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Published on Thursday, March 9, 2006

BA outlines £450m cost savings

British Airways aims to achieve cost savings of £450 million in the two years prior to moving into Terminal 5 at Heathrow in March 2008.

The airline wants to drive costs down by £225 million a year over the next two financial years.

A new business plan unveiled by chief executive Willie Walsh includes an investment of almost £200 million in new Club World seats, on-demand films in all cabins and ba.com.

The airline wants to see the proportion of online bookings worldwide through its website rise from a third to half by March 2008.

The plan, which includes improvements in punctuality and baggage performance prior to the switch to the new terminal, comes against a background of the airline's fuel bill being up by around £400 million for 2006-07.

BA also revealed that flights to Australia and Spain will not move to Terminal 5. Instead they will operate alongside Oneworld alliance partners Qantas and Iberia from Heathrow's Terminal 3 from March 2008. 

Walsh said: "This plan will make us fit for the future. By resolving our pensions deficit, reducing cost and delivering world-class customer service, we can make 10% operating margin a sustainable reality.

"Better management of our costs and having an absolute focus on customer needs will give us a lasting platfrom for success.

"Meeting the business plan's objectives will put us in a position to take on our competitors in preparing for growth."

Report by Phil Davies



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  • Retracted

    Removed at the request of the commentator

    By luana tomassini, Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Retracted

    Removed at the request of the commentator

    By luana tomassini, Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Retracted

    Removed at the request of the commentator

    By luana tomassini, Monday, March 7, 2016

  • Regard Any On-Line Praise As Suspicious

    Readers should remember that airlines, and many others, hire public relations companies to promote their interests. Given BA's past proven history with Laker and Virgin, and many others, few tricks are not found in their armoury. That said, I did actually appreciate the crew of one BA flight - they secured a large floral tribute for my father's funeral in a First Class seat - whilst I suffered in Economy! As a person who flies intercontinental long-haul several times each month, in both business and economy, BA is my second to last airline, ahead of Air Canada, of last resort.

    By J Hewson, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • BA Service

    Dear Mr Reasons, I can understand people not bothering to complain to BA because they just don't care what people think. We book groups with a lot of major airlines who are happy and pleased with the business. BA just doesn't want to know and even make dealing with them impossible. If we want to book groups we have to talk to Gold Medal who in turn talk to BA. We had 3 groups for August 2006 but found that the hotel had problems so wanted to switch the groups to another destination. We were told that even though the flights were 9 months away they could not be changed. BA Really Customer Focused - I don't think so. Just seen the comments about BA being the leading airline that others want to follow. It will be a sad day if they all produce food and a customer service that is as bad as BA's.

    By Allen Miller, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • Business travellers????

    What about the bread & butter business in economy, don't they deserve something more than a dry cheese sandwich, unbelieveable comments and very insensitive.

    By Carole Standen, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • Service is Excellent

    Although I have problems with catering and bookings, I do believe that BA has excellent staff and service and would never complain about that.

    By Carole Standen, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • Address the negative, accentuate the positive

    Calvin - I don't think I was necessarily critical. Trawl the web and you'll also find customer singing BA's praises, and often deservedly so. However, only if BA fully understands what is being said about them, who is saying it and where they are saying it, they can seek to influence these perceptions in customer to customer dialogue.

    By Jon Moody, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • BA - Still achieving what those strive for

    Looking through the comments, once again everyone has something negative to point out about the airline that sets the standard. Let's forget the negatives (which other airlines go through also) and remember that BA is an industry leader, innovator, and one of the few airlines still making profit. What we should take from the latest announcement is the &#pound;200 Million investment into our Club World seats, on demand IFE, and ba.com. Once again the standard will be set for others to follow & strive to achieve. BA still holds great value for money - competitive pricing & an excellent network.

    By Calvin Gordon, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • BA Cost savings

    Dear Mr Miller. As I hope you have gathered, I take my job very seriously. It is genuinely distressing for me, as crew, to have so many unhappy customers! I am very pleased that you took the trouble to complain both to the crew and on paper. There are many who simply complain amongst themselves, maybe feeling that their comments, if they make any, will simply go unheeded. I should like to reassure all those who read this page that it is always worth making your thoughts and feelings known, if done through the proper channels. I am sure that, with the feedback of customers like yourself and the comments that we feed back as crew, we can get this issue sorted out.

    By Malcolm Reasons, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • BA Cost Cutting

    Dear Malcolm Reasons. I can assure you that I did make a complaint about the food during the Helsinki flight I had on the 18th March. In fact the staff on board agreed with me and made sure that I was given a customer survey to complete where I made it quite clear about my feelings. I travel a lot with my job and always economy because of my groups and I have never had such a bad sandwich or such a poor substitute for a meal. If I had travelled on the Finnair flight I would have had a hot meal.

    By Allen Miller, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • Bad Taste

    My dealings with British Airways has certainly left a bad taste and not just in the catering section. BA, no way!

