US carrier Delta Air Lines is to close its last remaining flight from Gatwick Airport as it focuses its transatlantic operations to London at Heathrow Airport, the primary international gateway into the UK capital city. Delta has been serving Gatwick Airport for many years but after gaining access into Heathrow it has been progressively transferring its operations.
Delta now has just a single daily flight to London Gatwick from its Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport hub, but this service will move across to Heathrow from April 18, 2012 the airline confirms, joining an existing daily service already in operation there and Delta’s other daily flights to Boston, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis St Paul and three times daily schedule to New York. The airline will also boost capacity by using a larger Boeing 767 on the route, replacing a -300Er variant with a 246-seat -400ER.
The flight switch will take place shortly before the opening of the new Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson, which will provide Delta’s international customers with a state-of-the-art facility at its leading global gateway.
“The expansion of our Heathrow-Atlanta service is a great way to celebrate the new international terminal in Atlanta, which will provide a world-class facility for our customers,” said Perry Cantarutti, Senior Vice President – Europe, Middle East and Africa, Delta Air Lines. “A second daily flight from Heathrow means our customers travelling to or through Atlanta will have increased choice with over 150 convenient connections to the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.”
In the past year an estimated 219,000 O&D passengers have travelled between London and Atlanta. Around 185,000 of these have flown from London Heathrow and around 35,000 from London Gatwick. Delta currently holds a 45.4 per cent share of the total market, with British Airways (BA), which also offers a daily London Heathrow – Atlanta service, holding a 36.3 per cent share.
The airport switch will enable Delta to offer a better product to its passengers and should also strengthen its yield on the route. According to data, the average one way ticket price on the airline’s Atlanta – London Gatwick route is $492, while on Atlanta – London Heathrow it is much higher at $806 per sector.