PICTURES: BA completes first transatlantic A318 flight

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British Airways has completed its inaugural all-business Airbus A318 service to New York from London City, arriving ahead of schedule.

The first flight to New York JFK, coded BA001, departed London City and the intermediate Shannon stopover early, says BA's Airbus flight training manager Capt Simon Kinsey, and live JFK data shows it touched down ahead of time at 16:35.

BA took delivery of the first aircraft last month and gave Flightglobal an exclusive preview of the interior during the ferry flight from Hamburg to London Gatwick. Its interior - parts of which were still clad in protective wrapping - was largely similar to the cabin design revealed by Flightglobal in March, although BA has opted for a dark brown base colour for the final scheme.

Each of the 32 seats transforms to a lie-flat bed and a pop-up arm is designed to accommodate a snap-in portable video screen. The seat positions also feature amenities including laptop power, individual reading lamps, and an ottoman which doubles to extend the bed length.

ba a318 interior

ba a318 interior

ba a318 interior
 © David Kaminski-Morrow

Kinsey describes passenger reaction to the service as "very positive". The A318 is equipped with the OnAir system to allow in-flight transmission of email and text messages, and cabin crew can select mood lighting from a forward control panel.

"For the first time, the City [of London] has a tailor-made premium service to New York on its doorstep offering the most productive possible use of time for business people travelling between the two great financial districts," says BA chief executive Willie Walsh.

London City chief Richard Gooding says New York was previously the "most demanded" unavailable destination from the downtown airport. The airport's operator has produced a promotional video for the service.