British Airways has announced it will be adding two new transatlantic flights to its summer 2018 schedule from London Gatwick to Toronto and Las Vegas.
Flights to Las Vegas will be taking to the skies from 27 March and Toronto from 1 May. Both services are seasonal and will operate three times per week.
British Airways already operates flights to both Las Vegas and Toronto from its main hub, Heathrow, but the move to now launch these routes from Gatwick comes as BA attempts to weed out competition of other airlines offering long-haul routes from Gatwick to North America. Indeed, this year alone, the airline shadowed the movements of low-cost carrier Norwegian by launching its own flights to Fort Lauderdale and Oakland.
While Norwegian doesn’t currently operate the Toronto route from Gatwick, BA will be equally challenged taking on three Canadian low-cost carriers – Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, and Westjet.
The Gatwick-Las Vegas route, on the other hand, is currently only flown by two airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Norwegian.
Norwegian’s Gatwick growth
For the past few years, BA has been struggling to hold its grip on Gatwick. Between 2010 and 2015, it saw a fall in its share of traffic at the airport from 18% to 15%. In the same period, Norwegian’s market share rose almost three-fold from less than 3% to 8.3%. Norwegian is now one of the largest long-haul airlines flying out of Gatwick, offering flights to six destinations in the United States, with plans to also add services to Austin, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, as well as Buenos Aires and Singapore in the upcoming months.
Norwegian’s business model of low frills and cheap fares is proving successful with customers, and thanks to a fleet of fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners, competing with the airline is tough.
BA has already released plans to increase the seat density on its Gatwick-based 777s to 3-4-3, adding in an extra 52 seats and thus decreasing the cost-per-seat of each passenger, a move viewed as necessary to push down fares and quell the increasing threat of Norwegian.
The launch of two destinations takes the number of new routes introduced by British Airways at Gatwick in 2017 to six and the total number of routes flying from Gatwick to 71, 24 of which are long-haul and 47 short-haul.
Fares start at £453 return to Toronto, and £699 to Las Vegas, and can be booked now from ba.com.