Rivals to cash in on BA's economy move

Rivals to cash in on BA's economy move

appointing first-quarter results to June 30.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary welcomed BA's move. "If (BA chief executive) Bob Ayling wants any help in taking these economy passengers off his hands, I am only happy to offer my services," he said.

Although BA made pre-tax profits of £200m, £177m of that came from the sale of sideline businesses, particularly Galileo International.

Moves already announced include dropping BA's daily Pittsburgh-London and twice-daily London-Jakarta routes on October 30 and scaling back its plans to codeshare in the western US. The airline is currently reviewing its short-haul network and will make a decision in the autumn on which routes it will cut.

A BA spokesman said: "We will then see whether it makes a lot of sense to fly on some of the routes."

However, BA will increase its Dubai service from once to twice-daily for this winter and will add three extra flights a week to New York. Currently it flies to the city 12 times a day from the UK. The airline has also embarked on a £6bn investment programme to upgrade its Concorde fleet and business and first-class services.

The disappointing results and the new strategy have heaped further pressure on Ayling. City analysts believe results need to improve quickly if he is to keep his job.

One analyst said:"It is a dangerous strategy. By reducing capacity BAis going to alienate a lot of economy passengers and that will be very dangerous in the long term. Other carriers will capitalise on this."

Rival Virgin Atlantic chairman Richard Branson said:"Our strategy is to increase both business and economy traffic."

RIVAL airlines are set to capitalise on British Airways' decision to slash the number of economy passengers it carries as part of a cost-cutting measure.

BA announced plans to cut passenger numbers by 12% over the next three years, switch to smaller aircraft and get rid of under-used routes as it revealed disappointing first-quarter results to June 30.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary welcomed BA's move. "If (BA chief executive) Bob Ayling wants any help in taking these economy passengers off his hands, I am only happy to offer my services," he said.

Although BA made pre-tax profits of £200m, £177m of that came from the sale of sideline businesses, particularly Galileo International.

Moves already announced include dropping BA's daily Pittsburgh-London and twice-daily London-Jakarta routes on October 30 and scaling back its plans to codeshare in the western US. The airline is currently reviewing its short-haul network and will make a decision in the autumn on which routes it will cut.

A BA spokesman said: "We will then see whether it makes a lot of sense to fly on some of the routes."

However, BA will increase its Dubai service from once to twice-daily for this winter and will add three extra flights a week to New York. Currently it flies to the city 12 times a day from the UK. The airline has also embarked on a £6bn investment programme to upgrade its Concorde fleet and business and first-class services.

The disappointing results and the new strategy have heaped further pressure on Ayling. City analysts believe results need to improve quickly if he is to keep his job.

One analyst said:"It is a dangerous strategy. By reducing capacity BAis going to alienate a lot of economy passengers and that will be very dangerous in the long term. Other carriers will capitalise on this."

Rival Virgin Atlantic chairman Richard Branson said:"Our strategy is to increase both business and economy traffic."

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