EUROPE & CIS: BA chief warns worst of recession still ahead

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways, offered a bleak assessment recently that the worst of the recession was still ahead for the global airline industry. Walsh said BA had planned “on the assumption of a 24-month downturn, and we have seen nothing yet to persuadeus we are over-pessimistic”. “Though some of the financial markets […]


bleak assessment British Airways recession structural shift Willie Walsh



Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways, offered a bleak assessment recently that the worst of the recession was still ahead for the global airline industry. Walsh said BA had planned “on the assumption of a 24-month downturn, and we have seen nothing yet to persuadeus we are over-pessimistic”.

“Though some of the financial markets may be looking better, I believe that for airlines, the worst of this recession is still ahead of us.” He added that a “structural shift” was occurring, warning that business travel, traditionally the main engine for profits at long-haul network carriers, might never fully recover to peak 2007 levels. “That is a sobering message for all traditional airlines. Premium travel has been central to the viability of their business model for a very long time,”he said.