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BA to launch LCY-NYC service

  • Story Highlights
  • BA will launch business-only service between London City and New York from 2009
  • Two Airbus A318 have been ordered for the first transatlantic service from LCY
  • The service will operate twice daily with lie-flat beds for 32 passengers
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(CNN) -- News that British Airways will operate a business-only service from London City Airport to New York in 2009 will have been warmly received by London's city firms.

This will be the first time BA has ordered A318 aircraft.

The service, flying from the heart of London's financial center to either Newark or JFK airport, will operate twice daily.

BA has ordered two Airbus A318 aircraft (the first in BA's fleet) for the route to be configured with only 32 business class seats.

Beyond this, details are sparse. The airline could confirm that beds on board will be fully flat. But whether this will follow the Club World design has not been decided. As a spokesperson said, the service will offer "standard British Airways conditions" and use two flight and three cabin crew.

A 15-minute check-in will also be available at both ends. "London City's size means that it is a quick and easy airport to use and, with a maximum of 32 passengers onboard, getting on and off the aircraft will be a smooth process," said Willie Walsh, BA's chief executive in a statement.

The airline could not confirm whether a BA lounge will be available at LCY, though a BA spokesperson suggested this was likely.

This will be the first transatlantic route from LCY. Due to runway restrictions at the airport, that mean aircraft cannot take off with a full tank of fuel, westbound flights will make a short refuel stop. Where this will be has not been confirmed.

Rumored options are Shannon or Dublin in Ireland where U.S. immigration pre-clearance could take place during refueling as a result of an agreement between the U.S. and Irish authorities.

Whether luggage would need to unloaded to clear customs is unclear. Though this isn't expected to be too much of an issue considering most passengers would be carrying hand luggage on board the flights.

BA's surprise announcement comes just weeks after U.S. business-only airline MAXjet filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and suspended flights. But BA is confident its business service will have a more promising future due to LCY's proximity to London's financial district.

"This is a business product at a standard that is in strong demand," said BA's spokesperson.

BA has also confirmed that it has increased its London City slot portfolio to provide for the service. Does this mean more BA flights from LCY in the future? At this stage, said BA's spokesperson, the answer is "we will have to wait and see." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About London City AirportBritish Airways plcAirbus A320

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