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Canadian airline WestJet wins Heathrow slots

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Yesterday we covered JetBlue’s allocation of Heathrow slots for the Summer season.

JetBlue is not the only new airline to arrive at Heathrow this Summer. The new covid slot rules allowed airlines to surrender their Heathrow slots with a guarantee that they would get them back next year. This has encouraged other airlines to apply, presumably because they feel they would be at the front of the queue for any slots which are permanently released.

The most interesting move is WestJet. It has secured slots at Heathrow for one daily Vancouver service and one daily Calgary service, although the timing will depend on the Canadian border opening.

WestJet is a similar airline to JetBlue, offering a premum lie-flat business class seat – image below – with a low-cost carrier approach.

Heathrow will also be welcoming Bamboo Airlines. The Vietnamese low cost carrier has secured slots for three weekly flights to Hanoi and three to Ho Chi Minh City.

Rwandair has also received slots to move its current Kigali service from Gatwick.

There is no guarantee that all of these services launch. The exact timing will depend on restrictions, both in the UK and at the destination. With no guarantee of slots being available for the Winter season from late October, there is presumably a cut-off beyond which it simply isn’t worth setting up a Heathrow operation.

Comments (27)

  • ADS says:

    “This has encouraged other airlines to apply (for slots), presumably because they feel they would be at the front of the queue for any slots which are permanently released.”

    Operating a route for one season will also give the new airline an idea of how profitable it could be in the long term, and therefore how much they would be willing to pay to purchase a slot pair.

    It will be interesting to see if some of the European airlines with large numbers of slots each sell a few next season. You’d have to think that there’s more profit to be made from a Vancouver flight than a Brussels flight for example (even taking into account passengers connecting in the european airport).

    • ChrisC says:

      Operating this summer – which is a partial season because it won’t be a full 7 months of operating – won’t be a good indication. It will take a couple of seasons at least to see how profitable (or not) a new airline / route is.

      And not all slots are sold. The 3 pairs a week Norwegian got (and then surendered ) didn’t cost them a penny because they came from the pool of surrendered and confiscated slots.

  • Anuj says:

    Bamboo are doing a status match that ends tomorrow. Details on their site.

  • Matt says:

    Amex in the United States has a similar Dell situation on the American biz plat, they’ve been clawing back that 10% reward if it’s within your semi-annual statement credit. For a practical example, if you spend 50 quid on the business gold all in and get 5 back through the AO, your true spend would only be £45. The £5 back is what Amex in the US has been clawing back. I’m not sure if Amex in the UK has such an advanced rewards abuse team as in the US but I did want to add a word of caution that it’s low hanging fruit for them!

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