Norwegian is to launch yet more long-haul routes from London Gatwick with the addition of Chicago O’Hare and Austin to its network from late March 2018
Norwegian will fly to Austin three times weekly from Tuesday 27 March 2018 and Chicago O’Hare four times weekly from Sunday 25 March 2018.
The launch of Austin will create a second link between London and the city. Currently, British Airways is the only airline to fly direct between London and Austin.
Yet more expansion by Norwegian is a major headache for both BA and Virgin Atlantic. Norwegian can now claim to serve two US states not served by Virgin Atlantic: Illinois and Texas. Virgin Atlantic suspended Chicago this year. BA has also coveted being the exclusive operator of routes such as Austin as it gives the airline pricing power in the market.
Virgin Atlantic has announced it is suspending its summer seasonal route from London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare airport from summer 2017.
The seasonal route had been due to return in 2017 from May to October. However, the route has now been suspended permanently.
It is something of understatement to say that the Chicago route has something of a chequered history at Virgin Atlantic.
The route has been launched and suspended on more than one occasion and most recently has operated on a summer seasonal basis only. It is highly unlikely that the route will now ever return.
Whilst no reason has been given for the cancellation, it is likely that United and British Airways & American Airlines offering significantly higher frequencies (some six joint daily flights in the case of AA & BA) has put Virgin Atlantic at a competitive disadvantage.
Affected passengers should contact either Virgin Atlantic or their travel agent to arrange re-routing via Delta and Virgin Atlantic services to other North American gateways such as New York JFK and Detroit.