The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 18 July 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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Airbus A220-300 Aircraft (Image Credit: Airbus)
Airbus A220-300 Aircraft (Image Credit: Airbus)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 18 July 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

New US Airline Commits To 60 Airbus A220-300 Aircraft

When Virgin America was folded into Alaska Airlines earlier this year, many passengers mourned the passing of a young upstart and continued consolidation in the US airline industry.

There now appears to be firm plans for a new US airline start-up. Airbus has confirmed that an as yet unnamed airline has committed to 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft (formerly known as the Bombardier CSeries) for delivery from 2021. Last week JetBlue also announced that it had ordered 60 of the Airbus A220-300 aircraft.

The new airline will be founded by a group of investors led by David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue. It should be noted that at this stage there is only a Memorandum Of Understanding, and not a firm order.

Breaking into the US domestic market is not easy. Readers may recall the launch of Virgin America was subject to intensive lobbying efforts which delayed its launch. There were also competitive responses to new route launches with incumbent airlines aggressively adding capacity on matching routes to dilute fares.

United Fleet Order

On a more cautious note, United has announced it has ordered 25 Embraer E-175 aircraft and 4 new Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

The new Embraer aircraft will be delivered in 2019 and will replace an equivalent number of CRJ-700 aircraft operated by United Express. The Boeing 787-9 aircraft will be delivered in 2020 and will also act as replacement aircraft, but no further detail has been provided.

Primera Air confirms Winter transatlantic schedule

Primera Air’s launch of transatlantic routes from the UK did not get off to the best start.

It cancelled the planned launch of transatlantic routes from Birmingham to Newark and Toronto. The launch of Stansted to Toronto was delayed. It had to wet lease aircraft to cover Stansted – Newark and this route has been beset by delays and cancellations.

However, Primera Air is soldiering on into the winter. Routes from Stansted to Newark, Toronto and Washington will continue throughout the winter. Stansted to Boston will end in early December. Primera Air has yet to confirm schedules for Summer 2019.

US “Big Three” Airlines Release Q2 Results

All of the “Big Three” US airlines have now released their Q2 financial results.

Some performed better than expectations, notably United. There is less positive news at Delta which is seen as the industry leader. It reported a fall in net profit. A key theme is increasing fuel prices which airlines will seek to pass on to passengers through higher ticket prices. No doubt this will be a similar theme in Europe as well.

Also Of Note This Week

Air Canada is to open a refurbished Maple Leaf Lounge in St John’s International Airport this autumn. (Air Canada)

Alaska Airlines launches its new summer menu which will be available until 15 November 2018. (Alaska Airlines)

Late Post Publication Updates:

[Reseved for updates during the day.]

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 11 July 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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jetBlue Airbus A220-300 aircraft
jetBlue Airbus A220-300 aircraft (Image Credit: Airbus)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 11 July 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

JetBlue to order the Airbus A220-300

Airbus held a press event yesterday, Tuesday 10 July 2018, to mark the launch of the Airbus A220-100 and A220-300.

These aircraft were formerly known as the Bombardier C-Series CS100 and CS300. SWISS operate the A220-300 on selected flights between London Heathrow and Geneva.

JetBlue has announced it has ordered 60 A220-300 aircraft which will be delivered from 2020. It also has options for a further 60 aircraft which, if exercised, would be delivered from 2025. The aircraft will be used to replace JetBlue’s existing fleet of 60 Embraer E190 aircraft from 2020 to 2025.

JetBlue has also converted an existing order 25 Airbus A320neo to Airbus A321neo aircraft.

It is interesting to note that the JetBlue press release makes no mention of any orders for the Airbus A321 Long Range which, if ordered, could be used to launch services to Europe.

Virgin Atlantic adds flights for Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show

Last year Virgin Atlantic added special flights from London Heathrow to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronic Show.

These will return in 2019. Virgin Atlantic will add additional flights from London Heathrow to Las Vegas on Saturday 5, Sunday 6, Monday 7 and Thursday 10 January 2019. Return flights from Las Vegas operate on Saturday 5, Sunday 6, Thursday 10 and Friday 11 January 2019.

This is in advance of Virgin permanently moving the route from Gatwick to Heathrow from Sunday 31 March 2019.

Virgin Atlantic’s transatlantic joint-venture partner Delta will also operate special flights between Amsterdam, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Las Vegas along with Air France and KLM.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 11 July 2018”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 4 July 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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Cape Cod
Cape Cod, Massachusetts (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 4 July 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

You say deplane, I say disembark

Today is of course Independence Day in the United States, at a very challenging time for many constitutional norms in the country.

