British Airways’ new OpenSkies airline starts flying today on its inaugural route between Paris Orly and JFK, New York.
Specially launched by BA to take advantage of the new transatlantic ‘open skies’ policy, it will cater for the luxury business traveller.
Just 82 passengers will fly on the Boeing 757 planes which will be used on the daily service between the two cities. There will be 24 passengers in business class, where their seats will convert into fully-flat beds. Economy will consist of just 30 seats, allowing passengers more room and more service.
The open skies deal between EU and the US came into effect at the end of March 2008 after years of negotiation. Before, it would not have been possible for BA or any other EU carrier to fly direct to America from a destination outside their own country.
The deal has also allowed any EU or US airline to use Heathrow Airport for flights to America. Before March, just four carriers - BA, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines and US airline United - were allowed to fly to America from Heathrow.
The BA OpenSkies launch has come at a time when three business-class-only airline (MAXjet, Eos and Silverjet) ventures have failed in a matter of months.
“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,” commented BA’s CEO Willie Walsh.