Virgin Atlantic and Delta increases services between U.K. and United States

Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines have announced plans to increase flights between the U.K and U.S. from next summer, as Delta joins Virgin Atlantic at Gatwick Airport for the first time.

With the agreement, passenger capacity across the Atlantic has increased by nearly 10,000 seats per week over the last year, offering customers more choice and flexibility.

When flights begin on May 22, 2020, Gatwick will become Delta’s seventh trans-Atlantic destination served nonstop from Boston. A day before, Virgin Atlantic will launch a daily flight to New York-JFK from Gatwick. Together the airlines will offer up to four daily flights to three U.S. cities next summer.

‘We’re excited to return to London Gatwick, which is where we launched our first U.K. destination over 40 years ago as well as Manchester, and continue to grow our international network from Boston,’ said Roberto Ioriatti, Delta’s vice president Transatlantic. ‘Together with Virgin Atlantic, we are strengthening our presence in the northeast U.S. and in London, offering customers a greater choice of destinations combined with the excellent service they can expect from our airlines.’

Beginning March 29, 2020, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will increase capacity between New York-JFK and London Heathrow by 15 percent. Delta will increase its services to three daily services, with Virgin Atlantic operating five. This includes a daytime slot from JFK-Heathrow for the first time, operated by Delta, adding to the daytime Boston-Heathrow and JFK-Heathrow service currently offered by Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow – JFK flights will be the first route to operate the new A350 from September 2019.

Virgin Atlantic is also set to increase flights to important west coast hubs, as it increases services from Heathrow to Seattle from seven to 11 per week, while Los Angeles will also see services rise from 14 to 17 flights per week, with up to three services per day operating in the summer months.

Juha Jarvinen, EVP Commercial at Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘Our announcement today marks another phase of growth, both for our transatlantic network and for our partnership with Delta.

Our increased services to Los Angeles and Seattle further cement our commitment to our west coast flights, which follow the introduction of our exceptionally popular Manchester – Los Angeles route that launched earlier this year.’

Further, Delta will return to Manchester, with a new peak-summer service to Boston effective May 21, 2020 replacing Virgin Atlantic’s current operation. Flights will increase from the current three per week to a daily service, offering an extra 45 percent capacity versus last year.

Manchester will be the eighth Transatlantic destination served nonstop by Delta from Boston, while flights to Atlanta, New York-JFK, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Orlando will continue to be operated by Virgin Atlantic. Together the airlines will offer a schedule of up to six daily flights to Manchester from six U.S. cities next summer.

Norwegian announces million seats in summer 2020 schedule from London to USA

Norwegian has announced the release of more than one million seats to the USA, in launching its summer 2020 flight schedule.

Consumers planning next year’s summer holidays can now book nonstop flights from London Gatwick to nine US cities including Boston, New York, Orlando, Tampa, Denver, Miami, Austin, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Tickets, with fares starting from £157 one way, are available to book at www.norwegian.com/uk.

Matthew Wood, SVP Long-Haul Commercial at Norwegian said: ‘Brits love a bargain which is why we are giving consumers plenty of time to start planning next year’s summer holidays with early access to our lowest fares to the USA.

‘We will be releasing more flights in phases that make up the rest of our summer 2020 flight schedule but until then, we recommend that consumers book early to secure the best fares and their preferred seats on board our modern environmentally-friendly aircraft to the USA’s top cities.’

Norwegian is a low-cost European transatlantic carrier. The flights are operated using Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft with free Wi-Fi.

Norwegian added that it will release the remainder of its summer 2020 programme in phases over the coming weeks. The airline currently operates more flights to the USA than any other carrier from London Gatwick and is the only carrier serving Brazil and Argentina nonstop from the airport.

Norwegian also announced the launch of a new ‘gate-to-gate’ Wi-Fi which gives passengers access to the airline’s Wi-Fi network as soon as they step on board the aircraft. Customers travelling on any route across Norwegian’s global network will now be able to stay connected for the entire duration of the flight.

London Gatwick adds 10 new summer routes in response to travel trends

London Gatwick has recently announced the addition of ten brand new routes for this summer season, with nearly 17 million passengers expected to depart from the airport during the season.

