA service on the Belfast Shuttle service...loved seeing that aircraft at Aldergrove.

22nd Jul 2013, 09:14
Caught a 111 back-up on an EDI-LHR shuttle once. Got the jump seat on the way down. On final at LHR the captain pointed out the aircraft in front on the ILS was the Trident that had departed on the scheduled flight when full. He was determined to beat it to the gate so on touch down full reverse and braking, turned off the runway and got in front of the Trident on the taxiway. Captain then gave a big "YESSS!!!!".

Skipness One Echo
22nd Jul 2013, 09:42
Wasn't the key point here that Shuttle was all business class? It was VERY expensive even with the cheapeset APEX option.

22nd Jul 2013, 11:28
Not so much business class as "one class", and certainly at the beginning there were no C-class trappings at all - no catering, 3-across seating, not even lounges. Furthermore, a significant amount of the traffic was still those connecting, on through tickets, to BA services out of Heathrow, who of course were mostly Y class. One of the changes made was to require those with these connection tickets to check in southbound at a normal 30/40 minutes beforehand, rather than the 10 minutes before at the gate for actual Shuttle users, to make sure they got on the first section of the flight. Returning through Heathrow they just got put on the next flight available in the normal Shuttle way, of course.

22nd Jul 2013, 16:43
Manchester was added to the BA Shuttle network with the first day of operation being Sunday 28th October 1979..


23rd Jul 2013, 09:55
Somewhere in my cupboard I have a BA Shuttle tie.

Wonder if it's worth anything?

(Ditto one BCal tie)

23rd Jul 2013, 16:29
But do you have the CAT III tie? Given when an actual CAT III landing was made.

24th Jul 2013, 18:53
Trident G-ARPC operated the first Glasgow flight on 12 January 1975, Edinburgh was next on 1 April 1976 followed by Belfast on 1 April 1977, not sure about Manchester. The Super Shuttle concept was rolled out all routes on 30 August 1983 in response to the BMA challenge on these routes. BMA had applied to operate Heathrow to Glasgow and Edinburgh in 1981 but were turned down. They won on appeal and their services started on 7 March 1983 and extended to Belfast later. By the end of 1983 BMA had a 28% share of the market. BA launched an advertising campaign in 1983 showing a single passenger being flown in comfort on the back up aircraft. In order not to fall foul of the advertising standards authority BA had to demonstrate that this had actually happened and it had once. However there were many times when only a handful of passengers were flown on back-up aircraft (cost of a single ticket in 1983 was 56 cost of a 1983 Trident flight to Heathrow from Glasgow - 10,000). When BA and BMA reached an agreement on overflow passengers, BA passengers were passed to BMA with a 5.50 voucher being the difference in the cost of the tickets. On the Edinburgh route BMA were operating 5 flights a day to BAs 11. As already stated Concorde was occasionally used on the routes for publicity eg a flight on St Andrews Day on the Scottish routes.
It did all seem to fizzle out although there must have been some definite cut off point.

24th Jul 2013, 20:28
Thank you KeMac for those dates. The Manchester operation did come along a few years after the rest; it was the only one to convert from One-elevens, whereas the others had been Trident operations previously, although just before their Shuttle started Belfast had a couple of Lockheed Tristar rotations per day, so it would have seemed a backward step to all-Trident.

In the beginning, for Glasgow only, the operation was all Trident 1, both main aircraft and backups. As the operation extended the Trident 3 became the principal main aircraft, with One-elevens as backups, and later again the 757. Edinburgh had been the last route to convert from Vanguards; in the early 1970s it was consistently argued that jets could not use the "old" runway, 13/31, and construction of the new runway and terminal were finally agreed after much angst. As soon as this was done Tridents were put on the Edinburgh run, and as described here the Shuttle started on the old runway (and to the old terminal) a good 12 months before the new ones were completed.

There was also a little-known 727 Shuttle operation during one of the seemingly regular Trident shortages; this was chartered from American Trans Air, but gained BA titles, and used on the Glasgow run for a few months, principally as a backup aircraft as it had been chartered at a hefty rate per hour !

