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IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 2008
Hubs Orly Airport
Frequent-flyer program Executive Club
Alliance Oneworld (affiliate)
Fleet size 4
Destinations 2
Company slogan The transatlantic airline, par excellence
Parent company International Airlines Group
Headquarters Rungis, France
Key people Patrick Malval (CEO)

OpenSkies is a transatlantic airline owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), the headquartered is located in Rungis near Paris.[1] The airline launched as a brand of BA European Limited in June 2008 but in April 2009 the name was transferred to Elysair (which had operated as L'Avion). The airline is a full-service carrier and offers three class service cabins on board its aircraft.[2] The airline currently operates between Paris-Orly Airport in France and both Newark and New York in the United States.[3] OpenSkies will cease to operate after summer 2018 to make way for IAG's new low-cost subsidiary Level.[4]


OpenSkies Biz Bed seats
OpenSkies Prem Plus seats
Open Skies Boeing 757-200
OpenSkies Boeing 767-300ER

British Airways wanted to reduce its dependence on its Heathrow Airport hub by flying between the United States and cities in continental Europe.[5] The routes that OpenSkies flies are only possible because of the EU-US Open Skies Agreement, which permits any American or EU airline to operate services to and from any EU or American location. The availability of landing slots limits the impact of the agreement at certain airports, such as London Heathrow Airport.[6] BA European Limited, trading as Openskies, launched originally with a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence. This permits the airline to carry passengers, cargo, and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.[7] The operating licence was suspended on 6 May 2009 for three months following the transfer of the name to Elysair, at BA European's request.[8] The CAA certificate eventually was surrendered in favor of operating under a certificate issued by the French Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire.[9]

OpenSkies' first flight, from New York, was on 19 June 2008, using a single Boeing 757 transferred from the BA fleet. In July 2008 BA bought French airline L'Avion for £54 million.[10] BA European's operations merged with L'Avion on 4 April 2009, forming OpenSkies. In 2008, potential future routes for the airline reportedly included Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Brussels, Rome, and Milan.[11]

The third destination for Openskies was Amsterdam, when flights began on 15 October 2008, and Newark became an additional destination when L'Avion was integrated into OpenSkies on 4 April 2009. On 24 July 2009, the airline announced that the route from New York-JFK to Amsterdam Schiphol would be suspended as of 16 August, for economic reasons.[12] On 30 September the airline announced that the Washington to Paris service would be suspended from 29 October.[13]

In December 2009, the airline announced a change of its New York operations: in January 2010, all OpenSkies flights were shifted from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Newark.[14] The airline restored service from JFK to Orly on 31 March 2013.[15] Also in 2013, the airline announced a codesharing agreement with American Airlines which will put American's "AA" code on its flights between Paris and Newark.[16]

OpenSkies joined the Oneworld alliance as an affiliate member on 1 December 2012, of which parent British Airways is a founding member. British Airways Executive Club members are able to claim tier points and BA miles on OpenSkies flights.

On 28 November 2017, IAG announced that its low cost airline Level would launch flights in July 2018 from Paris-Orly. Level’s Paris flights will be operated by staff who currently work for OpenSkies. The OpenSkies brand will cease to operate at the end of Summer 2018 and all its staff will operate Level flights.[4]


The new airline was initially rumoured to be planning business-class-only flights, with the first flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Orly Airport in Paris.[17] However, the airline changed its plans to include a very small five row section of economy class seats in the rear of the aircraft in addition to premium economy and business class seats. In October 2008 the economy section was eliminated in favour of more premium economy seating.[18]


Current destinations

OpenSkies currently operates to and from Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey and Orly Airport in Paris, France. Service is scheduled to end on 2 September 2018, when OpenSkies will merge its operations with Level.[19][20]

Former destinations


The OpenSkies fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of August 2017):[22]

Aircraft Total Orders Passengers[23] Notes
J W Y Total
Boeing 757–200 1 20 28 66 114 to be operated for Level
Boeing 767–300ER 1 24 24 141 189
Total 2

The fleet retain the British Airways tail fin logo, but it does not necessarily retain the British Airways navy blue underbelly or paint on the engine nacelles. On aircraft that have them, the winglets are painted red, further distinguishing OpenSkies from British Airways.[2]

In February 2009, British Airways announced that it would not transfer additional 757s to its OpenSkies subsidiary by the end of 2009 beyond the one already transferred, as originally planned, but instead would sell them to a third party. OpenSkies was originally to expand to six aircraft by the end of 2009, but BA said this plan had been cancelled.[24]

On 8 April 2016, Openskies announced the addition of a Boeing 767 aircraft in a three-class configuration, transferred from parent British Airways which was retiring its 3-class 767 fleet.[25] The aircraft, which is assigned to the NewarkParis-Orly route on select days, entered service in August 2016.[26] It also provides OpenSkies with a spare aircraft.[27]


  1. ^ "Contact us". OpenSkies. 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Bokaie, Jemima (9 January 2008). "BA brands new airline OpenSkies". Brand Republic. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  3. ^ "Route and timetable". OpenSkies. 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Jonathan Russell (11 March 2007). "Battle for Heathrow to NY flights". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  6. ^ "BA to launch 'open skies' airline". BBC News. 9 January 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  7. ^ Civil Aviation Authority Official Record Series 2 Number 1849 13 May 2008 – Type A Operating Licence granted from 9 May 2008
  8. ^ UK Civil Aviation Authority Official Record Series 2, Number 1900, 12 May 2009
  9. ^ Compagnies aériennes françaises autorisées
  10. ^ Alistair Osborne (3 July 2008). "British Airways to buy L'Avion for £54m". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Stone, Rod (9 January 2008). "British Airways To Start US-Continental Europe Services". CNN. Archived from the original on 13 January 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  12. ^ OpenSkies to Refocus Business Efforts on Paris – New York Route
  13. ^ a b Clabaugh, Jeff. OpenSkies suspends Washington flights, Washington Business Journal, 30 September 2011, Retrieved 30 September 2011
  14. ^ "OpenSkies Announces Schedule Changes in New York" (PDF). OpenSkies. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "BA's OpenSkies restores New York JFK service". USA Today. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  16. ^ AP – 6 December 2011 (6 December 2011). "American Airlines to codeshare with OpenSkies – Yahoo! News". Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "BA 'risks pilot dispute on EU-US routes'". UK Airport News. 29 October 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  18. ^ "OpenSkies Shakes Earth With Announcement". American Chronicle. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  19. ^ - OpenSkies ends Paris – Newark route in early-Sep 2018 14 December 2017
  20. ^ "OpenSkies Announces Schedule Changes in New York" (PDF). OpenSkies. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "British Airways drops OpenSkies Amsterdam-New York route". Associated Press. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2017 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2017): 14. 
  23. ^ OpenSkies Seat Map
  24. ^ David Kaminski-Morrow (9 February 2009). "BA expects to sell 757s next winter, use A320s instead". Flight International. 
  25. ^ Openskies to add 767 to fleet
  26. ^ "OpenSkies". Airliner World (October 2016): 7. 
  27. ^ OpenSkies Schedules 767 Service Entry from late-August 2016

External links

Media related to OpenSkies at Wikimedia Commons

  • Official website
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