View Full Version : BA launch Gatwick no-frills price war

LTN man
3rd Feb 2002, 11:14
BRITISH Airways will tomorrow announce plans to use Gatwick airport as the base to launch a fierce counter attack against the fast growing low-cost airlines.

The move comes just eight months after BA sold Go, the budget carrier it launched in 1997. The initiative will be revealed alongside the announcement of record quarterly losses when BA publishes its third quarter results.

Analysts expect the carrier to report an operating loss of £225m, against an operating profit of £80m a year ago. The slump is due to the decline in traffic following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

BA intends to reveal a series of new short-haul services from Gatwick designed to compete head on with Ryanair, easyJet and Go. The flights will copy the budget airlines' practice of stripping out all non-essential services such as complimentary meals and drinks to slash costs in order to charge fares comparable with established low-cost operators.

Fares are likely to be below £100 and less than half the existing BA prices for a particular destination.

The dramatic initiative is a result of a review of operations at Gatwick, launched as part of BA's wider strategic re-think called Future Size and Shape. This study, covering the whole airline and expected to result in significant job losses, will be revealed at the end of the month but tomorrow will see BA's low-cost fight back launched in full.

One option considered under the Future Size and Shape review was to pull out of Gatwick altogether but that has been rejected by the management led by Rod Eddington, the chief executive.

BA has identified a host of routes which it believes could be more profitable or turned round from losses by moving to a low-cost model. It intends to sell the flights over the telephone and the internet in the fashion pioneered by Ryanair and easyJet.

However, BA does not intend to launch a new brand to differentiate the flights from its full-service operations.

Routes chosen include destinations such as Malaga, Parma, Barcelona and Zurich which would compete directly with the likes of easyJet and Go, which operate mainly out of Luton and Stansted. BA's new low-cost operation will be run alongside full-service short-haul and long-haul flights out of Gatwick.

BA declined to comment yesterday but news of the initiative brought an immediate response from the established low-cost operators. A spokesman for easyJet said: "We will be looking very closely at BA's pricing strategy. If they are pricing below cost then that could be a case of predatory pricing, which is illegal."

Michael O'Leary, the head of Ryanair, the low-cost operator now valued by the stock market at £2.bn compared with BA's £2.3bn, said: "If British Airways wants a price war with Ryanair then they should just name the time and place."

Some analysts have been expecting a big rights issue from the airline to cope with the impact of September 11 but BA is understood to be ready to say it does not need to raise money from the markets yet, having raised cash levels to £3.4bn, including £1.1bn in cash and £800m of undrawn bank facilities.

The results of the Future Size and Shape review are likely to result in a radically different BA structure. The airline's plans were thrown into disarray recently when plans to merge its North Atlantic operations with those of American Airlines were scuppered by the US Department of Transportation.

3rd Feb 2002, 12:14
Surely the very fact that the airline is competing head on with EZY on routes it already operates is evidence enough of predatory tactics; are we to take it that places which aren't served by low cost carriers - Jersey for example - are still going to be stiffed by BA - and maybe even used to subsidize this fiasco in the making?

And operating lo-co type services alongside full service economy? That's another recipe for failure. If they had to do this, they should surely start with destinations not served by lo-cos and develop traffic there. This seems to be the difference between BA and bona fide low cost carriers; the lo-cos develop traffic, the likes of BA simply respond to the lo-cos directly, rather than attempting to develop traffic.

A stench of desperation in the air.

Hudson Bay
3rd Feb 2002, 12:58
Good luck BA I am behind you. The market needed this to create some sort of normality in this topsy-turvy industry.

Jet II
3rd Feb 2002, 13:05
Surely this idea has been tried before in the US, with the likes of Continental Express, Delta etc. to try to compete with Southwest - It didn't work then and I can't see it working now.

If you are going to have peanut fare flights operating as BA services (without any different name, ie/;BA Express) and full service BA flights operating from the same airport I foresee a lot of unhappy SLF not getting the service they expect.

Its managers BA needs to remove, not packets of peanuts. <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

Lord Lucan
3rd Feb 2002, 13:36
So, let's think of a name this new "no frills" airline.

I know, we could call it GO!

Why are they doing this all over?

3rd Feb 2002, 14:09
Let me get this right.

BA are losing money, so they intend reducing fares (by lots of quids) by introducing a low-cost service. This service will save them money by saving on food costs (a few quid) and tickets (a few quid).

Forgive my lack of understanding of economics, but will that not lose them even more money. Or are big savings to be found elsewhere..., or have they made a blunder..., or have they discovered a new form of business model that allows them to cut fares and so make bigger profits..., or has Rod Eddington just woken up from a bad dream!

Future - bleak, Size - small, therefore Shape-less.

[ 03 February 2002: Message edited by: Katy ]</p>

Evil Bastard
3rd Feb 2002, 15:18
BA have some distinct advantages operating budget short haul out of Gatwick such as wholly owned and depreciated fleet of 733's, the best slots, high quality staff, logistics in place etc.

Switching to destinations where people actually want to fly ie Malaga, Alicante, Barcelona from the huge catchment area that is the SE of England should steal customers not happy travelling to Luton/Stansted - therefore they will be prepared to pay more for the priveledge, so BA can make money.

However the cost base at Heathrow will always drag profitability down, so should be cut back first. Go was a success because it didn't have to pay for the Waterworld overhead - Gatwick would be too given half a chance. <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

3rd Feb 2002, 15:21
Hardly going to stop the mess the company is in is it though, Evil.

Buster the Bear
3rd Feb 2002, 15:37
How can BA convince the travelling public that they offer a no frills service? easyJet, Ryanair and Go all have brand loyalty, BA is synonymous for its ‘full’ service and ‘high’ prices.

BA entered the low cost market then sold out. My own personal opinion is that BA will do anything to stop the loss of valuable slots even if it means operating some routes at a hammering.

As to a name for the low cost brand, BA BA BABY, like lambs to the slaughter!

3rd Feb 2002, 15:40
Here is the link to the telegraph article:

<a href="http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml;$sessionid$0KTCFVAAAEWGPQFIQMGCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/money/2002/02/03/cnba03.xml&sSheet=/portal/2002/02/03/ixport.html" target="_blank">Click here</a>

And here is the link to the FT article:

<a href="http://www.ftmarketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid={82CD33F3-F7EC-487C-B957-D5C27FD55F9D}&source=moreover1" target="_blank">http://www.ftmarketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid={82CD33F3-F7EC-487C-B957-D5C27FD55F9D}&source=moreover1</a>

Seems odd to me that a lot of you pruners are knocking BA's attempts to compete with the low cost carriers. The promotion of competition is one of the cornerstones that our capitalist free market economy is built apon.

Competition is what you are going to get and that can only be good for the consumer.

This new launch by BA into the no frills sector will only succeed if if BA'scost base is considerably reduced. The outcome of FSS should see to that. (Fingers crossed!)

