BA to sell ad space on boarding passes and website

British Airways has become the first major European scheduled airline to sell advertising space on its boarding passes as it seeks new revenue to stem record losses.

The airline, which posted a £106 million ($175.7 million) net loss for the three months ended June 30, said it is now actively seeking advertisers to use space on its boarding cards and on its website.

Jaguar has become the first company to advertise on BA’s website - the first advertisement since the site’s launch in the mid-1990s. The ability to advertise on boarding passes will be available from 1 October.

More than 500,000 people a day visit ba.com and it issued over 12 million boarding passes last year, according to the airline.
BA said that ads could be tailored to the passenger and location.

Abigail Comber, the airline’s manager for brand, proposition and insight, said: “We hope it will be a positive revenue stream for BA.”

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Last month, the airline announced that it would stop serving meals other than breakfast in economy class during short-haul flights. Passengers will instead be offered snacks such as crisps, although the complimentary bar service will remain.

The move has led to criticism that BA was following the budget airlines towards a minimal service model. The decision to put ads on its boarding passes and website also copies the low-costs carriers, although BA insists that its advertisers will have a “strong heritage”.

Ms Comber said: “It’s a great way for our customers to be brought messages on products and services that are relevant to them. We’re seeking brands with a strong heritage and parity to British Airways’ own brand values. Our customers would expect us to bring them brands that they trust and respect.”

As part of BA’s cost-cutting strategy, it is seeking to axe 3,400 jobs from its cabin and ground crew. It also wants to cut pay, allowances and impose new working conditions.

The company is expected to restart negotiations with unions next week after the two sides failed to agree terms last month.