Companies moving goods between the U.S. and the U.K. will soon see more options open up. Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL) and Virgin Atlantic are both increasing flights between the two continents beginning in the summer of 2020, and Delta will have a presence at Gatwick Airport for the first time in over five years.
This expanded flight network will provide cargo customers better choices when it comes to trans-Atlantic capacity, routes and frequencies, according to a joint media release from the airlines.
Gatwick will become Delta’s seventh trans-Atlantic destination served nonstop from Boston when flights begin next May. During the same month, Virgin Atlantic will launch a daily flight to New York-JFK from Gatwick.
“Delta’s return to Gatwick will mark the first time the airlines have both served the airport since their partnership began in 2014,” according to the media release. “Customers shipping cargo to the U.K. from the northeastern United States will benefit from a choice of up to 18 daily flights between Boston and New York and two London airports, plus Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.”
Beginning next spring, both Delta and Virgin Atlantic will increase capacity between New York-JFK and Heathrow Airport. This effort will provide more flight options between the trade hubs, including Delta’s first daytime flight from New York-JFK to Heathrow.
“This is great news for cargo customers of both airlines and will significantly increase the choice they have to ship goods between the U.K. and U.S.,” Virgin Atlantic Managing Director of Cargo Dominic Kennedy said. “As we continue to build a platform for long-term growth, our summer 2020 schedule represents another strengthening of our joint venture with Delta Cargo and will help to reinforce our position as a carrier of choice on the highly competitive trans-Atlantic market.”
Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow to New York-JFK flights will also be the first route served by the airline’s new Airbus A350 starting in September, which will offer a further cargo capacity boost, according to the release.
“Virgin Atlantic is also set to increase flights to important West Coast hubs, as it ups frequencies from Heathrow to Seattle from seven to 11 flights per week,” the release reads. “Los Angeles will also see services rise from 14 to 17 flights per week, with up to three services per day operating in the busy summer months and will be the second route to be operated by the A350 next year.”
Delta will also return to Manchester (U.K.) Airport next summer, taking over Virgin Atlantic’s current operations between Manchester and Boston. Once Delta takes over, service offerings will increase from three times per week to daily. It will become the eighth trans-Atlantic destination Delta services nonstop from Boston.
“We’re excited to be sharing this expansion with our joint venture partner, Virgin Atlantic, and to be returning to London Gatwick as well as Manchester, and growing our international network from Boston,” stated Shawn Cole, Delta Air Lines vice president of cargo. “Our new services from Heathrow will also be supported by the opening later this year of our new joint cargo terminal, which will ultimately double our cargo-handling capacity at the airport and ensure we continue to meet our customers’ service expectations.”