BA buys French airline for £54m

British Airways boosted its new continental-Europe-to-America operations today by announcing that it had agreed to buy a French airline for £54m (€68m).

British Airways boosted its new continental-Europe-to-America operations today by announcing that it had agreed to buy a French airline for £54m (€68m).

The French carrier is privately-owned L’Avion, which operates two Boeing 757 all-business class aircraft between Paris’s Orly airport and Newark in New Jersey, US.

Following completion of the deal, expected this month, it will become a BA subsidiary and be integrated into OpenSkies, BA’s new EU-US subsidiary airline.

OpenSkies launched services last month with daily flights from Orly to New York’s JFK airport – flights which operate with a L’Avion codeshare.

The new combined airline will operate up to three daily flights between Orly and New York JFK and Newark airports using three Boeing 757 aircraft.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh said today: “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.

“It has many synergies with OpenSkies and buying it provides OpenSkies with a larger schedule and an established customer base in the Paris-New York market.”

Christophe Bejach, co-founder and chairman of L’Avion, said: “We are happy to merge our operation with OpenSkies. This transaction will strengthen our current base and enable the combined airline to grow faster and stronger.

“Our staff will benefit from the ambition and recognised expertise of the buyer and our customers will have access to an even better service, on a larger scale.”

BA’s continental Europe operation has been made possible by the new EU-US transatlantic air agreement which came into force at the end of March this year.

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