. .Regards. .Exeng

Edited because those very long URL's mess up the page formatting

[ 03 February 2002: Message edited by: Capt PPRuNe ]</p>

3rd Feb 2002, 15:41
It is hardly the fact that no more meals are going to be served on board that will allow the airline to reduce the costs of its tickets. Its cutting all those middle men (travel agents,...) The number of cabin crew on board, etc. . .It is a totaly different mentality that they will have to adopt in order to be successfull.. .Anyway best of luck to all those involved, safe and happy flying.. .Rgds Bokkie449

3rd Feb 2002, 15:49
The only way this would work is if the whole of the Gatwick fleet became lo-cost. It's all academic of course cos it probably isn't going to happen but then this place is all about rumours. When BA was offering £70 round trip tickets at the end of last year there was a significant increase in pax loads. I don't suppose for one second they made much profit if any but if they cut their backroom costs it may be feasible. I think if BA could come up with a very simple pricing structure that was easy to understand by everyone I think they could be onto a winner.

Jet II
3rd Feb 2002, 15:49

[quote] This new launch by BA into the no frills sector will only succeed if if BA'scost base is considerably reduced. The outcome of FSS should see to that<hr></blockquote>

We used to have a a low cost-base airline at LGW that made money - it was called CityFlyer. This was then destroyed by the same management who are going to do the FSS. So I wouldn't hold out too much hope of success.

3rd Feb 2002, 15:54
Hudson Bay, is normality the punter being shafted.BA can,t turn them round quick enough and pay to much.

3rd Feb 2002, 18:19

I can understand some of your frustration having been an employee of the successfull CityFlyer. However that company was purchased by BA and not destroyed as you suggest. Also all of you are still employed and enjoying better remuneration I believe; but that has been flogged to death before.

I understand also your cynicism with regards to hopes of future success. I too have been very cynical at times. I am somewhat less so these days as there are some positive indications that BA may be finally about to grasp the nettle.

I quote from todays Sunday Times:. .&lt;&lt;THE board of British Airways has approved a radical management plan to cut 16,000 jobs and change the airline’s routes and working practices. . .The axe will fall most heavily on management and other non-frontline staff.&gt;&gt;

If BA do not effectively reduce their cost base then any venture into the low cost sector will be doomed. We know that and so must Rod and his board.

I posted two other links earlier which make an interesting read.

. .Regards. .Exeng

3rd Feb 2002, 18:37
Exeng-Hell of a shame I cant take you for a pint and discuss the contents of your first paragraph-because its woefully incorrect.

3rd Feb 2002, 18:49
Exeng,. .I think you missed the point on CityFlyer....BA saw a successful, profitable airline operating in BA colours (probably found it embarassing so had to by it). It was not a no frills airline but a company who offered BA service at a reduced cost. At the intergration meeting between ourselves (CFE) and BA management there was no end of BA quotes such as "we see many benefits in CityFlyer that we would like to intergrate into BA", BA will never be able to do this because of their working practices/procedures. . .So all this talk about BA being a lo-cost provider is just that....TALK. It will never operate profitably unless management from outside BA are given free licence to run it. And of course Rod's ego would not stand it...

3rd Feb 2002, 18:56
A generation ago there was an influential book published by Robert Townsend, a former CEO of Avis. He took Avis to no. 2 in the market ('so we try harder' was the slogan).

In the book he talks about a scheme to set up a low cost car rental that would have competed with the mainstream business.

He claims that the comment that killed the idea came from an executive who said:-

"I don't know what you guys call it, but where I come from they call it pissing in the soup"

Desk Driver
3rd Feb 2002, 19:09
[quote]Switching to destinations where people actually want to fly ie Malaga, Alicante <hr></blockquote>

. .Err..Are'nt they GB's routes not BA's? <img src="confused.gif" border="0">

. .BTW Springbok.

BA are cutting out the Travel Agents already........It's called Fresh Approach! <img src="mad.gif" border="0">

3rd Feb 2002, 20:34
What Bolt,

&lt;&lt;Exeng-Hell of a shame I cant take you for a pint and discuss the contents of your first paragraph-because its woefully incorrect.&gt;&gt;

Please take the trouble to inform me of the errors.


Thank you for the history lesson. Signing off with F.U.B.A would perhaps indicate that you are missing the point entirely.

. .Regards. .Exeng

TDK mk2
3rd Feb 2002, 21:14
I assume they would be doing this at least partly to keep low cost carriers out of Gatwick and try and keep several thousand loyal employees gainfully employed who would otherwise be made largely redundant if were to pull out as has been rumoured here and elsewhere.

It sounds bold but the BA brand is a powerful one with a hitherto good reputation with the flying public as the worlds fav. If they turned Heathrow into the hub for premium and transfer customers with all the service and benefits they demand, and Gatwick into their budget customers London point they might be able to take on the low cost carriers on their terms.

As for costs, that may depend on how effectively they can trim management (as mentioned in the Sunday times) and how well negotiations go with the unions which would be interesting(!) for those partaking...

3rd Feb 2002, 21:16
Exeng,. .The FUBA bit was a hangover from the takeover, and it was a takeover, however it's pretty obvious that you've had the BA chip fitted so all anti-BA views will fall on deaf ears.. .As I have indicated in my previous post, it's BA working practices (ie the unions) as well as poor management that is to the detriment of the company. If the workforce were more flexible the company may have a chance.

3rd Feb 2002, 21:21
DD thanks for putting me right on the travel agents issue but as I said cutting the middle men is the key and I was merely citing the travel agents as an example. Its getting the big picture kind of idea.... .Rgds Bokkie449.

3rd Feb 2002, 21:45

How condescending of you to suggest that all anti BA views will fall on deaf ears. I am interested in all views on BA, I just don't happen to agree with all of them. I have also been the author of several posts on both this forum and our own BA forum that have been highly critical of certain areas of BA. Some changes are now beginning to take place in certain areas that I have critised. These changes are woefully overdue, but better late than never eh.

Also may I respectfully suggest that you change the F.U.B.A. sign off, there are far more intelligent ways of expressing your discontent.

. .Regards. .Exeng

brain fade
3rd Feb 2002, 21:48
Exeng,. .So pleased to read your post about the article in the Times. I hope its true. Any 'slimming down' of any business should always start with the management as by definition they are'nt front line or customer facing. BA is so top heavy its in danger of turning turtle! Nothing personal you desk-jockeys but there is surely plenty of scope for 'downsizing' as you guys like to say, amongst yourselves!

3rd Feb 2002, 22:04
Based on a very small smaple of personal experience, if they want an example of low service levels into LGW, then BA already have it. It is called Deutsch BA.

If BA are going to launch a second service, then I think that it is an attempt to do something with the people and equipment on hand. I cannot see it being more than a short term option. Perhaps they hope to use the resources in 'low cost' until/if the market returns to 'normal'.

Then they can phase it out and return to normal service, without major expansion costs.

If it does not work - they can say, "We tried" and shut it down/sell it off. But then I always was a cynic.

Good luck to them and my many fellow pax find good value and safe rides.

Secret Squirrel
3rd Feb 2002, 22:22
OK, let's get a few things straight here about CFE:

CityFlyer Express wasn't a low cost airline as such; indeed most of the prices for a ticket on our planes were very much in line with BA pricing as far as I'm aware; we still offered a full service on all our routes and no club class on domestic routes. However, we managed to make money on all the routes and more especially on the routes palmed off to us by BA.


Well, in my view it's very simple really, and it really has very little to do with crew salaries. In our last year as CFE we made £11M profit. Even bringing Pilot and cabin crew salaries up to BA standards we are only talking a 3-4 million pound reduction in this profit at worst!.

