British Airways has always had a unique advantage in New York for many years; it’s the only non-US airline to have its own terminal at a US airport. They’ve had the lease on Terminal 7 at JFK since the early 70s.
Today British Airways and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (who run JFK) announced that they would be co-locating with American Airlines over at Terminal 8, from 2022. This is part of the wider re-development of the airport and the expansion of JetBlue’s presence there too.
Their press release said this:
Over the next four years, more than £250 million ($344m) will be invested to recreate and customise the terminal, making it ready to offer British Airways’ customers an exciting, world-class experience every time they fly to New York. Changes to the terminal will include additional stands, enhanced state-of the-art baggage systems, new lounges, premium check-in areas and upgraded concessions.
There have been mutterings of this for a number of months. Those who read my comments on FlyerTalk may have noticed in the 2019 predictions thread over there, my suggestion that AA and BA would co-locate on the JFK route. This is the first step in that.
What hasn’t been announced today is what the premium facilities such as lounge access will look like. Arguably, Flagship First dining (only open to ticketed First class passengers) is an equal of the Concorde Room over at Terminal 7, for First Class passengers. What happens to Gold Guest List card holders that fly over 5,000 tier points a year to gain a Concorde Room card, will clearly be a contentious point. The New York to London route is a key priority for BA and these are a key constituent that they must keep happy.
The co-location solves one of the issues with the AA / BA split on the London to New York route, but doesn’t solve the Terminal 3 to 5 split at the London end. I’ve been on the receiving end of a BA cancellation and having to make the schlepp over to T3 to get the next AA service that I’ve been moved to – it’s a pain.
The joint business partners haven’t announced anything at the London end, but given that Iberia operate from Terminal 5, I wouldn’t be surprised if American decide to operate their New York frequencies from Terminal 5 in London, at some point over the next few years.
NB, for the eagle-eyed, I didn’t have any photos of BA or AA at JFK, so the picture above is from LAX! 🙈