L’Avion Swallowed by OpenSkies

British Airways, L'avion, Mergers/Finance

Let’s all raise a toast to those who owned a piece of L’Avion. They became the only (extremely lucky) shareholders of an independent all-premium class airline to actually get money back from their investment. That’s right, the new BA subsidiary OpenSkies announced today that they’re buying L’Avion for a mere 35 million euros.

This marks the end of the latest experiment in all-premium airlines. 08_07_02 openskieslavionMAXjet is toast, so is Eos, and despite many rumors, Silverjet is officially done as well. Now that last man standing, L’Avion, is part of the BA empire and will be fully integrated into OpenSkies.

If you had a ticket on L’Avion to fly from Newark to Paris, nothing should change . . . for now. OpenSkies says it will “operate up to three daily flights between Paris Orly and the New York area,” it’s that “up to” piece that makes me believe these frequencies won’t last for long. Right now, OpenSkies flies from JFK and L’Avion flies from Newark. It wouldn’t surprise me if they end up consolidating at some point.

I guess we should have seen this coming when OpenSkies announced a codeshare with L’Avion right when they started flying. But that still begs the question . . . why are they doing this? Beats me. It’s not like they need more 757s, and I’m sure they could have driven out L’Avion if they really wanted to. Maybe they really wanted those extra slots at Orly, but that seems like an awful lot to pay for them, no? I guess I don’t know the going rate.

Either way, we’re going to see a quicker ramp up of the airline than previously planned. Keep an eye out for new cities to pop up from OpenSkies sooner rather than later. I would imagine this will continue to be focused on flights from New York to other points in Continental Europe.

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11 comments on “L’Avion Swallowed by OpenSkies

  1. Just another example of how capital is king. Nobody can match the level of capital that BA can provide, which means BA is the only one who survives.

    Really is a shame too. Eos had what I would consider a good business plan, especially after Maxjet shut down operations.

  2. I figured they were buying them for the Orly slots and for the 757s – those aircraft have been few and far between, so maybe this will allow them to ramp up quicker and let BA keep the 757s they were going to give them? Maybe?

  3. The only other scenario I can think of is that BA was afraid someone would buy L’Avion first.

    On a side note, Blinkly looks cute with a baguette.

  4. I knew when I read this you would be blogging about it and I was right.

    By doing this BA is the only player in the field so saves money in the long run. At least until AF decides to get in on Orly-USA service.

  5. I did not know that AF doesnt do the orly usa service. yud think that the biggest carrier in france would match an airline called the airplane.

  6. Jared – I thought BA really didn’t want to keep their 757s around. It’s not like they have any missions that they need them for. The Airbuses can handle all of continental Europe and down into some of the Middle East. But who knows. Plans change all the time.

    Two big problems though. The planes aren’t even that similar. British Airways has Rolls Royce engines while L’Avion has Pratt & Whitney. As if that’s not enough, you can see in this picture that L’Avion has 757s with the overwing exits while BA has the ones with the full door behind the wing. So, these are very different aircraft.

    David SF – I’d argue that in the long run they could have run these guys out of town quickly if they wanted. In the short run it may have saved them money from an operating standpoint.

    Axel – Delta had planned to start Orly to JFK this spring, but the flight apparently didn’t look very good with fuel where it is so they scrapped it. It wouldn’t surprise me to see AF looking harder at this now.

  7. The Avion website shows two daily flights on the A0 code, only one being l’Avion. No menmtion of any class, so presumably busuness class, and on some days the fares are the same. No listing for l’Avion flights on http://blog.flyopenskies.com/ though – even the blog!

  8. I’m a bit unhappy to see L’Avion being bought by BA, or Open Skies. However, I’m not sure if an all-premium airline would’ve been able to survive in in transatlantic market. So, good for the share holders!I’m interested to see how Open Skies fairs for BA. To me, it just seems like they’re trying to get their foot in the door in Paris – NYC.

  9. Robin – That’s interesting that it doesn’t appear to be in the BA booking system yet. I looked at ba.com as well and it’s not there either. I’m assuming this will change soon.

    Jonathan – I don’t doubt that this is an attempt for BA to get into the New York – European Continent market, at least to start. But unlike Air France (which is doing London to LAX), BA has decided to start a subsidiary. I believe that’s related to being able to get lower wage rates.

  10. Their service is mediocre , food is horrible …. business class ???????

    don’t think so …. coach with a little more leg room

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