13 AUGUST 2018

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Article from BTNews 13 AUGUST 2018

COMMENT: Is IAG a brand?

Last Monday, The Times of London published a pretty forthright letter by British Airways chief executive and chairman Alex Cruz criticising border controls at Heathrow. The letter gained extensive coverage. Cruz, who these days tends to keep a low profile, was spot on. (see BA and the Border Farce in this issue)

Compare the coverage of the letter with the condemnation by some of Europe’s leading low-cost airlines of the exasperating tactics by French air traffic controllers with a series of strikes clearly designed to disrupt the holiday plans of millions.

The carriers concerned were named as easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz, all British registered, plus IAG, which is not an airline but a holding company.

In some respects, what the group had to say was more important than the debate over border controls, although that can be argued.

The media exposure was limited, sad to say, since this was seen as an old story, although aimed this time at the EU in a hope that the Commission could prove effective.

What concerns BTN is the branding of IAG. Does the travelling public know who or what it is? Is British Airways losing out with exposure? Or was it, as Blackadder would say, “a cunning plan” not to connect the three low-cost operators with the British flag carrier, bearing in mind it is very much a basic airline in Europe, but one step up when it comes to international long-haul?

Compare IAG with Unilever. The public knows Unilever brands (Cornetto, Jif etc) but not the CEO, Paul Polman. The same goes for Tata with Jaguar and GlaxoSmithKline with its pharmaceuticals and healthcare products.

Cruz hit his target with the letter to The Times. BA made all the nationals in a very positive way. But does anyone book IAG? Passengers fly a brand.

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David Bentley, Oldham

I’m not sure I get the point. “The carriers concerned were named as easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz, all British registered, plus IAG, which is not an airline but a holding company.“ Named by who, or what? The Times? Without clarification you’re comparing apples with lemons. IAG could have commented on behalf of all its airlines, I presume it has a media department? As for the EU/EC intervening, forget it. Until the airlines sue it.


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