After the UK government scrapped its red-list again, British Airways has reinstated Airbus A380 flights to Johannesburg in January. The airline had pushed back the launch to February after the eruption of the Omicron COVID-19 variant led to a slew of new travel restrictions earlier in December.
British Airways is in the process of reactivating its entire Airbus A380 fleet, having relaunched long-haul double-decker flights earlier this month. Having spent the best part of the past year on the UK’s red-list, South Africa is experiencing huge travel demand, making the southern African nation a no-brainer for the world’s largest passenger aircraft.
Johannesburg is back (in January)
In early November, Simple Flying revealed that British Airways planned to fly the Airbus A380 to Johannesburg from January 10th. This was due to operate as a daily service alongside a Boeing 777 service.
The schedule was thrown into chaos when the Omicron variant was discovered, as the UK reactivated the red list for South Africa and a handful of neighboring countries. Not expecting the situation to change rapidly, British Airways pulled the A380 from its Johannesburg schedule until February but left the daily 777 services intact.
According to schedule data from aviation data experts Cirium, and as shown on ba.com, British Airways has now placed the Airbus A380 back on flights to Johannesburg from January 17th. However, it won’t be as previously scheduled. Rather than running alongside the Boeing 777 service as BA55 & BA56, the A380 will replace the Boeing 777 on the existing BA57 and BA58 services for the foreseeable future.
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As such, the giant jet is planned to operate the following rotation from January 17th,
- BA 57 – London Heathrow (LHR) 21:10 – Johannesburg (JNB) 10:15+1 – 11h05m
- BA 58 – Johannesburg (JNB) 22:15 – London Heathrow (LHR) 07:35+1 – 11h20m
The fact that British Airways is looking to bring the Airbus A380 back to Johannesburg isn’t a huge surprise. The route was one of a handful that the giant of the skies was used for before the fleet was grounded due to COVID-19. It was also the only route to see the jet carrying passengers for over a year due to a summer 2020 repatriation flight.
Assuming South Africa doesn’t find itself back on the red list, demand for travel to the southern hemisphere country will likely be significant. Pre-pandemic, the route was already in high demand. With South Africa being on the red list for most of the past year, many passengers have been unable to travel on the route, given the difficulties associated with hotel quarantine.
Travel has been gradually returning over the past year or so, with VFR (visiting friends and relatives) playing a big part in this. People were keen to see each other again after so long apart. This demand will be robust between South Africa and the United Kingdom for obvious reasons.
Are you pleased to see British Airways bringing the Airbus A380 back to Johannesburg? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!