Ahead of this year’s World Routes forum in Durban, South Africa, US major United Airlines has confirmed it will retain its transatlantic link between its Newark Liberty International Airport hub and Newcastle International Airport in the UK. The route was launched on a summer-only basis earlier this year after the US carrier informed the UK airports management team on its decision to launch the route at last year’s World Routes in Chicago, USA.
United confirms the seasonal nonstop service from its New York hub will return in summer 2016 with flights operating six times weekly (every day except Wednesdays) during the period May 26, 2016 to September 6, 2016.
The flights will continue to be operated using a Boeing 757-200 with a total of 169 seats – 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats with added leg-room and increased personal space.
“As the first airline to offer a scheduled nonstop service to the U.S.A. from North East England, we are excited to return to Newcastle next year,” said Bob Schumacher, managing director sales – UK and Ireland, United Airlines. “Our flights offer business and leisure travellers not only convenient access to New York but connections to hundreds of other great destinations across the Americas”.
United launched the seasonal Newark – Newcastle route on May 23, 2015 and ended the link earlier this month on September 7, 2015. This year’s schedule provided a five weekly offering so Unitedh as boosted capacity in this market for next summer with the additional weekly frequency, a capacity growth of 20 per cent.
A service to New York was a route the Newcastle Airport management team have been determined to deliver for the North East of England and followed years of discussions with various US partners to establish a scheduled westbound long-haul link to the US to support its highly successful Emirates Airline flight to Dubai.
Previously the airport had got close to a deal with Continental Airlines, while American Airlines actually announced the launch of a flight but cancelled the service prior to its start date. Leisure carrier Jet2.com has served the Newcastle - New York route the past couple of years but with only a limited schedule of flights focussed mainly on Christmas shopping.
“We have been very pleased with the way in which the operation has performed in this, its first year and with the response of the individuals and businesses who have taken advantage of the service,” said David Laws, chief executive officer, Newcastle International Airport ahead of his departure to Durban for World Routes.
“We have worked very hard, with our shareholders and other regional partners, to ensure the route has been a success and to secure this further operation. With a higher frequency and more seats on sale, it will be more important than ever that using this direct service is the first choice for leisure passengers and businesses alike,” he added.
The new route has been very significant in terms of enhancing regional connectivity, growing the economy, attracting inward investment and encouraging inbound tourism to the North East of England. But it is more than just about connecting Newcastle to Newark and the wider New York area.
Our analysis of Sabre Airport Data Intelligence demand data shows how the arrival of the new route has helped to stimulate traffic between Newcastle and the United States. In June and July 2014 an estimated 20,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Newcastle and destinations across the United States, a market that grew to over 26,000 in the same period this year, a 34.0 per cent growth.
A closer look at data on United Airlines’ flight to/from Newcastle shows that the carrier handled just under 7,700 passengers (UK Civil Aviation Authority statistics – June: 4,099, July= 3,567) on the route with our own analysis showing a point-to-point demand share of just over a third of all passengers (34.5 per cent).
The Newcastle flights have proved successful for the carrier by being intelligently timed to connect at Newark with an extensive network of services to destinations throughout the Americas. From Newark, United operates flights to more than 300 destinations in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, including more than 100 served non-stop.
“As well as connecting the region to New York, United’s Newark hub provides access to a huge range of key cities, including Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando in the United States, and Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver in Canada,” confirmed Laws.
The point-to-point demand means that Newark is obviously the largest market from/to Newcastle but alongside the markets highlighted by the Newcastle Airport boss, some others have seen notable passenger flows in our analysis period (June-July 2015) including Indianapolis in Indiana, USA and Cancun in Mexico. In fact almost 130 destinations were directly linked to/from Newcastle by the United Airlines flight over those two months.