NEW YORK -- Delta Air Lines Inc. will begin a daily flight between New York and London after buying the route from United Airlines, leaving American Airlines as the only U.S. carrier that will fly from New York to London's Heathrow airport.
Delta, which plans to pay as much as $21 million for the route, will begin trips between John F. Kennedy International Airport and London's Gatwick Airport as early as November, spokeswoman Betsy Talton said. The carrier has added flights from JFK to 11 new cities outside the U.S. this year, she said.
Major U.S. carriers are adding international routes as they cut back on domestic flying, where profit margins are pinched by competition with low-cost carriers. Delta has added more than 50 new international routes in the past year, and United plans to add 40 more flights a week to the Asia-Pacific region this year.
The JFK-London service fills a hole for Delta, which "has been operating without the linchpin" in New York, said Michael Boyd, president of Boyd Group, an Evergreen, Colo.-based aviation consulting company.
UAL Corp.'s United wasn't making a profit on the route because the New York airport isn't a major passenger collection point for the carrier, spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said. United will end the London trip Oct. 27 and shift the plane to Washington's Dulles Airport for a new daily route to Kuwait, she said.