The Guardian is reporting that British Airways may shut down OpenSkies, its all-business class subsidiary flying between New York, Amsterdam and Paris. The airline has reportedly been losing money since launch and last year canceled its expansion plans (including plans for a 5th 757). To bolster its Paris operations it purchased L’Avion about a year ago, but even that move could not help them generate the yields necessary to make the French route work.
Some have suggested that BA has kept OpenSkies running as a defensive move against other airlines entering the market. And while I buy that to some extent, its a moot point in the current environment when it would be highly unlikely that anyone else would try to launch an all-business class service today.
Should BA shutter the carrier it would mark the end of the failed 3-year all-premium trans-Atlantic experiment that has seen the demise of MAXjet, SilverJet and Eos. Without frequencies, continuing traffic and loyalty programs (even though OpenSkies was aligned with BA’s loyalty program you need all three of those components), new entrant trans-Atlantic business class airlines don’t really have a chance.
(For my review of a flight on OpenSkies read here.)