American Airlines will transfer some of its London Gatwick flights to Heathrow next March, but has also unveiled plans to resume flights to London Stansted after a 14-year absence in response to pressure from all-premium carriers.

The airline will begin daily flights from New York JFK to Stansted on 28 October, increasing to double-daily next spring. David Cush, American Airlines vice-president for global sales, admits the airline's decision to serve Stansted is largely driven by the growing presence of the two premium carriers, Eos and Maxjet, at the airport: "We've always been an airline that caters to the financial community and chose Stansted because it's so directly linked to the growing financial services community in Canary Wharf. And we saw the new entrants were developing the market."

American in March will transfer its daily Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina flight from Gatwick to Heathrow, as well as one of its twice-daily Dallas/Fort Worth frequencies. In a similar move, British Airways has confirmed that its services to DFW and Houston will move from Gatwick to Heathrow next March.

By switching the DFW service to Heathrow, BA will qualify for payments from the Texas airport's incentive programme. "We are considering this as a new route, so there will be one year of free landing fees for BA with a 50% discount in the second year," says DFW chief executive Jeffrey Fegan. The total value to BA is $1.1 million, including $200,000 in marketing and advertising spend to promote the route.

Source: Airline Business