News Open Skies: new choices for passengers and challenges for Heathrow

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Open Skies: new choices for passengers and challenges for Heathrow

Opening up new routes to new carriers, the agreements place Heathrow on the front lines.

Open Skies will bring about a sea-change in transatlantic travel, providing unprecedented traveller options and placing untested strains on key hubs, experts have claimed.

OAG Back Aviation Solutions has claimed that the implementation of the EU-US Open-Skies Agreement on March 30th will usher in a new generation of transatlantic travel, with flights from the US to Heathrow expected to increase 31 per cent by July.

Opening up new routes to new carriers, the agreements place Heathrow on the front lines, with American Airlines recently announcing the relocation of its Dallas Fort Worth flights to the west London hub, while Continental, Delta and Northwest will also be able to fly to and from Heathrow for the first time.

Many have predicted that prices will fall in tune with the greater choice of transatlantic flights, but chaos at already busy hubs is another prospect that could offset the benefits of more competitive airfares.

With OAG predicting 2,932 Heathrow-bound flights from the US in July, the pressure will be on the hub to manage heavy passenger numbers better than it has in the past.

Particular focus will be on British Airways’ new home in Terminal 5, with the opening only days away and the airline planning to transfer its San Francisco and Los Angeles flights on March 27th.

Robert Boyle, British Airways’ commercial director, said that passengers were being prepared for the terminal’s layout, claiming: "We’ve been sending regular communications to them and built a comprehensive microsite to allow them to familiarise themselves with the building."

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