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Published on Tuesday, November 7, 2017

BA's brand has suffered more than United's

British Airways has outlined a £4.5 billion five-year investment programme to create an airline 'for everyone'.

But its announcement came as YouGov published a white paper saying the perception of BA among domestic, short, mid, and long-haul customers has been badly damaged following cuts to in-flight catering, negative headlines about repeated strikes and an IT meltdown.

It said the airline's 'impression score' on YouGov BrandIndex has declined significantly and its 'quality score' fell from 44.1 in August 2016 to 32.5 today.

"In addition to the negative media coverage, the airline is being tested elsewhere, too. Its dual position as both a short-haul carrier, up against the likes of easyJet and Ryanair, and a long-haul one - where its main competition comes from the likes of Virgin Atlantic and Emirates - places BA in two highly competitive markets," says the report.

"Perceptions of BA's quality and value have declined at a faster rate than long-haul rivals Emirates and Virgin Atlantic and has fallen further than United, even in the face of its various public relations mis-steps in the past year."

While BA's brand perception has suffered, low-cost rivals Ryanair and easyJet have performed better.

"Ryanair has improved on both measures over the last year, although as the data is based on a yearly rolling average the full impact of its recent pilot problems will not yet have been fully measured," says the report.

The report stressed that BA is still the highest rated airline in the UK according to many metrics and that 87% who flew with BA in the last 12 months were satisfied with their experience, higher than both Emirates (84%) and Ryanair (77%) but slightly lower than easyJet (88%).

But it said satisfaction does not necessarily translate into customer advocacy or loyalty.

Speaking at this week's World Travel Market, BA chief Alex Cruz admitted the airline was facing a combination of competitive forces 'more challenging than at any point in our history'.

He said the challenges included the continued growth of low-cost short-haul airlines, the financial revitalisation of US transatlantic rivals, and massive investment in product by Gulf carriers.

"As a national flag carrier, we are not granted some special immunity from the way the industry has changed," he said.

"Incumbency does not grant any privilege We have no divine right to flourish, and we don't ask for one.

"We want to be the airline of choice for everyone. Every customer matters - short-haul or long-haul, economy or premium - so we must have an offer that is attractive to everyone."

He said the £4.5 billion will be used to buy 72 new aircraft, fit new interiors on 128 existing aircraft, install wi-fi and in-seat power in all cabins, and upgrade in-flight catering for long-haul economy passengers.

Responding to the YouGov report, a spokeswoman for BA said it was pleased with the satisfaction figures but is 'not complacent'.

She outlined the investment plans and added that the airline was currently offering 250,000 short-haul seats at under £30 one-way, including many from Heathrow, to keep passengers happy.

"And this week we have announced the latest in our network of 264 routes for next summer: Figari in Corsica. Including new routes to Nashville and Seychelles which also start next year, we are now flying to 17 per cent more destinations than two years ago," she added.


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  • BA Decline

    Perhaps BA should take a good look at their "extra fees" charged -- to me, it's terrible that they charge an extra $95.00-$120.00 per international flight segment for Business Class reservations that were not cheap in the first place !!! Passengers are tired of being nickeled and dimed to death. Go back to providing "service" on all bookings from start to finish!

    By terri Davis, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

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