British Airways (BA, London Heathrow) will invest a total of GBP4.5 billion (USD5.9 billion) into a revamp programme which will cover the purchase of new aircraft Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alex Cruz has revealed.
Speaking at the World Travel Market in London this week, Cruz said that over the coming five years, the IAG International Airlines Group unit would acquire seventy-two new aircraft. Of those seventy-two, Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) order numbers show British Airways has eighteen A350-1000s due alongside ten A321neo and twenty-five A320neo. For its part, Boeing (BOE, Chicago O’Hare) lists the UK carrier as having twelve B787-10s on order alongside a further three B787-8s and two B787-9s.
Other facets of the investment include new interiors for 128 aircraft in the carrier’s existing fleet, at-seat power for passengers in all classes, upgraded catering for longhaul economy class, and the roll-out of fast wi-fi in all cabins on short-haul and long-haul flights.
“We want to be the airline of choice for everyone. Every customer matters – short-haul or long-haul, economy or premium. So, we must have an offer that is attractive to everyone,” Cruz said in a statement.
In terms of current market conditions, Cruz said British Airways was facing “a combination of competitive forces more challenging than at any point in our history” with the growth of low-cost long-haul airlines, the continuing expansion of low-cost short-haul, the premium offerings of the Gulf carriers, and the financial revitalisation of US transatlantic operators.
Despite these concerns, British Airways will be flying 264 routes next summer – a rise of 17% in two years – he added.