MIAMI — British Airways inaugurated service to Austin, Texas from its London Heathrow hub on Monday. It is the first intercontinental non-stop flight for the small city.
British Airways 191 is set to land in several hours’ time, just shy of 5PM central time . OperatedBritish Airways inaugurated service to Austin, Texas from its London Heathrow, the jet is outfitted in a three class cabin including business, premium economy, and economy. The airplane is expected to head back to London around 7PM local time. The flight will initially operate five times weekly before going daily on May 5th.
“British Airways sees a great opportunity to make a connection between the vibrant cities of London and Austin,” said Sean Doyle, EVP Americas, British Airways in a prepared statement. “Both cities have rich histories, brilliant arts and music scenes, and bright futures. Equally important, today’s flight connects Austin…to London, Europe and beyond.”
The latter is particularly noteworthy, the flight will prove valuable in tapping into the 20,000+ people who travel from the peculiar Texas city to Europe every year.
Beyond Europe, the route is also expected to generate noteworthy traffic to secondary Indian cities. The new flight will allow for one-stop service, shaving over three hours off of prior two-stop itineraries to cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad.
Chief among them is Bangalore, which shares strong connections with Austin via IT and tech industries. Bhaskara estimates that between eight and ten high-yield business class passengers travel between the two cities daily alone.
More broadly, thanks to its tech-heavy businesses, over 40% of the Austin long-haul traffic is business-related. The high figure conveniently leads to an outsized share of high-yield passengers, which helps to explain how a rather small secondary city managed to land a intercontinental flight with a first tier carrier.
Even still, it is extremely likely that the route would not have been possible without the Dreamliner. Thanks to its significantly improved economics, the airplane is touted as being perfect to test-run new long-haul, thin traffic routes such as Austin.
While British has gotten a bit adventurous with the jet by opening routes like Austin and Chengdu, China, the airplane has been primarily utilized as a Boeing 767 replacement. Right out of the gate, the jet was used to replace the 767 on service to Toronto. It will soon be placed on London-Calgary and London-Philadelphia, both of which are also served by 767s.
British Airways presently has four Dreamliners in service. The fleet will eventually grow to forty-two of the airplane, split between -8s, -9s, and -10s. The bulk will be received by 2016, with the remained anticipating delivery between 2018 and 2020.