Delta Air Lines has just caused a major upset in the order of the three major global airline alliances.
Delta is to acquire a 20% stake in LATAM Airlines Group and form a new strategic partnership with the airline. LATAM is currently a member of the Oneworld alliance and LATAM is expected to leave Oneworld. However, there are no plans for LATAM to join Skyteam.
LATAM, which was formed from the merger of LAN and former Star Alliance member TAM Airlines, had been seeking to secure two immunised joint-ventures with American Airlines and British Airways and Iberia. However, these have stalled due to objections from regulators in Chile. These joint-ventures are now off the table.
Delta of course owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic, which is to launch Heathrow – Sao Paulo next year. LATAM currently flies from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo, which is also codeshared with BA. It seems inevitable that this will be replaced with a new codeshare with Virgin Atlantic. It may also help Virgin launch more routes to Latin America.
As part of the transaction Delta will acquire four Airbus A350 aircraft from LATAM. Delta has also agreed to take on LATAM’s commitment to purchase 10 additional A350 aircraft to be delivered from 2020 to 2025. Full details of the transaction are available from Delta.
It is no exaggeration to say this is a significant blow for Oneworld, particularly American Airlines, Iberia and, to a lesser extent, BA. It was a coup for Oneworld to beat Star Alliance to secure membership of the combined airline five years ago, and this is a signifiant loss.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic are to launch two new routes from London Gatwick to Boston and & New York from May 2020.
Virgin Atlantic will fly from Gatwick to New York JFK from Thursday 21 May 2020. Flights will be operated with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
Delta will fly from Gatwick to Boston from Friday 22 May 2020. Flights will operated with Boeing 757 aircraft.
Both routes will operate daily. This is in fact a return to New York JFK for Virgin Atlantic at Gatwick as it served the route from September 1989 before it moved to London Heathrow in July 1991.
Heathrow Schedule Changes
Delta & Virgin Atlantic have also confirmed the following changes to joint-services from London Heathrow from Sunday 29 March 2020.
Delta will take over one of Virgin Atlantic’s six daily frequencies from Heathrow to New York JFK, increasing Delta’s flights to New York JFK to three times daily. Delta’s return flight from New York JFK will operate as a day flight, complementing Virgin’s existing day flight.
Virgin Atlantic will increase frequencies from Heathrow to Los Angeles and Seattle. Flights to Los Angeles will increase from 14 to 17 times weekly. Flights to Seattle will increase from 7 to 11 times weekly. Los Angeles will also be the second destination after New York JFK to be operated with the new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.
All Delta flights between Heathrow and New York JFK and Boston will be fitted with refurbished Boeing 767-400 aircraft featuring its “Delta One” business class cabin and its new premium economy cabin, Delta Premium Select.
The times of the new flights are as follows:
Depart London Gatwick 10:30 – Arrive Boston 13:20 Depart Boston 21:00 – Arrive London Gatwick 08:45
Depart London Gatwick 12:55 – Arrive New York JFK 15:40 Depart New York JFK 19:30 – Arrive London Gatwick 07:50
Depart London Heathrow 07:30 – Arrive New York JFK 10:30 Depart New York JFK 10:15 – Arrive London Heathrow 22:25
Flights are not yet on sale, but should be shortly.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic have announced that the two airlines are to jointly fly from London Gatwick to Boston and New York JFK from 2020.
There’s a curious lack of detail in the announcement. Neither Delta nor Virgin Atlantic have confirmed which airlines will operating the routes, though Delta’s press release intimates that it will operate at least one of the routes. There’s also no mention of whether this will be a seasonal or year-round route, nor which aircraft will be used. In any event, eligible passengers will benefit from Virgin Atlantic ground facilities at Gatwick such as its Clubhouse in the North Terminal.
For Delta, this will mark a return to London Gatwick which it first served on 1 May 1978 flying to New Orleans via Atlanta using a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar aircraft. Virgin Atlantic launched daily flights from Gatwick to New York JFK in September 1989, and Boston in May 1991, before transferring both routes to London Heathrow after securing access to the airport in July 1991.
It is no accident that this announcement has been made ahead of a press event next week JetBlue which is expected to unveil plans to launch transatlantic flights to Europe. JetBlue has made no secret of its plans to launch transatlantic flights. It has been lobbying US regulatory authorities for slots at London Heathrow to be released as condition of Delta merging its transatlantic joint-ventures with Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic into one. However, this has yet to be concluded.
