Tickets for British Airways’ new subsidiary OpenSkies go on sale today (May 23) for flights between Paris and New York despite a continuing High Court battle with pilots’ union Balpa.
The airline will launch on June 19, flying daily between New York JFK and Paris Orly.
Balpa is worried that pilots recruited for OpenSkies are on different contracts to those of its members, who have voted overwhelmingly to strike in protest – action that would be likely to ground BA’s fleet for at least two days.
BA’s threat to seek an injunction against the strike under a clause of the Treaty of Rome triggered a court case that began on Monday and is likely to continue for another two weeks. However, the airline is confident the launch will not be affected.
OpenSkies will operate with 82 seats aboard a refurbished Boeing 757 formerly used for short-haul routes and designed for 180 passengers.
It will offer 24 flat-bed business class seats, 28 premium economy seats and 30 in economy – but with premium economy of a higher standard than BA’s existing cabin.
BA commercial director Robert Boyle said: “A new airline gives us room to experiment with a few things. OpenSkies’ premium economy will be rather more like a business class seat.”
Fares have yet to be finalised, but business-class prices should start at about $1,700 one way.
BA aims to add a second aircraft before the end of the year and expand the OpenSkies fleet to six next year, developing a network between Continental Europe and the North-East US that could include Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan and Rome.