US Airways cancels Birmingham Airport to Philadelphia route
Just six months after launching a new route from Birmingham to Philadelphia in a blaze of publicity, US Airways has pulled the plug on the service.
The new flights operated from May until September as planned, but the airline was due to return to Birmingham for the same period in 2010 and there were hints of a possible all-year-round operation.
Now the airline has abandoned its plans, saying it is “realigning its operation to focus on the airline’s core network strengths”.
Birmingham is just one of five European destinations operating flights to Philadelphia that US Airways has axed, citing the weakness in trans-Atlantic revenue as the main reason.
Paul Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham Airport, said: “Although this is disappointing news, we are comforted by the knowledge that demand to Philadelphia from the Midlands was significant, with load factors nearly 80% full.
“Over the five months, May to September, some 27,516 travellers used the service; an average of 5,500 seats sold each month. However, we understand that yields were low, partly due to low fares from Heathrow being dumped into the market and the recession, which we know has hit the Midlands hard.”
“We will work hard to fill this gap again for our customers but remind people that there are still alternative ways to access the States from Birmingham, including daily direct departures to New York, and via European hub airports which can offer value for money plus the avoidance of having to take long car journeys to other UK Airports.”
Even though Birmingham still has its Continental Airlines operation to Newark it has struggled to maintain links to the USA.
Casualties include American Airways flights to Chicago and British Airways flights to New York and Toronto.