BA parts company with Bartle Bogle Hegarty

As BA parts company with its ad agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, we take a look back at its most memorable ads of the past twelve years.

BBH British Airways 2012 Olympics Print Campaign
BBH British Airways 2012 Olympics Print Campaign

BA is parting company with its advertising agency of 12 years, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (“BBH”).

BBH has produced what is understood to be its last work for the airline, a new safety video which also seeks to raise funds for its charity partner, Comic Relief.

The advertising and media group WPP (led by Sir Martin Sorrell) has secured the BA advertising account as well as work for other business units of BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group.

BBH won the advertising account for BA in late 2005, prizing it away from Charles and Maurice Saatchi whose relationship with BA dated back to the 1980s.  The Saatchi brothers have been credited with transforming BA’s image from “Bloody Awful” to “The World’s Favourite Airline”.

At the time, such was the prestige attached to the BA advertising account, the move generated huge headlines.  M&C Saatchi responded by taking out a double page advertisement in The Times stating is was “Now taking new airline bookings”.   In 2007, it also remade “The Face” for the now defunct rival airline Silverjet.

It is fair to say it took a while for BBH to get into its stride.  Much of this was due to BA itself. The airline encountered significant operational issues at its Heathrow hub, most notably the chaotic opening of Terminal 5 in 2008. Then followed the financial crisis which depressed BA’s traffic numbers and triggered industrial relations tensions as BA sought to restructure its business.

To 2017, this year has been something of an “annus horribilis” for BA. It has received a torrent of negative publicity for service cutbacks, notably the introduction of “Buy On Board” food and drink on short-haul flights. Furthermore, issues that had dogged the airline in the past, such as industrial relations tensions and operational issues at Heathrow, have returned to the fore.  Frequent flyers have also become weary at service cut backs and a lack of innovation on board.

WPP will need to reinvograte the brand for the benefit of not only customers, but also its staff and opinion formers.  However, as history has shown for BA, an agency can only produce its best work when its client has confidence in itself from putting its best foot forward.

Here’s our run through of BBH’s notable work for BA:

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Primera Air to launch Stansted – Boston & Newark

Primera Air is to launch direct flights from London Stansted to Boston and Newark in Spring 2018.

Primera Air
Primera Air

Primera Air is to launch direct flights frowm London Stansted to Boston and Newark in the spring of 2018.

Flights from London Stansted to Boston will launch on Saturday 19 May 2018, operating four times weekly.

Flights to from London Stansted to Newark will launch on Thursday 19 April 2018, operating daily.

These flights will be the first transatlantic operations from London Stansted in many years.

What is also noteworthy is that Primera Air will be using the Airbus A321 aircraft, in a two class economy and premium economy configuration.

Primera Air will be the first airline to use this aircraft for transatlantic flights from the U.K.   It will be interesting to see if this aircraft facilitates more expansion and more new entrants into the market, in the same way the Boeing 787 facilitated the arrival of Norwegian at London Gatwick and the launch of many new routes by BA at London Heathrow.

The airline is a relatively unknown name in the UK.  Its operations are mainly based in Scandinavia, operating short-haul flights in Europe.

Primera Air is of course not the first airline to seek to enter the UK transatlantic market.  There is a long list of airlines that have tried and failed: eos, MaxJet, SilverJet and La Compagnie.

Given that its rivals offer very high levels of frequency on this route and many of its passengers are wielded to their frequent flyer cards, a strong marketing effort will also be required to generate traffic.

If Primera Air is to be successful in what is a very competitive market then it will need to instil confidence, before and after launch, that it will have reliable operations with sufficient contingency plans if things go wrong.

Flights are on sale now at Primera Air with promotional fares from £149 each way.

London Stansted – Boston 
Flight PF043 Depart London Stansted 17:00 – Arrive Boston 20:10 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)
Flight PF044 Depart Boston 21:40 – London Stansted 09:30 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)

London Stansted – Newark 
Flight PF041 Depart London Stansted 17:55 – 21:20
Flight PF042 Depart Newark 22:50 – Arrive London Stansted 11:00

BA Cabin Crew Strike: Wednesday 2 August – Tuesday 15 August 2017

Some British Airways London Heathrow cabin crew are due to take further industrial action from Wednesday 2 August to Tuesday 15 August 2017.

British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)

Unite, the union which represents British Airways “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow, has called for yet further industrial action over fourteen consecutive days from Wednesday 2 August to Tuesday 15 August 2017.

This is a continuation of a dispute that has led to fourteen consecutive days of strike action from Wednesday 19 July to Tuesday 1 August 2017.  This has effectively extended this period of industrial action to four weeks.  

