Hello and welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 30 April 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week, and a look the week ahead.
Alex Cruz interviewed
Two years in to his role as CEO of British Airways, Alex Cruz has been something of a lightning rod for criticism of the airline.
Whatever the complaint, the finger of blame is pointed squarely at Alex. The reality is far more complex. Some decisions, such as not installing a new Club World seat on Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 aircraft, were made before his arrival. Many decisions, such as required levels of profitability on short-haul, are set by the parent company IAG and are outside of his control.
Alex made a number of public appearances last week, including the Routes Online conference in Bilbao, where he was interviewed by John Strickland.
As with any interview, Alex is constrained by the fact that some initiatives have to remain commercially confidential and City rules require any significant announcements to be announced by IAG to the Stock Exchange first.
However, there were some points of note:
– Alex is adamant that lessons have been learned from last May’s IT outage, both in terms of IT resilience and customer support.
– First Class is going to remain at BA, but it will continue to be downsized, as it has been over the past 20 years. It is expected that some four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft will be converted to three class and it seems inevitable that First will go from more routes as the Boeing 747 is retired.
– The much anticipated new Club World seat is still in development. So the seat you will see on Iberia’s soon-to-be-unveiled Airbus A350-900 aircraft will not be installed on BA’s Airbus A350-1000 when it arrives in 2019. Alex understandably did not give much away about the new cabin. However, it will be an entirely new seat and cabin layout for BA. There are 11 defined parameters such as direct aisle access for all and greater privacy.
– It has been known for some time that Club Europe catering is going to be reviewed again. However, as this was initially planned for April, it is going to be delayed for a few months.
– Buy-On-Board catering on short-haul is going to evolve with the possibility of pre-ordering food and improved options for the use of Avios and possible changes for Executive Club members.
– There is a strong emphasis on improving BA’s ground services, both in terms of departure punctuality and premium ground services. You may have noticed dedicated First Class areas at baggage belts for arrivals at Heathrow from New York JFK and initiatives such as this are to extended.
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