British Airways to Enhance Operations at Heathrow Airport

British Airways has unveiled a 7 billion GBP transformation plan to enhance the passenger experience, modernise technology, improve sustainability and drive on-time performance.

This plan was launched at the airline’s ‘In the Skies’ showcase event in London by Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle.

The British Airways showcase event
The British Airways showcase event

As part of the investment, the airline is investing around 100 million GBP in machine learning, automation and AI across its operations. This will deliver improvements in areas from bookings to baggage handling. It will also help streamline operations to speed up departures and effectively respond to disruptions.

The airline is already using new tools to help predict delays and reduce disruption. In addition, modern technology is now used to analyse data on real-time weather, aircraft capacity and customer connections to help the British Airways team make better decisions.

With the introduction of these systems, alongside new processes and ways of working, the airline has already seen improvement to its on-time departures.

To further enhance operations, the airline is now creating around 350 new roles at its hub airport at London Heathrow (LHR). What’s more, it is investing in new equipment such as additional baggage tugs and towing vehicles.

Heathrow Airport, British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on taxiway
Heathrow Airport, British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on taxiway

In addition, the airline is investing 750 million GBP in its IT infrastructure to move 700 systems and thousands of servers to the cloud by early next year.

As part of the investment programme, British Airways will also overhaul its digital user experience with a new website and mobile app. These platforms will offer a range of new services and will allow customers to self-serve for more of their journey plans.

Meanwhile, the airline is enhancing the sustainable credentials of its operations with the aim of meeting a net zero target by 2050 or sooner.

For example, the airline’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced its largest SAF purchase agreement to date with e-SAF producer, Twelve. This fuel could reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent compared to conventional jet fuel when used in British Airways’ aircraft.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:

“We’re on a journey to a better BA for our people and for our customers, underpinned by a transformation programme that will see us invest £7bn over the next two years to revolutionise our business. We’re going to take delivery of new aircraft, introduce new cabins, elevate our customer care, focus on operational performance and address our environmental impact by reducing our emissions and creating a culture of sustainability. We’re also heavily investing in the development of a new ba.com website and app and are laser-focused on transforming our business and fixing any pain points for our customers.”

In addition to investments at the airport, British Airways’ transformation plan will also enhance the onboard experience for its passengers. For example, from 3 April 2024, British Airways Executive Club Members will be able to send WhatsApp messages free of charge on a single device using the airline’s WiFi.

Free onboard messaging for Executive Club Members
Free onboard messaging for Executive Club Members

The airline is also investing in new short-haul seats and cabin interiors for its Airbus A320neo and A321neos, with eight new aircraft set to arrive from May this year.

British Airways' new short-haul seat
British Airways’ new short-haul seat

Furthermore, British Airways will introduce a new First Class suite for its UK to US routes. The airline expects this offering to launch at the end of 2025 into early 2026 as part of its A380 aircraft refurbishment.

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