Continental to drop Bristol-New York route

7 Apr 2010 by BusinessTraveller

After five years on the route US carrier Continental says it will stop flying to New York from Bristol on November 7.  The decision will leave this major West Country city without any direct scheduled transatlantic service.

Currently Continental flies daily between Bristol and New York Newark with a two-class B757. Convenient connections are offered at Newark for onward US cities.

In a brief statement, Continental says, “We have regretfully taken this decision because of continuing operational losses, despite the best efforts of both Continental and Bristol airport to promote the service. The daily Bristol-New York service will continue to operate normally until November 7. Customers with bookings for flights beyond that date will be contacted and offered alternative travel plans or refunds.”

Direct transatlantic flights from Bristol were popular with both locals and other travellers in the West because of the airport’s convenience. Not only did it save trekking to Heathrow but Bristol is on the “right” side of the UK so the flight time was shorter.

But to an airline “yield” or revenue per seat is more important than popularity and it’s believed that, although Continental’s planes had healthy loads, there were not enough passengers paying the higher economy and business class fares to make the route a financial success.

Might services from Continental’s other UK regional airports also be under threat ?  According to the carrier there are no immediate plans for any changes. Says a spokesman, “Our other regional UK services from Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast are performing much better than Bristol as their markets are better established.”

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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