Nashville International Airport is poised to land a direct flight to London on British Airways, culminating a multiyear effort by government, business and tourism leaders to secure the flight.
American Airlines used to fly Nashville – London unsubsidized but the flight didn’t work economically, indeed American’s Nashville hub operation didn’t survive.
However it’s expected this new flight will be subsidized.
In order to secure the deal, incentives are likely to be included. Gov. Bill Haslam, whose administration has bulked up tourism marketing to lure international travelers to Tennessee, is expected to be at the center of the announcement.
American Airlines shares revenue with British Airways across the Atlantic through a joint venture and will benefit from these subsidies.
The campaign by American, Delta, and United to limit flights by Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad and increase fares has always been about protectionism and using government to redistribute income from consumers to their bottom lines. The only way to do that persuasively has been to make disingenuous claims of subsidy (and in Delta’s case, to ‘other’ the opposition).
If you’re interested in the history of cronyism and subsidy for major US airlines, I lay that out here.