BA shorthaul is threatened by the downturn

FLAG carrier British Airways (BA) may be forced to slash some of its short-haul flights to restore earnings, an industry expert has said.<br /><br />&ldquo;This is an airline that really has to bite the bullet on short-haul, looking long and hard at what it&rsquo;s costing and whether they can ever get a decent margin out of it,&rdquo; BGC Partners&rsquo; Howard Wheeldon said yesterday. &ldquo;Some UK and European routes have a very limited future,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />But the airline, which today launches its executive-only flight from London City airport to New York, said it had &ldquo;no fundamental changes to its business strategy at the moment.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;We need short haul flights, as we operate many of our long-haul operations via Heathrow as a hub,&rdquo; a BA spokesman said. <br /><br />But critics have warned that BA will struggle to operate as a short haul carrier, as the likes of Ryanair and easyJet gain popularity in the slump. <br /><br />BA reaps most of its revenues from first and business class tickets.