British Airways sees its “Word Traveller Plus” premium economy product as key to its recovery, as the United Kingdom surges past its neighbors in coronavirus vaccinations.
British Airways Sees Premium Economy Recovery
First, the bad news. British Airways does not see business travel recovery in the near future. While hardly breaking news, it marks another piece of evidence that even with wide-scale vaccination programs, business travel will be slow to return. Consequently, British Airways anticipates that demand for business and first class will remain low.
But British Airways CEO Sean Doyle noted on Friday that the short-term premium market will concentrate on premium economy:
”We are increasing the number of seats that are available for sale in World Traveller Plus materially and I think that plays well for the development of the market over the next couple of years.
”We do anticipate corporate travel will lag other segments like [family visits] and leisure, and World Traveller Plus is a very strong leisure product. So I think things like the retirement of the 747 has actually accelerated the development of that product mix and I think it works very well with the trajectory of recovery we anticipate.”
British Airways also announced:
- 28% of its fleet now features the new Club World suite
- Live and Let’s Fly reviewed the new Club World suite aboard the A350-1000
- BA lost €3.88 billion in 2020
- Revenue was down 70%
- No further job cuts are anticipated
- 9,500 positions have already been cut
- A final decision has not been made on London Gatwick service this summer
British Airways is hardly alone in its struggles to entice customers to fly again and find the right balance of product and destinations to appeal to a cautious public not eager to rush back to flying. For now, it is focusing on premium economy, hoping to command a premium from leisure travelers unwilling to splurge for business class but wanting an upgrade from economy class.