British Airways plans to deploy its first Airbus SAS A380 superjumbos on flights to New York and three Asian metropolises while using Boeing Co.’s smaller 787 Dreamliner to develop new destinations in emerging markets.
BA will take delivery of 12 525-seat A380s starting next year and is looking at using the double-deckers on high-density routes from London’s Heathrow airport to Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore, as well as on its busiest trans-Atlantic service.
“We’ll use bigger aircraft for routes with enough traffic density and restriction on slots,” Enrique Dupuy, chief financial officer at BA parent International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, said in an interview in London. “You can’t increase your frequencies so you bring more bigger planes.”
British Airways will generally use its A380s on “very well-known routes,” Dupuy told Bloomberg Television. The London-based company will be the third European carrier to employ the world’s biggest passenger plane, after Air France and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which have contracts for 12 and 17 of the jets respectively.
New York currently has A380 flights operated by Singapore Airlines Ltd., Dubai-based Emirates and Korean Air Lines Co., as well as Air France. Lufthansa flew superjumbos there last year and plans to restore services for the summer timetable.
Deployment of the 24 Dreamliners that BA has on order will seek to exploit the carbon-fiber plane’s reduced unit costs, which make it suited to lower-density routes and adding fresh locations, Dupuy said in the interview yesterday.
“The 787 will be about opening new destinations in the east, in Asia specifically,” the executive said. “It’s an under-served market for IAG and we are going to work intensively in recovering our position.”
IAG, created last January via a merger of BA and Spain’s Iberia, which has no A380s or 787s on order, currently allocates only about 9 percent of capacity to Asia, versus 31 percent to North America, according to a November investor presentation.
The company doubled operating profit in 2011, spurred by demand for business travel to the U.S., it said yesterday. BA currently operates 11 times a day between London and New York.
U.K. billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., BA’s biggest competitor at Heathrow, has six A380s and 15 Dreamliners on order. The Boeing planes will arrive from 2014, with the first superjumbo due in the second-half of 2015.
Spokeswoman Jo Foster said it’s too early to say where the planes will operate.
IAG fell 0.9 percent to 162.80 pence in London today. The stock has advanced 10 percent this year, giving a market value to 3.02 billion pounds ($4.8 billion).