British Airways (BA) boss Sean Doyle is determined to salvage the summer season for the airline as it attempts to recover from a series of setbacks and poor customer service under former chief exec Alex Cruz.
Doyle has set his sights sky-high in a comprehensive overhaul of the carrier’s operations as he looks to “rebuild from the bottom up”, according to an interview with the Sunday Times.
The leader is now focusing on modernising BA’s outdated IT systems and revamping its service.
Doyle’s goal is to create a “drumbeat of change” that reinstates pride and confidence in the airline, ultimately making it “big and beautiful” again.
In particular, Doyle said there is a “huge focus on generating the uniquely British service we need” as staff are being inspired to “showcase their originality”.
To address the legacy issues caused by cost-cutting measures, Doyle has replaced several executives inherited from Cruz, bringing in fresh talent from outside the company.
Staff training and rebranding initiatives, emphasising British originality and service, are being implemented to restore BA’s reputation.
The latest investment from BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), totalling €600m (£510m), will primarily be allocated to more reliable cloud-based data centres, along with the introduction of a new website and app.
Artificial intelligence will also be employed to enhance customer services, such as faster routing of calls to the correct agents. The appointment of 400 tech professionals aims to facilitate a global IT reboot.
The carrier’s fleet is undergoing significant transformations, with the double-decker superjumbos being refitted and new models introduced.
Although BA’s recovery efforts are progressing, external factors, such as staff shortages at Heathrow Airport and potential strikes by air traffic controllers, pose ongoing challenges.
However, Doyle remains optimistic about the recovery of the aviation sector, with business and leisure travel gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels.
BA’s passenger numbers could reach 47m by next year, the same as in 2019 and the airline has returned to profitability after losing almost £6bn due to pandemic lockdowns.
As BA seeks to rebuild and regain customer trust, the summer season will be a crucial test for Doyle’s leadership and the effectiveness of the airline’s transformation efforts.
“It’s been challenging but we’re in much better shape,” said Doyle. “We’re committed to making sure this summer runs smoothly.”