HOW do you best judge the success of an airline? One obvious way is to ask whether lots of people fly with it, and if it makes pots of money for shareholders. Judged on these metrics, few can quibble with the direction that British Airways is heading. Last year 42.1m people flew with the airline, nearly 10m more than in 2011. In 2012, IAG, the airline’s parent firm, posted a loss of €716m ($816m). In 2016 it made a profit of €1.9bn.
Shareholders, then, have little to grumble about. One of the ways that the airline has prospered is by focusing on its costs. When Willie Walsh, himself an avowed cost-cutter, moved from the hot seat at BA to running IAG in 2011, he appointed Alex Cruz from Vueling to carry on his work. As befits the former head of a budget carrier, Mr Cruz has continued to strip many of the frills from the once full-service airline.
Passengers and staff are not so happy with the changes. The airline has suffered four computer failures over the past year. The last one, in May, knocked out many…Continue reading