COEWRNJ From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1079 posts, RR: 16
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4161 times:
M&m Welcome to A.net.
There have been quite a few posts on this, but it has to do with the Bermuda II agreement. Only two British carriers and two U.S. carriers can fly between the U.S. and Heathrow. Currently it is BA, and VS for the U.K. and UA and AA for the U.S. There are also only certain gateways if I'm not mistaken that can be flown from LHR. That is why BA runs their flights from IAH-LHR through ORD. Hope that helps some. If you do a search you will find more info on the exact regulations of Bermuda II.
ConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4131 times:
The Bermuda II bilateral only allows two airlines from each side to operate between the USA and LHR.
Only 29 gateways are allowed between the USA and LHR/LGW in total. There are 14 permanent LHR gateways (12 are in use: BOS, JFK, EWR, BWI, IAD, MIA, PHL, DTW, ORD, SEA, SFO, and LAX) as well as 2 "temporary" gateways (PHX and DEN).
Three other airlines have authority to operate LHR-USA: AI, KU, and NZ.
PanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4027 times:
I'm not quite clear on the exact nature of the treaty, but there is a specific agreement between the United States and Great Britian that allows only two foreign carriers gates at Heathrow. All others must used Gatwick or another airport in Britain, such as Manchester. I do not believe there are any restrictions like that at any other airport in the U.K.
After WWII, the main route to Europe was via ocean liner. In 1956, the sinking of the beautiful Italian liner Andrea Doria was an eerie signal of the decline of transatlantic traffic on large passenger liners, and the beginning of mass travel to/from Europe on the airplane.
At that time, service was provided by three transatlantic airlines plying the route from LHR to the New York area - British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), Pan Am, and TWA. As larger jets became available, these routes became enormous cash cows for their airlines.
As BOAC and BEA merged into British Airways, this new company immediately became the dominant airline at LHR, and, as the official symbol of Britain, was very closely tied to the British Parliament. At the request of BA, a treaty was signed with the U.S. restricting American transatlantic landing rights at Heathow to just two U.S. airlines, the great dowagers of the skies Pan Am and TWA. The small size and limited gate space were the "official" reasons. This is the reason that Richard Branson is so Anti-BA - it really took an act of Parliament for him to secure landing rights at LHR. BA fought it vociferously all the way.
In the late '80's, financially strapped Pan Am sold their landing rights to United. In an eerie premonition of its eventual collapse, TWA sold their landing rights to American (at WAY under the amount that it was really worth) on July 17, 1996, tragically at almost the exact same time flight 800 crashed.
The agreement is still in place. London has a strange system, actually - most cities don't have several international airports in the general vicinity, usually one big international airport with smaller, regional airports somewhat closer in (Paris, Milan, Rome). London has numerous international airports in its metro area - City, Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted - all capable of handling international flights (and all but City capable of dealing with long-range large airplanes), but Heathrow is the most desirable based on its combination of location, destinations, and even glamour. Most airlines that fly into LGW would gladly switch to LHR if it were possible.
I do not know if the opening of the new terminal five at LHR will open up any new landing slots. Since the runway restrictions will remain (one runway is used for take-offs, the other for landings, and at mid-afternoon, the usage switches in courtesy to the residents at the end of the runways - along with an 11:30 PM - 6:00 AM take-off curfew), I have a feeling this will just be for BA to consolidate some services at LHR. We shall see.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
Richard28 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 1732 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (12 years 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3929 times:
Panam747, VS did not have to go to parliament to get the landing rights, they simply took the rights which were laying dormant at the time, after Caledonain had been absorbed by BA.
New slots may soon be avaialble, as the government has given approval (in 2003) for LHR to be operated in "Mixed mode".
This effectively means that rather than one landing, and one take-off runway, both runways can be used for either. This means at peak periods - such as early morning, both runways can accept the landing traffic from the USA and the asia on both runways, increasing capacity.
This is currently in the planning stages, and airlines are pushing for it to be put into action asap.