    By Carole Standen, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • BA Cost savings

    Mr Miller. I have, in fact, tasted the cheese and pickle sandwiches in question. Indeed, I make a point of sampling everything we serve - including the wine, which we are allowed to buy in small quantities on certain flights - so as to be in a position to understand the viewpoints of all customers who comment on them and to advise them in the instances where there is a choice (eg, the wine). I accept that the sandwiches are not to everybody's taste, but, as I stated in my reply to Ms Tomassini, comments made directly to the company ARE taken seriously. Every company makes decisions which are sometimes not received as well as they might be but unless these bad reactions are fed back the the right places, nothing can, in fairness, be done to correct them. As cabin crew, we not only distribute the surveys I mentioned but have other forms on which we can communicate customer reaction to aspects of the service. I submit these forms on a regular basis to help influence, for example, the ratio of one meal to another or the under- or over-supply of a given item. When next you travel, please at least have a word with one of the cabin crew and ask for a form or to pass your comments on. It is only with your input that we can have any opportunity to change what needs to be changed.

    By Malcolm Reasons, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • Focus on customer needs

    Mr Walsh states the need for "absolute focus on customer needs" and on cutting costs. I wonder if BA are extracting actionable intelligence from the myriad opinions expressed about their services on the internet (there are a couple of them following this story)instead of relying on endless tick box surveys and dubious focus groups? Contact Jon Moody on [email protected] for details on the former.

    By Jon Moody, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • BA Cost savings

    Miss Tomassini. I work as a Purser on the routes you list. What you describe is the food and service we offer in our Eurotraveller (Economy) cabin. It is true that, in the months following the disruption caused by the dispute at our caterer, Gate Gourmet, we offered a compromised service with plastic cutlery, but I can assure you that that is certainly no longer the case in CLUB EUROPE. If you examine the details of the flights you have listed, I’m sure you will se that you were travelling either in M class (as opposed to C), or that your journey was made some time before the restoration of full service in Club Europe, which was a gradual process, depending on the length of flight. Longer flights, such as Athens and Moscow, were given priority – but full service was restored to ALL flights by mid-January 2006. The company is striving constantly to deliver value for money in its offering to its customers and we do honestly value feedback on our service & product. This you can give either on our website (www.ba.com), in our onboard survey distributed on many flights or on a comments form ('Your thoughts') which can be requested from the cabin crew. Whichever way you chose to do it, I can assure you it will be taken seriously; indeed, as cabin crew, I have seen, and helped to promote, many changes made as a direct result of the feedback we have received from our customers. Finally, regarding delays to some of the flights you've taken, the first point I'd like to make regards the definition of a delay. Many people equate DEPARTURE time with TAKE-OFF time, so if the flight was due the depart (ie, LEAVE THE GATE) at 11am, and they take off at 11.20am, they believe they are already 20 minutes late, whereas, in fact they LEFT THE GATE at 11am and it's taken 20 minutes to taxi to the runway - time which is built into the schedule. (After all, no aircraft, unless it's a helicopter, leaves the gate and takes off straight away, but this fact is often overlooked or misconstrued). I can't comment specifically on the reason for your delays without knowing the full circumstances, but many delays are blamed on the airline (ALL airlines, not just BA) when, in fact, they are due to circumstances beyond the company's control, eg, air traffic control restrictions due to congestion in the air or adverse weather. Again, I know from company briefs and our own procedures, that delays are constantly in focus and are a top priority. Much of the new computer-based 'swipe technology' is now used to help identify any areas where we need to improve and lateness is strictly dealt with at every level in the chain. I really do hope that you'll have a better experience the next time you fly with us and look forward to serving you personally on one of my flights!

    By Malcolm Reasons, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • BA Sandwiches

    So Malcolm Reasons thinks that BA aandwiches are well received. I can assure him that that was not the situation on the Helsinki-London flight that I was on. Everybody's comments were most derogatory. Two slices of bread one with nothing on it and the other with a very limited spread of pickle surrounding a slice of processed dry cheese. Presumably Mr Reasons works for BA and as such has never sampled what is given to BA customers. Believe me it does BA no credit.

    By Allen Miller, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • BA COST SAVINGS

    I must correct the remarks of the two people who have commented so far. We may well serve, amongst others, cheese and pickle sandwiches - which are generally well-received - in the EUROTRAVELLER (Economy) cabin on some of our flights but they are certainly NOT offered in CLUB EUROPE, our European Business Class. Depending on time of day & length of flight, there are various dishes served, all of them on a tray with china crockery and metal cutlery, ranging from a Continental or HOT English breakfast with warm bread & pastries on most morning flights, to afternoon tea with warm scones and a warm savoury snack (quiche or pasty) to a substantial salad topped with a filet of salmon or chicken. On longer journeys, including the Helsinki service, our customers are offered the choice of same salad or a HOT meal, freshly served in a china bowl, or, on the longest European flights (eg Istanbul, Bucharest, Moscow, Athens,), a choice of TWO hot entrees preceded by an hors d'oeuvre. And all this served with HOT or COLD, SOFT or ALCOHOLIC COMPLIMENTARY DRINKS by professional cabin crew who, should the unspeakable happen, are not too tired or ill-trained to open the door and save their customers' souls!

    By Malcolm Reasons, Thursday, March 9, 2006

  • BA cost savings

    I very rarely fly BA these days but had the unfortunate experience of flying between Helsinki and London recently. I could not believe the lengths BA has gone too to cut costs. I had to explain to the clients who I was accompanying why they got what has to be the world's worst sandwich on a BA flight instead of a hot meal they would have had on the Finnair flight that we should have been on. I would love to meet up with Mr Walsh for an afternoon snack where I could see him eat one of his own sandwiches. If BA wants to save money Mr Walsh should immediately sack his catering managers who are definitely not doing a very good job and his caterers who must be laughing whenever they submit an invoice.

    By Allen Miller, Thursday, March 9, 2006

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