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.
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.