British Airways is ready to expand services to the US from Heathrow and London City when the economy strengthens.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh told the Business Travel Market in London: “Transatlantic business remains robust and we see opportunities for further growth in this market.

“We were targeting two or three additional cities in the US before the recession and it is only a matter of time before you see expansion.”

The airline currently flies to 16 US cities from Heathrow, as well as to Florida from Gatwick and to New York from London City.

Walsh said he would look to increase operations to the US East Coast from London City.

“A lot of customers are pushing us to develop services at City,” he said. “We will definitely look at it, whether that is extra capacity to New York or elsewhere. We could look at Boston, Washington or Chicago.”

BA launched daily long-haul flights to New York JFK from the airport last September and Walsh said: “The response has been fantastic.”

He said BA had been untouched by fall-out from the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico which has seen BP pilloried in the US as a British company.

“The British part of our brand remains incredibly strong in America, where we are known as ‘British’ or as ‘British Air’,” he said.