Judging by our Instagram feeds, many are spending it in Cape Cod, pictured above, where its always fun to fly around on Cape Air and its tiny Cessna 402 aircraft.

Primera Air Delays

Primera Air is almost three months into long-haul operations at London Stansted.

It is now flying to Newark, Boston and Toronto, with Washington Dulles to follow in August. However, it has not been an easy start. Primera Air has had to lease in aircraft to cover the late delivery of Airbus 321 aircraft. Flights to Newark have been covered by National Airlines Boeing 757 aircraft over the past ten days or so. However, this has resulted in delays with some departures delayed extensively into the early hours of the morning, resulting in a brutal early morning arrival in New York.

Long-haul operations aren’t easy for small airlines as its much harder to cover aircraft availability issues with such a small fleet and without the support of joint-venture and alliance partners. However, a reputation of operational reliability is vital for all airlines, particularly new market entrants.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 4 July 2018”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 27 June 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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Norwegian Boeing 787 at London Gatwick
Norwegian Boeing 787 at London Gatwick (Image Credit: Norwegian)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 27 June 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

Norwegian reshapes London Gatwick long-haul network

Norwegian announced a new route from London Gatwick to Tampa earlier this week. The airline will fly to Tampa twice weekly from Wednesday 31 October 2018.

Norwegian was naturally keen to emphasise its expanding network from Gatwick. Whilst that is true, arguably the real story is that Norwegian is cutting back some routes which have launched only very recently, notably Austin and Chicago. Both routes launched at the end of March this year. Norwegian is to suspend Austin for the winter, along with Seattle. Chicago, a route which Virgin Atlantic long struggled with at Heathrow, will be reduced from daily to four times weekly. Oakland will also be cut from four to three times weekly.

This does suggest Norwegian has reached a ceiling on new routes to North America, at least with the Boeing 787. On a more positive note, Boston and Fort Lauderdale will increase to daily. Norwegian is also increasing frequency to Orlando from three to four times weekly.

Full details of the route changes are here.

BA suspends Oakland permanently

BA has now suspended London Gatwick – Oakland permanently.

This route had been suspended for the winter and was due to resume at the end of March 2019. However, it has now been suspended indefinitely.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a refund. Passengers can also travel to San Francisco International Airport from London Heathrow. However, any consequential costs such as ground transportation will be at your expense.

Passengers who were due to fly after 31 March 2019 also have the option of flying from London Heathrow to Seattle on BA and connecting on to an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Oakland.

BA has not yet indicated how the spare capacity at Gatwick may be utilised. BA’s IAG sibling LEVEL did move one of its flights from Oakland to San Francisco, which may provide a clue.

Severe Weather Warning

US airlines are warning of severe weather in the North East of the USA on Wednesday 27 June 2018.

Delta has issued a weather waiver for passengers due to travel through Boston, New York and Washington area airports.

Inside The American Embassy

On a slight tangent, readers in the UK can watch the first episode of the three part documentary Inside The American Embassy from Channel 4.

Produced by Field Day Productions, the programme affords a very rare insight into the workings of the US Embassy which, at both Grosvenor Square and Vauxhall, has long had a strong visible presence in London, but only from the outside. Many readers may have course visited the embassy for Global Entry interviews. There is a vague aviation connection in the first episode!

Also of note this week:

Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, has announced that the Florida Department of Transportation will begin a tender process to allow private companies to bid to construct a new high speed rail link between Orlando and Tampa, which must be privately funded. A new passenger rail service Brightline between Miami and West Palm Beach also launched earlier this year. (Florida Department of Transportation)

Also, here’s an extraordinary account from The New York Times as to why local public transport projects, which seem so obvious to outsiders, are so politically fraught in the US.

Late Post Publication Updates:

[Reseved for updates during the day.]

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 20 June 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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Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 20 June 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

Does Lufthansa really want to buy Norwegian?

Interest in the possible sale of Norwegian was piqued earlier this week after Lufthansa revealed it had held discussions with the airline about a possible bid.

It appears that no offer has been tabled. Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr made only vague comments about ongoing consolidation in Europe. Lufthansa is of course no stranger to low cost travel. It has transferred all short-haul operations outside of its Frankfurt and Munich hubs to Eurowings. It has also launched low cost long-haul routes under the Eurowings brand, but has stayed firmly in its home territory at cities such as Cologne and Dusseldorf.

This is in sharp contrast to both Norwegian and IAG’s own low cost long-haul brand LEVEL which have sought to become true pan-European brands.

