BY JOHN O'CEALLAIGH
Premium airline passengers may soon have another option for flying between London and New York, with the announcement that the UK-based companyOdyssey Airlines plans to start all-business class flights between London City Airport and New York from 2016.
Having secured over £5 million in funding so far, the firm recently launched an equity crowd-funding platform with the Kickstarter-style funding platform Crowdcube. So far, Odyssey has received contributions worth an additional £414,000 through that source. Thereafter, the company will aim to raise an additional £60 million of financing in 2015.
The route will be serviced by modified Bombadier CS100 aircraft, which will accommodate up to 40 business-class passengers. Details of the on-board experience are few, but Odyssey Airlines CEO Adam Scott says the aircraft will feature the longest fully flat beds available in the market, and says customers should expect the experience to be akin to that of travelling by private jet.
Odyssey is also yet to announce which New York airport will be served by the route but if the launch goes well it is expected that new routes, to other cities in north-eastern America, Canada, Europe and the Middle East, will be introduced.
Details of Odyssey Airlines’ proposals come some time after the demise of similarly pitched business class-only transatlantic airlines Silverjet, Eos and Maxjet, all of which floundered after the financial crisis took hold. Currently British Airways offers a business class-only service between London City and New York JFK. London departures stop for refuelling at Shannon in Ireland, where passengers can clear US customs, while Odyssey Airlines flights will fly direct.
Other aviation companies are hoping to launch commercial supersonic flights between London and New York over the coming decade, with one firm predicting that it will be possible to fly from London to New York within one hour by the end of the 2020s.
London-based passengers can also fly on a business class-only service from Heathrow to Doha with Qatar Airways. Seating up to 40 passengers, that service launched in May and costs approximately £4,300 for a return flight.