Airlines Salivate at Possible European Routes

Trans-Atlantic air traffic between Europe and the US is expected to increase by 55% over the next five years.


Today, just four airlines have exclusive rights to fly Heathrow-U.S. routes: U.S. carriers United and American and U.K. carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Continental, Delta, Northwest and US Airways today serve Gatwick, about 30 miles from London.

Frequent London flier Bill Zito of Milwaukee hopes the treaty will make his travel more convenient. He now has two inconvenient options: Driving about two hours to Chicago to catch a non-stop London flight. Or flying Northwest from Milwaukee and connecting in Detroit, which, he says, "is always an adventure."

Loyal Continental flier Ellie O'Connor of Cypress, Texas, says she'll stick with Continental for frequent European jaunts with her husband. The one change she wouldn't mind? Cheaper fares.

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