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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 Terraces Lounge
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), and 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 757-200, of which one is owned by IAG outright with the other two leased.

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] The Amsterdam-JFK route was dropped in August 2009 due to weak customer demand.[5] In December 2009, the airline announced a change of its New York operations: in January 2010, all OpenSkies flights were shifted from JFK to Newark.[6] The airline restored service from JFK to Orly on 31 March 2013.[7]


OpenSkies' first aircraft, G-BPEK

British Airways wanted to reduce the over-dependence on their Heathrow Airport hub by flying between the United States and cities in continental Europe.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] On 30 September the airline announced that the Washington to Paris service would be suspended from 29 October.[11]


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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]


Terminated Destination
City Country IATA ICAO Airport Ref
Amsterdam Netherlands AMS EHAM Amsterdam Airport Schiphol [5]
New York City United States JFK KJFK John F. Kennedy International Airport [15]
Newark United States EWR KEWR Newark Liberty International Airport
Paris France ORY LFPO Paris Orly Airport
Washington, D.C. United States IAD KIAD Washington Dulles International Airport [11]


Boeing 757 landing at Frankfurt Airport

OpenSkies operates a single type of aircraft, the Boeing 757-200.[16] British Airways transferred one Boeing 757 G-BPEK for the start of operations, with an additional aircraft G-BPEJ transferred in December 2008. All of OpenSkies' aircraft are fitted with blended winglets to increase range, improve fuel efficiency and decrease CO
emissions. The cabin on all the aircraft is divided into two sections which together provide seating for 64 or 84 passengers depending on configuration.[2] L'Avion's fleet of two 757s was converted to OpenSkies' specifications and transferred into the fleet.

The fleet retains the British Airways tail fin logo, but features a grey underbelly instead of the dark blue that features on British Airways aircraft. The engine nacelle is painted silver while the winglets are painted red further distinguishing OpenSkies from British Airways.[2] The first Boeing 757 G-BPEK was named Lauren after OpenSkies' code-name prior to launch, Project Lauren. This aircraft has subsequently been re-registered to F-GPEK. The other two aircraft in the fleet are named Gloria F-HAVN and Violette F-HAVI. G-BPEJ was sold to Privatair in August 2012.[17]

In February 2009, British Airways announced that they 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 c 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. ^ a b "British Airways drops OpenSkies Amsterdam-New York route". Associated Press. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "OpenSkies Announces Schedule Changes in New York" (PDF). OpenSkies. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "BA's OpenSkies restores New York JFK service". USA Today. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Jonathan Russell (11 March 2007). "Battle for Heathrow to NY flights". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  9. ^ Alistair Osborne (3 July 2008). "British Airways to buy L'Avion for £54m". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  10. ^ OpenSkies to Refocus Business Efforts on Paris – New York Route
  11. ^ a b Clabaugh, Jeff. OpenSkies suspends Washington flights, Washington Business Journal, 30 September 2011, Retrieved 30 September 2011
  12. ^ "BA 'risks pilot dispute on EU-US routes'". UK Airport News. 29 October 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  13. ^ "OpenSkies Shakes Earth With Announcement". American Chronicle. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  14. ^ AP – 6 December 2011 (6 December 2011). "American Airlines to codeshare with OpenSkies – Yahoo! News". Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "OpenSkies Introduces New Service From New York JFK to Paris Orly – Yahoo! Finance New Zealand". 24 October 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  16. ^ "Fleet". OpenSkies. 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  17. ^ " Aircraft Fleet Database". PlaneSpotters.Net. 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  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

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