The collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and the subsequent UK Government bailout of HBOS and RBS to help prevent the collapse of the banking system had a huge impact on BA.
The airline had already been through a difficult time operationally with the chaotic opening of Terminal 5.
The financial lifeblood of the airline, long-haul premium traffic, fell away very sharply. (The airline had in fact not long reconfigured some Boeing 747 aircraft to increase the number of Club World seats).
This was so much so it was a boon for frequent flyers with deeply discounted frequent flyer redemptions and aggressive overselling of economy and premium economy cabins. BA swung from a profit of £922m in 2008 to a loss of £401m in 2009. There were even questions as to whether the airline would be able to survive in its current form.
Here is a very softly spoken advertising campaign BA ran 12 months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
It featured 9 films in total gently encouraging both business and leisure passengers to fly and pursue new opportunities around the world such as Mumbai Fashion week and the migration of wildebeest across the Serengeti.
The campaign was noteworthy in that apart from a reference to BA’s route network at the end of the voiceover, it does not make any specific reference to any relative benefits of flying BA, nor does it feature any visuals of BA aircraft or cabins.