Willie Walsh affirms BA’s premium positioning

Chief executive of British Airways Willie Walsh has denied that recent revenue raising and cost cutting initiatives are turning the airline into a low cost carrier.

British Airways

Walsh told Marketing Week that there was “more distance today” than there had been for two or thee years between BA and low cost rivals.

He said that BA retained a premium positioning and added: “I don’t think there is anything we have done in recent times that has taken away from that.”

The airline recently introduced the option for passengers to pay to choose their on-board seating and has abolished free emails on short haul flights. It has also started placing third party advertising on its Ba.com website and boarding passes.

However, BA says that its third party advertisers and business partners are carefully chosen. It has just unveiled a partnership with British hotel The Dorchester for the service “Afternoon Tea inspired by The Dorchester” for its First Class services from London Heathrow.

The airline has just signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Spanish airline Iberia for a merger, subject to regulatory approval.

Walsh’s comments come as the airline faces potential strike action by cabin crew over job cuts and new crew schedules. A strike ballot is underway and will close on 14 December.

The airline has just reported a £292 million loss for the six months to 30 September.

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