Completing 85 years of successful operations in the Middle East with its first flight touching down in Sharjah in 1932, the airline has continued to increase its frequency and currently operates four daily flights from the UAE. Anjulika Dutton, Head of Sales, British Airways, shares an insight with TravTalk.
How has the year fared for BA over the past eight months in the ME region?
The Middle East continues to be an important market for British Airways. The carrier has made several investments across the region in recent years and now offers direct services to London Heathrow from across eight countries in the region.
Some of these investments include the launch of the most-technologically advanced aircraft in British Airways’ fleet – the 787-9 Dreamliner – on its Abu Dhabi to London service and on its Jeddah to London route. In 2016, Dubai became the second airport to receive British Airways’ new concept of Concorde Lounge globally; launched at the Concourse D at Dubai International Airport.
Could you share the new million pound investment made by BA and how it would contribute to ME region?
British Airways’ ongoing investments will directly benefit customers from the Middle East starting with the new First Wing in London Heathrow that opened in April this year. The multi-million-pound investments to be rolled out across the airline’s fleet include £400m in Club World (long-haul business class), Club Europe on UK domestic services, new lounges, First Wing direct security and lounge access at Heathrow, Wi-Fi fitted on long-haul and short-haul fleets over the next two years, self service check-in and biometric boarding gates to speed up the airport journey.
The airline’s £400 million investment in its Club World service includes an enhanced sleep and food proposition. Part of our investment into Club World is our recent partnership with The White Company who have exclusively, for British Airways, designed a bespoke, luxuriously soft large pillow and white cotton pillowcase to enhance customers’ comfort. Customers will also be given a super-soft woven blanket with satin trim and a specially developed luxury duvet to improve their quality of sleep, as well as a padded mattress cover giving an extra layer of comfort.
Are there any new routes, partnerships or enhancements planned for BA? If so, please explain.
British Airways has launched over 30 new routes across the globe this year including direct flights to New Orleans, Oakland (California) and Fort Lauderdale (Florida) enabling passengers from the Middle East to connect through London to a wide range of destinations across Europe and North America. An exciting route for travellers from the UAE is our new service to Nashville. From May 2018, British Airways will launch a five-a-week service from Heathrow, Terminal 5 and will be the only airline flying direct between Europe and the capital of Tennessee. The flights will run on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with the BA223 departing from London Heathrow at 3:45 pm and arriving to Nashville Airport at 6:50 pm, while the BA222 will leave Nashville at 8:20 pm and arrive into London at 10:30 am on the following day.