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British Airways becomes the first major European carrier into Louisiana’s cultural capital
British Airways will launch a new non-stop service to New Orleans in late March 2017. It’s not quite the first time the airline has flown there: but it is 35 years since a BA plane touched down in The Big Easy, when UK flights made it a regular refuelling stop on the way to Mexico City.
But now New Orleans will be the sole attraction, as a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner will make the 10-hour crossing from Heathrow on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. BA thus becomes the first major European carrier into the city.
The decision marks a remarkable turnaround for an urban area so devastated by one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit North America. The $30 million rebuilding programme in the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina saw the city’s cultural heart, the French Quarter, transformed.
Customers will soon be able to discover the birthplace of jazz for themselves
And the tourists have come back in force. City chiefs hope the BA flights will bring in more premium consumers, while pushing overall visitor numbers over the pre-Katrina high of 10.1 million a year. The United Kingdom is already the second-largest market for foreign visitors to New Orleans (behind Canada), according to the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
But it’s not all jazz and Mint Juleps. The tech industry – the so-called Silicon Bayou – has been touted as the ‘next Austin’ and ‘the coolest start-up city in America’ and ‘the next great tech city.
The airline’s confidence in the US market has received a further boost with a new service to Fort Lauderdale from July 6, 2017. It will be the airline’s third route from Gatwick to Florida, and its fourth service to the Sunshine State.