Wednesday, January 09, 2008

British Airways Announces “OpenSkies” Airline

In a nod to the new Open Skies agreement, which allows airlines to fly between any U.S. destination and nearly any European one (not just between the U.S. and the airline’s home country), in June British Airways will begin operating a new airline from New York to either Brussels or Paris (with flights to the other city to begin later in the year). Competing international routes are usually beneficial for consumers, but in reality this may be more about BA being able to offer lower-cost U.S.-to-Europe routes (fees into the UK and Heathrow are high).

The new airline’s name? “OpenSkies.” From a marketing standpoint, brilliant; as a tool to differentiate from the competition and to draw travelers, who knows? (But then, who’d have thought that JetBlue, Virgin, or Eos would sound enticing. Now if someone came out with “No Stress Air,” we’d book every flight on them.)

Everyone is speculating about the impact of the Open Skies agreement on consumer air travel and pricing, and everyone has a different opinion. As the Chinese saying goes: “May you live in interesting times.”

Image courtesy British Airways