British Airways (BA) is to buy French all-premium operator L’Avion in a £54 million ($108 million) deal and will integrate it into its newly launched OpenSkies transatlantic subsidiary.

BA’s OpenSkies unit, which launched operations last month on the Paris-New York JFK route, already codeshares with L’Avion. Privately-owned L’Avion currently operates two Boeing 757s on flights between Paris and Newark.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh says: “L’Avion is a successful airline that has built up a premium business between Orly and New York in a relatively short period of time.

“It has many synergies with OpenSkies and buying it provides OpenSkies with a larger schedule and an established customer base in the Paris-New York market.”

L’Avion co-founder and chairman Christophe Bejach says: “This transaction will strengthen our current base and enable the combined airline to grow faster and stronger.”

The combined airline will operate up to three daily flights between Paris and New York JFK/Newark using three Boeing 757s.

BA says the £54 million purchase price covers the acquisition of the airline and £26 million of cash in its business. The deal is expected to conclude later this month.

OpenSkies launched operations on 19 June using a low-density 82-seat Boeing 757. Paris-based L’Avion launched operations in January 2007 and employs 77 staff.

Source:'s sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news

Source: Flight International