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When Did The Atlantic Model Shift From JFK-LHR?  
User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 10314 times:

For many years, most Americans flying to Europe would fly from XXX American city-JFK-LHR-XXX European city. Typically this was on a Pan Am or TWA 727, then 747, then 727.

I guess my question is when did this end? As late as the 1980s, was this still the primary way for passengers to travel to Europe? Or had smaller aircraft such as the L-1011, etc already cracked this a little bit?

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3213 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 10249 times:

Quoting washingtonian (Thread starter):
I guess my question is when did this end? As late as the 1980s, was this still the primary way for passengers to travel to Europe? Or had smaller aircraft such as the L-1011, etc already cracked this a little bit?

For as long as I can remember, PAN AM, and TWA ex JFK at the very least, had direct flights into major european capitals. In fact Pan Am took the 707 to Paris before it took it to LHR on its inaugral flight. I think a lot of these cities had tag on flights but you have to remember that was normal at this point in history. A 707 flight might leave JFK for Cairo via Paris and Rome, for example. I know for years Pan Am operated a flight to Stockholm Arlanda that then continued on to Helsinki, allowing both cities to be served. When delta took this route over Helsinki as a tag on was dropped. But there were heaps and heaps and heaps of these flights that did not go through LHR.

That was even the case before the jet age so I question the case the majority of people went to JFK and then LHR. It also ignores that Pan Am flew direct to London from cities like SFO with the boeing 707 as did BOAC, and not to mention plenty of european carriers flew direct with DC-8 or 707 service to cities like Amsterdamn, Zurich, Frankfurt etc. What we used to see that we dont see now, is more 'tag on' flights to secondary cities. But these frequencies weren't daily. I suspect what you are refering to would be more flights from places like Miami and SFO to LHR having tag ons to places like Brussels and FRA , particularly FRA because of the Pan Am intergerman unit.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25170 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 10239 times:

There were direct flights from several other major US cities to a few points in Europe other than LHR as early as the 1950s, including the west coast, although most were less than daily in those days. Even TWA's inaugural transatlantic service in 1946 was to Paris, not London.

Bilaterals with many European countries were quite restrictive in terms of the gateways that could be served and quite a few limited direct service to NYC only.

[Edited 2011-03-25 17:31:46]

[Edited 2011-03-25 17:32:37]

User currently offlinesimairlinenet From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 912 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10065 times:

washingtonian is talking about a paradigm shift. I certainly know where he's coming from--I have read that in the past, half of U.S. travelers to Europe have passed through London, with a quarter actually destined for it. Why was American and United battling for Heathrow rights so critical? Why was Heathrow such a hold-up in the open skies agreement? The U.S.-U.K. market is certainly the dominant transatlantic flow, but I would not characterize it as 'most passengers.'

I wouldn't characterize the change as coming instantaneously, but I would posit that the changes certainly accelerated during the 1980s when three things happened:
1) aircraft smaller than 747s (especially ETOPS) became more prevalent
2) U.S. airlines began developing the modern hub structure which allowed them to overfly the major East Coast gateways
3) liberalized bilateral agreements started to allow additional U.S. gateways to European airlines and additional U.S. airlines into Europe

But, British Airways still remains the biggest European airline across the Atlantic, and U.S. airlines fly more flights to the U.K. than any other country.

[Edited 2011-03-25 18:11:24]

User currently onlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20552 posts, RR: 62
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 10005 times:

Quoting washingtonian (Thread starter):
Or had smaller aircraft such as the L-1011, etc already cracked this a little bit?

The 767-200 cracked it the most, starting in '85-'86(?) when they became ETOPS certified. I recall flying BRU-JFK on a 3-class AA 762 in Feb/Mar '87 which was still a real rarity then. As the market evolved, at one point there were more 767s flying the Atlantic than any other aircraft (by the early '90s?). I'd flown over to Europe via DFW to LGW on a DC-10 that trip.