No, the real saving came because we were a lean airline. Brad and his sharp knifed generals were constantly looking out for the best deal in catering, handling and aircraft. Our tunrounds used to cost £400.00 a go. There used to be a short period of glitches after changeovers from company to company, but after a month or two things would move pretty much to schedule.

Now the turnrounds cost somewhere in the region of £1,400.00! This is because the 'redcaps' cost far more to employ, as do the baggage handlers and the handling equipment to run and maintain; overheads which would be far more closely monitored by a third party.

For those redcaps and handlers reading this, I actually think you are quite good; but not £1,000.00 worth better than what we had with BMH. If you count the number of BA flights a day at LGW and multiply it by 1,000 then you will arrive at a figure of squandered money. I think you'll find it's quite high.

If the management at BA have any sense they'll sell off their handling black hole (which, in the long run will safeguard more of their jobs) and lean down leaving them free to exploit the market.

Yeah sure, it'll mean that the redcaps and handlers will have to accept a few changes - namely that they might have to work harder - but that's life; this isn't a nationalised industry offering a cushy job for life anymore.

King Kee
3rd Feb 2002, 23:51
So will BA really tarnish their image in this way? For a start they would have to:

- Rip out the forward galley, wardrobe, bulkheads, etc. to get another couple of rows of seats in.

- Reduce seat pitch, certainly in the forward part of the cabin which has wider C Class pitch.....squeeze another row in.

- Halve their handling overheads at LGW. BA in the North Terminal, with all the union agreements, etc. will really have to crack the whip to try and get the kind of productivity needed.

- Sack half the management to get rid of the real cost problem!

- Re-negotiate handling rates at all the overseas destinations to a stripped-down, low-cost operation.....but will handling agents suddenly be prepared to handle the same aircraft for substantially less....I doubt it.

- Get rid of their high-cost staff at the overseas airports.....serious union issues if BA aircraft are still going to operate to those airports.

- Re-educate the crews into the low-cost type of operation. The closest BA have got to this kind of attitude is in the CityFlyer crews, but even their operating philosophy is very different from a Ryanair/easyJet operating philosophy. You need the right kind of people / attitudes to make it work.....BA have a great bunch of crews but not necessarily for this kind of operation.

I could go on.

If BA are going to make a genuine go of it, then I wish them luck. If they are out to cross-subsidise and not pricing correctly then MOL and Stelios will be straight to the courts!

Sorry, I just can't see it working. The BA operation at LGW is so entrenched, and no-one has any experience of the kind of operation they want to emulate.

King Kee

In trim
4th Feb 2002, 00:01
Secret Squirrel / King Kee - Totally agree.

CFE was a low-cost BA operator but totally different from the real 'low-cost' boys. You only have to look at how lean the management set-up is in the likes of easyJet, and the attitude and dedication of the staff.....a lot of emphasis placed on quality of recruitment and phsychological profiles to get the right kind of people for the business.

I know how BA works, and the type of management. They could never, ever come close to matching the CFE cost-conciousness, so they don't stand a hope in hell of ever getting close to the easyJet/Ryanair philosophy.

Call me a cynic, but it's simply not going to work.

4th Feb 2002, 02:17
In Trim

The "Ryanair philosophy" ?

Is that the same sort of philosophy . . that charges professional people £50 . . just to look at their CV ?. . . . "The right attitude"

Were people actually queueing up to flog. . themselves to death working for easyjet . . before Sept 11th ?

4th Feb 2002, 02:37
Desperate or what?!!!!. .The Dinosaur breathes it's last? (in the shorthaul market anyway). .Sorry, but the reason that going from high to low cost has never been achieved is 'cos it just aint possible. Going the other way's no problem! Easy/Ryan won't just roll over Dan Air style, they'll slaughter BA on any of these routes if they can but get hold of the slots (but maybe that's the whole point). Reckon you're right Desk Driver, GB will lose out massively in the short term. I feel for the ostriches like Exeng though; I wouldn't swap places right now!

4th Feb 2002, 03:14
A low cost carrier has to be built from the bottom up. You cannot convert a high cost high revenue carrier like BA into a low cost carrier. It's like expecting an elephant to dance ballet.


4th Feb 2002, 03:36

From a business point of view, what BA has done is insane. They have taken an airline at Gatwick with a lower cost base than its own and turned it into a higher-cost airline - not once, not twice but now three times with BCal, Dan-Air and latterly CityFlyer. Admittedly, the circumstances under which they acquired those three airlines were different each time but you have to admire their consistency in cocking things up thereafter.

Yes, you're right in that many of the CityFlyer chaps now benefit from better terms and conditions. Many of those people are also extremely uncomfortable about the lack of job security afforded by the inefficiency and high cost structure of the operation within which they now sit.

BA (or more specifically, those at Waterside) just do not know how to run a profitable Gatwick operation. They are only taking this move to try to break the vicious circle of cutbacks = more slots returned to the pool = more slots given out to easyjet = more competition for BA = more BA route cuts due to unprofitability. However, the p**s poor management of the Gatwick operation by sales, purchasing, revenue management, fleet scheduling, network development, crew scheduling to name but a few BA departments, is quite stunning.

And by the way - don't mistake a low-fare airline for a low-cost airline. They are not necessarily synonymous. Any idiot can sell seats for £19 one-way but only few can make a profit doing it.

Toodle pip.

Evil Bastard
4th Feb 2002, 12:55
Those of you writing off BA's chances are perhaps overlooking the possibility that Rod really will call the changes at Gatwick.

EOG was little more than a feeder network for lucrative long-haul flights from both EGKK/LL, which is why it always lost money - many of its services were for free!

Consider the possibility that BA ditches this philosophy, freeing up a/c, routes and schedules (previously restricted by transfer timetables), so that Gatwick can increase frequencies on busy routes where people are willing to pay.

Suddenly load factors are up, total flights are up, turnarounds are faster, and Gatwick makes money even with lower fares? It is a possibility, so don't write BA off in the low cost sector yet.

. .Evil <img src="cool.gif" border="0">

Norman Stanley Fletcher
4th Feb 2002, 13:47
As one of the correspondents on this thread has pointed out, the destinations that easyJet et all wish to compete with BA on like Alicante, Malaga, Palma etc are all currently served by GB, who fly as BA. Unlike BA mainline, GB is very lean and has none of the debilitating overheads that BA mainline has. The only difference I can see in the costings is the catering (a few quid per head) and the franchise cost that GB pay to BA for operating as BA (several millions I am told). That is offset by the massive advertising budget of easyJet (many millions I am told) and the higher wage bills for their staff. Incidentally, GB will be one of the few airlines in the UK to make a profit this year.

As I read the comments on this thread, and many others that have gone before, I detect undisguised glee at BA's problems. The low-fares carriers will do well to remember that they will not be taking on the vast and unwieldy BA mainline on these routes, but a very lean and capable airline who can and will match them pound for pound. I have no doubt that easyJet will do well in the short term in taking on GB, because of the incorrect public perception that it is always cheaper to fly with easyJet. If however BA and GB play their cards right on the PR front, then in the end easyJet are going to lose some serious money on these routes because they will be taking on a company who are every bit as lean as they are.

Everyone knows the bottom line is that you must on average make at least £50 a seat. You can dress that up in £1.50 return trips to Malaga as the headline price with loads of people paying a couple of hundred quid to offset it, but the economics are fundamentally the same for both airlines. My gut feeling is that GB can make the fares cheaper on average than easyJet can. We will soon find out who is right.