Photos: Boeing 727-22 Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/British-Airways-(American/Boeing-727-22/0082240/&sid=6eaec561cb435f4e77ed2c0038c3c588)

One of the guys from our Glasgow office travelled on that first Super Shuttle day in 1983 and actually got on Concorde, this being one of the "publicity" times it was used; he gained huge street cred in the company for this for some months afterwards !

The last Trident Shuttle flight (and last BA Trident overall) was AWZU on the last day of 1985. This aircraft was then sent to Stansted where it was used for tractor pushback training, where I saw it until well into the 2000s, sometimes just sat at a spare gate in basic BA colours and looking definitely like a blast from the past. The first 757 had come in 1983 so the transition from Tridents on the Shuttle was very rapid.

My guess, from being a regular user at the time, is that the Shuttle backup operation wound up in about 1991, but I can remember being surprised to find that it had gone. After the changeover, for a while, tickets were still treated as readily transferable to earlier/later flights if possible, and the timetable seemed to be the same, it was just that the guaranteed backup had gone; then the ticketing changes were slowly clamped down on as well.

Around 1980 we did have completely "open" blank tickets for it which were kept in the petty cash tin in our office, pre-stamped for our account, which you filled in yourself and which were then invoiced by BA later, this is when pay-on-board was in operation and at a time when credit cards were still not universal.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
24th Jul 2013, 20:38
I remember well into the 80s (and maybe 90s?) those open tickets. If we (in Manchester) had a meeting in London next day we'd be given one. I remember having a meeting in Bournemouth, and I had a shuttle open ticket in my pocket (I'd have got a hire car from Heathrow). But'd booked a Cherokee which I used for the journey, the shuttle ticket / hire car option being in case the wx that day were unsuitable for VFR. I went by PA28, and returned the shuttle ticket to our office stock on returning.

I have a vague memory of the shuttle gate at MAN having a large cardboard seating plan of the aircraft, with a removable 'badge' for each seat. As the seats were allocated at the counter, the 'badge' would be removed from this plan and either handed to the pax or perhaps attached to the pax's boarding pass (can't remember for sure).

blind pew
29th Apr 2016, 03:13
I spent several years flying both front line and back up and thinking about it brings back a myriad of stories as well as happy memories.
The planning goes back to the 60s.

I flew once with Eastern...no doubt a 727.
It was a time when SR were very short of crews and I dead headed from Boston to New York.
Whilst we were flying 600+hours a year we were only getting 6 or 7 days off a month and there were guys who hadn't any leave in 18 months - the DH flight was to try and get more crew efficiency.

The flight deck had booked seats whose ticket price was around double the shuttle cost and we boarded early.
Towards the end of the scrum a scene unfolded more akin to "Ga-Ga Land" or a movie from that part of the country.
A young woman around thirty suddenly shrieked "You can't talk to me like that this is AMERICA" and threw her arms up in the air in a Titanicesque pose, reached up to extract her carry on from the hat rack and stormed off the aircraft.
No one batted an eyelid and the Flight Eng, skipper and I just exchanged glances.
If it happened in the UK today she would have been arrested and had her orifices searched; we would have been deplaned and placed in a sterile area whilst the sniffer dogs romped up and down the aircraft.

The Swiss had a jaundiced, arrogant view of the US of A - land of opportunity but lacking any efficiency and I witnessed a "put down" of our Swiss station engineer in Chicago in front of dispatch when the skipper, who was a colonel or something in the Militia, turn to the flight eng and stated in very broad bunstli dialect "what can you expect from a developing land" - some might consider the Swiss as astute.

Someone in BEA management was very clever as they put together a team of young dispatchers to run the show. Not unlike the traders from East London and Essex who make a fortune on the stock exchanges.

The team were very enthusiastic and able which was reflected in the crews who operated the fights.

One has to understand the demographics and remember that in the 50s and 60s the manufacturing base, as well as the social structure, in Scotland and the North had been destroyed which led to a lot of commuters which was our core business. One had to then factor in rugby, cricket, horse racing, bank and school holidays to the back up requirements.
Whilst they got it right most of the time they actually flew an empty aircraft to Glasgow, then on to Edinburgh and finally back to London.
It was intelligent gambling.

