British Airways boss Willie Walsh has dismissed the threat from easyJet to BA’s dominance of the UK corporate travel market.
EasyJet announced a move away from its no-frills policy for premium passengers last week with what amounts to a business class fare.
But in an interview at the weekend Walsh suggested easyJet’s poor punctuality at its Gatwick base would make business travellers think twice about flying with the airline.
Walsh said: “Their operational performance is appalling.” Referring to new easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall, he said: “She’s got a huge challenge that will be very difficult to overcome.”
Just 48% of easyJet’s flights at Gatwick took off within 15 minutes of their departure time in June, a problem attributed to insufficient crew numbers. McCall has pledged to address the issue.
Corporate travellers make up a small percentage of BA passengers, but provide 40% of the carrier’s profits. About 18% of easyJet passengers are corporate travellers and the airline hopes to boost this to 25%.
Walsh was speaking to The Observer newspaper, part of the Guardian Media Group which McCall left to join easyJet.