4th Feb 2002, 14:56
My feeling is if BA and GB as a franchise can bring some clarity to pricing and dump the special offer free giveaway marketing spin that easy and ryanair regularly perform then they could be onto a winner. Also distancing Gatwick from their longhaul transfer may like exeng says do BA Gatwick a favour. We won't now see revenue being hived off, it'll be going straight to the bit that generated it. Good luck to BA I say, but that's cos I work for 'em.

4th Feb 2002, 15:34
Don't forget that we're not talking about BA as a whole becoming a low-fares airline, just selected routes from its Gatwick base. If the scheme becomes succesful, they may broaden the scheme to include flights to other shorthaul destinations.

The other low-fares airlines have made profits, so why can't BA?

For those who said it would be confusing for passengers who expect the full BA service, BA can set up a Low fares section on its website for the selected routes from Gatwick. Pax will be told that the Low fare flights do not include the usual in-flight complements, etc. Although Duty Free and snacks/drinks are available at a price.

I say Good Luck to BA. May they enjoy a prosperous future. <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

Amazon man
4th Feb 2002, 15:44
Ive said it before the one thing these low cost outfits are very good at is the advertising, giving the general public the idea that they can go anywhere for £15.

Ive booked to go to Spain in a few months with GB and have done it for £200 less than with GO and just recently they seem to be able to do this more regularly.

All I can say is thank god BA have come to their senses and decided if you can't beat them join them. To those who say they can't compete with Easy,GO etc I'd say watch out they can and they will. Their staff of which Iam one, with the right motivation and some clear direction of where we are going are just as dedicated and able to make a success of the low cost operation. Whatever your views of BA are the brand is still a strong one and is quite capable of existing alongside the others.

4th Feb 2002, 16:31
Amazon Man

You are correct in assuming BA have the best front line staff etc however we cannot compete with the low cost carriers with our overheads can you really see Jubilee house dismantling?? If they have the guts to do that then we have a chance. <img src="eek.gif" border="0">

4th Feb 2002, 16:34
Norman stanley fletcher and amazon man are spot on. I wish it well because some so-called budget airlines are having an easy (excuse the pun) time of it. Now some real competition.

As for marketing, it would be good to see a real hard hitting campaign that never ends. I have no doubt BA are more than capable of this.

Hand Solo
4th Feb 2002, 23:53
If BA are to make a success of any low cost operation at Gatwick then one of the first things they'll have to do is expose the advertising cons of the likes of Ryanair! Anyone happen to spot the recent adverts comparing Ryanair prices with BA on routes to Klagenfurt and a couple of other places we don't even fly to? Perhaps its about time we ran some adverts showing our super-cheap APEX and compare them to some short notice Ryanair prices.

In trim
5th Feb 2002, 00:15
Amazon man and others,

I agree that many in BA have the desire to make it work, and many have the capability to do so. However, there would have to be really serious changes among the many others who do not fit this description in order to make it work. I've worked for the 'full service carrier' and am now in the low-cost arena, and I can tell you that the entire corporate attitude is totally different, and cannot just be imposed in a short time-scale.

Shut down Jubilee House, drastically reduce the management, cram them all into CityFlyer's old portacabins and you might stand a chance.

Oh, and you'd also have to bin the North Terminal handling operation and go for someone who can do the handling more economically. That'll sit well with the unions!!

No I am not gloating as I have a lot of friends at BA LGW and do not want to see them out of work. However, BA cannot go into this half-heartedly.....if they want to enter the low-cost arena, they have to be low-cost!!

In trim

5th Feb 2002, 03:01
Do some of you guys work for BA's "cloud cookoo land division" in the "rose coloured spectacles department". Total arrogance like "BA have the best front line staff" etc etc just proves you haven't a hope in hell of changing culture to that of a low cost airline! Get real. I don't suppose BA staff are any worse or better than anyone else's but on a 20 min turn round you won't have time for all the "mutual admiration society" nonsense. I wouldn't suggest for a moment that your desire to succeed is not genuine, but you just don't know what you're letting yourselves in for. Wake up and smell the coffee. Go and talk to line pilots for Ryanair and Easyjet (if you can find one thats no too exhausted to string two words together!)about flying to CAP371 limits (or the IAA equivalent). Can't see the British Airways Line Pilot's Association standing for that!!!

5th Feb 2002, 03:19
Capt. Shuttle adopt the low-cost mentality??

a-ha, aa-hha, a-ha ha ha hah ha ha ha haa, hah hah hah hah!!!!!!

5th Feb 2002, 03:20
I see the Waterside boys were in early this morning - post at 08.55 local!

I just can't see them getting their costs down to make this work...

5th Feb 2002, 03:33
News just in:. ."Turkeys vote, overwhelmingly, for Christmas!!"

Secret Squirrel
5th Feb 2002, 05:37

You are right, of course. Changing the mindset of a whole airline is going to be by far the biggest obstacle. I now work for BA and am proud and happy to do so (I was one of the very advantaged ones - provided I keep my job, that is!).

Someone earlier said that you really have to build a low cost operation from the ground up and that is absolutely true.

Look, EZY and probably Ryannair too, get the cabin crew to clean the aircraft on turn around: That will never happen at BA. One thing I have noticed about one of these airlines in particular (I won't say which lest I tempt litigious fate) doesn't do a walk around on turn around. This FACT brings a smile to my face when I hear the likes of the two respective Low Cost bosses whine on about BA being underhand by selling tickets at a loss in order to compete unfairly - as if selling tickets for ten ponds isn't!. It seems to me a case of placing commercial requirements over passenger safety but that's another argument which I hope doesn't cost the travelling public dear in order for the real truths to come out.

...dig over, back to the point...

I'm just as guilty as the next of what CaptX acused us of in certain respects: I would be loath to go back to working to CAP371 (in fact I still am until April) but the end is in sight and even if I acceeded to continue to work within it's constraints (which I'm not sure I would), I doubt that the majority of my colleagues would.

Notwithstanding this, I think that work practices such as the ones employed by Low-Cost crewing departments will be their undoing in the end. I spoke recently to the CAA chap who is in charge of issues relating to CAP371 and whilst he didn't mention any names, it was obvious who he was referring to and they are very concerned about certain loopholes being exploited. They are doing something about it but the airlines are putting up a fierce resistance in the interests, of course, of commercial viability. "Is it their reasoning, therefore," I asked him,"that in order to run a Low Cost operation successfully you have to be allowed to fatigue your crews?". "Yes, quite". was the non committal answer.

It's not the crews faults, as such, but don't shrug off EOG's sterling efforts to make their airline safer just because you choose to run unnecessary risks.

In fact, CaptX, your depiction of a Low Cost pilot's state of fatigue does much to further our cause before the travelling public: I know I'd rather pay the few extra quid and know I'm getting a rested professional.

[ 05 February 2002: Message edited by: Secret Squirrel ]

[ 05 February 2002: Message edited by: Secret Squirrel ]</p>

5th Feb 2002, 07:56
BA could technically use a bankrupcy that way they could kill every union agreement. Then start again with two distinct grups - shorthaul and longhaul

5th Feb 2002, 11:45
Secret Squirrel,. .Those "professionals" seen last summer on Chan. 4 didnt seem too "rested" to me!

