The U.S. Department of Transportation and the European Commission have granted Delta Air Lines’ request to operate daily, year-round flights linking London Heathrow Airport with Boston and Miami.
Delta Air Lines says the new flights will begin on March 27, 2011 and that it will announce final flight schedules and fares within the next week.
“Delta appreciates the efforts of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the European Commission to expand competition between the U.S. and Heathrow by making slots available for new entrants on these routes,” says Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president – network planning, revenue management and marketing.
The carrier will operate the new routes within the scope of Delta’s transatlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. The new routes will bring to four the number of transatlantic routes operated by the joint-venture-partner airlines from Boston and to five the number of routes offered from Miami. Delta, Air France. KLM and Alitalia serve Amsterdam, London Heathrow, Paris and Rome from both cities; Miami customers can book additional service to Milan, operated by Alitalia.
Delta Air Lines applied for the rights to serve Boston and Miami from Heathrow earlier this year as part of a divestiture of slots required following the U.S. and E.U. governments’ approval of an immunized alliance between American Airlines and British Airways. Delta argued its proposed new Heathrow service would bring the most benefit to consumers because its global alliance – SkyTeam – holds the smallest percentage of slots at Heathrow.
Atlanta-based Delta began serving Heathrow in March 2008, following the conclusion of an Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and the E.U. that eliminated decades-old restrictions on the number of U.S. airlines allowed to serve the market.
Since that time, Delta has expanded from zero to seven the number of daily round-trip flights it operates in the Heathrow market. The airline currently offers three daily flights from Heathrow to New York JFK; two peak-day flights to Atlanta and Detroit; and one daily flight to Minneapolis/St. Paul.
In March 2011, Delta’s daily service to Heathrow will grow to 10 daily round-trip flights, when Boston and Miami are added.
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