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British Airways Looking to Sell OpenSkies

…And now, the end is near/and so I face/my final curtain…

British Airways has hired an investment bank to help it sell most of its stake in OpenSkies, the all-premium carrier flying between New York, Paris and Amsterdam.  Most airline-watchers wondered how OpenSkies could work after Eos, MAXJet and SilverJet all failed.  Then they wondered how it could possibly survive the downturn in the economy.  And why BA would operate a separate all-premium brand when it was rolling out its own all-premium 318s between New Yorkand London.  Well, it looks like everyone was correct and BA is trying to find someone to buy most of it (BA says they want to retain a stake, but we’ll see about that…)

Of course they’re saying they have interested parties (which is what Eos, MAXJet, and SilverJet all said), and that future prospects look good (ditto).  Sadly, they have a great product and a fantastic pricepoint.  Just like the 3 airlines mentioned above.  But the economics simply have not worked, and that isn’t going to change.  OpenSkies likely only has a few months left.  Splurge $1200 and fly them over to Europe – you’ll be happy you did.

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  1. Well the loads have picked up considerably, there is even an improvement on the yields, a glimmer of hope but of course no guarantee.

    I am really baffled how the pundits, and bloggers compare OpenSkies to Eos, MAXjet, and Silverjet. The real problem with those three airlines were:

    1. An impossible yield goal in an already oversaturated market.
    2. No alliances with other airlines thereby preventing accumulation of mileage.
    3. Weak technical support.
    4. Dependence on venture capital.
    5. The real downfall for all of them, was the fake fuel crisis Q4 2007- Q3 2008, that took a whole lot of airlines with it, and not all were “premium” carriers.

    The truth is, because of OpenSkies low cost structure, should there be a return in the next couple of quarters to something that at least has the appearance of normal, OpenSkies can actually prosper; the lower cost structure is not something other airlines can emulate too quickly.

    If there was one thing OpenSkies could do now to save their product; it would be to stop calling their premium economy product “BIZ”, this is a deterrent to the all important business traveler who no longer has the approval to fly in business class, but is permitted to fly in premium economy. I’m sure there are plenty of corporate travel planners who are passing by the option because they think it’s not approved.

  2. I received a surprise email last night from BE Open Skies, and must say at first I was very disappointed that I would not have the chance to fly with them mid October. I had always longed to fly business class and Open Skies presented the perfect opportunity to, for an extremely attractive price.
    All is not lost though, and we will be jetting off to NYC, via London, in Club Europe then World, and back again. The value of the rebooking – twice as much as we would have paid, so sure…I’m not going to complain too much. And perhaps one of the attractive benefits of flying in business class on a standard flight is that you know that you are not sitting in economy behind the curtain.

  3. Cathy Scottsdale

    It is always a dubious sign when an airline begins to cut service and routes. Growth and expansion are the ONLY way an airline can survive. I worked for one of the aforementioned airlines in a business class market and can only attest to the fact that while the concept and product were wonderful, the economy wreaked havoc on us. I wish OS the greatest good luck, and hope it can turn things around- quickly!

  4. BA Iberia Link Up Looming | Touring Old Blighty - pingback on November 11, 2009 at 10:07 pm

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