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BA launch Gatwick no-frills price war

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BA launch Gatwick no-frills price war

Old 6th Feb 2002, 18:12
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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?
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 18:32
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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>
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 23:53
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CaptX

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.
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 00:22
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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.
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 01:35
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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.
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 01:59
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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..!

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Old 7th Feb 2002, 12:51
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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!
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 13:07
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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."

<hr></blockquote>

. .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">
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 14:31
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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">
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 03:28
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Red face

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
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 12:11
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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.)
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 13:09
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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.
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 15:47
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Well said Pandora. Couldn't have put it better myself. Roll on next week. Let the cull begin!
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 18:17
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"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.
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 18:41
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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?

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Old 9th Feb 2002, 01:34
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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.
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Old 9th Feb 2002, 02:22
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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?
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Old 9th Feb 2002, 04:25
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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.
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Old 9th Feb 2002, 04:42
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Never trust an Aussie - by the way hows the pension fund!
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Old 10th Feb 2002, 14:47
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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.

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