These four companies were British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines and American Airlines. American Airlines and United Airlines were the two US airlines with the right to fly to Heathrow before the EU-US ski deal opened in 2008. Delta Air Lines transferred its operations to the airport under the agreement. It is essential that Britain has full access to international aviation markets so that it can continue to develop its global trade relationship. This agreement is an important positive development that we welcome. Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways owner IAG, described the air transport deal with the US as “a significant positive development that we welcome”, which “allows for strong competition and is clearly more consumer-friendly”. .