Also, BA’s Partnership with American Could be an Additional Boost: Midst the welter of educational and networking webinars circulating about the U.S. travel trade of late, little notice seemed to greet the announcement by British Airways last month that is, in effect, a new lifeline for leisure travel by holiday-starved Brits who want to visit the USA.
The news? BA announced that it planned to fly 29 long-haul routes this month, including 13 to North American destinations. Those destinations are: Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Mexico City (MEX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Toronto (YYZ), Vancouver (YVR), Washington, D.C. (IAD).
(Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper)
News of the restart came during a first-quarter earnings call of International Airlines Group (IAG)—the company owns British Airways—from Willie Walsh, the company’s CEO, who told those who called in that the airline was going to make a “meaningful return to service” from July. Overall, information made available by RoutesOnline, BA planned to resume 29 long-haul routes beginning in the month of July.
Much of the recent news coverage on the impact of the coronavirus-driven global pandemic focused on a resurgence of the coronavirus and the role it played in the decision of the EU to ban travel to its member states by U.S. citizens. However, since the UK is no longer a part of the EU, such a ban would have that much of an impact on air traffic between the UK and the USA.
Potential Exists for Recouping Some 2020 Visitor Traffic: In addition to “lates” who might travel to the U.S. to such favorite British destinations—especially Orlando—there is also the possibility that travelers could take advantage of the fact that both American Airlines, the largest carrier in the world when measured by passengers carrier, and BA are both part of the Oneworld global airline partnership.
This point is amplified with the recent news of American’s determination to restore more capacity than the other majors.
As explained by Will Horton in a Forbes piece, “American Airlines wants to win the recovery from coronavirus. It is restoring 55 percent of domestic seat capacity in July, far more than United’s 30 percent or Delta’s 21 percent, adjusted for blocked middle seats.”
As an aside, the following chart illustrates how American is moving toward recovery of U.S. domestic flights.
American Airlines July 2020 domestic seats at its 15 largest airports versus a year ago
Larry Cohen says
Irrespective of whether or not the UK is bound by EU regulation (which I believe them to be bound until the transition period is over in 2021), the UK has established a 14-day quarantine for those returning to the UK after having visited the US. That will probably put a damper on things. I am seeing BA moving the return of non-stop service to BNA from LHR from August to September, now. It will come, but in gradually emerging green shoots….a bit yet in Q4 this year but if all goes well, 2021 should be a gangbuster year
Tom Berrigan says
Thank you for your insight, Larry. We wondered about the quarantine period, too. There seemed to be some hope or expectation that the U.S. might be moved off the list of countries removed from the list earlier this month. That did not happen. But hope persists. (Also, regardless of sentiment, BA can change its plans at any time.) And we agree with you that, if all goes well, 2021 should be a gangbuster year.