British Airways Unveils £7B ‘Transformation’ Plan


British Airways plans to invest £7 billion (US$8.9 billion) over the next two years into an “array of new initiatives to transform the airline,” the carrier announced Tuesday, including a new first-class suite, upgraded inflight technology and new airport lounges.

BA plans to introduce a new first-class suite, currently expected to debut at the end of 2025 and into 2026 as part of the carrier’s Airbus A380 aircraft refurbishment. It also plans to install new short-haul seats and cabins on its Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft, which will have “extra-large” overhead bins. 

Beginning April 3, BA Executive Club loyalty program members will be able to send messages free of charge on a single device using the airline’s Wi-Fi, regardless of the cabin they are traveling in, according to the carrier. The service will be available on every Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft within two weeks of the rollout date, according to BA. 

Technology Updates

Additional tech-related updates include a planned new website and mobile app “offering deeper personalization,” according to BA. The new website currently is in beta testing, and BA said it would provide users with more self-service options. The carrier projects that initial changes will be rolled out by the end of the year.

BA also is investing £100 million in machine learning, automation and AI across its operations, including bookings and baggage handling, with the goal of speeding up departures and responses to disruptions. Some elements already have been implemented, and the carrier said it has seen an improvement in its on-time departures as a result. Another £750 million will be dedicated to IT infrastructure updates, including moving 700 systems and thousands of servers to the cloud by early next year.

New Lounges, Routes

The carrier plans to open a new lounge later this year in Dubai, which will replace the current lounge and be the first to feature British Airways’ new lounge design. Plans are for a new Miami lounge to follow in 2025. There also are plans for “refreshes” of lounges in Lagos and Seattle.

British Airways also plans to resume flights between London and each Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur in October and November, respectively. The Bangkok flights will operate three times weekly from London Gatwick using Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. The Malaysian flights will operate daily from London Heathrow with Boeing 787-9 aircraft. 

In addition, BA on April 20 plans to resume flights to Abu Dhabi. It will add to its schedule on March 31 Agadir, Morocco, and on May 18 Izmir, Turkey.

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