Oneworld Newsreel: British Airways, Royal Jordanian and Finnair Resume Paused Routes

Mekka Saudi Arabien

During the past week, three members of the Oneworld alliance announced incoming changes to their route network. Both British Airways and Royal Jordanian increase capacities between Western Europe and the Middle East, while Finnair resumes a route they suspended mere weeks ago.

British Airways Re-Introduces Jeddah to its Network

With a population of almost 4,000,000 people, Jeddah is the second-largest city in Saudi-Arabia. It offers the largest airport close to the city of Makkah, the most important place of worship for Muslims around the globe. British Airways’ service to the city near the shores of the Red Sea was a casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. In late 2024, the airline restarts its service with four weekly flights from London-Heathrow.

Similar to their also restarted service to Abu Dhabi, British Airways uses a premium heavy Boeing 787-9 with a four-class-configuration on trips to Jeddah. The plane carries 42 seats in business (2-3-2), 39 premium economy seats (2-3-2) and 127 economy class chairs (3-3-3). While the lack of Club Suites in business is a disappointment, the plane also carries 8 first class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. This makes sense both because of the red-eye outbound and high premium-demand on the route.

Here is the bare data of the flight:

  • BA 131: London LHR 20.10 – Jeddah JED 05.30 +1
  • BA 132: Jeddah JED 07.55 – London LHR 11.45

The first flight will take place on November 4, 2024. British Airways competes with SkyTeam member Saudia on this route, which uses Jeddah as its main hub. Saudia offers one daily flight from both Gatwick and Heathrow, using a Boeing 787 on either rotation.

Royal Jordanian Adds Service to Berlin

In October 2024, Royal Jordanian will re-connect its native Queen Alia airport in Amman AMMwith the capital of Europe’s most populous country. While the airline has operated the route in the past, it has been put on hold for two years. Both frequency and equipment show that the airline is merely tipping its toes to test the waters rather than jumping right in: According to Google Flights, the twice-weekly service will be operated by Royal Jordanian’s Airbus A320 fleet, with an Airbus A319 being the most likely candidate.

  • RJ 145: AmmanAMM 11.30 – BerlinBER 14.10
  • RJ 146: BerlinBER 16.20 – AmmanAMM 21.10

Berlin has proven to be a difficult destination for foreign carriers. While it’s Germany’s biggest city, the area outside the suburbs is one of the least populated areas in the country. The city itself generates a reasonable demand for leisure travellers, but doesn’t attract business travel on a scale comparable to other European capitals. To make matters worse, Berlin offers no real connectivity: Only low-cost carriers operate larger fleets out of the airport and train connections are better from other German destinations.

Royal Jordanian faces no competitors for its nonstop service, it’s the only airline serving Jordan nonstop from Berlin. The first flight is scheduled for October 5 in either direction.

Finnair Resumes Service to Tartu

At the end of April, Finnair announced that it will suspend its twice-daily service to Estonia’s second-largest city, Tartu. The reason was interference with the airplanes’ navigational systems. We covered that story here:

As originally planned, Finnair resumes its service with ATR-72 turboprop aircraft at the beginning of June. The airline announced that Tartu airport used the time in between to update its navigational system. Thus ensuring that planes can land without relying on GPS signals, that have been jammed repeatedly since early 2022.

Cover Picture: Photo by ekrem osmanoglu on Unsplash

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