In response to the summer travel trends from the airport, London Gatwick is introducing ten new routes this 2019 summer season, including from Rio, Brazil to Rijeka, Croatia. The new routes include three flights per week to Asturias, Spain; two flights per week to Chisinau, Moldova; seven flights per week to Cluj Napoca, Romania; seven flights per week to Gdansk, Poland; one flight per week to Lametia – Terme, Italy; seven flights per week to Miami, USA; one flight per week to Rijeka, Croatia; four flights per week to Rio, Brazil; five flights per week to San Francisco, USA; and, three flights per week to Zadar, Croatia.

In addition to new routes, airlines operating from Gatwick will also increase the number of flights they operate to a range of destinations. For summer 2019, Gatwick will see an increase in frequency of flights to Spanish destinations Almeria, Bilbao, Jerez and Alicante as well as to Antalya, Turkey, Kos, Greece and Budapest, Hungary.

Stephen King, Head of Airline Relations, Gatwick Airport said: This summer, ten new routes will start from Gatwick which is the very latest demonstration of passenger demand for flights from Gatwick. It shows that, even though it’s one of the busiest in Europe, airlines can still acquire slots and grow at our airport.

‘Rio de Janeiro has just joined Gatwick’s roster of long-haul connections while our airlines are opening up new must-see destinations to explore, particularly in Europe.

‘Our summer seat availability is nearly double that of our winter season. With the airport set to have its biggest ever summer this year, we are delighted to treble the days our in-terminal passenger entertainment of musicians, performers and comedians is available. ‘

Norwegian launches London Gatwick-Miami route

The European low fares airline, Norwegian, has launched its first-ever service from London Gatwick to Miami International Airport, on March 31.

With the new service, travellers will have a daily nonstop option between Miami and London Gatwick Airport. The service will be operated using Norwegian’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that seats 344 passengers in a two-class configuration.

Norwegian CEO and Founder, Bjorn Kjos, said: ‘South Florida is one of our most important markets in the U.S., and by moving our London service to Miami, we will become even more competitive and offer more South Florida residents more affordable flights to London and beyond, while we will also have access to many more opportunities, including cargo. We are very committed to this market, and look forward to increasing our presence at MIA in the future.’

Commenting on the new service, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, said: ‘I applaud Norwegian for adding Miami-Dade County to its global network. The United Kingdom is already our County’s fifth-busiest international travel market, and Norwegian’s new daily flights are sure to generate even more tourism from that region and from across Europe as well.’

‘We are honored by Norwegian’s decision to launch first-ever Miami service, which provides our passengers with yet another nonstop travel option to Europe. We proudly welcome their award-winning service to MIA, where nearly one million passengers already travel to and from the United Kingdom annually,’ added Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director and CEO Lester Sola.

Norwegian airline operates more than 500 routes to over 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Thailand, Caribbean, North and South America.

British Airways launches new year-round service from London Gatwick to Milan Bergamo

British Airways has announced plans to launch a new year-round service from London Gatwick to Milan Bergamo.

The new service will be launched on September 1, 2019, with flights operating every day of the week except for Saturday. Bergamo Airport is located nearly 45km from Milan, a world fashion capital considered perfect for a weekend city break. The Airport is also the closest gateway to Lake Como and Lake Garda, as well as the Franciacorta Wine Region. Bergamo also borders the Alps, providing access to a number of ski resorts during winter. Travellers can book their seats on ba.com.

British Airways is also increasing the number of flights to winter sun destination Cancun, which will move to a five-per-week service during the winter season.

Adam Carson, British Airways’ Managing Director of Gatwick, said: ‘Milan Bergamo adds another exciting destination to our Gatwick network and is perfectly located for a city break, a summer visit to the lakes or even a skiing holiday in the Alps.

‘From Gatwick we fly to over 70 destinations as our network continues to expand we’re adding new routes designed to appeal to both leisure and business customers.’

Fares to Milan Bergamo start from £25 one-way in Euro Traveller and £99 in Club Europe, and customers can choose to cut the cost of flights by using Avios part payment. Customers can select from a range of savings by destination and cabin while collecting Avios and Tier Points on their bookings.

The new route comes as British Airways is investing GBP6.5 billion to improve its customer experience over the next five years, including new aircraft, new cabins, new catering, new lounges, WiFi, and new routes.

London Gatwick opens sensory room for departing passengers

London Gatwick has become the first UK airport to open a sensory room for its passengers, offering a relaxing, private and interactive environment to calm people who may feel in busy and unfamiliar airport surroundings.

Located in the North Terminal, the new sensory space is designed for passengers with autism, dementia, cognitive impairment or other special needs to help them feel at ease before their flight. Passengers using the sensory room can transform the space from a calming and relaxing environment to a stimulating interactive space full of light and sound with the flick of a switch.

