British Airways has announced new, nonstop service between London and Austin beginning March 3, 2014. The flight will connect Heathrow and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and marks the first regular transatlantic air service for the city of Austin.
“As the Mayor of Austin and a former pilot, I could not be more excited about this announcement by British Airways, one of the world's foremost carriers,” said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “Connecting two of the world's great cities, London and Austin, through this first time, non-stop service between ABIA and Heathrow Airport is sure to take our city to a new level for both business and vacation travelers."
“We are very excited to be bringing British Airways to Austin. This new route presents an important opportunity for business growth across the Atlantic, particularly in the thriving technology sector,” said Sean Doyle, EVP Americas, British Airways. “We know that London is among the top destinations for international travel from Austin and equally, Austin is home to some of the most important global cultural events. We are looking forward to providing a convenient and high quality service to new and existing customers.”
The flights will be operated on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft five days a week, increasing to daily flights in May. Seats are available for purchase at www.ba.com.
The new service will have three cabins: Club World (business class); World Traveller Plus (premium economy); and World Traveller (economy). The cabins feature stylish new interiors with state-of-the-art entertainment systems. British Airways provides meals, snacks and beverages, including full service bar, for free and customers can also benefit from a generous baggage allowance.
British Airways, part of International Airlines Group, is one of the world's leading global premium airlines and the largest international carrier in the UK. The carrier has its home base at London Heathrow, the world's busiest international airport and flies to more than 70 different countries. In 2012, the airline carried more than 37 million customers. The airline currently has a fleet of more than 270 aircraft.
Linking London and Austin nonstop is expected to further strengthen the economic position of Austin and its airport.
“Our airport generates $2.4 billion each year, supporting 48,662 direct and indirect jobs – 7% of the total jobs in Austin. The London-Heathrow nonstop route will have an initial economic impact of $69.7 million the first year, and is expected to grow to $74 million annually within three years. In July alone, over 30,000 passengers a day traveled through ABIA. We work to maximize these benefits by continually pursuing new airline service and driving economic development, “said Austin City Manager Marc Ott.
A substantial passenger base of both business and leisure travelers exists between the two cities.
“London is Austin’s largest traffic generator in Europe. And the route is timed so that Central Texans can fly the nonstop Austin to London Heathrow and make easy connections to over 50 other markets throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia,” said Jim Smith, Executive Director of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. “The 787 is the newest in aircraft technology and our airport, like Austin, welcomes the latest innovation.”
Austin travelers have been looking forward to transatlantic service, a route community leaders strongly support.
“The unprecedented partnership between Central Texas and British Airways would not be possible without the unity and collaboration of community leaders: the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the City of Austin,” said Austin Chamber Board Chairman Lew Little, Jr., CEO, Harden Healthcare. “This unparalleled route elevates the international status of the Austin area and puts our region on the map for continued business expansion, growth and investment opportunities. As a business community, we are looking forward to strengthening existing connections and forging new relationships with our European partners.”
“The establishment of a transatlantic non-stop route has been a top priority of the Austin Chamber’s Air Service Task Force since 2010,” said Austin Chamber Air Service Task Force Chairman Doug Driskill, Executive Director, Americas Client Support Services, Dell. “The entire Austin business community is delighted to welcome British Airways as the newest Austin area air service partner. The AUS-LHR nonstop route is a colossal win for Central Texas and a direct reflection of the quality of leadership and growth potential that our regional business community represents.”
“We're ecstatic that British Airways decided to add nonstop service between London and Austin. It shows that they see the future potential for this marketplace as the epicenter of central Texas," said Julie Chase, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Visitors from the UK currently represent our top overseas market and we know that this flight will help us increase that number. Additionally, the Heathrow gateway allows us to open up our destination to other EU markets like Germany, France, and the Netherlands."
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport served a record 9.4 million passengers in 2012 and traffic has increased 6% year-to-date. Austin’s airport has nonstop service to 41 destinations and is home to 13 airline carriers. Austin-Bergstrom generates a $2.4 billion economic impact to the Austin area annually and is entirely self-sustaining, generating its own revenue to cover its operating costs. For more information, visit www.abia.org.