British Airways to launch new carrier

The new airline, named OpenSkies, will begin service in June, with a Boeing 757 from New York to either Brussels or Paris.

By SHELLY RAZ, AP
January 10, 2008 23:04
1 minute read.

British Airways plans to establish OpenSkies, a subsidiary carrier that will operate flights between New York and the European mainland, it announced earlier this week. The new airline, named OpenSkies, will begin service in June, with a Boeing 757 from New York to either Brussels or Paris. A second aircraft will start flying to the other European city later this year. Four more Boeing 757s will be added to OpenSkies's fleet by the end of 2009. More European destinations will be added gradually to OpenSkies' schedule, British Airways announced. The new airline takes its name from the Open Skies agreement hammered out between the US and the European Union last spring. That deal allows airlines to fly from anywhere in the Europe Union to the United States and vice versa. "The chosen name of the subsidiary company indicates the change in the policy at the aviation market between the European Union's countries and the US," British Airways CEO Willie Walsh said. "This new open skies policy reflects also our determination to operate within this market as well." Walsh said BA's management anticipated the initiative would be a success. The inauguration of OpenSkies is also in response to increased competition that will pour into British Airways's home at London Heathrow Airport and other European markets once the agreement takes effect at the end of March. OpenSkies planes will have up to 82 seats in three classes, and will focus on business-class and affluent leisure travelers. Its business class will have 24 seats that can be converted into a 1.83-meter bed. A new mid-priced tier known as "premium economy" with 28 seats will have the spacious 1.32-m. of leg room. Five rows in the back with 30 seats will function as economy class. "We don't intend to be a mass-market type of vehicle," Dale Moss, the new company's managing director, told AP.


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