The ‘chill-out zone’ for those needing calm includes floor cushions, bean bags and digital display panels, which generate colourful visual wall features. The separate ‘interactive zone’ stimulates the senses through tactile panels, textures and a game to improve memory, motor skills and encourages learning. The free to use room is available only to departing passengers and their families or carers who can book a 45-minute session at the North Terminal’s special assistance desk after the security check.

Gatwick Airport’s Head of Terminal Operations, Andy Pule, said: ‘We recognise airports can be stressful environments for some passengers, which is why we are extremely proud to offer this new space for them to relax in and enjoy before their flight.

‘Gatwick is committed to providing passengers who have a disability of any kind with the support and services required to ensure their time at the airport is as comfortable as possible and this remains a key area of focus for the airport.’

Autism Ambassador for Gatwick Airport, Maria Cook, said: ‘I cannot thank the whole team involved in this project enough for making it a reality. Working closely with Gatwick I explained the vast benefits of having such a wonderful facility available and the positive impact it has for people with complex conditions and their families and they did not hesitate to create something very special indeed. It is the most amazing Sensory Room I have ever seen.’

Specific activities to experience in the room include: the Catherine Wheel Panel with colour and sound displays including firework effects; Abstract Tactile Panels featuring raised and recessed fluid shapes in contrasting textures; Colour Match Panel with classical music, mood lighting, and game to improve memory, colour recognition and motor skills; Sound to Light Showtime; Waterless Rainbow Tube with a colour wheel offering calming and stimulating effects; Interactive Giant Causeway which can activate colourful lights; Activity Board encouraging motor movement, coordination and sensory skills and Infinity and Beyond Panel offering visual and auditory effects using range of shapes, sounds, patterns and speeds.

London Gatwick announces new direct route to Shanghai

London Gatwick has announced a new long-haul connection to Shanghai – China’s largest city – as Gatwick recorded year-on-year long-haul growth of 20.8 percent in July.

The new service will be operated by China Eastern and will connect the UK to one of the world’s leading business centres, providing over 70,000 seats and more than 3,700 metric tonnes of new cargo capacity each year. The new China Eastern Airlines service to Shanghai will begin on December 7, 2018. The Airbus A330-200 will depart from Gatwick on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 12:00 and will fly to Shanghai Pudong Airport.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome China Eastern to Gatwick and look forward to the start of this vital new link to Shanghai which, like London, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important cities and business hubs. Starting from such a strong position gives this new route every chance of success, as it will be popular with business passengers travelling between the two economic centres, as well as leisure passengers keen to sample the excitement of China’s largest city.

‘July’s traffic figures demonstrate that Gatwick’s long-haul network is driving the airport’s growth. These connections to China and other non-European countries will take on extra significance in a post-Brexit Britain as we become more reliant on them to generate vital growth through trade and by exploiting the other business opportunities that they provide.’

A global financial centre like London, Shanghai is at the centre of China’s economic growth. It is also the leading city driving the Yangtze River Economic Zone – a region accounting for 20 percent of China’s GDP and responsible for a third of the country’s imports and exports, the airport said.

The launch of the new route follows one of the busiest Julys in Gatwick’s history, with cargo handled by the airport growing by 28.8 percent year-on-year. In October, the airport will also see the launch of new Norwegian flights from Gatwick to the Florida city of Tampa, it added.

British Airways launches new route from Heathrow to Marrakech

British Airways has announced the launch a new direct service to Marrakech from Heathrow for winter.

The airline said that it will be adding a new four-per-week service from Terminal 5 to the Moroccan holiday hotspot from October 28, 2018. During the winter season, holidaymakers will be able to fly direct from British Airways’ London-hub to Marrakech for a break, with services taking off on Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The airline already flies from Gatwick to Marrakech eight times a week with a choice of different flight times. The return fares start from £132 in Euro Traveller and £332 in Club Europe, and customers can choose to cut the cost of flights by using Avios part payment.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances, said: ‘Marrakech adds another exciting destination to our leisure network at Heathrow and is a fantastic starting point to explore Morocco; from trekking in the Atlas Mountains to discovering the amazing deserts and beaches and soaking up the atmosphere of the many medinas. Marrakech is one of the key tourism destinations in north Africa, so we’re excited to serve it from two of our London airports.’

