British Airways subsidiary and all-premium carrier OpenSkies announced that it will launch Washington – Paris flights in May, marking its second route after closing New York – Amsterdam about 6 months ago. Summer prices for their BizSeat product (roughly equivalent to an extremely nice domestic business class) start at $1750 round trip, only about $300 more than coach seats on its competitors on the Washington routes Air France and United.
OpenSkies says they expect this route to be profitable in its second year, which is what Eos, SilverJet and MAXJet also used to say. The airline also says that it expects the company to be profitable by 2013.
MAXJet was unable to make Washington – London work, though that was a more crowded route. OpenSkies’ product is superior to United’s, but with only 5 flights per week they will still face difficulties competing with 21 flights per week offered by Air France.
Openskies started about 18 months ago, and the lifespan for all-premium TransAtlantic carriers seems to be about 3 years. I don’t think this route is their last chance at success, but they really need to prove that this model works outside of their original citypair.