BA launches transatlantic carrier

British Airways is launching a new US-EU subsidiary airline called “OpenSkies,” which will provide daily flights from New York to Brussels and Paris. The airline will launch in June 2008 with one Boeing 757 aircraft that will operate from New York to either Brussels or Paris Charles de Gaulle airports.

A second aircraft will be added to the fleet later this year to fly to the other EU destination. The plan is to operate six 757s by the end of 2009, all of which will be sourced from the current British Airways fleet.

The aircraft will carry up to 82 passengers on Boeing 757 aircraft with three onboard cabins: business, premium economy and economy.

British Airways’ Chief Executive Willie Walsh said: “This is an exciting new venture for us and we’re confident that it will be a great success as we build on the strength of British Airways’ brand in the US and Europe.

“By naming the airline OpenSkies, we’re celebrating the first major step in 60 years towards a liberalized US/EU aviation market which means we can fly between any US and EU destination. It also signals our determination to lobby for further liberalization in this market when talks between the EU and US take place later this year.”

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OpenSkies’ business class cabin has 24 seats that convert into six-foot long flat beds. There will be 28 premium economy seats with a 52-inch seat pitch and 30 economy seats.

The 757s will have winglets retro-fitted on the aircraft. These will improve fuel efficiency, reduce the aircraft’s CO2 emissions and increase the aircraft’s operating range.

OpenSkies’ Managing Director will be Dale Moss, British Airways’ former director of worldwide sales, and the airline is registered in the UK. It will shortly file an application for the necessary regulatory approval in the US and UK.
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