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.

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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.

British Airways joins TSA PreCheck (in part)

Many airlines on both sides of the atlantic participate in the Transport Security Administration PreCheck programme.

This allows eligible passengers of participating airlines to go through an expedited security screening process at US airports. It is only available when flying on designated airlines at certain US airports.

BA is not yet officially part of the programme. However, it has been known for some time that the airline has been working on joining behind the scenes.

It appears that eligible travellers can now enter their known traveller number in the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com at least three days before departure.

However, in order to be able to use TSA PreCheck you have to either print your boarding pass at home or at the airport. It is not currently available with mobile/online boarding passes as these are not yet enabled for TSA PreCheck.

Primera Air

Primera Air launches its latest transatlantic routes from Stansted shortly.

After its inaugural route to Newark, Boston launches from Friday 18 May 2018, operating four times weekly. Toronto follows on Thursday 31 May 2018, operating three times weekly. Both will be operated with Airbus A321 aircraft.

United announces more flights from Newark and Washington Dulles

United Airlines has announced an increased flying schedule from Newark and Washington Dulles from 4 October 2018.

United will increase frequency on 15 domestic routes from Newark. It will also operate Newark – Key West all year round and launch a seasonal route from Newark to Palm Springs from Wednesday 19 December 2018 to Saturday 30 March 2019.

United will also transfer flights from Newark to Chattanooga, Tennessee; Ithaca, New York, and Scranton, Pennsylvania to Washington Dulles. (United)

Delta introduces pre-ordering of meals

Delta is extending the ability to pre-order meals in its “Delta One” international business class from Friday 1 June 2018.

This will apply to all Delta operated flights between London Heathrow and the US. In order to pre-order you need to be a member of the Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer programme. Passengers will receive an e-mail three days before their flight inviting them to choose their meal. (Delta)

BA Nashville Competition

BA is offering members of the Executive Club the chance to win return flights to Nashville for two (in economy!) with four nights accommodation between Saturday 14 July 2018 to Wednesday 31 October 2018.

To qualify, you have to convert £5 worth of Tesco Clubcard vouchers into Avios (1,200) between Monday 14 May 2018 and Thursday 31 May 2018.

To enter log on to your Executive Club account and follow the link under News & Offers.

Florida’s Brightline extends to Miami

It’s not often you hear of new rail lines in North America.

However, the Brightline in Florida will begin a regular scheduled train service from Miami Central this Saturday 19 May 2018, four months after its initial launch. It will serve Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach eight times a day in both directions. An extension to Orlando is also planned. (Brightline)

Also of note this week:

American Airlines opens five new gates (the means by which airlines obtain capacity at US airports) at Chicago O’Hare. (American Airlines)

Late Post Publication Updates:

Virgin Atlantic to move Las Vegas route to London Heathrow and add second daily flight to Boston from Sunday 31 March 2019. (London Air Travel)

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