The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 22 August 2018

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

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AMOR, Robert Indiana, Philadelphia
AMOR, Robert Indiana, Philadelphia (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 22 August 2018. As the summer draws to a close, we are beginning to see a number of announcements by airlines for their schedules for summer 2019.

American Airlines launches London Heathrow – Phoenix

American Airlines is to launch a new summer seasonal service from London Heathrow to Phoenix.

American will fly daily from Sunday 31 March 2019 to Saturday 26 October 2019 with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

This will complement BA’s existing service from London Heathrow to Phoenix. However, it is not known whether BA will change its current summer frequency of 10 flights a week.

BA has yet to announce any significant schedule changes for the summer of 2019. However, it will increase London Heathrow – Seattle from 12 to 14 times a week.

American Airlines European Network Changes

American has also announced a number of changes to its European transatlantic network.

It is quite a mixed picture. Philadelphia is clearly becoming an important transatlantic hub for American. However, it is also withdrawing routes from UK regional airports which, unless AA and BA take action, will be left wide open to Delta and Virgin Atlantic. In Manchester, having now suspended Chicago and previously New York JFK, American is left with one just one route to Philadelphia.

It is also interesting to note that American is launching Dublin – Dallas Fort Worth which would be a logical addition if Aer Lingus is to join the AA/BA/Finnair/Iberia joint-venture.

New Routes:

To Dallas Fort-Worth
Dublin – Daily Boeing 787-9 – 6 June 2019 – 28 September 2019
Munich – Daily Boeing 787-8 – 6 June 2019 – 26 October 2019

To Philadelphia
Berlin Tegel – 4x weekly Boeing 767-300 – 7 July 2019 – 28 September 2019
Bologna – 4x weekly Boeing 767-300 – 6 June 2019 – 28 September 2019
Dubrovnik – 3x weekly Boeing 767-300 – 7 June 2019 – 27 September 2019
Edinburgh – Daily Boeing 757 – 2 April 2019 – 26 October 2019

Athens – Chicago O’Hare – Daily Boeing 788-8 – 3 May 2019 – 28 September 2019
Munich – Cleveland – Daily Airbus A330-200 – Year-round from 31 March 2019

In addition, summer seasonal services from Chicago O’Hare to Venice; Dallas Fort Worth to Reykjavik; and Philadelphia to Budapest and Prague will return in 2019.

Suspended Routes:

To Philadelphia
Glasgow – Seasonal service suspended permanently on 29 September 2018
Munich – Year-round service suspended on 30 March 2019
Frankfurt – Seasonal service suspended permanently on 27 October 2018

To New York JFK
Edinburgh – Seasonal service suspended permanently on 27 October 2018
Dublin – Seasonal service suspended permanently on 27 October 2018

Manchester – Chicago O’Hare – Seasonal service suspended permanently on 3 September 2018

Finnair launches Helsinki – Los Angeles

Finnair has announced it is to launch a new route from Helsinki to Los Angeles from Sunday 31 March 2019.

Flights will be operated three times weekly with Finnair’s Airbus A350 aircraft:

Flight AY001 – Depart Helsinki 16:30 – Arrive Los Angeles 17:30 (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday)
Flight AY002 – Depart Los Angeles 19:30 – Arrive Helsinki 16:05 (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday)

Finnair will also increase San Francisco to four times weekly from May 2019.

BA Los Angeles Cancellations

On the subject of Los Angeles, one of BA’s daily flights to Los Angeles (BA281/BA280) has been, and will continue to be, subject to extensive cancellations until mid-September at the earliest.

This is due to maintenance checks on the Rolls-Royce engines. More detail on the impact during August and September here.

London Heathrow – Nashville achieves 90%+ load factor in June

For obvious reasons, airlines do not give away much on the performance of individual routes, other than vague comments about performance against expectations.

However, the Civil Aviation Authority does publish traffic data by route each month and where an airline is the sole operator of the route, it is possible to deduce how a route is performing.

BA launched London Heathrow – Nashville in May and June was its first full month of operation. Based on CAA data for June 2018, it achieved a load factor in excess of 90% which is a very impressive start. When Austin launched in 2014, it also achieved similar load factor in June of that year. It also started with a Boeing 787-8 and has since been progressively upgraded to a daily Boeing 747. The clearly bodes well for a capacity increase from five times weekly next summer.

Air Canada buys back Aeroplan

A couple of weeks ago we reported on how Air Canada was seeking to buy back its “Aeroplan” frequent flyer programme from Aimia in advance of launching a new programme in 2020.

Air Canada has today confirmed it has, in conjunction with a number of Canadian financial institutions, secured agreement in principle to buy back the programme. This should secure a relatively smooth transition for Aeroplan members to the new programme. (Air Canada)

Late Post-Publication Updates

Delta has announced its summer 2019 transatlantic schedule. There are no announced changes to London Heathrow routes. However, it is launching a new route from Amsterdam to Tampa. It is also suspending its seasonal route from Paris Charles de Gaulle, presumably in response to BA launching this route from London Heathrow. (Delta)

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