February 29, 2024

BA pledges closer ties with corporates

British Airways has pledged to step up its focus on trade and corporate partnerships to help the whole industry recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Head of Sales Mark Muren said the airline would be communicating with its partners in a more “authentic, approachable and humble” way going forward.

“Our partners make us who we are and these partnerships will be at the core of the recovery. We haven’t been around 100 years because of ba.com,” he said at a briefing with travel media this week. 

“We know we will always need to have great partners, whether that’s leisure agents or business travel agents or corporate customers, and we will be approaching these partnerships with more energy and enthusiasm.” 

He said the recent agreement to distribute NDC content via Amadeus personifies the airline’s new strategy and said BA was looking to secure similar partnerships with the other GDS companies.

More announcements would be made in the coming months, he added.

“We have a good model with Amadeus and it’s one we would like to replicate where possible, but finding something that works for everyone is key. The conversations are ongoing.”

Muren said in the current uncertain climate corporate clients are requiring BA to be “extremely engaged and nimble” and he insisted the airline was responding to this demand.

“We have been through five dealing cycles already when normally we would go through just one,” he said.

He said BA would have a “smaller, leaner” sales team but this would be a “better sales team” using more efficient digital ways of working. 

The airline will also be working more closely with trade associations, such as the BTA and ITM, to ensure the entire industry recovers, he added.

Muren, who joined the airline in November 2019 from United Airlines, said there would be two pillars to BA’s re-energised trade strategy. 

The first will be a robust and intuitive self-service portal where agents will find the majority of information and will be able to do most of what they need to do. 

This will be backed up with an equally robust contact centre, he said, admitting that this has probably been “under invested” in the past.