BA set to move into new home at Heathrow’s Terminal 5

Brand: British Airways Spokesperson: Paul Starrs, British Airways’ commercial manager, Middle East

How has 2007 fared for British Airways? 
2007 was a landmark year for the airline, with October bringing British Airways’ 75th anniversary of Middle East services – making us the longest serving carrier operating regionally.

The embodiment of our new Club World cabin has also gathered pace this year, with all of our Boeing 747 aircraft now fitted out with the new cabin.
We’ve also been getting ready to move into our new home at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 (T5), which gives British Airways unrivalled opportunities to modernise and grow our business at Heathrow.
Serving T5 in the coming years will be our new fleet – in 2007 we placed new fleet orders for 12 Airbus A380 and 24 Boeing 787 aircraft with options for a further seven Airbus A380s and18 Boeing 787s. The new aircraft will replace 34 of our long haul fleet and will be delivered between 2010 and 2014. The order, including options, will give British Airways the ability to grow its capacity by up to four per cent per year.

What are the company’s plans for 2008?
Terminal 5 is the biggest step we will taking in 2008. It will be exclusively used by British Airways. We will be moving almost all our short haul and long haul services into the brand new facility. 
The terminal, which has a floor area equal to ten football pitches on each of its ten floors, is on-track, on-time and on-budget for a late March 2008 opening.  The terminal will service all of our flights from the Middle East and will provide our customers with a hassle-free airport experience. Our regional customers can also look forward to reduced connection times at Heathrow.
What is the company’s strategy in the face of competition? 
The aviation market on the whole is booming and everyone is aboard the same plane as such. Competition only increases standards and with the existing quality of our operations, we are confident we will continue to enjoy a great reputation in an ever more populated industry. 

Is BA bullish about 2008? If yes, why? 
As I’ve already indicated, T5 will completely enhance the airline’s customer proposition and is a monumental step forward for the airline.  We believe that T5 will not only solidify our position as a leading global carrier, but also reaffirm London’s status as a premier global aviation hub.
In addition, our fleet order and service developments, such as our new Club World, mean we see no reason why British Airways should feel anything other than ‘bullish’ about our prospects in 2008, and beyond.

What can travellers look forward to in the New Year?
Apart from T5, which will significantly ease congestion at Heathrow, our regional passengers can look forward to competitive fares for better products and we’re confident our loyal passengers will find it the best business class experience in the sky.

What will be the biggest challenges facing you in the Middle East in 2008?
I’d prefer to turn this on its head and talk about business objectives as opposed to challenges. Successfully meeting our corporate objectives, and maintaining the quality and affordability of our non-premium and premium products is the key to achieving our goal of a 10 per cent operating margin, and I can happily report this remains on track for March 2008.