Friday 6 September 2019 11:24 am

British Airways strikes and IT glitches dent BA's reputation

The reputation of British Airways plummeted to a four-year low last month in the wake of strikes and IT failure that left passengers stranded.

BA has fallen from 31st to 55th of the 65 companies in the airlines reputation index of reputation intelligence company alva since 1 January 2016.

Read more: British Airways strikes: Pilots could call off action if BA considers pay offer

During August, BA were hit by a £183m fine from the information commissioner’s office for a data breach which saw hackers obtain the personal data of half a million customers.

There was also an IT systems glitch that saw tens of thousands of passengers affected by the cancellation or delay of more than 500 flights.

And next week the company is set to be hit by strikes from British Airlines pilots.

Those that are members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) are due to strike on 9, 10 and 27 September.

The strikes do not affect BA CityFlyer, which flies out of London City Airport.

The union has put forward a new pay proposal to the airline, which would avert strike action altogether.

Balpa is locked in a dispute with the airline over pay and working conditions, although the BA claims it has agreed an 11.5 per cent increase in pay over three years which has been accepted by the Unite and GMB unions.

British Airways drop in reputation has been accompanied by a falling share price, which is down 39.54 per cent on January 2018, while its customer satisfaction ratings have also sunk.

“Delays, cancellations, data breaches and IT glitches all point to systems failures at the company, which are all too easily linked back in stakeholders’ minds to the company’s internal focus on cost-cutting and efficiencies,” said Alastair Pickering, chief strategy officer at alva.

“What initially may have seemed like bad luck or bad planning, can quickly morph into a narrative of underinvestment; the company putting shareholder interests above those of passengers and employees.

Read more: UK strikes autumn 2019: All the dates for Tube, rail and British Airways strikes

“But the situation is by no means terminal. Announcements like the planned £6.5bn investment programme aimed at revamping the passenger experience should help to address the growing customer cynicism.”

A BA spokesperson said: “We are proud to fly more than 45m customers a year and, while challenges remain and change takes time to deliver in aviation, our customers are noticing the investments we are making.”