Isn't it about 9 routes and not just the one. I note that the BHX-ORD, MAN-ORD, MAN-JFK and GLA-ORD routes weren't included in the profit-sharing plan. I wonder why?
Heathrow slots won't be handed out to Virgin or Singapore Airlines; BA and AA will be asked to divest themselves of some and then there will be a queue of airlines wanting to get hands on them, bmi british midland included. It would be interesting to see which BA routes would be affected by this handover.
I would back Richard Branson in his action as the "sheep" alliance (BAAA
) would have the lion's share of the LHR-USA market; for Virgin (and bmi) to impact on these routes would take a fair amount of time unless they can find suitable equipment in a short space of time (i.e. perhaps the available MAS 747-400s) to inaugurate new services and increase frequency on others.
The only way for Singapore Airlines to get 5th freedom flights from LHR to the US would be if the Bermuda II treaty is replaced by an "open skies" policy. However, time is short for a British-American deal; I believe that from January, the EU will be negotiating "open skies" agreements instead of the individual countries in the EU. However, I have heard rumours of MAN-USA services by Singapore Airlines next year...no doubt BA will cry foul about that.
Spurious argument about easyJet and Ryanair as they fly from LTN (and to a lesser degree LGW) and STN respectively with them collectively offering no long-haul flights; it is the lack of competition on long-haul flights which is the main thrust of Richard Branson's arguments.
David/MAN 351 and counting