Airlines increase non-hub transatlantic routes in 2014

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Airlines are increasingly adding new routes to cities beyond the hubs of their partners, finds a recent Airline/Airport Projects analysis.

Of the 21 net new daily flights across the north Atlantic during the summer of 2014, 17 are hub-to-spoke routes, finds a recent analysis by Airline/Airport Projects president Craig Jenks who has been following trends in the market for years. Summer schedules run roughly from June through August.

New services include the new London Heathrow-Austin flight on British Airways, seasonal flights from Charlotte and Philadelphia to Lisbon, Manchester (UK) and Brussels on US Airways and a seasonal flight between Washington Dulles and Madrid on United Airlines.

BA and US Airways are both joint venture partners and members of the Oneworld alliance, while United has a joint venture with Lufthansa and is a member of Star Alliance.

Previous years have seen airlines focus on adding flights to their partner’s hubs. For example, Delta Air Lines announced that more than 50% of its transatlantic flying would be from its hubs to those of its SkyTeam alliance and joint venture partners, including Air France, Alitalia and KLM, in April 2013.

Alliances and joint ventures are set to carry 90% of the traffic across the Atlantic, finds Jenks. This is a 10-percentage point increase over the summer of 2013.

Virgin Atlantic Airways entered a joint venture with Delta on 1 January, and US Airways moved to Oneworld from Star on 31 March.

Total capacity in the market will be up about 5.3% this summer compared to a year earlier, he says.

Gulf carriers continue to have a small impact on the transatlantic market. Only Emirates provides a nonstop between Europe and the USA – on the Milan-New York JFK route – which Jenks calls a “side-show” to other moves in the market.

However, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have increased their service to the USA by up to 22 daily flights compared to the summer of 2013, he says. This impacts flow traffic from Africa and the Indian subcontinent to the USA more than that between Europe and North America.

New routes include a Dubai-Boston flight on Emirates that began in March, an Abu Dhabi-Los Angeles flight on Etihad that began earlier in June and a Doha-Miami light on Qatar that begins on 10 June.