BA100: 19. New York, New York

100 Years Of British Airways: BA’s most important long-haul destination, New York City.

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British Airways New Club World Advertisement circa 2006.
British Airways New Club World Advertisement circa 2006 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Welcome to our 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines.

If there’s one route more important to BA than any other, its London – New York.

Ever since the first transatlantic jet flight to New York, it has been an extremely important route to BOAC and BA, linking two major global financial centres.

In the late 1960s, BOAC boasted of five flights a day to London on either the VC10 or Boeing 707 aircraft. In 1970, BOAC opened its own dedicated terminal at New York JFK, ahead of its first Boeing 747 services to New York in 1971.

BOAC New York Advertisement, 1968
BOAC New York Advertisement, 1968

By the mid 1990s, BA operated seven services a day to New York.

British Airways London - New York Poster (circa 1994)
British Airways London – New York Poster (circa 1994)

London Heathrow – New York JFK is a route BA historically prioritises for newly refurbished aircraft and cabins. It was the first route to be guaranteed to operate with flat beds in Club World in 2000.

British Airways Club World Outdoor Advertisement 2000
British Airways Club World Outdoor Advertisement 2000
British Airways Club World New York Advert
British Airways Club World New York Advert

Today, BA flies to New York up to 12 times a day, largely with Boeing 747s each configured with 100 First and Club World seats. It is the only long-haul destination BA serves from all of London City, Gatwick and Heathrow.

It is one route where BA always faces new long-haul competitors, including now defunct airlines eos, Laker Airways and Silverjet as well as current rivals Virgin Atlantic and Norwegian. The one retrograde development is that it is of course no longer a route where you arrive before you leave.

BA did also recently lose the title of the largest international airline at New York to Norwegian, but with Norwegian now focused on cutting routes and profitability, that may change very soon.

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