British Airways premium traffic jumped 15 percent in March while economy traffic dropped by 0.4 percent.
The timing of Easter this year has benefited premium volumes and reduced non-premium volumes in March. This effect will reverse next month
Passenger capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, was 2.5 percent above March 2005.
Traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres, was higher by 1.8 per cent. This resulted in a passenger load factor down 0.5 points versus last year, to 75.2 per cent.
Market conditions remain broadly unchanged as significant promotional activity is required to maintain seat factors.
The company announced a proposal to clear the £1 billion past service actuarial deficit in its New Airways Pension Scheme (NAPS). The proposal is based on a final salary pension scheme with no changes to past service benefits or staff contribution rates but with changes to members’ future benefits. The airline will make a payment of £500 million into NAPS after the changes are accepted.
The airline announced its two year business plan to March 2008 to drive down costs and strengthen customer service. It is targeting a £450 million reduction in costs with £225 to be delivered in each year. It also included investment of nearly £200 million in new products.
BA announced the restructure of parts of its UK direct sales operations with the proposed closure of British Airways’ Travel Shops and the airline’s Belfast based customer call centre by August 2006. The move comes in response to changing customer behaviour and increased sales on its ba.com website.
The summer 2006 schedule was announced with British Airways’ first ever flights to Tirana in Albania and Varna on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. Four other new destinations from London Gatwick airport include Reykjavik in Iceland, Izmir in Turkey, Kiev in the Ukraine and Athens, Greece.
The airline announced a series of service enhancements to be introduced ahead of its move into Heathrow airport’s Terminal 5. The first change will be launched from April 25, when the airline introduces self-service check-in for all customers travelling on UK domestic flights.
Customers planning to visit the United States from March 7 are being urged to input relevant data on ba.com or via their travel agent to comply with the new Advanced Passenger Information (API), introduced for all passengers flying to the US.