Business class-only start-up 'to challenge BA from London City'

Business class-only start-up 'to challenge BA from London City'

Unconfirmed reports have emerged of a start-up transatlantic challenger to British Airways on the route between London City Airport and New York.

A non-stop all-business class service would operate from the Docklands airport using new generation Bombardier CSeries aircraft.

The CSeries is not due to enter service until late 2013 and the UK venture named as Odyssey Airlines would not be likely to start operations before 2014 or 2015.

The CSeries aircraft is seen as being attractive because it would be able to fly the Atlantic without having to stop to refuel in Shannon as BA’s westbound business class service using Airbus A318s does at the moment.

Quoting aviation industry sources, news agency Reuters said Odyssey Airlines hopes to start non-stop all-business class flights from London City to New York and other destinations using 10 newly-ordered CSeries aircraft.

Train and aircraft maker Bombardier said in June it had sold two sets of 10 aircraft to customers that preferred to stay anonymous, one of which was an "unidentified European buyer" with the other being an already established airline, Reuters reported.

The planned start-up may hope to entice business travellers away from business jet schemes such as NetJets as well as targeting BA’s twice-daily service from the London Docklands airport.

Previous attempts to run all-business class flights between the US and US have failed, with Maxjet and Silverjet collapsing in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

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