Flight deck did a block of 4 day, eight hour standby - it was often incredibly boring as there is only so much Bridge that you can play (especially with a dummy hand) and only one Telegraph crossword. But sometimes you worked your arse off and your duty times had to be doctored to stay legal.
The guys and girls on the ground were a great team and both sides would bend over backwards to help each other - so if the Mrs wanted you home one evening they would do their best to arrange it and similarly we would do our best to help them with a problem.
One of the dispatchers was learning to fly and almost certainly got his hands on a Trident 1 - met him at a fellow Trident pilots funeral last year - he eventually made senior captain in BA.
To be continued..

29th Apr 2016, 09:27
I used the BA shuttle often in the eighties. Our company travel agent (owned by the company that I worked for) always used to book me, or other member of staff, as stand by. We never had to pay full price and, as far as I can remember, always got on the flight that we wanted.

29th Apr 2016, 14:05
During the Troubles in Northern Ireland if we operated the final LHR-BFS of the day we would then fly the a/c empty to GLA for nightstop as Aldergrove airport and the Belfast hotels were at high risk of IRA attack. Then another crew would take the a/c empty to BFS the next morning for the first LHR service of the day.

Before R25 opened at EDI a Vanguard would sometimes be substituted for a T3 when a strong crosswind was expected.

29th Apr 2016, 14:53
You could buy tickets for the GLA-BFS early morning flight (06:00) for a ridiculously low fare (6). Occasionally the crews took the aircraft up to FL350 for the hop. Why? because they could :ok:

29th Apr 2016, 15:59
Are you sure about FL350, Bigears? For a distance of approx 100 nm, a typical cruise would be 150 or so, even allowing for low weight. Normally you'd need 100 nm just to descend from 350. The link below gives typical cruise levels for short legs, such as diversions.

Diversion data (http://steemrok.com/GVA%20-%20LHR%20T3%20reverse)

29th Apr 2016, 19:46
I believe the Belfast crews overnighting in Glasgow was a union thing, as the BMA crews certainly overnighted locally. Apart from the Europa in Belfast, centre for politicians and journalists etc, and some others owned by those prominent in the "various factions", hotels were straightforwardly OK in N Ireland and a lot more secure than others at various points around the BA network. The shuttle of course required an aircraft and a backup for each early morning departure, so a couple of aircraft remained at Aldergrove, just one went to Glasgow with several crews, who I believe restarted on Glasgow Shuttles later the next day, the opposite happening with the early morning group that went over to Belfast.

29th Apr 2016, 20:18
Ah, the Shuttle, when BA actually had a clue about serving the customer's needs and it was actually almost guaranteed that every flight would be a pleasant experience.

29th Apr 2016, 20:35
I was at a job interview back in 1981 and another applicant who worked for the army in NI said that he had been offered three free tickets if he would wait until the following morning's flight from Belfast as it would save BA a fortune in not having to run a backup. I don't know how much haggling went on in such circumstances.

30th Apr 2016, 17:31
Hi Discorde,

As sure as I can be with the passage of time- it was only very occasionally that a crew did this, but I'm fairly certain.

I am definite that Swissair (cargo) DC9's did FL350 from Manchester to Glasgow (every time- I think- they operated that short-lived flight), but that is of course a longer distance.

When once on the flightdeck of Shuttle Trident 2 (LHR-GLA), the Captain said they could make 6000ft RoD easily - photo of said flight passing FL330 at 3000ft RoD (G-AVFE 25th May '82)...
http://i1303.photobucket.com/albums/ag157/andrew_williams3/Flt20deck_zpsfww28xgt.jpg (http://s1303.photobucket.com/user/andrew_williams3/media/Flt20deck_zpsfww28xgt.jpg.html)
Apologies for poor image quality.

