europe

Nashville-London flight is back. More Euro destinations to come?

A rendering of the planned international arrivals facility at Nashville International Airport. (Image credit: BNA)

The nonstop British Airways connection between Nashville and London is being reestablished after a 632-day absence. The flight resumes on Dec. 9, according to Nashville International Airport.

As The Tennessee Journal reported last month, state officials are considering using federal COVID-19 relief funds to help spur more nonstop connections between Tennessee and Europe. The Department of Tourist Development is specifically eyeing Nashville-Paris and Memphis-Amsterdam flights. The latter would restore service between Memphis and the Netherlands first established by Northwest Airlines and its Dutch partner KLM in 1995. The flight was canceled in 2012 after the carrier’s takeover by Delta, which decommissioned the former Northwest hub at the Memphis airport the following year.

American Airlines launched a nonstop flight between Nashville and London to great fanfare in 1993, but the service lasted only a year. The link was recreated by British Airways in 2017 with the help of $1.5 million in incentives from the state and a $500,000 “stop gap” guarantee from the city to cover any potential losses. Nashville International Airport kicked in another $2.6 million in marketing and two years’ worth of waived airport fees to seal the deal.

The London flight was billed as giving Tennessee a gateway to Europe, but Britain’s subsequent withdrawal from the European Union complicated onward travel to the continent. Flights to Amsterdam and Paris would place business and leisure travelers within the 26-country zone without border controls and sharing a common visa policy.

Here’s Thursday’s release from BNA about the restored Nashville-London flight:

NASHVILLE  – Fancy a hop across the pond? After a 632-day absence, the highly anticipated return of the British Airways transatlantic flight from Nashville International Airport® to London Heathrow will resume December 9, 2021. The service, which originally launched on May 18, 2018, ceased operations on March 17, 2020, due to restrictions related to the Covid-19 virus.

“This is a tremendous milestone on our road to recovering the air service we lost due to the pandemic,” said Doug Kreulen, president and CEO of BNA. “As passenger confidence continues to increase, it was important for us to reinvest in British Airways to regain the nonstop service we previously enjoyed to London, England, and the world. We anticipate that business and leisure travelers from Nashville and Middle Tennessee will once again embrace this opportunity to explore England and all of Europe.”

The flight will be available three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The aircraft is a Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner with 214 seats (35 business, 25 premium economy, 154 economy). It’s a 4,182-mile flight to London, which takes approximately eight hours from BNA.

Marie Hilditch, British Airways’ Head of North America sales, said: “We can’t wait to welcome our customers back on board our Nashville flights, and we are honored to be playing our part in reuniting families and friends with their loved ones after such a long time apart.

“The safety of our customers and colleagues has always been at the heart of everything we do. We know some customers won’t have flown for a long time. We can assure them we have a range of Covid-19 preventive measures in place to provide stress and hassle-free travel.”

For details about travel requirements for this flight, visit the Covid-19 Travel Hub section of the British Airways website at https://bit.ly/3ogU5aS.