American Airlines has reversed its decision to fly transatlantic from Newcastle this spring.
Travellers in the Northeast had been looking forward to getting their first ever scheduled service to New York with the US carrier intending to launch daily all-economy flights with a B757 twin jet on May 2. But now they are going to have to look for alternatives.
Says an American Airlines spokesperson, "We've had to take a long hard look at our schedules because of continuing high fuel prices and economic conditions in the US airline industry. So it's no longer possible to operate this route. Ticketed passengers will be offered an alternative flight or a refund."
Adds Alan Clark, chief executive of regional development agency One North East, "We have all worked very hard to bring the New York route here but unfortunately we are a victim of global forces beyond our control."
But all is not lost. There are plenty of alternatives although journey times will be longer. Passengers from Newcastle can take the train to Edinburgh (regular GNER and Virgin trains take 90 minutes) and fly non-stop with US carrier Continental. Alternatively you can connect with British Airways via Heathrow, KLM via Amsterdam or Air France via Paris CDG.
A further alternative (for those seeking premium class comfort) is to fly Easyjet to Stansted then continue transatlantic with all-business class carriers Maxjet and Eos.
For more information go to www.americanairlines.co.uk
Report by Alex McWhirter