For nostalgia, here's three Tridents and a Dan Air 748 at Glasgow (poss also a BA Budgie beyond the Tridents)...
http://i1303.photobucket.com/albums/ag157/andrew_williams3/3eb9df53-3f22-4817-b008-a3ea42498ed4_zpsvprjap5a.jpg (http://s1303.photobucket.com/user/andrew_williams3/media/3eb9df53-3f22-4817-b008-a3ea42498ed4_zpsvprjap5a.jpg.html)

1st May 2016, 03:35
Not strictly a shuttle in the same fashion, but several airlines operate a half hourly service between Rio (Santos Dumont) and Sao Paulo. You just turn up and buy a ticket and get on the first flight with an empty seat irrespective of which airline it is.
A similar type of operation is carried out between Trinidad and Tobago mostly using Dash 8s.
Edit delete Brasilia (who wants to go there anyway?) insert Sao Paulo

1st May 2016, 08:40
Ah yes chevvron, the famous "Ponte Aerea" (air bridge) from SDU in downtown Rio, to CGH, Sao Paulo city airport. I spent many hours flying between the two, usually aboard a Lockheed Electra, but quite often on an HS748 and sometimes even a Viscount, YS-11a, FH-227 or HP Herald (all except the Electra being RR Dart-powered!). That shuttle in Brazil actually predates Eastern Air Lines' better known service.

In fact, according to Wiki, the Ponte Aerea now has a departure every 10 minutes!


Because of its location on a plateau above the surrounding city, Congonhas Airport - having a short runway and no overruns - became known as the "aircraft-carrier airport" by some pilots. Of course, at SDU you "only" got wet at each end of the runway!

That was before CGH gained an even more "challenging" reputation upon introduction of jets, being the B737 & 727 and later Fokker100. The 727s and early 737s only operated from CGH to GIG (Rio International) and as such, were not shuttle flights per se.

Apart from the obviously major time savings, during the 1960s the high risk of a road accident delay, or even highway robbery (buses and cars being commandeered by armed bandits!), meant the Ponte Aerea won, hands down, every time - but only for those who could afford the inexpensive flights!


1st May 2016, 09:23
Strangely, Santos Dumont had the same tarmac composition as we did at Farnborough, so when Airbus were trying to sell A321s in Brazil, the wet runway trials were done there. The A321 with extra ballast, bald tyres and using no reverse thrust was stopping in about 600 - 800m and didn't burst any tyres.

1st May 2016, 18:17
Enjoying this nostalgic thread and used these flights quite a lot early in my working career (early to mid '80's).

Most of mine where LHR-MAN, on Tridents and 75's as they entered service.

I remember once getting the "redeye" up to MAN, going to an Interview at our Office in Cheadle, and being back in LHR in time for lunch!

Another time, flying south in the evening, ended-up on the back-up, which was a T2, which I was pleased to fly in as they were in the twilight of their service, this would have been about '84.

I used to go to BFS quite a bit aswell (a few years later), but always took BD for the "Diamond Service" cooked brekky....bacon smells wafting from the galley during climbout - happy days :-)

4th May 2016, 21:17
chevvron, only just now seen your "Edit: delete Brasilia", whilst intending to remove my subscription to this thread.

Although I tend to agree with your sentiment "who wants to go there anyway?" (certainly a day was plenty enough to view its architecture), you were correct, Brasilia - and along with Belo Horizonte - was also served by shuttle flights from Rio's SDU airport.

As would be expected, the frequency to BSB & BHZ wasn't comparable with that between SDU & CGH, being perhaps just every couple of hours, but nonetheless, the "guaranteed seat / back-up flight" was still applied.

Tickets were immediately obtainable at all Ponte Aerea airport desks upon production of the fare and ID Card/passport.
Upon once asking why onboard ticket purchase wasn't available on the actual shuttle flights, I was told, "we are afraid that too many passengers might 'forget' their wallets!"

5th May 2016, 08:54
poss also a BA Budgie beyond the Tridents)

Looks more like a Viscount - fin seems too rounded at the top for a 748.

