OpenSkies, the new premium transatlantic airline from British Airways, launched its first daily passenger flight today from Paris Orly Airport (ORY) to New York John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). The inaugural flight makes aviation history – OpenSkies is the first new airline created in response to the groundbreaking Open Skies agreement, which liberalized air travel between the U.S. and Europe.
With only 82 passengers aboard a reconfigured Boeing 757, OpenSkies plans to provide a personalized, high-quality travel experience across the Atlantic with superior services including concierge assistance, fully lie-flat beds, a new class of cabin called PREM+ with a 52-inch seat pitch, and no more than 30 passengers in any cabin. Beginning today, OpenSkies will offer one daily round-trip flight between Paris and New York.
“We’re delivering a dream today. We hope travelers are as inspired by the OpenSkies experience as we were passionate when building this airline,” said Dale Moss, managing director of OpenSkies. “From the very beginning we listened to travelers’ wants, needs and frustrations and are now delivering an airline focused on providing value through better service, more personal attention and greater space for every passenger.”
“We are also honored to be the first new airline to realize the promise of the Open Skies agreement,” Moss added. “Our goal is to bring Europe and New York just a little closer together while providing value, service and comfort that will please and delight our customers.”
OpenSkies held an inaugural celebration beginning with a send-off reception in Paris featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony and remarks from prominent officials and dignitaries. Upon arrival this afternoon in New York, the aircraft will receive a traditional water cannon salute, followed by a welcoming ceremony at JFK Terminal 7 where guests will be greeted by local officials and airport executives. In addition, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation from the city in honor of OpenSkies’ inaugural flight.
OpenSkies’ Dale Moss will host VIP guests onboard the airplane to experience its unique product and service offerings, including BIZ(SM) – a business class service featuring 24 seats, with 73 inches of legroom, that convert into the only fully lie-flat beds in the Paris-New York market; PREM+(SM) – a completely new category of service between Paris and New York that offers 28 reclining leather seats, each with a 52-inch seat pitch; and ECONOMY – features only 30 seats in the cabin for less crowding and more attentive service.
Services in all classes include personal entertainment units with 50+ hours of programming, fresh and creative meal service, and an extensive selection of wines poured from the bottle. In addition, all passengers on OpenSkies flights will receive personalized service from the OpenSkies Concierge Desk from the time they book their ticket to the moment they step off the plane. OpenSkies’ multilingual concierge agents are available to assist with requests including hotel and restaurant reservations, sightseeing tours, quick translations and other services.
OpenSkies operates one Boeing 757 airplane equipped with winglets for greater fuel efficiency and range. A second Boeing 757 is scheduled to join OpenSkies later this year from British Airways and four more aircraft are expected to follow in 2009. Other European destinations being considered for the airline include Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Milan.