International flights are coming back to Phoenix this month. Here's where you can go
In a small sign that transatlantic travel to Europe is returning, British Airways will bring back its popular nonstop flight between Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and London's Heathrow Airport in time for Labor Day travel.
Starting Aug. 31, the airline will offer service three times weekly instead of the daily service it provided prior to the pandemic.
"Of course, they want to make sure demand will be there as it relates to the pandemic recovery before they go to daily service, but we're very, very proud and pleased to have British Airways back in service to London effective August 31," Chad Makovsky, director of aviation for the city, told the Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board during its Aug. 19 meeting.
Google Flights showed the route operating on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday. It departs Phoenix at 7:15 p.m. and arrives in London at 1:15 p.m. local time the next day. The flight will return from London at 2:15 p.m. and arrive in Phoenix at 5:05 p.m.
The flight uses a Boeing 777-200 with 272 seats. British Airways retired its entire 747 fleet after the downturn in travel caused by the pandemic.
Airlines paused flights between Phoenix and Europe after the United States and United Kingdom instituted travel restrictions in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. The United Kingdom has reopened to vaccinated Americans, but the United States has not offered the same option to U.K. travelers.
Prior to the pandemic, American Airlines also offered nonstop service to Heathrow. The route is not on the airline's winter schedule, which operates through March 26. Condor, which provided flights to Frankfurt, Germany, has not announced when its service might return.
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Phoenix-to-Canada flights resume as well
With Canada reopening to vaccinated Americans, Canadian airlines are also returning to Sky Harbor.
"Air Canada and WestJet have really rebounded by providing service to nearly all the pre-pandemic destinations that they served, so we're really happy to have Canada back in service here in Phoenix," Makovsky said.
Domestically, Spirit Airlines will launch four new routes from Phoenix in November. Daily service to St. Louis and Milwaukee as well as daily seasonal service to Detroit will start Nov. 17. The airline will offer flights to La Guardia Airport in New York on Saturdays starting Nov. 17.
Alaska Airlines will launch daily service to Boise, Idaho, starting Nov. 21.
Navigator Buddies are back
Perhaps Sky Harbor's most popular volunteer employees — the Navigator Buddies — have also returned to the airport.
The trained therapy dogs that roam the concourses to interact with anxious flyers returned to their paw patrol on Aug. 4.
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