5th May 2016, 09:38
Yep, I'll buy that, a Viscount's rounded fin.

avionic type
6th May 2016, 18:08
If I remember rightly We used to have a standard fuel load for all shuttle aircraft and on the night shift after the shuttle a/c were declared serviceable were all filled to that figure including backups, all were P.D.Id ready for the first and second flights of the day to be flown by what was known as "The Parker Knoll Squadron" named after the chairs they sat in in their crew room . Happy days.

Porky Speedpig
10th May 2016, 12:15
IIRC it was 9300kgs standard block fuel T3 MAN-LHR which later was cut to 8700kgs. Would no doubt be enough to get you to the Canaries these days!

10th May 2016, 15:27
9.3 tons for MAN-LHR!? Was that tankering for the return to MAN as well? How much did the Trident burn per hour during cruise?

Porky Speedpig
10th May 2016, 16:20
No not tankering. Trip fuel was 4 tonnes plus I recall. Problem with MAN-LHR-MAN is there is no cruise. Up to TOC, quick PA and start down again. Just the 10-20 mins holding at BOV to get in the way!

10th May 2016, 18:01
How much did the Trident burn per hour during cruise?

T3 cruise fuel consumption was 1300 kg/hr/engine. As 'Flight' noted in the late '70s, the B737 with two pilots and two engines managed to do what the Trident required three of each to do, while burning two thirds of the fuel.

The wing crack problem was addressed by fixing strengthening plates to the wing lower surfaces. To bring lift loads inboard the flaps were also rigged slightly down and the ailerons slight up. The extra drag worsened the already horrendous fuel consumption.

I recall an FSI (flying staff instruction) being issued asking captains to restrict cruise mach to 0.80 to save fuel but many captains disregarded it.

10th May 2016, 19:00
3,6 tons per hour... impressive. Clearly a design that predates the oil price hikes in the 1970s.

Just to get a feel for the numbers; Wikipedia states an OEW of 38 tons and a MTOW of 68 tons for the 3B. With 180 passengers, the ZFW must have been at around 56 tons (there is no MZFW mentioned on the Wiki though); with 9 tons takeoff fuel, this will leave an underload of 3 measly tons to a non-performance limited MTOW. And all this for a short hop from MAN to LHR. If these figures are roughly correct, it is not exactly impressive from todays point of view...

Did the wing reinforcement come with a reduced Vmo/Mmo as well?

Porky Speedpig
10th May 2016, 22:22
BA Shuttle Tridents carried 146/149 passengers - not 180. In mainline service it was 140 max. Gave a bit more margin.

11th May 2016, 09:22
this will leave an underload of 3 measly tons to a non-performance limited MTOW. And all this for a short hop from MAN to LHR. If these figures are roughly correct
This doesn't quite seem to hang together. The Trident 3 held down the BA London to Istanbul route (1,360 nm Great Circle), on which G-AWZT was lost in the 1976 Yugoslavian midair. Schedule time in 1980 was 3:25 eastbound and 3:40 returning. Notably, at a time when the route was shared with a BA 737-200 on alternate days, the latter was scheduled for 20 minutes more each way.

As 'Flight' noted in the late '70s, the B737 with two pilots and two engines managed to do what the Trident required three of each to do, while burning two thirds of the fuel.
Is this 33% reduction in cost per hour; does it take into account, if the schedule differential shown above is accurate, the fact that the 737 needed 10% more flying hours (and thus 10% more crew flying hours, hours-based maintenance, and cruise fuel) to achieve the same mission ?

Porky Speedpig
11th May 2016, 09:50
On European routes the T3 carried max 140 passengers (less in the small F Class cabin days) so the ZFW would have been much lower.
On MAN-LHR the maximum was 146 (pushed to just over 150 with jump seats occupied but that's an entirely different thread!) and in those days the majority of the customers were day trippers with no baggage so the traffic load would have been around 12 tonnes. This enabled the dedicated shuttle fleet to have its MTOW reduced to around 62T IIRC to save on en route charges etc.
The schedule times quoted on LHR-IST-LHR are depressing, having just flown that route they are quoted as above 4 hours both ways. Progress eh?

