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