British Airways’ new subsidiary airline OpenSkies is launching its first commercial flight on June 19th between Paris Orly and New York JFK.
OpenSkies is the first airline created specifically to take advantage of the EU US Open Skies aviation agreement that enables carriers to fly between any destinations in the EU and US. It will operate daily services between Paris and New York on Boeing 757 aircraft that will carry up to 82 passengers.
British Airways’ chief executive Willie Walsh said: “This is an exciting new chapter in our history as, for the first time, we will be flying directly between continental Europe and the US.
“We are confident that OpenSkies will have a successful future. It will benefit from British Airways’ experience in the transatlantic market and have the ability to be innovative and respond quickly to changing customer demands. OpenSkies will become a test-bed for new customer services and onboard products that we hope to integrate into British Airways’ fleet.
“While the economic climate has worsened in recent months, we believe that OpenSkies can compete effectively. It has a low cost base and support from British Airways in key areas such as sales and marketing. This differentiates it from some new airlines that have failed recently which were operating in isolation without the backing of an established carrier.”
OpenSkies’ customers have a choice of three cabins onboard the aircraft. Biz, the business class cabin, has 24 seats that convert into the only fully flat beds in the Paris-New York market. Prem + offers 28 reclining leather seats with a 52” seat pitch while there are only 30 seats in the economy cabin, allowing a less crowded and more attentive service. All seats have personal entertainment units with more than 50 hours of programming, and customers can enjoy a fresh, healthy and creative meal service.
In addition, all OpenSkies’ customers will receive a personalised concierge service from the time they book their ticket to the moment they step off the plane. OpenSkies’ multilingual concierge agents are available to assist by phone or email with requests including hotel and restaurant reservations and organising sightseeing tours.
A second Boeing 757 is scheduled to join OpenSkies later this year from British Airways’ fleet and there will be six OpenSkies aircraft by the end of 2009. Other European destinations being considered for the airline include Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Milan.