British Airways will unveil capacity cuts for this winter in early August, but insists it will not compromise services for corporate travellers.
BA chief executive Willie Walsh has acknowledged the airline cannot make a profit at the current oil price of $130 a barrel or so.
However, BA is sufficiently well hedged to avoid severe capacity reductions, having bought three-quarters of its current fuel needs at $84 a barrel.
Head of corporate sales Richard Tams said: “The cuts in capacity will not have a significant impact on the business schedule. Any cuts at Heathrow will be where we have multiple services. We are not going to compromise the business travellers’ schedule.”
However, Tams said: “The underlying economic conditions in many markets are very weak. This is probably going to be a prolonged state of affairs and the airline’s business model must be sustainable.” He conceded that meant fares would continue to rise.
“Prices are going to go up – either through increases to fares or surcharges,” said Tams.
Walsh revealed he would cut the winter schedule in May, but has repeatedly said he will not ground aircraft. Addressing shareholders at the annual general meeting last week, the BA boss again said the cuts would broadly amount to reversing previous plans for expansion.
Most of the service reductions will be on routes where BA offers several flights a day.
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