The race to offer all business-class flights from Stansted to New York has taken another twist, with Eos moving its launch date forward by two weeks.
The US-based carrier had originally announced flights would begin on November 1, the same date as rivals Maxjet. But following final certification from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the UK Department for Transport, the first flights will now depart on October 18.
Eos and Maxjet will be competing on price and seating, with the former offering 78-inch flatbed 'suites', and prices starting from £3500 for a return ticket (£2500 for those booking before October 16).
Maxjet is offering a more modestly priced return ticket from £1278, in business class seats arranged six across (2-2-2) featuring 60 inches of legroom.
Both airlines will initially offer one flight daily in each direction, although Eos plans to add a second flight from January 3.
The Eos flight will leave Stansted at 10.30am and arrive in New York at 1.29pm, with Maxjet's flight departing half an hour earlier. The Eos return service departs New York at 7.05pm and arrives in Stansted at 7.30am, again half an hour later than the Maxjet flight.
Both services will face stiff competition from the frequent New York flights with rival airlines from Heathrow and Gatwick. But a spokesperson for Eos believes the proximity of Stansted to Canary Wharf and the City, as well as reduced baggage handling times and a dedicated lounge for Eos passengers, will prove enticing for business travellers flying to New York.
Maxjet, meanwhile, is confident that its cheaper prices will compare favourably with other airlines, particularly for passengers booking at the last minute.
Report by Mark Caswell