British Airways Extends Short-Haul Widebody Flights Into October

British Airways has extended its short-haul widebody program into October. The airline will be flying Boeing 787 Dreamliners on several European routes in order to boost cargo capacity in line with exceptional demand on select dates during the month. BA has been operating such special flights for much of the pandemic.

British Airways has extended its short-haul widebody flights into October. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

While short-haul widebody flight operations aren’t unheard of in Europe, they are rare. When they do take place, it is usually in relation to an increase in demand, tied with the higher capacity of larger aircraft. This was the case when Lufthansa flew a Boeing 747-8 between Frankfurt and Mallorca at the height of the pandemic.

10 short-haul widebody destinations in October

According to flight schedule information from aviation data experts Cirium, British Airways has scheduled widebody aircraft to fly to 11 destinations usually served by an Airbus A320 family aircraft during October. The shortest of these is 216 miles as the crow flies from London Heathrow to Paris. Meanwhile, the furthest is roughly ten times longer at 2,196 miles to Cairo.

The full list of short-haul destinations being served by widebody jets in October in order of distance are,

Paris (CDG) – 216 miles – 4 rotations – Boeing 787-8
Amsterdam (AMS) – 231 miles – 12 rotations – Boeing 787-8
Frankfurt (FRA) – 408 miles – 8 rotations – Boeing 787-8
Zurich (ZRH) – 491 miles – 7 rotations – Boeing 787-8
Madrid (MAD) – 774 miles – 20 rotations – Boeing 787-8
Rome (FCO) – 898 miles – 9 rotations – Boeing 777
Stockholm (ARN) – 912 miles – 5 rotations – Boeing 787-8
Athens (ATH) – 1,510 miles – 5 rotations – Boeing 787-8
Moscow (DME) – 1,585 miles – 5 rotations – Boeing 787-8
Larnaca (LCA) – 2,040 miles – 8 rotations – Boeing 787-8
Cairo (CAI) – 2,196 miles – 9 rotations – Boeing 787-8

British Airways has short-haul widebody flights planned for these routes in October. Photo: Cirium

Passengers looking to book such a route to fly on the widebody should check flight details for the aircraft on a specific date. They should be aware that aircraft operating a flight can always be changed by the airline depending on operational needs.

Increased cargo capacity

The Boeing 787, and the Boeing 777 in the case of Rome, are being scheduled on short-haul routes for their increased capacity. Although, unlike Lufthansa’s Boeing 747 flights to Mallorca, British Airways isn’t interested in how many passengers the jets carry, but rather how much space they have in their bellies for cargo.

Cargo capacity on the A320 and A321 is fairly limited. Photo: ANA Cargo

British Airways typically operates the Airbus A320 family of aircraft on the routes mentioned above. According to All Nippon Airways, the Airbus A320 can take seven containers in its belly (including passenger luggage). Meanwhile, the A321 takes 10 containers. The cargo weight limitation on these aircraft excluding the bulk cargo area is 7,938kg (17,500lbs) and 11,340kg (25,000lbs) respectively. Lufthansa is currently seeking to convert two A321s into a full cargo configuration.

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It goes without saying that the airline’s widebody aircraft have a far larger capacity. According to ANA Cargo, the Boeing 787-8 can take 16 containers in its forward compartment, and another 12 in the rear, giving a total capacity of 28 containers. This is almost three times that of an Airbus A321, and four times an Airbus A320.

The Boeing 787-8 offers far superior cargo capacity. Photo: ANA Cargo

The Boeing 787-8 can take more cargo weight in its forward cabin than the A320 and A321 combined, with a maximum weight capacity of 22,906kg (50,500lbs) in the forward compartment, and a further 18,534kg (40,860lbs) in the rear. This gives a total cargo capacity of 41,440kg or (91,360lbs).

Are you planning to fly on a short-haul British Airways Boeing 787-8 flight? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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