Business

BA embarks on a serious overhaul, to get set for another 100 years of flying

Moran Birger

Moran Birger  

British Airways (BA) has embarked on a thorough modification and upgradation drive to equip itself to fly non-stop for the next 100 years.

The airline, that recently concluded its centenary celebrations, is planning to invest £6.5 billion by 2024 to upgrade its existing fleet, acquire newer fuel-efficient airplanes and introduce various services/technologies to enhance customer satisfaction.

Moran Birger, head of sales Asia Pacific & Middle East, told The Hindu that, “We are making these investments directly for our customers. For instance, over £600 million of this investment will be going into seating, bedding, new menus and entertainment alone.”

As per BA’s new year (2020) resolutions, the airline has increased its technology usage. Majority of its fleet would have satellite-supported Wi-Fi facility by end of 2020, he said.

BA is currently trialling autonomous wayfaring robots at Heathrow to help customers navigate through the airport. Some 90,000 passengers at the airport are currently being helped by these robots in terms of lesser time in queues and faster access to check-in, lounges, family zones and restaurants.

“We have deployed these robots at Heathrow on a pilot basis. After few months, based on their performances and passenger feed back we will introduce them in other airports. These AI-driven devices, come with advanced sensors, guide and escort customers to specific zones.’’

On the new fleet, Mr. Birger said, BA was scheduled to take delivery of 20 new aircraft this year, including 787-10s and A350s which are 40% more fuel efficient. The airline would take delivery of 73 new aircraft, including 18 A350s in the next couple of years.

The airline has also introduced several changes in its Club World (Business Class), World Traveller Plus (economy-premium) and World Traveller (economy) cabins, by offering restaurant-style catering and new menus.

To cut cost and minimise wastage, BA is also planning to introduce 3D printing of non-essential aircraft parts like tray tables. This will ensure its flights depart on time and seats don’t go out of service due to minor issues.

As per Mr. Birger, BA has an increased focus on environment protection and energy saving issues. The airline has recently introduced driverless baggage vehicles and Mototok, a small EV that would push back the aircraft to a starting point, to save energy.

BA has also been adding newer lounges and refurbishing the existing ones across several airports starting with Heathrow, Edinburgh, Berlin and JFK.

Finally, the human factor is extremely critical in the airline business, as per the carrier. To enhance customer experience, BA is currently in the process of training an army of its airport hosts worldwide.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 9:25:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/ba-embarks-on-a-serious-overhaul-to-get-set-for-another-100-years-of-flying/article30813176.ece

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