Hitch delays new BA luxury transatlantic service

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The Independent Travel

British Airways suffered an embarrassing hitch to its new luxury transatlantic service today.

With a number of travel journalists aboard, BA's Airbus A318 due to leave London City Airport for New York suffered a technical fault with one of its engines.

Engineers fitted a new part as quickly as possible but the specially-converted aircraft, with just 32 seats aboard, left 90 minutes late.

A BA spokesman said: "We apologise to customers. This was a minor technical fault. Our top priority is always the safety of our customers."

This was just the second day of the new service, which attempts to woo City executives with the prospect of flights from London Docklands and a quick US immigration point of entry during a refuelling stop en route at Shannon in Ireland.

Yesterday's inaugural flight, with BA chief executive Willie Walsh and a number of journalists on board, passed smoothly, with the A318 taking off bang on time at 12.50pm from London City.

Mr Walsh has predicted that the service, which BA was keen to go ahead with despite the recession, would be in profit within its first year of operation.

Similar transatlantic luxury services operated by Eos, MAXjet and Silverjet all failed within a few months.