British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines announced new routes today at the official launch of their transatlantic agreement. BA has re-launched flights from Heathrow to San Diego, while Iberia will now operate Madrid-Los Angeles flights. Meanwhile, American will operate schedules on the New York JFK-Budapest and Chicago-Helsinki routes. Speaking at the launch today, BA CEO Willie Walsh said that these latest additions would expand the choice and connections available to customers. “Previously, if you wanted to get cheapest fares you had to buy a return fare, but this way you can mix and match flights and put something together that you could not before,” explained Walsh. He said that the agreement would help the airlines compete in a crowded market by streamlining its schedule. In addition, the airlines will keep their separate identities but act and price as one. “The important aspect of this business is the retention of the three brands, the retention of the existing customer positions and the clarity of the benefits of each airlines,” explained Walsh. “We are not seeking to provide exactly the same service onboard or product but what we will do is show visibility in policies, such as baggage fees.” Vazquez added the airlines’ websites and call centres will be co-ordinated to deal with enquiries. The airline bosses also discussed airport expansion at the launch and although Walsh considers the Heathrow expansion case to be firmly closed, Vazquez and Arpey revealed there would be developments overseas. “The growth potential of our joint business and the extra capacity Madrid offers will enable Barajas airport to become one of the main gateways for flights between North America and Europe in the future,” said Vazquez. In addition, Arpey revealed that JFK’s Terminal 8 could expand, with designs currently being drawn up.