BA right to fly the flag again

In response to Dorothy Mackenzie’s letter regarding BA’s decision to fly the flag once more (MW June 17), I find her suggestion that the airline’s customers are wrong to be foolhardy, if not a little arrogant. BA is right to respond in the way that it has because those companies that fail to react to their customers’ wishes do so at their own peril.

The real problem is that BA has not gone far enough. According to Martin George’s bewildering performance on BBC’s Newsnight, the new flag design will only be applied to 40 per cent of tail-fins while the ethnic designs are to remain on the other 60 per cent. To operate any company with what is effectively two identities has to be absurd. No wonder Richard Branson appeared to enjoy the programme so much.

When I met BA’s design team last year, I said then that it would have to begin a climbdown within 12 months. I was right and I think I will be proved right again when I say that it will have to complete that climbdown by dispensing with the ethnic tailplanes altogether within the next 12 months.

I am all for Dorothy Mackenzie’s vision of a New Britain but that can best be represented around the world through a single, strong and highly respected image. For BA, that has to be the Union Jack.

BA will no doubt continue to show due respect to the many cultures it serves through its choice of ethnic cabin crews, catering, inflight entertainment and so on. If flying the flag (by means of a very attractive tail-fin design) is to undermine those who dare to be innovative, then perhaps whoever she is thinking of is in the wrong business.

Mike Reed




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