MIAMI —The last week, British Airways (BA) announced they would resume non-stop service between London-Gatwick (LGW) and New York Kennedy (JFK). Daily service will commence on May 1, 2016 with a Boeing 777-200ER, joining Norwegian Long Haul as the only carriers to operate the route. This is the third attempt of British Airways to launch this route. The airline previously operated the route from 1988 to 2002 and from 2008 to 2009. Both times, the route was closed due to poor loads.
Many legacy carriers on both sides of the Atlantic have expressed discontent with Norwegian’s Long Haul division, and try to compete with their low fares. BA 3-class 777-200ERs offer 40 Business Class seats, 24 in Premium Economy and 203 in Coach. WIth such a high number of Coach seats, British Airways will go up against Norwegian for the low-end of the London to New York market. However, BA has a large advantage: connections on either end of the flight. They will try to lure Americans with a potentially lower cost trip to London and beyond. “The flight will offer fantastic connections to our extensive network of short-haul flights to 112 destinations across Europe,”says Jean Embleton, Marketing Director of Gatwick. European passengers can connect to many destinations in North America with British’s OneWorld partner, American Airlines.
For many years, North America had only a few flights to Gatwick Airport. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic only offered service to vacation destinations like Las Vegas (LAS) and Orlando (MCO). However, now a shift is beginning towards flights aimed at vacationers going to large cities in North America at lower prices. Both WestJet and Air Canada Rouge are beginning flights to many more large Canadian cities. British Airways is primed to expand the Gatwick-Kennedy market due to the fact that United will be leaving Terminal 7 in JFK, which will open up many more gates at the British Airways operated terminal.
This flight marks the third London airport that British Airways flies to from Kennedy. There are currently 13 daily flights to Heathrow and two daily to London City via the all-business class A318s. In addition, British Airways has a codeshare on the 3 American Airlines’ flights to Heathrow. Only time will tell if this move creates a market for more flights from Gatwick to the USA.