Friday, June 01, 2007

Edinburgh Will Be The Loser

News that Delta Airlines is to stop its daily Edinburgh Atlanta service in October is not good. Its being spun as a positive by announcing that Delta from next May will start an Edinburgh-JFK daily service instead - no flights at all for Delta during the winter. Last year before the Atlanta service started Continental Airlines predicted that it would be "gone within 18 months". Delta's response at the time was, "Delta is adding to customer choice and we are confident our specific, unique product with interconnections via our proven hub in Atlanta will appeal to Scots passengers."

In the last two days David Johnston, managing director of Edinburgh Airport, said: "The US continues to be a key market for Scotland. We therefore have every confidence this service will be a great success." Edinburgh City leader Jenny Dawe, said: "That Delta have announced a daily direct flight to New York JFK is an indication of the success of their service to and from the city so far and an indication that Edinburgh's offering for business and tourism is world class.” No it’s not an indication of their success. They couldn’t get their load factor anywhere near close enough on the Atlanta route. Why do people say such daft nonsense? Did Ms Dawe fly to Atlanta on the inaugural flight?

Continental has gone to twice daily in the summer from Edinburgh to Newark, and flies daily during the winter months.

All this is lining up to be a typical US airline dog fight that one of them will lose and Edinburgh will very definitely be the loser. There's also the question of the subsidy that has been paid out of the route start up fund to Delta for their Atlanta service - what will happen to the money? Will they pay it back? Will they get more for starting their JFK flight next May? Actually come to think of it there's a long time between now and May who knows if they will even end up operating.


Ellee said...

Richard, just a quick off-topic link you might like to check out, you see, I do think of you:

Richard Thomson said...

Competition is always good, but I'm not sure Edinburgh needs 2 separate services to the New York/New Jersey area. I'd have thought a link to somewhere like Chicago or Toronto would have more going for it commercially.

The link to a hub like Atlanta made a lot of sense, so I'm surprised that they couldn't get the numbers to work out. Not enough marketing by Delta of the onward connections at both ends, perhaps?