5th Feb 2002, 12:04
Doesnt this discussion confuse low cost and low fare?

BA has a higher cost structure than the Ryanair's and Easyjet's. Any attempt to compete with them on price by reducing service levels is doomed to failure.

BA has to cut it's cost base. That is a given. What it cannot afford to do is cut it's service levels - it should be looking to improve them. The only way for BA to succeed (short haul) is to differentiate itself by offering a substantially 'better' economy product at a price higher than the budget carriers are charging.

The problem is that there is so little difference between club class and economy class short haul that providing a decent economy class would destroy the (already weak) case for travelling club.

Then if you have lots of time, are on a diet and are prepared to travel from odd airports at odd times you go with Ryanair for £70. If you want something better, you pay £140 and go with BA.

Evil Bastard
5th Feb 2002, 12:44

Don't ever accuse me of working at waterworld you bluntie a$$hole!


5th Feb 2002, 13:33
So are you suggesting that low-cost carriers are unsafe Secret Squirrel?. .You may have all these facts regarding a particular airline but you should not categorise, I certainly don't categorise all my BA colleagues after the incidents pointed above and televised last summer!

5th Feb 2002, 14:13
Buster TB

Like your idea of the new name - BA BA Baby.

If we come up with a new name for the new BA product ex LGW here, we could save Rod a fortune in consultancy costs. He could even make a small donation to Pprune's top man to help fund this website. Ooops can't do that - look at Enron...

Here goes:

Go again, Go to (II), Go twick, GOE (EOG)

Lo-Fly, No-fly,


CFE - Cheap Flying Enterprise - he already owns this name, well the initials anyway.



I'm sure there are others.

Good luck to all those involved in Rod's new adventure - just look at his pedigree - Cathay, Ansett. Ah well. Must Fly. Stelios calls.

Secret Squirrel
5th Feb 2002, 19:06

Cheap shot, my friend: there but for the grace of God went many of us. Are you telling me that if Woollaston had worked for any other airline the results would have been any different? You know as well as I do that the answer to that is a resounding NO!, so let's drop this one shall we; save the smug remarks for when you have the moral high ground.


Nay, I am not saying all low cost carriers are unsafe and I am casting no aspersions on crews as such. My beef is with the crewing departments who exploit both crews and the system and brow beat them with cap371 at every turn. I was merely pointing out to CaptX that he cannot criticise us because we won't change our safer working practices for the sake of commercial gain and then tell us how the low cost airline pilots are so fatigued because they don't enjoy such conditions, as if it's a major contributory factor towards the viability of a low cost operation. Essentially it's raising the deepseated suspicion amoungst the travelling public that in order to achieve low cost, the reductions don't stop at the service. He dug that hole all by himself; I was merely clarifying the implications of what he was saying and illustrating them with an experience of my own.

I certainly make no apology for the comment about the carrier which doesn't do a walk around because this is blatant disregard for safety; I don't care how you justify it and sugar coat it.

[ 05 February 2002: Message edited by: Secret Squirrel ]</p>

5th Feb 2002, 19:53
I think they should increase fares and improve. .services.

Bigger seats . .More padding . .Beds. .Better wine . .Better food . .Free gifts . .More room . .Select company no rif raf!. .Personal Service. .Visit from the Captain. .Make the customer feel important. .Not like cattle=low-cost. .Fast Free transfers. .Exec service

Its called product differentiation

6th Feb 2002, 00:34
Secret Squirrel. .Have just read your post about crew fatigue in the low cost airlines. I have a friend who is a FO with one of airlines you mentioned and he flew under 600 hours for them in the last calendar year. . .I think that you will find there are alot of people working for the charter carriers who work a lot harder than that. Maybe you should suggest that we dont fly charter carriers either in case they are too tired!

Hand Solo
6th Feb 2002, 00:42
Which is harder? Flying 600 hours p.a. consisting of 4 or 5 short sectors each day with fast turnarounds, or clocking up 800 hours whilst doing 2 longish sectors per day (or night). There's much more to the subject of fatigue than "I've flown more hours than you so I'm more knackered". Personally I'd gladly do the occasional night Tenerife than four days of 5:30am report 4 sector days with a 30 minute turnaround (if only for the variety <img src="frown.gif" border="0"> ).

[ 05 February 2002: Message edited by: Hand Solo ]</p>

6th Feb 2002, 03:20
Capt X

Try mentioning CAP 371 to many of our -400 crews. They are well aware of the meaning of the 900 hour limit, as they are hours limited this month.

BA enjoys the highest productivity by pilot of ANY of the worldwide majors.

6th Feb 2002, 07:13
Secret squiral,

Shove it up your a**e!!

I am a 'low cost' SFO (orange), I'm certainly not working to the CAP371 limits.

I've done 100.3 Hours in 88 days, and am now on 25 day leave!!

Wouldn't mind doing more though, last company was a regional, (hq in the south west) and did 376 hours in 4 months! and that didn't include positioning duties (of which there were a lot of), that was knackering, glad I'm out of there!!

Don't believe all the rumours you hear about the low costs! There usually wrong!!

6th Feb 2002, 17:33
Secret Squirrel

I have it on good authority that in "easy" the flight deck help the cabin crew to clean the rubbish up if they have time on the turnarounds. I am not sure if this example of low -cost ethos would be embraced by a traditional carrier like BA

6th Feb 2002, 18:12
When I first flew with BA (aka BEA) the Tri**nt had 3 crew because the procession of cabin crew bringing you anything and everything you wanted was too distracting for just two pilots to fly the aircraft safely. The passengers by contrast were treated like dogs.

I don't know what it's like nowadays but I just hope those days won't disappear forever.

Clean the cabin? What is this nonsense?

6th Feb 2002, 18:32
Overstressed:. ."BA enjoys the highest productivity by pilot of ANY of the worldwide majors." . .Thanks. You've just proved my point. Not only do BA have the best frontline staff, there now apparently the most productve in the world!! Doesn't seem to be helping the bottom line now does it!? When will you guys ever learn a bit of humility and stop blowing sunshine up each others back-sides. Just what I mean about the impossibility of a cultural shift. Hand Solo makes the point about multi sectors perfectly. Secret Squirrel:. .Thanks for a somewhat more considered response than that of your colleague.

[ 06 February 2002: Message edited by: CaptX ]</p>

In trim
6th Feb 2002, 23:53

Agree with you totally. Until some of the BA guys wake up and smell the coffee and quit the mutual admiration society then a low-cost BA is a non-starter.

Secret Squirrel and others who have come from a lower-cost (not LOW-cost) environment are BA's best hope in terms of getting the right attitude for the operation they are apparently aiming for. I hope BA realises that.

In trim.

Hand Solo
7th Feb 2002, 00:22
CaptX. Just thought I'd clarify that I did my 600 hours last years doing four or five sector days with a maximum of 40 minute turnarounds and occasionally doing them in as little as 15 minutes, running between aircraft because of impractical scheduling. I have on a number of occasions helped to clean the aircraft at CDG when the cleaners have been on strike and I've helped the cabin crew do their security searches when time is a bit tight. I've gone without eating for 8 hours after an early report because it's too turbulent in flight and there's no time on the ground. I've even run to Burger King in the terminal because there's no time to order the crew meal which should have been loaded without delaying the flight. I suspect this will not sit well with your cosy stereotype because I work for BA. Rather more of us than you expect work very hard already at trying to make BA a success. If its all going t!ts up it's not through want of trying on our part.

