The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 28 November 2018

The Atlantic Update is a weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.

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"Flotsam and Jetsam", Miami Design District
“Flotsam and Jetsam”, Miami Design District (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 28 November 2018.

JetBlue responds to Air France-KLM, Delta, & Virgin Atlantic JV

JetBlue has yesterday, Tuesday 27 November 2018, filed a motion before the US Department of Transportation.

This follows a request by Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic to combine their two transatlantic joint-ventures into one.

JetBlue does not object to the combined joint-venture per se, but requests that the Department demand the production of additional data and evidence. It should then undertake a rigorous competitive analysis of the transatlantic market.

JetBlue cities, inter alia, the failure of Primera Air, the proposed acquisition of Wow Air by Icelandair and IAG’s acquisition of Aer Lingus and its bid for Norwegian, that transatlantic traffic is heavily dominated by the three major airline alliances.

JetBlue is particularly concerned at the consolidation of competition at London Heathrow where Delta and Virgin may be able to utilise Air France and KLM’s slot portfolio, as well as Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports.

Underlying this is JetBlue’s own ambition to launch transatlantic flights to the UK and Europe from Boston and New York. Clearly, if sufficient new remedy slots become available at Heathrow, these could enable JetBue to fulfil its plans. (Airline Info)

UK – US Open Skies

The Financial Times reports that negotiators from the UK are due to meet in Washington today for a final round of talks to agree a UK-US Open Skies agreement.

This will, for airlines flying between the UK and the US, replace the existing EU-US Open Skies agreement following the end of the transition period after the UK leaves the European Union.

Existing UK based airlines operating flights from the UK will retain their rights to fly to the US under grandfathering provisions. However, any new market entrants will have to demonstrate that they are majority owned and controlled in the UK.

Unsurprisingly, UK airlines will not be able to participate in the “Fly America” programme which mandates that US Government employees fly on US airlines. (Financial Times)

American Airlines introduces Boeing 787-9 on Heathrow – Chicago O’Hare

American Airlines will increase capacity on two of its four daily return flights from London Heathrow – Chicago O’Hare from Sunday 31 March 2019.

Flights AA47/AA46 and AA87/AA86 will be operated with the larger Boeing 787-9, instead of the Boeing 787-8. This features a much larger business class cabin and premium economy.

Given recent changes on transatlantic routes shared between AA and BA, there are signs that AA is focusing on its major US hubs in Charlotte, Dallas Fort-Worth, Philadelphia, and Phoenix, with BA focusing on other hubs such as Miami.

Air Canada to acquire Aeroplan

Air Canada has confirmed it is to acquire the “Aeroplan” frequent flyer programme which is currently owned by Aimia.

The transaction is expected to complete in early January 2019. Air Canada has also signed commercial agreements with The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), and Visa Canada to secure their continued participation in the programme. Air Canada is expected to launch a new frequent flyer programme in 2020.

Art Miami / Art Basel Miami

Miami has become an increasingly credible destination for art and design in recent years, with the Miami Design District.

If you’re heading to Miami in early December Art Miami and Art Basel will be underway from Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 December 2018.

Also of note this week:

United announces new domestic services from Paine Field / Snohomish County Airport in Washington State to Denver and San Francisco from Sunday 31 March 2019. (United)

Late Post Publication Updates

[Reserved for updates during the day.]

Norwegian is to transfer its existing routes from Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale and Oakland to Miami and San Francisco International respectively from Sunday 31 March 2019.

Norwegian will serve Miami daily and San Francisco five times weekly. Norwegian cites customer demand and cargo capability for the decision.

This will leave Oakland with no direct service to the London. BA did launch Fort Lauderdale from Gatwick after Norwegian but is likely to maintain the route, as it pairs well with Heathrow – Miami and allows passengers to mix and match Florida airports.

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