British Airways will invest AUD$7.7bn (£4.5bn) into new aircraft and product improvements over the next five years. Chief Executive Alex Cruz says the money will buy:
- 72 new aircraft, including four new types for the airline: the Airbus A350, the Boeing 787-10 and the neo (new engine option) variant of the Airbus A320 and 321;
- New interiors for 128 aircraft in the existing fleet;
- At-seat power for customers in all cabins;
- Upgraded catering for economy customers on long-haul;
- Roll-out of fast Wi-Fi in all cabins on short-haul and long-haul.
Mr Cruz belies British Airways confronts “a combination of competitive forces more challenging than at any point in our history”.
Challenges include the the growth of low-cost carriers on both long-haul and short-haul routes, high-quality Gulf carriers and reinvigorated US transatlantic operators.
“As a national flag carrier, we are not granted some special immunity from the way the industry has changed,” he said.
“Incumbency does not grant any privilege. We have no divine right to flourish, and we don’t ask for one.”
“If we continue to embrace change while staying true to our values, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”