BA remains bullish despite Eos failure

British Airways and Silverjet remain confident that the business-only airline model is still viable despite the grounding of premium carrier Eos last week.

But rival Virgin Atlantic claims the failure sounds the death-knell for the market.

Eos became the second business-class carrier to fail in recent months, after the collapse of MaxJet over Christmas, leaving Silverjet as the only remaining operator flying from the UK to the US.

The market has been hit by rising oil prices and the economic downturn, although BA says it will still press ahead with plans to launch its own transatlantic business-class service in 2009.

In February this year, the airline announced that it was introducing twice-daily business class-only flights from London City airport to New York next year, on 32-seater aircraft.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh says: “As well as the business market, we are confident there will be a demand from premium leisure customers for this service.”

Silverjet is also bullish about its future prospects and has described the collapse of Eos as “an opportunity” for the airline. “We are absolutely confident that the model we operate is not flawed,” says a Silverjet spokesman.

But Virgin Atlantic says the collapse of Eos proves that the high-end niche airline model has failed.

Virgin Atlantic communications director Paul Charles says: “There is not a sustainable market for business-only airlines flying from places like Stansted and Luton.”

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