updated 10/6/2010 1:46:02 PM ET 2010-10-06T17:46:02

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 6, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- British Airways (BA) today announced that it will commence non-stop daily flights between San Diego and London Heathrow as a first benefit of the official launch of the new joint business agreement with American Airlines and Iberia. The new transatlantic service to London is scheduled to begin on June 1, 2011 and will be operated with the carrier's popular three-class Boeing 777 aircraft.

"Inaugurating non-stop flights between San Diego and London is one of the first tangible benefits of the joint business operation with American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia, and we are pleased to be returning to this beautiful city," said Kevin Burns, British Airways Regional Director, Western USA and Western Canada. 

"Today's route announcement is an excellent example of how working together can benefit customers. Combined selling and scheduling means that we will be able to operate routes that would not have been feasible for us to operate individually. This partnership will provide our customers in San Diego and around the world with a one-stop shop for transatlantic travel regardless of how you book, which of our airlines you fly or where you want to transfer." 

"We've been waiting for 14 years to be able to bring these benefits to our customers, and it's great news that we can now put our plans into action starting in San Diego," said Cathy Bradley Berg, American Airlines Regional Vice President, Passenger Sales Western Division. "Our partnership will further boost oneworld®, in what has been a momentous year for the alliance, and enable us invest in new products and services while offering more choices for our customers."

City of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said, "The importance of this service cannot be overstated. It gives San Diego business and tourist travelers a direct connection to one of the world's most majestic and important cities. And, of course, Britons now have a direct connection to the sunny skies, sandy beaches and countless cultural attractions of our magnificent city."

British Airways flight 272 will depart daily from San Diego to London Heathrow at 8:05 p.m. (PT) and arrive in London at 2:25 p.m. next afternoon. BA273 returning from London is scheduled to depart Heathrow at 3:05 p.m. local time and arrive in San Diego at 6:15 p.m. (PT). London arrivals and departures in London will be at the state-of-the-art Terminal 5, offering superb connectivity with a seamless experience. Operating one of the largest and most modern fleets of any airline in the world, the new flights will be flown by the British Airways Boeing 777 aircraft, a comfortable and fuel efficient long haul airplane. The B777-200 three-class configuration includes 48 seats in Club World, 24 in World Traveller Plus and 203 in World Traveller, for a total aircraft capacity of 275. In addition to passengers and their baggage, the British Airways B777 will carry up to 18 tons of cargo between San Diego and London.

Passengers on the San Diego-London flight traveling in Club World Class and those with Executive Club Gold or Silver status will be eligible for admission to the American Airlines Admirals Club® Lounge at the San Diego Airport.  The San Diego club provides complimentary well liquors, house wine and beer, light snacks, coffee, tea, soft drinks and juices, plus food for sale from the Amora™ fresh food menu.  The club also offers complimentary Wi-Fi, PCs with Internet access, and conference rooms available for rent.  American Airlines operates more than 40 Admirals Club lounges worldwide.

A total of five new routes were announced today that will start from next April as an early benefit of the new joint business. In addition to the British Airways operated San Diego-London route, they include: New York JFK-Budapest and Chicago-Helsinki (operated by American), Madrid-Los Angeles and Barcelona-Miami (operated by Iberia).

In addition to new routes including San Diego, the trilateral relationship allows the three carriers to cooperate commercially through revenue sharing, which brings a host of benefits to travellers, including:

  • Greater access to a wider choice of fares
  • Coordinated schedules on joint routes to provide customers with better flight choice and timings
  • Dedicated support teams for customers transferring at five of the airlines' hubs: New York JFK, London Heathrow, Madrid, Chicago and Miami.
  • Online check in and boarding pass printing with either the airline operating the flight, or the one the ticket was booked through
  • Integrated online flight information on all three airlines' websites
  • Increased opportunity to earn and redeem frequent flyer benefits on transatlantic flights
  • More integrated account management for corporate customers

The airlines have also placed codeshares on a significant number of additional routes, greatly increasing the number of destination choices available to customers. American will add its code to 322 British Airways and Iberia flights serving 101 destinations; British Airways will add its code to 2,063 American and Iberia flights serving 181 destinations; and Iberia will add its code to 354 American and British Airways flights serving 96 destinations. There will be further opportunities to increase codeshares in the future.

In total, customers will be able to travel more easily on the airlines' combined route network, which will serve more than 400 destinations in 105 countries with around 5,200 daily departures.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The new joint business allows the three airlines to cooperate commercially on flights between the European Union, Switzerland and Norway and the United States, Mexico and Canada. It has been approved by the competition authorities of the EU and the U.S.

Terminal 5, designed to handle up to 30 million customers a year, is spacious, light and airy and has already transformed the customer experience at Heathrow.  It offers customers a simple and calm experience through online check-in and fast bag drop facilities, with the benefit of state-of-the-art security and baggage facilities. It boasts a multitude of shops and restaurants as well as a variety of lounges for British Airways premium passengers.  And from Terminal 5, one can be in central London in an incredibly short time via the 20-minute ride on the Heathrow Express that runs exclusively to Paddington Station.

The British Airways logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=1862

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