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British Airways to fly nonstop Austin to London

By Helen Anders - American-Statesman Staff

British Airways announced Tuesday that it will fly nonstop between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and London Heathrow starting in March. This will be the airport’s first international destination other than Mexico.

British says it will fly the 787 Dreamliner on the route. Right now, you can book the nonstop four days a week — every day except Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday. Trips will be available five days a week during the second week of the flight’s operation. British says it will increase the service to daily in May.

The lowest fare for the round trip is $1,694.18 including taxes and fees, compared with $972 on American Airlines connecting through Dallas-Fort Worth International.

Flights can be booked on ba.com.

Jim Smith, the aviation department’s executive director, said plans to add security checkpoints, a larger customs facility and added baggage-handling capacity will help process the additional foreign passengers faster.

The City Council earlier this month agreed to use $62.5 million in revenue bonds for the 55,000-square-foot expansion, which will fill an empty notch in the 14-year-old building just east of the Southwest Airlines ticket counters.

Lew Little, board chairman of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said the deal with British Airways will bring $70 million in economic impact during its first year and create 1,100 jobs in the air service industry. He said that should grow to $74 million within the first three years.

Alan Eley, vice president of operations in North America for British Airways, said that in addition to allowing Austinites to travel to London, the flight will create more European tourism to Austin.

“You’ll see a lot more Europeans over the last couple of years than you’ve probably ever seen before.”

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