British Airways Non-Stop Flight to London

By Premlata Venkataraman      e-mail:

On April 2, around 6:30 PM the British Airways’ inaugural flight BA-171 (Boeing 787 Dreamliner) landed at Pittsburgh International Airport with fanfare and English paraphernalia decorating the baggage claim area.

Twenty years ago, in the heyday of Pittsburgh being a USAirways hub, British Airways had a non-stop flight from Pittsburgh to London-Ghatwick. Two decades later, we are getting a 4-days-a-week (Tue, Wed, Fri, and Sun) all-year-around nonstop to London Heathrow. The incoming flight departs London around 4:00 PM (local time), and lands at PIT around 7:20 PM. The returning flight (BA 170) leaves PIT at 9:50 PM, landing at London Heathrow at 10:00 AM (local time).

For getting this nonstop flight, British Airways is getting, (or is extracting, depending on your viewpoint) $3 million in subsidies over two years coming from a state economic development fund. Subsidies to air carriers is the norm these days for all second-tier cities for getting nonstop flights to European and Asian destinations.

The Airport Authority estimates that around 50,000 people travel to London annually from our region. It is noteworthy that last September Delta ended its seasonal nonstop from Pittsburgh to Paris, probably anticipating the British Airways nonstop to London Heathrow.  ♠


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