As perspective, on my trip in Sept '85 I went through JFK on TWA from SFO, and sitting there on the taxiway it was literally 747 after 747 rolling down the runway for perhaps 3/4 of an hour or so before mine finally took to the air to AMS (the one exception being an OK IL-62 that I was excited to see). But on my '87 trip the 747 domination from JFK was already beginning to wane—my connecting flight from JFK to LAX on an AA DC-10 took off around the same time of day, but the stream of 747s was noticeably less. By one of my '88 trips, TWA had switched the JFK-AMS flight to the TriStar, for example.

The TATL landscape for aircraft types and choice of international gateways has changed substantially in the past 25 years.

I'm sure someone with an OAG could pull out the actual aircraft mix as it changed in the mid-to-late 1980s.



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User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8341 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 9847 times:
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The change occurred in several stages and the 767 probably did more for launching new flights to Europe then any airplane. The 767 was small enough and its range long enough to launch such routes as DFW to Paris. Piedmont launched CLT to LGW with a 767-200ER in 1987.

Before the 767 many new flights to Europe were launched in the late 1970's from the south with L-1011-500, DC-10-30 and 747. Delta launched Atlanta to LGW, Braniff launched DFW to LGW and Continental launched Houston to LGW. British Caledonian also launched flights to those 3 southern cities from LGW.

KLM and Sabena started flying to ATL from AMS and BRU then. The 1970's saw many European airlines fly to cities outside the northeast and Chicago. BA, KLM, Lufthansa and Air France were flying to LAX and San Francisco. Houston has had Air France and KLM for decades because of teh oil industry. Dulles has had many foreign airlines flying there for decades because of the DC region.

Pan AM and TWA flew from places outside JFK, though, PA launched LAX to LHR flights with 707's in teh early 1960's. TWA used to fly Constellations nonstop to LHR from SFO, the flights took 18 hours nonstop.

Delta is that has shown us the power of a hub, ATL has nonstops to places like Stuttgart, Venice & Athens. DL has also launched nonstop to Johannesberg, South Africa. In 1996 DL launched what could be called a very " anti Miami" flight nonstop to Sao Paulo, today DL flies nonstop to all Latin capitols; no need to fly from MIA.


User currently offlinesimairlinenet From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 912 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 9734 times:

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 5):
In 1996 DL launched what could be called a very " anti Miami" flight nonstop to Sao Paulo, today DL flies nonstop to all Latin capitols; no need to fly from MIA.

Case in point, similar stories and reasons as New York-London abound for the Pacific and Latin America, just like the Atlanta example here.


User currently offlineincitatus From Brazil, joined Feb 2005, 4009 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9632 times:

Quoting washingtonian (Thread starter):
For many years, most Americans flying to Europe would fly from XXX American city-JFK-LHR-XXX European city. Typically this was on a Pan Am or TWA 727, then 747, then 727.

I think this was common but not as big as you might be thinking. FRA was a large PA transfer center and ORY was a large TWA transfer center. Besides that, US airlines served some other airports nonstop.

Going back to 1958, check this out:
http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/pa/pa58/
Pages 04 and 05 have the PA transatlantic schedule. The frequency of the transatlantic legs was:

BOS-SNN 3/7
BOS-GLA 2/7
DTW-SNN 3/7
NYC-LIS 4/7
BOS-SantaMaria 2/7
NYC-LON 14/7
NYC-ORY 11/7
NYC-FCO 3/7
NYC-FRA 7/7
SEA-LON 1/7
LAX-LON 2/7
LAX-ORY 1/7
NYC-Gander-KEF-OSL 1/7

My airport codes might not be exact for 1958, but that was their network. It was NYC centric, but not LON centric.



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User currently offlineOB1783P From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 326 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 9025 times:

Also, the traffic in the NYC area has become worse. I live West of MDT: 3 h drive from Newark, 3 h from Dulles, and a little less from BWI. Back in the 80s, the idea of driving to JFK to catch a TATL flight was not attractive, but still possible. It would have taken maybe 4h. Today, no way. It would take 6h. JFK might as well be on another planet.

On a current post: "Old UA Slots At JFK Gone Forever?" you can see that folks on the other side feel just the same about EWR as I feel about JFK.

Congestion on the road and congestion in the air coincided, leading to more point to point. Still, I don't believe there ever will be a MDT-MRS for me to visit my family in France.



