In international route developments, Denver is getting new transatlantic service from United and Norwegian; Thomas Cook Airlines will add another a U.S. gateway; Alitalia plans to extend its Los Angeles service; British Airways changes aircraft on some U.S. routes; BA’s Level affiliate is adding more aircraft; Air France will fly to the Caribbean from the U.S. (and gets a new U.S. investor); and Singapore’s Scoot is coming to Hawaii.
United Airlines flew from its Denver hub to London Heathrow from 2008 to 2010 and then stopped. But now it plans to revive that route in 2018 on a seasonal basis. United will use a 787-8 for the daily flights, which will operate from March 24 through October 26, 2018. The eastbound service will depart Denver at 5:35 p.m. The 787-8 will offer 36 flat-bed seats in business class, 70 in Economy Plus and 113 in regular economy. British Airways currently has the only DEN-LHR non-stops.
A few weeks ago, United said that its summer seasonal Newark-Rome service is now going to operate year-round, a decision it made after Norwegian announced plans to start flying the same route beginning November 9. So maybe United’s Denver-London plans have something to do with Norwegian’s new Denver-London Gatwick service, which begins with two flights a week September 16, increasing to three a week in late October. (And we still wonder why United has not jumped at the chance to offer SFO-Italy nonstops…)
And that’s not the only news for Denver: Norwegian also just announced it will start flying between Denver and Paris CDG next spring. The low-cost carrier said it will initiate service on the new route April 9, with fares starting at $229 one-way in economy and $815 in its premium cabin. The 787-9 service will initially operate two days a week (Mondays and Fridays) year-round. (Does this mean United will add DEN-CDG service too?)
The U.K.’s Thomas Cook Airlines, a leisure-oriented carrier that has been growing its U.S.-U.K. network, plans to add another U.S. route next year. On May 27, it will start flying twice a week between Seattle and Manchester, using an A330-200. The carrier will also extend its seasonal New York JFK-Manchester service to a year-round operation this winter, operating three A330 flights a week effective December 14.
Another service extension this winter will come from Alitalia. Instead of ending its Los Angeles-Rome seasonal service on October 29 when the winter schedule kicks in, it will continue to fly the route three times a week. (It won’t be fully year-round service, however; Alitalia will suspend the route from January 15 to March 6.)
British Airways is planning some equipment changes to the U.S. for its winter schedule starting October 29. On its Washington Dulles-London Heathrow route, BA will replace a 777-200ER with a 787-9. The 787-200ER and -300ER used on the Atlanta-LHR route will also be switched out for a 787-9. And 777-200ERs will go into service between LHR and Houston instead of the current 787-9 and 747-400 service. As we mentioned previously, BA will also add a third daily Los Angeles-London frequency with a 787-9.
Don’t miss: What in the world is Thomas Cook Airlines?
Look for more new routes in 2018 from Level, the new low-cost subsidiary of British Airways/Iberia parent International Airlines Group. Level started flying two-class A330-200s last month from Barcelona to Oakland and Los Angeles, and the carrier has just firmed up plans to add three more A330-200s to its fleet by next summer – although it hasn’t yet said where it will use them.
Ever been to Martinique or Guadeloupe? Those two Caribbean islands are technically and legally part of France, and that means Air France can fly to them from the U.S. The carrier has plans to begin twice-weekly service from Atlanta to Guadeloupe on November 21, using an A320.
Speaking of Air France – because Delta and Air France-KLM have had a close joint venture partnership for eight years now, you may have thought that Delta held an equity stake in the company. But it doesn’t. That’s now changing, however as Delta announced plans to acquire 10 percent of Air France-KLM, subject to a variety of shareholder and regulatory approvals. And it’s part of a three-way deal: Air France-KLM will acquire a 31 percent interest in Virgin Atlantic, which is 49 percent owned by Delta. Not a whole lot of good news for consumers with these deals, although the airlines will spin them that way…
Singapore Airlines used to have two low-cost subsidiaries – Tigerair, used on short-haul routes out of Singapore, and Scoot, for medium to long-haul routes. But it recently merged them into one operation, keeping the Scoot brand. Following the merger, Scoot plans to add more long-haul flights, including a new route from Honolulu to Singapore. Depending on how soon it can get regulatory approvals, the Honolulu flights could begin before the end of this year or early in 2018.