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BA targeting trans-Atlantic market

  • Story Highlights
  • British Airways reveals it plans to enter the trans-Atlantic market battle in June
  • It will launch a subsidiary airline with daily flights from continental Europe
  • BA's "OpenSkies" will fly between New York, Brussels and Paris
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- British Airways has revealed it plans to enter the trans-Atlantic market battle by launching a subsidiary airline with daily flights from continental Europe.

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BA is taking steps to avoid losing its market share following new trans-Atlantic regulations.

The new airline will be called "OpenSkies" and will launch in June, flying between New York, Brussels and Paris, BA said on Wednesday.

It is BA's first attempt at taking advantage of last year's landmark "Open Skies" agreement and heading off expected competition from other airlines on lucrative trans-Atlantic routes.

Open Skies liberalized the trans-Atlantic travel market by allowing any airline -- European or American -- to fly any route between any city in Europe and any city in America.

United States and European Union transportation officials who agreed to the pact said it could ultimately provide more choice and cheaper tickets to passengers flying over the Atlantic.

Air France and Delta Air Lines have already announced a joint venture to share revenues and costs on their trans-Atlantic routes under Open Skies rules.

The pact also means the end of the stranglehold that carriers like BA and Virgin have had on trans-Atlantic flights from Heathrow and may allow other airlines to launch direct flights from the London airport.

BA said its new airline would use Boeing 757s, each one able to carry as many as 82 passengers in three onboard classes: business, premium economy, and economy. The business cabin will have 24 seats that convert into 6-foot flat beds.

The service will start this summer with one 757 and BA said it hoped to have six 757s operating by the end of 2009.

The aircraft, which will come from the current BA fleet, will also be retrofitted with "winglets" to improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and increase operating range. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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