British Airways will use its large cash pile to buy into rival airlines weakened by the fuel price if it can take a controlling stake.
BA chief executive Willie Walsh said the airline would survive and prosper through the oil-price crisis after slashing its debt and building a hugely profitable operation with cash reserves. The carrier reported an operating profit of £875 million for the year to March.
Walsh said: “There will be opportunities for BA. That is one reason we wanted to maintain a strong balance sheet.” However, he said BA would only be interested in a stake that gave control of a carrier.
He insisted BA would weather the fuel-price storm. “BA’s business model is sustainable at an oil price of $120 a barrel,” he said. “Our focus is primarily on long-haul and long-haul business travel tends to be robust.”