The reopening of the United States to European travellers in 2022 should generate a strong flow of traffic between the two continents. This is the gamble that most airlines serving this strategic route are taking. And this is particularly true of British Airways. The British carrier operates its transatlantic routes within a joint venture, the “Atlantic Joint Business”. It includes not only British Airways but also Aer Lingus, Iberia and Level (all 4 grouped together in IAG), American Airlines and Finnair.

The six carriers will increase the density of this transatlantic route between the end of 2021 and spring 2022. British Airways will finally inaugurate its London Heathrow-Portland (Oregon) route. This route was originally supposed to open in 2020 but was postponed to better days. The route will now open on 3 June with five weekly flights. The British carrier also announced the resumption of service to Pittsburgh on the same date. This route will be served four times a week. Both routes will be operated by Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

Aer Lingus has also started new transatlantic services from Manchester. Since December, this has involved a daily flight by Airbus A321neo (in long-haul configuration) to New York JFK and four weekly flights to Orlando in Florida. Iberia is strengthening its position on five US destinations from April, while Level is launching a four-times weekly Barcelona-Los Angeles route on March 28. Dallas and Seattle will appear for the first time in Finnair ‘s schedules from Helsinki. The former is scheduled for February, the latter for June. Finally, American will offer a daily Rome-Charlotte flight in April.

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Five weekly British Airways flights will operate the London-Portland route from June (Photo: Truflip99, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Reclaiming Gatwick

Alongside this transatlantic push, British Airways has confirmed the future network of BA Euroflyer, its low-cost subsidiary based at London Gatwick. From March, the carrier will base a fleet of three aircraft at Gatwick. This fleet will grow over the months to reach more than 15 aircraft by the end of the first half of the year.

BA Euroflyer will occupy Gatwick’s South Terminal and will offer flights to 35 destinations. Most of these are in the Mediterranean basin. In France, however, there will be flights to Bordeaux and Nice. The former will have four flights per week (Monday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Sunday).sleeve) from 15 April. The second will have a daily flight from 31 March.

Finally, in another development, IAG, the parent company of British Airways, has indicated that it will not pursue the acquisition ofSpain’s Air Europa. Announced in 2019, the acquisition of Air Europa would have strengthened IAG’s position in Madrid. With a quasi-monopoly situation, particularly on Latin American routes operated in tandem with Iberia. The reluctance of the European authorities, the crisis of the covid with the fall of the traffic and the indebtedness of the air sector will have finally had reason of this fusion…