British Airways Subsidiary Launches Second Route
British Airways' grand experiment to take advantage of the
19-month-old "Open Skies" agreement between the United States and
the European Union has launched its second route. OpenSkies -- the
airline -- launched new service Wednesday between New York's John
F. Kennedy Airport and Amsterdam's Schiphol International
"Almost 400 years after Henry Hudson left Europe to cross the
Atlantic and set the stage for what would become 'New Amsterdam',
we are thrilled to launch the newest link between Amsterdam and New
York," said Dale Moss, managing director of OpenSkies. "At a time
when tough economic circumstances are making travel more difficult
on both sides of the Atlantic, we believe OpenSkies presents a
compelling value proposition by combining great prices and a
premium product. We look forward to introducing the OpenSkies
experience to customers flying the New York - Amsterdam route."
OpenSkies held a ribbon cutting ceremony at Amsterdam's Schiphol
International Airport Wednesday morning to celebrate the inaugural
flight. Following a reception along with remarks by Dale Moss,
media and special guests were invited to view the first flight take
The United States and European Union agreed on the first phase
of open skies legislation in March 2007, opening lucrative European
routes to US airlines.
As written, the agreement is valid for two years; a second
phase of the treaty will be voted on in 2010. That plan includes
one of the more contentious sticking points in the Open Skies
debate -- easing US regulations on foreign ownership of domestic
airlines. Should all parties not agree to that second phase, the
skies would be "closed" once more.
As ANN reported, British Airways launched
OpenSkies in January 2008, to capitalize on the landmark US/EU
agreement... that BA had vehemently opposed, as it reduced the
airline's monopoly on gates at London Heathrow. OpenSkies began
daily flights between New York-JFK and Paris-Orly in June, using a
Boeing 757 taken from BA's mainline fleet. The jets are configured
with 64-passenger business-class seating.
Incidentally, the first route launched by a European airline
intended to take full advantage of Open Skies legislation -- Air
France's nonstop service between Los Angeles and London Heathrow --
will end November 6, about seven months after it began. Other
airlines have also trimmed back their more ambitious open-skies
plans, due to the current economic crisis.