Lufthansa buying Norwegian would give it a substantial presence at Gatwick. And this would not the first time Lufthansa has gained a strong foothold in London. It acquired full control of bmi British Midland in 2009, albeit not entirely at a time and price of its choosing. Its former owner Sir Michael Bishop exercised an option to sell the airline to Lufthansa that had previously been agreed in 1999. Three years later, after heavy losses and many cash injections through debt for equity swaps, Lufthansa sold bmi to BA’s parent company IAG and substantially weakened the Star Alliance in London in the process.

Whoever takes over Norwegian will need to undertake aggressive action to improve its financial performance. IAG would probably retain the Norwegian brand and it has indicated it would keep its existing customer proposition in tact. What IAG would probably do is curtail its growth ambitions, refocus the route network on profitable flying and transfer many back office functions to its internal Global Business Services platform. It is not so certain that Lufthansa would be able to do this with the same vigour. It is also uncertain whether Lufthansa would have the appetite to compete at Gatwick where BA has already made a number of competitive moves against Norwegian.

Fort Lauderdale Runway Closure

The Associated Press reports that Fort Lauderdale airport is to close one of its two runways for five months from June 2019.

During this time all arriving and departing flights will have to use the south runway. This is likely to lead to a reduction in flights to the airport of around 20-25%.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 20 June 2018”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 13 June 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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Terminal 2, Dublin Airport
Terminal 2, Dublin Airport (Image Credit: Dublin Airport)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 13 June 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

Willie Walsh on Aer Lingus growth opportunities

International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh spoke at the IATA AGM last week and GTMC conference this week. At both events, Willie Walsh was keen to talk about the growth opportunities for Aer Lingus.

Whilst Aer Lingus may not be the largest member of IAG, by profit margin it is the star pupil of the group. In recent years it has added many new transatlantic routes including Miami, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Next year, Aer Lingus will take delivery of four of twelve Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft on order. This aircraft is a variant of the Airbus A321neo with a range of 4,000 nautical miles. Aer Lingus has invited US airports to express an interest in it opening new routes. Unsurprisingly, there has been a strong response from many airports.

It is expected that new routes operated by the Airbus A321 Long Range next year will be announced in the coming months, as well as additional frequencies to existing routes. This could well introduce new transatlantic routes to Europe, with the benefit of Customs & immigration pre-clearance in Dublin.

On a related note, there is still no word of any progress in Aer Lingus joining either the transatlantic joint-venture with American Airlines and BA, nor the Oneworld alliance.

As far as BA is concerned, it has traditionally announced one new long-haul route from London Heathrow to North America a year. The most recent ones being Austin, San Jose, New Orleans and Nashville. However, Willie Walsh did indicate that this was unlikely to happen this year.

BA Confirms Calgary Suspension

British Airways has suspended London Heathrow – Calgary for the winter season

As reported last week, BA has confirmed it has suspended London Heathrow – Calgary from Sunday 28 October 2018 to Sunday 31 March 2019.

Full details of rebooking options are here. Passengers are entitled to a refund, or to rebook to an alternative BA destination in the US and Canada. BA has now also secured a rebooking agreement with United Airlines via Chicago O’Hare and other hubs in the US. Further rebooking options may become available in the next few days.

It is relatively rare for BA to suspend a transatlantic route from Heathrow, even for the winter season. The last suspension we can recall is London Heathrow – Detroit in 2008.

Also of note this week:

United’s first Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft enters service. (United)

Late Post Publication Updates:

[Reseved for updates during the day.]

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday at 06:00 BST. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 6 June 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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American Airlines, Jet Blue, United, Virgin Atlantic Pride Logos (Respective Image Credit)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 6 June 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

BA takes London Heathrow – Calgary off sale for the winter

British Airways has taken its route from London Heathrow to Calgary off sale for the winter season from Sunday 28 October 2018 to Sunday 31 March 2019.

The airline has not officially confirmed the suspension. An official statement, with details for rebooking arrangements for affected passengers, should be released in the next couple of days.

The route launched in December 2006 with a Boeing 767 aircraft. It then switched to a Boeing 787 aircraft in July 2014.

BA does not have a local airline partner in Canada. Its codeshare partnership with WestJet ceased, for reasons never disclosed, in October 2016. In the absence of local codeshare partners, BA passengers would have to connect onto American Airlines’ services to Calgary from the US.

Primera Air cancels long-haul flights from Birmingham

Primera has cancelled its entire long-haul schedule from Birmingham International Airport for the summer.

