BWIA associate with BA
- ironic you thought about that Luisca because BW
initially started off as a BOAC affiliate and had several rough periods when under them, most notably in the late 50s. BOAC had loaned BW
several Viscounts to operate some Caribbean-North American services while awaiting the Britannias. When the Britannias arrived BW
was forced off several routes (eg Kingston - Nassau - Bermuda - New York) and suffered steep losses which BOAC did not wish to carry ad infintum. In 1961 BOAC decided to shut BW
down and the TT
Government jumped in and bought 90% of it; the remaining 10% was held by BOAC until 1967 when the Government took full ownership. Since that time BW
has been under Government finance and influence (the new routes to Havana, Santo Domingo and San Jose are all under Government request!) for better or for worse. Virgin seems a more logical partner for BW
given that history with BOAC.
As for the fleet, currently there are 7 737-800s and 1 A340-300. With all the variety of recent times gone (Dash 8 Q300, MD83, L-1011) there is engine commonality which is a major plus. BW
cannot presently use any long-haul twins (eg 767-300, A330) because TT
is presently languishing under ICAO Category 2 status and would not be certificated to provide ETOPS services. Only wet-leases (and those are expensive) could do that - in any case BW
has been doing lots of wet-leases of late, albeit with many an uproar about the state of the planes used and comments reaching as far as The Times. A cutback in the fleet is likely to be counterproductive because BW
would simply be too small to generate enough revenue. A second A340 is needed though to stabilize the airline's image and end these chaotic leases.
Above all, BW
has had to cut staff (it has classically been overstaffed) and now it really needs better management. The current team are simply not functioning in the way that is required.