London Air Travel’s Atlantic Update – 22 January 2020

Welcome to London Air Travel’s weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel » Atlantic Update » London Air Travel’s Atlantic Update – 22 January 2020

Manhattan at Sunrise
Manhattan at Sunrise (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

Hello and welcome to London Air Travel’s Atlantic Update 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 GMT.

CMA Investigation Into AA/BA Joint Business

There is something that was been underway for quite some time. It may prove to be insignificant. It could otherwise prove to be seismic.

More than 10 years ago, the European Commission gave regulatory approval for AA and BA (as well as Finnair and Iberia) to have anti-trust immunity to operate their transatlantic joint business. As a condition of this, AA and BA had to make certain commitments slots available to willing entrants on certain overlapping routes between the two airlines. These included a number of routes from London to Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and New York.

In October 2018, the UK regulator, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) announced it was opening a review of the joint business pending the expiry of the above commitments and the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union.

Who knows what exactly is going on behind the scenes, but the review is taking considerably longer than expected. Last week, the CMA announced it has added Aer Lingus, which is currently seeking approval from the US Department of Transportation to be added to the joint business, to the scope of its review.

AA and BA will be able to say with some considerable justification that joint business has helped BA launch many new transatlantic routes from London Heathrow, where additional sales from AA’s local customer base can be vital to making thinner routes profitable. Nor could either airlines be accused of reducing capacity on over-lapping routes.

However, it will certainly be the case that there will have been intense lobbying by JetBlue to secure new remedy slots at London Heathrow. Norwegian has also sought to secure slots at Heathrow. Airlines using regulatory reviews to secure Heathrow slots for free isn’t new. However, it also the case from the CMA’s work in other industries that it is prepared to flex its muscles and will take whatever time it sees fit.

Meanwhile, the AA and BA joint business continues to operate as normal, but both airlines will be awaiting the CMA’s findings with interest.

LATAM Moves Away From Oneworld

LATAM continues to move away from the Oneworld alliance.

It will relocate from New York JFK Terminal 8 to Terminal 4 from Saturday 1 February 2020 to co-locate with Delta. On that note, Delta has sought to grow its presence at Miami by adding routes to Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City and Tampa from this summer.

Also of note this week:

The developer of Hudson Yards New York backtracks on plans to construct a wall that would back up to the High Line. (New York Times)

The Terminal Warehouse in West Chelsea, New York is to be redeveloped. (Curbed New York).

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

British Airways has announced it will operate the Airbus A380 from London Heathrow to Las Vegas on selected dates in January 2021 to coincide with the annual Consumer Electronics Show.

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