British Airways will use a re-fuelling stop at Shannon in the west of Ireland to speed corporate travellers through US immigration when it begins daily flights between London City and New York next year.

BA plans to launch the twice-daily service in autumn 2009, the first long-haul route from London City, using an Airbus 318 with just 32 flat-bed seats.

The A318 is the largest aircraft allowed into London City, but it cannot carry enough fuel for a direct flight to New York. BA has plumped for Shannon for the fuel stop, as expected, because the airport is already licensed to complete US arrivals checks. The return flights to London City will be non-stop.

BA has yet to confirm the arrival airport in New York. The airline’s commercial director Robert Boyle said: “Our business-only service will be the most convenient way to travel between London and New York. Many City workers will be able to get from their desk to the aircraft in as little as 30 minutes.”