London City Airport is anticipating the arrival of two new aircraft, as British Airways, the flag-carrier of the United Kingdom, launches a new route to New York City.
In March, British Airways announced a pre-tax loss of £401m, the biggest profit slump in the airline’s history. With the credit crunch in full, malevolent swing, BA had no choice but to abandon transatlantic flights from many of its UK hubs.
Almost six months later, with the recession in retreat, the airline has reasserted its dominance over UK airspace by purchasing two uniquely configured Airbus A318 aircraft, the first order of its kind.
Affectionately known as the ‘baby bus’, the A318 is designed to accommodate steep approach gradients (the angle at which the aircraft has to descend) with greater ease than the rest of the Airbus catalogue.
BA chief executive, Willie Walsh, was keen to show off his latest investment, claiming the A318 "has a big role to play in bringing a new dimension of style and convenience to the London-New York route”.
Mr Walsh was quick to point out that the A318s will carry the BA001 flight number, a designation previously reserved for Concorde.
The trip is very much a luxury purchase, however, offering a handful of business-class-only seats. With on-board mobile internet, text messaging services, and just 32 places per plane, BA’s new toys are marketed towards the discerning business executive.
Excluding Saturdays, British Airways is offering a daily London City–New York service from the 29th of September. An additional six flights will be offered from the middle of October. Prices are in the range of £2,664 per adult for a return ticket.