I've flown thousands of miles and I can tell you it's a lot safer than crossing the street!
User currently offlineFlyingSicilian From Italy, joined Mar 2009, 1324 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 8741 times:

As noted above Houston had B Cal in the late 70s Houston Intercontinental to London Gatwick (It was my first flight actually) and KLM has been in Houston over 50 years IIRC (though some of that was after landing on the east coast)


“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
User currently offlineflyingclrs727 From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 733 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 7881 times:

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 9):
As noted above Houston had B Cal in the late 70s Houston Intercontinental to London Gatwick (It was my first flight actually) and KLM has been in Houston over 50 years IIRC (though some of that was after landing on the east coast)

The early KLM flights between AMS and HOU used fifth freedom rights from YYZ.


User currently offlineNavigator From Sweden, joined Jul 2001, 1207 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 6871 times:

Quoting washingtonian (Thread starter):
For many years, most Americans flying to Europe would fly from XXX American city-JFK-LHR-XXX European city. Typically this was on a Pan Am or TWA 727, then 747, then 727.

I guess my question is when did this end? As late as the 1980s, was this still the primary way for passengers to travel to Europe? Or had smaller aircraft such as the L-1011, etc already cracked this a little bit?

When talking about where I live in Stockholm what you say has almost never been the case. Since the 1940:s there have been direct flights from JFK to Stockholm both with Pan Am and SAS. But Pan Am did fly via LHR for a while and so did TWA but during that period SAS flew direct to JFK. So I think you overplay LHR:s role in this. Maybe transfers from other US airports than JFK to Stockholm is more common via LHR but you have always had the choice of the likes of FRA, ZRH etc so even if LHR is the largest european airport I think the role in this is exaggerated.

I think when you pick JFK most major european cities have always had nonstops bypassing LHR. That goes for LIS, BRU, ZRH, ARN, CPH, MAD, etc etc



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User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3572 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 6452 times:

Quoting washingtonian (Thread starter):
For many years, most Americans flying to Europe would fly from XXX American city-JFK-LHR-XXX European city. Typically this was on a Pan Am or TWA 727, then 747, then 727.

My recollection is that Pan Am's only European operation with the 727 were flights out of Berlin, this being due to Berlin then being partitioned into 4 zones after WW2. This ending with the fall of East Germany in 1990. Routes were highly protected in those days, and I fiund it difficult to believe that Pan Am would have held many route rights from LHR to European destinations, apart from tag on passengers if any tag on routes were operated.


User currently offlineSevenHeavy From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 1156 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 6026 times:

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 12):
My recollection is that Pan Am's only European operation with the 727 were flights out of Berlin, this being due to Berlin then being partitioned into 4 zones after WW2. This ending with the fall of East Germany in 1990. Routes were highly protected in those days, and I fiund it difficult to believe that Pan Am would have held many route rights from LHR to European destinations, apart from tag on passengers if any tag on routes were operated.

Pan Am actually had a sizeable feed from mainland Europe to it's Transatlantic flights from LHR. A quick search on line backs this up. They had a number of B722s operating from LHR to FRA, OSL, AMS, BRU and MUC amongst others. I think there were about half a dozen based at LHR (at least they seemed to be based there) and, whilst the destinations varied through the years they were a constant presence from at least the early 70s until the routes went to UA in 1990 - in fact, UA themselves based some 727's at LHR to operate the very same routes, although they eventually ditched them all.

LHR was second only to FRA for PA in terms of European operations.

TWA had less European feed into LHR, generally just an old B721 from the FRA base. Interestingly, Their CDG operation had far less transatlantic flights than LHR but considerably more feed to TLV, ATH, FCO, GVA and many others (as with PA they moved things around a lot over the years but these cities were pretty consistently served)



So long 701, it was nice knowing you.
User currently onlinezrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3165 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 5835 times:

For many years, BOS was the second largest transatlantic gateway (after JFK). BOS has always had a nice variety of European carriers. Now, though Boston still gets service to many European cities, it is much farther down in the rankings of major gateway.


