Today Is The Day: The US Opens To Fully Vaccinated Europeans

Today is the day that most fully vaccinated Europeans can travel without restriction (except a negative COVID next) to the US. It comes after a ban of 20 months ends, and it’ll help to increase confidence, demand, and capacity in what usually is one of the largest intercontinental markets globally.

BA is the second-largest airline between the US and Europe this week. Photo: Steve Lynes via Flickr.

Almost 1,600 departures from the US to Europe

Some 1,560 departures are planned between the US and Europe this week, beginning November 8th. That’s based on the latest available schedules information from experts Cirium. This is just 58% of the 2,708 departures in the same week in November 2019.

Despite reopening and routes being added back, the market remains badly affected, showing how much is still to be recovered. The recovery will be slow, including in terms of demand, fares, loads, financial performance.

Each day this week, there will be between 206 and 235 departures from the US to Europe with between 57,498 and 65,000 one-way seats. We examine what’s on offer across the whole week.

Delta A330-300
The A330-300 has over half (55%) of Delta’s Europe departures. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

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31 airlines operate non-stop: the top-10

United Airlines has more departures than any other carrier. It has a sizeable (29%) lead over second-placed British Airways. Three US carriers are in the top-five, as shown below, with JetBlue in 21st out of 31st on account of its low-frequency JFK to Heathrow and Gatwick services.

  1. United Airlines: 236 departures (32 routes)
  2. British Airways: 183 (17)
  3. Delta Air Lines: 165 (24)
  4. Lufthansa: 138 (26)
  5. American Airlines: 119 (15)
  6. Air France: 108 (10)
  7. Turkish Airlines: 85 (11)
  8. Virgin Atlantic: 81 (10)
  9. KLM: 58 (9)
  10. Icelandair: 46 (8)
United will deploy seven types/variants to Europe, including the B767-400ER to Barcelona, Dublin, Lisbon, and Madrid. Photo: Jules Meulemans via Flickr.

The rest of the airlines

The list of 31 also includes (in order) TAP Air Portugal, SWISS, SAS, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Finnair, LOT Polish, Austrian, Emirates, JetBlue, French Bee, Air Europa, Condor, La Compagnie, Singapore Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Azores Airlines, ITA (formerly Alitalia), Air Serbia, and Neos.

Singapore Airlines and Emirates stand out. The former operates Singapore-Frankfurt-JFK, while the latter operates both Dubai-Athens-Newark and Dubai-Milan Malpensa-JFK. All three routes have fifth-freedom traffic rights, enabling them to carry fare-paying passengers on all sectors.

Condor, Germany’s leisure airline, begin Frankfurt to JFK on November 8th, adding to its existing Frankfurt-Seattle service. When it announced Frankfurt-JFK, neither Singapore Airlines nor Delta were operating the route. Singapore Airlines now is, while Delta will return before Christmas. Nonetheless, Condor will benefit from its partnership with JetBlue and pent-up demand.

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Airbus A350, New York
To commemorate the reopening of the US, Virgin Atlantic and BA both took off from Heathrow bound for JFK at precisely the same time: 08:50. VS3 took off from runway 27L and BA1 from the northerly 27R. Image:

24 US and 31 European airports

This week, the US to Europe network involves 24 airports across the US (including San Juan) and 31 in Europe. JFK is very much number-one (337 departures), followed by Newark (185), Chicago (148), Washington Dulles (118), and Miami (110). In Europe, Heathrow is top (408), distantly followed by Paris CDG (181), Frankfurt (176), Amsterdam (135), and Istanbul Airport (85).

US-Europe airport-pairs this week
What a mess of a map! This shows all 170 airport-pairs from the US to Europe this week. Image: GCMap.

170 airport-pairs

There are 170 airport-pairs, rising to 232 when airlines (including those competing head-to-head) are included. Not surprisingly, JFK to Heathrow is firmly first, with twice as many outbound flights as JFK-CDG.

  1. JFK-Heathrow: 87 departures
  2. JFK-Paris CDG: 44
  3. Los Angeles-Heathrow: 38
  4. Atlanta-Paris CDG: 28
  5. Boston-Heathrow: 28
  6. Chicago-Heathrow: 28
  7. Miami-Heathrow: 28
  8. Washington Dulles-Heathrow: 28
  9. Atlanta-Amsterdam: 26
  10. San Francisco-Heathrow: 25

These top-10 airport-pairs have nearly one-quarter (23%) of all US-Europe departures this week, showing how crucial they are At the other extreme are those with only one departure: Dulles-Moscow Sheremetyevo (Aeroflot), Newark-Porto (TAP), Miami-Oslo (SAS), and Chicago-Kraków (LOT).

Will you be flying across the North Atlantic soon? Let us know in the comments.