Jun. 16--US Airways has added India, Israel, Russia and Turkey to the list of countries where it would like to start flying nonstop from Philadelphia International Airport in the next few years.
US Airways senior vice president C.A. Howlett, who was at the airport yesterday to mark the launch of service to three European cities, said the airline planned to add two to four international routes a year from Philadelphia, provided it could lease enough gates and acquire more long-haul airplanes.
Howlett reeled off a list of cities, countries or airports spanning the globe that are under consideration: Moscow; Tel Aviv, Israel; Istanbul, Turkey; London Heathrow Airport; Birmingham, England; China; India; and Japan.
"We're committed to making international service a key component of Philadelphia's future," he said.
Earlier this year, US Airways chief executive officer Doug Parker announced the airline's intention to apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation for rights to fly nonstop between Philadelphia and Shanghai, China, a route it could get in the next year or two.
Parker also said at the time that flights to Japan could be on the horizon, but that the airline would need to lease or buy more long-range Airbus or Boeing jets capable of flying nonstop to Asia.
In the last month, US Airways has started new routes to Athens, Greece; Brussels, Belgium; and Zurich, Switzerland, and resumed seasonal service to six other European cities. The airline now flies between Philadelphia and 19 European destinations in the summer, and keeps service to 10 of the cities going throughout the year.
Howlett said that increasing international service required resolving "some issues," an allusion to a dispute US Airways and the airport had for more than a year over how to use the gates in Terminal A-East.
Delta Air Lines will move its operations this fall from Terminal E to A-East, freeing up four gates so Southwest Airlines can expand its domestic routes. US Airways objected to letting Delta use A-East for its domestic flights, when the concourse was originally designed for international service. But US Airways and the airport devised a plan to maximize use of its international gates in Terminal A-West, enabling the airline to start all of its new European service this summer.
To add more flights, "we have to have some place to land the planes," Howlett said. "We know Philadelphia is committed, and we are, too."
Contact staff writer Tom Belden at 215-854-2454 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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