September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Now in its 27th year, the Business Travel Awards
It is more than a year away, but British Airways is focused on the success of its new operations from London City airport. The new services, using two new A318 planes, will be configured with 32 flat-bed seats.
BA is promising a 15-minute check-in time at London City, and despite the fact that the aircraft will have to stop at either Shannon or some other Irish airport on the way to New York, BA is looking to turn this to their advantage.
Richard Tams, general manager of UK and Ireland corporate sales, says: ”Clearly we are looking to turn this into a selling point, and if we manage to sort out customs and immigration on the ground in Ireland, it will save a lot of time and hassle at the other end in New York. It also means that passengers will be arriving in the US as domestic passengers, and so we can look at other airports as well as JFK.”
While confirming that JFK would be first choice as the destination airport in New York because of existing operations from the airport, as well as the large amount of investment BA has put into the lounges, Tams said that there was still flexibility, particularly since there are decisions being made by JFK with regard to slot allocation.
The A318 planes, the first to be introduced to BA”s fleet, will take an extra hour to return from New York, but Tams believes that since passengers value the sleeping time, this again will be seen by corporate clients as a benefit rather than a detraction.
”We are designing every aspect of this service in close consultation with the large corporate Canary Wharf-based clients who will be using it. They have consulted with us on everything from whether they need a full lounge service at London City when they can arrive as late as 15 minutes before departure, to the type of meal service they”d like on the initial sector over to Ireland. The customs and immigration in Ireland can be done without the passengers leaving their seat, and the refuelling only takes 40 minutes, so I don”t think this is going to be a problem.
"We”ve had a huge amount of interest from Canary Wharf-based business, some of whom are very big customers already. They are impatient for it to begin.”
Tams also confirmed the service is a BA product operated by mainline pilots, the full flat-bed product would not necessarily be the new Club World, and might be a design unique to the aircraft, and many corporates would combine the new service with existing services, perhaps flying from LCY but returning for the weekend into Heathrow.
BA is expected to operate twice daily on weekdays with departures from LCY in the late morning and late afternoon. The return flights will both depart New York in the evening with arrivals into LCY at 0700 and 0930 the following morning.