7th Feb 2002, 01:35
Hand Solo. .Fair enough mate! You're right, it doesn't fit the stereotype but you have to admit that many contributors here quite obviously do. The point I was making was that there seemed to be a distinct lack of realism in the views expressed rather than an attitude of indolence. I have no intention of entering into a "I work harder than you" pi**ing contest, but with knowledge of both sides, I again suspect that the culture shift required will be quite impossible to achieve.

liam lord
7th Feb 2002, 01:59
When I read about this I had to check my calender to make sure it wasn't April 1st.

Don't BA realise that if you cannot compete on price at the bottom end of the market you will fail. I mean even if you are £5 more than the competition.

Do not under estimate Micky O'Leary and his mates. They have got in there from day one and will be hellishly difficult to dislodge.

The only thing that BA can pray for is for Ryan to have an "accident" which just happens to be caused by the cost-cutting nature of that company.

Lets just hope that the Hand of God is not on BA's side eh..!

<img src="eek.gif" border="0">

Soup Dragon
7th Feb 2002, 12:51
Capt X,

I would like to echo Hand Solo's post. He is not the only humble BA soul doing as he describes. In fact the vast majority pull out the stops in a similar fashion. I know for a fact that Overstress is just one of those chaps, I have flown with him and seen him do it. The BA stereotype about which you keep harping on is long dead.

A question for you; A huge percentage of current BA pilots joined relatively recently from the likes of the charters, lo-costs and even other scheduled companies. Therefore, there is a good chance that you (and the other nigel bashers) flew with us in the past. Presumably at the time you thought we were bon oeufs, so when exactly was it that we became to$$ers? Was it when we applied to BA, or when we were accepted, maybe when we came online or perhaps, I suspect, when you failed the application process!

7th Feb 2002, 13:07
Good luck to them. IMHO its the only way forward for most of the British carriers!

[quote] Michael O'Leary, the head of Ryanair, the low-cost operator now valued by the stock market at £2.bn compared with BA's £2.3bn, said: "If British Airways wants a price war with Ryanair then they should just name the time and place."


. .Good to see MOL still making a knobhead of himself in public! <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> <img src="tongue.gif" border="0"> <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">

7th Feb 2002, 14:31
Angrycat, I can assure you that easyJet pilots are NOT expected to clean the rubbish on turn arounds. By the time the flight deck has been prepared and the walkround completed (yes, we do do those - always!), there is hardly any time left anyway!I do know a very few Captains who indulge in this practice, but that is usually for their own,erm,reasons!

Regards, <img src="tongue.gif" border="0">

8th Feb 2002, 03:28
Oh dear Soup Dragon, have we hit a nerve?! So lets look at what we've got so far. You've the best frontline staff, the most productive pilots and now if anyone doesn't share your opinions, then it can only be that they have failed the BA application process!! I don't need to indulge in "Nigel Bashing" as you put it, you're doing a fine job yourselves! Spend just 10% of the energy you spend telling us and each other how good and hardworking you are, on thinking of a sensible solution to your employers woes and you might be in with a chance. The solution won't be in trying to go low cost though, and you know that yourselves as I see a number of you slagging off the low cost operators in other threads. Anyway you've bored me long enough! What's this...it wouldn't be our financial results would it?? Profit again....Damn, that's another bonus I'll have to go and count now!!! Cheerio

Soup Dragon
8th Feb 2002, 12:11
CaptX relax mate.

Just go back and read my post, digest it and then answer the question. I truly would like to know when I, and many of my colleagues, went from being "good blokes" at (maybe) your airline (I'm sorry but you didn't mention who you fly for) to being cretins at BA.

(As an aside, the comments that a previous correspondent made about pilot productivity come from research by BALPA which present the case very convincingly and accurately.)

8th Feb 2002, 13:09
Gentlemen, please keep the fight a clean one. There are rather a lot of asterisks flying round at the moment.

I have come to this topic a bit late in the day, having spent 10 out of the last 11 days working my pants off. 6 of those long multisector days were followed by minimum rest. The longest turnaround I have completed in this time was 42 minutes. Ah, the blessed relief of 2 days off.

To all those knocking the pride of BA pilots, think about it for the moment. We had a product and a company which was phenomenal. I applied when BA was making stacks of cash, and winning business awards left right and centre. In just a couple of years it has all gone a bit pear shaped. The pilots I fly with without exception are hard working with a desire to see the company do well.

So what has happened then? Well the pilots don't seem to be getting paid any more, and if anything we are giving up little privileges all the time, in order to try and help the company in its' difficult time. The "most productive" comment that keeps on being churned out is all too familiar to the pilots who attended last year's BALPA pay debates. It is not something the BA pilots came up with themselves. BALPA came up with it. Compared with a Cathay or AA or even a Luftie pilot, BA pilots work harder and for less. They are not patting each other on the back about it, they are merely stating a fact. Ask any BA pilot, on any fleet and they will know people who have currently been taken off a trip so they don't exceed CAA limits.

In the meantime, Waterside has been built. And there's no doubt about it, it is a beautiful building. The stream and the landscaped interior gardens are difficult to describe, and the staff restaurant (not a canteen, mind) is out of this world. It must cost a fortune just to run, let alone build. In order to fill this palace of loveliness, BA has increased its staff numbers by apprx 15 000 in just a few years. Note that the number of aircraft and pilots has stayed constant. Sept 11th notwithstanding, BA can plot a graph of its decline in fortune that is mirrored by the increase in non frontline staff.

So back to the BA pilots and their pride. We are ordinary people who just want to do our jobs well and have our employer say "well done". We want to see our company do well and be able to stand up and say "I work for BA", rather than mumble it in case someone decides have a go at us for our company's shortcomings. Most of pilots, whether SH or LH, get a warm glowy feeling when a customer comments positively on a flight, and their aim is to provide a service that matches passengers expectations of us. And the passengers do expect the best with BA.

We are trying our hardest to contribute to the good fortune in our small section of BA, it is just a shame that our section, Flight Ops, is now such an insignificant part of the empire. And therin the problem lies.

8th Feb 2002, 15:47
Well said Pandora. Couldn't have put it better myself. Roll on next week. Let the cull begin!

Stagnation Point
8th Feb 2002, 18:17
"A spokesman for easyJet said: "We will be looking very closely at BA's pricing strategy. If they are pricing below cost then that could be a case of predatory pricing, which is illegal.""

Don't the low cost airlines giveaway seats and sell seats for a Tenner. If that isn't below cost then I odn't know what is.

As for the BA pilots running between acft on a turnaround isn't a good Idea, your boss won't be happy if fall and break your leg and end up off work for 12 weeks and the flight gets cancelled. Going without food for 8 hours also isn't a good idea. Getting yourself in a position where you have low blood sugar and unable to operate to best of your powers when needed late in the day when the trumps are down and the deck is stacked against you. We've all been there and done that and learnt that there is a better way.

Oh and by the way I'm not a BA reject, BA aren't the be all and end all of airlines, they pay well and look after most of their staff very well, too well probably which is why they will struggle in the 21st century.