Boston is currently served from Gatwick by Norwegian. New York JFK is also served by BA and Norwegian. Whilst Delta is keen to emphasise its overall strength in Boston, London – Boston is a very important route for BA. Given BA serves Boston four times daily from Heathrow it would be surprising if it did not make a similar competitive response, should JetBlue announce plans to fly to Boston from Gatwick. These moves will of course place significant competitive pressure on Norwegian at Gatwick. JetBlue’s announcement on Wednesday 10 April 2019 is eagerly awaited.
Delta Air Lines is to suspend its route from London Heathrow to Philadelphia from Thursday 3 May 2018.
The route launched in April 2015 with the benefit of a pair of slots that American Airlines was required to relinquish as part of its merger with US Airways. It is understood that Delta should now have permanent rights to this slot pair.
It is not currently known what route Delta will operate instead. Bearing in mind that Virgin has also permanently suspended Chicago this latest route suspension does suggest that Delta and Virgin struggle on routes where rival alliances have higher frequencies.
Now that Delta has suspended London Heathrow – Philadelphia, this route will be operated exclusively by Oneworld alliance members and joint-venture American Airlines and British Airways.
Affected Delta passengers should have the option of being accommodated on alternative Delta and Virgin Atlantic services via gateways such as New York JFK.
Update January 2018:
An earlier version of this article stated that this route was suspended from Saturday 24 March 2018. This article has been updated as it has since emerged that flights will operate until Thursday 3 May 2018.
Delta Air Lines has announced it is to launch a new direct route from London Heathrow to Portland, Oregon from Friday 26 May 2017.
The route will operate four times a week on a summer seasonal basis to Portland International Airport using a Boeing 767-300 aircraft. The service will end in early October 2017, but will resume in May 2018.
Flights will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 3 (an earlier draft stated Terminal 4 before Delta consolidated all services at Terminal 3) and will be codeshared with Delta’s UK transatlantic joint-venture partner Virgin Atlantic.
This route will be the only direct flight between London and Portland. Flights are on sale now at the websites of both Delta and Virgin Atlantic.
The flight time from London to Portland is approximately 11 hours.
This is also a route that had been a likely contender for a new direct service by British Airways with its Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Delta’s announcement may prompt a rethink on BA’s part. BA may either launch this with a near daily year round service route, or choose another US city that is not already served from London.
Delta Air Lines continues its steady transatlantic growth at London Heathrow with the launch a new route to Salt Lake City in Utah from Sunday 1 May 2016.
The flight will operate on a summer seasonal basis. This will be the only direct flight from London Heathrow to Utah. Delta will also offer passengers connections to some 50 cities from Salt Lake City.
Flights will be operated with a Boeing 767-300 aircraft, with a two class, business & economy, service. Flights will depart from London Heathrow Terminal 3. It is codeshared with Delta’s transatlantic joint-venture partner, Virgin Atlantic.
We’re not quite sure what has prompted this but the co-location of Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights in Terminal 3 has been partially reversed, with Delta’s daily flights to Atlanta and Seattle moved to London Heathrow Terminal 4.
As of today, 29 March 2015, the split of Delta operated flights at London Heathrow is:
London Heathrow Terminal 3
London Heathrow Terminal 4
Philadelphia (launches 8 April 2015)
Delta has since co-located all of its transatlantic flights with Virgin Atlantic in London Heathrow Terminal 3.
Delta Air Lines has today announced the opening of a new arrivals lounge for eligible passengers at London Heathrow Terminal 3.
This is a sign of Delta’s continued investment in the London Heathrow market.
The arrivals lounge is located in arrivals hall of Terminal 3.
Delta BusinessElite passengers and SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members arriving from the United States have access to the lounge.
The lounge features 11 shower suites and clothes press and shoe shine services.
Breakfast includes Starbucks Coffee, fresh fruit, pastries, yoghurt and cereals and a prepared to order a la carte menu. Wi-Fi is available throughout the lounge, plus a business centre and a selection of the day’s newspapers.
We have to admit to being a little surprised by this news.
Virgin Atlantic and Delta, partners together in a relatively new transatlantic joint-venture, have announced that they will swap flights between London Heathrow and Los Angeles and Atlanta from 26 October 2014.
Delta will take over one of Virgin Atlantic’s twice daily London Heathrow – Los Angeles flights. Virgin Atlantic will take over one of Delta’s thrice daily London Heathrow – Atlanta flights.