Taking into account industrial action throughout July, this means that there will be at least six weeks of strike action on BA this summer.

What can be confirmed now is: Continue reading “BA Cabin Crew Strike: Wednesday 2 August – Tuesday 15 August 2017”

BA transfers Paris Orly route from London Heathrow to City

British Airways is to transfer its route from London Heathrow to Paris Orly to London City from Sunday 29 October 2017.

BA CityFlyer Embraer at London City Airport

British Airways is to transfer its route from London Heathrow to Paris Orly to London City airport from Sunday 29 October 2017.

Currently, BA flies from London Heathrow to Paris Orly up to four times daily.  This will reduce to three times daily from 30 September 2017 with BA334 and BA335 cancelled from this date. The last flights will operate on Saturday 28 October 2017.  BA will continue to fly from London Heathrow to Charles de Gaulle airport up to seven times daily.

BA will fly from London City to Paris Orly three times daily on weekdays and daily on weekends.  This route will reinstate a link between London City and Paris after CityJet suspended this route in March of this year.

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BA launches London City – Prague and Reykjavik

BA will fly from London City to Prague and Reykjavik from Sunday 29 October 2017.

BA CityFlyer Embraer at London City Airport

BA is to launch two new routes from London City airport to Prague and Reykjavik from Sunday 29 October 2017.

BA will fly to Prague daily, except Saturdays and to Reykjavik twice weekly on Thursdays and Sundays on a winter seasonal basis until late March 2018.

Flights will be operated by Embraer aircraft in a two class, Club Europe business class and EuroTraveller economy configuration.

These will complement BA’s existing services from London Heathrow and it will be possible to “mix and match” the two London airports if that is convenient.

BA flies between London Heathrow and Prague up to four times daily.  BA currently flies between London Heathrow and Reykjavik four times weekly which will increase to twice daily from 29 October 2017.

BA has also announced that its route between London City and Granada will become a summer seasonal service only.

Flights are on sale now at ba.com

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British Airways unveils its new safety video

BA is to roll out a new safety video on all its aircraft from 1 September 2017.

Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean in the British Airways Safety Video (Image Credit: British Airways)
Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean in the British Airways Safety Video (Image Credit: British Airways)

The “novelty” in-flight safety video has been a feature of many airlines for years.

They have helped generate huge publicity for airlines, most notably Air New Zealand, on social media channels and help reinforce the brand values of the airlines and their home countries.

BA has, to date, eschewed this approach.  However, today, BA has unveiled a new safety video which will be rolled out across its long-haul fleet from Friday 1 September 2017.

BA has partnered with its corporate charity partner Comic Relief to produce the film. It features well known British public figures such as Rowan Atkinson, Gordon Ramsay, Gillian Anderson and Sir Ian McKellen.

The actors audition in front of comedian Chabuddy G for a part in the airline’s new safety video, while simultaneously demonstrating the safety features and procedures on the aircraft.

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BA Cabin Crew Strike Flight Cancellations 26 July – 2 August 2017

Updated daily, these are the confirmed cancelled flights at Heathrow due to strike action by BA cabin crew from 26 July

British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Cabin Crew (Image Credit: British Airways)

Unite, the union which represents British Airways “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew at London Heathrow, has called for industrial action over fourteen consecutive days from Wednesday 19 July to Tuesday 1 August 2017.

Here are the confirmed cancellations to date from Wednesday 26 July to Wednesday 2 August.

Please note this page is updated regularly.  Please keep checking for updates for flights up to Wednesday 2 August 2017.

The following flights should be operating normally:

  • All flights from London City, London Gatwick and London Stansted
  • All flights from UK regional airports (apart from flights to London Heathrow)
  • The majority of flights from London Heathrow
  • Flights operated by codeshare partners, Oneworld alliance members and other airlines owned by BA’s parent company IAG are also not affected
  • If your flight is cancelled you will offered the opportunity to rebook to an alternative flight or a refund
  • Passengers who are due to travel to Doha will also be re-accommodated on Qatar Airways

The best advice is to check your booking using the Manage My Booking tool and ensure your e-mail and telephone contact details are up to date.  In addition, it is a good idea to download the BA app to your smartphone to receive notifications about your flight.

You can also check live flight information on the websites of Heathrow and BA.  The Heathrow website shows flight information up to the next day, and the BA site shows flight information (by number and route) for the next ten days.

In terms of the risk of further industrial action, the union is required to give 14 days’ notice to BA.  So if there are no announcements two weeks before your flight you can assume it is not a risk of strike action.

Here are the confirmed cancellations from Wednesday 26 July to Wednesday 2 August
Continue reading “BA Cabin Crew Strike Flight Cancellations 26 July – 2 August 2017”