Via the Economist's Gulliver blog, British Airways has resurrected flight BA001 as an all-business-class flight from London City to New York's Kennedy. They're using tiny Airbus 318 aircraft that have to stop in Shannon, Ireland on the westbound leg to pick up fuel. Still, for less than £4,000 round-trip, it's a lot more convenient and just a bit cheaper than flying in the same class to Heathrow:
Flying from London City means the planes need to land at a much steeper angle than normal - the Airbus A318 which is being used for the new service is approved for a five and a half degree approach slope, compared with three degrees for a normal approach.
The plane will carry only 32 passengers, in seats that recline to fully flat beds.
The airline thinks it's got a winning case for a new business service and will be hoping a resurgent banking sector will provide the custom.
London City airport is only about 15 minutes from the financial center of London, unlike Heathrow which is a good 45 minutes by car or express train. Also, passengers will be able to clear U.S. Customs in Shannon, allowing them to walk off the plane at Kennedy without any delay.
On the other hand, Kennedy is a lot farther from Manhattan than LaGuardia, and has fewer connections to U.S. destinations.
I'll be keeping an eye on this one. I'll also be flying discount to Heathrow the next time I fly to London, so it's not going to affect me much. Still, one wishes British Airways one's best, yes?