It’s about to get a lot easier for the British to land in Charleston.
Charleston International Airport officials announced Thursday that British Airways will begin nonstop air service to and from London beginning April 4. The flights to London’s Heathrow Airport will continue twice a week until Oct. 24, 2019.
They will be the first regular transatlantic passenger flights to serve the Charleston airport.
The airline will fly Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. Boeing builds 787-10 Dreamliners at its North Charleston assembly plant.
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The flights will run on Thursdays and Sundays with BA221 departing from London Heathrow at 5:20 p.m. and arriving into Charleston at 9:20 p.m. local time that evening. The return flight BA220 will depart Charleston at 10:50 p.m. and arrive at London Heathrow at 11:50 a.m. the next day.
Officials estimate the economic impact generated by new flights could exceed $20 million annually in tourism, according to a release from Gov. Henry McMaster’s office.
The S.C. Department of Commerce is spending about $1.3 million for the air service’s first season to assist with the flights’ costs.
“It is a privilege to establish this direct route between two cities that share a reverence for history, display unique charm and embrace promising futures,” Helen Hill, CEO of Explore Charleston, said in a news release. “We are committed to ensuring this partnership is an unrivaled success and look forward to welcoming new business and leisure travelers to our region and state.”
Besides a reverence for history, the two cities share a history. During the Revolutionary War, American patriots surrendered Charleston to the British on May 12, 1780, after a siege that lasted just more than a month. It was the Americans’ worst defeat of the war.
The Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner can hold 214 customers across three cabins, with 154 seats in economy, 25 seats in premium economy and 35 seats in business class.
Travelers on British Airways have a free baggage allowance, seat allocation and, on its long-haul services, complimentary meals and bar service and on-demand movies on personal TV screens.