This topic has been discussed many times before. My personal view (repeated here) is that BA
's nonstop route to SAN
was caught up in an unlucky environment practically from its inauguration. The route was launched in March 2001, as the economy was in the midst of a downturn in the economic cycle which would not end until November of that year. Yet the events of September 11th obliterated any hope of an increase in business travel, and the route further suffered. The war in Iraq made matters still worse, and soon thereafter BA
announced the suspension of LHR
, starting in October 2003.
I think we should try to put things in perspective for a moment. SAN
was not the only destination to suffer a loss in international service over the past few years. CLT
also lost BA
, and LH
pulled out of PHX
. I would further postulate that BA
's service to PHX
is only kept alive by the America West codeshare. In essence, BA
's suspension of LHR
is not endemic to SAN
, but part of a wider trend in the industry.
Moreover, we must also realize that SAN
's passenger numbers are still not at the same levels as before September 11th. However, they are rising. 2003 saw 15 million passengers at SAN
, down from a high of 15.8 million in 2000, but up from a low of 14.6 million just a year ago. The fall and rise of these numbers mirror those for other airports around the country. Again, the market conditions at SAN
fit into a greater trend.
I am sure SAN
will see transatlantic service once again, in some form. If BA
had "moderate success" with SAN
for at least some time in such an adverse market environment, then certainly British Airways or another carrier could make a go of it once the airport and the economy are in better shape.
I expect transatlantic service to San Diego to return by Summer 2005, not necessarily in the form of BA
, but in some way.