British Airways has said it will forge ahead with the launch of the first long-haul service from London City in September, despite concerns about the general aviation market and the airline’s own future.


Tickets for the new business class-only service to New York JFK are due to go on sale tomorrow.


The announcement comes amid rumours that the airline is thinking of closing or selling OpenSkies, the subsidiary it created in June last year, and which acquired French airline L’Avion for £54 million shortly after launch.


In a statement, BA said: “We are reviewing all aspects of our business in the current economic environment. OpenSkies is a small part of our business, and its losses are not significant compared to losses in other parts of the company.”


The news follows last week’s plea by BA chief executive Willie Walsh to staff to consider working for up to four weeks for free to help achieve annual savings of £100 million.


The airline also recently reached an agreement with the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) on an annual cost-cutting programme under which pilots have agreed to increased productivity measures and a wage cut in return for a long-term incentive scheme. According to Balpa, the whole package could save BA £26 million a year.