16 October, etc.venues Monument
30 October, JW Marriott Grosvenor House
1st November 2023, etc.venues County Hall
Today”s Midweek Newsletter Big Interview features Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson, who outlines why the imminent Open Skies agreement ” which comes into effect on 30 March - is important for airlines and passengers.
Anderson became Delta”s CEO on 1 September 2007, having joined as a member of the Board of Directors in April that year. He has had nearly 20 years of aviation experience, having worked at Continental Airlines, where he ultimately served as staff vice president and deputy general counsel, and Northwest Airlines, where he became CEO from 2001 to 2004.
At the end of this month, a new era of transatlantic travel will begin as the EU-US Open Skies agreement comes into effect. It will allow for a fully deregulated marketplace and with it the opportunity for growth in airline services between Europe and the US.
Delta fully supports a liberalised market because it benefits millions of transatlantic customers who travel between Europe and the United States every year. It also provides the opportunity for airlines, including Delta, to better serve customers by offering more frequencies and destinations. Historically, restrictive bilateral agreements have limited services between the two continents, and permitted only four carriers to operate from London Heathrow to North America.
EU Transport ministers last year approved the agreement that permits any EU carrier to serve any destination in the US from anywhere in the EU. Previously, carriers could only fly to destinations in their own countries from the US. Access to London”s Heathrow is a key part of the deal.
With more than a third of premium transatlantic customers flying between Heathrow and New York, these changes will positively reshape the competitive operating environment for our customers.
Carriers on both sides of the Atlantic are embracing Open Skies and have announced new services. It is a win for consumers, because more carriers will be able to compete in more markets. More competition will bring better service, lower fares, more destinations and higher frequencies.
Airlines are still working through issues of access to Heathrow, where there is limited availability of landing and takeoff slots, but access is occurring quickly as open markets have a way of working as the ”silent hand” that pushes the airport into an Open Skies era.
The signing of a joint venture (JV) agreement between Delta and Air France last October paved the way for both carriers to start flights between Heathrow and the US. The JV, with anti-trust immunity, combines operations on both carriers” transatlantic routes, and ultimately is expected to increase revenues, competition and customer choices on routes across the Atlantic.
Open Skies is an important milestone in international aviation and the change is welcomed by airlines and customers. Global liberalisation of aviation treaties should be supported by governments around the world, as free access supports better service for consumers and economic growth for countries worldwide.
Beginning 30 March, Delta will operate two daily nonstop flights between Heathrow and New York-JFK, and one daily direct flight between Heathrow and Atlanta.