By Matteo Giardini
British Airways Adds New Destinations to 2022 Summer Network
British Airways announced on Wednesday the expansion of its 2022 summer schedule with the addition of flights to the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. The airline will connect its hub at London Heathrow’s Airport with the islands of São Miguel and Terceira, Portugal. Flights will be operated on a weekly basis with an Airbus A320 with up to 180 seats.
Operations to the islands will initially begin with flights to the island of São Miguel from July 2 until Sept. 3 through Ponta Delgada Airport, operating on Saturdays. The flight will depart from London Heathrow at 9:35 a.m. before arriving at Ponta Delgada at 12:40 p.m. The return flight to the U.K. will leave the island at 1:35 p.m. and arrive at 6:25 p.m.
Meanwhile, operations to the island of Terceira will begin slightly later and for a shorter period of time, kicking off on July 10, 2022, and running through Aug. 28, 2022. Flights will depart London Heathrow every Sunday at 7:55 a.m., arriving in Terceira at 11:10 a.m. The return leg will leave the archipelago at 12:10 p.m. and arrive back in the U.K. at 5:05 p.m.
The islands are known for their food and wine dishes, popular among British tourists along with scenic views of both the Atlantic and lush untamed forests. The island of Terceira is a UNESCO World Heritage site while São Miguel is considered one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal.
“After a difficult 18 months, it’s fantastic to be in a position to launch two new routes next summer from Heathrow,” British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances Neil Chernoff said in a statement. “These two Islands in the Azores will be the perfect addition to our network, offering more choice in one of the most popular regions in Europe for British sunseekers.”
British Airways has already disclosed the starting prices for the flights. Flights to both destinations will start at 79 pounds ($110) in economy class and 208 pounds in business class. Passengers in economy class are able to pre-purchase items from Speedbird Cafe or order directly onboard through the airline’s new buy-on-board program, announced earlier this year. Meanwhile, passengers flying business class will continue to have access to priority check-in, lounges and complimentary onboard dining.
British Airways is currently considering closing its operations out of its London Gatwick hub in favor of consolidating operations from its largest hub at London’s Heathrow Airport. The broad majority of flights operating out of its Gatwick Airport hub are leisure destinations that would otherwise be unviable from Heathrow due to various constraints such as runway capacity.
However, the very recent announcement of the addition of leisure flights to the Azores from Heathrow could foreshadow a definite shift of operations away from Gatwick.