British Airways in ‘Trump bump’ with flights to new American destinations

Simon Calder

British Airways has announced flights to yet another US state that voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Twice-weekly services from Heathrow to Charleston, South Carolina, begin on 4 April 2019.

Sean Doyle, BA’s director of Network and Alliances, said: “You can’t help but get sucked in to the old-world charm of Charleston.

“Recently we launched flights to Nashville and New Orleans, and earlier this year announced a new route to Pittsburgh.”

These three cities, along with Charleston, are all in states that voted for the current president.

While Hillary Clinton received the most votes in the 2016 election, with a 51:49 majority over Mr Trump, the latter easily won the presidency through the Electoral College system.

South Carolina, destination for the latest new route, voted 57:43 for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

Pittsburgh is the second city (after Philadelphia) in Pennsylvania – which switched from Democrat to Republican with a 51:49 ratio, and was instrumental in Mr Trump’s victory.

Nashville is the state capital of Tennessee, which voted emphatically (64:36) for Trump – as did Louisiana (60:40), whose biggest city is New Orleans.

British Airways has started two other new US routes since President Trump took office.

Both are from Gatwick: Fort Lauderdale in Florida, which voted for him 51:49, and Oakland in California, the only pro-Clinton state (65:35). But BA’s flights to Oakland will be axed at the end of this month, meaning all five Trump-era links on British Airways are to pro-Trump states.

In contrast, Norwegian has launched services from the UK to six new US destinations since President Trump’s inauguration – all of them in states won by Hillary Clinton: Chicago in Illinois, Denver in Colorado, Seattle in Washington, Stewart International in New York, Providence in Rhode Island and Hartford in Connecticut.

Norwegian is launching its first Trump presidency flight to Trump territory next week: from Gatwick to Tampa in Florida.

British Airways described the correlation between its new routes and pro-Trump voting states as “purely coincidental”.

Looking at BA's entire US network, the airline calculates that American states are equally represented 50:50 between President Trump and Hillary Clinton.

On the closure of its Oakland route, a BA spokesperson said: “We already operate two incredibly successful routes from the Bay area.

“We launched a new direct service to San Jose in 2016 and we have 21 flights a week to San Francisco and San Jose alone. We’re incredibly committed to this region.”

The new link to Charleston will be the first-ever transatlantic service to the South Carolina city.