Continental Airlines announced (29-Jan-2010) plans to increase New York Newark-Heathrow service from three to four time daily in Mar-2010 and to five in Oct-2010. In addition, Continental announced that, effective 01-Jun-2010, all aircraft scheduled for Heathrow flights will feature new, flat bed seats in BusinessFirst. [more]
Continental Airlines announces additional Newark-Heathrow service
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All-premium UK-US airlines. BA cuts LCY frequency; La Compagnie quits LTN; Odyssey to launch in 2017
There have been two notable recent developments in the market for all-business class services on the North Atlantic: British Airways is to reduce its London City-JFK A318 frequencies and France's La Compagnie is to withdraw from Luton-Newark to concentrate its 74-seat Boeing 757 operations on Paris-Newark (its only other route).
BA's 32-seat London City operation has been suffering from significant load factor declines, particularly on the outbound flights. These flights make a refuelling stop in Shannon, where passengers can pre-clear US customs, but this may not be a sufficient incentive for some passengers to take an indirect flight. La Compagnie expressed concerns about uncertainties in the UK post-Brexit, but its route economics must anyway have been struggling, due to Luton's lack of suitability as a premium market and its lack of feed.
So far there has been no reaction to these developments from the new-start Odyssey Airlines, which plans to launch an all-business class London City-New York service in 2017. It will no doubt be attempting to find a balance between relief that its level of competition has reduced, and some anxiety that its launch may coincide with a softening of market demand.
jetBlue may return to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Intl to stimulate competition in a changed market
jetBlue Airways appears to be making a major network move in 2017, with a potential return to Delta-dominated Atlanta after a short-lived stint at the airport in 2003. Both jetBlue and the US industry have undergone significant change during that thirteen-year time period. jetBlue has widened its passenger base to encompass business passengers along with VFR (visiting friends and relatives) customers, and has successfully introduced a premium cabin within the LCC business model. Changes in the US domestic market include sweeping consolidation and the rise of ultra-low cost airlines, which have arguably created permanent disruption in airfare pricing.
Dynamics have also shifted in Atlanta during that time period. Although Delta remains the dominant airline, Southwest has acquired AirTran and put less emphasis on Atlanta as a hub. Ultra-low cost airlines have also made moves in Atlanta during the past couple of years. Those changes could create an opening for an airline that offers a different product proposition in the market.
jetBlue’s return to Atlanta depends on the airport granting the airline’s request for specific gates. A launch of flights would be mutually beneficial for both jetBlue and Atlanta. jetBlue gains access to one of the largest US domestic markets and Atlanta would broaden its number of airlines spanning three distinct business models – full service airlines, medium frills LCCs and ULCCs.