British Airways will be the first carrier to offer transatlantic routes from London City airport, when it launches flights to New York from next year.

The airline says it has ordered two Airbus A318 aircraft, and will operate a twice-daily service on the route, configured with just 32 business class seats.

Details are sketchy at present, but a spokesperson for BA said it would offer a “fully flat-bed” service, although not necessarily going by the name of Club World.

BA also says it will offer a 15-minute check-in for customers in both London and New York, so it will be interesting to see which airport will be used stateside to accommodate this.

It is rumoured that the flight may make one stop on the westbound leg, possibly in Shannon or Dublin (where passengers would be able to clear US immigration due an agreement struck some years ago between the US and Irish authorities), with a non-stop service on the eastbound leg. It’s not clear whether checked luggage would stay on the plane during the stopover, or would have to be offloaded to satisfy US immigration requirements. But with only 32 passengers onboard (and many of those carrying hand luggage only) it wouldn’t be a huge logistical challenge.

Aside from being the first scheduled transatlantic flights from LCY, the announcement also represents the first service from the airport using the A318 aircraft – we first reported back in 2006 on test flights using the A318 at LCY (see online news May 18, 2006).

We’ll be updating this story as more details are released, so keep checking for the latest news.

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Report by Mark Caswell