BA is to offer passengers mobile and text services on its new business class service from London City to New York when it launches in September.
The airline said customers would also have access to emails and the internet on flights in the two re-configured A318s which will be used on the route. BA said it was the first airline to announce live communications services on a transatlantic route.
Willie Walsh, BA’s ceo, said the new service was a “perfect fit” for the new service to New York’s Kennedy Airport, but added the new mobile services would not include the facility to make mobile calls. He said a poll of 3,500 regular fliers conducted in Ireland, and BA’s feedback from its own customers revealed they did not want people in the next seat “screaming into the phone.”
Mr Walsh said plans to start the new business class-only service, which will have 32 seats, had been reviewed after the global fall in demand for flying. But BA corporate customers in the City of London were strongly in favour of it.
“We spoke to the our corporate customers based in the city and we were glad of their opinion.
“I was surprised how strong the feedback was in favour of this service. The overwhelming reply was that they wanted it.”
But Walsh revealed that BA’s total capacity to New York was being continually reviewed and there might be cuts in capacity to the US city from Heathrow.
He also revealed that customers had indicated they were prepared to pay a “premium price” for tickets on the London City-JFK service as it saved them the hassle of going to Heathrow.
The new service will stop at Shannon Airport on its way to New York to receive clearance by US immigration and customs, although it has not yet been decided whether luggage will need to be unloaded. Walsh said the maximum stopping time would be about one hour. Return flights form New York will be non-stop.
A launch date for the new service is expected to be announced in the next few weeks.
For more information visit ba.com.
Report by Stanley Slaughter