When flight BA7025 took off from Birmingham Airport for Florence, Italy it marked a significant return to regional flying for British Airways.
It was the first of four new regional routes launched from the Midlands this weekend and the first time British Airways’ colours have been seen at the airport for a decade.
Birmingham Airport ensured there was a party atmosphere for the first flight by celebrating with a huge cake showcasing the four new destinations operated by British Airways.
The airline last flew from Birmingham in 2007 when the regional airline business was sold to Flybe, although Vueling and Iberia Express, subsidiaries of British Airways’ parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), started up services and Aer Lingus has continued to operate to Dublin from Birmingham since 1984.
The inaugural British Airways service to Florence was the first of the new routes to take off followed by flights to the popular Spanish sunspots of Malaga, Ibiza and Palma providing more than 17,000 seats to the sun from Birmingham this summer.
Flights are operated at weekends by modern Embraer 190 jet aircraft, with Eurotraveller and Club cabins and two abreast seating so everyone can have an aisle or window seat. Low each way fares from £29 are available on www.ba.com
Alex Cruz, British Airways CEO and chairman, said: "We continue our regional growth following the successful launch of services from Stansted last year. Now we are flying from Birmingham once again we are excited about the future opportunities.”
Luke Hayhoe, British Airways' general manager commercial and customer, said: "This weekend marks the start of a very busy summer for us in the UK regions and we are very excited to be returning to Birmingham after a 10-year gap and following on from the successful launch of flights from Stansted last year.
“Florence is a brand new city to be served from Birmingham Airport and is proving to be very popular with customers alongside our flights to three of the most sought-after Spanish destinations”
Paul Kehoe, CEO, Birmingham Airport commenting on the return said: “Today is a momentous day for Birmingham Airport. To see the British Airways tailfin on the ground after ten years is great news for the region and adds to the other IAG carriers already here. The introduction of four routes for the summer season ensures passengers have more choice on popular routes from the Airport and additionally have the chance to visit the beautiful city of Florence, which was previously unserved.
Photo caption: Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport pictured with the crew on the inaugural flight to Florence, Captain Richard Humphreys, first officer Claudia Zonneyville and cabin crew Rina Ottsman and Michael Fish