British Airways will take delivery of its first Boeing 787-10 in January 2020, with five more to follow across the year and a further six after that. London/Heathrow to Atlanta has already been chosen as BA's initial Boeing 787-10 route, with flights starting in February.
The Dreamliner's debut comes as the airline strides into Phase 3 of the rollout of its new Club Suites business class – a period which will see factory-fresh Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 jetliners strutting the new Club Suites alongside rolling upgrades to current Boeing 777 aircraft.
A critical difference between the Boeing 787-10 and the Airbus A350-1000 jets is that the new Dreamliners will include first class, with eight berths using the same design as on BA's Boeing 787-9 jets (a suite which the airline internally refers to as the 'Prime' product).
British Airways is moving towards standardising on a 'sweet spot' of eight First suites across its Boeing 787 and 777 fleet, in a trend away from larger first class cabins in favour of more business class seats.
And when it comes to business class, the Boeing 787-10 of course sports BA's new Club Suites, which boast first-like touches such as a sliding privacy door, along with direct aisle access for every passenger, increased personal stowage and working space plus a larger video screen offering gate-to-gate entertainment.
If rolled out on the hotly-contested London-New York route, BA's latest Dreamliners will help take the fight to Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A350s, which boast the challenger's latest Upper Class business class seats.
The next two years will see BA's Club Suites refit program ramping up across both the Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 777-300 jets, to reach a third of the fleet by the end of 2020 and nudge just past the 50% mark by the end of 2021.
2022 sees the Club Suite retrofit program extended to the Boeing 787-9, while the first of the Boeing 777-9 jetliners will also arrive in BA strip; the year will close out with four out of every five Heathrow flights sporting the Club Suite.
That ratio rises to nine out of ten flights by the end of 2023, with the Airbus A380s taking their turn to go under the knife.
That's bound to be a long wait for passengers on flagship A380 routes, who will be making do with BA's current decades-old Club World seat – which debuted in 2006 and has seen only minor revisions over successive years – for as many as six years to come.
By the end of 2024 there'll be just a few hold-outs left, and stepping onto a BA flight with the old Club World instead of the new Club Suite will be reduced to a small but disappointing exception to the 97% rule.
By the end of 2025 – which is six years away, but still closer to today than 2012 was – British Airways expects to have ripped out the last Club World seat.
"No airline of the size of BA has been able to do a programme roll-out like this in less than three or four years," says British Airways CEO Alex Cruz. "And this has been, and continues to be, the biggest concern I have. We are working as hard as we can to roll it out as quickly as we can, but this is the airline industry. Everything gets quadruple-checked and no sizeable airline in the world has been able to do this quickly."
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