New York JFK has long been the United States’ preeminent long-haul gateway, and the pandemic hasn’t changed that. JFK sees long-haul service to 66 airports this year across 46 countries. This includes the US, with Anchorage – almost as far as London – joining established Honolulu.
New York JFK ended 2019 with 29.3 million long-haul seats, with long-haul defined here as 3,000 miles or more. In second place was Los Angeles, with 21.3 million, OAG data shows.
These two airports – already by far the most important for long-haul – added the most seats since 2011 too. Funnily enough, they both added almost the same volume, for a combined 13.4 million. As is often the case, the dominant got more dominant.
Two long-haul domestic routes
JFK will have two long-haul domestic routes this year: Honolulu (4,983 miles) and Anchorage (3,386).
Anchorage, which is just 65 miles shorter than Heathrow, will be served twice-weekly by Delta from May to September using both B757-200s and B767-300ERs. It’ll have a block time of eight hours to Alaska’s largest city. In December 2020, Eastern Airlines announced and later put on sale a once-weekly JFK-Anchorage service using B777-200s, but it then pulled it.
While EVA Air and China Airlines both stopped in Anchorage en route between JFK and Taipei, ending in 2011 and 2015 respectively, cabotage meant they couldn’t carry fare-paying passengers. Therefore, Delta’s new Anchorage route is the first time in years that a non-stop and bookable service will be available.
46 countries connected to JFK
Despite border restrictions at both ends, 46 countries are connected non-stop, led by:
- The UK
- Italy (which has overtaken France)
- South Korea
JetBlue’s highly anticipated London service, for which it has recently posted the job of General Manager of Airport Operations in London, will further cement the UK’s lead. However, in the past day, the US has put the UK on its ‘avoid all travel’ list, with the big uncertainty that results in, especially given the approaching peak summer period.
Western Europe by far the top
Western Europe has four times the number of non-stop seats as the number-two region, Northeast Asia, despite the end of Norwegian, which saw two million seats cut. Norse Atlantic, which aims to launch what were Norwegian’s stronger long-haul routes, will help claw back some lost ground, but there’s no certainty if or when this will happen.
The Middle East, partly used as a connecting point to South Asia and beyond, is JFK’s third-largest region. Simple Flying recently looked at Qatar Airways to North America, with JFK its thickest route. Doha, served twice-daily, is JFK’s 14th-thickest route this year.
Top-10 long-haul routes
JFK’s long-haul network this year sees 66 airports served non-stop, together with a small number of one-stops, including Addis Ababa via Lome and Singapore via Frankfurt. Heathrow is still first, as shown below, although with over 1.6 million fewer seats than pre-crisis.
- Heathrow: 2.2 million two-way non-stop seats
- Paris CDG: 1.2 million
- Tel Aviv: 810,000
- Amsterdam: 767,000
- Seoul: 744,000
- Rome: 619,000
- Milan Malpensa: 601,000
- Dubai: 564,000 (715,000 when its service via Malpensa is included)
- Frankfurt: 503,000
- Istanbul: 490,000
Madrid, JFK’s third-largest destination in 2019, has fallen out of the top-10 list, likewise London Gatwick. Replacing them are Tel Aviv and Istanbul. Tel Aviv has jumped from 11th to third, helped by Israel’s vaccination progress, airline growth, and the fall of other markets. This summer, Tel Aviv-JFK will have up to seven daily flights with American, Delta, and El Al.
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