Virgin Atlantic traded 14 slots per week at London Heathrow Airport to United Airlines for winter 2010/11 on 02-Jun-2010 (slottrade.aero, 23-Jun-2010). The trade description noted: “Return of daily morning arrival and evening departure.”
Virgin Atlantic trades Heathrow slots to United
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China-UK air service agreement permits growth as Chinese airlines constrained in most other markets
An agreement between China and the UK to more than double their air service agreement is good timing for both sides. Chinese airlines are finding an imbalance: they are taking delivery of widebody aircraft and more Chinese airlines are flying long haul but traffic rights to major markets – the US, Canada, Germany and France – are becoming depleted. Negotiations to add traffic rights have not succeeded, typically due to the foreign side being concerned about accessing Chinese slots or Russian overflight rights.
The agreement with the UK to expand the number of weekly passenger flights from each side from 40 to 100 reflects considerable pragmatism on the part of the UK: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are not growing in China, and China is a large growth opportunity. The UK has lagged on Chinese tourism. It was only in 2015 that China became the UK's largest inbound market.
Norwegian Air's NAI at last gets final approval of US rights in a boost to long haul growth
On 2-Dec-2016 the US Department of Transportation (DoT) served an order granting Norwegian Air International (NAI) a foreign air carrier permit, as required by the EU-US open skies agreement, to which Norway is a party. Almost three years after NAI's application it seems that the EU's 30-Nov-2016 filing for arbitration finally panicked the DoT into finalising its tentative approval given eight months ago.
Since launching long haul operations in summer 2013 Norwegian has grown its long haul network to 37 routes operated in 2016. In spite of the delay in receiving the US permit for NAI, 34 of these routes are between cities in Europe and the US. The only Asian destination is Bangkok, linked to the three Scandinavian capitals.
The DoT's final decision means Norwegian can now use its Irish-registered subsidiary NAI to fly long haul routes from Europe to destinations both east and west with the same operating airline, and with EU traffic rights in both directions. This should increase its operational flexibility and cost efficiency and allow lower fares on a greater number of routes. Norwegian already has ambitious long haul growth plans. Expect these now to accelerate further, and not only to the US.