8th Feb 2002, 18:41
This seems to be becoming a "Nigel" debate, and that's not what the topic started out as.

As far as BA becoming low-cost at LGW:

i) How do they propose to do this? They have one of the most expensive cost bases going. Crew, both flight and cabin crew are far above any other low-cost operation.

ii)I agree with Stelios, in a recent interview he said it takes more than taking food off to run and operate a low-cost airline. The attitude of everyone is going to have to change. No longer can the phrase "you get what you pay for" come into play.

iii)Not only is LGW affected, there is talk of putting LHR Eurofleet on an hourly rate (£4.50 per hour) has been mentioned. European routes are the most affected because BA give away internal connections in order to sell on going long haul flights. Is that why they are so unprofitable?

iv)Long haul cabin and flight crew are more or less being left alone, because those flights are profitable. Surely the shareholders would want the ENTIRE operation to be profitable. Why shake up just the European routes, when the whole lot could be changed?

v)There is a thread somewhere, either here or on Airliners.net about BA setting up a low-cost longhaul operation. Well they had that with the AML/JMC operation and they are closing it down. They have never given a reason for it, it was definitely making money and at the moment continues to do so. Again the shareholders must ask why it is being terminated.

vi)For a people person, Rod Edington does not seem to be making many friends, employees or board members alike - if the rumours are to be believed. How does BA continue to operate with £6 billion debt, three times its value?

vii)Who is kicking themselves for letting GO go? Do they still lease the aircraft from BA? If so how will this affect BA's decision to enter into the low-cost market?

<img src="eek.gif" border="0"> <img src="eek.gif" border="0"> <img src="eek.gif" border="0">

brain fade
9th Feb 2002, 01:34
Pandora!. .Spot on!...... but when will 'the management' realise that they themselves are surplus to requirements and vote to end their own jobs? I wouldn't put the kettle on just yet.. .There can be NO lo-cost BA 'til a lot of these dudes take a walk.

Captain Correlli
9th Feb 2002, 02:22
I think you may find the answer lies with us. That is, British Regional Airlines / Brymon Airways.. .We are expecting to take over most of what BAR currently operates, and have the expensive BAR crews returned to Mainline. Then look out for our movement into European non-BAR flights, and so on, until eventually an effective scale B has been created, much like BEA used to be.

On the face of it, this is a good idea. We are not low cost, but a darn sight LOWER cost than BA mainline. Yet are we happy - absolutley not!!! . .Why?

Because our crewing levels have been eroded to ridiculous levels, our pay held down to levels that would make you laugh, and yet, when we are shown an apparent secure future with BA colours, we are also shown our first ever financial year's loss.. .Why is this - well, in spite of our low cost/high workload environment (forget 4 sectoras, we fly six most days. We regularly operate a debatably illegal 5 earlies in a row routine often of six sectors again) we have inherited BAR'S costbase. On top of that, we are producing managers at a rate you would not believe. Two Flt Ops Directors, Three Chief pilots, Two training managers - the list goes on, and on and on......

BA have missed an important boat here. They could have sold it to us as a really good deal, and inspired everyone to really pull together. But they have failed miserably. Managers have been created, promoted, and the fleet of Company BMWs grows daily. Meanwhile, our staff travel entitlements is the latest thing, apparently we are not good enough for proper staff travel. Our entitlements have been halved from what they were. I beleive we now get the same as an ATCO. Thats not to slag ATCOs, but they don't even work for the Company.

I could go on, but like most of my colleagues, I'm just so tired all the time. However, I suspect your answer lies with us. We are all waiting for future size to be published - what are house prices like in Gatwick for a skipper on 40K and no duty pay?

9th Feb 2002, 04:25
Capt X:

Sorry I seem to have upset you (6 Feb). The posting about our pilot productivity wasn't intended to wind you up, it was just stating one of the facts from a parallel BALPA/BA study prior to our abortive pay negotiations. (Incidentally BA came up with similar figures to BALPA)

The same study identified BA as being the most profligate in support staff per aircraft of any in the world. You will lose the argument time and again and BA readers of this website will disregard your opinions if you attack us without checking your facts.

I have worked for another airline before I joined BA and the quality of the people there was equal to my current colleagues. I certainly wasn't 'blowing sunshine' or whatever.

Sorry, just can't see where you're coming from.

Only A Few More Seasons
9th Feb 2002, 04:42
Never trust an Aussie - by the way hows the pension fund!

10th Feb 2002, 14:47
Good idea about creating the A and B divisions. Why does mainline just operate longhaul flights with 777, 747, 767 and 757 and leave BACE with the shorthaul fleet, similar to the days of BOAC and BEA. Its true that we operate at lower costs, and the crews would not have to nightstop to operate UK provincial services, as they are already present at MAN, ABZ, NCL, GLA and EDI.

We all live in hope I suppose! <img src="cool.gif" border="0"> <img src="cool.gif" border="0"> :) :)

Hand Solo
11th Feb 2002, 03:13
Captain Corelli - I would wait until BA publishes some transparent accounts before making wild claims that BACE are so much cheaper than BA. The devil is in the detail, and BRAL/Brymon have certainly benefitted from access to expensive BA terminals, ticketing and reservations systems, customer service staff and a full range of operational backup at many BA outstations and hubs. I very much doubt that those companies pay a proportional share of the costs for these. I know for a fact that you don't contribute towards the cost of running that temple of profligacy we call Waterside. You see, you can't have your cake and eat it. If you want access to the BA brand then eventually you have to pay for it or you just shift the costs on to another division in BA. Now that the profitable BAR is under your accounting auspices, there's nowhere to hide those overheads. Furthermore, the suggestion by some that all BAR routes should be handed to BACE is not necessarily based in sound economic sense. After all, much of the transfer of BAR work to BACE has taken place without any business case whatsoever being made for it, there's evidence it may even have cost the company significant sums of money (and I'm talking 8 figure sums here).

Toontartcart - I suspect if we left you all our UK regional services the following would happen. First, much of the airline would grind to a halt as most of the employee commuters would be stranded all over the country. Secondly, the likes of BMI would move into direct competition with us on many routes, sensing an impending victory. Thirdly the vast majority of our passengers would leave for our competitors because they simply don't like flying round on Embraers and Jetstreams. I won't repeat again why they don't like them, but if you ever have the opportunity to ask the check-in staff what the punters think of them you'd understand. It's no good being low cost if you're not selling a product that people want.

Psr777. I don't have the figures to hand but I bet the cost of flight crew at LGW is comparable to Easyjet if not lower in many cases. Furthermore I suspect the same could be said of the junior cabin crew who are paid peanuts. Yes, BA short haul flights are unprofitable partly becuase all the revenue from long haul transfers goes to long haul, but also because of the whopping, non-FlightOps overheads levied on them. Long haul crew may be left alone, but if you think crew costs are whats crippling this company then you have totally missed the point. As for the AML operation, part of the reason for this going was that it was diluting the brand. People paid to travel on BA and were rightly quite angry at being crammed like sardines into a 777 like they were flying charter and experiencing service levels which were not a patch on regular BA services (I think you work for them but I'm afraid that the feedback I've got from everyone I know whos travelled AML is overwhelmingly negative).

