BA snaps up French carrier for £54m
British Airways struck a deal to buy French business-class rival L’Avion for £54m yesterday to boost its new OpenSkies subsidiary, which flies between continental Europe and America.
BA will add L’Avion, which began flying between Paris and London last January, to its OpenSkies unit, which began operations last month. The flag carrier’s OpenSkies service is the result of a European Union and American agreement in March designed to liberalise transatlantic routes and increase competition. L’Avion flies two 90-seater Boeing 757 jets between Paris Orly and Newark airport.
BA chief executive Willie Walsh, said: “L’Avion is a successful airline that has built up a premium business between Orly and New York in a relatively short period of time.”
Privately-owned L’Avion was founded by pilot Frantz Yvelin and Marc Rochet, chief executive, who formerly ran Air Liberte. The deal includes £26.2m of cash reserves that L’Avion has in the bank.
L’Avion is the last independent transatlantic business class-only carrier after the collapse over the last six months of Maxjet, EOS and Silverjet, which all failed to cope with rising fuel prices.
BA also plans to start its own business-class service between London City airport and New York next year.