British Airways paying customers 'full refund' after making 'difficult decision'

British Airways is offering customers a full refund after axing route just eight months after it was launched. The three direct flights running directly to Riga in Latvia and Serbia's Belgrade from London Heathrow were reinstated last winter but have now been axed.

“We regularly review our schedule and due to commercial reasons, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our flights to Belgrade from September 29, 2024," BA confirmed. “We’re contacting affected customers to apologise and offer them alternative options, including rebooking or a full refund.”

British Airways currently maintains three weekly services to the Serbian capital with its A320-family fleet. It faces direct competition from Air Serbia, as well as indirect competition from Wizz Air, which runs flights out of London Luton.

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Wizz Air is operating daily flights between the two capitals, up from six weekly last summer season. Both carriers have also reduced their fares on the two respective routes since British Airways launched operations to Belgrade. During the first quarter of this year, a total of 51.508 passengers flew between Belgrade and London Heathrow and Luton airports, up 31.8% on the same period in 2023.

At the time the route was launched, BA said: "British Airways will launch a three-times weekly service from London Heathrow from 31 October 2023. Flights will operate on a mix of A320 and A321 aircraft, with return fares available from £105, or £1 + 23,500 Avios.

"Eastern Europe’s Belgrade is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, attracting visitors with its compelling history, exciting nightlife, and buzzing Bohemian quarter, Skadarlija." Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances, said: “We are excited to be adding European cities Riga, Belgrade and Cologne to our route network. These are destinations that we think our customers will love, offering an alternative to some of the more well-known cities we fly to. We also know that Italy in particular is a firm favourite with our customers, so we look forward to adding more capacity with flights to Milan and Turin, alongside more choice across Europe generally."