The first of two uniquely configured Airbus A318s which will operate the new longhaul service from London City to New York has been welcomed into the BA fleet.
British Airways is the first airline in the world to take delivery of the specially modified A318 with ‘steep approach’* capability enabling it to land and take off at steeper than usual gradients, like those at London City airport.
Each A318 will be specially configured to carry just 32 passengers on Club World seats, which convert to fully flat beds and will be equipped to allow customers to work during the flight on email, the internet and text on their mobile phones.
Willie Walsh, British Airways’ chief executive said: “The A318s were specially ordered for the twice-daily London City – JFK service because of their size, flexibility and ‘steep approach’ capability and will reinforce our unrivalled schedule between two of the world’s greatest financial centres.
“The A318 may be our smallest aircraft but it has a big role to play in bringing a new dimension of style and convenience to the London – New York route and shows our determination to invest in the future at London City.”
John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, said: “The A318 has the best capability and range of any commercial aircraft serving city centre airports.
It enables operators to open new premium routes with enhanced cabin comfort standards thanks to the widest fuselage of any single-aisle aircraft.”
The A318 is the largest aircraft able to take off and land at the Docklands airport and is assembled at the Airbus facility in Hamburg, Germany.
New York-bound flights will make a brief refuelling stop at Shannon in the west of Ireland, where customers will be able to clear US Customs and Immigration.
The business class-only service has been given the airline’s most prestigious flight number, BA001, previously used by Concorde until its retirement in 2003.
*The ‘steep approach’ A318 is certified for a five and a half degree approach slope. compared to three degrees for normal take offs and landings. To achieve ‘steep approach’ certification the aircraft has to demonstrate it can safely achieve a seven and a half degrees. The A318 and A318 Elite, were approved for steep approach landing capability by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2007.
The new service launches with a daily return service on September 29, except Saturday when London City airport is closed, increasing to two a day from mid-October.
BA001 departs LCY at 1250 and arrives JFK at 1715. BA002 departs JFK at 1830 and arrives at LCY at 0715 the following day.
BA003 departs LCY at 1600 and arrives at JFK at 2025. BA004 departs JFK at 2150 and arrives at LCY at 1025 the following day.