Cheerio, Charleston! If you think it’s rubbish that there is even the possibility of getting from London to Charleston in one fell swoop, think again. British Airways is giving Charleston its first transatlantic flight. Starting April 4, the two cities will be connected through two nonstop routes each week.
Two nonstop routes each week between the Holy City and London will launch in 2019. Tickets sales begin Friday, however, a price has not been announced. A Boeing 787-8 will fly passengers across the Atlantic. Assembled in North Charleston next to the airport, these planes will seat 214 people in three classes on the eight- to nine-hour flight.
The flights will run on Thursday and Sunday starting April 4, 2019, through Oct. 24, 2019.
The predicted flight is as follows: departure from Charleston at 10:50 pm with arrival in London at 11:50 am and departure from London at 5:20 pm with arrival in Charleston at 9:20 pm.
According to British Airways’ senior vice president for North America, Simon Brooks, London’s Heathrow Airport has an extensive global network, from UK cities to Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is considered a gateway to these and other destinations. Opening up this service to the Charleston community will benefit business and leisure travelers who typically have one or more connecting flights.
The number of travelers leaving the Lowcountry en route to England’s capital has grown 38 percent over the past five years. Last year, alone, about 110,000 people flew out of Charleston headed for Europe, coming out to about 2,100 a week. These numbers come from Gary Edwards, a liaison between the Aviation Authority and Explore Charleston, and more than warrant a nonstop flight.
According to Edwards, they expect more people more people will choose Charleston to reach their destinations in this new market because of the convenience of not having to go through a connecting airport. The expectation is that the model will accumulate to five per week during the summer season and four per week year round.
Creating this new traffic and new opportunity for international travel should disrupt other carriers who currently offer those connecting flights in places such as New York. Instead, it is believed it will just grow the number of people who are traveling. Not only in Charleston, but in surrounding areas such as Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, and Columbia. The addition of a nonstop flight to London will increase overseas visitation throughout the state.
The new air service’s economic impact is estimated at $20.2 million a year. Meaning that not only will this flight increase the numbers of people traveling, it will also make South Carolina a more substantial player in the global economy, according to Bobby Hitt, the state Commerce Secretary. These additional tools will make South Carolina an even more viable candidate for economic development.
The last international flight the Charleston Airport has seen was in 2015. Porter Airlines briefly offered service to Toronto. Prior to that, Air Canada also served Charleston with flights to Toronto in 2001. Dubbed a “momentous occasion” and “a game changer,” this nonstop flight to European destination as premier as London will catapult the state of South Carolina into a new era.
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