British Airways will assign Airbus A350-1000 airliners, one of Airbus's new models, to its Tel Aviv-London route starting in December 2019. The news is of interest primarily to business class passengers, because the new model accommodates British Airways' new business class plan, with a "suite" for each passenger - a personal compartment with a sliding door to give passengers a feeling of privacy. The business class seats open up to a two-meter-long bed. The suite also has a personal storage compartment with a service closet containing a make-up stand. The entertainment screens for these seats are 18.5 inches long.
56 of the 331 seats on the planes will have business class suites, 56 will be world traveler plus (improved tourist class) seats, and 219 will be regular tourist class seats. Like other new airliners, this model is equipped with a noise filtering system and more humid air in the cabin, a high ceiling, and lighting adjusted to the time of day (sun and darkness).
Passengers who have flown from Tel Aviv with Cathay Pacific are already familiar with the A350-1000, which has been in use on this route since last October.
British Airways operates three daily flights on the Tel Aviv-London route. The selection of Israel as one of the first destinations for launching the new business class is no accident. Next September, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways' biggest competitor, will begin operating direct flights on the Tel Aviv-London route. British Airways has other competitors on the route, including El Al and various low-cost airlines, but the company is concerned about competition from Virgin Atlantic, because the two airlines are competing for the same market segment emphasized by legacy airlines operating flights to Israel. Virgin Atlantic's strong point will be the continuation flights that it operates from London to a variety of US destinations.
British Airways Israel country manager Yael Katan says, "British Airways' selection of the route to Israel as one of the first routes on which the airliner will be operated is a vote of confidence in Israel by the airline, and shows the company's great appreciation for this market." Katan added, "British Airways has operated in Israel since 1932, before the state was declared."
Competition for passengers is not always reflected in lower prices. As shown by British Airways' measures, competition can also come through the product and the value that passengers receive for their money, especially business class passengers, as in this case.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 15, 2019
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