Another route has fallen victim to transatlantic overcapacity.
Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will be cancelling its seasonal London Heathrow to Chicago service in summer 2017.
In its place the carrier will operate a third daily service between London Heathrow and Los Angeles.
Virgin Atlantic says that it has made “this tough decision to end the seasonal London Heathrow to Chicago service from May 1, 2017.”
“We have made this change in the best interest of Virgin Atlantic’s business and our customers. It means we focus on placing the right aircraft on the right route so that customers receive the best experience possible.”
Virgin Atlantic will be operating its third daily Los Angeles service with its new B787-9 aircraft.
The carrier has a strong appeal to the Hollywood crowd hence its decision to add more West Coast capacity.
Says the airline “The move reflects our efforts to optimise our network, particularly across the West Coast where we see demand growing among customers.”
Another, perhaps more important, reason is the possible yield (earnings per seat) and the fact that the low-cost carriers haven’t made as many inroads into the West Coast as they have with the East Coast market.
For example, airlines can charge huge sums in economy flights when operating between London and the US West Coast in the summer peak.
Last summer (July/August) I remember checking (peak) prices with British Airways and it was charging £1,300 return for an economy excursion when booked a few weeks ahead.
And a quick check with Virginatlantic.com right now showed prices for July/August 2017 which were almost as expensive.
If that’s the price today what will it be like nearer the time ?