British Airways have confirmed their withdrawal from Shannon Airport with the axing of its London City to New York all business class service.
The flight operated between London City and New York’s JFK airport and made a technical stop at Shannon before continuing to the U.S.
The flights stopped at Shannon to take on fuel and to allow customers avail of Customs and Border Protection clearance. The pre-clearance facility, operated by the US’s Department of Homeland Security, allows customers arrive in New York as domestic passengers thus avoiding long queues at immigration.
Up to 2016, the service flew twice-daily from Monday to Saturday and once on Sundays using a specially configured 32 flat-bed cabin in a custom designed Airbus A318 aircraft. The flight used the callsign BA-001/Speedbird 1 previously used by Concorde on the London Heathrow to JFK route
When the operating hours of the U.S. pre-clearance service changed in 2006, the afternoon British Airways flight was too late to avail of the facility so the airline dropped flight (BA-003/Speedbird 3).
The company however continued to fly its BA-001 service until March this year when the Covid-19 pandemic began to affect aviation. The last flight to transit Shannon was on March 18th last.
Now, it has been confirmed that British Airways plans to retire the last Airbus A318 in its fleet which means the end of the London City – Shannon – New York route.
A British Airways spokesperson confirmed: “As we adapt to the decrease in passenger demand as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic we can confirm that we will no longer operate our business class-only flights from London City to New York, JFK via Shannon.”
A spokesperson for Shannon Airport said however: “At present we have no notification of BA intentions at this time.”