BA’s “Muted” 787 and A380 Launch Missed Opportunity?Back to Forum
Anonymous20 Aug 2013
Seems BA opted for a somewhat subtle rollout of its new aircraft; not too much fanfare, slightly understated.
Indeed, some might say a very “British” approach to what are undoubtedly the most important aircraft deliveries since the 777 was introduced.
The first major batch of new longhaul deliveries for 17 years as BA wrestled with its pension deficit – a legacy from State ownership – and dealt successfully with the structural cost baseand lack of scale issues which meant financing such an investment was – until now – a challenge.
This understated approach has proven a sensible strategy, as aircraft seem are being tested on shorthaul services ahead of customers’ expectations, and it seems that longhaul A380 flights may well start sooner than was at first anticipated, with regular scheduled longaul services not starting on the 787 until there is a “spare” waiting in the wings should something untoward happen.
The new World Traveller Plus cabin and World Traveller cabin designed for the A380 but previewed on the 6 777-300ER subfleet (due to A380 delivery delays) are a welcome addition to both these new aircraft.
Club World and First both evidence small improvements to an already successfully established product, with the First cabin similarly intended for the A380 but rolled out on the 777-300ER three years ago as BA’s special extended performance A380 wasn’t ready for delivery as promised at that time.
While other airlines offer the “Forrest Gump” approach to seating in Business Class (“…you never know what you’re gonna get”) BA is pleasingly consistent in business class, with the latest iteration on all 787s, 777s & 747s with just the handful 767s offering the previous iteration fully refurbished until those aircraft are phased out permanently in the coming years.
Some airlines are still using outdated lie-flat-at-an-angle business seating. Others are only now celebrating the introduction of a long overdue flat bed product (of the type BA introduced over a decade previously).
It’s good to see BA’s business class cabin has withstood the test of time.
Its new £100m First cabin is profitable enough to ensure BA isn’t having to remove First cabins as both Qantas and others have been forced to do in recent years.
This hefty £5bn investment in product and aircraft is now seeing the light of day.
As Europe emerges from one of the worst downturns in recent memory, BA’s premium-focus will be perfectly placed to take profitable advantage of the upturn, underpinned by improved offerings on board its new efficient fleet, and the scope via IAG to continue to convert future options to deliveries as we saw recently with the massive order for up to 220 A320-neo shorthaul aircraft.
Did Keith Williams say there will be a new longhaul aircraft every fortnightover the next 15 months? That’s very impressive for a mature airline.20 Aug 2013
British Airways is absolutely right to adopt a low key approach to its newest additions to the family. Introducing two new aircraft types at the same time is a huge undertaking, which few here seem to appreciate.
Passengers value consistency and direct flights and the 787 will open a raft of new direct routes from Heathrow.
Perhaps if economic times change, a lower density business class may be an option, but now is not the time to risk yields by removing business class seats. You need only look at other airlines, such as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, which are reporting very disappointing financial results, to see what happens when airlines don’t adapt to changing economic times.20 Aug 2013
“British Airways is absolutely right to adopt a low key approach to its newest additions to the family. Introducing two new aircraft types at the same time is a huge undertaking, which few here seem to appreciate.”
It is, but is it any greater than being a launch customer for the 777?
Anyway, you make your point well, Hippo, as usual.20 Aug 2013
I had assumed he was, as he stopped posting around the time of the “gardening” project, since which time we have not had the never ending series of posts lauding all things BA.
But maybe you are right; pure coincidence.
I should stop fretting.20 Aug 2013
FDOS, AOTG, Esselle +1
The style of the poster is clear. Let’s hope the weed is pulled before it takes more root and chokes the forum again.
As for the more suble roll out of the A380 and the 787, well there was nothing new on them to shout about anyway but it would be nice to believe that maybe a lesson or two was learned from the roll out of the product known as ‘new first’ which was on one plane and still far from on the whole fleet and yet the publicity would have had us believe it was on all aircraft.
At least people boarding one of the old bangers be it a 747 or a 767 or maybe even one of the olde 777s will not be expecting an A380 or god forbid a 787 complete with faults. Of course not boarding the latter would be a relief.20 Aug 2013
I think it was muted for the A380 because BA have realised that the mish-mash of cabins is an embarrassment…..particularly the poor 44 Club pax downstairs who only get two toilets, and these are also used by the economy passengers behind.20 Aug 2013
Hippocampus – 20/08/2013 15:39 GMT : You need only look at other airlines, such as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, which are reporting very disappointing financial results, to see what happens when airlines don’t adapt to changing economic times.
Hmmmmm. CX just went back into profitability. Way under analysts’ estimates. And frankly, I agree, a disappointing result. However, I hardly think you can say they haven’t adapted. Proportionally speaking I believe they are spending far more on renewing their fleet than BA, they have just undergone an extensive refit of their long-haul business class cabins (now complete on all planes that aren’t to be retired), they are in the middle of retrofitting their regional fleet with new cabins, have started a refresh of their long-haul first class cabins, introduced a premium economy cabin on a large proportion of the long-haul fleet, are actively increasing their key routes (now five flights a day to London, and just announced an additional daily HKG-Newark route to complement their four daily flights to JFK) …
This doesn’t sound like an airline that is failing to adapt, it sounds like an airline that has listened to customers, made a positive decision to invest heavily and move (even further) upmarket, and adapt wherever it can
It should also be mentioned that a lot of CX’s recent financial issues have been driven by the global downturn in the air cargo business. CX is (or at least was until recently, news articles now seem to be contradictory on this topic) the world’s largest air cargo operator, an area that is particularly sensitive to global economic factors – even more so than premium passenger travel
Suffering by failing to adapt? I don’t think so…20 Aug 2013
It’s not negativity, but fair comment, how many times have you flown Etihad J or F? or Swss?
Just out of interest, do BA publish a strategy and if so, are you free to share it?
I’d really be interested, as I cannot figure it out (and understanding strategy is my day job.)20 Aug 2013