British Airways Boosts U.S. Service - New Orleans Can Thank the Boeing 787
British Airways 787-9 departs London Heathrow

British Airways, already the European carrier with the most U.S. service, is adding more U.S. destinations.

In the past two weeks, the carrier has announced Heathrow-New Orleans with a Boeing (BA) 787-8 seating 214 passengers, as well as Gatwick service to both Oakland, Calif., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., both served by Boeing 777-200s seating 275 passengers.

The new flights mean British Airways will serve all three Bay Area airports as well as four cities in Florida including Miami, Orlando and Tampa.

British Airways has a trans-Atlantic joint venture with American (AAL) , enabling the two carriers to coordinate scheduling and share revenue on the flights, but it is branching out with its new services, flying to cities where American is not the dominant carrier.

Based on 2015 passenger counts, Fort Lauderdale is the 21st largest U.S. airport, while Oakland is 36th and New Orleans is 37th. Additionally, Fort Lauderdale/Miami/West Palm Beach is the eighth-largest metropolitan area, the Bay Area is 11th largest and New Orleans is 46th.

New Orleans is getting a shot largely because of the unique capabilities of the Boeing 787. British Airways is returning to the city 34 years after it pulled out.

In 1982, the carrier ended London Gatwick-New Orleans-Mexico City service, which had operated with a Lockheed L-1011 that used New Orleans as a refueling stop. Four-times-a-week service will resume in March 2017.

Simon Brooks, senior vice president sales for British Airways, said New Orleans "is a natural choice for us for a whole raft of compelling reasons," including the availability of the 787.

"The Dreamliner makes it an easier decision," Brooks said. Additionally, in New Orleans "You are looking at conventions, cruises, leisure trips, festivals -- it's compelling for {Britains} and Europeans."

Besides the leisure opportunities, the New Orleans area economy includes sizable oil and gas and health care sectors, he said, adding, "It is a city on the rise."

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of British Airways' U.S. use of the Boeing 787 involves what happened in Austin.

The carrier began to fly the 787-8 between London Heathrow and Texas' Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in March 2014.

If you liked this article you might like

How to Make a Deal Like Billionaire Investor Warren Buffett

How to Travel in Style Exactly Like Billionaire Warren Buffett

Here's How to Invest Like a Billionaire

How to Invest Like Billionaire Warren Buffett

How to Live Just Like Billionaire Warren Buffett