British Airways has launched the first all-business-class service between New York and London City Airport.
Two uniquely configured Airbus A318s will each fly one round-trip daily on the new route, which links the world’s two biggest financial centers.
Because of the short, 4,600-foot length of the runway at London City Airport (LCY), which means the A318s cannot take on a full load of fuel otherwise they would not be able to take off, the westbound flights will make brief refuelling stops at Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland before embarking on the long transatlantic sector to New York JFK.
There is no such runway-length constraint on the faster eastbound service, so the aircraft make the JFK-LCY flights nonstop ― though LCY’s location in the heart of London’s built-up Docklands means the A318s (and all other aircraft arriving at LCY) have to be specially certified to make their final approach for landing at a 5.5-degree descent angle, nearly double the 3-degree descent angle used for approaches to most other commercial airports.
The new flights bear British Airways’ most prestigious flight numbers, BA001 to BA004, formerly used by Concorde.
The new service features 32 fully flat beds in a cabin specially designed to feel spacious and contemporary. OnAir is the inflight mobile communications provider, offering connectivity throughout the flights ― except in U.S. airspace, when by regulation the service has to be turned off.
Passengers on the new BA services can check-in for their flights from London City just 15 minutes before departure. When they land at JFK Airport they will be treated as domestic arrivals, having already cleared U.S. customs and immigration at Shannon Airport, which recently became the first European airport to be cleared to provide full U.S. Customs and Immigration pre-clearance facilities.
“Providing long haul services for the first time out of London City is a major milestone in the history of the airport,” says Richard Gooding, chief executive of London City Airport. “New York is the most demanded destination not currently served from London City. The new route is a key growth opportunity for us and demonstrates the premium nature of London City Airport.”
To underline the premium status of the new service, in-flight dining has been developed in partnership with Roast restaurant, based at London’s Borough Market, to draw upon the restaurant’s expertise in creating menus that feature the best of British produce and regional specialities.
Arriving UK customers will also be able to enjoy complimentary Health Club access at the London Marriott West India Quay to freshen up before heading into their office or continuing their journey.
The new service has launched with a daily return service on September 29, except Saturday (London City airport is closed from 12:40pm
on Saturday to 11:00am on Sunday), increasing to two a day from mid-October.
BA001 departs LCY at 12:50pm and arrives at JFK at 5:15 p.m. BA002 departs JFK at 6:30 p.m. and arrives at LCY at 7:15 a.m. the following day.
BA003 is timed to depart LCY at 4:00 p.m. and arrive at JFK at 8:25 p.m. BA004 is scheduled to depart JFK at 9:50 p.m. and arrive at LCY at 10:25 a.m. the following day.