BA’s chairman and CEO Alex Cruz

Faster Thinking

Dragons, strikes and the case for Britain

Chairman and CEO Alex Cruz chooses three topics from his in-tray

Before I arrived at British Airways, I spent 10 years working at smaller airlines. One of the nice things about working in relatively small organisations is that you can make changes quickly. That is harder in large organisations, but certainly not impossible. For example, we have just embarked on a process to design a new BA app – and we went from a standing start to choosing the supplier (after a Dragon’s Den-style pitch competition in front of 150 BA colleagues) in under four weeks. Realisation is progressing well and I’m confident you’ll be able to use the new functionality by the time the next Faster Track comes out in October. I’m confident you’ll like it too.

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If you’ve been flying in Europe in the past few months, the chances are that you’ll have been delayed at least once by air traffic control strikes. Since March, ATC strikes in France, Greece, Italy and Belgium have caused more than 16,000 hours of delay for airlines and the sad truth is that, while this year has been bad, it is hardly unique. Between 2010 and 2015, there were 167 ATC strike days in the EU, or one disrupted day every fortnight. In fact, the strikes had an impact on 213 days if we take into account advance cancellations and knock-on delays. Research by City accountants PwC suggests these strikes cost the European economy nearly €10 billion over the five years, through reduced tourism spending and lost productivity. European governments, and the EU, must take stronger action to bring these ATC strikes to an end – and, with other airlines, we are lobbying hard in Brussels to make urgent progress.

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Britain will continue to be a very attractive destination for tourism and probably more attractive given a weaker pound

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Industrial action can stop airlines flying their customers. There’s been no such consequence from the UK’s referendum on the EU. The result has brought short-term turbulence but the fundamentals of our business haven’t changed and people will continue flying into and out of the UK. Britain will continue to be a very attractive destination for tourism and probably more attractive given a weaker pound. Without question, the UK will still be one of the most significant economies in the world, so UK consumers will continue to travel and UK business will continue to trade. We will continue to work hard to deliver a high quality service for them.