The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 10 October 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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CGI Image of redeveloped New York JFK
CGI Image of redeveloped New York JFK (Image Credit: Governor of New York State)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 10 October 2018, our weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

New York JFK Development Plan

Last week the Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo heralded a $13billion revamp of New York JFK.

Anyone who has flown out of New York JFK with any degree of frequency will be familiar with the airport’s problems.

It does not give a good first impression on arrival to visitors who face a long journey to their hotels on Subway cars not equipped for passengers with luggage as there is no direct rail link to Manhattan.

On departure, there are long queues from pushback from the terminal gate to take off. Delays are common place. Many professional pilots do not have a particularly high opinion of Air Traffic Control.

Terminals 1 and 2 will be demolished and a new $7billion 2.9m sq ft terminal will be built in their place and on a site formerly occupied by Terminal 3. It will be constructed by a consortium of four airlines, Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air Lines and Lufthansa. The new terminal will be operated by Munich Airport International and connected to the existing Terminal 4.

Another new $3billion 1.2m sq ft terminal will be constructed by JetBlue on a site formerly occupied by Terminal 6 and a to be demolished Terminal 7. It will be connected to JetBlue’s current home in Terminal 5.

This is a typically American approach to infrastructure investment, namely heralding private sector investment and not actually being prepared to spend public money on fixing underlying problems.

Whilst there is some public funding to improve road access, that’s about it. There are also no new runways and no improvements to Air Traffic Control.

For UK based passengers, the biggest news is that Terminal 7, home to BA’s JFK operation, will be demolished. BA has to yet to comment on these plans. It is of course in the middle of a revamp of the terminal with the new First lounge having opened last week.

Logically, BA could move to Terminal 8 to colocate with American Airlines. AA and BA are at a disadvantage to Delta and Virgin Atlantic at JFK, and indeed Heathrow, in that they do not share terminals.

Hurricane Michael

US and UK transatlantic airlines have been preparing Hurricane Michael which is approaching the Florida Gulf Coast.

At the time of writing it has been upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane. Airports most at risk of disruption include Destin / Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Pensacola and Tallahassee in Florida. Delta announced on Tuesday evening that it had proactively cancelled 40 domestic flights from these airports.

Airports in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina may also be at risk of disruption. These include Mobile, Alabama. Augusta and Savannah, Georgia. Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

American Airlines and Delta have implemented flexible rebooking policies.

BA has also implemented a flexible rebooking policy for passengers due to travel to the region to rebook up to Thursday 11 October to rebook up to Sunday 14 October 2018.

Weather updates are also available from the National Hurricane Center.

BA increases to Nashville to daily from next summer

When BA launched its new route to Nashville in May of this year, it was very upbeat about its early success.

Traffic figures indicated that it hit load factors of 90% in its first months of operation. The route launched with a five times weekly service. This will reduce to four times weekly over the winter. It will however increase to daily from Sunday 31 March 2019.

The route will continue to be operated with a three class Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. If the progress of Austin is anything to go by, it may be upgraded to a Boeing 777 or Boeing 747 in the coming years.

WestJet Media Event

WestJet is holding a media event in Calgary today where its CEO Ed Sims will make a “special announcement concerning WestJet’s vision of building a prosperous and globally connected city and province.”

The announcement will be made at 07:30 MT / 14:30 BST. We’ll update this page with any noteworthy details.

Late Post-Publication Updates

[Reserved for updates during the day.]

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