11th May 2016, 10:17
Good point WHBM. The longer B737 airborne time would partially offset the other economic gains.

On the other hand, the Trident was a more complex machine, which might have added to engineering and maintenance costs.

11th May 2016, 10:59
and in those days the majority of the customers were day trippers with no baggage
This might have been 757 rather that Trident days, but whatever. I came home GLA-LHR one evening, with baggage. It wasn't a special handling bag or anything like that. Significant number of us, maybe up to 100, gather impatiently round the domestic arrivals baggage carousel in Terminal 1 (remember that ?). Eventually the machinery started up, and then just one bag, in splendid isolation, came out on it's own. It was mine ! 100 pairs of eyes were on me as I pushed through the throng to pick it up. Still no more bags on the carousel as I left, the 100 pairs of eyes still following me. I wonder whatever happened.

This enabled the dedicated shuttle fleet to have its MTOW reduced to around 62T IIRC to save on en route charges etc.I've written before about an afternoon T3 trip MAN-LHR. I was in the last rearward-facing row, looking straight at my new prospective client sat opposite in the first forward-facing row. Wow ! What a takeoff and climbout, if it hadn't been for my seatbelt he would have got me straight in the face. "Gripper" ? Never !

The schedule times quoted on LHR-IST-LHR are depressing, having just flown that route they are quoted as above 4 hours both ways. Progress eh?

August 1980 schedule:

LHR +1 IST +3 25 0845 1410 BA 570 TRD FY
LHR +1 IST +3 67 0845 1425 BA 570 737 FY

IST +3 LHR +1 25 1540 1720 BA 571 TRD FY
IST +3 LHR +1 67 1540 1745 BA 571 737 FY

Looks like the 737 didn't like headwinds.

11th May 2016, 18:00
I flew LHR-IST-LHR on the B737-200/400 many times as a BA pilot (and also on the A320), the cruise speed of M0.72/M0.74 on the B737-200/400 doesn't help compared to a M0.78 for an A320, or M0.8x for a Trident!

11th May 2016, 19:09
I remember being in jersey in 85 waiting to fly back on caladonian 111 to gatwick when suddenly panic in terminal Ba announced they where sending in a 757 instead of the regular 737 on the daily shuttle word going around a heavy comming in? And us flying back on a single decker still got a free drink ?

13th May 2016, 00:57
I flew LHR-IST-LHR on the B737-200/400 many times as a BA pilot (and also on the A320), the cruise speed of M0.72/M0.74 on the B737-200/400 doesn't help compared to a M0.78 for an A320, or M0.8x for a Trident!
In my day, Tridents often filed 500 or more for the cruise rather than =M.

blind pew
14th May 2016, 23:33
SR freighter.
Flew the Man-Gla rotation a couple of times on the 33F; we often cruised 2-4,000ft below FPL in SR for our own and pax health/comfort. More 02 and less radiation as well as faster when flying barber pole.
On the subject of barber pole met up in Borough Market last time I was in the smoke with a couple of old opos, one of whom had the Aldergrove - Renfrew record...IIRC..around 15 mins..which would have been low level and a lot of in flight reverse ;-)
WRT nightstopping Belfast - BEA was a considered a legitimate target during the troubles as it was a state owned airline; there were a lot of specific bomb warnings and several devices - management weren't kosher with us and it took Balpa to force the company to guarantee our life insurance which wasn't valid as we were flying into what was declared as a "war zone". There is one security file on the flight that diverted into Manchester with a device hidden under the seat cushion; until now it has been kept secret.

