Britain: Northern Californians Will Have 2 New Ways to Get to London Next Spring

Airlines + Aviation

Oakland and San Jose airports will get their first ever nonstop flights to London next May, including the first service to London’s Gatwick Airport, breaking San Francisco Airport’s monopoly on travel to the British Isles.

Northern California travelers flying to London, England, next summer will have 3 airports to choose from in the Bay Area – Oakland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and San Jose International and 2 in London – Heathrow and Gatwick.

British Airways will launch daily nonstop flights between Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) and London Heathrow International Airport (LHR) on 4 May 2016.

The airline will operate Boeing 787-900 Dreamliners on the route. It will be the first ever nonstop airline service between Britain and San Jose.

Norwegian Air Shuttle will launch thrice weekly flights between Oakland International Airport (OAK) and London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) on 16 May 2016.

The airline will operate Boeing 787 Dreamliners on the route, as well. It will be Oakland Airport’s 50th travel destination and its first ever direct airline service to the British capital.

The following airlines currently fly nonstop between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and London Heathrow: American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

No airline currently flies nonstop between SFO and Gatwick.

San Jose International Airport

Other new international travel destinations are also in the cards for San Jose.

Lufthansa German Airlines will launch nonstop flights between San Jose Airport and Frankfurt am Main International Airport (FRA) on 29 April 2016.

The airline will operate Airbus A340-300 on the route, which will be operated 5 times a week. It will be the first ever nonstop airline service between San Jose and Germany.

Closer to home, Air Canada will launch 2 daily flights between San Jose Airport and Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in British Columbia on 9 May 2016. It will operate Bombardier CRJ0705 aircraft on the route.

A quarter of a century ago, San Jose Airport leapfrogged over Oakland Airport to become the 2nd most important international airport in terms of passenger volume in Northern California.

American Airlines launched a hub at San Jose Airport in 1988, with numerous flights to travel destinations across the United States.

At one time, American Airlines offered flights to 4 international travel destinations, as well: Paris, France; Taipei, Taiwan; Tokyo, Japan; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Air Canada also linked the airport with Ottawa and Toronto in Eastern Canada.

Double Whammy

San Jose Airport was hit by a double whammy in 2001. As with most airports in the United States, the airport suffered a dramatic drop in service as a result of the terrorist attacks on 11 September.

With the airport’s strategic location near Silicon Valley, meanwhile, its passenger demand dropped yet further because of the dot-com bubble burst, which took place the same year. So San Jose Airport was hit harder than most other airports.

American Airlines initially cut service to Paris, Taipei, and Vancouver and Air Canada also dropped flights to Ottawa and Toronto. Flights to Tokyo were dropped in 2006.

The number of domestic travel destinations served by San Jose Airport was also cut drastically.

Upswing in Service

San Jose Airport has experienced an upswing in international airline service in recent years.

All Nippon Airways of Japan launched daily flights between the Silicon Valley facility and Tokyo Narita International Airport in December 2011.

China’s Hainan Airlines launched 5 nonstop flights a week linking the airport with Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) in June 2015.

It was the first ever direct airline service between San Jose Airport and China.

Alaska Airlines and Volaris, a Mexican discount air carrier, currently link the airport with Guadalajara, and Alaska Airlines links the airport with Cabo San Lucas, as well.

Oakland International Airport

Oakland Airport regained its position as the 2nd most important commercial airport in Northern California following the marked drop in the number of flights at San Jose Airport in 2001 and 2002.

Fully 11 million travelers used Oakland Airport in 2014 against San Jose’s 9.6 million, and the East Bay airport currently offers travel to 47 travel destinations against San Jose’s 33.

Both Oakland and San Jose airports are currently served by Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, jetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and Volaris of Mexico.

Oakland Airport is currently served by 13 airlines in all, and it is the only airport in the Bay Area served by the following airlines: Allegiant, Norwegian Air Shuttle, SATA of Portugal, and Spirit Airlines.

While Southwest Airlines flies into all 3 Bay Area airports, Oakland Airport is by far the airline’s largest base of operations in Northern California.

Volaris also flies from Oakland Airport to more travel destinations in Mexico than any other airport in the United States: Guadalajara, Leon, Morelia, Mexico City (seasonal), and Tijuana.

San Jose Airport is currently served by 12 airlines, including the following airlines that don’t serve Oakland: All Nippon Airlines, Hainan Airlines, and United Airlines.

With the addition of British Airways and Lufthansa German Airlines next spring, that number will rise to 14.

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