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.

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