The above link takes you to the BA
press release concerning Walsh's appointment as CEO designate. Both Martin Broughton (BA Chairman) and Rod Eddington were full of praise for Walsh's work at EI
. In particular, the following from Broughton: -
“Following the tragedies of 9/11 many commentators expected Aer Lingus to follow airlines such as Swissair and Sabena into oblivion but Willie salvaged the Irish carrier and saved thousands of jobs.
“Willie was determined that Aer Lingus had to provide what its customers demanded and that was a low price for an air ticket. At British Airways he will focus his efforts and energies on what our customer base demands which are quality service and value for money.”
The second paragraph shows that the BA
Board recognise that at EI
Walsh had to go down the LCC route for the carrier to survive, but that BA
has a very different customer base with that key phrase "quality service and value for money."
For me BA
has to have one of, if not the best, online booking systems as you can find your cheapest available fare easily over the space of up to a month, on every available flight, allowing the cheapest itinery to be constructed. They've shown they can compete with FR
and the focus now will be on improving shorthaul returns.
Apart from the continued need to look at cost savings, and planning for the 2008 move to T5
over the next couple of years I think BA
will look at: -
* 737 (And possibly 757) replacement
* Review of FIRST - available on less routes but really pushed as a premium product where available.
* Launch of a second generation Club World Flat Bed (Tied in with above).
* Further streamlining of CitiExpress operations.
* Continued moves to reduce the company debt burden.
Whatever happens, the King/Marshall days are now consigned to history and BA
under Broughton/Walsh will be an airline looking to focus clearly on a quality product, offering value for money, but offering a clear return in all areas. The dropping of CCS
, RYD and JED
shows the more ruthless BA
of the last few years will not maintain routes simply for presteige or history.