Pending regulatory approvals, British Airways will launch a new international subsidiary this June--the aptly named OpenSkies, with daily flights from New York to such destinations as Brussels and Paris.
The new airline will start with one Boeing 757 aircraft, which will carry 82 passengers in three classes from New York to Brussels or Paris Charles de Gaulle. A second plane will be added to the fleet later this year and will fly to another destination within the European Union, British Airways said in a statement.
“By naming the airline OpenSkies, we’re celebrating the first major step in 60 years towards a liberalized U.S./EU aviation market, which means we can fly between any U.S. and EU destination,” said Willie Walsh, British Airways chief executive. “It also signals our determination to lobby for further liberalization in this market when talks between the EU and U.S. take place later this year.”
The full plan calls for the operation of six 757s by the end of 2009, all of which will be derived from British Airways’ current fleet. OpenSkies’ business-class cabin will have 24 seats that convert into six-foot-long flat beds. There also will be 28 premium economy seats and 30 economy seats. Dale Moss, former director of worldwide sales for British Airways, will serve as managing director of OpenSkies.