BA and Iberia take on trans-Atlantic market

AP News
Posted: Mar 17, 2011 10:20 AM

British Airways, Spain's Iberia and American Airlines unveiled new flight schedules on Thursday following a codeshare agreement to provide a more comprehensive service on lucrative trans-Atlantic routes.

The airlines said that flights on the key Heathrow to New York route will be spread out to create more of a "shuttle service." Afternoon flights from London will depart every hour, while afternoon flights from JFK will depart around every 20 minutes.

The new London to New York schedule _ due to start on March 27 _ contrasts with clashing flights when the airlines operated separately. For example, previously, of the 11 daily flights to New York from London, five left Heathrow at almost exactly the same time.

Among the other changes, BA will resume daily flights to San Diego in June after an eight-year break, Iberia will begin the only direct flight between Spain and California later this month and American Airlines will launch a service from JFK to Budapest next month.

The three airlines teamed up in October to cooperate on trans-Atlantic services without violating U.S. foreign ownership laws, angering rivals such as Virgin Atlantic, which believes the move impedes competition on trans-Atlantic routes. BA combined with Iberia last year to create Europe's third-largest airline.