IAG paves the path to British Airways improvements
British Airways will soon start an overhaul from the ground up, as part of a capital plan to improve the customer experience. In IAG’s 2017 Capital Market Report, the air travel conglomerate announced a $5.9 billion investment across their flagship brand.
Although the airline celebrated their position as the largest European carrier across the North Atlantic, executives conceded that the product needed to meet flyer expectations. To those means, IAG will begin a process to refresh how passengers engage with the airline on the ground and in the air.
Among the planned changes are the installation of new cabins and in-flight entertainment systems across the carrier’s long-haul aircraft. In 2018, the airline will begin refurbishing Boeing 777 aircraft based at London Gatwick Airport (LGW) and Boeing 747 aircraft based at London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
Meanwhile, the airline will install state-of-the-art amenities on the 72 aircraft they currently have on order, including the Airbus A320neo, A350, and Boeing 777-300 and 787 Dreamliner. The features will include in-seat power, improved in-flight entertainment options and high speed wireless internet access. Moreover, a new premium class seat is in the works for front-cabin flyers. The British flag carrier announced they are currently designing a new first class seat, which will be debuted by 2019.
On the ground, British Airways is also improving their experience in lounges and terminals. Utilizing automation tools, the airline is planning to introduce self-service luggage drops and boarding gates at select airports. In the secure zone, the airline has redesigned lounges at LGW and in Boston, and will rollout new lounges at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York, Aberdeen and Rome in 2018.
British Airways is not the only IAG carrier expected to get more exposure. Aer Lingus could be expanding to new markets with the addition of Airbus A321LR aircraft to their fleet, while Iberia will see a full deployment of premium economy and high speed wireless internet access by the end of 2018. Previously, Aer Lingus executives reportedly asked employees to forego a wage hike in order to ensure IAG would deliver on their promise of new long-range aircraft.
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