Although we have only really just hit winter, now is the time of year we start to get a look at what airlines have planned for next summer, as the slot reports for all the major airports in the UK are released. Every airline has to submit a request for slots at the busiest airports, and these give us a good idea at what airlines are planning before an actual announcement of a new route or reintroduction of an old one (as we find at the moment).
With 2022 possibly being the first summer ‘post-pandemic, this year more than any is going to be interesting to see what the airlines do, especially as special rules which protected airlines from losing their slots are expected to be relaxed. Here are a few of the interesting takeaways from the report.
British Airways expand in America
The transatlantic market is an extremely important one for the UK, celebrated by both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic when the border reopened a couple of weeks ago. The two airlines have been busy reintroducing services to all the major airports – New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Charlotte, Los Angeles, San Francisco and many others. However, some of the regional routes have been left behind – only to be re-introduced next summer. Pittsburgh will be returning, along with New Orleans – and a brand new twice-weekly service to the home of American motorsport, Indianapolis appeared in the slot request.
JetBlue set to start Boston
The well-loved New York-based airline JetBlue, started flying to London in the summer from New York, initially to Heathrow and then a second service to Gatwick. It had made its intension clear last year, that it would also like to serve London from its second home in Boston, initially requesting slots at Stansted – however, according to the slots report it looks to have won slots at Gatwick for next summer to start a new service to Boston.
Ryanair acquire easyJet slots at Stansted
Announced last year, was easyJet’s departure from its Stansted base – itself a relic from its takeover of Go, British Airways’ low cost airline near twenty years ago. Slots for the eight aircraft base were acquired by Ryanair, the airport’s biggest operator. Despite already having a diverse network already, flying to nearly every country in Europe – there are a number of slot requests which expand that network even further, and to airports never flown to by the airline. These include:
Paris (Charles de Gaulle)
easyJet adding services to Gatwick
Already announced yesterday, easyJet will be increasing the number of flights from its biggest hub, Gatwick to Aberdeen. It’s also set to add a new service to Rijeka in Croatia (a destination it used to serve from Luton).
Virgin Atlantic moving flights back to Gatwick
When the pandemic hit, it made sense for airlines that serve multiple airports with the same locality to consolidate into one. With air travel on the up once again, airlines are looking to move flights back again – with Virgin looking to move some flights south to Gatwick. Likely candidates are the Caribbean services – Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua.