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Gaming Guru

Richard N. Velotta

British Airways changing schedules for flights between London, Las Vegas

22 October 2015

British Airways is juggling its nonstop flight schedule between Las Vegas and London next year and will discontinue its three weekly flights to and from Gatwick International Airport.

But local tourism officials are still happy — the airline announced Wednesday that it is adding four new flights between McCarran International Airport and London's Heathrow International instead of three.

The airline will dramatically increase Las Vegas capacity because the four new Heathrow flights will be on Boeing 747 aircraft, which British Airways has configured to carry up to 345 passengers. The Gatwick flights have been flown on Boeing 777-200ER jets that have a capacity of 275 passengers.

"Las Vegas is a very popular destination for British Airways customers and we are committed to both the city and providing frequent flights for our customers," British Airways spokeswoman Caroline Titmuss said via e-mail.

Local tourism officials have said Heathrow flights are important because they offer the best connections to other British Airways network flights from Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

In August, London-based British Airways announced it would increase its Heathrow schedule by three flights a week, beginning March 27. The fourth flight will be added May 2.

With the new flights, British Airways will have 11 weekly flights between Heathrow and Las Vegas. The Gatwick route will end in May.

The decision to end the Gatwick flights may have come down to fleet scheduling. The airline announced in London on Wednesday that it was adding daily service on Boeing 777s from Gatwick to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, beginning in May.

One of the airline's 43 777-200ER jets is out of commission and is parked at McCarran after it caught fire when taking off on Sept. 8. Titmuss said there are no new details on the status of the plane and how it will be removed from Las Vegas since the aircraft is not deemed airworthy.

A British Airways rival still flies the Las Vegas-London Gatwick route.

When the British Airways flights are discontinued, Virgin Atlantic Airways will continue to have its daily service to and from Gatwick, considered the most conveniently located London-area airport for most travelers.

McCarran reported last month that British Airways has carried 190,881 passengers to Las Vegas through August while Virgin Atlantic has carried 198,325. Both are down less than 3% from comparable 2014 totals.