British Airways has resumed flights between Phoenix and London, adding a big impact to the Valley’s international destinations.
The flights began Aug. 31, and will complete three trips a week. British Airways is an airline that gives Phoenix flyers a nonstop option to England and Europe.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is excited to relaunch British Airways because it is their 25th year anniversary of serving Phoenix Sky Harbor, stated in the press release.
International travelers have a large impact on tourism, businesses and international investment.
International flights help Arizona’s economy by supplying $3 billion, but depending on other factors there is leeway.
“Each airline that serves Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport pays different rates and charges to use the airport. The fees are based upon factors such as landing weight, number of bags that are screened, amount of ticket counter space, Customs and Border Protection processing and gate use,” said Alexandria Pierce, Air Service Development Manager.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy was struggling as a whole, but especially airports. Phoenix Sky Harbor is funded by airport revenue, with no tax dollars funneled into its operation. Which mean with fewer flights during the pandemic, the airport was making less money.
The airport has slowly started opening and adding more flights after COVID-19 protocols were put in place.
“There are many COVID 19 protocols in place to help travelers who are ready to travel do so as safely as possible. Masks are federally mandated in airports and on aircraft. There may also be vaccination, testing or quarantine requirements depending on your destination and connecting path. Please check with your airline and destination to ensure you are following their required guidelines,” said Pierce.
As all airways started to relaunch, British Airways worked with Phoenix Sky Harbor to begin flights because of the high demand for service to London.
Prior to relaunching British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said he was trying to determine why the airline hasn’t been reopened due to the high levels of vaccinations in the U.S. and in the U.K.
Because British Airways was not flying, other airlines were able to take passengers who wished to fly to Europe, but British Airways was a direct flight which was more convenient, efficient and more impactful to the community.
“Pre-pandemic, Phoenix Sky Harbor served 23 international destinations. The majority of those international destinations were in Mexico, then Canada. Pre-pandemic, both American and British Airways flew daily to London. The remaining international, overseas destination was Frankfurt which was served by Condor,” said Pierce.
Even before the pandemic, England was a popular destination for Arizona travelers, so to have British Airways not running made it very difficult for passengers to have an efficient way to fly to the U.K and Europe .
On the first flight out of Phoenix Sky Harbor on British Airways they offered 272 seats with three classes of service.
Their first flight, which took off on Aug. 31, departed at 7:15 p.m. and arrived in London the next day at 1:15 p.m. That exact plane departed from London at 2:15 p.m. and arrived in Phoenix at 5:05 p.m. There were 100 enplaned passengers and 51 deplaned passengers.
British Airways allows both business and leisure travelers to make connections to and from Europe.
Ginna Abdallah is a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
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