Delta In Deal with United for JFK/Gatwick Routes


Signs of life this morning from both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

First United Airlines has agreed to transfer its route authorities between New York’s JFK International and London’s Gatwick Airport to Delta Air Lines. While United has not flown this route since 2000, the move more or less shows that someone at United has finally admitted the obvious: New York is not where United can make the most money with its airplanes.

For that matter, United has been reducing its service between JFK and Heathrow for the last five years. The airline did not say today whether it plans to drop its one remaining flight or not to Heathrow, but you have to believe this is probably going to happen.

When it does, it just won’t be headlined in a press release.

While Gatwick is certainly not Heathrow, this move will give Delta more credibility in its efforts to actually establish a hub of sorts at JFK and boy does this route structure ever start to look more and more like the old Pan Am.

United Poster

But, United had other news as well. The airline is also shifting its New York to Tokyo flights to Dulles, starting in October.

Remember that ANA recently began daily service from Dulles to Narita with their new Boeing 777s, although ANA has served the route since 1986. United has a codeshare agreement with ANA. So those who want to fly Narita from New York and get UAL miles will still be able to fly ANA out of JFK and do so.

United also announced the reinstatement of San Francisco-Taipei nonstop flights, it is adding three weekly San Francisco-Hong Kong flights, and it is expanding service from San Francisco to Seoul to a yearly basis.

We like this news from United. I only wish we had heard more news like it the last four years.

3 thoughts on “Delta In Deal with United for JFK/Gatwick Routes

  1. Dave Semanchik

    A comment and two questions: First, I believe ANA has served Dulles-Tokyo for many years, but perhaps not with daily service. Does UA’s entry on that route indicate a growth market, to sustain their flights as well as those of their Star co-partner in ANA, or that the market is big enough for both. Also, should we assume that UA’s corporate customers did not care about keeping JFK-LHR (perhaps because there were so few daily frequencies to choose from), or that UA did not consider that angle.
    Dave Semanchik

  2. jlbare

    The best information I could find online indicates that ANA’s Dulles-Tokyo route has been in service for 20 years. As of July 1st, they now fly a brand new 777-300ER. Before the 1998 U.S.-Japan aviation agreement, they flew four times per week. I believe the service is now daily.

  3. Holly Hegeman

    Hey there Dave. I see Jonathan corrected the information I posted in my initial posting. Yes, ANA just started brand new 777 daily service out of Dulles in July. But they have been there for a while. Didn’t mean to confuse you there.
    I think the situation with United out of New York (and yes, we now know that United has leased its one remaining Heathrow-JFK slot to Air Canada) was pretty easy to decipher. The airline simply did not have the feed to make these flights that profitable.
    The airline’s leading East Coast international gateway is and has been Dulles — but from what I understand the airline had continued to hang on to the limited Heathrow departures out of JFK mainly for political reasons. Not because they were profitable.
    In regard to UAL’s corporate customers, obviously there just weren’t enough to justify the remaining flights.

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