Flights from Birmingham to Newark will be suspended from Thursday 21 June 2018. Toronto Pearson will not launch as originally planned on Tuesday 26 June 2018.

Whilst the finger of blame has been pointed squarley at Airbus for late deliveries of Airbus A321neo aircraft, this is indicative how hard long-haul operations are for relatively small airlines.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 6 June 2018”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 30 May 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.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

Delta Uniform May 2018
Delta New Staff Uniform May 2018 (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 30 May 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

New York Subway Upgrade

The New York Subway has had well documented problems of late, particularly with regard to derailments and ever increasing delays, to such an extent it has planned placed in a “state of emergency”

Whilst the Subway can claim to have the advantage of operating 24 hours day (thanks to it having twin tracks) and is more affordable than The Tube, it falls far short in many other areas.

The Tube has long accepted contactless payments. However, the Subway is still stuck with Metrocards which easily stop working. The Subway has only very recently installed countdown clocks on platforms. And why are there so few maps on the platforms? On the trains, driver announcements are inaudible.

The President of New York City Transit Andy Byford has in the past week issued a new plan “Fast Forward” to modernise the city’s transport.

The proposals include a signifiant upgrade to Subway cars and signalling systems. These were originally planned to take place over 40 years. It is now proposed these are done in 10. This is likely to involve the temporary closure of lines, something that we are of course familiar with in London.

Note that funding for this plan has not yet been confirmed and it is subject to approval by the Metropolitan Transport Authority.

As per an extensive investigation by The New York Times last year, the Subway is mired in local politics as it owned by New York City, but the MTA is overseen by the state of New York.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 30 May 2018”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 23 May 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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Robert Indiana "LOVE", Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2013
Robert Indiana “LOVE” photographed at “Beyond LOVE” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2013 (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 23 May 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

United secures access to The Private Suite at Los Angeles

United has announced that it has secured access to a recently constructed private terminal known as The Private Suite for business class passengers flying between London Heathrow and Los Angeles international airport.

The Private Suite is operated at Los Angeles international airport by a third party, Gavin de Becker and Associates.

Departing passengers will have access to a dedicated private check-in, security screening channel and lounge, as well as private car transfer to their aircraft. Arriving passengers will have a private car transfer go through a private Customs and Immigration process and baggage reclaim. The food and beverage in the lounge itself actually looks quite modest.

The pricing and booking process is a little ambiguous, to say the least. The Private Suite will initially only be available through selected corporate travel booking desks and travel agents. It will eventually be able for purchase through the United website and app. Availability is also limited and on a first come first served basis.

United say they have negotiated a preferential rate with The Private Suite. However, to put this into context, the headline membership rate for The Private Suite is $4,500 per annum and the one-way fee for an international passenger is $3,000 for members and $4,000 for non-members.

It is worth adding that United is due to open a new Polaris lounge in Los Angeles airport later this year, which should impress. This service seems clearly aimed at passengers seeking privacy above all else away from the main airport terminal.

There’s more detail on the United website. London Heathrow also offers a similar service called Heathrow VIP.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 23 May 2018”

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 16 May 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.

London Air Travel » The Atlantic Update

KLM, Air France, Delta, Virgin Atlantic Tailfins (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)
KLM, Air France, Delta, Virgin Atlantic Tailfins (Image Credit: Delta Air Lines)

Hello and welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 16 May 2018, providing a weekly bulletin on developments on transatlantic travel between Europe and North America. The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday morning at 06:00 BST.

Air France-KLM, Delta & Virgin Atlantic agree joint-venture

It was nearly twelve months ago that Virgin Atlantic announced that Air France-KLM was to acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic from Virgin Group.

This transaction will leave Delta as the single largest shareholder in Virgin Atlantic and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group will cede control of the airline.

As part of this Delta’s respective transatlantic joint-ventures with Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic will be combined into one.

Air France-KLM and Delta have yesterday, Tuesday 15 May 2018, announced that all parties have now agreed commercial terms on the joint-venture. This will cover matters such as capacity planning and revenue sharing.

They will now seek regulatory approval from the European Commission and Department of Justice. It is likely that approval will be granted. Given there is no overlap of direct routes between the two joint-ventures, it is unlikely there will be much, if anything, in terms of remedies.

Once regulatory approval has been granted, Air France-KLM will acquire a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic.

At a minimum, once the enlarged joint-venture comes into effect, you will see reciprocal codesharing and frequent flyer recognition between Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic.
Continue reading “The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 16 May 2018”