12 NOVEMBER 2012


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Article from BTNews 12 NOVEMBER 2012

COMMENT: London to New York

Virgin Atlantic has added a sixth service from London to New York

On the face of it this is a mundane announcement and clearly makes sense for the carrier who with 747, A340-600 and A330 on the route can mix and match capacity to frequency.

However what is more important is that it shows the continuing strength of London as the worldwide hub for air transport.  Yes there are problems with the number of destinations served in the Far East but it is equally true that as a nation we tend to look on the dark side of things.  Six months ago the doom watchers were predicting an Olympic fiasco, and even BTN was concerned with the possible lack of air space for executive aircraft.  The ‘would be’ American President came to town just before the opening ceremony (and in the first of many mistakes) was less than enthusiastic regarding London 2012. He got it wrong!

Take a look at the figures below.

These are for Sunday 11 November 2012.

28 flights  Heathrow – New York
11 flights  Paris – New York
7 flights    Frankfurt – New York  
5 flights    Amsterdam – New York
5 flights    Madrid – New York
2 flights    Brussels – New York 

Add Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam together and the total is 23 services. 

We have deliberately not asked OAG (from whom the figures were taken) for actual seating capacity as business passengers for the most part are not that concerned with what aircraft they are flying on, more the frequency.  This might change when British Airways add the A380 to its fleet next year, the enormous Airbus proving to be very popular with executive class travellers.  BA will in fact offer ‘little and large’, an A318 out of London City with 32 passengers, and the A380 at Heathrow with up to 500. Club World prices are common rated.

When it comes to points other than New York, British Airways flies to an astonishing 20 destinations in the US, vastly more than any other European carrier. 

The new Virgin Atlantic service, one of the last of the day out of Europe to New York, leaves Heathrow at 19:25 and arriving 22:40.  The return flight is the earliest London departure at 07:40 in the morning and arriving 19:40 (all times local).

The schedule of the new service will give connecting passengers both ways greater flexibility with timings to give a seamless connections to and from points east of Heathrow.

BA and Virgin Atlantic each ‘Fly the Flag’ in its own style.  The Davies Commission will file its first recommendation in a little over 12 months’ time.  Let us not panic.  UK Plc is doing well.

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