Record oil prices are pushing costs up, an economic downturn is sending demand down, and the memory of the demise of two all-business-class trans-Atlantic carriers—Eos and Maxjet--is still fresh, but a new premium airline is set to begin selling tickets this week.
OpenSkies, a British Airways subsidiary, has received Department of Transportation approval to begin flights between Paris Orly Airport and New York’s JFK airport starting next month.
The airline is named after the Open Skies Agreement between the United States and the European Union, which went into effect at the end of March. Under the accord, U.S. and EU airlines are able to operate to and from any airport in those destinations, and U.S. carriers will be able to fly within Europe and to continue on to other destinations. Before the agreement, European airlines could fly to the U.S. only from their home countries.
While about a third of the seats on its Boeing 757 aircraft will be economy class, OpenSkies is primarily focused on providing a high-end travel experience, with features such as six-foot flat beds in business and premium class, personal entertainment units throughout the aircraft, and healthful meals.