British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, longtime foes, will forget decades of animosity tomorrow morning when they join forces to celebrate President Biden's travel ban by celebrating with an extremely rare dual takeoff/ landing.
Two Airbus A350s, one from Virgin Atlantic and one from British Airways, will be lined up at Heathrow's parallel runways at 8:20 AM on Monday morning. They will then take off simultaneously. They will race each other across the Atlantic to New York.
To avoid further rivalry, the airlines have agreed that they will land simultaneously at New York JFK. Virgin Atlantic will fly its VS3 service, while British Airways will bring back its iconic BA1 namesign for one day to celebrate the reopening.
Although President Biden agreed to lift the Trump-era travel ban last September, actual lifting of restrictions will not occur until November 8. The ban was lifted by the administration on condition that foreigners with a valid COVID-19 test be fully vaccinated.
Although there are no entry requirements, most flights from the UK or Europe to the United States will be full for the majority of the week. Travellers are advised to expect long delays upon arrival as officials deal with the surge in demand.
BA's flagship route between London and New York City has been around for a long time. The airline was the dominant operator of the route prior to the pandemic. British Airways was the first airline to offer a billion-dollar flight between London and New York City in April 2017.
British Airways used its iconic BA1 callsign to mark the importance of the Concorde era. It assigned the BA1 callsign to the Concorde departure at 10:30 AM from Heathrow to JFK. In 2003, Concorde and the callsign were retired.
British Airways launched a Business Class flight in 2009 from London City to JFK using a small Airbus A318 aircraft. The 32-seat service was very popular among high-income business travelers. However, BA had to rethink the plan after the pandemic.
Although there is no plan in place for the BA1 callsign, on November 8th the airline will operate an additional flight between London Heathrow (London) and New York JFK (New York JFK), on its long-haul flagship aircraft, the Airbus A350-1000.
Special flights by Virgin Atlantic and British Airways will depart at 8:15 AM and arrive in New York around 11:15 AM. On Monday morning, the event will be televised by British television.