Holidays from the Island



BA Chief says that Airline will not back down on charging short haul passengers for food - even though they hate it!!!

Alex Cruz came under fire after ending free catering for economy passengers on short haul flights in January




 THE boss of British Airways has dismissed calls for the airline to bring back free food and drink on short-haul flights, even though it is unpopular with travellers.

The chief executive admitted the introduction of charges for food and drink was “very difficult”, but insisted it was the right decision.

In a speech to the Aviation Club in central London, Mr Cruz claimed BA remains a “premium airline” but said customers expect low fares and “we don’t really make an apology” for becoming more
efficient to compete with rivals such as easyJet and Ryanair.

When charges for Marks & Spencer products were implemented, some passengers complained they missed out due to slow service – while others were disappointed at having to pay when snacks were previously complimentary.

Asked by former BA Concorde pilot John Hutchinson if he planned to change the “complete disaster” of a policy, Mr Cruz responded: “It was absolutely the right decision.”

He accepted that it was very difficult at the beginning but said this was due to a logistics issue that took us a number of months to get to work.

Mr Cruz, who joined BA in April last year, told the audience: “Low fares are popular and for many customers they are what they expect.

“But they don’t happen by magic. They happen because an airline has got itself in the right shape to be able to offer them.”

The carrier has been accused of turning itself into a budget operator in recent years, but Mr Cruz claimed it has a number of distinctive attributes which “in the hurly-burly of debate … can
easily be overlooked”.

He praised the airline’s loyalty programme, use of primary airports, punctuality record, staff and schedule size.

Aviation consultant John Strickland said BA has to compete with low cost carriers while “upping its game” for the important premium fare segment.

“I don’t see any conflict in doing both,” he told the Press Association. “Whilst this is work in progress, BA is still the envy of many of its peers.

“It can’t afford to take its eye off the ball but by keeping strong management focus it stands a good chance of succeeding in delivering strong profitability in the years ahead.”