29 MAY 2017


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Article from BTNews 29 MAY 2017

COMMENT: BA fails to communicate

British Airways had a serious IT problem over the weekend.  

BTN does not know the full details of the breakdown but one thing for certain needs sorting out. The lack of communication to its staff, and they in turn to the public!     

For the past ten years, much of the media have complained of the arrogant attitude of the BA press office, and except for the honoured few even mundane enquiry phone calls not returned. For over a decade it has got worse and worse, culminating with events of last Saturday. Nothing on the general BA website most of the day, nor the media area. 

Readers may have forgotten the T5 opening farce in March 2008. Another case of bad communications. Willie Walsh was in charge at the time.

Just a year ago, BA announced its new Crisis Management Centre with much aplomb. When did it open on Saturday? 

Mr Alex Cruz: You have been in place for 12 months now. Do sort things out. Heads should roll. The public, your passengers, deserve better! 


COMMENT PLUS: BTN calls for Heathrow consultation to re-open.

But for the tragedy at Manchester and the fuss and fluster surrounding the forthcoming General Election, one event last week would have commanded a lot more attention than it did. This was the closing at 23:45 on Thursday of the Department for Transport (DfT) consultation on runway options for the South East. 

Don’t worry if you missed it; it’s likely many did.

This is not a good thing.

Some will argue even for the necessity of this further discussion. Many thought that when Chris Grayling made the announcement on 25 October 2016 in favour of a Northwest runway at Heathrow, that would be the end of the matter and, subject to detailed planning permission, construction could get under way.

Not so. In February of this year, he announced the detailed consultation document. No decision until 2020, it stated!

No doubt those opposed to the runway saw it as another opportunity to break a project critical to the future of UK Plc. They, rather like the pro-Europe protagonists, will not take no for an answer and see the formal discussion as an opportunity to stop R3 and had diarised Thursday 25 May. The rest of us would have also perhaps noted the date, only for it to be overtaken by the election and then Manchester.

The good news is that there is likely to be the same government in place in 2020 as is now. This may not have been the case if Parliament had run its full term.  Once before, when David Cameron created the coalition, Heathrow R3 was stopped. The way is clear for this not to happen again.

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

Brian Donohoe, United Kingdom

I think wee Willie Walsh should resign..........closely followed by Cruz.......I wonder what the cost v savings are on this calamitous situation

Graham Stephenson, UK

We still do not know where the power failure was, why has BA not said? Was it in India? Surely BA' management system is backed up with alternative powe supplies available or even their own generator. In the past BA have put out the call to retired staff to come in and help. At least a visible team of helpers able to communicate with the public and to care for baggage etc would have eased the problem for 5he staff.

Gerry Stevens, London

Whatever one's views on R3, be it for or against, let us please not dignify the DoT's activity as a 'consultation'. The ones I attended were nothing of the sort - they were simply 'exhibitions' manned by an assortment of DoT staff with limited knowledge confined to the respective exhibition board they were standing in front of and unable to answer anything else. The whole affair was a farce !

John Morris, Staffordshire

This is a monumental failure from a monolithic organisation. It smacks or organisational paralysis. Whoever the Head of Resilience is, has many questions to answer. I've never really worked out who is in charge of the communications and PR machine for BA - but with 30 years+ experience of managing to avoid these cock-ups in rail and aviation, I'm happy to put myself forward to show them how it should be done.

Ian Hamer, UK

Some 15 years ago, the then Airtransport Users Council worked hard with BA to improve it\'s communication with passengers. A direct line for the AUC into BA and it\'s senior customer service people proved to work well for both BA and their customers. Not rocket science! But obviously a lesson forgotten by the BA of today....talk to your customers, especially when things go wrong, which, unfortunately they do.