The airline is also increasing the flight frequency to other city break destinations from Heathrow this winter, with more flights to Prague, increased from 27 to 34 per week; Budapest, increased from 20 to 23 per week; and Barcelona, from 46 to 53 per week, as well as increasing the frequency to winter sun destinations such as Gibraltar, from 9 to 13 per week; Larnaca; from 7 to 10 per week; and Malaga from four to six per week.

British Airways has recently added Nashville to its long-haul network from Heathrow and is offering travellers a new destination this winter – the South African city of Durban with a direct service from Terminal 5. From October 29, the airline will offer three direct flights a week to the spectacular South African city known for its lush green garden province and beautiful beaches.

British Airways Holidays is offering four nights at the 3 star Le Caspien Hotel, from £279 per person, travelling June 1 – June 17. In addition, the holiday company offers four nights at the five start Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, from £709 per person, travelling June 1 – June 14. The price includes Euro Traveller return flights from London Gatwick and accommodation with breakfast. Booking can be done at ba.com/Marrakech, it said.

Gatwick adds new double daily service to Qatar, expands service on transatlantic routes

London Gatwick is planning to increase the global connectivity it provides for passengers with the introduction of a new route to Qatar operated by Qatar Airways, starting May 2018.

In addition, Norwegian has announced plans to offer passengers more choice with additional frequencies, on transatlantic routes, adding 150,000 extra seats from Gatwick this summer. The airline also starts new routes to Austin and Chicago this March – adding to its new Buenos Aires service that was launched in February.

Gatwick Airport Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate, said: ‘I am delighted to welcome Qatar Airways – one of the world’s premier airlines – to Gatwick for this exciting new double-daily service to Doha. Our existing airlines are also providing even more choice for passengers with Norwegian starting routes to Austin and Chicago this month while also adding 150,000 extra seats on their transatlantic services from Gatwick this summer.’

Gatwick, which was named London Airport of the Year at the London Transport Awards in February, registered its 60th month of consecutive growth in February. The airport marked five full years of month-on-month growth as 3.0 million passengers travelled through last month, an increase of 0.7 per cent compared to 2017.

Commenting on the continued growth at the airport, Wingate said: ‘Our February traffic figures mark five consecutive years of growth and during this time Gatwick has been transformed by our ongoing GBP2.7 billion investment programme. Our passengers now have a wealth of choice through an extensive route network – including over 60 long haul routes – a variety of airlines plus world-class airport facilities.’

‘February’s passenger figures are the latest demonstration of Gatwick’s importance as a vital piece of UK infrastructure providing global connectivity at a time when the country needs it most. We have exciting plans for growth maximising the use of our existing facilities whilst we also offer the country the prospect of a financeable and deliverable new runway scheme,’ he added.

Gatwick announces new peer-to-peer car rental scheme, partners with Car & Away

London Gatwick has announced plans to host a new peer-to-peer car rental scheme that allows people to rent out their vehicles to others while they are away.

Gatwick is the first UK airport to introduce such a scheme. The airport is partnering with a start-up company, Car & Away, to provide a new ‘Rent & Earn’ service for passengers, in addition to the other existing long stay parking options at Gatwick.

Vehicle owners looking to participate in the scheme may register the service, via the Gatwick parking website, where they are provided with information about Car & Away’s qualifying criteria and the renting process. Their vehicle will also receive a mini valet service. Small vehicle owners can expect to earn up to GBP80 per week in rental income, while owners of larger cars can expect to earn up to twice that amount.

Renters can find Car & Away’s available vehicles via Rentalcars.com when searching for rental cars from Gatwick. On finding a suitable service, the vehicle is available for collection from Car & Away parking bays located in the valet arrivals area of the South Terminal, the airport said.

Gatwick Airport’s Head of Car Parking, Gary Wallace, said: ‘We are always searching for ways to provide new, innovative and ground breaking services so we are pleased to be hosting this exciting new scheme with Car & Away. The new service offers passengers an alternative option when it comes to renting vehicles from the airport and gives them a chance to offset their parking costs.

‘Our goal is to help as many people as possible to travel for less, in a convenient way, and airport peer-to-peer car sharing services are another way of achieving this.’

Car & Away will ensure that all vehicles are fully insured, cleaned and meet RAC approved vehicle roadworthiness checks before being offered to renters. Octo Telematics systems will be installed to monitor the vehicle driving patterns. When the renter returns, the vehicle passes through the same checking processes and will then wait in the Car & Away parking bays for the owner’s return, the airport said.