MIAMI — British Airways will operate the Airbus A380 once daily between London Heathrow and Chicago O’Hare beginning May 8th, 2018. The A380 will replace the Boeing 747-400 on one of two daily British Airways flights on this route.
The A380 will operate as the BA295, departing London Heathrow at 10:50am and arriving Chicago O’Hare at 1:25pm. The return flight, BA294, departs Chicago at 5:30pm and arrives London Heathrow at 7:20am the next morning.
Simon Brooks, British Airways’ Senior Vice President Sales, North America said, “Customers love our Airbus A380 with its refreshed cabins, enhanced entertainment system and improved quality air. We’re delighted to be the first airline to offer regularly scheduled service on the A380 between Chicago and London. For those traveling for business to London or customers heading to Europe on vacation, this is an exceptional start to their travels.”
“The addition of the Airbus A380 for direct service from O’Hare to London is great news for travelers in Chicago and around the world,” said Ginger S. Evans, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation. “Chicago is always looking for ways to offer our passengers new and improved options for international travel. Thanks to our partners at British Airways, we will bring more visitors directly to our City on one of the largest and most exciting aircraft in the world.”
British Airways will become the first airline to operate regularly scheduled A380 service to Chicago O’Hare. British Airways will not, however, be the first airline to bring the A380 to Chicago.
Last year, Emirates operated a one-off A380 flight between Dubai and ORD. While Emirates regularly does this before launching A380 service on a route, Emirates has yet to announce regular A380 service to the airport.
One possible reason for this is because the Emirates A380 was damaged by a jet bridge during its one and only stop in Chicago. While understandably the operator of the jet bridge was unfamiliar with the A380, it was a major embarrassment for the airport and may have hurt its chances at future A380 visits.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) July 19, 2016
The A380 also visited ORD in 2007 when a Lufthansa branded A380 landed at the airport as part of FAA testing. The aircraft did not use a gate during its visit and instead parked on a hardstand.
In order to accommodate the massive A380, Chicago has invested heavily in upgrading infrastructure. In an Emirates press release before the Emirates A380 visit, Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) Commissioner Ginger S. Evans said: ““The improvement we’ve made at O’Hare to accommodate the A380 is one of many projects underway that will make Chicago more competitive and attractive for passengers and businesses.”
Some completed improvements include widening taxiways, reinforcing concrete at the gate, reinforcing bridges to handle the A380s weight, and adding jet bridges.
This is not the only announcement for British Airways today. In the last hour, the company confirmed that it will launch a route between London Heathrow and Nashville, Tennessee.
The British Airways seats 469 passengers in a four class configuration. The layout includes 14 first class seats, 97 business class seats, 55 premium economy seats, and 303 economy seats.