November 2012

British Airways has a fleet of some 252 aircraft split being Boeing, Airbus and Embraer. Historically, the airline was seen as being loyal to Boeing although, in the not too distant past, it operated aircraft a variety of manufacturers including  Vickers (VC-10), Hawker Siddeley (Trident) and Lockheed (Tristar).

In terms of its current long-haul business however, the airline is almost entirely Boeing-centric with a fleet comprising 747-400, 777-300, 777-200, 767-300 & 757-200 (operated by Open Skies). Most impressively, British Airways still has the world’s largest fleet of 747s (57). The one exception to this Boeing dominated fleet is the all-business-class A318 which operates between London City Airport and New York JFK.

This near total dominance by Boeing will come to and end in late 2013 when British Airways takes delivery of the first of its 12 A380s on order. All 12 aircraft will be based at Heathrow and operate to the airline’s premium destinations although the airline have yet to release any specific details.

At the same time, 2013 will also see the arrival of the first of British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliners, making it the first airline in the world to operate both the A380 and 787. The airline currently has 24 787s on order, split between the original 787-8 series and slightly larger 787-9 series.

With many of its 747s approaching the end of their flying lives, and the airline planning to utilise their recently secured new slots at Heathrow to increase long-haul flights, British Airways is currently appraising options for new aircraft orders. Potentially this could mean new orders for the A380, 787 series, 777-300 or new Airbus A350 series.

In terms of its medium and short haul routes, the majority of aircraft operated by the airline are now Airbus with a mix of A319-100, A320-200 & A321-200, the vast majority of which are based at Heathrow. The airline also operates older 737-400 exclusively from Gatwick while Boeing 767s are also used on both European and domestic flights from Heathrow. BA City Flyer, the airline’s wholly owned subsidiary which operates from London City, operates both Embraer 170 & 190 aircraft.

British Airways features a variety of lounges at all 3 London airports. Additional lounge facilities are available at airports across the UK and globally.

Airport Lounge

A bit of comfort

For details regards the different types of lounge click here.

Heathrow – As British Airways main hub, the airline offers a wide variety of lounges spread between Terminals 1, 3 & 5. Within the airline’s flagship Terminal 5, there are 3 Galleries Club lounges, a Galleries First lounge and Concorde Lounge. In Terminal 3 there is a Galleries First and Galleries Club lounge while in Terminal 1 passengers travelling with British Airways can make use of the International Lounge. Access to these lounges is dependent on the class of travel booked or membership level within the British Airways Executive Club.


Gatwick – Situated on Level 4 of the North Terminal, British Airways offers both a First lounge for those passengers travelling First Class long-haul as well as a Galleries Lounge for passengers travelling in Club Europe and Club World as well as for qualifying members of the British Airways Executive Club.

London City – Situated at Gate 24 is British Airways dedicated Club World London City lounge, styled on Heathrow’s Galleries concept. It is a dedicated departure lounge area where you can make use of free Wi-Fi, pick up a newspaper or magazine and enjoy a selection of drinks and snacks. Please note this lounge is only for use by passengers travelling to New York.

London City Airport is the city’s newest and most central airport. Opened in 1987, the airport is located in the old docklands area of the city, just 7 miles east of the City of London and even closer to the new financial centre around Canary Wharf.

The vast majority of British Airways flights from the airport are operated by BA City Flyer, a wholly owned subsidiary of the airline.

London City Airport

Convenience personified

With its 1 short runway and location close to the main financial centres of London, the majority of flights are to the major financial centres of Europe although leisure traffic is increasing. The sole long-haul British Airways flight from London City is an all-business class service to New York JFK.

The airport is linked to the City of London, Canary Wharf & Stratford amongst others by Docklands Light Railway with convenient connections to the London Underground and mainline train services.


Since 2006 the airport has been owned by a consortium led by Global Infrastructures Partners, the same company that owns London Gatwick.

Gatwick is located approximately 30 miles south of central London and is the UK’s second busiest airport as well as the world’s busiest single runway airport.

Gatwick has 2 terminals, North & South, with all British Airways flights operating out of the North Terminal. As British Airways’ secondary base in the UK behind Heathrow, the airline’s focus at Gatwick is primarily point-to-point (as opposed to hub) and leisure traffic. The majority of British Airways flights from Gatwick are short-haul flights to Europe and North Africa although there is also an important long-haul fleet that serves the leisure markets of the Caribbean, USA (Las Vegas), Mexico (Cancun) and Indian Ocean (Sri Lanka & Mauritius).


Gatwick is well connected by both coach and rail. The airport is served by Southern Railways from London Victoria via Clapham Junction & East Croydon as well as the Gatwick Express non-stop from Victoria. In addition, First Capital Connect provides through-trains to London Bridge & St Pancras in London as well as north to Bedford. First Great Western also operate services north-west to Redhill, Guildford & Reading.

Following its privatisation in 1986, Gatwick was part of BAA plc until it was taken over by Global Infrastructure Partners in 2009. In turn, GIP have sold stakes in the new business to investment funds from Abu Dhabi, Australia & USA. Since taking over Gatwick, GIP have undertaken a significant investment program in order to bring the airport up to date, improve the customer experience and better compete with London Heathrow. For British Airways passengers, the clearest example of this investment has been the opening of a brand new dedicated check-in area within the North Terminal.

Located approximately 14 miles west of central London, Heathrow is the UK & Europe’s busiest airport as well as the busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger numbers. There are currently 4 operational terminals (1, 3, 4 & 5) with Terminal 2 set to re-open in 2014 after a complete re-build.


Together with its IAG partner Iberia Airlines, British Airways is the sole tenant of Terminal 5, Heathrow’s most modern terminal, which opened in 2008. Even after the opening of Terminal 5, capacity constraints mean that British Airways has had to operate additional flights from Terminal 3 while the takeover of BMI in 2012 means that the airline also now flies out of Terminal 1.

Although the majority of British Airways flights operate out of Terminal 5, (and pretty much all of its flagship routes) passengers should always check with the airline (both at the time of booking as well as close to departure) to verify which terminal their flight will operate from and to.

Getting to and from Heathrow is relatively easy. From London, travellers have the option of either the Heathrow Express (non-stop) or Heathrow Connect (with stops) from Paddington as well as the London Underground piccadilly line. There are also numerous coach and bus routes to Heathrow including Rail – Bus connections at Reading, Woking & Feltham.

Heathrow was part of BAA plc that was privatised in 1986 before being taken over by Spanish infrastructure company Grupo Ferrovial in 2006. In October 2012, BAA was renamed Heathrow Airport Holdings in order to reflect the overwhelming dominance of Heathrow within the old BAA. In order to pay down the debt required for the takeover, Grupo Ferrovial has also sold off significant stakes in the business to overseas partners from Singapore, Qatar & China. As a result, Grupo Ferrovial now owns less than 50% of the business.