International Airlines Group held its annual Capital Markets Day on Friday 15 November 2013. This is an event where a very large volume of financial and strategic material is presented to institutional investors and analysts. However, there are small items of news (more to follow) of interest to the public at large.
One concerns the London-Singapore-Sydney route. Ever since Qantas jettisoned its partnership with BA in favour of a joint-venture with Emirates there has been speculation as to whether BA would be able to continue to serve Australia directly.
In its submissions to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, BA made it clear that it would be severely impacted by the ending of its partnership with Qantas, specifically due to the lack of access to Qantas corporate and frequent flyer base which has meant it didn’t need to invest in local brand-building and marketing activity in Australia.
However, the airline has taken a number of measures to improve performance of the route including moving the route to Terminal 5 to improve connectivity to BA’s short-haul network and placing its Boeing 777-300 on the route which features the airline’s latest in-flight products and its most advanced Thales in-flight entertainment system.
BA now claims that it has achieved a £30m profit improvement on the route in the second and third quarters of its financial year to 31 December 2014 compared to the previous year. So, it seems it can be taken as read that BA will continue to serve Sydney directly.
Given the enormous amount of choice on the London-Australia route, BA’s single daily service to Sydney may not seem significant. However, there is a degree of symbolism in the de facto national carrier serving Australia and the London-Sydney route is a popular route for British Airways American Express cardholders to redeem 2-4-1 vouchers.