[ 10 February 2002: Message edited by: Hand Solo ]</p>

11th Feb 2002, 21:15
Hand Solo : You are quite right in saying pax were angry at being crammed into the 777's we operate. However, bear in mind they were configured by BA, they belong to BA and they are not going to be reconfigured once they go back to mainline, they are remaining in the same config. As for service, what can I say, we do offer a slightly different meal service, but that is it. The GPM's actually show that we consistently match and sometimes exceed mainline scores.(and sometimes fall below, especially on seat comfort)

That is not the point though. I fail to see how mainline crew can operate the routes we do for less money. The sums just do not add up and in times when everyone is saving money etc,how can BA justify it to its shareholders?

11th Feb 2002, 21:37
Hand Solo

If Psr777 does work for AML, you can be sure he/she is doing a damn good job. In my personal experience they are at least the equal of their mainline colleagues, at a fraction of the cost! (No CSD for starters!)

True, the econ seat pitch is definitely a problem, but don't forget we are competing on many of these routes with the charter guys, and I doubt their seat pitch is much (if at all) better.

Incidentally, I believe the attitude of the CAA to AML (effectively a virtual airline) holding an AOC may well have contributed to the downfall of these routes. I can't think of any financial reason for chopping them.

Porky Speedpig
11th Feb 2002, 22:06
The AML 777s will be reconfigured this spring in to 9 abreast 2 class layout - about 355 seats from memory (down from 380+). This gives the same pitch as BA Economy and same number abreast but without First and WT Plus. Sounds like a sensible move. The tendency in BA is to configure longhaul aircraft with too few seats imho. 178 seats on a BA 767 and 326 on a charter is a huge gap. There must be a sensible compromise.

11th Feb 2002, 22:59

Consider both exactly what Hand Solo says which makes perfect sense and accept the fact that whilst many regional/franchise operators do a very good job of providing services on behalf of a major carrier, some sadly do not.

From this and other posts I suspect that you work for Brymon/CitiExpress and will therefore be aware of the unreliability, poor punctuality and in many cases shoddy state of many of the aircraft used. As a regular (but reluctant) user. .of the BRS and SOU schedules to Aberdeen and Bristol to Edinburgh/Glasgow I have been let down on many occasions having paid for a. ."British Airways" premium product. I appreciate that in aviation there is, as in everything else, an element of "things going wrong", however Brymon seem to 'demonstrate' this better than any other operator with whom I have flown!. .Why should BA give lucrative routes to this company possibly using larger aircraft too, when the infrastructure cannot cope with a small fleet of fifty seaters? Colleagues of yours(?) with whom I have spoken confirm my earlier remarks, blaming skimping and cost-cutting in essential areas. Add to that public perception, regular. .experience of disruption and delay, and the brand suffers enormously.The last thing BA or any other 'major' either needs or wants.

Having said that the Southampton/British Regional element functions very well, seemingly without any. .of the usual 'excuses' being needed.The Cabin and Flight Crew of both companies are trying. .to do a difficult job with minimal resources, (except seemingly in the 'manager department'!!)

With this track record, how and why on earth, . .would BA let you take over more of their short-haul work therefore inviting the degrading and decline of well established and supported services? Cost-reduction is a valid objective but not to the extent that it becomes a false economy and unappealing to customers, especially when they have a choice! They certainly do at Bristol and I for one am only too grateful that this is the case.

Please don't misunderstand me.I am not critcising you personally but simply stating the facts as observed.

Good luck for your efforts at the Newcastle base where employment seems to be 'uncertain'

11th Feb 2002, 23:24
Porky Speedpig:. .Don't mean to be rude at all, but where did you hear this?

The config we operate is 28J/355Y and have been told that they are definitely NOT being reconfigured, due to costs. However, mainline crew operate to CUN on this aircraft now and I have to say that 9 abreast would be a huge improvement. The big question is though, once again if they are removing seats,using more expensive cabin crew and an increased number of cabin crew ( due to the crew not able to to do double sectors through ANU and so involves crews to operate shuttles) How is this "cost effective"?

Although we don't work for BA, we have a great respect for them and the service we deliver. We do all our training at BA and are trained to operate BA mainline aircraft. For five years we have done pretty well, made a good profit for both JMC and BA with no major problems. The hardest thing to swallow has been that no-one has given us any explanation as to why the contract was terminated. In the present climate, it would seem to make sense to stick with a formula that saves and makes money, good business sense and all that which is why I posed the question in the first place.

If BA are so intent on saving money -irrespective of who I work for- why are they stopping an operation/franchise that makes them money?

This is not a personal gripe or whinge, I have a job to go to, but I am genuinely interested as no-onw seems to have an answer for anybody, shareholder or not.

11th Feb 2002, 23:53
Griffbms-Please,please,please write to our managers(well thats what they call themselves anyway!) as we in Brymon agree with many of your comments but are we listened to; are we f*&k!

12th Feb 2002, 02:16
In light of recent events BA must be sore at selling GO. There is also a case for being sore with the ending of AML. Every crew I saw were full of fun, gave great service and were actualy pleased to be where they were.

The e/y seats were agreed with BA and actually paid for by BA at the onset. There is not a great amount between a AML 777 and a Classic 747. HAve flown AML several times and ALWAYS treated with respect.


Hand Solo
12th Feb 2002, 04:31
Well I'm really going to stick my neck out here and say that the opinions of my friends and colleagues who have flown with AML have been scathing at best. I don't believe that all AML flights are bad, and a number of posters here do state that they have enjoyed great service, but it seems that the standard is far too variable, especially when it drives some of my more passive mates to complain to BA vociferously. I've heard horror stories of lousy service, one drinks round on an 8 hour flight (independently verifed by another mate on the same flight) and a general disinterest in the customer. I'm sure there are a lot of hard working, dedicated cabin crew in the JMC/AML operation, but from what my friends tell me they are being badly let down by many of their colleagues, and that may go some way to explaining why the operation is to be ended, rightly or wrongly.

12th Feb 2002, 06:16

The answer to your question as to why BA terminated the Contract with AML can partly be answered by reference to comments made by Rod Eddington last year when asked a similar general franchisee question.

Essentially he said that while he personally really appreciated the contributions made by the non core areas within the Group, they simply were not sufficent to outweigh the many problems that their very existence gave him within the mainline.

Moreover, he was not the architect of the AML Company structure which, if you are familiar, contains from memory around 28 different Companies simply to enable you to take passengers from London to a few destinations !!

Given that structure, have you ever asked yourself who the ultimate beneficiaries of all your own and your colleagues hard work might be or who else might have had reservations about the set up ?

Finally, I have flown trans-atlantic on your Company's service and it was excellent, especially given the 383 seats, which would have proved an interesting challenge to a less motivated crew !. .I hope this helps a little.

[ 12 February 2002: Message edited by: Flywheel ]</p>

Porky Speedpig
12th Feb 2002, 15:12
Psr 777,. .My sources are shall we say "close to the issue itself" (aka me!). The a/c were to be completely reconfigured with flat beds etc but due to cost just the 9 abreast will be done. Flywheel is right re the reasons - you would not believe the bureaucracy that springs up in BA whenever something non standard is contemplated. Rod obviously spotted this. The only exception was "Go" which was kept totally separate to avoid a huge row with The Orangemen.

12th Feb 2002, 18:28
Thanks for the insight guys ! <img src="eek.gif" border="0"> <img src="eek.gif" border="0"> <img src="eek.gif" border="0">