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This article is about the airline. For the agreements on air transportation, see Open skies. For other uses, see Open skies (disambiguation).
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 2008
Hubs Orly Airport
Frequent-flyer program Executive Club
Airport lounge

212 Orly West lounge - ORY

British Airways Galleries Lounge - EWR / JFK
Alliance Oneworld (affiliate)
Fleet size 3
Destinations 3
Company slogan The transatlantic airline, par excellence
Parent company International Airlines Group
Headquarters Rungis, France
Key people Patrick Malval
(Chief Executive Officer)

OpenSkies is a transatlantic airline owned by British Airways (BA) that is headquartered in Rungis, Paris.[1] The airline launched as a brand of BA European Limited in June 2008 but in April 2009 the name was transferred to Elysair (which had operated as L'Avion). The airline is a full-service carrier and offers three class service cabins on board its aircraft.[2] It has a fleet of three Boeing 757-200s.

The airline currently operates between Paris-Orly Airport in France and both Newark Liberty International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in the United States.[3] Potential future routes for the airline include Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Brussels, Rome, and Milan.[4] In December 2009, the airline announced a change of its New York operations: in January 2010, all OpenSkies flights were shifted from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Newark.[5] The airline restored service from JFK to Orly on 31 March 2013.[6]


OpenSkies' first aircraft, G-BPEK

British Airways wanted to reduce the over-dependence on its Heathrow Airport hub by flying between the United States and cities in continental Europe.[7] The bypass was only able to be done after the open skies treaty between the United States and the European Union would allow any airline to fly between airports in the two continents starting in March 2008.

The first flight, from New York, was on 19 June 2008, using a single Boeing 757 transferred from the BA fleet.

In July 2008 BA bought French airline L'Avion for £54 million.[8] The operations of BA European merged into L'Avion on 4 April 2009, which became BA OpenSkies.

On 24 July 2009, the airline announced that the route from New York-JFK to Amsterdam Schiphol would be suspended as of 16 August, due to economic reasons.[9] On 30 September the airline announced that the Washington to Paris service would be suspended from 29 October.[10]


OpenSkies Biz Bed seats
OpenSkies Prem Plus seats

The new airline was initially rumoured to be planning business-class-only flights, with the first flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Orly Airport in Paris.[11] However, the airline changed its plans to include a very small five row section of economy class seats in the rear of the aircraft in addition to premium economy and business class seats. In October 2008 the economy section was eliminated in favour of more premium economy seating.[12] With the integration of L'Avion, the Prem+ section was changed to 'Biz Seat', making the airline a business-class-only airline.

The third destination for Openskies was Amsterdam, when flights began on 15 October 2008, and Newark became an additional destination when L'Avion was integrated into OpenSkies on 4 April 2009.

OpenSkies joined the Oneworld alliance as an affiliate member on 1 December 2012, of which parent British Airways is a founding member. British Airways Executive Club members are able to claim tier points and BA miles on OpenSkies flights.

The airline announced a codesharing agreement with American Airlines which will put American's "AA" code on its flights between Paris and Newark.[13]


City Country Airport Ref
New York City United States John F. Kennedy International Airport [14]
Newark United States Newark Liberty International Airport [15]
Paris France Paris Orly Airport[Hub]

Former destinations[edit]


Boeing 757 landing at Frankfurt Airport

OpenSkies operates a single type of aircraft, the Boeing 757-200.[17] The fleet retain the British Airways tail fin logo, but feature a grey underbelly instead of the dark blue of British Airways mainline aircraft. The engine nacelles are painted silver while the winglets are painted red further distinguishing OpenSkies from British Airways.[2]

In February 2009, British Airways announced that it would not transfer additional 757s to its OpenSkies subsidiary by the end of 2009, as originally planned, but instead would sell them to a third party. OpenSkies was originally to expand to six aircraft by the end of 2009, but BA said this plan had been cancelled.[18]

Aircraft Total Passengers[19]
J W Y Total
Boeing 757–200 3 20 28 66 114


The routes that OpenSkies intends to fly are only possible because of the EU-US Open Skies Agreement, which permits any American or European airline to operate services to and from any European or American location. The availability of landing slots limits the impact of the agreement at certain airports, such as London Heathrow Airport.[20]

BA European Limited, trading as Openskies, holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence. This permits the airline to carry passengers, cargo, and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.[21] The operating licence was suspended on May 6, 2009 for three months following the transfer of the name to Elysair, at BA European's request.[22]


  1. ^ "Contact us". OpenSkies. 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Bokaie, Jemima (9 January 2008). "BA brands new airline OpenSkies". Brand Republic. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  3. ^ "Route and timetable". OpenSkies. 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Stone, Rod (9 January 2008). "British Airways To Start US-Continental Europe Services". CNN. Archived from the original on 13 January 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  5. ^ "OpenSkies Announces Schedule Changes in New York" (PDF). OpenSkies. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "BA's OpenSkies restores New York JFK service". USA Today. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Jonathan Russell (11 March 2007). "Battle for Heathrow to NY flights". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  8. ^ Alistair Osborne (3 July 2008). "British Airways to buy L'Avion for £54m". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  9. ^ OpenSkies to Refocus Business Efforts on Paris – New York Route
  10. ^ a b Clabaugh, Jeff. OpenSkies suspends Washington flights, Washington Business Journal, 30 September 2011, Retrieved 30 September 2011
  11. ^ "BA 'risks pilot dispute on EU-US routes'". UK Airport News. 29 October 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  12. ^ "OpenSkies Shakes Earth With Announcement". American Chronicle. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  13. ^ AP – 6 December 2011 (6 December 2011). "American Airlines to codeshare with OpenSkies – Yahoo! News". Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "OpenSkies Introduces New Service From New York JFK to Paris Orly – Yahoo! Finance New Zealand". 24 October 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "OpenSkies Announces Schedule Changes in New York" (PDF). OpenSkies. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "British Airways drops OpenSkies Amsterdam-New York route". Associated Press. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  17. ^ "Fleet". OpenSkies. 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  18. ^ David Kaminski-Morrow (9 February 2009). "BA expects to sell 757s next winter, use A320s instead". Flight International. 
  19. ^ OpenSkies Seat Map
  20. ^ "BA to launch 'open skies' airline". BBC News. 9 January 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  21. ^ Civil Aviation Authority Official Record Series 2 Number 1849 13 May 2008 – Type A Operating Licence granted from the 9 May 2008
  22. ^ UK Civil Aviation Authority Official Record Series 2, Number 1900, 12 May 2009

External links[edit]