a) This whole issue revolves around the language of the Bermuda 2 agreement, and principally revolves around Heathrow itself. The limitation is not from the American side, because the Americans would love to see CX
get the U.K.-U.S. service. In effect, most other EU airlines which the E.U. itself has taken legal action against the U.K. government on the Bermuda 2 agreement would love it. Because it's not just CX
that thinks Bermuda 2 is unfair, but a whole heap of airlines which want open skies between the U.K. and the U.S. And if you add CX
to that list, the voice of dissenters will increase.
b) How can you limit THE most lucrative route in the world for premium business travellers to just four airlines? When VS
switched from Gatwick to Heathrow, their profits on the route to JFK
jumped 44% because of the premium business traffic. So no, it's not the same flying out of any other airport, Heathrow is the jewel of the crown. And it's not oversaturated at all, as the protection of Bermuda 2 allows the airlines to limit frequencies, and increase load factors out of LHR
c) So then, the British government wants to protect it's two principle airlines, and more so BA
, from increased transatlantic competition. If it was open skies, you know every airline and their dog is going to apply for slots at Heathrow. And the slots currently held by the four airlines would then come under attack, because they would not be able to use the 'grandfather' clause to hang onto them. LHR
may be oversaturated, but 84% of the transatlantic slots are held by BA
, some of which remain unused.