ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Transportation and the European Commission today granted Delta Air Lines’ request to operate new daily, year-round flights between London’s Heathrow and Boston and Miami international airports. The new flights will begin March 27, 2011, with final flight schedules and fares to be announced within the next week.
“Delta appreciates the efforts of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the European Commission to expand competition between the U.S. and Heathrow by making slots available for new entrants on these routes,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president – Network Planning, Revenue Management and Marketing. “Our new Boston service is possible in large part thanks to the leadership of the Massachusetts Port Authority, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Gov. Deval Patrick, Massachusetts’ entire Congressional delegation and eight New England U.S. Senators who supported our bid to expand service.
“In Florida, our new London-Heathrow service from Miami is possible thanks to the strong support of Miami International Airport, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, the Miami-Dade state legislative delegation and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.”
The new routes will be operated within the scope of Delta’s trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. They will bring to four the number of trans-Atlantic routes operated by the joint venture partner airlines from Boston and to five the number of routes offered from Miami. Delta, Air France. KLM and Alitalia serve Amsterdam, London-Heathrow, Paris and Rome from both cities; Miami customers enjoy additional service to Milan operated by Alitalia.
Delta applied for the rights to serve Boston and Miami from Heathrow earlier this year as part of a divestiture of slots required following the U.S. and E.U. governments’ approval of an immunized alliance between American Airlines and British Airways. Delta argued its proposed new Heathrow service would bring the most benefit to consumers because its global alliance – SkyTeam – holds the smallest percentage of slots at Heathrow.
Delta began serving Heathrow in March 2008 following the conclusion of an Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and the E.U. that eliminated decades-old restrictions on the number of U.S. airlines allowed to serve the market. Since that time, Delta has expanded from zero to seven its number of daily round-trip flights in the Heathrow market, with a current offering of three daily flights to New York-JFK; two peak-day flights to Atlanta and Detroit; and one daily flight to Minneapolis/St. Paul. In March 2011, this number will grow to 10 daily round-trip flights when Boston and Miami are added.