BA: strike not yet taken same toll on brand as T5 bungle

Strikes by British Airways cabin crew have not yet been as damaging to the airline’s brand reputation as the Terminal 5 opening fiasco, according to YouGov BrandIndex data.

The days leading up to the BA strike by members of the Unite trade union saw the airline’s “buzz”, a measure of whether people have heard positive or negative statements about the brand, drop from -12 four weeks ago to -49.5 last Thursday (18 March).

However, the buzz is still to fall as sharply or as far as when BA and airport owner BAA bungled the opening of Terminal 5 in March 2008. The rating then fell from 0.1 the day before the opening of the terminal to -52 in five days.

BA has tried to engage public support during the strike with press ads and direct addresses by chief executive Willie Walsh on YouTube.

However, its reputation mark has also dropped 20 points to 6.7 in the past four weeks and the overall index of YouGov markers fell 13.5 points to 5.5.

BA says that the first strike cost it £21m and that for the first two days of the three-day strike, it operated 78% of its long-haul flights and half of short-haul services. The airline cancelled a third of flights to and from UK airports on Monday.

A second four-day strike is planned for this weekend and no further talks had been scheduled between the union and the airline at the time of going to press.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here