International Airlines Group, the parent company, of Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia and Vueling held its annual Capital Markets Day today. The presentations included an update from Alex Cruz, CEO of British Airways, Carolina Martinoli, Director or Brand and Customer Experience and Steve Gunning, Chief Financial Officer, on recent and planned initiatives at the airline.
It has not been the best of years for BA with the airline facing negative publicity following the introduction of Buy On Board catering on short-haul flights to/from London Heathrow and Gatwick. However, the airline is keen to emphasise improving operational performance and investment.
Here is a summary of the main announcements and extracts from the slides:
– BA will begin refurbishing more Boeing 747s in 2018, in addition to 18 that have already been refurbished.
– BA will retire its last Boeing 747 on February 2024. It had previously been expected that the last 747 would be retired in 2023. There will be a significant number of aircraft retired by 2022 with the number in the fleet reducing from 36 to 12.
– BA is to take delivery of a further three Boeing 777-300 aircraft to replace three Boeing 777-200 aircraft.
– The Boeing 767 will be retired by the end of 2018.
In-Flight service and amenities
– BA will increase investment in Club World from £400m to £600m; the new seat which BA claims will be “top tier” will be rolled out from 2019. No reason has been given for the increase, but it may be because the new seat will also be retrofitted to existing aircraft.
– There will be new long-haul economy catering from January 2018 with more mid-flight snacks and full second meal services on longer range flights.
– Buy On Board catering will remain on short-haul flights. However, measures are being taken to speed up the service and avoid food running out on flights.
– BA will refurbish lounges in Aberdeen and Rome in 2018. There will also be catering improvements for BA lounges. BA announced a lounge refurbishment programme earlier this year. Many other lounges earmarked for refurbishment such as Manchester, Geneva will not be refurbished until 2019 and beyond.
– Initiatives to increase automation at Terminal 5 such as self-boarding gates and self-service baggage drops, will continue. BA will also introduce automated gates for the lounges!
One other point is that BA will celebrate its centenary in 2019 and there will be a number of events to mark the occasion.
All in all, there are no “blockbuster” headline grabbing announcements and a continuation of the theme of targeted investment and automation.
There may be further points emerging from the presentations and Q&A sessions and we will update in due course.
If you want to view the full presentation, which is some 126 slides long, it can be downloaded from the IAG website. It also includes updates from Aer Lingus, Iberia, LEVEL and Vueling and other group wide initiatives. Note it might not load if you are using Safari as your browser.