British Airways Brings Back Gatwick-New York, Aer Lingus To Fly To LAX, Delta Adds A Route & Airlines Continue To Leave Russia

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A quick roundup of some of the more important airline route news from the past few days. There’s good news for travelers flying across the Atlantic (more options for you) and good news for California-based Delta loyalists but if you’re Russia-based your options keep diminishing.

British Airways has announced that it will be bringing back its London Gatwick to New York JFK route from May next year. This service was discontinued back in 2002 and, despite a very brief reappearance between 2008-2009, has up until now, been considered commercially unsound by British Airways.

The route will be served by a Boeing 777-200 set out in a 3-cabin configuration (no First Class). Club World (Business Class) will have 40 seats while World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) will have just 24 seats with World Traveller (Economy Class) having 216 seats.

The route will see service commence from 1 May 2016 and will fly daily on the following schedule:

BA2273 LGW 16:40 – 19:30 JFK
BA2272 JFK 22:00 – 10:00+1 day LGW

British Airways Club WorldBritish Airways Club World Seat

There’s no mention of this being a seasonal route so perhaps low oil prices have persuaded British Airways to give this route one more go…although I fully expect to see it ditched as soon as oil prices head north.

(HT: Business Traveller)

In further Trans-Atlantic flying news….

Aer Lingus has announced that it plans to resume its Dublin – Los Angeles service from 4 May 2016. The airline, which is now part of the same group as British Airways, will employ an Airbus A330-200 on the route which it last flew in 2008.

The schedule shows a 5 x a week service with the following timings:

EI145 DUB 15:00 – 18:00 LAX (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun)
EI144 LAX 19:50 – 14:00+1 day DUB (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun)

Reservations are now open for this route and I expect it to be great news for Avios collectors based in the UK.

The biggest issues faced by those looking to use Avios for flights across the Atlantic are the ludicrous fuel surcharges levied by British Airways together with the high Air Passenger Duty (APD) levied by the UK government…but there are ways around these and, one of those ways, happens to involve Aer Lingus.

You can use Avios for flights on Aer Lingus and, as long as you depart from Dublin, the surcharges and taxes are considerably lower than you’d pay on British Airways. That makes it economical to take a short-hop flight across to Ireland and starting your trans-Atlantic journey there.

With British Airways now owning Aer Lingus it’s unclear how long the surcharges will remain low for redemptions on the airline…so make hay while you can!

If you’re a US-based traveler this new route is potentially good news for you too as it gives you another non-stop flight back to the US which departs Europe outside of the UK….and that means you get to avoid the annoying UK APD.

aer-lingus-a330-laxAn Aer Lingus A330 at LAX in 2008 (the last year the airline flew to LA) – Image: Eddie Maloney via Flickr

Delta has added a new route into California, this time from Seattle. The airline announced that it will commence flights between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Orange County’s John Wayne Airport from 1 May 2016.

The route will be operated by Compass Airlines (as Delta Connection) using Embraer 175 aircraft flying on the following, 4 x daily, schedule:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 08.57.38

This new route is part of a wider route expansion being carried out by Delta from Seattle. Their press release states that:

In all, Delta will launch service to ten destinations from Seattle between November 2015 and May 2016: Billings, Mont.; Boston; Cancun, Mexico; Edmonton, Alberta; Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island; Missoula, Mont.; Orange County; Orlando; Pasco, Wash.; and Victoria, British Columbia. Some service may be operated by Delta Connection carriers SkyWest Airlines and Compass Airlines.

Lufthansa is the latest airline to announce that it will be cutting services to Russia. 

Skift is reporting that Lufthansa will cease operations to Moscow Vnukovo Airport, Samara and Nizhny Novgorod staring in a week’s time when their winter schedule kicks in.

Back in September I blogged about EasyJet cancelling their Moscow route from March 2016 and there are also reports that SAS will follow suit and cut their Copenhagen-Moscow route around the same time.

This is just the latest in a series of tactical/economic withdrawals from Russia by airlines. The recession in the Russian economy combined with the sanctions placed upon the country by the European Union and its allies have made flights to/from Russia highly uneconomical and airlines have been quick to react.

According to Skift:

Lufthansa’s latest cuts will eliminate 15 weekly flights, or 25 percent of the total [weekly flights]. Its Austrian arm will also cut routes this winter, limiting services to Moscow and Krasnodar in the south after quitting St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don. The Swiss unit will pare frequencies from Zürich to St. Petersburg.

Some european low-cost carriers are looking to fill the void left by their full-service counterparts (Wizz Air and Vueling are both adding services) but if a robust low-cost carrier like EasyJet can’t make the routes work you have to wonder just how long these other low-cost carriers will continue to see profit in flying to/from Russia. I expect more cuts are on the way.

Featured image: Jon Cunniff via Flickr


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