The demise of American Airlines’ JFK-Stansted (London) service appears to have taken no one by surprise. The canceled route served its purpose — to drive the new all-business-class airlines into bankruptcy — and is no longer needed.
But there are other reasons for the schedule cuts. British Airways, American Airlines’ alliance and codeshare partner, has been trimming back its Stansted service as it deals with the continuing problems at its new Heathrow Terminal 5.
British Airways also has plans to launch an all-business class service out of London City Airport that is far more convenient for banking and media types with offices in the Canary Wharf of London.
Stansted is also one of the biggest hubs of low-cost carriers in the London area. I’m sure that American and British executives saw little reason to serve as a feeder for those airlines with transatlantic service that could link up with cheap European fares.
All of this is also being played out against a backdrop of a possible alliance between British, American and Continental Airlines. That alliance will more-than-likely get antitrust exemption and make these shifts at London airports even more strategic.