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User currently offlineNavigator From Sweden, joined Jul 2001, 1207 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 5466 times:

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 14):
For many years, BOS was the second largest transatlantic gateway (after JFK)

When was that? I remember Swissair stuck to BOS for some reason but ORD and LAX have as far as I think always been ahead of BOS. Even Montreal was ahead of BOS until YYZ took over



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User currently offlineltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13088 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 4127 times:

Some other factors may include that deregulation of the airline industry in the USA, Europe and elsewhere, the availability of longer range large mid-sized a/c, along with enough demand to make it worth while to serve other smaller city pairs on both sides of the 'pond' with direct service mid-sized a/c, the collaspe of PanAm and TWA, and the preference to have direct service vs. changing flights in at JFK. There is also the end of the 'cold war' requiring going through a Euro hub like LHR to go to certain Eastern Euro countries and the then USSR (although there were some direct/non-stop flights between JFK and IAD to them) .

As to the NY City area, the huge expansion of airline service, especially international service, at EWR made it better for many seeking connecting flights within the USA not served by direct TATL flights via JFK, especially after TWA and Pan Am went bust and CO (now UA) grew it's major hub there.

LHR is still a major hub for those going between the USA and certain middle-eastern and African countries where there is no direct or non-stop service available although other cities and airlines based other countries in Europe like FRA and CDG are often used.


User currently offlineNavigator From Sweden, joined Jul 2001, 1207 posts, RR: 14
Reply 17, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 3360 times:

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 16):
LHR is still a major hub for those going between the USA and certain middle-eastern and African countries where there is no direct or non-stop service available although other cities and airlines based other countries in Europe like FRA and CDG are often used

I think this thread tends to simplify things a bit. LHR is a major airport but has always had hard competition from a number of european airports when it comes to transfers to for instance the Middle East.

Some airports with large route nets serving the middle east are:

Amsterdam - KLM
Frankfurt - Lufthansa
Munich - Lufthansa
Paris CDG - Air France
Zurich - Swiss
Vienna - Austrian

When it comes to African routes Brussels and Paris have always been in the forefront.

And the days when you needed to go via those airports to the Middle East disappeared with the likes of Etihad, Emirates, Qatar etc and Egyptair and El Al have served the US as far as I can remember.

So the fact that LHR is a major airport has a lot to with it serving the largest city in Europe and its financial and tourist attraction on its own. Even if Pan Am and TWA used the airport as a transfer point, european flag carriers always flew nonstop to JFK except perhaps Finnair in its early days.

In the 70:s you saw the following european carriers operating Boeing 747:s at JFK nonstop to their european bases (bypassing LHR):

Swissair to ZRH & GVA
Sabena to BRU
SAS to Scandinavia
KLM to AMS
TAP to Lisbon
Iberia to Madrid
Alitalia to MXP & FCO
Olympic tp Athens
Air France to PAR
Lufthansa to FRA

And in addition to this Loftleidir flew from JFK to Iceland and on to Luxembourg and Finnair with DC-10 via AMS & CPH to HEL

So you see that this JFK - LHR route has served its purpose but its role as a hub could be put in perspective I think. All airports mentioned above have always been hubs when it comes to traffic from JFK...



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User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8341 posts, RR: 7
Reply 18, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 3025 times:
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Quoting Navigator (Reply 17):
In the 70:s you saw the following european carriers operating Boeing 747:s at JFK nonstop to their european bases (bypassing LHR):

Swissair to ZRH & GVA
Sabena to BRU
SAS to Scandinavia
KLM to AMS
TAP to Lisbon
Iberia to Madrid
Alitalia to MXP & FCO
Olympic tp Athens
Air France to PAR
Lufthansa to FRA

These airline also has lots to do with JFK loosing its premier gateway status, they expanded outside the Northeast and Chicago in the 1970's. Some even in the 1960's, Lufthansa started flying to San Francisco in the 1960's.

Air France, Lufthansa, SAS, KLM and Swissair have been flying to the South( Miami) and out west( California) for years. LAX has many flights from some European airlines, BA flies to LAX 3 times daily. AF and LH fle twice a day.


