BA drops shock A318 London-NY announcement

British Airways today dropped an unexpected bombshell – it plans to launch business class only Airbus A318 flights between London City airport and New York in 2009. The move marks two major landmarks for the downtown London airport: its first scheduled transatlantic service and its first A318 flight. BA will configure the aircraft with 32 lie-flat beds, and passengers will be offered a 15-minute check-in time.

BA has already announced that it will launch a new subsidiary called OpenSkies this June, which will take advantage of the EU-US agreement from which it takes its name and operate Boeing 757 flights from points in continental Europe to New York.

The airline is clearly on a roll this year – February has only just begun and already we’ve had these two announcements, not to mention the fact that its long-awaited new home, Heathrow’s Terminal 5, opens its doors to the public next month. To read more about BA, be sure to check out the March issue of Airline Business, which will feature chief executive Willie Walsh as the front cover interview. If you can’t wait that long, read this extract for a sneak preview, or check out our earlier web CEO interview with Walsh.

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