Delta Air Lines has returned to London Gatwick Airport (LGW) after a 15-year absence with a route from New York John F Kennedy (JFK), further heightening competition in the New York-London market.
The SkyTeam alliance member will serve the sector daily using Boeing 767-300 aircraft, operating alongside its existing double-daily service to London Heathrow on board Airbus A330neos and 767-400s. The addition of Gatwick will see Delta offer 10,400 two-way weekly seats between the cities—up by 59% on this time in 2019.
“Delta started flying to the UK 45 years ago this month at Gatwick and so it is fitting that we are restarting our operations from Gatwick to the U.S.,” says Nicolas Ferri, Delta vice president Europe, Middle East, Africa, and India.
Delta’s expansion in the New York-London market swells the number of flights between the cities to an average of 35 per day, data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser shows. At this time in 2019, there was an average of 31 per day.
However, despite the increased frequencies, seat capacity for the week commencing April 17, 2023 will be about 116,418 two-way seats, down slightly on the 116,944 seats available during the same week four years ago.
The reduction is largely due to JetBlue’s entry to the market in 2021 using Airbus A321LR narrowbodies. Pre-pandemic, the New York-London market was served by all widebodies.
Looking specifically at flights to the New York area from London Gatwick, Delta becomes the fourth operator of LGW-JFK alongside British Airways (BA), JetBlue Airways and Norse Atlantic Airways.
BA began serving the market in May 2016 as a competitive response to Norwegian’s service that launched in July 2014. JetBlue entered the sector in September 2021, 18 months after Norwegian had ceased all long-haul flying, while Norse launched its inaugural LGW-JFK flights in August 2022.
For the week commencing April 17, BA and Norse will have about 32.5% each of the seat capacity between London Gatwick and New York JFK, with Delta on 21.7%. JetBlue’s share of the market amounts to about 13.3%.
This article was originally published on aviationweek.com.