The effects at the moment is basically that lots of US airlines will start flying into London Heathrow (which they weren’t allowed to before), while Air France will fly across the Atlantic from Heathrow and British Airlines will do the same from Paris and Brussels.
However, many more changes are possible. For instance, Ryanair are planning to open an Atlantic operation, presumably flying from small European airports to small American ones.
I do wonder whether this long-term will be the demise of the big hub airports, given that we’re likely to get many more point-to-point connexions.
It’s been quite amusing reading about the disastrous opening of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, in a Schadenfreude kind of way.
Fundamentally, I don’t understand why they started out with so many flights on the first day if they hadn’t performed extensive testing. I mean, you either test and test and test till you’re certain everything will work out perfectly, or you start out with very few flights and then gradually add more. Just jumping into the deep end without finding out first whether you can swim is just unprofessional. Check out this blog posting, too.
Apart from the shambolic opening, I also don’t understand why they didn’t separate domestic and international travel into two terminals. The recent stories about fingerprinting all passengers are all due to the fact that they’re mixing up the two groups after check-in and need to be able to separate them later. That’s just bad design. Heathrow has several terminals – why not use one for domestic flights and the others for international ones, rather than dividing them by airlines?