London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing – 9 May 2022

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Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 9 May 2022.

American Airlines Marks 40 Years In London

American Airlines will shortly mark 40 years in London.

It was 40 years ago this week, on 13 May, that Braniff International filed for bankruptcy protection after suspending all flights the day before.

Founded in 1928, the heavily indebted airline expanded rapidly following the deregulation of the US aviation market in 1978. Braniff launched a daily service from Gatwick to Dallas / Fort Worth with its self styled “Big Orange” Boeing 747.

American Airlines, London Gatwick - Dallas / Fort Worth, May 1982
American Airlines, London Gatwick – Dallas / Fort Worth, May 1982

American Airlines soon launched its own service from Gatwick to Dallas / Fort Worth with its Boeing 747.

American would later take advantage of the financial weakness of another longstanding US airline, Trans World Airlines.

In the 1980s Pan Am and TWA were the only two international US airlines that could serve Heathrow. Both had large & complex international operations. Following deregulation they struggled against airlines like American with large domestic networks, sophisticated passenger reservation systems and frequent flyer programmes.

American Airlines bought TWA’s London route authorities for $445 million and secured access to Heathrow from July 1991. Its first Heathrow routes were Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK and Newark.

At the time American and BA were rivals. BA was deeply frustrated that US ownership laws denied it access the US domestic market, something the US government has steadfastly refused to give up.

After the EU Open-Skies Treaty BA and American were, on their third attempt, able to secure anti-trust immunity for a transatlantic joint venture. This also allowed American to consolidate all London routes at Heathrow. American would later absorb US Airways and its transatlantic hubs in Charlotte and Philadelphia.

Whilst US airlines used to be some way behind BA & Virgin Atlantic, joint ventures have prompted them to upgrade their cabins & add premium economy.

AA & BA continue to co-ordinate and consolidate airport operations, both at Heathrow and New York JFK. We may also well see an American Airlines Flagship lounge at Heathrow in the future.

BA Route Network Updates

Here are a few BA long haul route network updates at London Heathrow:

Nashville restarts today. Seattle has increased to twice daily. New York JFK is now operating up to seven times daily.

Some routes are subject to frequency reductions later in the summer, including many such as Bahrain & Houston that have only just benefited from increases.

Nairobi also reduces to five times weekly from June. Johannesburg reduces to daily in June & July.

Airbus A380 flights to Dubai have ended and restart to Boston (BA213 / BA212) today.

Also of interest this week:

easyJet will remove a row of seats from its UK Airbus A319 fleet. This will cap passenger numbers at 150 so cabin crew numbers can reduce to 3. (BBC News)

BBC Radio 4’s “What Really Happened In The Nineties?” looks at the rise of low cost air travel. (BBC Sounds)

News from London Air Travel you may have missed:

BA’s parent company IAG releases its first quarter results and sets out plans to overcome operational issues at Heathrow. (London Air Travel)

And on that note, Finnair operates some BA short haul flights from Heathrow Terminal 3. (London Air Travel)

Qantas brings forward restart of non-stop flights to Perth. (London Air Travel)

Late post publication updates:

[Reserved for updates throughout the day]

Loganair is to end its service between London Heathrow and Teesside on 24 May 2022. Loganair and Teesside Airport have issued a joint statement citing rising fuel prices and Heathrow passenger charges as the reason behind the suspension.

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