British Airways cancels flights to Tunisia

on Oct, 6, 2013.

British airways has cancelled its flights from Tunisia to the UK for an indefinite period. Starting from October 25, there will be only Tunisair flights linking Tunisia to the UK directly with its five flights a week.

British Airways will soon close its office in the “Les Berges du Lac” ceasing to be the carrier connecting Gatwick to Tunis.

The online booking system of the company is no longer accepting reservations beyond this date.  The suspension of  the winter season is traceable to the low profitability of the operating five flights a week.

An online petition to reinstate its flights to Tunisia garnered 602 petitioners. The petition has the sole aim to convince the CEO of the British Airways, Keith Williams of the importance of the London-Tunis flights.

An initial response from the British company stated that such a decision was not taken lightly. The reply assured the petition campaign leaders that the sole reason standing behind the suspension decision is genuinely financial one.

The flights are being suspended because they simply do not make a profitable contribution to the company.

“We are always reviewing our route network to ensure it is in-line with the needs of our customers, and to leave a route in place that is not performing well from a commercial perspective would ultimately lead to an overall increase in fares,” indicated the British Airways administration.

A wide spectrum of costumers use British Airways: Tunisian residents in the UK, British expats, business people as well as tourists will be obliged to travel to Heathrow as a transit point and then change the flight in order to reach their destination, which is very tiring and time-consuming.

Samples of the discontented costumers on the online petition blog read as follows:

  • Kate Tench said “I fly Tunis-LGW all the time -ii have a hospital in LGW and home in Brighton but work in Tunis. I prefer BA and am not happy to only have Tunisair as an option. Please bring it back!!!!”
  • Clare Craggs said “getting married inTunisia soon and need to knowIi can fly back if  I am needed at short notice. What is wrong with Tunisia? it is a beautiful country.”
  • Uzoamaka Nwamarah said “My family need this route to stay connected. The number of flights can be reduced, rather than have them all cancelled.”

President of the Tunisian Federation of Travel Agencies (FTAV), Mohamed Ali Toumi, regretted on  Friday on Express FM the timing chosen (October) by British Airways to suspend operations to and from Tunisia.

He stated that the non-registration of new bookings for the months of August and September, cancellations of bookings for business travelers and others from Algeria and Italy suggest that the assassination of politician Mohamed Brahmi and the Mount Chaâmbi events have negatively affected the tourism market in the country.

He added, “The situation is truly alarming to the extent that the minimum conditions for the exercise of the profession (lack of security) are not met”. He expressed his appreciation of the guidelines that recommend tourists not to visit Tunisia in  just a few areas (Mount Chaâmbi , Ettadhamen district …) and not all of Tunisia.

Petition link on Change.org: here.
Note: The Tunis Times sent several e-mails to BA for press inquiries. BA was unresponsive.
This article was corrected upon the remarks of Madam Wided Ouaja regarding Tunisair being the only carrier linking Tunis to London.

TunisAir is not the only carrier connecting Tunisia to the UK. It is indeed the only one connecting London to Tunis via a direct flight, but there are direct charter flights from London Gatwick to Enfidha.” Wided Ouaja

Join the conversation!

6 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. chris October 6, 2013 at 2:46 PM - Reply

    This is a very sad blow for Tunisia and for those of us who travel there. I dont think writing to BA will make a difference they are business people and if there is no trade to justify the flights then they stop.

    Those wishing to travel will have to rely on other ways both in and out. At some point inshallah things will change and flights will resume…until then the Russians seem to still have flights ……

    • Wided October 6, 2013 at 7:46 PM - Reply

      I agree with you. Although there is an increasing number of British and English-speaking companies in Tunisia, the current political situation has probably put off BA. I understand that their flights have always been full even during off-peak days, so I don’t quite understand why they said they are non-profitable. They could have increased the fares couldn’t there. Well, let’s hope they would revise their decision soon. Meanwhile, I hope TunisAir makes use of the opportunity and improves its punctuality to win new customers.

  2. Wided October 6, 2013 at 7:38 PM - Reply

    Many thanks for referring to the petition.
    Just a small note: TunisAir is not the only carrier connecting Tunisia to the UK. It is indeed the only one connecting London to Tunis via a direct flight, but there are direct charter flights from London Gatwick to Enfidha.

  3. Julie October 7, 2013 at 11:07 AM - Reply

    It is a real shame BA could not reduce flights to two days a week as in the past, instead of cutting the service completely.
    I flew with them just one week ago,subjected to delays both ends and service quality not as it was. It appears they have completely lost interest in the service and the customers.
    Heathrow is closer to my home in London, but I found the LGW service very reliable in the past and cost effective as I am a frequent visitor to Tunisia.
    Relatives and friends are apprehensive of travelling to the country due to the problems, highlighted in the media. I still find the same warmth and friendliness when my family and I visit or if I travel alone.

  4. Miss G Goodrum October 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM - Reply

    I am really disappointed and shocked to see the flights from London Gatwick to Tunis have been cancelled due to it not being profitable, as I fly every 10weeks with BA and have yet been on a flight where it was not full or more or less full. High volume of buisness men/women use this service along with tourist and expats. The service was reliable, frequent flights and great extra baggage allowance at a cost. I think there best option would have been to offer less flight a week but offer days that offer operators are not so you are the only option of travel. Tunisia is increasingly becoming more popular with tourist for there competitive all inclusive deals and the exchange rate being so good. Tunisia will only be able to get back on its feet if we keep the tourism coming, a lot of people are seeing the potential to buy and invest in Tunis for retirement as the pension and pound goes much further.
    I would like to urge BA to reassess there cancellation and look at reinstating a few flights a week to compete with the market.
    Inshallah to BA flights being back for the season…

  5. Remy December 1, 2013 at 1:02 PM - Reply

    An issue with this route was the fact that it had very little onward travel possibilities. Had the route been TUN-LHR, BA could have picked up on business from Tunisia to the rest of the world through BAs global network, especially North America.

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