OpenSkies

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OpenSkies
OpenSkies.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
LV BOS MISTRAL
Founded2008; 12 years ago (2008)
Ceased operations2 September 2018 (Stopped operating flights under the OpenSkies brand)
Frequent-flyer programAvios
AllianceOneworld (affiliate)
Fleet size3
Destinationssee Level destinations
Parent companyInternational Airlines Group
HeadquartersRungis, France
Key peoplePatrick Malval (CEO)
Websiteflylevel.com

OpenSkies SASU [fr][1] was an airline owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), operating under the Level brand. The headquarters is located in Rungis, near Paris.[2]

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 was a full-service carrier and offered three class service cabins on board its aircraft[3] and operated between Paris Orly Airport in France and both Newark and New York in the United States.[4]

OpenSkies ceased to operate under its own brand after summer 2018 to operate for IAG's new low-cost subsidiary brand Level.[5]

History[edit]

Former OpenSkies Biz Bed seats
Former OpenSkies Prem Plus seats
Former OpenSkies Boeing 757-200
Former OpenSkies Boeing 767-300ER

British Airways wanted to reduce its dependence on its Heathrow Airport hub by flying between the United States and cities in continental Europe.[6] The routes that OpenSkies flies are only possible because of the EU-US Open Skies Agreement, which permits any American or EU airline to operate services to and from any EU or American location. The availability of landing slots limits the impact of the agreement at certain airports, such as London Heathrow Airport.[7] BA European Limited, trading as Openskies, launched originally with 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.[8] The operating licence was suspended on 6 May 2009 for three months following the transfer of the name to Elysair, at BA European's request.[9] The CAA certificate eventually was surrendered in favour of operating under a certificate issued by the French Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire.[10]

OpenSkies' 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.[11] BA European's operations merged with L'Avion on 4 April 2009, forming OpenSkies. In 2008, potential future routes for the airline reportedly included Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Brussels, Rome, and Milan.[12]

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. On 24 July 2009, the airline announced that the route from New York-JFK to Amsterdam Schiphol would be suspended as of 16 August, for economic reasons.[13] On 30 September the airline announced that the Washington to Paris service would be suspended from 29 October.[14]

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.[15] The airline restored service from JFK to Orly on 31 March 2013.[16] Also in 2013, the airline announced a codesharing agreement with American Airlines which will put American's "AA" code on its flights between Paris and Newark.[17]

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.

On 28 November 2017, IAG announced that its low-cost airline Level would launch flights in July 2018 from Paris Orly Airport. Level's Paris flights would be operated by staff that currently work for OpenSkies. In preparation for the change, OpenSkies' IATA code was changed from EC to LV in May 2018. The OpenSkies brand ceased to operate on 2 September 2018, after which all its staff began to operate Level flights.[5]

Flight Global stated that the retirement of the last OpenSkies branded aircraft "marked the end of the OpenSkies brand, from a public-facing perspective."[18] OpenSkies began operating as Level France, with the same employees now operating under a new brand, with flight crew retrained to fly Airbus aircraft.[18]

Destinations[edit]

As of September 2018, OpenSkies operates all crews and aircraft on behalf of Level.

Former destinations[edit]

OpenSkies used to serve the following destinations under its own brand name:

Country City Airport Refs
France Paris Orly Airport
Netherlands Amsterdam Amsterdam Airport Schiphol [19]
United States New York City John F. Kennedy International Airport
Newark Newark Liberty International Airport
Washington, D.C. Washington Dulles International Airport [14]

Fleet[edit]

As of October 2019, the OpenSkies fleet, which operates under the Level brand, consists of the following aircraft:[20]

OpenSkies Fleet
Aircraft In
Service
Orders Passengers Notes
W Y Total
Airbus A330-200 3 21 293 314 Operated for Level
Total 3

Fleet history[edit]

In February 2009, British Airways announced that it would not transfer additional 757s to its OpenSkies subsidiary by the end of 2009 beyond the one already transferred, 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.[21]

On 8 April 2016, Openskies announced the addition of a Boeing 767 aircraft in a three-class configuration, transferred from parent British Airways which was retiring its 3-class 767 fleet.[22] The aircraft, which was assigned to the NewarkParis Orly route on select days, entered service in August 2016.[23] It also provided OpenSkies with a spare aircraft.[24]

At the time of OpenSkies' brand retirement on 2 September 2018, the airline operated one Boeing 757-200 and one Boeing 767-300ER. Both aircraft were initially ferried to storage and retired on 3 September 2018, while the 757-200 (MSN-25808) was later taken over by Cabo Verde Airlines.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "OpenSkies SASU c.o.b. as LEVEL Tariff Containing Rules Applicable to Scheduled Services for the Transportation of Passengers and their Baggage Between Points in Canada and Points Outside Canada." 28 November 2017. The phrase "c.o.b. as LEVEL" means "company operating business as LEVEL"
  2. ^ "Contact us". OpenSkies. 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  3. ^ Bokaie, Jemima (9 January 2008). "BA brands new airline OpenSkies". Brand Republic. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  4. ^ "Route and timetable". OpenSkies. 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  5. ^ a b iairgroup.com - LEVEL LAUNCHES FOUR ROUTES FROM PARIS ORLY WITH FARES FROM €99 28 November 2017
  6. ^ Jonathan Russell (11 March 2007). "Battle for Heathrow to NY flights". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
  7. ^ "BA to launch 'open skies' airline". BBC News. 9 January 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  8. ^ Civil Aviation Authority Official Record Series 2 Number 1849 13 May 2008 – Type A Operating Licence granted from 9 May 2008
  9. ^ UK Civil Aviation Authority Official Record Series 2, Number 1900, 12 May 2009
  10. ^ Compagnies aériennes françaises autorisées
  11. ^ Alistair Osborne (3 July 2008). "British Airways to buy L'Avion for £54m". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ OpenSkies to Refocus Business Efforts on Paris – New York Route
  14. ^ a b Clabaugh, Jeff. OpenSkies suspends Washington flights, Washington Business Journal, 30 September 2011, Retrieved 30 September 2011
  15. ^ "OpenSkies Announces Schedule Changes in New York" (PDF). OpenSkies. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  16. ^ "BA's OpenSkies restores New York JFK service". USA Today. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  17. ^ AP – 6 December 2011 (6 December 2011). "American Airlines to codeshare with OpenSkies – Yahoo! News". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 13 January 2013.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ a b Kingsley-Jones, Max (7 September 2018). "OpenSkies retires final Boeing after last 767 flight to Newark". Flight Global. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  19. ^ "British Airways drops OpenSkies Amsterdam-New York route". Associated Press. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  20. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2019): 14.
  21. ^ David Kaminski-Morrow (9 February 2009). "BA expects to sell 757s next winter, use A320s instead". Flight International.
  22. ^ Openskies to add 767 to fleet
  23. ^ "OpenSkies". Airliner World (October 2016): 7.
  24. ^ OpenSkies Schedules 767 Service Entry from late-August 2016

External links[edit]

Media related to OpenSkies at Wikimedia Commons