Transatlantic travel is here to stay, said Ed Bastian, boss of US legacy carrier Delta.
According to the chief executive, Americans’ appetite for hopping over the pond has been “truly unprecedented” following the reopening of air travel post pandemic.
“So many Americans haven’t been able to go for up to three years,” he told journalists gathered in Tampa on Wednesday. “There’s all demographics of society that are travelling internationally.
“There’s no way you’re going to satisfy that demand in a six or nine-month timeframe.
“I think this is going to continue for several years.”
Tampa’s partner, Virgin Atlantic, launched yesterday its first daily service from Heathrow to Tampa, Florida, as part of the airline’s continued expansion into the US market, which is already at between 60 and 70 per cent of the carrier’s destination capacity.
“Since we were lucky enough and fortunate enough to forge an unbelievable bond and partnership with Ed and the Delta family, our ability to compete in the US market increased dramatically,” explained Virgin Atlantic’s chief executive Shai Weiss.
Weiss – who just yesterday called on Heathrow to get ready for the peak winter period – echoed Bastian’s remarks, saying US travellers will be enticed by the dollar’s strength against the pound.
“The weaker pound still remains an opportunity to increase ticket sales in the United States, due to people coming with dollars to the UK,” Weiss told City A.M. on Wednesday morning.
“If you want to see the real king, half-price, Virgin Atlantic is your airline.”