American Airlines adds a new frequency to the crowded New York to London market (Insight – August 12, 2015) early Spring 2016.
The Dallas based airline currently has three daily nigh-time flights from its hub at New York JFK Airport (JFK) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) using Boeing 777-300ERs. This will change by December 17, 2015 when two of the daily flights will be switched to Boeing 777-200ERs (News – July 6, 2015).
Joining them will be a new day time flight using the same aircraft type with the following schedule:
With its fourth daily flight, American Airlines would also create a new late flight leaving from London. The outbound can pick up some early feeder travellers from both east and west coast. Its arrival into London is not too late to get into the city and allow passengers to adjust to London time by sleeping through the night. Inbound at 1900 (7pm) allows the airline to pick up passengers who want to work a full day in the city and from evening connections from Europe and Africa.
As of November 25, 2015, all the 777-200ERs loaded into the schedule will feature a three class configuration (Business, Main Cabin Extra and Main Cabin).
American Airlines will be joining British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic (VS) from JFK and United Airlines (UA) from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) with day time flights. Its departure time of 1010am will put this flight the last to depart New York City.
Given the flight times, all the Boeing 777s would be in London for at least 6 hours. For widebody aircrafts, there are parking charges in place at London Heathrow Airport for stays longer than 90 minutes (except between 2200 (10pm) to 0559 (559am) when it is free to park at the terminal). The charge is £52.49 (~US$90) per every 15 minutes and parts thereof after the initial free 90 minutes.
Normally, airlines would try to turnaround its aircrafts as quickly as possible to reduce different airport related charges (such as landing, parking, and facilities, etc) However, operations at London Heathrow Airport have a more complex set of challenges for airlines. They include:
The popular airport has been experiencing congestions for years. Since there are more demands than supply of slots available. Airlines would be restricted in operating flights based on the slots they own by themselves or in conjunction with its partners.
Working with its oneworld partner British Airways, both airlines usually aim to build a schedule with higher flexibility and less duplications. Between both airlines, they operate up to twelve flights daily between these two airports.
Checking the schedule revealed that the new 1900 (7pm) departure is only 5 minutes after BA’s own 181. American Airlines may consider moving this flight down to 1925 (725pm) to maximum the gap between that flight and the next flight BA 183 that is scheduled to depart at 1955 (755pm).
The new flight will add capacity that was lost when the airline downgauges its daily flights from 3×777-300ER to 1x 777-300ER/2x 777-200ER on December 17, 2015.
After its introduction in March 2016, capacity will go up from 11,620 to 15,260 seats (+31%, +17% pre downgauge). Premium seats will go up 30%, 7% from pre downgauge. This will help the airline recover some of the yields from the lost of premium cabin seats.
|Weekly Capacity First||Business||Main Cabin Extra||Main Cabin||Total|
|Before Dec 17/15||336||2,184||1,260||9,240||13,020|
|Dec 17/15 to Mar 26/16||112||1,988||1,680||7,840||11,620|
|After Mar 27/16||112||2,618||2,310||10,220||15,260|
Depending on how well the new flights are booked, American Airlines has the flexibility to substitute the Boeing 777-200ER with a lower seat count Boeing 787-8 (Check configuration in News – February 11, 2015) without sacrificing comfort.