British Airways has agreed to buy French all-business class carrier L’Avion and will merge it with new subsidiary OpenSkies which launched two weeks ago.
OpenSkies flies daily between Paris Orly and New York JFK using slots acquired from L’Avion. The French airline flies twice a day between Orly and New York Newark and is the only remaining all-business class carrier in Europe following the collapses of Silverjet in May, Eos in April and MaxJet last December.
BA will pay £54 million for L’Avion, which is privately owned and operates with 77 staff and two Boeing 757 aircraft. It intends to maintain operations as they are and review how to merge the carriers later.
In contrast to L’Avion, OpenSkies operates with three cabins – a full business class, premium economy and economy. A BA spokeswoman said no decision has been made on whether the merged carrier will have three classes or one.
BA chief executive Willie Walsh said: “L’Avion is a successful airline that has built up a premium business between Orly and New York in a relatively short period of time. It provides OpenSkies with an established customer base in the Paris-New York market.”