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 at the 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.
Paul Kehoe, CEO, Birmingham Airport, 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.”
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.”