Its odd that CO
has yet to introduce the long promised IAH
nonstop flight; it likely would be very successful on both an O&D basis (connecting the business centers in Texas with Germany) and on a connecting basis due to the power of CO
's Houston hub. There were strong rumors that IAH
would get nonstop service to Frankfurt and Madrid a few years ago - those cities would complement the then existing nonstops out of IAH
to London and Paris.
A couple of things happened:
said it was waiting for the new international facilities at IAH
to be operational. The facilities have opened but no new flights from IAH
to Europe have been announced.
has been very successful on its European flights out of EWR
which keep a good portion of the CO
767/777 fleet very busy. The latest round of expansion focuses on 757 transatlantic services, but most existing European destinations are served with wide-body aircraft on a tight schedule, some with double daily service.
aligned with KLM and now CO
is a SkyTeam member, thus IAH
-Amsterdam was added so that CO
could take advantage of the KL
hub at AMS
will be double daily and IAH
on certain days has two flights.) The focus on AMS
has made Frankfurt less intersting to CO
- Frankfurt is Star Alliance territory - connections to Europe and the world are now offered by CO
, few connections could be offered via FRA
does not have alliance partners there.
- The difficult US visa regulations also affected CO
's plans for a European expansion out of IAH
hoped to promote IAH
as a connecting point for latin american travellers going on to Europe (as an alternative to MIA
).....many travellers from latin america now avoid stopovers in the USA due to the visa regs and try to travel via Canada, Mexico or go direct to Europe where possible. The visa regs certainly put the IAH
flight on the back burner (CO wanted to tap into the large market travelling from central america to Spain) and also made the IAH
flight less interesting.
- And, as pointed out, CO
's 767 and 777 fleet are already operating on rather intense schedules, especially during the peak summer seasons - new flights to China out of EWR
are planned, not to mention the EWR
-Lagos service (and possibly EWR
-Moscow) that is in the works all of which need 767/777 aircraft. Thus far, CO
has been unwilling to invest in more widebody aircraft (other than the order for the 787s).....so IAH
is on hold. There are rumors that CO
may downgrade EWR
from a 762 to a 757, or operate EWR
with double daily 757s instead of the 764 which would free up widebody aircraft, but so far those ideas remain rumors.
I think that CO
will announce this route in time, the question is when?