June 22: Despite the recession and recent poor financial results, British Airways is to press ahead with its proposed long-haul route to New York’s JFK airport from London City this September.
The twice-daily business-class only service will use a specially configured Airbus A318, the largest aircraft to operate from London City Airport. It will use the flight number BA001, previously used by Concorde.
Fitted with just 32 seats, which convert to fully flat beds, the aircraft will refuel at Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland, but return flights will be non-stop as the aircraft will be able to use JFK’s full-length runways and therefore take-off with sufficient fuel. Outbound passengers will also be able to clear US customs and immigration at Shannon, rather than at JFK.
“In the harshest trading environment airlines have experienced, we believe it is more important than ever to embrace the future and innovate. That is what this historic new route is all about,” said BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh.