Delta, Virgin Atlantic Plan New London Gatwick Flights In UK Schedule Update
Delta Air Lines will return to London Gatwick next May after an eight-year hiatus with a new flight from Boston.
The SkyTeam Alliance carrier will offer a daily flight between its Boston Logan (BOS) hub and London Gatwick (LGW) starting May 21. The company will fly a Boeing 757-200 with 165 seats, including 16 lie-flat business class seats, on the route.
Delta announced the service amid a number of changes to its 2020 United Kingdom schedule Thursday.
Partner Virgin Atlantic Airways will complement Delta’s Gatwick flight with its own new service between the London airport and New York John F. Kennedy (JFK). Starting May 21, the airline will offer a daily flight on an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 266 seats, though only 19 lie-flat business class seats.
“We’re excited to return to London Gatwick… and continue to grow our international network from Boston,” said Roberto Ioriatti, vice-president of transatlantic at Delta, in a statement. “Together with Virgin Atlantic, we are strengthening our presence in the northeast US and in London.”
Delta and Virgin Atlantic first announced the new Gatwick routes in April. The plans came to light just days before JetBlue Airways outlined its own plan to begin service to a London airport from Boston and JFK in 2021.
Delta ended service to Gatwick in 2012 when it moved all of its London flights to Heathrow.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic operate a joint venture between the US and UK, a pact that allows them to act as essentially one carrier in the market. They recently received preliminary approval for an expanded partnership with Delta partners Air France and KLM that they say will lead to more service and better joint customer amenities.
In addition to the new Gatwick service, Virgin Atlantic will offer additional flights to London Heathrow (LHR) from both Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle (SEA) next summer. The airline will add three weekly flights on the LAX route for 17 per week, and it will add four weekly flights to Seattle for a total of 11 per week. The new frequencies begin on Mar. 29.
Virgin Atlantic will operate its new Airbus A350-1000 to LAX beginning this winter. The carrier will debut the new wide-body, which is outfitted with 335 seats including 44 of its new Upper Class business-class suites, on flights to JFK from Heathrow on Sept. 10.
The airline’s additional Seattle flights will be flown with a Boeing 787-9 with 264 seats.
The new Delta and Virgin Atlantic services combined represent a 15% year-over-year increase in capacity, the carriers say.
However, even with a 15% increase in capacity, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will remain just over half the size of American Airlines and British Airways on US-UK routes, according to Diio by Cirium schedule data. American and BA operate their own joint venture between the US and Europe.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic will also juggle several routes between them next summer. Delta will take over Virgin Atlantic’s daytime flight between JFK and Heathrow on March 29, and its seasonal summer flight between Boston and Manchester (MAN) on May 21.
Delta will operate a retrofitted Boeing 767-400ER with its new Delta One seats on all of its JFK-Heathrow flights by this winter. The aircraft, which entered service earlier this week, has 238 seats, including 34 lie-flats business class.
The airline will fly a 757-200 between Boston and Manchester.
Delta will compete with Norwegian between Boston and Gatwick, according to Diio. Virgin Atlantic will compete with British Airways and Norwegian between JFK and Gatwick.