The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 24 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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Charleston, South Carolina (Image Credit: Charleston)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 24 October 2018, our weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America.

A New Trend: The “Pop Up” Transatlantic Route?

Over the past four years, BA has methodically added one new Boeing 787 transatlantic route to its London Heathrow – North America route network at a time.

It started with Austin in 2014. San Jose, New Orleans and Nashville subsequently followed, almost exactly 12 months apart.

When BA announced Pittsburgh from April 2019 in July, it was assumed that would be it for another 12 months.

Those airports, such as St Louis, that had missed out this time would have to wait another year. As IAG CEO Willie Walsh had previously said there were about five US cities BA could serve profitably with the Boeing 787 it was also assumed that it would soon exhaust potential new routes.

Not so. Last week announced another new route to Charleston. However, this route announcement is different. It is seasonal and it only operates twice weekly.

It is extremely rare for BA to launch seasonal long-haul routes at Heathrow. It does of course have a strong summer seasonal short-haul programme with approximately 20 routes operating typically twice a week.

This is plainly aimed at the premium leisure market. It is a market that serves BA well. Passengers book well in advance. It has also proven to be resilient in a downturn in a way that corporate traffic isn’t.

Anecdotally, the launch of Charleston has attracted interest from those who have previously visited the region and do not relish an international-domestic connections at US airports.

It is no secret that a lot of US airports covet a potential direct link to Europe and will offer incentive packages such as revenue guarantees and reduced landing fees.

If this route is considered a success, do not be surprised to see many more US airports offer incentives to BA to launch more seasonal long-haul routes. Many readers no doubt have their preferred destinations in the US and would gladly take a direct route.

Although BA has to reach a ceiling on its US route network at some point, this could prove to be transformational in terms of direct US routes from London.

Clock Changes

A quick reminder that in the UK our clocks go back one hour from BST to GMT this coming Sunday.

However, in the US, clocks do not go back until Sunday 4 November.

Who Moved My [American] Cheese?

Politicians and food do not mix.

Most go out of their way not to be photographed eating. When John Kerry was the Democratic Presidential nominee in the 2004 US election he committed a terrible faux pas. He asked for Swiss cheese on a Philadelphia cheesesteak instead of processed Cheese-Wizz.

Such is the reverse snobbery associated with food in America, he was eviscerated in the US media. In a much simpler time, Barack Obama was also criticised for ordering a hamburger with Dijon mustard. However, there are signs that tastes are changing. Bloomberg, pointing the finger of blame at millennials, says Americans are abandoning American cheese in favour of, well, actual cheese.

Also of note this week:

Renderings have been released of the new station that will connect Los Angeles Metro Rail to an automated people mover at Los Angeles airport. (Urbanize LA)

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey has submitted its plan to build an AirTrain from LaGuardia airport to a station at Willets Point in Queens which would connect to the Long Island Railroad and the 7 Subway line, which in turn will take passengers to Grand Central Station or Penn Station. This has already been criticised for requiring a circuitous route and for not extending the Subway to the airport instead. (Curbed New York)

New York’s Grand Central Station marks 40 years since it was saved from demolition. This was too late for the original Pennsylvania Station. (CityLab)

CBS “60 Minutes” asks why the New York Subway has gone off the rails. (CBS News)

Behind the scenes on LX40 from Zurich to Los Angeles. (SWISS)

Wow Air suspends three transatlantic routes from Reykjavik it had launched a matter of months ago: Cincinnati, Cleveland, and St Louis. It will however launch a seasonal route to Vancouver next summer. (USA Today EU)

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