30 November 2022, Virtual
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
Willie Walsh, who took over as chief executive at BA this week, said he plans “significant investment” in the airline. Areas marked out for cash include the move to Terminal Five at Heathrow in 2008, the Club World business class cabin, in-flight entertainment and the ba.com website.Mr Walsh, former ceo at Aer Lingus, said any job losses would be by natural wastage and not compulsory redundancies.Analysts have sought to put a figure on likely job losses at the UK national carrier but Mr Walsh, who made thousands redundant in his successful efforts to make Aer Lingus profitable, declined to give a figure. The new chief also pledged to achieve the aims of his predecessor, Sir Rod Eddington to reach a 10% operating margin. Currently it is 6.9%.But he clearly sees the move to Terminal Five when all the carrier's operations at Heathrow will be in one terminal, as of the utmost importance to the airline.“Terminal 5 gives us a once in a lifetime opportunity to provide a world-class service for customers and to work with the unions in a way that is relevant to the 21st Century. We will address working practices in a structured way,” he said.The move is likely to bring opportunities for “efficiencies” aided by new technologies and include greater scope for self-service and online check-in.Mr Walsh, 43, said that he also aimed to establish new working practices with the trades unions.But he rejected allegations that hew would use the same tough methods as BA as he used at Aer Lingus.He said the situation at Aer Lingus when he took over was totally different from the one now at BA.The investments planned for business class, in-flight entertainment - both areas where the airline faces stiff competition from competitors - and ba.com within a year, he said.“We must redouble our efforts to make this airline more efficient, more focused and better able to serve our customers. British Airways has a renowned reputation for premium travel and my aim is to make sure that we deliver a world class experience for all,” he said.