blind pew
9th Jun 2016, 19:56
The shuttle complex was an add on to terminal one which was BEA's Terminal; the other passenger terminals were also in the Central Area...three being for BOAC and two for Johnny Foreigner. IMHO the terminal was a bit Jerry built although nothing like some of the LoCo stuff that I have had the pleasure of using. One descended down a long corridor to a pax desk and waiting room and departed through "French Windows" onto the Tarmac and open boarding stairs.
The complex was somewhere around block 16 which allowed departures from 27/28 right.
Atc were always accommodating (and not only to Brits) and occasionally they would allow us to depart from the arrival runway or land on the departure one.
We were limited in "swinging" from one runway to the other during approach inside of the marker although some of my colleagues probably did it I remember a skipper refusing because of "approach stabilisation" ; I was later to do a side step on a much heavy jet below 1,000ft without problems.
It was a time when procedures from ATC and pilots were changing which successfully increased capacity and reduced delays...I have held at Ram-bullet (Rambouillet central France) on my way home and several times for more than an hour in the London area; two hours wasn't unheard of and we had a Trident 1 stall in the Clacton hold around FL 250.
Atc had started continuous descent a couple of years before but they didn't have the "Land After" clearance where one could land with an aircraft occupying the runway.
They had also initiated the "maintain 180 knots to the Marker" procedure.
From our camp we had stopped the rubbish that was taught of needing to be in landing configuration at 3,000 ft but auto land needed landing configuration by 1,700 ft for the gain programming. A few of our guys insisted that we passed the OM at Vfapp, often without saying anything, which could be embarrassing especially if it was one of our boys who had to do a missed approach because of reduced separation. Eventually BA adopted 1,000ft and in SR we had in effect 300ft.

It was my happiest time in BEA and the overall slickest operation.

There is something amongst a sizeable contingent of the flying population that big is beautiful and the bigger the kite the more kudos and dosh one gains..as you can guess it's b@@@@@ks but is still evident as one can see by BA salary scales. The 747 pay differential goes back to Sir Norman Tebbitt and a few others on the Boac Balpa PLC who grounded the aircraft when it was introduced in 1970 for the best part of two years. Although a management pilot told me that BOAC made a fortune "lending" their engines to other airlines as the early engines were very unreliable. If one visited Cranebank in those days one would see the aircraft without engines but hung with large concrete blocks like a Xmas tree so that the wings didn't deform.
The relevant bit is that the "top dogs" went onto the T3 and the Tristar and because of the lack of flying and a guaranteed roster a management or trainer was a rare bird - which suited me fine.
Papa India had changed everything especially what went on at the public inquiry and afterwards and to say that there was a distrust in management was a gross understatement.
The Trident 3 was so unpopular that crews were forcibly drafted. We had stopped having two teenager second officers flying together and the co pilot corps average age had increased due to the delay from graduating from Hamble and coming on line.
So a lot of the bull had gone out of the window and with confident skippers who could actually fly the aircraft and weren't scared of it we had great fun...sometimes too much which necessitated loosing the quick access flight data tape...normally off Eton bridge.

The first story concerns Uncle Les...a great mate RIP.
We checked in in Queens building where we would phone shuttle to see if we could stay there. Upstairs we had a standby room, silver service restaurant - which had a curry day on Thursdays - one would find it hard to find a better one and a TV room.
Downstairs we had all the important bits for pilots including met office, flight crew notice board, flight bags containing our departure and arrival docs and some other stuff we rarely used except in a panic and racks with our Plogs and Navlogs. The former were produced by our document section using Letroset and showed departure area, routing and arrivals. We needed three Plogs and one Navlog for each sector. For shuttle back up with four different destinations that meant 32 sheets of A5? Cartridge paper.
Now Uncle Les was into saving the planet and when the skipper asked if he had the paper work he said no as they might not go anywhere and have to bin it...and what about the trees and the planet...
Apparently it got very heated and in the end the skipper said f@@k the trees, Les I don't care about the f@@king trees, get the F@@king logs.
After a while they got what every shuttle pilot dreamed of and that was drafted to mainline which meant somewhere around triple tax free allowances (supertax was around 97.5%!) and flew to Gotenbourg or Helsinki...iirc correctly the former and Les ducked the glideslope which was common practice with a displaced threshold.
The threshold was displaced due to obstacles...trees...and playing silly bastards Les got very low when the skipper who's bum was no doubt twitching said watch out for the trees Les...and the immortal reply came back "f@@k the trees I don't care about the F@@king trees".

28th Oct 2019, 21:19
I remember writing tickets for Belfast Heathrow which were valid on both BA and BD. Those were the days.