Is Boston Logan International the next Transatlantic frontier?
Travel between Europe and North America has become a cash cow for many full-service carriers, especially for airlines located within Europe. With domestic battles raging on against low-cost carriers, transatlantic flights are a safe way to earn money and balance out the pressure put on by the market situation in Europe.
For example, Lufthansa highlighted in its Q3 2019 report that while short-haul business was negatively impacted by “price erosion due to overcapacities throughout the market and the general economic downturn in the Group’s home markets,” the long-haul segment performed “well, particularly on connections to North America.” British Airways, meanwhile, served 34 destinations in North America, boasting “the largest network of a European carrier,” and targets the transatlantic capacity to increase by three to four percent in the next five years.
On the other side of the spectrum, low-cost long-haul carriers, namely Norwegian Air Shuttle, grew massively over the past few years in the same market. However, the airline has hit a wall – a wall of financial difficulties. Norwegian is greeting 2020 with massive cuts, including the sale of its Argentine subsidiary and long-haul route cuts from Denmark and Sweden to the U.S. and Thailand.
At the same time, on October 11, 2019, the low-cost carrier announced that it will increase Summer 2020 capacity on “key United Kingdom – United States routes”, including flights from London-Gatwick (LGW) to Austin, Denver, San Francisco and Tampa.
Yet Norwegian is not the only one cutting ribbons on increased frequencies or new routes between the Old Continent and North America. With new route announcements, one city on the East Coast of the United States stands out – Boston.
But why Boston and its airport, Logan International (BOS)?
State of Logan International
There are a few reasons why Boston is potentially becoming a hotspot for transatlantic travel. First of all, Boston’s Metropolitan area is one of the largest in the United States – the 10th largest, according to the Boston Globe. Slowly, but surely, though, it is growing. From 2010 till 2018, the population grew from 4.55 million to 4.87 million. Economically, the metro area of the capital of Massachusetts was the fifth richest in the United States in 2018 with a median household income of $82,380 per year. The nation-wide average was $57,617.
But the main issue the city and the state as a whole has is its relatively low international tourist numbers. Only 2.5 million international visitors visited Massachusetts in 2018, while 27.6 million domestic travelers arrived to the state. Even then, most domestic visitors arrived by driving to the state – 73.8% of them, according to an annual report prepared by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.
Neither is Logan International Airport (BOS) a household name among airports on the East Coast as an airport. Just 190 miles (306 kilometers) south, there are three major airports that see much larger passenger numbers: John F. Kennedy International (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA), and Newark Liberty (EWR) with 61.9, 30 and 46 million passengers in 2018, respectively. Logan International finished 2018 with 40.9 million ‒ a record year for the airport.
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