In international route news, Bay Area travelers may see a new low-cost option to London in the spring; another U.S. carrier pulls out of the Dubai market; British Airways and its new sister company Aer Lingus are sharing codes all over the place; China Eastern will boost frequencies to a Midwest gateway; and Southwest eyes new international service from LAX.
Although the airline hasn’t announced or confirmed it yet, the website Airlineroute.net reports that European low-cost carrier Norwegian has filed a proposed schedule to fly between Oakland and London Gatwick. Based on data from the OAG Schedules Analyzer, Airlineroute.net said Norwegian plans to use a 787-8 to fly the route three days a week (Monday, Thursday and Sunday) starting May 12. Norwegian already has service from Oakland to Stockholm and Olso twice a week; it currently shows one-way fares to Stockholm in January for as little as $169 (plus ancillary fees).
The proposed Norwegian service, infrequent though it is, would give Bay Area travelers to the U.K. another option instead of flying out of San Francisco International — in addition to the new British Airways service from Mineta San Jose International to Heathrow that starts May 4 with a 787-9. In other news, Norwegian has pushed up the start of new Boston-London Gatwick 787 flights — slated for five days a week — from May to March 27.
Remember how Delta blamed government-subsidized competition and excess capacity from the big Mideast carriers for its decision to discontinue Atlanta-Dubai service this coming February? Now United is following suit, saying it will stop flying from Washington Dulles to Dubai after January 25. United blamed the entry of “subsidized carriers such as Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways into the Washington D.C. market,” but it also cited a decision by the U.S. government to shift its contract for Washington-Dubai flights to JetBlue, which has a code-share partnership with Emirates. (Earlier, United said it would discontinue its service from Dulles to Kuwait and Bahrain after January 13.)
Now that British Airways and Ireland’s Aer Lingus are sister companies under the umbrella of parent IAG, they have embarked on a big code-share expansion for their U.S. routes. According to Airlineroute,net, Aer Lingus’ code is going onto BA’s London Heathrow routes from 19 U.S. gateways, as well as its Gatwick service from New York JFK, Las Vegas and Orlando; and BA’s code goes onto Aer Lingus flights to Dublin from San Francisco, Orlando, Washington Dulles, JFK, Newark, Hartford and Boston, as well as Shannon flights from JFK and Boston.
China Eastern, a member of Delta’s SkyTeam alliance, plans to boost service on its Shanghai Pudong-Chicago O’Hare route — which starts March 18 — from three flights a week to daily. The airline will use a 777-300ER on the route.
Southwest Airlines plans to add a new international route from Los Angeles International in April, subject to government approval. The carrier said it will offer daily flights from LAX’s Terminal 2 to Liberia/Guanacaste, Costa Rica, the gateway to that country’s coastal resort area.
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