Delta Adds to its Atlanta – London Heathrow Schedule

US carrier Delta Air Lines has confirmed it will operate three daily flights between its Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport hub and London Heathrow after revealing plans to boost the frequency of its third daily rotation from a four times weekly operation to a daily schedule from March 30, 2013.  The details of the schedule change were revealed as the carrier officially opened its Delta’s 360˚ Lounge at the Millennium and Copthorne Hotel at the London Stamford Bridge ground of Chelsea Football Club.

“London is now home-from-home for Delta,” said Perry Cantarutti, Senior Vice President Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Delta Air Lines.  “In just five years, we will have gone from no Heathrow flights to nine daily non-stop services to five US cities.  We are also responding to customer demand for more comfort and convenience and the roll-out of our in-flight Wi-Fi from the UK.”

Having served the London market from Atlanta for many years with regular flights to London Gatwick, Delta added a second route to the UK airport from Cincinnati in June 1987, before adding services from Detroit and Miami in March 1992, Boston in June 2001, New York JFK in November 2006.  These routes had varied success and by spring 2008 the carrier was just serving London directly from Atlanta, Cincinnati and New York.

This was a milestone year for the US major as it secured rights to fly from London Heathrow for the first time.  From March 2008 it started daily flights to Atlanta and New York JFK from the airport, while also maintaining services from London Gatwick.  Detroit joined the Heathrow network from May 2009 and Minneapolis St Paul flights followed in September the same year.  A second Atlanta rotation was introduced in November 2010, while flights to a fifth US destination from Heathrow – Miami International – was added in March 2011. 

The third Atlanta rotation was introduced in May this year and this flight will now be boosted to a daily schedule from March 2013.  It is understood that the slots to boost the Atlanta frequency have been made available through the reduction in frequency of Delta’s link to Heathrow from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Delta competes directly with British Airways on the Atlanta – London Heathrow route, although the UK carrier offers just a single daily rotation using a Boeing 777-200ER.  In the table below we highlight how the growth in capacity from Delta in this market has helped boost demand between the two destinations, since it gained access to London Heathrow in 2008.  The figures show that a tremendous amount of transfer passengers also use this routing and Delta says Orlando, Tampa, Las Vegas, Jacksonville, Los Angeles and Miami are among the top US origin or destination points for customers on the route.

SCHEDULED AIR PASSENGERS BETWEEN ATLANTA HARTSFIELD JACKSON INTERNATIONAL AND LONDON HEATHROW (bi-directional passengers)

Year

Total Passengers

% Change

Estimated O&D Passengers

% Change

2008

97,368

-

60,010

139.0 %

2009

250,299

157.1 %

151,064

151.7 %

2010

292,058

16.7 %

175,982

16.5 %

2011

351,845

20.5 %

185,055

5.2 %

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