User currently offlineteme82 From Finland, joined Mar 2007, 1511 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 2991 times:
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Quoting Navigator (Reply 17):
Finnair with DC-10 via AMS & CPH to HEL

DC-8 to be exact. If my memory serves me right the JFK routes with DC-10 were non-stop. And the stopovers at CPH and AMS were dropped because the local carriers KL and SK weren't too happy about AY's flights loaded pax there.



Flying high and low
User currently offlineNavigator From Sweden, joined Jul 2001, 1207 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2808 times:

Quoting teme82 (Reply 19):
DC-8 to be exact. If my memory serves me right the JFK routes with DC-10 were non-stop.

I have photoproof in my files that Finnair flew the DC-10 via CPH but they started out with DC-8-62. The DC-10 flights were not nonstop initially, at least not all flights...

And when it comes to JFK loosing its hubstatus, it never had a monopoly in that respect since the -60:s. Flights nonstop to for instance LAX were started very early by european carriers. It came with SAS and the DC-7... So I think this thread rests on an assumption that is not entirely correct.



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User currently offlineHBGDS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2742 times:

Playing on Fifth freedom and the limited sovereignty of Germany for a while, as well as the need for technical stops, there were several SAS and SR flights going via FRA (or all the way to Germany) in the 1950s. The LHR model has to be considered based on profit: the business capital of Europe in its time (often still is) connected to NYC. As for Paris, it was, and still is one of the top five tourist destinations for the US based on OECD numbers. That's why you see that model also applied in parallel.

TWA did some straight to GVA biz in the 70s, then ended it. It was reopened in the 80s, usually as a feeder to the flight in Paris (727 to 767). Pan Am did some straight to ZRH with feeder to GVA. My last experience with them was in summer 91, GVA-JFK via VRU on an A310 without switching planes (you could stay onboard, but had to put up with security searches in BRU).'Flew back in December in an all-whote A-310 with Delta stickers...

Essentially you have to look at airlines evolving into the US hub-spoke model for practical/technical and economic reasons. LHR made sense up to a point.


User currently offlineteme82 From Finland, joined Mar 2007, 1511 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2637 times:
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Quoting Navigator (Reply 20):
I have photoproof in my files that Finnair flew the DC-10 via CPH but they started out with DC-8-62. The DC-10 flights were not nonstop initially, at least not all flights...

I stand corrected  

ps. post the pic  



Flying high and low
User currently offlinejfklganyc From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3448 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2326 times:

Shift or no shift, JFK is still the "premier" gateway to the US from Europe. No airport even comes close.

As a matter of fact, this has been bolstered in the last 10 years with the strengthening of AAs and DLs gateway hubs.

Smaller planes, deregulation, large mid continent hubs all led to a paradigm shift in Trans Atlantic and Trans Pacific travel.

Wasn't that long ago that a lot more US-Asia traffic connected in NRT.


User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8341 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2258 times:
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Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 23):
Shift or no shift, JFK is still the "premier" gateway to the US from Europe. No airport even comes close.
Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 23):
Smaller planes, deregulation, large mid continent hubs all led to a paradigm shift in Trans Atlantic and Trans Pacific travel.

Wasn't that long ago that a lot more US-Asia traffic connected in NRT.

Smaller more capable airplanes( if a 777 is smaller) have bought new flights never available in the Pan Am era to JFK. Cathay or Emirates HKG & Dubai nonstop flights to JFK would have never been possible 25 years ago. The 777 has allowed Asian high financiers to fly nonstop to America's premier fiancial center. Now if Qantas could fly nonstop to Sydney from JFK the worlds nonstop flights would all be possible.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25170 posts, RR: 22
Reply 25, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 1820 times:

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 5):
PA launched LAX to LHR flights with 707's in the early 1960's.

PA started west coast- Europe direct service with DC-7Cs in the late 1950s, often with a fuel stop (frequently at YFB). Their January 1958 timetable has 4 weekly DC-7C flights on those routes.

SFO-LAX-LHR (2 x week)
SFO-PDX-SEA-LHR (1 x week)
SFO-LAX-ORY (1 x week)


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