British Airways focuses on leisure to increase share of holiday traffic

British Airways plans to mount a new marketing offensive on the leisure travel market after three years of heavy investment in improving its premium, first and business class services.

BA chief executive Robert Ayling says the airline will be investing in the leisure side of its business again. The shift in emphasis comes after fresh figures from the airline showing a 20 per cent growth in its long-haul leisure traffic last winter. It expects a 15 per cent growth in summer traffic.

BA director of passenger business, Charles Garussa, also says more holidaymakers are travelling inde-pendently and going further afield. The British package tour market has been slow for the past year, however.

BA launched its TV advertising campaign through M&C Saatchi at the start of the year. It is also running a series of ads under the strapline: “We are throwing away our first class seats”. The commercials highlight the introduction of its new “flying beds” seats for first-class passengers. In addition, it focuses on the “cradle seat” available to club-class passengers, the “raid the larder” snacking service and the airline’s arrival lounge facilities.

BA is planning to introduce BA-TV, which would broadcast a daily 15-minute news and current affairs programme to the airline’s 55,000 staff worldwide.

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