The first transatlantic flight to arrive in Austin touched down at Austin-Bergstrom Airport on Monday afternoon at approximately 4:50 p.m. The service is the first of many to come for the new route offered by British Airways.
Austin and London residents will now have the luxury of flying directly between Heathrow Airport, British Airways’ main hub, and Austin-Bergstrom. The new service is also the only Austin flight provided on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
John McDonald, vice president of British Airways, said Austin is a prime destination because of the city’s growth and student population.
“There’s a significant business travel corridor between Austin and London, but, obviously, Austin is a huge student city; we’re very aware of that,” McDonald said. “We’re keen to encourage as many students as we can to visit the UK [and] Europe and really get that cross cultural experience.”
McDonald said he is eager to work with the University with hopes of backing the business populace around campus.
“We’ll certainly be talking to the University seeing what we can do in terms of ‘how do we effectively get prices in the market [and] stay competitive’ … we’re really keen to work with [students] not just in terms of getting them on board … but how we actually work with students, support entrepreneurialism [and] support that element of the student community,” McDonald said.
Riane Corter, International Office program coordinator, said the new route will make travel arrangements easier for UT students in international and study abroad programs and incoming exchange students traveling to America.
“I think it’s going to be helpful for exchange partners to send their students directly to Austin,” Corter said. “Before, my students coming from London would have to fly into Houston or Dallas and then get another shuttle or another flight to connect to Austin. So, now, this direct route is going to be really helpful for them.”
Only on the market for two years, there are currently 122 Boeing 787s in service with more than 60 airlines operating the airliner. Skip Thompson, Boeing’s director of Airline Marketing Services, said the 787 Dreamliner is leading the way in aircraft technology.
“[The 787 is] the most advanced commercial jetliner in service,” Thompson said. “It’s an all composite fuselage. It’s an entirely new way of manufacturing a new airliner.”