British Airways has recently announced its plans to enhance its services to Accra, Ghana, following improved route performance metrics. Effective from the onset of the IATA Winter 2023 season, (October 29) the airline will increase its flights to Accra, offering passengers greater flexibility and choice in their travel arrangements. This expansion aims to meet the growing demand for air travel between the United Kingdom and Ghana, and it reflects British Airways’ commitment to providing an enhanced travel experience for its customers.
Currently, British Airways operates a daily nonstop flight between London Heathrow (LHR) and Accra (ACC) using an A350-1000 aircraft. However, the airline plans to increase its services to Accra to 10 times a week during the IATA Winter 2023 season. In addition to the existing flights from Heathrow, British Airways will introduce three more weekly flights from London Gatwick (LGW) using a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. This strategic decision will offer passengers more flight options and facilitate smoother travel experiences.
British Airways has observed strong demand across all cabin classes on its existing daily Accra service. Approximately two-thirds of the passenger demand is for point-to-point travel between London and Accra, while the remaining passengers use Accra as a transit hub to connect to destinations such as Manchester, the United States, and Eastern Canada. The airline recognizes the importance of meeting the needs of both leisure travelers and the ethnic/VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) market segment, which contribute significantly to the overall demand for flights between London and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Among the top five ethnic/leisure market segments from the London area to Sub-Saharan Africa, Lagos (LOS) and Johannesburg (JNB) have emerged as prominent destinations. Lagos attracts a large ethnic/VFR market segment, while Johannesburg’s traffic is driven by safari tourism. Although Johannesburg’s tourism industry contributes to its popularity, the ethnic/VFR market segment between London and Lagos is comparatively larger. British Airways acknowledges the distinct characteristics and demands of these markets and aims to provide tailored services to meet the needs of both destinations.
The expansion of flights to Accra is part of British Airways’ broader strategy to restore and strengthen its Africa route network. The airline has recently added Sharm El-Sheikh to its Africa network and has doubled the number of flights to Cairo since 2019. These developments reflect British Airways’ commitment to expanding its presence in Africa, providing customers with more options, enhanced products, and strategic partnerships. By carefully considering routes and regions with growth potential, the airline aims to optimize its network to serve the diverse needs of travelers.
With the introduction of flights from London Gatwick, British Airways offers Ghanaian travelers an alternative gateway to London. Premium customers, as well as Gold and Silver Executive Club members, can enjoy the recently refurbished lounges at Gatwick, providing a seamless and comfortable travel experience. The expansion also provides increased cargo capacity on the Accra route, benefiting Ghanaian exporters who can now transport perishable and other goods more efficiently through IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group.