Last updated: 03:38 PM ET, Wed October 28 2015

British Airways Resumes Gatwick-JFK Service

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | October 28, 2015

British Airways Resumes Gatwick-JFK Service

Will a third time be the charm?

After two previous failed attempts, British Airways just announced it would resume service between London’s suburban Gatwick Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport beginning next year.

Previously, BA ran service from Gatwick to JFK from 1988-2002, then shuttered it due to low load factor. That was the same reason why the airline stopped the service again in 2009 after just a year of trying again.

So what makes British Airways think it can succeed this time flying into Gatwick when it already has 13 daily flights to Heathrow and two daily flights to London City from New York?

Several reasons, with the proverbial coin of the realm naturally being at the top of the list. (That’s money, for all you non-Anglophiles out there.)

• British Airways is now able to expand in its own terminal at JFK. With United moving virtually all of its international operations out of JFK and over to its hub at Newark-Liberty International, more gates will open at JFK’s Terminal 7. You can bet BA will claim them. More gates equals more flights equals more money, provided the flights are on moneymaking routes.

• Just as American Airlines has plans to compete with budget carriers like Spirit Airlines on domestic routes in the U.S., British Airways does not want to lose ground to low-cost carriers in Europe. Norwegian Air is the only other airline currently operating a Gatwick-JFK route. Using a Boeing 777-200ER, British Airways is configuring 203 coach seats to go with 40 Business Class seats and 24 in Premium Economy. It can knock heads with Norwegian on the low fares and still maintain upper-class fares.

• Gatwick is an ideal jumping-off point for continuing on to other cities in Europe.

• And, many travelers prefer Gatwick to the much larger and far busier Heathrow, even though Gatwick is 30 miles from London.

British Airways plans on starting the new service on May 1, 2016.

“The new route from Gatwick to New York’s JFK airport will enable us to offer access to a third London airport, giving our customers maximum choice and flexibility,” BA said in a statement. “New York is British Airways’ flagship Atlantic route and will always be one of the most popular destinations for holidaymakers and business travelers alike.

"The flight will offer fantastic connections to our extensive network of short-haul flights to 112 destinations across Europe. The new route also complements our almost hourly service from Heathrow, thanks to our transatlantic Joint Business with American Airlines. Customers can choose from 13 daily British Airways flights and another three on American Airlines to New York, as well as our double-daily business class only service from London City.”

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