American Airlines is planning to add three daily nonstop round-trip flights between Richmond International Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport starting in late November, opening up more access to European markets for travelers.
American doesn’t serve JFK now from Richmond. Only Delta Air Lines operates three daily nonstop round-trip flights between the two airports.
American operates up to five nonstop flights daily to New York’s LaGuardia Airport from Richmond. It began that service in April 2014.
The new Richmond to JFK service starts Nov. 21.
Jon E. Mathiasen, the airport’s president and CEO, said the additional service to JFK provides more options for travelers here.
For instance, if a passenger wants to fly on an international flight on American now, that person has to fly to LaGuardia and then take a bus or taxi to catch a flight from JFK.
“New York is a high-demand destination for Virginia’s Capital Region and JFK access with American not only gives us more ways to fly to New York, but it also opens up additional access to the West Coast and several top-tier European markets,” Mathiasen said in a statement.
“Richmond is a welcome addition to our various nonstop options and a very important city in our growing destination portfolio for New Yorkers,” said Jim Carter, vice president of sales for American’s Eastern division.
The New York market is served by three major airports: LaGuardia and Kennedy International in New York, and Newark Liberty International in New Jersey.
Delta, which has Richmond’s largest market share among airlines, flies into LaGuardia five times a day and into JFK three times daily.
United Airlines added a sixth daily round-trip service to Newark Liberty International Airport last month, increasing the number of seats scheduled weekly on that route by 23%.
Low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways had offered service to Kennedy starting in 2006 but dropped it in 2010.
As competition in the market dwindled, prices have increased, airport officials have said.
But American’s plans to add service to JFK from Richmond could change prices, said transportation industry expert George Hoffer, a professor emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University.
“It adds more capacity and that has the potential to give some price competition.” Hoffer said. “It gives us more choices.”
Meanwhile, passenger traffic at Richmond International Airport broke a record in April, increasing for the 19th consecutive month, the Capital Region Airport Commission reported Tuesday. April traffic was up 9.2% compared with the same month a year ago. It was up 12.8% since the beginning of the airport’s fiscal year on July 1 compared with the previous 12-month period.
Delta’s market share was 32.69% of the passengers using Richmond International Airport, while American had a 29.18% market share.
United Airlines was next with 13.15% market share, followed by JetBlue Airways (12.16%), Southwest Airlines (5.33%) and Spirit Airlines (4.78%).
Six airlines reported year-over-year growth in April: Spirit had a 37.78% increase, followed by a 15.16% jump at American, a 7.56% gain at JetBlue, a 7.08% increase at United and a 3.57% jump at Delta. Allegiant, which offers a twice-weekly service to three destinations, had a 66.7% gain.
Southwest Airlines saw a 8.55% decrease primarily because the carrier was using smaller 737s on its Richmond to Atlanta flights.