Fearing a long delay in winning a Philadelphia-London Heathrow route, US Airways has asked the US Transportation Department for immediate approval to serve the transatlantic market via London Gatwick.

The US carrier previously served Gatwick from Charlotte North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, but gave up the routes to win US Government endorsement of its alliance with British Airways, which fell apart when the UK airline decided to seek an agreement with American Airlines.

Heathrow is to be opened to new competitors as a condition for US approval of the BA/American alliance. USAirways was quick to apply, but slow approval progress on a new UK/US bilateral has persuaded it instead to look to start a Gatwick-Philadelphia service early in 1998, with the option to shift the flights to Heathrow.

Source: Flight International