British Airways chairman and CEO Alex Cruz. Photo: Stuart Bailey

Faster Thinking

Here’s the plan

Chief executive Alex Cruz lays out his manifesto – and BA’s commitments to you – for the next five years 

I am looking forward to 2017. It marks the opening phase of our new five-year business plan. Inside our organisation, we call it Plan4 – in reference to the four themes it focuses on: Customers, Operations, Efficiency and People.

Naturally, customers are the most important and we’re planning to invest and innovate where our research tells us customers value it most. So we’re allocating £400m to renew our Club World experience: better catering, smarter lounges (Gatwick’s is already open), more personalised service and the best possible conditions for sleep. We’ve started fitting Wi-Fi on our first 747 and we’ll have covered 90 per cent of our long- and short-haul fleets in a little over two years. We’ll continue to grow and intensify our transatlantic network and we’ll introduce Club Europe on our UK domestic routes.

With our flying operation, we’ll invest in technology to make our schedule more punctual and resilient. We will redesign baggage arrivals to make our hub transfers at Heathrow the best in Europe. And we will strengthen our absolute commitment to safe, responsible and reliable flying.

Like all legacy airlines, we have work to do to lower our cost base to match the times our industry lives in. Some decisions will be difficult, but we must adapt to the competitive realities of today, and tomorrow. Competition is not just with other airlines for customers. It’s also with companies in all sectors who are seeking investment. So we have to make ourselves attractive to people who invest.

As we make ourselves more efficient, we can, and will, fight back against the growth of low-cost long-haul. So we’re challenging Norwegian head-on to the US and will add more seats in cabins where consumer choice is absolutely determined by price.

We’ll need to unleash the potential of British Airways people. That means getting the right balance between head office and the customer-facing frontline, providing the training and technology to keep everyone’s skills up to date and improving communication at all levels of the organisation. There’s a huge amount of detail sitting beneath these objectives – and I’m very excited to be getting to grips with it, now, and over the next five years.